A poem I wrote in 25 minutes following a talk by an angry African farmer at the European Social Forum Alexandra Palace
Who Owes Who?
Five hundred years ago today
Western Colonialists made us slaves
They stole our silver and our gold
You must not believe what you’ve been told.
Bristol, Birmingham and Liverpool
Were built by slaves you thought were fools
You are rich ‘cos we are poor
Yet you still keep us pinned to di floor
So who owes who, who owes who what we want to know is
Who owes who
Chorus a la Blair IP’S . . . .
‘People killing people
People dying, multinationals always lying
They don’t practice what they preach
They just turn the other cheek
Father Father Father help us
Give us guidance from above
Won’t you tell me tell me tell me
Where is the love, where is the love, where is the love
the love the love . . . .’
A message to all in Africa
I’m Monsanto’s boss Mr Shapira
We have some crops for you to plant
Do what you’re told you’ll get a grant
You may go hungry and be ill at night
Give us your land, don’t try and fight
Cruel to be kind is the way I’ll bet
To help you reduce your Third World debt
So who owes who . . . who owes who . . .etc
Exploitation and Third World debt
Milk us all for what you can get
You are rich ‘cos we are poor
Drop di debt get out di door.
Just one percent of interest
For our gold, diamonds and the rest
And you’d owe us 1,000 times more
Then we’d be rich and you’d be poor
Yes we’d be rich and you’d, be poor
So who owes who . . . who owes who . . .etc
We corporate folk are here to assist
Turn your shabby hands into realms of bliss,
There’ll be no more wars and no more sorrow,
Provided you give us your oil tomorrow,
We give you dams and GM crops
Our charity knows not where to stop
Homogenisation of our cultures
Will stop you all behaving like vultures
We’re here to help, don’t you get,
It’s good for you to pay your debt
So who owes who . . . who owes who . . . .etc
You control our foreign policy and take our land
To help pay a debt we don’t understand
You dump your subsidised maize and cotton
Into a land the world’s forgotten
This all in the name of globalisation
Which is tearing the heart out of our nation
Africans starving in their millions
As Corporate profits soar into trillions
You are rich ‘cos we are poor
You have ‘our’ blood on your hands, that’s for sure.
So who owes who? . . . .Who owes who?
Who owes who? Why all the fuss? We don’t owe you
YOU OWE US
AMANDA . . . .
Letter from Hector with regard to the sudden and tragic passing of his dear friend michael meacher.
I'm sitting in my kitchen witih lovely lady hippies extracating the voluptious flesh from the largest pumpkin (who'm they're calling 'Phil the Trucker' I've ever seen from our wonderful permaculture garden listening to African music. I hope you and family are well.
Today's news of dear Michael Meacher's sudden and unexpected passing has left us, and so many environmental activists with whom I've been sharing the news, utterly devastated. I saw him last 6 weeks ago when he and his utterly charming wife Lucy Anne came to Glyndebourne where we saw the Ravel Double bill starring . . . .Danielle de Neisse. Michael always kindly said that his annual visit to Glyndebourne is he and Lucy Anne's highlight of the year and boy, his last visit he said, was the best of the lot.
I received a card from him a few weeks ago in which he wrote . . ."We must meet up again to finish the long talk we need to have . . ." He had a game plan as to how to tackle the announcement by our latest stooge ' Liz Truss' (as always) specially selected for her pro Biotech/GM leanings. Sadly we'll never know what that was now. Suffice to say there is now more evidence than ever about crop failures, 100's of 1,000's of suicides in countries such as India, South America etc combined with bodies like the World Health Organisation backed up by the International Agency for Research on cancer (IARC) advocting the carcenogisity of Roundup and GM, I honestly can't see how they could have the audacity to dare to grow GM crops in the UK (and 'woe betide' if they do).
I wrote this to you as I know you and Michael worked closely together at the start. Your delicate, intuitive judgement as to how far you can express your views is impeccable and may you always have the strength to stand by your beliefs. It's a sacred right for all people on this ravishingly beautiful planet to be free to express what we perceive to be true in our hearts whilst we're priveleged to be here on earth.
10 or so months ago me and my girlfriend, Sara, stayed for a few days with Michael and Lucy Anne. Here we had time to chew the cud and share stories of our lives and families. Michael kindly invited us into Parliament for supper. We had with us a wonderful rough and ready larger than life anti-GMO activist ' Pete Farrer.' Fresh from a Westminster pub and late (Michael had been popping in and out of Parliament to let us in) we arrived at 'security'. Security, reading our vibes, had a field day . . ." ). How can we see the stars and the moon and planets when the 'star' is shining so bright . . (in reference to my lovely girlfriend . . ." We had a bonkers evening when dear Michael gently needed to calm down an over-excited Pete turning the air blue - which he dealt with in the most sensitive manner only he could do. The whole issue of GM stirs up emotions at times. Michael also gave us the Grand Tour of the House of Lord and Commons with accompanying stories about the powder bomb and IRA infiltration.
Not only was Micahel the first person to ring me to congratulate me on heckling Tony Blair at the Labour Party Conference in 2004 against the Corporate driven (oil) War on Iraq, he came on our Tractors and Trolleys demonstration against GM where he spoke with Vandana Shiva. He also came to Tapeley to give us the latest up-date and inspiration to carry on the fight. Likewise, any questions we felt needed answering he delivered. For example, he asked, on our behalf, whether "GM food is sold in Parliament 15.5.14". The (woffley) response (of which I have copies) is as follows: "You asked whether GM is sold in resaurants and bars iin the House. Catering Services policy prohibits the purchaase of GM foods. This is not on ethical or environmental grounds, but reflects current public views on the subject as reflected in the trade press. The policy states, while evidence and advice from scientists and governmental bodies and indeed the wider food industry is generally taken into account, the decision to avoid GM products has been enforced as a matter of customer choice, based on our understanding of the wider public's view on the issue." It's hard not to read this as "it's OK to poison all of us but not those (more) important people in the seats of power . . ."
One other example, of which there are so many more, 'reflecting' Michael's unconditional love of this precious world is a call he gave me after attending as a 'protestor' at the Bilderberg Summit a couple or so years ago. Here he articulated in his indominatable manner to the press: "How is is that these people cocooned in a palace where top industrialists/business folk are gathering in SECRET surrounded by a mile wide fence making decisions as to the Direction of Our World with anybody else no knowledge as to what they are signing off on our behalf . . . .This 'to me' is not Democracy . . . ."
I'm sure I speak for many that Michael Meacher has sent out the benchmark as to how we'd all like our politicians to represent us. No wonder he always breezed through elections effortlessly with the vast majority vote in his beloved constituency of Oldham. But to me, personally, the overriding quality and reference point he's given me, is his unabashed, gentle humility which touched all those who were fortunate enough to come incontact with him.
He tirelessly spent every bit of spare time - of which there was little, personally responding to every e-mail/letter he received. My dear Dad who died this time last year did the same. He told me he was offered the leadership of the Labour Party after Ed Milliband but declined, because he felt he was too old - stating had he been 4 years younger he'd have given it a go. Could he be a 'benchmark' for the 'new' kids on the bloc' - Jeremyn Corbyn and John McDoinell - he'd LOVE it if the were? From what he said to me . . .he was more tha optimistic.
To sum it up Michael Meacher, as far as I can see, was the man with the most integrity in (the often) murky/backstabbing world of modern politics.
With sincere best wishes,
NO TO GM CAMPAIGN
For many yeFars here at Tapeley Park we have been working with organisations such as Friends of the Earth, Corporate Watch, Genewatch, Farmers for Action, Genetic Engineering Network and Genetic Food Alert, to keep GM crops out of our country and to stop the import of contaminated GM animal feed from the US and Canada especially. It seems as though GM crops will be allowed in through the back door as from 2010. The following article is being submitted to Farmers Weekly on request, which summarises the up to date situation:
What will be the consequences for all of us living and working in the countryside, and the consumer, if, as expected, farmers are given the green light to grow GM crops commercially from 2009 onwards?
Biotech crops, according to their producers and many scientists, are the future of farming; improving agriculture, human health, the environment, and the farmer’s bank balance – all at the same time. This seems to me to be the premis on which GM crops are sold to farmers by the likes of Monsanto, Syngenta and Bayer. The crops, being genetically modified to withstand powerful systemic sprays such as roundup which pretty much keeps fields free from weeds for months, and inserted with genes which act as pesticides against specific insects thus sometimes doing away with the need to spray altogether, and all the above boxes are surely ticked – or are they?
Certainly in the US and Canada, where farmers were just as hard up as we are in this country now, it made a considerable difference when GM crops were introduced at the start in the 1990’s. Many farmers had had to get other jobs to keep them afloat and it paid well for some of them to pay somebody or get in a contractor to give their crops just one spray of roundup, for example, during the growing season and they could sell the product for a decent profit once harvested. Monsanto didn’t mention the spring ‘clean’ and autumn ‘clean’ of roundup. Most US and Canadian farmers work on minimum till so this is normally necessary. However, to be fair, with the common practice of ploughing in the UK, this would not be so necessary over here if we were to grow GM crops. Add to this, US farmers, especially, with their primarily two crop rotation of Maize and Soya which meant resistance of the weeds built up quite quickly which now necessitates the need for a more toxic cocktail in the tank mix of roundup, 2-4D, atrazine and/or glufosinate ammonium, and with our general 4 year rotation with GM-free wheat and barley, and this ‘might’ not be such an issue here. In the light of this why are so many of us making such a fuss?
Setting aside the possible benefits in developing countries from growing GM crops that can withstand a degree of salination, and rice with Vitamin A inserted to assist in redu Setting aside the possible benefits in developing countries from growing GM crops that can withstand a degree of salination, and rice with Vitamin A inserted to assist in reducing blindness (both of which are questionable and not relevant to us), and as the ‘experiment’ has unfolded a number of other issues have arisen shedding a new light on this technology. These include concerns about cross-contamination; possible risk to human health; the long-term effects on both the countryside and us; insurance; the fact that most of the population would rather not eat it; more and more countries refusing to import the stuff; the effect on land values; and concerns about our food chain being controlled from seed to dinner plate by a few very large solely profit driven multinational corporations.
It took just 7 years in Canada to get to the stage that it’s now impossible to grow a crop of GM-free Canola (0il seed rape – OSR) due to volunteers and wind-pollen drift. It would, you’d have thought, take much less time on a tiny island like ours. Current separation distances, as stated by DEFRA, between a GM crop and conventional crops stands at 35 meters. In the States the separation distance of GM maize to forage maize and sweetcorn are set at 80m and 200 meters respectively. However, cross-fertilisation has taken place at far greater distances then this. Cross fertilisation between yellow maize and ‘blue maize’ in the States demonstrates the problem better than anything else because you can ‘see’ the results.
One typical example of this in the US is when a Victor Shrock decided to grow blue maize on his 1,600 organic farm in 2003. Farmers with holdings 3 miles away complained that their yellow maize had been cross-pollinated with his blue maize. The farmers were not sharing machinery and so on, the seed of Mr. Shrock’s neighbours had not been contaminated and the nearest other farm growing blue maize (a rarely grown crop) was 150 miles away. Michael Hart, of Small Family Farm Alliance, stayed with farmers in the US and Canada for some time. He witnessed this phenomena of contamination of yellow maize by blue maize of around 20% when crops were grown 250 meters apart and not even downwind of the ‘blue maize’.
On a more serious note we have the discovery that GM Starlink corn has been found in brands of taco shells and chips. Starlink was only approved by US regulators for livestock feed in 1998, after scientists were unable to determine if the gene-spliced maize might cause humans to develop rashes, diarrhoea, and respiratory or other allergic reactions (an all too familiar a concern resulting from GM technology). It was NOT approved for human consumption and because of the (unavoidable) cross-contamination (birds and bees can of course carry pollen phenomenal distances), US maize exports to big buyers like Japan and South Korea have been damaged.
We hear some farmers say “ I want to be able to grow what I like,” which sounds perfectly reasonable on the surface. However, if say 1% of farmers choose to grow GM crops and contaminate the farms of 99% of the farmers who, say, choose to keep farming conventionally or organically, then surely this is depriving the majority of their rights of choice which to me would seem an act of utter selfishness.
Some farmers might feel that a small degree of contamination is ‘no big deal’, especially when a GM-free status can still be preserved at levels of less than .9%- which I personally believe to be wrong. ‘GM Free’ ought to mean what it says. We wouldn’t accept antibiotic or BSE “Free” if there was any trace of either in our food. Again I hear a few voices saying antibiotics and BSE are proven to cause ill health, whereas there is not proof GM harms humans. Leaving Genetically Engineered Recumbent Bovine Growth hormone, injected into cows in the States increasing the risk of breast and prostate cancers, aside, and the appalling Truth is that there have been no long-term, peer reviewed, INDEPENDENT studies done on the affect on humans who eat food containing GM crops and products from animals fed GM.
The odd test that has been done independently, have thrown up potentially worrying results. For example, ex-environment Minister Michael Meacher MP, stated in the Guardian on 23.6.03 that the only GM trial done on humans (at Newcastle University)) found that “the GM DNA had been transferred to bacteria in the gut, an alarming find that should be checked and re-checked (to shed light on human health implications).” Likewise, the well known villification of Dr Apad Puztai who was sponsored by the Government to carry out safety checks on rats fed GM potatoes. On expressing alarm at his findings, he was hounded out of his job. He clearly felt he found something, so to reassure the public, why didn’t the Government commission other scientists do more tests? Instead they’ve now handed the regulation/safety checks over to the companies who produce GM products and therefore directly stand to profit from as little bad press as possible. Worse still, they don’t even have to declare their findings under the legal guise of COMMERCIAL CONFIDENTIALITIY.
The odd time campaign groups HAVE managed to prise out test results, they have uncovered concerns. For example, MON 863 maize was given the commercial green light in July 2006. Greenpeace in Germany managed to unearth the test results and found this GM maize had harmful effects on the kidneys of rats and levels of white blood cells. Even so it is still going into our food chain and we wonder why consumers overwhelmingly would rather not eat the stuff?
A Mori poll published in June showed 61% of people in the UK do not want to eat GM food ingredients. This figure is up by 8% from January 1998 and could rise still further on a crescendo of public debate. Likewise, the figure opposed to GM taken at the GM Nation debate in 2003 stood at 86%. The 6 meetings were barely publicised (presumably to push through legislation as quickly and quietly as possible), which is why nobody turned up for the first one at the NEC in Birmingham. However, once word got out the other 5 which took place in out of the way locations were packed with those concerned about GM – hence the figure of 86%. This time around, supporters and concerned members of the public were simply told to write to DEFRA HQ in London to express their views. It seems their minds have already been made up, and from 2009 onwards it will be down to us farmers whether we decide to grow GM crops or not.
My point is that the customers don’t want it. You just have to click on to the Tesco, Sainsburys (and the rest) websites to see how they promote the fact their own brand products are GM-free. I recently received a letter from Justin King (Sainsbury’s) who’s at pains to state in his first sentence that; “Following customer demand we were the first major retailer to remove GM ingredients from all our own-brand foods.” He goes on to say how they’ve tried to “move to a non-GM animal feed supply,” but this had proven difficult because Gm and non-GM soya and maize are mixed together in silos in the US and Canada. Also Tesco and Sainsbury’s, especially, are seeking contracts with suppliers who can guarantee GM-free food. They would not be doing this were it not for the continued rejection of GM by the customers. No other kind of business would be able to produce a product that the vast majority doesn’t want. m of the CAP will mean that farm gate prices will be much more dependent on market demand for agricultural products. It will no longer be financially so attractive to sell products that the market does not want into intervention storage in the hope that the EU will release them onto world markets later, courtesy of generous export subsidies.
Last, but not least, how might GM affect our land values? It must be stressed that once GM has been sown, the farm, due to the voracity of the GM gene, will be ‘contaminated’ (for want of a better word) for many years and possibly for life. Volunteer seeds persist for a long time in the soil. OSR seed has been known to survive for 7 years in reasonable numbers. Just 2 plants/sq m2 gives rise to 3% contamination which takes the crop above the 9% limit currently in place.
There are all sorts of figures currently brandished around in the US claiming big falls in land values on those farms where GM crops have been grown, but no matter, it’s not hard to see that if you’re a farmer who has grown GM you will have to keep growing it. Converting to becoming organic, which is becoming ever more popular and where premium prices will only increase, will be nigh on impossible with obvious repercussions on land values. The concern is that even if you are an organic farmer, or a conventional one for that matter, and a farmer is growing GM crops nearby, you could lose your organic status at the drop of a hat with the knock-on-effect on the capital value of your Holding. This has recently happened to organic growers in Spain when traces of GM were found in their maize and sweetcorn resulting from cross-pollination from a nearby farm. The devastating result was they lost their organic status on EVERYTHING. Is it any wonder that the NFU Mutual places the insurance of GM in the same category as asbestos and terrorism?
If any farmer thinks he will be able to dip in and out of growing GM and non-GM crops, he should read ‘Monsanto versus US Farmers’ written by the Food Safety Centre – an independent agricultural body in the States. A list as long as the River Nile (well not quite), has been compiled of those farmers who have been forced by Monsanto, who have used the legal system wherever necessary, to keep growing GM crops.
The RICS has been lobbying Parliament to make a Public Register of farms growing GM crops. This is, after all, an EU Directive and thus Law. It is surely a right for anybody buying land to know its history. However, DEFRA has overruled the EU and deemed this unnecessary. It did the same during Foot and Mouth (when it was called MAFF), and thereby pitted farmer against farmer – as many of us remember only too well and with a lot of pain. I can’t begin to imagine how much worse this will be when GM is given the go ahead. The Biotech companies have already absolved themselves from any responsibility once the seed is sold so it will be us against our neighbour. How things currently stand is under something called the SCIMAC protocol which ‘requires’ GM growers to liase with neighbours regarding their planting intentions. However, the SCIMAC code is a voluntary protocol which cannot be enforced through the Courts and cannot therefore be relied upon by neighbouring farmers. This could mean that many of us will be in for a nasty shock when our crops are tested.
To sum up: Do we in the countryside want to give up control of our choices and businesses to a few ruthless, solely profit driven large corporations (see attached Technology Agreement setting out Terms and Conditions for further verification). We are an island, and as such have the most fantastic opportunity to be a source of GM-free food, plus we have a potentially invaluable GM-free seed bank for ourselves and the world in the future. This is provided we can ALL resist the temptation of short-term profits. In the US and Canada, many farmers were given (bribed in my view) their seed for free for the first 2 to 3 years by Monsanto. According to Michael Hart, many now seriously regret their decision. Nobody knows, after all, where we might be with crop mutations say 20 generations down the line. As such I implore farmers to write to Mr. Milliband at DEFRA, Noble House, 17 Smith Square, London. SW1 P3JR to beg him to keep us GM FREE.
I am a farmer by trade and moved into a large house with some land around it when my Aunt died 25 years ago and opened the place up for people who needed a home. I worked on local farms from 13 onwards, went to Seale Hayne and Plumpton Agricultural Colleges and had a small farm at Saunton before reluctantly moving to Tapeley.
For the past 20 years I have farmed without using herbicides or pesticides and even having wound things down recently (for other reasons),still have a small herd of Highland cattle, kitchen garden and established Permaculture garden.
• I feel sad that the Rothampstead Agricultural Research Centre, who have done some wonderful work in the enhancement and increase of food production via hybridisation and general conventional methods, have chosen to take up the GM mantle.
• The line used by the CEO of Rothampstead was basically that if we don’t embrace this technology we will simply not be able to feed the expanding world population likely to reach 9 billion by 2050. If I knew little about the subject and had even been against it in the past, I would get won over by this simple point on its own and ‘to hell with the rest of it.’
• Sadly this information we are being fed is a lie.
• I strongly urge everybody to watch a short documentary on the net called GMcropsfarmertofarmer.com. The ½ hour program is akin to a ‘survey’ done by a Cornish farmer interviewing US farmers on how growing GM crops has affected their livelihoods. This is something you’d have thought our Government would have done before going down this route.
• Farmers interviewed state that they deeply regret being coerced into growing GM crops, and now they are ‘hooked’ in they can’t back out. They state that in huge tracts of America there are no conventional seed manufacturers left, and their margins are plummeting.
• This they say is because after 3 or so years the (BT) insecticide’s and herbicide’s (roundup) effectiveness at suppressing pests and weeds respectively, dramatically reduces. Farmers show the super-weeds growing in their fields which need to be pulled by hand by cheap Mexican labour. The (obvious) point being that if you apply the same herbicide or insecticide, nature mutates and resistance builds up which is why we use different malarial pills, sheep wormer and so on. GM is a one trick pony.
• Gathuru Mburu, co-ordinator of the African Biodiversity Network (ABN), who came over to speak at the ‘Take the Flour Back’ rally on May 27th spoke of the utter devastation GM has caused in developing countries- India especially where A/C Vandana Shiva, a well known Indian spokeswoman on the subject, states that 250,000 Indian farmers have committed suicide since GM crops were introduced. The patented seed and ‘conditions of purchase’ (the ‘Terminator’ gene is, I believe, currently on hold due to public outcry/protest) forcing some of the poorest farmers in the world to buy new seed each year (rather than saving their own seed) is, to me, a crime against humanity of the highest order.
• WE ARE NOT ANTI-SCIENCE. All we’ve ever asked for is long term, independent testing over a decent period and full transparency to show it’s safe for the environment and for us to eat – none of which is happening currently. I have tried every angle to get this message out such as try to engage with our pro-GM Ministers, peaceful protests across the country and Europe and writing endless letters to newspapers which never get published.
• I feel that my livelihood and way of living (and every body else’s who work the land) is seriously under threat for these reasons which is why I felt I had to do something. I won’t be doing anything like it ever again – I will probably never even go on another protest march. I have lost all faith in the Corporate Capitalist system. All the protests I’ve ever done these past 11 years since Foot and Mouth when, whilst under constant attack and I was forced to wake up, has been to try and make the world a better, fairer, safer place.
• ‘Coincidentally’ I came to my decision to give up on activism at the same time as George Monbiot wrote 2 similar consecutive articles in his column in the guardian: The first reluctantly acknowledging that the world’s Governments (who “perform miracles in developing stealth bombers and drone warfare, global markets and trillion dollar bailouts”) have no real desire or energy to do what’s necessary to save our planet. All we can do now is accept runaway climate change and create our own individual oases of ecosystems (the second article focuses on ‘peak oil’ being an angelic phantom of the past – we’ve found enough oil in the artic circle etc to “fry us all”).
• In the 50’s smoking was practically encouraged as good for you. In the 60’s DDT was deemed safe and sprayed liberally with devastating consequences. Likewise, asbestos was deemed harmless – 2 of my best friends lost their Fathers via a long, slow, agonising process to asbestosis. Its 2012 now. Can we at least give time and funding to go through a process of independent testing with full transparency before risking going down this same damn route yet again? As things stand, being an island, we could provide a fantastic, varied and magical seed bank for the world should we maintain our biodiversity and natural species in this stunning country of ours.
• With regard to GM wheat; the US, Canada and Australia where GM crops are rife have ALL rejected GM cereals. 3 weeks ago I was giving a talk to a bunch of agricultural advisory consultants and I asked them if pollen from GM wheat would get into native grass species and other cereal crops (Will Hutton in the Observer 27.5.12 along with others, states this is not possible). They all said of course it would. GM Freeze give an excellent appraisal of this if you’re interested. Human error – shared equipment etc will also result in contamination and the fact buried seed can remain dormant in the ground for 2 to 3 years before germinating as volunteers.
• I say ‘contamination’ because the gene inserted into the wheat is most similar in its DNA to that found in a cow. Without transparent, long-term, independent testing, this is very much still ‘Frankenstein Food.’
• Added to all of this, we have Caroline Spelman as our Environment Minister who before she got the job worked for a corporate lobbying group which included the promotion of the Biotech industry. In the same vein Peter Kendall, Head of the NFU, orchestrated the sending out of a 4 page document to all its members last year gushing approval of GM on every level. (I have done some ‘corrections’ on our website tapeleygardens.com). He recently described us as No different to Nazi bookburners . . .
• Extra points for me to bring up: made to drive back 6 hours – no sleep for 48 hours – dangerous? 1 small meal: held for 16 hours, plus little water: nothing to read: ACPO or M15 etc? said they’d crush my car: Hugh Dylan Jones LIES about number of plants I ‘pulled’; bail conditions 5 days a week 45 minute round trip to Barnstaple, plus a visit to Exeter Police station. loaded Pro-GM survey in the Independent 25.7.12. I offered myself to Rana Farood to arrest me BEFORE pulling crops, but, even though I said I was peaceful he screamed and ran away. Cameron told me when in opposition the Tories were strongly against GM. 4 Days after my ‘adventure’ he accepted £250 million from the BBSRC – the Biotech Industry (presumably to help pay for the Olympics?). Demonstrate blight resistant Sarpo Mira potato. I believe I have more than done my penance (3 Court cases +£3,800-£51,900 -£3,800) for minor damage and, as such, will not pay a fine or do community service if this is what’s decided. IAASTED report 2008 states enough produced PA to feed 9 million. “vvHigh up.” “5 million Brazilian farmers locked in a lawsuit with Monsanto suing for 6.2 billion euros.” Rieben S. Kalinina, Shmid B and Zeller Sll state that ‘GM wheat outcrosses at a rate 6x higher than conventional varieties’ 2011
On the issue of Public Debate, ‘Take the Flour Back’ (TTFB) was viciously attacked in most national papers around the time of the Demonstration on May 27th for “refusing to engage in a debate” kindly offered to them by Rothampstead Research Centre. The protesters were then portrayed as a bunch of mindless anarchic thugs – enforced further by a 20 minute clip put out on U-tube by three young scientists looking vulnerable and upset pleading with the protesters not to destroy their hard work of the past few years. They even had the AUDACITY to connect their GM wheat to ‘PERMACULTURE’ – the current ‘in word’ for the optimum means of growing organic veg. We have an established Permaculture garden here and our resident expert in this field states categorically that ALL forms of GM is the polar opposite to permaculture – we have every natural way under the sun to ward off aphids and the rest.
Earlier this year TTFB invited Rothampstead to engage in a public debate. This was agreed and took place on Newsnight. Further debates happened between various reps of Rothampstead and TTFB on: Radio 5 Live – 3 times, a bit in The Farmer’s Guardian plus Channel 4 news and the Guardian on line. No offers to debate in a news platform have been refused.
Rothampstead told TTFB that they wanted a panel debate in London 10 days before the rally. They gave TTFB less than a day for a reply to be issued and only 6 days notice of the debate taking place. None of the expert speakers, who had been lined up, were available on the suggested date due to the short notice and prior commitments.
TTFB continue to ask for a formal panel debate of independent experts on a mutually agreeable date once the trial is out of the ground but have had no response to these requests.
Added to this whilst the process of applying for trial consent by Rothampstead was going on, scientists (like econexus) and concerned public coalitions (like GM Freeze) raised many concerns, and asked for the trial to be halted. This was ignored – as all previous objections to GM trials have been. Indeed the Government has declared its intention to be ‘the most pro-GM ever’ and the Minister responsible for regulation is a former lobbyist.
A ‘SIGNING OFF’ UPDATE 13.6.2013 Hector Christie
Two weekends ago I went off to Bristol to one of 100’s of protests against Monsanto across the world. It is the first time in history a protest has been organised against one specific corporation and the fact it’s global increases it’s significance.
Monsanto was formed in 1901 when it, as far as I can gather, was a fairly wholesome, family run business. However, as is the case for so many businesses that need to compete to survive in the world of competitive commerce, Monsanto’s ethical practices, along with many others such as Bayer and Dow chemicals, began deteriorating rapidly culminating in their production of Agent Orange in the 1960’s - used liberally in Vietnam resulting in the most painful of deaths for 1,000’s of men, women and children.
I believe we are now at a crossroads – it’s like Custer’s last stand. On the one hand you have an increased awareness of the need for food to be produced and consumed sustainably and locally, demonstrated by more demand for allotments and an increase in so called ‘guerilla gardening’ in cities, together with the rise of permaculture principles to grow our fruit and veg. On the other hand Corporations – Monsanto, BASF, Sygenta etc, using every trick imaginable to gain Global Dominance of our food chain from seed to dinner plate (no, I, sadly haven’t watched too many Bond movies – look on line at DVD’s such as GMcropsfarmertofarmer.com, Genetic Roulette and Seeds of Deception).
On May 24th 2012, 4 days after I went into the GM wheat trial at the Rothampstead Research Centre – this to express my concern, the results of the meeting held by the so called Green Food Project Conclusions GFPC were announced. The little known/publicised report (I only heard about it because somebody ‘involved’ let me have a copy) was produced by DEFRA and co-written/supported by the likes of the NFU and the BRC (no surprises here), the Food and Drink Federation, the CLA (no surprises here either) AND the likes of the RSPB and WWF – the latter seemingly keen to do as much as possible to safeguard biodiversity worldwide and save the Amazon. The objectives and rhetoric at the start are all very “commendable”. The following extract gives an accurate representation of the GFPC findings:
“We need to ensure a flourishing natural environment and the current Government has committed that this will be the first generation to leave the natural environment in a better state than it inherited.” It talks of protecting our Biodiversity and ecosystems to “secure a sustainable quality of life for future generations” (all good so far . . .). On page 13, however, it is stated in the small print – “Announced on 24th May httpetc . . .policy/2012/120524 – pr minister – announces – 250m investment aspx”. In the text, point 4.10, it states . . “The project steering group acknowledges that there have been positive recent steps and renewed activity in addressing these challenges. In particular the announcement that the Bio-technology and Biological Science Research Council (BBSRC) are making a £250 MILLION strategic investment in UK bioscience.” (My mind boggles as to what could be done if such an investment was made in producing food ‘sustainably’ – just look what the Savari Trust in Wales have achieved on a shoestring.
IN THE SAME VEIN the bbc News Science and Environment body announced 15.7.12. “British GM crop scientists win the 10m grant from Gates . . .” The précis states that “this is one of the largest single investments into GM in the UK and will be used to cultivate corn, wheat and rice that need little or no fertiliser . . .The work at the John Innes Centre in Norwich (J.Saiinsbury) is hoped to benefit African farmers who cannot afford fertiliser . . .” i.e. GM is the ONLY way “we can feed the world.”
Hmmm . .I wonder if Western Governments have thought to ask the people and Governments in these countries what they think about this? For example, 12 years ago when there were massive food shortages in Zambia, the ‘generous spirited’ Western Governments sent out large consignments of GM corn. The Zambian Government saw this ‘act of generosity’ for what it was (a means to get one of the poorest countries in the world ‘hooked’ into growing GM ‘seed’),and sent it back. In the same vein, following the horrendous earthquake in Haiti 3 years ago, Monsanto sent out lots of GM corn ‘aid’, but for the same reason, Haitian farmers BURNT the whole damn lot. If the world’s poorest and (apparently) most ‘uneducated’ people in the world see what’s going on, what does it say about us lot???
If we believe the Government line that ‘farmers should have the right to choose what crops they grow’ with x metres of space between conventional and GM growers to avoid cross-pollination/contamination we need our heads examined. Pollen can travel for miles on the wind and via birds and animals. Likewise, mass contamination occurred in, for example, Mexico –who’d never grown GM crops, due to the fact the US sent lorry loads of maize to Mexico as aid-some of which was intercepted by Mexican farmers who, not knowing it was GM, planted it. Worse still are cases where Monsanto sue farmers, having ‘legally’ gone into farmer’s fields uninvited to take ‘samples’ – who’ve never grown GM crops, for growing GM crops illegally (Percy Schmeisser being the best known case).
If you think this is bad then look at the way the Biotech boys treat the world’s poorest farmers: Indian activist Vandana Shiva estimates a good 250,000 farmers have committed suicide as a result of being ‘persuaded’ to grow GM instead of the indigenous crops they’ve been planting for centuries – the temptation of free seed for the first year and the assurance of a ‘wonder’ crop with less maintenance, being too much for most farmers to turn down. The small print stating they’d have to buy their seed each year (or risk prosecution – in even smaller print) being seemingly irrelevant when pitched against the glossily presented benefits.
Closer to home on 10.7.2011 the NFU sent a 4 page letter to all its members unabashedly advocating the growing of GM crops as the farming of the future. The section entitled ‘Problems’, put in presumably for the sake of balance (even though it comprised about 1 fortieth of the whole piece), states that “farmers like the ease of management from roundup especially if roundup is off patent and the availability of generics on the market has brought the price down . . .”?? To be fair it does have one (pathetic in my view) stab at suggesting a ‘concern’ (not quite a problem’) . . . “Companies such as Monsanto have significant concerns over resistance development and actively try and provide education and breeding companies (No comma, stop or extra word between breeding and companies – the whole piece is written as if by a semi-illiterate 9 year old . . .deliberate . . I’d like to think so otherwise where does that leave the body describing itself as ‘the voice of British farming’?) are frequently starting events to allow different modes of action.” Huh, if you can understand this you are a much better man than me . . .? I reiterate, every NFU member received this propaganda . . “Reduced labour requirements, greater flexibility with cropping from the pest and weed management; ability to move to minimum or low till operations to conserve soil, reduced fuel and equipment use etc etc etc” – is it any wonder the poor Indian farmers subscribed and our farmers seem destined to follow suit no matter what we ‘luddites’ say?
As to the public at large . . .last year the (so called) Independent ran a survey with the headlines ‘British public warming to GM’. The ‘Independent’ (impartial?) question reads as follows . . .“Asked whether the Government should encourage experiments on GM crops so that farmers CAN REDUCE THE AMOUNT OF PESTICIDES THEY USE, 64% of the public agreed and 27% disagreed while 9% replied don’t know”. It seems the Biotech Industry is getting an ever stronger stranglehold over our media (except the Mail) and tragically many of the public believe what they read. I’m amazed as little as 64% voted in favour of GM with the question as loaded as it is. This when so many of the British public don’t seem to care what they eat.
To summarise, in the light of the above why oh why are we still allowing the Biotech Industries to continue to bully us when:
a. There was so much evidence even 15+ years ago GM food was bad for our health.
b. Even though many of the world’s top plant breeders have jumped ship and followed the Big (biotech) bucks, ordinary plant breeders have made huge strides on minimal or no budget. The miracle of the Savari Trust producing seriously blight resistant potatoes (as we proved in our Permaculture garden last year) is one of such examples.
c. A few brave scientists have jumped ship and risked their lives (very literally) to test GM products and unearthed very alarming results.
To start with point a : George Monbiot in his wonderful book Captive State sums up the Government’s stance far better than I can: “The Government’s boasts taking ‘full account of the concerns of business’ were not idle ones. In 1998, a study by Friends of the Earth found that the thirteen members of the Government’s Advisory Committee on releases to the Environment, which decides whether or not it is safe to let new GM crops be planted in Britain, either worked for academic departments receiving funding from biotechnology companies, were employed by biotechnology companies, or were members of organizations directly involved in releasing GM crops into the environment. By April 1999, it had approved 160 applications for experimental planting, and rejected none, despite concerns among ecologists about the dangers of cross-pollination and the emergence of herbicide-resistant ‘super-weeds’.”
More recently there is an ever increasing amount of evidence being done by bonifide scientists (who for their sins simply CARE) showing terrifying results.(For the record I HATE writing about all this, it’s making me ill and I sometimes can’t sleep thinking about it all the time). Australian scientists headed by Prof Jack Heinemann from the University of Canterbury has tested a type of GM wheat and expressed concerns of potential ‘major health problems’. Likewise, an article by Frederique Baudouin 22.2.2013 stating the latest work published in the high ranked scientific journal ‘Toxicology’. They did safety studies on Monsanto’s favourite herbicide ‘Roundup’. It states “The health and environmental agencies and pesticide companies assess the long-term effects on mammals of GLYPHOSATE (an ingredient of ‘roundup’ – the less toxic compound) ALONE. However, the complete mix contains added ingredients – ADJUVANTS. These are classified as INERT but without these the glyphosate would not be stabalised enough to help penetrate the thick (cellular) walls (i.e. without this roundup wouldn’t work) . . . the health and environmental agencies and pesticide companies assess the long-term effects in mammals of GLYPHOSATE ALONE . . .”
To depress us more there’s the story of Dr. Arpad Pusztai – a Government scientist who fled to Eastern Europe for his life after printing the results of his findings on rats fed GM compared to those fed conventionally grown potatoes. And more recently the work of Dr.Seralini who did the first ever 2 year study on rats fed a non-GM diet, a GM diet, and a diet of corn sprayed with roundup.
The results are alarming to say the least (check on line) and true to form the Government, instead of saying ‘oops maybe we should fund more tests to see if this food is safe to feed our people’, ridicule the science and do all they can to brush it under the carpet. BUT, is it any wonder that it is still being pushed harder than ever when the Environment Ministers, since Michael Meacher, have been specially selected for their Pro-GM stance (the same goes for bodies like the NFU etc just look at Peter Kendall - ugh). Owen Patterson is more bullish than ever, and before him Caroline Spelman who worked for a Corporate lobbying group with her husband which included the promotion of GMO’s – for the 16 years prior to her getting the job . . .To cap it all Barrack Obama has just signed the ‘Monsanto Protection Act’ which protects large Biotech companies from being sued if they cause members of the public to get ill.
Written by a very sad, despondent Hector Christie.
P.S I have a very horrible, niggly feeling that the wheat trial at Rothampstead Research Centre (where Professor Maloney – a very staunch advocate of all things genetically modified unsurprisingly, presides) is a case of ‘Problem, Reaction, Solution.’The ‘problem’ being the distressing fall in bee populations. The reaction (rightly) ‘something must be done’. The solution . . . ? No, not insistence on growing organic wheat and barley with more hedgerows and woodland which ‘overwinter’ wasps, hoverflies and ladybirds which gobble up the aphids (we have had no problems for years on our Permaculture garden for this reason and thus have no need to use toxic pesticides – I’d love to see the UK being turned back into one big permaculture garden and get people and the 3 million unemployed back onto the land – but that’s a story for another time); but shove a cow gene (albeit synthetic) into the wheat seed (with no testing to see if it’s safe of course – usual story) to repel the aphids.
I expect to see the Corporate knights in shining armour come galloping over the hill next year having harvested their third trial of GM wheat at Rothampstead (thereby meeting the legal requirements) waving the flag of the new ‘wondercrop’ that will ‘Save the Bees’ and ‘Feed the World’ at the same time. (The fact it’ll be a multi-trillion dollar business being, of course, secondary. Plus don’t be fooled by their statement ‘GM wheat will not be patented . . .we are giving this to the world’ – it won’t be little old Mole Valley Farmers in South Molton profiting but the huge companies with the infracture and marketing capabilities. Also the ‘repelled’ aphids will simply relocate to farms growing crops conventionally/organically nearby – thanks). I must stress I’d have no problems with this if long-term independent testing was done to prove GM is safe for us to eat and feed our children and safe for the environment – i.e. it will not cross pollinate (contaminate) our conventional or organic crops and will not increase the aphid problem on neighbouring farms.
Having said this, I’d like to take this moment to apologise to fellow activists for going in early – I’m doing all I can to get your High Court injunctions dropped. I won’t even consider paying the fine until this happens and have said as much to the Courts. The fact they’ve lied about the damage I did is another issue. I ALSO VOW NEVER TO GO TO ANOTHER PROTEST/DEMONSTRATION. Yes I’ve been ‘scared off’ but also I want to work on showing the positive sustainable examples of how we could be producing our food.
WE MUST ACTIVELY REMEMBER, IT’S OUR SACRED RIGHT TO ‘CHOOSE’ THE FOOD WE EAT – GM DEPRIVES US OF THIS.
Please check out:
www.gmfreeze.org,gmwatch.org,genewatch.org,www.savari-trust.org.www.tapeleygardens.com for more information
APPENDIX: (documenting important background and current information). At the present time four companies own 40% of the global seed industry. Monopoly of the seed supply removes choice for farmers and growers. It is a Human Right to be able to grow your own food for you and your family and to be able to save seeds and pass them on to the next generation-that is Food Sovereignty!! These biotech seed suppliers phase out non-GM seeds and increases in seed prices and herbicides used on GM seeds becomes unavoidable. According to the US Department of Agricultural Economic Research Service the average per acre cost of soya beans and corn seed increased 325%-259% respectively between 1995-2011-corresponding to the same period when acreage of GM corn and soya grew from less than 20% to more than 80%-90% of crops grown. Industry domination is also aided by weak anti-trust law enforcement and court decisions that allow GM crops and other plant materials to be patented, while prohibiting seed saving by farmers.
In the US it was decided in the early 1990’s that genetically engineered crops were “substantially equivalent” to non-GE crops (the term “engineered” was later changed to “modified”).They only look for certain properties ie toxins, chemicals etc and then decide these two sorts of plants are the same. The “substantially equivalent” term was introduced to facilitate rapid approval for GM foods and has enabled the GM industry to avoid the need to carry out thorough safety testing of the GM foods. The normal stringent tests required for new food products can cost millions of pounds and take years of testing before a product gains approval for marketing. Such demands would have made GM foods unprofitable for private companies. Universal clear guide lines about “equivalence” do not exist and as the tests are generally carried out by the researchers or biotech company wanting to grow the GM plant, independent research is systematically blocked by the GM corporations because they own the seeds and reference materials. Most of these “results” have never been published or subjected to independent peer review. The farmers growing GM crops sign a contract that ties them to the GM company and states that they are not allowed to save seeds so have to buy each year and of course have to also buy all the sprays which includes “mixtures of sprays” (some illegal in other parts of the world) when pests become resistant. This resistance can and is producing “superbugs” and “superweeds” (again, see details on web,plus gmcropsfarmertofarmer).
There is a EU requirement that if food contains GM this should be clearly indicated in the ingredient list. However, there is no need to acknowledge that animals have been fed on GM feed, and where a GM ingredient can be shown to be “adventitious” ie it got there by cross-contamination or because countries like the US don’t separate GM and non-GM crops and where the ingredient is less than 0.9% of the total product, it does not have to be labelled. GM processing aids eg enzymes are also excluded from the labelling laws.
The fallacies of GM crops.
The food experts cited in John Vidal’s piece (“Millions face starvation as world warms, say scientists”, News last week) confirm the conclusion of the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge ,Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD)in 2008.
The IAASTD’s recommendations, based on the work of 400 scientists from all over the world, have been largely ignored and the shift towards an agro-ecological approach based on small-holder structures and more localised food systems is still not being seriously considered. The promises of GM crops have long been shown to be empty.
Today we are producing around 4.600 calories per head a day globally – enough to nourish the nine billion expected to inhabit our planet by 2050. But production and consumption patterns and distribution systems should no longer be open to speculation and patent rights that enrich the few while almost one billion people are starving.
Instead, we should invest much more money in researching and disseminating knowledge of the much more promising agro-ecological approach to meet the challenges ahead.
Hans R Herren
Laureate of the World Food prize and co-chair of IAASTD, President of Biovision Foundation, Zurich.
Today is 13.6.13 and there is yet another piece in the Mail . . . GM diet ‘can lead to disease in pigs’. The research was done by ‘yet another’ independent scientist Dr Judy Carman, a scientific Professor in health and the environment at Flanders University, Australia. This soon after supermarkets in the UK ended their ban on the feeding of GM crops to pigs, poultry, cattle etc where products also don’t have to be labelled. The usual responses poured in from the ‘other side’ to diss the ‘dodgy findings’ – Prof Tom Sanders of Kings College, Cambridge, Prof David Spregelhalter and the ‘articulate’ Environment Minister, Owen Patterson (selected presumably because of his ‘pro-technology’ stance and bullish stupidity) who simply dismissed the scepticism as ‘complete nonsense’.
I’ve also just heard that tomorrow a story will be released by independent scientists that ‘tests done on humans fed GM food reveal traces of (the highly toxic) roundup in their urine. . .’No doubt in a week or month or so there’ll be yet more test results released then ridiculed by Government/Corporate scientists with the typical statement, as today by Owen Patterson . . .who “claims opposition to GM food should be cast aside in the interests of the economy and our ability to feed the world.” YAWN – we need to ask where is this schoolyard standoff getting us on this unbelievably serious issue which could affect everybody’s health across the world? Is it not time now for Governments across the world to come together and get scientists from both sides to do safety tests TOGETHER, UNITED in their interests for humanity and our safety. This over a decent amount of time to show once and for all whether this food is safe for us and our Environment or not . . . .?
FOA Mrs. Walsh
Central Enforcement Unit
Bedfordshire Magistrates Court
3 St. Pauls Square
Dear Mrs. Walsh,
I’ve just found your letter dated 4.4.13 giving me until 19.4.13 to launch an ‘appeal’. Since getting a severe eye injury playing football 4 or so years ago which has left a numbness on the left hand side of my head, my memory (which was good until then) has been appalling. More recently I received an appeal document from Watford which I’ve lost (I promise I’ve looked everywhere – no filing system probably doesn’t help), but I remember the gist . . .I believe there was one piece that stated something like ‘I would probably only be granted an appeal at this late stage if I had a good reason.’ I believe on moral and on a human level, I do have a ‘good reason.’
Not only have I been severely ‘messed around’ starting with my first Court case where my friends (fellow ‘scary’ activists none of whom have ever chucked a pebble through a window/done any vandalism – they wouldn’t be my friends if they had) and I waited nearly 6 hours. Then as we were summoned my wonderful duty Solicitor, ashen white, took me aside and said the goalposts had moved and my fine had gone from £4,300 to £51,900. An undercover policeman sitting amongst us in the waiting room (he admitted as much in the courtroom – stating he was a policeman) said he was behind this and the timing. The lady Magistrate was appalled beyond belief ‘I’ve never experienced anything like this in 30 years . . .’ Following sleepless nights in the lead up, I was utterly deflated – I thought it would be resolved then knew I’d have to go the Crown Court which was much scarier (potential for longer sentence etc).
Added to this outside the Court it was crawling with undercover police – my friends went up to them asking them about their ‘ear pieces’ and they scampered away. I left with a feeling I’d done something really really bad, was not only facing a long prison sentence if I didn’t pay my £51,900 fine but warned a number of times by different people to ‘watch my back . . .’; 5 days a week bail plus one to Exeter; banned from anything to do with the Olympics, even told by a local policeman that the local forces were put on ‘red alert’ about what I might do the day I got back to Devon after my release - arriving home at 7am having nearly fallen asleep at the wheel a number of times- when the Olympic torch was going through our area (why on earth would I have wanted to do anything to sport – I love sport . .?); and ‘met’ by police cars when I went to meet fellow activists (presumably due to my phone being ‘tapped’).
When I handed myself over to the police at the Research Centre, they asked me if I needed a solicitor to which I said ‘no’. I felt I’d done a minimal amount of damage – possibly just enough to bring it up for discussion with the public (to me and others a very serious point especially when you look at what’s happening around the world, please look at the enclosed piece I’ve just written).
I should stress at this juncture that I had no intention of pulling any crops. When the security guard came into the field I offered my hands for arrest, assured him I was not a ‘nutter’ and said he could take me away . . . that I’d done my bit ‘scattering’ a small amount of organic wheat seed – this to show we don’t need potentially dangerous GM. At my first 2 court cases my solicitor asked for this CCTV evidence, backed up by the Magistrate, to prove this was the case (or otherwise). The duty solicitor and Bindmans lady respectively also asked for the evidence I’d ‘uprooted’ between 5-600 plants – A/c Huw Dylan Jones of Rothampstead (I have this in writing). All this in 2-3 minutes (I ‘uprooted’ 3 plants max and a bit of leaf which would have all grown back when the rains came the next week).
My point to you is that (I hope you’ve managed to get this far – sorry) I’ve more than done my punishment. I’m not a ‘vandal’ and have never done anything remotely like it in my life and have no intention of ever doing anything similar again. I simply care passionately that the food we feed ourselves and our children is safe and healthy. (There is SO much evidence worldwide where GM is grown to ‘prove’ otherwise – as shown by the DVD Genetic Roulette. All we’ve ever asked for is long-term independent testing to show GM is safe to feed us and safe for the Environment. However, the big companies who stand to profit regulate themselves then don’t have to show the results of their tests due to ‘Commercial Confidentiality’). At my last court case, I was so shattered and emotionally drained (my interview with undercover/plain clothes police from ACPO or NDEU saying my car had been ‘crushed’ as happens in security breaches of this severity along with my ‘supposed’ connection with the ALF – to which I had no idea what they meant, all rubbish obviously etc etc etc) I simply wanted it OVER. My solicitor felt I possibly had a case to Appeal and have yet another court case, BUT it would cost me yet more in fees and the dice seems so loaded ( my solicitor said he’d never had a case where Home Office, Heads of Corporations and Chief Police Officers were so in bed with each other to stitch up one Activist – he was very keen for me to go to appeal back then to unearth these ‘scandalous atrocities’ as he put it, but I’d rather pathetically ran out of steam). I was also very scared and sensitive about all my friends (and family especially) giving their time to support me. Surely what I did was nothing like as bad as smashing a window?
I think the reason this has reared up again is because I went on a demonstration against Monsanto in Bristol last weekend. I know we’re all photographed etc at these peaceful rallies (which, yet again, this was) and feel the clandestine approach of bailiffs etc going on now reflects me seeming to still be ‘active’ (I had a loud hailer doing silly chants plus did a talk). For what it’s worth, I’ve cancelled 2 talks I’d promised to do (which I was really looking forward to) at Activist gatherings and vowed to turn my back on all association with the Protest Movement. All I will be doing now is demonstrating a healthy style of living from the land I have available to me. Thank you for your time in reading this.
P.S. I have received a response – 5.6.2013 from the Central Enforcement Unit in Bedford refusing to accept this or grant an appeal. . .“a distress warrant has therefore been issued and passed to the Marston Group for process.” I have an ever increasing pile of letters from e.g. the Central Enforcement Unit in Bedfordshire, Marstons High Court Bailiffs, and Hertfordshire Magistrates Court demanding the £3,729.55 I supposedly still ‘owe’ (oh . . .they’d dropped the figure of £51,900 back to £4,300 just before my second court case – this to keep me away from trial by jury – i.e. a ‘fair one’ and keep my opinions out of the news lest the public become privy to the ‘Truth’ about GM – the ITN Central news lorry parked outside the court during my first case necessitating this, very clever/sneaky on their part, course of action).
A few weeks ago, a year to the day on May 10th after my escapade, I felt the polite/correct thing to do was to hand myself in at Barnstaple Police station with overnight bag, for imprisonment. The charming local Police (who I know extremely well after my daily visits) said they could only arrest and imprison me if there was a warrant out. I waited patiently as the kind policeman made some calls and after 20 minutes he told me that there wasn’t and suggested I ring Herts Magistrates Court. This I did and was simply told I had to pay the remainder of my fine which I told them was not going to happen unless they ‘prove’ I’d pulled 600 plants and release the CCTV footage to my solicitors.
Frankly I don’t care that I don’t have a legal leg to stand on having pleaded guilty (under intense pressure as mentioned – not being able to get on with my life etc etc). However, I would never forgive myself if I gave up without doing all I could to get the injunctions imposed on my 4 innocent friends punished for what I’ve done dropped, AND to try and get the Biotech funded national newspapers (the Mail aside) to provide a balanced and fair appraisal of the potential pluses AND minuses of GM – see my last submission, A GM update 13.6.2012
INFO FOR THE PUBLIC
Should we be wary of feeding ourselves and/or our children and pets (yes it's in most dog food - unlabelled) food derived from Genetically modified (GM) crops?
What's wrong with inserting a flounder gene into a tomato plant so tomatoes can be grown 200 miles further North, or a synthetic cow gene into a wheat plant to repel aphids?
Why don't those anti-science, ignorant, luddites shut up and let the well qualified experts to their job?
How else will we feed the world?
- We ALL of us have no problem with any of the above provided long-term independent feeding trials have been done to prove GM food is safe for us to eat /feed out children AND safe for the environment i.e. will not cross pollinate with conventional or organic crops. If only . . . . . .
- In the late 1990's Government scientist Dr. Arpad Puztai was employed to do experiments on rats fed GM potatoes and non-GM potatoes he found problems in the rats fed GM compared to those fed non-GM spuds. Then after he published his results in a Scientific Journal the men in black descended confiscating his computers and evidence and Puztai fled in fear of his life to Eastern Europe.
- Likewise in 2013 when Dr. Seralini, a bonifide French scientist, did the first proper long-term survey on rats fed GM compared to those not fed GM. It was (incredibly) the first EVER trial over a 2 year period (90 days as was the standard length before this, is not long enough). He found up to 80% of rats fed GM got huge tumours compared to 20% fed normal food.
- Government (for that read 'Biotech' we're afraid) scientisits, did all they could to discredit Seralini's findings - the best they came up with was Seralini didn't use enough rats (10 per sample).
- You would have thought if our Government genuinely cared for those it was governing it would have said 'crickey', maybe it's time we got scientists from both sides to come together, agree on a methodology and, in the name of humanity, do proper long-term testing to ascertin once and for all the safety or otherwise of GM?
- "Why on earth does this not happen" we hear rational people with a heart ask?
- ALL recent Environment Ministers since 2001 have, itso obviously seems, been selected for their pro-GM stance . . . Owen Patterson is so aggressively in favour of farmers the world over - includinig the UK, growing GM, it's scary. Likewise before him it was Caroline Spelman - who'd been a Corporate lobbyist promoting, amongst other Corporate businesses, GM for the 16 years before getting the job.
- Indeed in every aspect of GM there's a sinister dark side slickly covered up by their entourage of extremely well paid scientists and lobbyists . . . .
- As a farmer in the 1990's I, like most others, liberally sprayed Monsanto's Roundup on pesky weeds which destroyed the little blighters roots and all . . . . .
- Last year, in the same way Australiai scientist Jack Heinaman from the University of Canterbury expressed concerns fro tests of potential 'major health problems' in wheat, Frederique Baudouin published an article in the high ranked Scientific Journal 'Toxicology' about safety studies on 'Roundup'. It states the "health and environmental agencies and pesticide compaines assess the long-term effects on mammals of GLYPHOSATE (an ingredient of 'Roundup' - the less toxic compound ALONE. However, the complex mix contains added ingredients - ADJUVANTS. These are classified as INERT but without these the glyphosate would not be stabililsed enough to help penetrate the thick (cellular) walls (i.e. without this Roundup wouldn't work. . . . . .the health and environmental agencies and pesticide companies assess the long-term effects in mammals of GLYPHOSATE ALONE . . . . . ."
- Much of our ground water in the UK contains traces, to a greater or lesser degree, of the poison Roundup.
- Roundup is sprayed over crops ('driftiing ' into communities) from the AIR in some parts of South America.
- Dr. Seralini's rats fed traces lof Roundup showed the same high ration of tumours as those fed GM.
- Does our Government care? Not when it receives £250 million from the BBSRC (the BIotech industry), according to the (little known) Green Food Project Conclusions document on May 24th 2012 4 days after that fellow scaled the fence at Rothampstead Research Centre, where he scattered organic wheat seed and pulled a few GM wheat plants causing people to discuss the potential dangers of putting (effectively) a cow gene into a wheat plant to ward off aphids.
- We implore you to watch 'GMcropsfarmertofarmer.com' Genetic Roulette' and 'seeds of change' on the net to get more of the grim picture on the effects of growing GM in the US on American farmers - likewise the story of 'Percy Schmeisser'. More recent DVD's show alarming evidence of the effects on adults AND children - with farmers and parents stating that the health of their animals and children respectively noticeably improved after just 3 days of reverting to a non-GM diet.
- 'How else can we Feed the World?' Indian writer and activist, Vandana Shiva, states that more than 250,000 farmers have committed suicide as a resultof crop failure AND having to buy their seed EVERY year - (farmers - some of the poorest in the world, caught saving their seed are prosecuted).
- "Golden Rice' with extra vitamin A will feed the third world and help ward off blindness . . . ." Nice idea but it's impossible physically to eat enough of the stuff to make any difference (planting and eating more spinach plus selecting the natural weeds growing amongst the crops permaculture style - as the Indians had always done until Roundup came along and zapped the lot, would soon sort that one).
- In the 50's smokinig was practically en couraged as 'good for you'. In the 60's DDT was deemed safe and sprayed liberally. Likewise now Monsanto still advocate the safety of Roundup (and their GM crops) and have just developed a crop that is resistant to 2-4D - Agent Orange.
April 22nd 2014 . . RUSSIAN PRIME MINISTER DMITRY MEDVEDEV ANNOUNCED THAT RUSSIA WILL NOT IMPORT ANY MORE GMO FOOD PRODUCTS OR SEED' . . . . . 'Prominent Russian scientists declare that a moratorium should be imposed on GMO's for at least 10 years.' This to ascertain safety to it's people and the environment citing the recent alarming results of Dr. Seralini's testing of rats.
Closer to home . . . .on June 22nd 2013 an article by the Deputy Political Editor of the Telegraph stated "GM KEPT OF THE MENU AT WESTMINSTER." What message does this put out other than, "It's OK to POISON all of us but not the elite in Parliament"? We felt this state of affairs needed verification so kindly Michael Meacher MP asked a question to this effect on 15.5.2014 and he received the following response:-
Dear Mr. Meacher,
On 12th May you tabled as named day PQ to the House of Commons Commission for answer today, Thursday 15th May. As prorogation occurred yesterday the question has fallen, however, a response was prepared and may be of use to you. You asked whether GM food is sold in restaurants and bars in the House Catering Services. GM policy prohibits the purchase of GM foods. This is not on ethical or environmental grounds, but reflects current public views on the subject as reflected in the trade press. The policy states that while evidence and advice from scientific and government bodies and indeed the wider food industry is generally taken into account that the decision to avoid GM products has been enforced as a matter of customer choice, based on our understanding of the wider public's view on this issue.
We hope this answer is of help to you.
Secretary to the Commission.
THE IRREFUTABLE TRUTH ABOUT GM IS AT LAST OUT THERE
We implore you all to look at the 2 most recent documentary films:-
1. 'GMO's OMG' - a very funny, inforfmative and uplifting film about a father and his 2 children embarking on a GM fact finding mission across the US.
2. 'Seeds of Death: Unveiling the lies of GMO's
Seeds of Death is a narrative, the most thorough of it's type, narrated by the top scientists and experts across the world - who've no doubt turned down the offer of much bigger bucks to 'jump ship', spells out prececily why GM and it's sidekicks (Roundup herbiscide and the BT pesticide) will (if WE don't do something about it) spell the end for this beautiful planet as we know it. I swear on my recently deceased Father's grave this is no exaggeration, The following piece contains quotes from the brave intellectuals who have contributed to this absorbing and amazing 'no stone left un turned' masterpiece for mankind.
Jeoffrey Smith 'Head of the Council of Responsible Genetics' opens proceedings by stating that 'Genetic Engineering is a process where DNA is taken from one species and FORCED into the DNA of another species . . . .This process could cause infertility and potentially damage a person's immune system . . . Monsanto told us "PCB's were safe . . . .then told us DDT was safe . . . .they even told us Agent Orange was safe . . . .and now they're in charge of telling us that their own GM food is safe. . . .". He goes on to explaini how 'they' tickle the 'ball' down to a fine leg - stating how the powerful US regulatory body - the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) "doesn't require a single safety study." Monsanto, in the same vein, deftly guides the ball past the slip cordon (for another 4 of course) stating "Monsanto should not have to vouchsafe the safety of Biotech food. Our interest is in selling as much of it as possible. Assuring it's safety is the FDA's job . . . ."
This so called 'revolving door' (passing the buck/devolving ALL responsibility) - referred to by most of the campaigners like the Indian activist Vandanna Shiva, Dr. Jergen Mercola - Natural Health advocate, Shiv Shopra Phd author of "Corrupt to the Core", was brilliantly highlighted in the Sept/Oct 1998 issue of the Ecologist. Jennifer Ferrara writes: "Traitionally, key figures at the FDA in partiicular have either held important positions at Monsanto, or are destined to do so in the future. It is surprising therefore the Monsanto gets clearance for its dangerous produce?" Likewise, A/C Jeoffery Smith, the White House, under the watchful eye of the indominatable intellectual G.W.Bush created a new position for Michael Taylor who was Monsanto's former Attorny - just another of the many e.g.s. of the total control wielded over the US Government by Big Business.
A/C Michale Antoniou (Phd - Kings College London School of Medicine), the 'Biodiversity in fields growingGM canola, sugar beet etc is markedly reduced. So what . . .? you may say . . . .To begin witih insects (many beneficial such as ladybirds which gobble up aphids) and soil microorganisms and earthworms which breakdown foliage/organic matter etc to make healthy soil, are all but destroyed due to chemical applications. Andrew Kimbrell - the Executive Director Assessor for the Environmental Attorney, states that 85% of food in the States is Genetically Engineered to be soaked with highly toxic chemicals.
Colin Cambell - Phd in nutritional biochemistry, and Prof Amertus of Cornell University released a prediciton that 30% of soil in the US will be unusable by 2050 because of severe contamination. They state that this, in combination with the increasing number of superweeds (weeds as with antibiotics, build up a resistance when the same herbicides or insecticides are used), will cause severe food security issues if this current way is pursued. Added to this (as if we need it) . . . .there's the Bees. Canadian farmer Percy Schmeisser - taken to court for 'growing' GM canola by Monsanto in 2002 (when it had simply been cross contaminated by neighbouring GM fields) stressed bee populations (responsible for 70% of pollination worldwide) and beneficial insect numbers have plummeted due to new types of more toxic chemicals sprayed onto crops.(See separate sheets on Monsanto's Roundup by Dr. Mercola). Likewise . . . .Monsanto have patented tank mixtures of Roundup, Atrazine and 2-4D (Agent Orange) the latter 2 banned in Europe.
The Journal of Rural Studies 29 (2013) 1-6 currently circulated throughout Universities in the UK to educate students about the important issue of Food insecutiry and under nourishment currently being faced by 1 sixth of the planet (1 billion). The Journal stresses the need for urgent action and the "need to double food production if we're to feed a world population of 9 billion by 2050. On paper 2 it states . . .The UK foresight (2011) programme has argued that the way to achieve food security in these circumstances is through the delivery of studying 'sustainable intensification' (Royal Society, 2009; Godfray et al 2010: Garnett and Godfray, 2013) i.e. MORE FOOD FROM LESS LAND, RESOURCES, ENERGY, WATER etc with a mix of 'ECO-EFFICIENCY' approaches that include GENETIC MODIFICTION, NANOTECHNOLOGY, GENOMICS and COPMPUTERISATION (Lang and Barling, 2012." Pigs could be flying sooner than we thought?
According to an IAASTD report in 2008 it stated that the planet was quite capable of feeding a population of 9 billion people. Likewise Jeoffery Smith states recently that we have enough food grown to feed 11.3 billion people - the problem is not in the amount of food but in Distribution.
Dr. Antoniou reminds us that we get half our DNA from our Mum and half from our Dad which is the blue print for the rest of our body. He points out that when we plant and consume GM food we have no idea where these GM genes will end up, we cannot control it/the consequences. If, as the evidence suggests, it disrupts our DNA (there is 'proof' . . . Antoniou says, the genetic make up of our gut bacteria is altered which can then alter the genetics of our body) these are massive problems for all of us in the near future.
Antoniou expands further stating that GM is used whereby spider genes are inserted into goats to create a spider gene 'web' - this to make bullet proof vests: likewise, the GM salmon which grows twice as fast as ordinary salmon but kills it's 'natural' cousins. The authorities state that these salmon will be contained but . . . .if they get out what will happen then?
The state of affairs is in no way better summed up than by Daniel Ravicher JD-Executive Director of the Public Patent Foundation. He says on one side of Washington where the general population abide, there is no need for labelling because there is no difference between GM and non-GM food. However, on the other side of Washington (the business and decision making side) Monsanto, Bayer, Sygenta etc voraciously obtain patents based on their products unique scientific 'difference' to other foods.
Until very recently, I have not been 100% sure of the real toxicity of Roundup. However, recently I have read the findings of Frederique Baudouin published in the highranked Scientific Journal "Toxicology" about safety studies on Roundup which stated "the health and environmental agencies and pesticide companies assess the long-term effects on mammals of GLYPHOSATE (an ingredient of "Roundup" - the less toxic compound) ALONE. However, the complex mix contains added ingredients - ADJUVANTS. These are classified as INERT but without these the glyphosate would not be stabilised enough to help penetrate the thick (cellular) walls (i.e. wiithout this Roundup wouldn't work) . . . .the health and environmental agencies and pesticide companies assess the long-term effects on mammals of GLYPHOSATE ALONE . . . ."
This gave me 99% confirmation, but I'm one of those people who doesn't just believe anything I hear or read. I need confirmation from a reputable source/expert in this field if I'm going to act on anything. This I received on 7.10.14 while sharing a platform with Vandana Shiva, a well respected expert on GM, at Dartington Hall, Totnes. I asked her if the above was true, and she said "Yes . . . .the surfacant POAE's (adjuvants) are a powerful carcinogen/endocrine disrupter . . . it is true they test glyphosate on its own . . .the EFSA simply accept Monsant's word it's safe." Being a farmer, I remember when I was freely spraying Roundup (not for a few years). I never wore a mask because I was told "Roundup is one of the safest herbicides on the market." We now hear it's in peoples urine and women's breast milk and in 86% of all non organic bread found in supermarkets. What next and for how much longer? This is all hidden away under the banner of Substantial Equivalence which, as I understand it, means there is no need for further testing because GM crops are so similar to its conventional "equivalent".
Top UK scientist , Dr. Puztai, tells his story how the UK Government gave him £3 million to test the safety of GMO's fed to rats with GM and conventional potatoes. Putzai did what all good, qualified scientists do and published the results (alarming) in a Scientific Journal. The Management at the Rowett Research lab in Scotland received 2 phone calls from UK Government officials. The next day Putzai was fired and he and his team 'silenced' and disbanded.
Likewise, Dr. Seralini's recent 2 year tests on rats fed a GM diet; a diet with traces of Roundup (both showed up to 80% cancer growths; and rats fed a 'conventional' diet (20% had cancer) - these can be checked on line. However, a quote from 'GM foods Potential Human Health Effects' states in 2003 that "judging by the absence of published data in peer-reviewed scientific literature, apparently no human clinical trials with GM have ever been conducted." He shared his concerns with others stressig that "ordinary people should not be treated like guinea pigs". He then received 2 phone calls from the Prime Minister's Office and the next day he was fired after 35 years of service, threatened with a lawsuit, his team disbanded and a campaign was launched to destroy his reputation (as per Puztai and Seralini).
Last, and most certaily not least, a colleague of mine has just been in touch with regards to a German farmer who has recently died. The 'cause of death' was attributed to a 'carcinogenic' POAE surfacant in Roundup. The BFR - the German Regulatory Body has 'pulled' Roundup containing this surfacant. Monsanto (instead of saying' crikey, we'd better pull Roundup off the shelves and get bonafide independent scientists to do tests in case we're accidentally poisoning the public - they seem to use a 'lackof evidence' as proof of safety') are currently having meetings with the BFR in an attempt to pressurise them to rescind their decision - no doubt worried other countries might follow suit. We intend to find out more about this and share our findings with the relevant bodies and the public.
A wee ‘Action’ de-brief on Rothamstead Research Centre on ….
(Ps. Sara’s detailed account of what was said to come . . .the ‘juicy bit’ of what was said)
Since I entered Rothamstead Research Centre on 24.5.2012 where I pulled GM wheat plants and scattered organic wheat, I have been ‘monitored’ very closely. Not only are e-mails opened (as many peoples’ are) but my mail too – the evidence surfaced last year and the year before when I and my girlfriend gave out 1000’s of info sheets and ‘cards’ for people to sign up to pull GM crops when they’re grown in the UK (or just say they don’t want them). 100’s of people said they responded but not one was allowed through(if ‘they’d’ have had half a brain they’d have allowed some through and I’d have thought . . . “oh well people aren’t bothered . . .”).
One of the other consequences of Rothamstead and all those wretched court cases when all ‘they’ did was try to shut me up and mess up my head in any way possible, was they ‘banned’ me from Hertfordshire. Just as I abided by my bail conditions – reporting to Barnstaple police station every day for ages, I stayed out of Hertfordshire. This was a shame for me as I have good friends in this county. Breaking bail is an imprisonable offence and with a relatively clear diary for the first time ever felt this was the time to test it. Doubling it up by vowing to go on Hunger Strike should I be ‘banged’ up (until such time we force scientists from ‘both’ sides to come together and agree on a methodology and work together in the name of humanity to find out whether feeding ourselves, our children and dogs GM food/roundup ready crops is ‘safe’ . .or not . . .)and off Sara and I went.
The uncertainty of not knowing when you might get pulled over and (with my track record)the idea of wrapping the Snow White Monsanto posters round the Rothamstead Research Centre with yellow tape warning . . . “NO ENTRY –Disease Control Precautions” . . . .and I felt there was a high likelihood I’d be carted off.
Sara and I bedded down the night before with the ‘usual’ restless night and set off after breakfast. My heart definitely sped up as we entered Harpendon where we rather nervously drove back and forth past the Rothamstead Research Centre when we settled on the best option . . . to go to the Pub. Here I ordered 2 ‘spicy’ tomato juices and put my foot down when Sara demanded a whiskey.
‘Clueless’ we then drove to the Research Centre again before agreeing to leave the car at the Pub where we stocked up with posters etc and set off on the 15 or so minute walk to the ‘Centre’. On getting there I stood in front of signs saying . . ‘Rothamstead Research Centre’ and BBSRC (- Biotech Industry). Here Sara took photos of me holding a poster composed by my good friend/artist, who has done loads for me, called Mark ‘Dreddy’ (for obvious reasons when you meet him) Brassington (he, to me makes Banksey seem like an amateur).[The picture depicts a beautiful (but dead) Snow White under a pile of bright red apples with a Monsanto banner plugged in at the top, and the poisonous apple, from which she’d recently taken a bite, having rolled away with caption . . “poisoning us since 1901” – when Monsanto was ‘formed’, having rolled out of her hand. The (simple) message alongside reads as follows: “ We demand long-term INDEPENDENT testing to prove GM food is safe for us to eat/feed our children and safe for the environment – i.e. It will not cross-pollinate with conventional or organic crops.” What was interesting was following our little ‘caper’ I showed the poster to Toby Bruce, who I felt was a genuinely nice guy, who said that that was what they did at Rothamstead. Maybe this is something I could follow up on?]. Then on looking through windows we saw plaster falling off the walls and the whole place (riddled with CCTV cameras on the outside – probably not working) looking unloved and unoccupied. We then walked to the end of the building and saw all manner of plush lunar module style buildings and lots of people walking speedily to a building on our left oh . .and lots of ‘modern’CCTV cameras.
At this point I approached a lady and gentleman and said “Excuse me, can you tell me where I can find Huw Dylan Jones (his was the only name I knew and was the Chief Scientist at Rothamstead when I ‘got in’ where he told a wee ‘porky’ saying I pulled 550 plants when I pulled 3 and lots of leaves, and scattered organic wheat seed etc etc).” To this the lady asked “if I was here for the seminar . . . .?” This momentarily scrambled my head, but having been in such situations a few times (e.g. Labour Party conference 2004, G8 Edinburgh 2005) I said “Yes and I’m very much looking forward to it” to which the lady said . . “yes there’s a lot of interest from scientists being it’s ‘his’ last presentation before retiring to Aberystwyth . . . .” “ yes, he’ll be much missed” I said – an excited glow forming in my heart. “Do you have a pass?” the lady asked to which I said “no”. She then said “quick . . .you won’t have time to fill out all the forms (presumably of the department I worked in, my subject etc etc) so just write your names”. This we did and an official pass was placed over our heads and we were hurried into the Conference – the last to arrive before Huw started.
As I walked to a seat, I was blown away by what was happening (I nearly went to the front directly facing Huw but knew this was cruel so chose seats near the back). Sara noticed Huw’s face as we entered and said his jaw dropped through the floor and he looked like he’d seen a ghost. (I deliberately ‘politely’ refrained from catching his eye).
Poor Huw (I genuinely did feel sorry for him) began his ‘parting speech’ with a prolonged stutter. I’d seen Huw doing talks before on the net where he was slick and articulate. The stutter played a good 30-40% role in his talk. He was presumably wondering a/ how on earth did I ‘get in’ and b/ when was I going to leap up to vociferously ‘lend’ my opinion to the proceedings a la heckling Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, or (worse still . . .) when would I get up and pull my trousers down as I did on Breakfast TV in 2005 which sent Natasha Kaplinsky and Adrian Charles into a spin.
No sooner than we sat down than the lady and gentleman who’d quickly ushered us in (who ‘coincidentally’ were the ones who were organising the event – hence the fastracking of our entrance) came and sat behind us. During Huw’s presentation, when Sara and I were behaving very normally (not easy for me obviously) – taking notes and listening with a high degree of interest (albeit with not a clue as to what he was talking about in my case – not Sara’s . . .), there was endless movement across the room with folk whispering messages into different people’s ears. To this I sincerely thought ‘how disruptive this carry on must be for poor Huw – and this in his farewell speech, no wonder his stutter was getting worse’.
When he’d finished, it was time for questions. My hand was first to go up needless to say, but a gentleman the other side of the room was chosen before me. I caught the guy with the mike’s eye and he nodded as if to say ‘I’d be next’. However, by then the shuffling (and whispering) around the room had escalated even more.
Just as I was beginning to lose faith with the guy with the mike who was clearly avoiding me (by then it was clear to a reasonable minority I was, indeed, an imposter), Huw indicated to the mike man that I speak. I began by saying “How honoured I was to be here at Huw’s farewell talk . . .However, Huw, early on you mentioned the use of ‘Surfactants’ just once and as I understand it Monsanto’s Glyphosate/Roundup wouldn’t work without these additives/adjuvants which break down the strong cellular plant walls which then allows the Glyphosate to kill the weed - the GM crop being ‘modified’ to be resistant to the highly toxic Roundup – which then goes straight into our food chain of course . . .. From what I can gather, the GERMAN’S BFR (our equivalent of DEFRA) responsible for the safety of our food/chemicals used currently, use less than 90 different surfactants (many are simply animal fat/inert substances) due to thwe health risks associated with how different chemicals ‘react’ together. However, in this country with over 400 different surfactants added to glyphosate with seemingly little or no safety checks in place, and it seems those with influence don’t really care about the health implications to the public . . .?”
At this moment Huw cut me short stating “we are not really here to discuss safety issues or GM . . . .(even though his whole talk had been about inserting all manner of genes into other cells to create this, that, or the other supposedly beneficial traits) . . However, Hector, maybe it’s time you introduced yourself to those in this room . . .?” I stood up then stated that . . “It was me that some 3½ years ago scaled the fence at your Research Centre where I pulled plants and scattered organic wheat seed . . .” The room erupted in a wave of gasps, a clasping of cheeks, and leaping up from their seats. It was explained afterwards that this, being Huw’s last speech, was strictly invite only for long serving ‘trusted’ scientists from all over the place – such was the delicacy of the ‘science’ under discussion.
Following this, the seminar was pretty much wrapped up immediately and Sara and I were invited for coffee and nibbles by the Head honchos including Huw, Toby Bruce, a (very bright) Greek lady and others all of whom were kindly very eager to speak with us.
They tried to reassure us that any crops trialled met with rigorous safety checks- whether GM or otherwise (which I admitted to not being quite convinced about – who were the ‘independent’ assessors I asked?). I said that we have scientists/very practical knowledgeable people on our side of the fence who would love to work with Rothamstead scientists. Toby Bruce, a good man I feel, was at pains to reassure me GM trials were far from the major emphasis of Rothamstead. I said that I knew and accepted that was true (I forgot to ask about the GM flax trialled after the GM wheat failure – damn). I reiterated my HUGE concern at the time that wheat was a grass species which (as I understood it) meant wheat pollen with a cow gene in it (as was the case – this to ‘possibly’ repel aphids) could mean ‘when’ the GM wheat flowered and released pollen into the air it could alter the genetic code of the world’s most prolific vegetation – grass. This, I said, “is why the Angels helped me fly over your fence . . .”
Some wince when we activists speak of Angels, but, like others before an action I always offer myself up saying to the ‘Angels’ (I have so much proof of angellic help – not just protecting me in the phenomenal riots in Genoa 2001, Climate Camp Heathrow etc etc but day to day ‘miracles’ which we ALL of us get the same - it’s just most of us chose-normally because of fear, not to listen) . . . “Let thy will be done.” . . .as we always say. Indeed my girlfriend will vouch I said this over and over as we approached Harpendon – and this just for sticking a few posters on a wall . . . I wrote a book in the mid 90’s embracing all the religions about this and, like we ALL do should we choose to listen, have had 1000’s of examples of miraculous proof.
My book is called called ‘No Blade of Grass . .’ (is blown without divine intervention) – i.e. everything happens for a reason and the timing is perfect if we go with the flow and ‘Trust’. In my time as an activist, trying simply to do my miniscule part in helping safeguard a world fit for my children and theirs – with no volition for personal ‘gain’ for me (vital or it won’t work), I’ve had endless examples. You only have to look at the perfect time of arrival at Rothamstead – the pffaffing around, Pub etc, meaning we arrived at the precise second meeting the organisers who whisked us in.
Another example is the Labour Party conference 2004 in Brighton where I was the first person to heckle the Prime Minister at his annual ‘flagship’ speech. It was George Monbiot’s idea but I had a niggly feeling I’d be the only one to ‘get in’ - this when loads of us signed up 3 weeks before the event. There was coincidence after coincidence (another story) but a favourite ‘inspirational’ historical story for me was when Drake patiently finished his game of bowls, which took an hour when the Spanish Armada were closing in on our shores – much to the panic of his officers. On finishing the British fleet set sail and the tide changed at the perfect second where British guns were lined up to blow the Spanish away – else we’d be speaking Spanish now.
The conference opened on Sunday. My inclination was to leave Devon immediately BUT I wanted to play a game of football which I felt could jeopardise my chances, but all the same chose to play – a la Drake and his bowls. I drove up and on getting to the entrance (highly fortified as that year Al Qaeda were threatening to blow up the Brighton Centre) was refused entry and sent to Interpol round the corner. I was there for an hour thinking ‘Oh well . . . .’when a huge policeman gave me my accreditation. “I must have filled out the form wrong” I said limply (but excitedly) . . “no the mistake was our end” he said . I coasted into the main hall where John Prescott was speaking and my heart sank. However, literally within 30 seconds Prescott wrapped up and the ‘compere’ announced . . ‘the reason so many of you are probably here is to get a pass to see Blair speak on Tuesday . . .there is only enough tickets for half the delegates so it’s first come first served’. I was fifth in the line for my accreditation. After speaking my mind ‘at’ the hapless (but loathsome) Blair I was ‘roughed up’ and taken to Brighton prison. Here the senior warden on duty poured over the internet etc for an hour – I gave him every bit of information about me, when he said . . “it’s extraordinary there is absolutely no information about you anywhere”. I sincerely believe the Angels/whatever do pull strings should we make ourselves ‘available’ and we are operating in accordance with Divine Will.
8 months later the same happened at the G8 Scotland when a Guardian journalist gave me a phone number to see if I could get into Brown’s speech at the old Scottish Parliament. I spoke on my phone to a lady who said there were 2 tickets left . . “Goodie”, I said “can I have one” . . .I gave her all my details and when I gaily went up to the desk and joyously introduced myself I was the only one not to get asked for ID and a ‘media’ card (it was only for journalists and I was 3 rows back from where Brown was due to speak.)
The wheat trial at Rothamstead was the same. I had no idea where it was or how I’d ‘get in’. To cut to the quick the poor security guard on the CCTV left his camera tower to go to the toilet at ‘precisely’ the time I came out form the cover of the wood – I was keeping a record of the time. ‘Rana Farood’ obviously had problems ‘downstairs’ as I spent ages getting bits of wood from a forest (visualising an ‘invisible’ cloak as I walked within 100 yards of 3 security guards actually ‘looking’ my way, 4 times) to help me scale the fence.
The recent events at Rothamstead come under precisely the same umbrella. MOST importantly I believe in all of this is my (and other wonderful activists who do so much more than me to try to make the world a better place) actions would never have gotten off the ground without ‘unseen’ assistance. In precisely the same vein I believe VERY strongly that if we were not in alignment with the wishes of the angellic cosmic beings that are gently helping this world to wake up, respect and love the stunningly ravishing world we are so blessed to inhabit at this moment in time, we so called Activists (I say good people who lovingly care) wouldn’t get out of the blocks with the ludicrous surveillance and paranoia dominating so many people’s lives.
As I’m finishing off this piece the Ziggy Marley song . . “Tomorrow People where is your past . ..” is playing on the radio. Please let’s work together for the betterment of mankind. I like so many, have many ideas – the crazy waste of 40% of our food due to shape and size being one example. We need a whole new approach to agriculture – most of us forget small farmers provide the world with 70% of it’s food . . .
LET THY WILL BE DONE
Ps. I am passing on copies of the ‘Research’ papers on what is being worked on currently – the ‘Push-Pull’ technology(Trap Crop) being trialled in Kenya looks particularly interesting, to some of our members which I hope is ok and which I hope will initiate dialogue.
A summary of what was ‘secretly’ recorded from Huw’s farewell speech to scientists. Hector Christie
Documentation of Huw Dillan Jones’ G.M. wheat trial
ROTHAMSTEAD RESEARCH CENTRE ON MONDAY AFTERNOON
11th January 2016 – Brief version
This was his final lecture there before leaving to start a new job in
Unfortunately we do not have the power-point presentation that accompanied this seminar with the figures, graphs and photos on. But this write up should still give you a sufficient insight to the seminar.
· A small group of scientists (approx. 7) at Rothamstead research centre – in Hertfordshire, have spent the last 17 years researching to try and understand gene function. (1)
· Trying to invent, understand and use in vitro cellular tools to do functional genomics and to understand the function of genes.(2)
These were being used in experiments by inserting different DNA sequences into wheat seed embryos, to create a crop that could be heat activated at 40c to release a toxin, if it contracted a bacteria that effects the crop.(2.1)
· By the year 2000, Next Generation Sequencing (a new speet of technologies) emerged, exploding the potential to sequence DNA.(3)
· With large amounts of raw material available (billions of sequences), they can be accessed and translated into amino acids.(4)
· With such large amounts of data – Reverse Genetics became possible.(5)
· The best way to understand reverse genetics is to contrast it with conventional genetics, which is:(6)
-They start with a plant and make observations; segregation patterns, experiment with hybrids etc, and then make influences to the gene sequences that underlie the change they see occurring in the plant. (6.1)
-They work from the plant to the genome, i.e. by observing naturally occurring changes they can work out the genome/DNA.(6.2)
· However, the mass of sequencing information available enables teams like those at Rothamstead to do the reverse.(7)
· They do this by starting with the gene hypotheses and with the DNA they can make influences through:
-comparative genomics and
-understanding something about the DNA sequence
· To work back to make gene sets, combing bits of genes together.(9)
· In vitro cellular tools are used to make changes in the genome of the plants.(10)
· Changes to the germline (reproductive area) can be made – directly into the seed, including wheat.(11)
· The scientists have to work through this in vitro cellular change with all species.(11.1)
· There are 3 main challenges with cereal transformation:(12)
1. DNA – delivery methods and types.(12.1)
2.Tissue culture and de-differenciation, regeneration/selection.(12.2)
3.Embryogenetics and regeneration in wheat(12.3)
-the initiation of somatic (cellular) embryos in the presence of 2-4D (a known pesticide, currently used in the USA).(12.3.1)
-keeping levels of osmotic shock down that’s caused by 2-4D being used as a surface ant.(12.3.2)
-working out how much 2-4D could be used so the plant/embryonic seed can still recover and grow.(12.3.3.)
· A compromise in the concentration of this surfactant was reached.(13)
-if there was less, then the vitro cellular tools would not infiltrate the DN A into the cells.(13.1)
-if there was too much 2-4D used, then the calyxes would not grow on the GM wheat, so therefore a lesser yield.(13.2)
· Two varieties of wheat were experimented with, Cadnza (3417) and Fielder(3418) where many different sequences of DNA were inserted. (sequences unknown)(14)
· The cells could be viewed under the microscope, taking up DNA until full infiltration was achieved. (15)
-it took only 2 hours to see the DNA beginning the infiltration process.(15.1)
-bombardment after only 6 hours.(15.2)
-complete infiltration throughout the whole cell, including tissues and cell plasma, was achieved in 24hrs.(15.3)
· They found it a lot easier with their tools to insert DNA into the larger seeds, but these produced less calyxes and therefore a lesser yield. The smaller seeds were much harder to insert DNA into, but when they grew them many more calyxes were produced and thus a higher yield. But not enough DNA to activate the toxin with a 40c heat. Generally this renders the experiment useless, or a failure.(16)
· An electronic engineer in Helsinki had made a device that could heat activate the parts of the plant it was attached to, albeit quite a rudimentary one. This was used in the experiments and was successful on a small scale.(17)
· Finally, after many countless years of slogging over a microscope, a petri dish and reams and reams of DNA sequences, trying to grow wheat, with a string of failed crops, millions of pounds spent and an obscene amount of security; they did produce a loaf of bread . . .However, it was so unbelievably high in gluten that it was inedible, and was flat and as hard as a rock!(18)
So we are safe from GM wheat for the time being as mother nature prevailed as she always does. But there is still a small team that Huw left behind who continue to be funded by the Biotech industry through the Rothamstead ‘registered charity’. Although they’ll swear blind they don’t work for Monsanto (yea right, ha), hopefully they give up on the GM wheat and leave
it to the farmers and bakers to do what they’ve always done best
-to give us our daily bread!
Many thanks, peace and love, please pass this information onto anybody who could use it . . .
SARA Bouzouba – firstname.lastname@example.org
*The number indicators are there purely for your feedback, this piece is an entire reference to the Rothamstead seminar. If you would like to comment on anything or enhance the facts, please do and reply with the points of reference.
FOOD WORTH EATING
To ensure all citizens have their basic right to survive and prosper. Without, ensuring this, extinction of not only certain knowledge and cultures, but also flora, fauna and the planet itself, is inevitable.
As sustenance through food is the primary need for survivsl, it is the first topic we must address
Currently all citizens are not surviving, and food is the major factor.
The imbalance between those thriving and those not surviving causes pain and conflict which will continue until balance is restored. Alternatvely we can opt to lose the cultures, their knowledge, flora and fauna that are currently not surviving under the current paradigm. Should we choose not to lose but to nurture, we must take action and make changes that will allow all their basic right to survive and therefore their basic right to food.
We are currently working towards producing more food with less resources, by protecting crops frompests, modifying crops to increase yield or increase tolerance to extreme conditions.
We use most of the land on earth as farmland to grow crops. These crops are not only used to produce food but also to produce materials for construction, clothing, to produce bio fuels etc.
Of the crops grown for food production, a large percentage gets wasted due to not meeting supercicial specifications or decay/being spoilt in storage, in transit or on shop shelves. Furthermore of the ingredients that make it to the point of being prepared into food, large amounts are wasted due to over supply.
Once consumed, much of the food eated is the very cause of health problems people experience.
Waste and ill-health cost money, and we should not be unnecessarily spending money. Rather we should ensure before spending any money, that it supports our long term objectives. It is also worth understandign where all the money is being spent on perpetuating the current methods of food production and distribution, producing the undesirable outcomes we are trying to fix.
We have many real and potential solutions to fix the world's problems, but before investing our effort,time and money on any of the available solutions, we must get to the cause of the problems we are challenged with.
Rather than focus on how much more we can produce we should focus on answering the quetions:
- How much of the food we produce gets eaten
- How beneficialthe food we eat is for our health
- Who is benefitiing and who is disadvantaged
When we have figured out the best methods of achieving a positive result iin producing food that gets eaten and is good for us, we should only then seek to do more of these activities
- Identify what the problems with food are
- The cause of those problems
- Existing solutions
- Gaps in solutions
- Potential new solutions
- Assess the impacts of all solutions
- Assess who benefits and who is disadvantaged
What are the main problems we face in feeding the world?
- People are starving in poverty stricken regions
- People are not eating healthy food in wealthy regions
CAUSE OF THE PROBLEMS
Why are people starving in poverty stricken regions?
- They don't have money to buy food
- They don't own land to grow their own food
Why are people people not eating healthy food in wealthy regions?
- They don't have time to prepare their own meals from whole foods
- They buy prepared food and ingredients which is not healthy for them
To assess the subject of food seriously we must take into account every person, place and methodology, process as well as time and materials involved in food production, distribution, consumption and finally the after effects of consumption.
We can assess scenarios of how food is produced, distributed and consumed.
A few weeks ago I sent you a letter letting you know how thrilled and excited I was that someone like you at last had the reins. This on the back of your stance on Hinkley Point Power Station. I felt ‘wow’ this is the first real sign, when it comes to a Big decision, that a Prime Minister in modern history has truly stood up to the wishes of Big Business putting the interests of those they govern FIRST. I wrote you a letter of thanks and congratulations a few weeks ago.
I now read you’ve changed your mind . . . .I KNOW these horrible corporates – solely motivated by their own self-interests (nearly always at the expense of ordinary people) have a stronghold over whoever takes the reins in Downing Street (Blair and Cameron being the worst), but I really felt there was a change in the air when I read your announcement. God . . .look at Fukushima gradually contaminating all the oceans/ fish life/plankton, coral etc. on earth. Yes, I hear you say that Hinkley (being more ‘modern’) will be safer than the old ones but it only takes an earthquake, attack by a nutter etc. and we’ll have a Fukushima on our doorstep. It’s all made more idiotic when A/C the Sustainable Development Commission – a few years ago now I admit, produced figures that showed nuclear to be far and away the most expensive of ALL types of available energy.
I’m really sick of fighting for the (bleedin’ – excuse my French) obvious and will drag myself up to Bristol should this be necessary. In the same vein, I’m off to the Monsanto Tribunal next month. Being a farmer, GM is No1 on my list. I’ve already collected 1,000’s of signatures from folk to say they’ll pull the crops should they be grown (evidence of toxicity and failure are all over the internet). But, my banner will simply read – “GMO’s UK . . . You grow it we’ll burn it.” To save writing a book at this juncture, the info’s on our website www.tapeleygardens.com,www.gmfreeze.org www.genewatch.org and email@example.com and so many more.
I’m also being dragged into the fight to save the North Devon Hospital – meaning the nearest one will be Exeter 60 miles away. All this due to those soulless/ruthless fat cats PFI businessmen.
My contact details are enclosed should you wish to know more.
I wish you good luck in your job and strength to see through what you know to be right.
As I see it, and please correct me if you feel I’m wrong/mistaken, an ‘announcement’ by Liz Truss – our Environment Minister could be around the corner re. the planting of Genetically Modified (GM) crops. Liz Truss announced GM would be grown at last years’ Oxford Farming Conference – this when there were 4 times the number of people with groups like the Land Workers Alliance at the Oxford ‘Real’ Farming Conference nearby. Since then it’s gone quiet – VERY quiet which gives me cause for concern.
I’ve just watched the film about the Suffragette movement and feel inspired by their courage and sacrifice to help improve the lot of millions (albeit ‘shocked’ at how slowly and grudgingly other countries have followed suit with some even now not allowing women the vote). Many have said to me that ‘if they’ get the OK then the rest of Europe will follow (there is a small proportion of GM grown in Europe but activists in France, Poland, Spain etc. have done a great job minimising the spread).
Brexit will not help our cause in some ways I feel as we could end up trading more with the US where GM is rife of course. Having said that I’m not complaining that we left – it’s good to try something different/have more control over our own destiny. Also, if we the people want to do or stop (say) fracking, nuclear etc. and replace it with renewables etc.etc., we’ll have just our Government (Mr. Corbyn – pray God) to deal with and not the European Parliament etc. Isn’t it (yet all too predictable) that Theresa May, who announced soon after she became PM that the ‘Nuclear Power station at Hinkley Point (just across the water from us) does not seem viable due to the enormous costs (relative to cleaner – much much cleaner AND much cheaper wind,solar,biomass etc. etc.),’ has within weeks ‘changed her mind.’ It really is the same old ghastly story . . . the ‘men in black’ syphon the individual into the shadows whereby they prise open the individuals’ weak point with (no doubt) a mixture of threats or bribes to ‘force’ them to toe the corporate line.
We, the pro-sustainable anti-chemical farmers/lobbyists will stop at nothing to prevent this toxic, pesticide ridden food from being grown in our stunningly beautiful truly uniquely special country. I always say that if ‘they’ prove me wrong after ‘long-term’ (not Biotech funded/pro GM scientists as happens now) testing I’ll gleefully shut up forever and spend more time with my Highland cattle, pigs, sheep and Permaculture garden. If planted I promise I will go out with vast amounts of petrol on a dry, windy summer’s day, pour the petrol along the edge of the field (up wind of course) and put a match to it before moving onto the next field.
Anyone who knows me knows I mean what I say – I vandalised the GM wheat trial at Rothamsted Research Centre 4 plus years ago where they spent nearly a million pounds on security and was warned by a well-known (and highly respected) activist they might try to kill me. They were too scared to put me into prison (I didn’t pay my fine) because they didn’t want the media attention resulting in some people then digging a bit to find out why I was doing such things – I still owe ‘them’ nearly 4k.(They also HATE hunger strikes).
The evidence is available all over the internet about the dangers of GM and the herbicide Roundup (recently described as a ‘probable’ carcinogen by the WHO), and the devastation it’s caused to countries where it’s been grown and consumed is rife and being added to on a daily basis. This, to me, brings extreme shame on those responsible – this when there are sustainable more reliable alternatives. God Almighty, they’re spraying Roundup from helicopters and aeroplanes in parts of South America over crops which drifts into communities of people literally poisoning them.
Desperate as they are to cover the UK with their filthy crops, these pathetic and horrible companies cherry pick the easy pickings. . . . .A/C to wonderful GMO activist, Vandana Shiva, she wrote in the Resurgence magazine 2 years ago that more than 250,000 Indian farmers had committed suicide as a direct result of being suckered by the Biotech Industry and their glossy brochures with promises of bumper crops and riches (none of which materialised – the reality was, of course, quite the opposite).
It is so obvious it’s painful to even think about the fact that the more diversity of crops grown the safer the food chain. If there’s a drought across the bread basket of North America or the equivalent in Russia, once they’ve sucked every drop of water from under the ground, they’re lucky to get a fifth of the grain they should get (plus there’s the issue of needing to replenish the water table).
We at Tapeley in North Devon overwinter our ‘Highland’ cattle outdoors. They thrive solely off grass and hay (the ONLY sort of beef we should eat for health reasons – another story). We have a kitchen garden and Permaculture garden which ALWAYS produces much more food than the equivalent of arable crops - even in a good year, 2 polytunnels and a large shed from which we collect rain water which feeds our veg in dry periods. I have heard that in some parts of the States farmers collecting rain water get prosecuted. This, to me, must be some sort of yet another means of controlling the potentially ‘revolting’ masses-well this, I believe, is how BIG companies view all of us.
I also sincerely believe, having met people from all walks of life including the elite super rich, many of these folk view us ordinary people as slaves. There are, of course, (seemingly) exceptions . . . .Bill Gates has given millions towards vaccinations in Africa especially, others have helped with housing, water, medicine etc. etc. Much of this is, to me, little more than sticky plaster that cover the scratches on the surface until such time they fall off and need another one, which they’ll then probably have to pay for. I’ve tried to tickle their ‘humane’ underbelly and FAILED. Also, with regard to Gates . . .like ALL big capitalists their No1 focus is on the ‘Quick Fix One Size Fits All’ solution. One example is when Gates gave the John Innes Centre in Norfolk 10 million dollars to develop the ‘Genetically Modified blight resistant potato.’ This when the Savari Trust in Wales are developing a number of blight resistant potatoes using traditional plant breeding techniques. They have 5 or 6 already with more in the pipeline – this to try to stay 1 step ahead of ‘nature’ because diseases/pests are always ‘mutating’ to infiltrate their ‘prey.’ The GM potato was never going to get off the ground for this reason, but Gates (and his ilk) are so wrapped up in their impatient desire for instant results they’ll never look at the phenomenal power of natural solutions (they also sadly want to control everything to service their insatiable desire for ownership/ego).
There truly is a natural side effect free cure for practically every illness – much of it simple chemical free food, straight from the land, cannabis oil for cancers (especially) and so much more BUT Corporate companies will not put money into any of this unless they can make money out of it and/or get control. Christ’s message was you do not ‘give to receive’ – good luck to whoever tries to explain that one to Monsanto’s/Bayer’s boss . . .
I live in a big house which I’ve filled with people which sometimes brings up major issues. I do tours of the house and in our dining room have large billboards by artist Mark Brassington – the theme being the mindless slaughter of millions of farm animals purely for the 1% of fat cat farmers who send their animals, during foot and mouth, in crates across the channel to Europe (another story). One board has the caption: “The love of money is the root of ALL EVIL.” So many people ask if I’ve a problem with money to which I point out it’s the word ‘LOVE’ in this context that’s the problem.
Everybody knows the phrase ‘we are what we eat’ but still so few, especially in the (disgracefully called) ‘civilised’ world, fully embrace this. Yes there are more organic products on the shelves of small shops and supermarkets but we mustn’t I feel trust the literal meaning of so called ‘organic’ products that come across from all over the Globe (with the accompanying environmental damage).
I’d like to finish by giving some examples of infiltration by undercover police which is disgraceful and the antitheses of what our (so called) democracy stands for:
In the early part of this century, I, ‘awakened’ because of the unnecessary mindless slaughter of healthy animals, became an active member of Globalise Resistance (GR) – a lively group of activists who were simply trying to create a better world for our children and theirs. My first proper demonstration was the G8 Genoa 2001 where I was privileged to travel with the kindest most respectful people I’ve ever met in my life on the so called ‘Anarchist Express.’ There ensued the biggest riots Europe had seen for nearly 30 years and, very scary as it was at times, I have never looked back and went on nearly all the GR protests at home and abroad.
At this time we were doing 4 Health and Harmony Festivals here at Tapeley each year. My job was to get speakers for our Globalisation Forum. Mr. Taylor was of course a regular, and, to a lesser extent, Michael Meacher MP and George Monbiot – even Moazam Begg spoke here just after being released from Guantanamo Bay.
A seemingly leading light in GR was Simon Wellings. Wellings was part of the hard-core on the front line taking the blows and ushering the vulnerable to safer ground. He also came down to my home for the H&H gatherings.
After 2 or so years Guy arrived home to listen to his phone messages. During the 3rd or 4th message in kicked Welling’s voice. He was talking to a policeman in the Met telling them about our plans, what had been discussed in recent meetings and the rest.
Now . . . if GR had been a bunch of thugs (as was often portrayed) Wellings would have been subjected to a thorough kicking. Instead Guy with 6 or so others sitting in, simply played the tape to Wellings. Wellings was literally devastated – his whole world fell apart. He knew we were the good guys simply trying to help create a decent world for our children and theirs. He then dropped off the face of the planet.
I reflected on a demo against George Bush (who was visiting London) when following a leaked document from someone on the plane with Bush giving us his precise moves (so much for security . . .) we ended up with Reclaim the Streets at Hyde Park moments before Bush and his cavalcade were due to pass through (the official line was a second night at the Palace with the Queen – logic should have told anyone that there’s no way the Queen would have spent a second night with that brainless megalomaniac). It, needless to say, all kicked off BUT on the side of the road was Wellings on his own waving his arms and punching the air with his fists yelling to us “get stuck into the pigs . . .” I got pretty hurt, as did others, but Wellings – the main adjitator, walked away scott free.
We have, I believe, had similar infiltration in the GM campaign. We used to have annual/biannual meetings in a lovely rambling old home just over the border to Wales. A few weeks before one such event I was contacted by a lady (we’ll call her Dawn). She was ‘very’ keen to meet me and I said I would meet her in London where I was due to go to anyway for something. Dawn rang up nigh on daily and said she’d pick me up from Waterloo station (even though I insisted this was not necessary as I could meet her in her neck of the woods).
Dawn was effervescent, passionately anti-GM (and appeared to know her stuff – all out there anyway on the GM website) with long black plaits. She was showing particular interest in coming to Wales so I contacted the relevant people and she came for the weekend with a friend. They both took a lot of notes and kept themselves to themselves declining to attend the hedonistic parties after ‘work’ from 10pm and on to the early hours (a very important part of an activist’s curriculum).They left very enthusiastic to keep in touch and help in any way they could, and we never heard a squeak from them again plus their phones became uncontactable. (This is one of many such examples).
I’m writing this because of an appalling incident that occurred recently in London. It was during a largish rally in Trafalgar Square with around 3,000 people. Here, a lovely, kind, gentle man called Mizan was due to speak. Mizan has been organising the Marches Against Monsanto (MAM) these past few years because nobody else wanted to do it. I was told that soon after he started speaking, a lady in the crowd (known well to all of us as an active campaigner) verbally laid into Mizan and forced him off the stage. Of course, it could be the lady in Q was having a bad day but the outcome is that Mizan wants nothing to do with organising such things again. Indeed at the last MAM when I quietly lolled across the road to the gates of Downing Street where I pulled out a hefty set of chains, which happened to be in my rucksack along with an equally hefty padlock. A colleague, dressed as a bee, tried to cause a distraction and I was millimetres away from clipping the padlock tight when the police (who were rather nice – I was expecting a bit of a roughing up/fingers on the pressure points) were on me. I didn’t want to fight too hard because I didn’t want to get Mizan into trouble.
I’m writing all this because I feel it’s time we do another campaign – similar to the Green Gloves and others (I’ve done a few and still have people’s details ) entitled “YOU GROW IT WE’LL BURN IT . . .” There is more evidence than ever of the dangers of GM, their herbicides and pesticides we’re bored of noncing around. Prove us wrong and we’ll shut up. If not . . . (and for God’s sake BAN Roundup now.)
P.s. I always say you cannot be ‘anti’ anything unless you’re pro something (potentially) better. I’ve already mentioned the huge potential role pesticide free organic food, herbs – presented by a qualified herbalist, and hemp can play in healing people. Over and above this I am working with 2 super bright Aussies to, as far as we can, give reasonable figures as to how much more food we get, on average, from small sustainable farmers (of which there are millions) as compared to big farmers ploughing 100’s/1000’s of acres.
Hector's report re latest mail from the Bailiffs
I know I’ve written to some of you on this latest development so forgive me for repeating myself but if they take me to jail (as they’re suggesting re enclosed) I’d hugely appreciate it if you could get the following out. Enclosed is a copy of a speech delivered by Prince Charles in 2008 which sums up this dire situation perfectly. There’s also a piece by French Permaculturists which states they get twice as much food per acre than monoculture crops on average, plus it’s organic, bee/wildlife friendly etc.etc.(our Permaculture garden at Tapeley confirms the above). All our wretched Government needs to do is to give incentives to get the masses (unemployed especially) back to the land – just look at how quickly Fidel Castro achieved this when the Americans stopped sending over shiploads of food (all pretty toxic admittedly).
I have recently received a letter from the National Compliance and Endorsement Historic Debt Team stating they will double my fine (£3,729.55p) and/or ‘imprison’ me. Should the latter occur I have vowed to go on hunger strike and am mentally prepared to go the whole hog (even though prisons are nasty places at this time). Sadly nothing changes (historically speaking) without someone/group making a sacrifice. With Theresa May fast tracking all things Corporate – ‘yes’ to Nuclear, Fracking, the third Runway and (just around the next corner) GM crops with their corresponding hike in pesticides (without which they wouldn’t get a crop).
I’m not doing this for ‘fun’ . . . – I’ve written letters to Theresa May which (as expected) has fallen on deaf ears so, unfortunately (for me), it’s plan B. In a real democracy the voices of the people and their feelings/wishes would be heard with the corporations doing the best for us rather than simply hoovering up more feathers for their already outlandishly huge nests. In this scenario I wouldn’t feel I had to do actions and risk losing my freedom and (possibly) my life.
When I was a child the one (and only) bit of the Bible I was truly mesmerised by was the story of Moses and the parting of the Red Sea. This has happened to me on numerous occasions (as, I believe, is the case for all of us if we but opened our eyes). It’s been especially obvious to me when I’ve taken ‘personal initiatives’ – for example the ‘miracle’ of getting into the Labour Party conference to heckle the appallingly horrible then Prime Minister Tony Blair, doing the same 8 months later to Gordon Brown at the G8 in Edinburgh where I was the ONLY person not to be asked for ID or media accreditation. Then there was the scaling of the fence at Rothamstead Research Centre some 3 to 4 years ago where (A/C this document) the security guard left the CCTV booth at precisely the time I came out from the cover of the woods.
In the same vein I visited friends in Hertfordshire with my girlfriend (a county from which I am ‘banned’ after pulling crops) earlier this year. Being near to Harpendon (where the Rothamstead Research Centre abides) I thought I’d put my ‘ban’ to the test. To cut to the quick . . .following some nervy phaffing around we went round a corner to see 100’s of people scurrying from one building to another. I asked a lady ( who happened to be the organiser) where Huw Dylan Jones (the chief scientist who lied about the number of plants I pulled) was . . . “Are you here for Huw’s farewell seminar” the lady asked “Yes” I replied and was ushered into an office to ‘sign in’ but “you won’t have time to fill in the form so just write your names . . .” 30 seconds either way and we wouldn’t have got in – plus we had no idea such an important seminar by my nemesis, was going on. Huw’s jaw hit the floor when he saw me and the normally articulate scientist stuttered his way through more than a little timidly.
I’m writing these tales of the quite extraordinary coincidences/ ‘help’ because it screams out to me how much the Angellic Beings surrounding this planet want a ‘change’ but universal laws dictate ‘they’ cannot interfere directly – they can only lead us into situations where we humans have a ‘choice’ to do something or not, (I’ve written a book about this).
It’s really sad because whilst at Rothamstead they told me about really positive trials they were doing to protect crops from unwanted ‘visitors’ such as the Push-Pull technology in a so called ‘trap crop’ which pushes away unwanted damaging moths whilst attracting their natural enemies; plus pheromone traps etc.etc., so why oh why have the scientists gone back to GM wheat trials at Rothamstead? (I’m afraid we all know the answer to that one).
With our hospitals being closed by the bucket load due to Fat Cat PFI businessmen, ‘healthy food’, you would have thought, would have been a Government priority . . . .All they’d have to do is give Landowners tax breaks to allow local people to grow their own food in and around towns, cities and villages and sell the surplus. As you can see from the piece enclosed the French Permaculturists produce, on average, twice as much food (as ours does) as traditional/monoculture farms (AND it’s healthy – no sprays etc.).
It’s so obvious it breaks my heart – re-engaging people to the land is vital for our survival – you can’t eat computers. The huge problems we face are in no way better portrayed than by the enclosed graphs produced by the USDA and NASS (the National Agricultural Statistics Services)showing the huge hikes in all the major illnesses from Hepatic Bile Duct Cancer, Senile Dementia, Autism in children and Diabetes, to deaths from Alzheimer’s and Parkinsons, Thyroid and Bile Duct cancers etc.etc.etc.
I know the reason the Bailiffs are onto me again (having not heard from them for 2 or so years). It’s because 6 or so weeks ago I went to the Monsanto Tribunal at The Hague where on arrival at the (so called) ‘Peoples Assembly’ I pulled out a banner stating ‘GM crops UK . . you grow it we’ll burn it . . . Life is So Precious.’ I spent the next 3 days apologising to people/the authorities for my ‘thoughtless misdemeanour’ and was allowed to do a small static demonstration on our last day with ‘John the Baptiste’ (yes that was his name – and he IS).
We did similar when we got back to the UK outside Downing Street and Parliament Square – this all on a beautiful sunny day so the banner looks great. We’re truly blessed in the UK to have more freedom than other countries to demonstrate (these pictures plus more are on our website www.tapelypark.com). 3 or so months ago I was part of the March Against Monsanto in London where I tried to chain myself to the gates of Downing Street. The police were so nice I felt guilty and didn’t push to get the padlock locked once I’d wrapped the chains around me (I probably would have done if I had been in France or Italy where the CRS and Carabinieri are not so human).
Having said all this, in the name of ‘trying to be fair’, the authorities have, at times, behaved appallingly. In 1998 a Government scientist called Arpad Puztai working at the Rowett Research Centre in Aberdeen was given the task of doing tests on rats fed GM potatoes comparing the ‘health’ of them to those fed normal potatoes. When he published his results in which he revealed health problems with the GM potatoes compared to the non-GM, he was sacked.
Likewise, Dr Seralini a French scientist who had been doing tests on rats fed a GM diet compared to rats fed a normal diet. The results showed enormous differences (mainly a huge increase in tumours of those fed GM food) between the 2. On publishing his results he was ridiculed/attacked (e.g for not using enough poor rats per trial) and left the Houses of Parliament (which I AND Huw Dylan Jones attended)on a drip (having felt a smear on his bare leg the day before), and spent the next 12 or so days in intensive care nurtured by the wonderful Gerald Miles – without him he might not have made it. One consequence was his planned nationwide tour of farming communities had to be cancelled.
Now . . . .what gets me is whether he was poisoned or not is when he, and Puztai before him, published their ‘alarming results’, instead of saying ‘goodness these scientists might have unearthed a problem with this technology . . for the sake of humanity AND animal health (yes – dog/animal food is rammed full of pesticide/GM ridden food) let’s get scientists from BOTH sides and agree on a methodology to find out once and for all whether the damn stuff is safe or not’. This is what I will go on hunger strike for in prison.
I am now facing the prospect of a fairly lengthy prison sentence. The letter I’ve just received from the bailiffs is more determined than previous letters. I’ve paid my court costs, the clean-up costs of the 3 plants I actually uprooted (not 550 as Huw said – he admitted it was a guestimate when I met him at Parliament), my court costs and (to me) a generous donation for the clean-up of the organic seed I sewed.
Our problem is those who govern/make decisions on our behalf are ALL heavily leaned upon by Fat Cat Corporate lobbyists. Likewise, all official government bodies simply do what they’re told by the major Corporations (as everyone knows). The Advisory Committee to the Government had, the last time I looked, 8 out of the 14 scientists overtly pro GM/pesticide etc. = the vote will only go one way. Also, on my 50th birthday I was ‘accidently’ sent a newsletter by the NFU – of which I’m NOT a member. It consisted of 4 pages of the most pro-GM rhetoric (sorry . . .propaganda) I’ve ever read. The section (1:40th) dedicated to problems was the most wishy washy ‘problem free’ piece imaginable. Most US, Canadian, Mexican, South American etc. farmers deeply regret getting sucked into a technology where you can’t keep your seed or you’re prosecuted – including the Indian farmers – some of the poorest in the world, who’ve been committing suicide in their 10’s of 1,000’s.
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH