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(en) UK, SchNEWS 455, Friday 28th May, 2004

From Jo Makepeace <webmaster@schnews.org.uk>
Date Fri, 28 May 2004 06:44:00 +0200 (CEST)

A - I N F O S N E W S S E R V I C E
News about and of interest to anarchists
http://ainfos.ca/ http://ainfos.ca/index24.html

"Under this ruling spreading GM pollution appears to be recognized
as a viable corporate ownership strategy" Pat Mooney ETC Group
Imagine you're a gardener who likes to keep things neat and tidy,
while you're next door neighbour's idea of paradise is a bit more
on the wild side. Their weed seeds drift across the fence and
plant themselves in your soil and start to germinate. You lose the
plot, and threaten to call the Council to get them to issue an
anti social gardening behaviour order. But before you know it, the
neighbours take you to court for stealing their seed! Ridiculous?
But that's just what's happened in Canada.

Last Friday the Canadian Supreme Court made a final ruling on a
seven year legal battle between the worlds biggest baddest biotech
firm, Monsanto, and Percy Schmeiser a Canadian farmer. The court
ruled that Percy had infringed Monsanto's patent rights by growing
genetically modified Round-up Ready Canola (oil seed rape) on his
land. Forget the fact that Percy didn't plant any of Monsanto's
seeds. That it was Percy's seeds that got contaminated by GM
canola and that he didn't even know that his crop was
contaminated! Forget all that, Percy was infringing Monsanto's
"intellectual property rights"!

This strange twist of the law which persecutes people for having
their own property polluted goes back to a Canadian Federal law
passed in 1991 which ruled that patents have precedence over and
above a farmer's rights. The ruling means that if a farmer has
their crops contaminated with GM seeds then they could be
potentially liable to pay Monsanto for "benefiting" from their
technology. Terry Boehm, Vice-President of the Canadian National
Farmers Union said "It moves us further along the path where
corporations will control seed and farmers will lose the right to
save seed."

It wasn't all good news for Monsanto. The Supreme Court overturned
an earlier court ruling that said Percy should pay the profits of
his 1998 crop - about $20,000 Canadian dollars, because Percy
didn't knowingly grow GM Canola. Also he doesn't have to pay one
cent of court costs to Monsanto as he did not profit from using
Monsanto's technology. Percy believes he won the moral victory and
that Monsanto will "have a hard time in pursuing patent
infringement against other farmers. They are now going to have to
prove that a farmer profited from having RR canola in their field.
The Court noted that my profits were the same whether I had
conventional canola or RR canola, so I find it hard to see how
Monsanto can say in any future case that the farmer made more
money because of their product. This decision may have removed the
"teeth" from their patent. I also believe that Monsanto will face
huge liability issues down the road. The Court determined that
they have ownership to the plant and that I infringed by having it
in my field. With ownership comes responsibility and I assume more
lawsuits will be filed against them for the contamination of
farmer's fields." But Monsanto is a splice and dice bully who like
to reap and sow their wild oats against farmers, and they may just
decide to take on any that speak out against them. Percy still has
to pay his own legal fees and only managed to carry on fighting
thanks to supporters donations and remortgaging his home; many
farmers simply haven't got the time or money to fight a court

Percy has also lost a lifetimes work. For the past 50 years, he
had been saving seeds from his best crops, something that farmers
have been doing for millennia to produce a diverse range of high
yielding crops suitable to local conditions. Now his work has been
contaminated with GM. And if you have to buy some new seed, there
is a high chance that you'll buy seed from Monsanto who after
years of aggressively buying up seed companies are now the world's
second biggest seed company!


Canola pollen can travel up to 26 km a year so this sort of
genetic contamination is spreading. In Canada Monsanto now have
their own "police force", many of them ex-Royal Canadian Mounted
Police who walk onto a farmers land and take away some seeds of
plants for testing to make sure that the farmer isn't using
Monsanto's seeds. If a farmer catches them they just say "if you
take us to court, we will drag you through the court system and
you won't have a farm left." They also send threatening letters to
anyone they think might have had their crops contaminated by
Monsanto's crops, threatening to sue for $100,000-$150,000
compensation. The letters also stated that the farmers could also
be sued for revealing the threats to anyone else!

This pleasant company are now turning its attention to weaker
opponents, taking out newspaper ads in Mexico warning peasants
that if they are found using GM seed illegally, they risk fines
and even prison! Silvia Ribeiro of ETC Mexico says "This will come
as shocking news to indigenous farmers in Mexico, whose maize
fields have been contaminated with DNA from genetically modified
plants, and to farmers everywhere who are fighting to prevent
genetically modified organisms from trespassing in their fields."

One of the biotech companies long term strategies is that
eventually GM contamination will be so widespread that eventually
the public will have to accept GM is here to stay. The Canadian
court ruling - ironically the day before International
Biodiversity Day - says that Monsanto now have the rights over
anything that its genes get into. Despite not managing to get
money out of anyone whose crops are contaminated Monsanto welcomed
the judgement and claim that the world needs GM crops: "Patent
protection encourages innovations that will lead to the next
generation of value-added products for Canadian farmers." Showing
that obviously farmers can't be trusted with producing seeds and
crops and we've all got to leave it to the experts to produce
"value-added products", but just who is gaining the value?
Monsanto pretty much admitted what it is really interested in by
saying. "This ruling maintains Canada as an attractive investment

SchNEWS reckons it's up to people everywhere to make sure through
direct action and boycotts GM doesn't become an 'attractive
investment opportunity' in their neck of the woods.

* To read Percy's full statement www.percyschmeiser.com

* To contact the excellent ETC www.etcgroup.org

* Seedy Sundays take the old idea of gardeners swapping seeds, an
idea that has spread through Canada and the US and is slowly
gaining ground in the UK. www.seedysunday.org


Crap Arrest of the Week

For making chips...

Three German men are being charged with possession of firearms
after they caught using homemade potato guns. They got the designs
from the internet and tried them out by the side of a lake in
Kirchhain-Niederwald. They drove away after showing the guns off
to spectators, and were chased by police. The men were also in
possession of 'a number of potatoes', which they claimed their gun
could fire up to 300 yards. Potato guns are classed as a firearm,
and none of the men had a permit to carry one.


SchLIVE at The Albert Pub, Monday 31st.

The comedy news show with films and news read live, plus live

Also see us performing at Cambridges Strawberry Fair next Saturday
and check out our stall at Kingston Green Fair this Bank Holiday



"I highly recommend anyone with a local arms dealer get 10 mates
together and shut them down for the day, it's easy and if done
carefully non-chargable" - one of the protesters who helped
blockade and close down arms maker EDO MBM's premises in Brighton
for the day last Thursday. This is a firm who manufacture bomb and
missile components and 'proudly supports' the Iraq occupation.

The entrance at EDO was blockaded before six were arrested, while
a group got onto the roof of their building - to enjoy the view of
Brighton before being arrested. One of the roof climbers braved a
broken ankle caused by the climb, and came down voluntarily only
to be arrested in the ambulance, charged with aggravated trespass,
but un-arrested later in hospital. Another stayed on the roof
until late evening before being arrested.

And this wasn't the last EDO heard from those pesky kids; last
weekend a few buckets of red paint hit the walls of their
building, and there was a noise demo at the entrance last

* There will be another NOISE DEMO at EDO MBM's premises at 7AM on
the 10th June. Bring along yer pots and pans to make some noise.
07973228335 www.safp.org.uk



Remember the New Kensington Pub in Brighon's North Laine? Well the
ex-landlord came a step closer to seriously getting the beers in
after a landmark ruling in the High Court last Friday (see SchNEWS
251). The battle has been raging for nearly a decade with hundreds
going on rent strike and many of the landlords going bankrupt and
homeless as they took on the big breweries.

But now a pub landlord from Staines was awarded £250,000 in
damages after he and 600 other landlords took pub chain
Inntrepreneur to court over their right to buy barrels of beer at
cheaper prices. The ruling says that the landlord was forced to
pay too much for the beer he purchased for his pub. The ruling -
which the company have a month to appeal - may cost Inntrepreneur
more than £100m and is believed to be the first award of damages
in the UK for infringement of competition law.

So is cheap pub beer on the horizon? The Licensed Victuallers
Association which represents many of the 25,000 licensees in
Britain who are tied to four major firms, warned that pub chains
may raise rents to compensate for charging less for beer.

* Inntrepreneur is owned by Japenese venture capitalists Nomura
whose asset stripping past is shrowded in mystery as it hides
behind a large number of front and off-shore companies. Nomura
must throw a good party because they also own First Quench - the
country's largest off- licence chain that includes Thresher,
Victoria Wine, Wine Rack and Bottoms Up. Nothing like good old
freedom of choice in the High Street is there?


Positive SchNEWS

Last week the Belgian Mininster of the Enviroment slapped a
£35,000 fine on a waste disposal firm for illegally dumping
rubbish at the D'Hoppe Forest landfill site which was the site of
a protest camp (SchNEWS 433/411) until last July when it was
evicted. The landfill site was due to be expanded but in another
display of the power of direct action this was prevented, and the
fines are down to the attention brought to the area, and the
Euro-trashers who were destroying it.

The minister also promised more and higher fines were to come next
week for the other illegal garbage dumpers.


SchNEWS in brief

** There's a National Day of Protest Against the BNP's party
political broadcast today (28) from 5pm London BBC Television
Centre, BBC Manchester Office, Oxford Road and BBC Wales office,
Cardiff. More details info@naar.org.uk 020 7247 9907

** There's talk of another teknival this bank holiday so get your
transport and shit-shovel sorted for the start of the summer.
07092 018200/07092 805720

** There's a demo by Walthamstow Anarchist Group 11am-1pm this
Saturday (29th) against the supermarket's announcement to trial a
reduced sick pay policy in 20 stores. Tesco's a 10-15 minute walk
down Hoe Street from Walthamstow Central.
info@walthamstowanarchy.org.uk 07810 288 889

** Permaculture Woodland Gathering: 3- 6 June, Hill Holt Wood,
Lincolnshire, get-together on the subject of sustainable woodland
management. 0845 458 1805 woods@permaculture.org.uk

** A day of workshops and speakers on Oil, War and Climate Change
this Saturday (29) 10am - 6pm. Teviot Row House, Bristo Square
Edinburgh. 0131 622 2297 www.sead.org.uk

** End the Occupation: Why US-UK troops should leave Iraq now:
discussion 7pm, Wednesday, 9th June Mahatma Gandhi Room Indian
YMCA 41 Fitzroy Square, London WC1 Speakers include Tariq Ali,
Jeremy Hardy, Haifa Zangana and Ewa Jasiewic

** Reverend Billy Live! The revivalist preacher who leads the
Church of Stop-Shopping will be at Conway Hall 25 Red Lion Square,
London WC1R 4RL on 9th June from 7pm. Bar, DJ, Organic Food and
Stalls from 7pm. For tickets 0870 787 9871

** Campaigning by the South Rusholme Residents Association in
Manchester has saved Platt Fields Park from plans to build a car
park. To celebrate the return of Platt Fields Park, there will be
a Picnic there on Sunday 13th June 2pm

** The world's largest company and employer, Wal-Mart will be
facing The Against The Wal Roadshow at their shareholders
convention in Arizona between June 4th and 5th. Employing Chinese
doll makers at 13 cents per hour helped boss, S. Robson Walton
become the World's richest man in 2001. But an alternative to the
low wage high profit $220 billion a year company is being offered
by the coalition of labor, human rights, environmental and peace
activists. They'll be running an Alternatives to Wal-Mart Village
with DIY skill-sharing and strategy sessions for the emerging
anti-Wal-Mart movement performances by musicians and artists all
day long www.againstthewal.org

** Remember Clem Turff, an anarchist involved in DAM and
Solidarity Federation ,in the anti-poll tax movement; Hunt Sabbing
and the fight against the Criminal Justice Act? Clem died last
year and people are hoping to put a short pamphlet together of his
life. If anyone has reminiscences or anecdotes please send them to

** Zoe Young will be talking about her book 'A New Green Order'
all about the dodgy dealings of the World Bank, next Thursday (3
June) at the Cowley Club, 12 London Rd., Brighton 6pm

** 6th Annual Cannabis Festival, 5th June, Brockwell Park,
Brixton. March from Kennington Park, opposite Oval tuibe station.
Meet 12 noon. Festival from 1pm.


Anti-War Briefs

* In February 1991 Alex Izetto received nine vaccinations in 24
hours in preparation of the Gulf War but never went there because
the war ended two days before his departure.

He now suffers from various illnesses and a judgment in May 2003
acknowledged the connection between the vaccinations and his bad
health. Nevertheless he was only granted half of the war pension
because "in December 2003, a war pension tribunal ruled that Mr
Izett was only 50% disabled." Because of this he has been on
hunger strike since 1 May 2004. If you want to support him: 020
209 4751 www.refusingtokill.net

* On Monday (31) from 12 noon gather in Parliament Square for
Brian Haw's 3rd anniversary of camping outside parliament in
protest against the war on Iraq.

* Last Friday Demonstrators stormed the Caterpillar Factory to
campaign against its support for the Israeli army and the D9
bulldozers that they sell (see SchNEWS 454).

* 12 protestors from the Tyneside Palestine Solidarity Campaign,
invaded and blocked the entrance of Caterpillar in Peterlee,
county Durham. Some protesters climbed on several of the firm's
bulldozers, and others chained themselves to the main gates, and
the workforce was leafleted.

Several police officers were called to the demonstration and cut
the chains with bolt cutters, but no arrests were made and no-one
was injured in the incident. Caterpillar refused to comment on the


Inside SchNEWS

Jeff Luers is serving an unbelievable 22 years for setting fire to
3 SUV vehicles in a car yard in Eugene, USA, to make a statement
about global warming. This sentence is unbelievably harsh, seeing
as his co-defendant got three years - a more average time for
eco-inspired arson. There will be a global day of action on June
12th in his support - to find out what's going on your area to
mark this day see www.freefreenow.org

Write to Jeff Luers, #13797671, OSP, 2605 State Street Salem, OR
97310 USA.

* The Earth Liberation Support prisoner list has more than doubled
in recent months. To get names and address's of prisoners you can
write to see www.spiritoffreedom.org.uk


..And Finally...

Hunting is a religion, and should be protected like all other
religions. This is the novel new idea being promoted by a group
calling themselves the Free Church of Country Sports, who are
hoping to use the Human Rights Act to protect their cult status.
Its 'founding fathers' claim that proposed legislation to ban
hunting will infringe their rights as a religious minority.

Comparing the hunt to other religions, they reckon that new
members are 'baptised' in the blood of the killed animal (this is
'no stranger than dressing them in white and submerging them in
water' apparently), they blow a horn similar to that used in
Jewish customs, and have their own language, art and customs. One
of the founders maintained that the church is valid, adding 'We
have plenty of headed note paper.'!

They are currently looking to recruit 7000 members, and get
official recognition as a religion. "As a church, we could not be
attacked by a government. There would, of course, be a court case,
which is what we want", said a spokesman.

Here at SchNEWS Towers we're praying for divine intervention.



SchNEWS warns all readers we'll be bnack with more seedy goings on
with the growth of Darwinian capitalism ... Honest!


We're looking for photos and cartoons relating to what's been
happening over the past year for the next SchNEWS Annual - email
stuff to webmaster@schnews.org.uk or post it to the address below



What's On? Check out out Party and Protest guide at
www.schnews.org.uk/pap/guide.htm - it's updated every week, has
sections on regular events, local events, protest camps and



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