December 2006


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Science for the People Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Robt Mann <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 22 Dec 2006 21:42:20 +1200
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Science for the People Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
text/plain (18 kB) , text/html (19 kB)
fwd to me by my sometime mentor now GM-PR agent 
Vivian Moses, who tells me I'm here listed among 
Shrivastava's hyperbole about myself is news to 
me, and embarrassing.  But the gist of this story 
is important.



Biotech GM seeds buccaneers destroy India's Rice Economy

Arun Shrivastava

December 21, 2006

The India Government is firmly under control of 
buccaneers of bio-technology and spurious Life 
Sciences multinational corporations.  Despite 
rules to the contrary, GM experiments have been 
going on across India with the complicity of the 
Indian Government. Most importantly, the attack 
is now on rice.

India is a centre of origin for rice and the 
centre for diversity for rice genes, in the same 
way as Mexico is for corn. It is therefore much 
more than just a rice country.  This makes the 
Government's cavalier attitude to Indiaís Non-GM 
status for rice, one of irresponsible criminal 
negligence.  In embarking on high-risk field 
trials of GM-rice, it exposes our rice farmers to 
contamination by GM including transgenic 
contamination of wild species and the rice seed 
stock.  If we Indians lose control over local 
rice seeds we lose our right to food and 
nutrition.  We lose our sovereignty.

Has the Government exercised due diligence?

In granting permission for field trials, the 
Government of India has failed to protect the 
peopleís interest and health.  The Supreme Court 
of India [SC] in its interim order in matter of a 
Public Interest Litigation [PIL] number 260 of 
2006 [1st May 2006] had directed that an 
inter-ministerial "Genetic Engineering Approvals 
Committee" [GEAC] be formed and all applications 
for field trails be routed via GEAC.  This does 
not imply that the SC had given a carte blanche 
to GEAC to approve field trials; rather, the 
directive was to prevent one department [the 
Department of Biotechnology] from taking 
unilateral decisions and bring in some discipline.

However, in the 67th Meeting of the Genetic 
Engineering Approval Committeeí held on 
22.05.2006, the GEAC brushed aside all such 
concerns and in utter defiance of the spirit of 
the Order it has rubberstamped an astonishing 91 
GM products for multi-location trials [MLTs]

91 approvals in one meeting.

Which forced the Supreme Court to pass another order on 20th September, 2006:

[Whilst it is ] not inclined to direct stoppage 
of field trials. At the same time, [the Supreme 
Court] deem it appropriate to direct the GEAC to 
withhold the approvals till further directions 
are issued by this Court on hearing all 
concerned. [Record of Proceedings, Item No 9, 
Writ Petition No 260 of 2006; the Supreme Court 
of India]

Not only that approvals have been rushed through 
in anticipation of a possible full spectrum ban 
on field trial in India, activists have been 
stone walled from obtaining information on 
locations and type of seeds being tested.  It is 
only after petition under Right to Information 
[RTI Act of 2005] were filed that some 
information has been revealed by the Department 
of Biotechnology.

Thus, the big seed companies [in this instance 
Monsanto, operating through its Indian Joint 
Venture partners Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds 
Corporation or Mahyco] have committed crimes 
against humanity with full connivance of 
officials of the Department of Biotechnology and 
members of GEAC [which means several Ministries 
are also involved, chiefly, the Minister of 
Agriculture & the Ministry of Environment & 

This is a crime against the people of India and 
against India's farmers because these approvals 
have been given knowing the fact that in the last 
two years, 70% of the farmer suicides in the 
Maharashtra belt are Bt cotton farmers suicides.

"During the latter part of April, the Centre for 
Sustainable Agriculture (CSA) uncovered deadly 
toxic reaction in sheep and goats in Warangal in 
AP from grazing in Bt cotton fields in Feb/March, 
post the last cotton harvest of 2005-2006.  Local 
shepherds estimate the total mortality for the 
area to be around 10,000 dead sheep and goats." 
[Page 4, Application for interim order, in the SC 
of India, No 260 of 2006]

We do not care how many acres have been planted. 
We do know that six varieties of Bt rice are 
under open field trials. These are: MRP 5305 Bt., 
MRP5319Bt., MRP 5401 Bt., MRP5445Bt., MRP 5629 
Bt., and MRP5631 Bt.

Whilst Bt rice trials have been approved in 10 
out of India's 25 states, we suspect that the 
total area where GE field trails have been 
slipped in, without knowledge of the poor farmers 
who rented their lands, could be significant.

This is not a new war

The United States of America declared a war on 
Indian rice [and food security] way back in the 
early 1960s when India's No 1 scientist mole, Dr 
M.S. Swaminathan, stole the gene bank of rice, 
evolved over decades by Dr Riccharia, and passed 
it over to the Americans.  How many genetic 
varieties have been stolen? No one really knows.

Swaminathan was the main dramatis personae in 
what is known as "the great[est] gene robbery" in 
the history of mankind.  [See, "The Great Gene 
Robbery", by Dr Claude Alvarez, The Illustrated 
Weekly of India, March 23-April 5, 1986]

India had 120,000 varieties of rice seeds; today, 
no more than 50 are available. This is United 
Statesí war on genetic diversity, ably supported 
by scientist-criminals like MS Swaminathan. And 
the worst crime of the Indian Government is to 
have these criminals head Agriculture Policy of 
India.  At age 75, Swaminathan lives to lord it 
over many Expert Committees, including crucial 
ones in the Ministry of Agriculture.  The deadly 
tentacles of this hydra-headed monster extend in 
many ministries of the Government of India. From 
early 1960s, Swaminathan has been the front of 
the Rockefellers, implementing their agenda with 
full support of the US Government. [See:]

Emboldened by a deliberately errant Indian 
Regulator, which is malfunctioning with intent 
and deliberation to support a pro GE agenda, and 
the open support of USAID, the GM seeds producers 
are furthering the agenda of destroying India's 
food sovereignty and food security knowing fully 
well that GE seeds do not enhance productivity 
[yield], which is what Indian farmers need.

"For example, the USAID-backed initiative, 
Agricultural Biotechnology Support Project-II 
(ABSP-II), is based and directed from Cornell. 
ABSP partners have included Asgrow, Monsanto, and 
Pioneer Hi-Bred. Promoting GM is, of course, an 
official part of USAID's remit - one of its roles 
being to "integrate GM into local food systems." 

The Trojan horse of GE seeds in India

That war has been taken to new heights by 
Monsanto. Few know that Mahyco is the Trojan 
horse through which Monsanto is slipping in GM 
seeds.  Monsanto's website says:

     *      Joint venture with Mahyco 50:50 for 
marketing of biotech cotton seeds and 74:26 for 
marketing of seeds. Both these joint ventures are 
by parent company and not MIL.
     *     Parent Company is 51 per cent 
investment in Joint Venture with EID Parry 
(Hybrid rice seed business).

     *      R & D centre of Bangalore also belongs to parent Company.

In effect, Mahyco is the front.

As early as 1999, the Research Foundation for 
Science, Technology and Ecology (RFSTE) 
challenged the permission given by the Government 
to M/s Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds Company Limited 
[Mahyco, Monsantoís JV partners] in the Supreme 
Court, vide their Writ Petition No. 71 of 1999 
for carrying out multi-centric trials (these are 
limited field trials) at 15 locations in 7 states 
without framing proper guidelines, rules and 
systems for evaluating the bio-safety and 
ecological and environmental impacts of 
genetically modified organisms used in crops. 

Thus, it is on record that right from the 
earliest MLTs for Bt cotton, "improper and 
illegal procedures" were followed by the GEAC/DBT 
and that contamination from these limited field 
trials (MLTs), were a major source of concern. 
These observations by RFSTE are part of the 
record of the Rejoinder Affidavit.

The Indian taxpayer is now paying Monsanto's 
debt.  The people of India will continue to pay 
Monsanto with their lives and property.

The repercussions of the Regulatorís releases of 
GM foods in India will be global.

World's best known scientists have sent their submissions

What is most heartening is that leading 
scientists from all over the world have joined 
hands with Indian activists with their expertise 
and experience.  Many have filed exclusive 
submissions to the Supreme Court.

"Dr. Arpad Pusztai, the world renowned 
toxicologist and leading expert in protein 
lectins in a telephone conversation with 
Petitioner No 1 said that in all these years of 
scrutinising industry studies, (and most of these 
have passed through his hands), he has never seen 
anything quite like this.  According to David 
Schubert, the safety testing data on the Ministry 
(GEAC) website is "very poorly done and in the 
absence of REAL DATA it is impossible to make any 
assessment of the validity of their claims".  Dr. 
Doug Gurian Sherman, Senior Scientist at the 
Centre For Food Safety concurs.  Dr. Robert Mann 
formerly senior lecturer in biochemistry at the 
University of Auckland and Advisor to successive 
Ministry's of Health in NZ, says, "I regard the 
'Bt'-brinjal field-trial proposal as one of the 
most ill-conceived I have encountered in my three 
decades of critical appraisal of GM.  The risks 
and hazards, while not exactly known or indeed 
precisely foreseeable, appear to be so grave that 
the proposed field-trials should be enjoined 
pending a thorough assessment such as has yet to 
be performed."  Dr. Mae Wan Ho (of the 
Independent Science Panel) and Prof. Joe Cummins, 
Prof. Emeritus of Genetics, University of Western 
Ontario, Canada, say: "In India, brinjal would be 
comparable to potato or tomato in the American 
diet.  GM Egg Plant Contains Bt Toxin Linked to 
Hundreds of Allergy Cases and Thousands of Sheep 
Deaths.  It would be unthinkable and 
irresponsible to approve the genetically modified 
Dr. Mae-Wan Ho and Prof. Joe Cummins find neither 
published studies nor experimental details on 
safety tests in the application for field 
releases of the Bt brinjal and raise serious 
questions.  Instead of approving more GM crops, 
regulatory authorities in India should start a 
comprehensive enquiry into the health impacts of 
Bt cotton and impose a ban on further releases of 
all GM crops".

So, the buccaneers have pushed GM rice and GM 
veggies: staple food of Indians. They have 
stealthily planted GM seeds in plots right across 
India. It is a well known fact that GM seeds can 
easily contaminate non-GM seeds through cross 
pollination. GM contamination could be widespread 
because there is no way to prevent contamination 
across Indiaís farming areas.

How you can help India

In 2005-06, Indian rice exporters exported 5 
million tonnes of rice valued at US$1.53 billion 
to 102 countries worldwide. Their main markets 
are Europe, North America, West Asia, and 
Australia. In each of these countries, the 
respective Governments must

Warn The Indian Government that Consumers Do Not Want GM Indian Rice

We suggest: Start Testing

Next, if you are a consumer, petition your local 
representatives to send a strong letter to the 
Government of India to install internationally 
acceptable test protocols to check for 
contamination, at all ports and in all states and 
that pending such decision no primary foods be 
allowed in importing countries.  Most 
importantly, ask your representative to tell the 
Government of India to

Stop all GM field trials because it will destroy the global environment

None of us wants to hurt Indian exporters and 
farmers; many poor farmers depend on steady 
market provided by the exporters.  Every farmerís 
association has come out against GM seeds.  The 
All India Rice Exporters Association has 
expressed its readiness to work with all persons 
who refuse to fall in line with a pro-GM agenda 
because of the demonstrated risks of GE 
technology.  But we are also sure that when their 
market shrinks, these exporters and their 
supplier farmers will hang every politician and 
member of the Indian Parliament from the nearest 

The impact would be swift and decisive.  There is 
no other option.  Pass the news far and wide.

Undertaking required from the Indian Government

The Government of India must give an undertaking 
to the Indian rice consumers worldwide that

[a] it was dishonest in that it did not exercise 
due diligence and checks at ports, including bio 
safety assessment based on the precautionary 

[b] it has unconditionally banned all GM rice and GM food field trials;

[c] it shall make public the names of producers 
of GM seeds, ownership [including joint ventures 
in India], location, contact number, names of 
principal officers, and nationality of the 
companies, it has granted permission for trials 
and dates when permissions for trials were 

[d] it publicly acknowledges the harms caused to 
humans and environment if GM crops are planted 
and/or consumed based upon independent published 
studies, and

[e] It is prepared to compensate for health 
damages caused to consumers because of 
consumption of GM rice.

If possible bring in lawsuits against the 
Government of India for allowing shipment, if 
rice exports test positive for GM.

Bt (GM) rice has not been approved for human 
consumption and Bt foods including rice are a 
proven health hazard.

All GM foods are weapons of mass destruction. 
Therefore, bring-in lawsuits against the 
Government of the USA, including the US-FDA and 
USDA, like the instance cited below:

The most recent incident of contamination has 
occurred with American Long Grain Rice. The 
announcement in August 2006 that an unapproved 
variety of genetically modified (GM) rice, i.e. 
not approved for human consumption, had been 
found at low levels in US long-grain rice shocked 
the global food industry.  Bayer Crop Science's 
GM LL601RICE had last been grown in field trials 
in 2001 and was not intended for 
commercialization. Liberty Link 601 [LL601 rice] 
has been modified to be tolerant to Bayer's 
herbicide, Liberty (glufosinate), so farmers can 
use the weed-killer without harming the crop.

The global marketing of unapproved GM rice has 
led to product withdrawals in Switzerland, 
Germany, France, Sweden, Ireland and the UK. 
Exports to Europe require certification that 
foods are GM-contaminant free. Japan has zero 
tolerance for GM crops, has halted rice imports 
from the USA, and is carrying out extensive tests 
to detect LL601contamination level and extent.

It is obvious that there has been a cover-up. 
Most corporate crimes are committed with full 
knowledge of top management. Bayer knew about the 
contamination before it was discovered.  So does 
Monsanto, despite its claims on its website that 
it operates through an Indian parent company.

Most of all, the Indian Regulator must carry the 
highest responsibility and stands heavily 
indicted. .

The US Regulators are implicated for concealing 
the contamination from Bayer's LL601 variety. 
Bayer is being sued by growers in Arkansas, 
California, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and 
Texas, who have filed lawsuits amounting to 
hundreds of millions of dollar for damaging 
farmersí sales through loss of markets.  The 
contamination had gone undetected because no 
testing was done prior to this year.

The US Government is not only stealing genetic 
assets, it is deliberately promoting near lethal 
food worldwide. Genetic Engineering if not 
stopped will lead to the irreversible 
contamination of the world's food at the 
molecular level and in perpetuity. This 
demonstrates the seriousness of the crisis we 

We need a million lawsuits worldwide

We need every lawyer, who is not part of the 
inner coterie of the murderous neo-cons in 
Washington and London and their minions 
elsewhere, to work on a standard draft in 
accordance with their respective national 
Environment Protection Laws, Food Laws, and 
restrictive provisions for GE experimentations, 
and file one million lawsuits worldwide against 
Monsanto, Bayer, and others who have tested and 
tried in open fields any genetically modified 
crops that is food for us. Lawyers also need 
food, healthy food!

Whilst a lawsuit claiming damage to health may 
warrant proof of evidence of "damage" which will 
be difficult to obtain, therefore, appellants 
should seek damages for contamination from 
genetic engineering that is known to cause [a] 
damages to living cells, [b] damages the 
environment, and [c] damages biological diversity.

If you are a consumer, talk to lawyers in groups 
and file class action suits.  There is enough 
evidence from a number of animal studies that 
genetically modified foods can make you 
infertile, retard your children's growth, cause 
unknown and untreatable diseases, destroy your 
life and terminate your life prematurely.

These murderers can beat us up, bribe the Indian 
Police to lock our farmers up, and file utterly 
baseless cases just to harass us.  But none of 
these companies can fight a global opposition.

Your life and health is in your hands.  Help us fight this global menace.

Arun Shrivastava is a management consultant.  He 
can be contacted at [log in to unmask] 


1. The above url documents what is going on in 
India and how the big bio-tech firms are misusing 
their financial and political clout to harass and 
physically intimidate farmers.

2. All documents quoted in this article are in 
the public domain or have been placed as evidence 
in a writ petition filed in the Supreme Court of 
India, No 206 of 2006.  The case is still being 
heard. Detailed references and key documents can 
be sent to any person interested.

3. We are requesting as many editors/web site 
administrators to place an online petition.  We 
need 100,000 signatures from all over the world 
before 14th December.