People Power! GMO Crop Sabotage on the Rise: French Citizens Destroy Trial Vineyard


People Power! GMO Crop Sabotage on the Rise: French Citizens Destroy Trial Vineyard

© (AFP)
GMO grapevines destroyed

Early Sunday morning, French police stood helpless as sixty people, locked inside an open-air field of genetically modified grapevines, uprooted all the plants. In Spain last month, dozens of people destroyed two GMO fields. On the millennial cusp, Indian farmers burned Bt cotton in their Cremate Monsanto campaign. Ignored by multinational corporations and corrupt public policy makers, citizens act to protect the food supply and the planet.

The French vineyard is the same field attacked last year when the plants were only cut. But the security features installed after that incident kept authorities at bay while the group accomplished its mission yesterday.

Speaking for the group, Olivier Florent told Le Figero that they condemned the use of public funds for open-field testing of GMOs "that we do not want."

Pitching tents in the rain near France's National Institute for Agronomic Research (INRA) site in Colmar the night before, the group waited until 5 AM before converging on the site and locking the gates behind them. They uprooted all 70 plants, then submitted to arrest.

This is the second attack on GMO crops to make international news this year. In July dozens of people destroyed two experimental corn crops in Spain. In an anonymous press release, they wrote,

"This kind of direct action is the best way to respond to the fait accompli policy through which the Generalitat, the State and the biotech multinationals have been unilaterally imposing genetically modified organisms."

In the late 1990s, Indian farmers burnt Bt cotton fields in their Cremate Monsanto campaign. Monsanto did not disclose to farmers that the GM seeds were experimental. "Despite the heavy use of chemical fertilizer, traces of which still can be observed in the field, the Bt plants grew miserably, less than half the size of the traditional cotton plants in the adjacent fields."

After the Haiti earthquake this year, Monsanto offered 475 tons of hybrid corn and terminator vegetable seeds in partnership with USAID. In June, 10,000 Haitian farmers marched in protest of the "poison gift" which produces no viable seeds for future plantings and requires heavy chemical inputs. Haitian farm leader Chavannes Jean-Baptiste observed that the biotech plan makes farmers dependent on multinational corporations.

In the US, GMOs were secretly foisted on the public in the mid-1990s, and only now is the US Supreme Court addressing the scourge. In June, the high court upheld partial deregulation of GM alfalfa, which permits limited planting while the USDA prepares an Environmental Impact Statement. Natural and organic alfalfa supply is threatened by the very real potential of GM contamination. This would destroy the organic meat and dairy industry.

Last Friday, a federal court took a tougher position on GM sugar beets. Judge Jeffrey S. White revoked USDA approval of the GM beet, while allowing for its planting this year only.

Also this month, a British farmer exposed that milk and meat from cloned animals had secretly entered the food supply.

Public opposition to GM crops has grown in recent years as more evidence surfaces that DNA-altered crops:

Meanwhile, President Obama has stacked his Administration with biotech insiders going so far as to appoint Islam Siddiqui as Agriculture Trade Negotiator. Siddiqui is a former pesticide lobbyist and vice president of CropLife America, a biotech and pesticide trade group that lobbies to weaken environmental laws.

The US is pushing hard at the world to accept GM foods. Recently, the American Farm Bureau Federation called for stronger sanctions against the European Union for its GM crop ban.

But as governments and trade agreements circumvent the will of the people, some take matters into their own hands. The rise in GMO crop destruction is a clear indication that the world's people reject chemical and genetic pollution of the food supply and the environment.

Waakzaam's picture

Good to know that some people are just not taking it anymore.  It's true, TPTB have been ramming this thing without regard to its consequences or public opinion.  They seem to "know" that we are like sheep and we are here only to provide them with the means to which they've become accustomed.  They are mistaken.

What I don't understand is why Monsanto and the like are not being sued for contaminating clean fields?

"The roadside plants apparently start growing when seeds blow from fields or fall out of trucks carrying the crops to market. In the plains of Canada, where canola is widely grown, roadside biotech plants resistant to the herbicide Roundup have become a problem, said Alexis Knispel, who has just completed a doctoral dissertation on the subject at the University of Manitoba.

(...) She also said the proliferation of roadside canola would make it difficult to keep organic canola free of genetically engineered material."






Francis's picture

for the update.  This is a subject near and dear to my heart.  My wife's mother, in association with someone in-the-know, is helping patients from around the world cure cancer and various other ailments through a simple change in diet bolstered by a regiment of herbal remedies.  It works and it's truly amazing.  Though, of course, they can't say they can "cure" cancer because that would get them thrown in jail (her friend's already been threatened upon trying to broadcast a show on public television).

This GMO stuff is a serious threat to such natural practices.  I agree with you Bob, we need to launch a campaign to sue Monsanto.  Maybe we could hire the lawyer that beat the FDA seven times in federal court. 

Jeffrey Smith, a man on the forefront of bringing the GMO issue to the public, once said that these Roundup ready crops, which are resistant to the herbicide Roundup, begin producing the same chemical properties in our internal organs upon consumption, in essence turning our colons into a veritable toxic waste dump.  This may explain why the internal organs of animals have been found to be paper thin after a steady diet of GMO's as opposed to the pliable and elastic toughness found in animals eating non-GMO foods.  A bit of this is touched upon in this great article on one of the original GMO whistleblowers:

And for those who haven't found this valueable guide yet, I recommend downloading it and referring to it whenever possible:

Abundant health to you all,


ChrisBowers's picture

Sue Monsanto?  I have to believe that would play right into their plans for domination.  Can you imagine the deep pockets and legal team they have to do battle with on their turf?  With the FDA and WHO and most of the US Senate in their deep pockets?

I don't know how this plays out yet, but I suspect it will be some kind of mass outbreak of people and communities worldwide planting and growing their own food.  Sources will come out of the woodwork that frustrate the plans of the Monsantos of the world, wonderful foreward thinking people like Vandana Shiva (the seed lady) from India who said,

"[How do I do it?] Well, it's always a mystery, because you don't know why you get depleted or recharged. But this much I know. I do not allow myself to be overcome by hopelessness, no matter how tough the situation. I believe that if you just do your little bit without thinking of the bigness of what you stand against, if you turn to the enlargement of your own capacities, just that itself creates new potential. And I've learned from the Bhagavad-Gita and other teachings of our culture to detach myself from the results of what I do, because those are not in my hands. The context is not in your control, but your commitment is yours to make, and you can make the deepest commitment with a total detachment about where it will take you. You want it to lead to a better world, and you shape your actions and take full responsibility for them, but then you have detachment. And that combination of deep passion and deep detachment allows me to take on the next challenge, because I don't cripple myself, I don't tie myself in knots. I function like a free being. I think getting that freedom is a social duty because I think we owe it to each not to burden each other with prescription and demands. I think what we owe each other is a celebration of life and to replace fear and hopelessness with fearlessness and joy."
Vandana Shiva

What I am fairly sure of at this point is that combative plans that get entangled with Monsanto will fail.  Monsanto is just manifest proof that we are late to the party of taking our personal and collective response-ability sovereign power back.  Monsanto is not the enemy, only the symptom of our own abandoning of personal/collective sovereign inherently divine power, a pimple on the face of poor spiritual hygiene...

We cannot engage this despotic feudal profit-based system and expect to transform it from within the clockwork of its own very established service-to-shareholders insanity.  There will have to be the manifestation of something that essentially ignores the Monsantos while prospering at the new grass roots level method(s) working clearly outside the box.

Of course I cannot prove that this is the way it will ultimately transform and fade the Monsantos of the world.  I just suspect that it is something along these lines, and I fear the misappropriation of much sincere time and energy if we the people do not think/feel this through very very carefully...

Francis's picture

this is true too.  Thank you Chris for bringing my energies back into focus (yet again!  You have a magnificent way of doing that my friend!)  I feel the truth of your words and that we need to "be" the more positive change instead of the reactive and retalitory route.  Just my little lashing out at the ptb on a subject that hits my sensitive nerves. 


ChrisBowers's picture

I hear you loud and clear my friend.  I do not say these things because I have successfully accomplished and transcended what I am saying.  I say them because I haven't, and am sharing with others what I am reminding myself of.  We are being sorely tempted to be angry and hate and despise, and it is going to get worse before it gets better.

But what better way than to squeeze something to get to the precious nectar and fragrance from behind the hard outer skin of the fruit?  So goes the frequency and severity of catalyst coming our way on this ride that we all signed up for, to be here at this very exciting time of accelerated evolutionary transformation.

Here is a talk by one of my heroes concerning the subject of this excellent forum thread...

if you go to watch this video and it does not start automatically, scroll the time bar to the right and then back to the beginning.  don't know what it needs that, but it has been acting that way on a lot lately...

Wendy's picture

Being somewhat of a cynic I felt that our court system has become so corrupt that law suits will do us no good. Monsanto can't succeed if they can't sell their products. I agree that the answer is to create our own alternative societies, economic systems and currencies. This will bring about the change we seek.

On a personal happy note, my garden is doing spectacularly this year - we've had perfect weather - I spent the day today bringing in corn and soaking up sunshine. Tomorrow will be scallions, brocolli and peaches. Everything is producing wonderfully with no need for pesticides, no thanks Monsanto.

Francis - Thanks for your post - we are saving the peach pits to eat the insides (high in vit. B17) which is another wonderful cancer cure / preventative that the FDA says is poisonous-  more hogwash. Everyone in my family has at one time or another taken B17, myself and several of our pets. It has cured cancer in the pets, and certainly not poisoned us humans.

onesong's picture

from renegade health (a raw foods site by Kevin Gianni)...

As the news has broken about a massive 380 million egg
recall, two things have run though my mind...

First is this - of course this would happen.

It happens with beef, pork, chicken and just about
everything else animal that is raised in a factory farm.

How can we continue to be so foolish?

We all know what happens when you put animals in close

They get sick and infected.

I used to manage construction for a home rehab company.

We would deal with pre-foreclosures and other blighted

Every once in while, we would go into a home where the
owners had dozens of animals.

It just came with the territory.

When this was the case, we found that almost always the
place smelled awful, there was feces everywhere and
everyone - animals included - were sick.

What makes anyone think this is any different than
chickens laying eggs in a dark warehouse somewhere in

I wonder if the farmers ever think this isn't the way
it's supposed to be.

Their heads may be too far up their coop to realize it.

(I shouldn't even say "farmers" here, because these businesses don't
deserve that distinction.)

The second thing is this.

Who's going to be shut down, arrested and punished?

If this was a natural health supplement company, they'd
already be closed, owners arrested and being questioned
with little attention to their rights.

"How dare they threaten the health of the American public?"

It would be used in the media as an example of why natural
supplements don't work.

(Now, of course, if a supplement company doesn't regulate
their product and this happens they should be shut down.)

All this would happen even if one person became ill.

Not thousands.

But what about this case of 380 million eggs?

I wonder if anyone in the mainstream media will
effectively point the finger at factory farming as the
single cause of a recall like this.

Hardly likely.

The media will talk about the need to cook eggs thoroughly,
what foods may contain raw eggs to watch out for, they might
even talk about a rule or two the farm was lax on when
it comes to safety and hygiene...

This is what has happened in the past, so why would it be
any different now?

Right now the FDA is investigating rodent control at the
farm in Iowa where the tainted eggs were from.

This is like searching for fingerprints at the murder
scene when the killer is still in the room with a bloody

It's the whole operation that stinks, not the rodents.

They'll even encourage us to eat more eggs and resurrect
papers about how healthy they are just so the egg industry
doesn't suffer a huge loss.

It's deflection of the truth at the largest scale.

What the egg lobby and industry insiders will never do is
allow anyone to conclude that this all happened because of
the way the animals are raised.

It's not possible - for their own survival.

The politics and money are too great.

So as this unfolds, I hope I'm wrong and something actually
does happen. Maybe the company is shut down for good, the
owners are put in jail for endangering the American public
with their farm practices. Maybe it will change the way
farming is done in the U.S. and around the world.

It would be a long time coming.

Didn't Upton Sinclair write "The Jungle" in 1906?

~Blessed to have a partner with a really 'green thumb'....I'm in agreement with PLJ...feeling very grateful for the abundance of the 'fruit' of our labor even when I'm up to my eyeballs in homegrown tomatoes ~                kristyne 

Brian's picture

CNN had a segment today about the horrific conditions the hens endure in these factory "farms" where they are smooshed together into tight little cages that are then stacked up into little skyscrapers-it was disturbing and they didn't pull any punches...lot's of pictures/video and a knowledgable expert decrying the practice.

 Chris-thanks for the quote from the seed lady-I found this to be extremely heartening. I secretly feel some things are 'lost causes'  but which deserve my best and her talk reminded me of a great mindset to have-maybe the only workable mindset-for making change happen.

Very useful thread PLJ. Thanks.

Wendy's picture

I am with the Seed Lady.  I just focus on doing what I can do and let it all go to the wind.  Seeds plant themselves and rise up in the most unlikely ways.  The beauty of this is the virtual and real planting of our own gardens--- within ourselves and thus throughout and around ourselves... everywhere we go.

Opposition only inspires that which you do not want.  Refusal to particpate is another thing all together.

I do my best to avoid purchasing GMO's in my food, clothes etc.  I am not achieving perfection in this but it is a start.  It is 1 Step.  And as I am able I take the next 1 Step.  Nothing can be achieved through cynism or blaming or shaming.  All that is around us is an outlinking of what "We the People" of the world have created.  All creations can be changed with effort, focus, attention, Love, and vision. 



In the Fields of Italy, a Conflict Over Corn


VIVARO, Italy — Giorgio Fidenato declared war on the Italian government and environmental groups in April with a news conference and a YouTube video, which showed him poking six genetically modified corn seeds into Italian soil.

Nadia Shira Cohen for The New York Times

Last week, Giorgio Fidenato, who had planted genetically modified corn, stood amid stalks that had been trampled by antiglobalization activists.

Nadia Shira Cohen for The New York Times

An ear of corn infested with corn borers. A modified variety is meant to counteract the pest.

In fact, said Mr. Fidenato, 49, an agronomist, he planted two fields of genetically modified corn. But since “corn looks like corn,” as he put it, it took his opponents weeks to find his crop.

The seeds, known as MON810, are modified so that the corn produces a chemical that kills the larvae of the corn borer, a devastating pest. Yet while European Union rules allow this particular seed to be planted, Italy requires farmers to get special permission for any genetically modified, or G.M., crop — and the Agriculture Ministry never said yes.

“We had no choice but to engage in civil disobedience — these seeds are legal in Europe,” said Mr. Fidenato, who has repeatedly applied for permission, adding that he drew more inspiration from Ron Paul than Gandhi.

The World Trade Organization says that general bans on genetically modified crops constitute an unfair trade barrier, because there is no scientific basis for exclusion. But four years after a W.T.O. panel ruled that European Union policies constituted an illegal “de facto moratorium” on the planting of genetically modified seeds, some farmers, like Mr. Fidenato, and seed producers like Monsanto complain that Europe still has not really opened its doors.

It is true that a small but growing number of European countries, including Spain, Portugal and Germany, now allow some cultivation of genetically modified crops. But only two genetically modified seeds (MON810 and the Amflora potato seed) out of dozens on the global market have made it through the European Commission’s laborious approval process, a prerequisite for use.

What is more, some areas of Europe have declared themselves “G.M.O.-free zones,” or free of genetically modified organisms. France, Austria and Germany specifically ban MON810, saying they believe that it could harm local crops. In Italy, a Kafkaesque approval process in which the Agriculture Ministry has never established the requirements for success, makes genetically modified crops a nonstarter.

Such foot-dragging reflects passionate public opposition to the crops in many parts of Europe, even as more than three-quarters of corn, soybeans and sugar beets in the United States are genetically modified. Though the science is at best inconclusive, there is a widespread conviction in Italy that genetically altered foods and crops pose dangers to human health and ecosystems.

After Mr. Fidenato’s provocation, investigators did genetic testing to identify the locations of the offending stalks in the sea of cornfields that surround this tiny town. Officials seized two suspect fields — about 12 acres — and declared the plantings illegal. Greenpeace activists surreptitiously snipped off the stalks’ tassels in the hope of preventing pollen from being disseminated.

On Aug. 9, 100 machete-wielding environmental activists from an antiglobalization group called Ya Basta descended on Vivaro and trampled the field before local police officers could intervene. They left behind placards with a skull and crossbones reading: “Danger — Contaminated — G.M.O.”

Giancarlo Galan, who became agriculture minister in April, called the protesters “vandals,” although he did not say he would allow genetically modified crops. But Luca Zaia, the previous agriculture minister and president of the nearby Veneto region, applauded the rampage, saying: “There is a need to show multinationals that they can’t introduce Frankenstein crops into our country without authorization.”

Over the past decade, genetically modified crops have been a major source of trade friction between Europe and the United States.

Both the United States Food and Drug Administration and the European Food Safety Agency say that there is no scientific evidence that eating MON810 corn is dangerous. But there is greater disagreement on how genetically modified plants affect ecosystems and whether traditional and genetically modified crops can be kept apart to avoid what organic farmers call “contamination” of traditional crops by modified plants or genes. Seed or pollen can travel with the wind or on farm equipment or truck tires, sometimes for hundreds of miles.

This issue is particularly sensitive in Italy, whose farmers rely heavily on specialized organic and heritage crops, like hundreds of varieties of tomatoes. Crops contaminated with genetically modified material can lose its organic designation. Farmers worry that plants with tailor-made survival genes will over time displace tastier traditional varieties.

Greenpeace has called the European Union’s judgment to accept MON810 as safe “fundamentally flawed,” noting, for example, that the chemical that kills corn borer larvae could also harm butterflies that land on the plants. Even in the United States, reservations linger. This month, a federal judge in San Francisco revoked permission for further planting of genetically modified sugar beets, saying that the Agriculture Department had not adequately assessed the environmental consequences; 95 percent of the sugar beets in the United States are genetically modified.

Faced with a W.T.O. judgment on the one hand and a reluctant public on the other, the European Commission has tried in recent years to walk a middle ground. It requires countries to establish procedures for separating traditional and modified crops, like maintaining certain distances between fields. Recent proposals give regions increasing latitude to deny entry to such plants if they provide scientific proof that the seeds could harm the environment, however.

But groups like the American Farm Bureau Federation say that studies used to justify excluding genetically modified crops do not pass muster.

Here in Vivaro, farmers are divided about the issue, said Luca Tornatore, Ya Basta spokesman and an astrophysicist from Trieste, Italy, noting that his group’s “blitz” did not allow much time for talking with local people.

Residents may not know much about the science of genetically modified crops, but they are quite familiar with the corn borer larvae; they tunnel into ears of corn, allowing funguses to fill the holes in their wake. Some of the funguses produce mycotoxins that can end up in places like the milk of corn-fed cows and have been associated with serious health problems, including cancers.

Some farmers spray insecticides on the crops to prevent the boring, but it must be applied at just the right moment and leaves chemical residues as well as an odor in the air. Others simply sell the corn in bulk, ignoring the problem, said Mr. Fidenato, displaying an ear from a field that was alive with worms and covered with patches of white fuzz.

If the Italian government does not relent on the genetically modified seeds, he warned, he commands an army of farmers across Italy who are prepared to plant MON810 to force its hand.

But it is not clear that the battle of Vivaro will have a quick victor. Jail time or at least fines are expected for Mr. Fidenato (illegal planting) and Mr. Tornatore (trespassing and destroying private property).

Wendy's picture

Thanks FFg-

We planted corn the last 2-3 years. Last year we had a terrible infestation of the corn borer and I assumed since we always grow organic that this year would be just as terrible, but it wasn't at all. Whatever eats those critters is doing it's job so I've only seen a few worms this year.


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