Les inculpés | 25.09.2003 22:38
Monday October 6th, 9h00 a.m., outside the law courts (Palais de Justice) in Namur.
The defense speaks….
freedom for living matter and for the people who defend it!
October 6th 2003, Namur, Belgium
Monday October 6th, 9h00 a.m., outside the law courts (Palais de Justice) in Namur.
This is the first trial of its kind in Belgium. At the first hearing on March 10th 2003, the 13 defendants presented the context and reasons for their action against Monsanto. 2 witnesses were called:
* Jacques van Helden, a bioinformatician at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB – Free University of Brussels), spoke of the rush to commercialize experimental genetic constructs and it’s dangers.
* Paul Lannoye, Member of the European Parliament (Belgium) outlined how civil society actions and interventions have contributed to the development of GMO legislation in Europe. He also reviewed the various human and environmental disasters that can be linked to Monsanto’s activities.
The Hearing on October 6th will provide further information and analyses on the impacts of genetic engineering in agriculture.
4 new witnesses will be called:
Gabriel Dewalle, a French chicory farmer, will speak of how the mechanization of agriculture and new technologies are wiping out small scale farmers,
Percy Schmeiser, a Canadian farmer, will explain how Monsanto sued him for “technology theft” following the contamination of his crops due to GM plants in neighbouring fields.
Michel Tibbon-Cornillot, epistemologist, will look at how we define science and how research agendas are set
Jean-Pierre Berlan, research director at the INRA (National Institute for Agricultural Research, France) on GMOs in agriculture as the final step in the combined industrialization of agriculture and privatization of life that has been underway for the last 150 years.
The 2nd Hearing will take place in front of the 10th chamber of the Criminal Court (Tribunal Correctionnel) in Namur:
* Organic breakfast and lunch, prepared by Kokerellen (roaming activist cooks)
* After the Hearing and lunch, at around 13h30, an information stand will be set up where it will be possible to talk to the defendants and their witnesses
The last stage of the trial will take place on November 17th 2003 when the legal teams will speak to the court.
Other related activities on October 6th 2003:
* Namur, 19h30 “Resisting the imposition of GMOs in agriculture”
Speakers: Percy Schmeiser (Canada), Gabriel Dewalle (France), Paul Lannoye (Belgique). The debate will be held at the Facultés Universitaires Notre Dame de la Paix, 1 rue Grafé, room “Aula Maior”, 5000 Namur. (located 300 m from the Palais de Justice and 500 m from the station).
* Brussels, 19h30, at the ULB (room H1301), “GMOs: a pivot between science and society” organized by the defendants and the Cercle du Libre Examen.
Speakers: Jean Pierre Berlan (France), Isabelle Stengers (Belgium), Michel Tibon-Cornillot (France), Jacques van Helden (Belgique), Jean-Claude Grégoire (Belgique), Sebastien Denys (Belgique).
To contact us:
For financial contributions: bank account number 000-1831483-26
If you wish to receive more information, send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org with “subscribe” as title
You can also receive a file on the Monsanto decontamination action and the trial by sending an email to email@example.com
For photos and a summary of the action:
* The Festival of GMO Resistance
The May 7th decontamination action took place at the end of the Festival of GMO Resistance. The day started with a debate including Isabelle Stengers (Professor in Philosophy at the ULB), Paul Lannoye (MEP, Greens, Belgium), Marc Vanoverschelde (farmer, member of the Mouvement d’Action Paysanne, Farmer Action Mouvement), René Riesel (sheep farmer from Lozère in France) and Jean Piere Berlan (research director at the INRA, France).
Most of the participants then marched and danced to Marchovelette near Namur and then on to the Monsanto site in Franc Waret.
Soon after the action, Monsanto decided to close 2 of its 4 sites in Belgium, including the one in Franc Waret.
* Monsanto filed a complaint after the action, and 13 of the 200 participants were arbitrarily selected and charged with:
- “malicious cutting or destruction” of rapeseed, barely and wheat
- “malicious devastation” of maise and sugarbeet seedlings
* The defendants are:
Sébastien DENYS, Jean-François JACQUET, René RIESEL, Gilles HENROTAY, Paul WILMES, Jacques BOULVIN, Nicolas VANDENBROUKE, Cédric LOSANGE, Isabelle STENGERS, Frédéric LEVEQUE, Vincent WATTIEZ, Paul VERJANS, Chantal CORNET.
* Monsanto is claiming damages of 137 500 euro (5 131 000 BEF) but we have not been given any details on how this amount was reached. We have however found out that in some of the police statements made by Monsanto employees, it was said that some of the plants destroyed were not GMOs.
MONSANTO STANDS ACCUSED BY 13 DECONTAMINATORS
Monsanto and its corporate cronies state that they are engaged in the struggle to “feed the world” and in the fight against the use of chemical products – most of which they actually produce themselves ….
It’s worth taking a look at the corporation’s “pedigree”:
Created at the end of the 19th century, the transnational corporation (TNC) has distinguished itself as a producer of toxic substances, including Agent Orange for the US army during the Vietnam war.
With GMOs, (80% of the world’s GMOs belong to Monsanto), and in particular with Terminator Technology, the self-pronounced leader in “Life Sciences” is attacking that most unfortunate characteristic of living beings: the ability to reproduce freely ….
Plants targeted by this technology will produce sterile seeds thus forcing farmers to buy new seed every year from the big seed companies.
Terminator Technology is a new development in a process that was started at the beginning of the 20th century with the development of hybrid varieties. This was the first step in farmers’ progressive loss of autonomy as they have increasingly had to depend on seed companies to sell them seed year after year, these same seed companies also selling them the herbicides and pesticides against which 70% of GMOs - these companies’ GMOs - are resistant.
Genetic engineering in agriculture will accelerate the current trend towards industrialized, dehumanized and uniform farming. Southern countries will loose even more sovereignty, farmers will becomes increasingly dependant on industry, citizens on the markers, politics on economics: the final mishap in an approach to science that, since Descartes, has aimed towards making us “masters and owners of nature”.
The “progress” of biotechnology has been to reduce living beings to genetico-chemical constructs. It combines the techno-scientific (for supremacy) with the technocratic (for control) with the commercial (for ownership). Molecular biology cannot however avoid the weakness of its basic premise: that of the one-gene-one-protein model that ignores the complexity of interactions between genes.
On May 7th 2000, 200 people stated their refusal of Monsanto’s experimentation and commercialization of GMOs as a way of reminding us all that there are alternatives to the all-genetic society ….
…. to the displeasure of the “programmable-human” propagandists: we remind them that there is no gene for fatalism and passivity!
The trial will enable us to restate our views and opinions and to share this with you.
GMOS IN AGRICULTURE: A BRIEF HISTORY OF RESISTANCE
Key dates ….
1987: 2000 strawberry plants are ripped up at the University of California. This was the first deliberate release of GMOs into the environment and is recorded as the first protest against GMOs.
In India, since the end of the 90s, the KRRS, a Farmers’ Union, has rejuvenated the Independence-struggle Quit India Mouvement. Cargill offices and GM crops have been destroyed.
Similar actions occurred in France in 1999 during the Inter Continental Caravan (ICC) when 500 Indian farmers brought their message to Europe: “After having thrown out the English, now we have to do the same with the multinationals”
30 000 people attended the closing demonstration of the Popular Seeds Tribunal in Bangalore on September 26th 2000, and called for “the destruction of all transgenic trials, here and everywhere on the planet”.
In Belgium, GMOs fist attracted public and media attention following a Greenpeace action which stopped a cargo ship carrying GM soya from docking.
In spring 1999, the Belgian ICC committee organized its first action during a conference organized by Monsanto and supported by the European Commission.
Farmer dependency issues became a central issue as Terminator Technology came to light….
The CAGE network (Collectif d’Action GenEthique) was set as we became aware that GMOs were in our food but nobody knew about this and nobody was doing anything about informing people. Around 30 supermarket actions were organized during which 50000 stickers stating “GMO RISK” where placed on contaminated products. After a few months, producers and distributors announced that they would not longer use GMO ingredients or stock products containing GMOs.
If there are GMOs in our food, then there are GMOs in the environment: 200 people publicly denounced this fact on May 7th 2000 at the Monsanto Research Centre in Franc Waret, Namur.
This was the first destruction of transgenic crops in Belgium. Since then, 12 sites have been decontaminated by anonymous groups.
Last year (2002), 100 Communes throughout Belgium adopted a Motion condemning the existence of GMO field trials on their territories and stating that they wanted to be a GM-free zone.
BelgoBiotech, the Belgian industry lobbyist, announced in 2002 that all GM field trials were being stopped in Belgium.
This is the landscape that we want to preserve despite the lifting of the de facto moratorium on the commercialization of GMOs ….