MONSANTO OUTLAWS KNOWLEDGE ABOUT ORGANICS IN BRAZIL
While on my present visit in Brazil, I am staying for some time at APTA, the Government’s Agricultural Research Facility in Piracicaba in the Sao Paulo province. I am engaged in some experiments with agro-homoeopathy there, which the Government subsidises. Dr Fabricio Rossi, the man responsible for these experiments, told me yesterday on 5 August, after we returned from an experiment in the countryside that Monsanto has now made it illegal in Brazil to disseminate knowledge about or-ganic farming, growing and sustainable agriculture. That legislation has just been passed by the Brazilian Parliament. The only people exempt are agricultural scientists and their publications, since they are not meant for public dissemination.
At first, I thought he was joking – would it now be impossible to publish my books on agro-homoeopathy here? They are being translated at present. He told me that was quite possible, because from now on, no publisher can publish any books, magazines or articles on the subject of sustainable agriculture, let alone one that propagates getting away from Monsanto’s poisons, for public distribution. If any publisher would still publish such information, they will no longer be allowed to sell those books. They will also be taken to court by Monsanto, for violation of this law. No bookstore in the country can and thus will carry any books on the subject in the near future – can you imagine?
Outrageous! Enter the Monsanto thought-police!
THE DANGERS FOR OTHER COUNTRIES
We can expect Monsanto to seek similar legislation to be passed in other countries too. India and China come to mind, as well as Indonesia – countries that are more or less dictatorial anyway. I suspect they will try something similar in the US, although there the laws guarantee freedom of the press. They will exploit any loophole they can find though, if the Brazilian experience is any indication. If I had the money, I would immediately engage a constitutional lawyer here, to find out if it violates the Brazilian Constitution. If so, I would also immediately mount a court case against Monsanto.
My thoughts on the subject are that politicians that allow such utterly draconian laws can only do so, due to ignorance of the public. If the only means to enlighten that public are taken away, one truly enters the world of Orwellian dictatorship, so well depicted in “1984” or Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451”. What are the authorities going to do with the books on the subject that already exist? Burn them?
It indicates that Lula is in the pocket of Monsanto and that the Environment Minister, although a nice green-thinking man, has absolutely no clout at all. It also indicates the farmers are fed propaganda and kept in the dark about alternatives. It moreover indicates that Monsanto stoops as low as possible to ensure their version of the ‘truth’ is the only one available. Any individual or company disseminating such knowledge will immediately be prosecuted. Anyone I teach about the subject will be – like myself – breaking the law and subject to harassment and court cases by Monsanto, with possibly heavy fines and/or jail terms. Not a prospect I look forward to, I can tell you.
This means that the only chance to enlighten the politicians, the farmers and the consuming public, will be through the Internet. We should massively bombard the Brazilian authorities and the public with protestations through email, letters to the editor of the major papers and inform the TV stations. The latter two will probably be ineffective, considering the ´news´is but propaganda. A site can be situated outside the country and still disseminate the necessary knowledge.
BREAKING THE LAW
One wonders whether such denial of information is not in violation of International laws concerning freedom of the press and whether it would serve to take Monsanto to court over its violation. Whether such could be mounted here remains to be seen, with the general ignorance of the public.
I will be in direct violation of that local Brazilian law when I do my teaching on the subject here. It is something I would like to make public here, if only to challenge Monsanto. One obstacle is my lack of the local language. It also means I am stuck in this country, because my only means of livelihood has just been taken away. I would need some support from others to fight this in any court of law, regardless whether local or at the International Court in Strassbourg. It is a pity the latter court is a toothless paper tiger that can only issue recommendations.
Anybody got any other ideas on how we could fight Monsanto on this important issue? Anyone interested in helping me to fight this draconian law?
By the way:
Yesterday Monsanto introduced Genetically Modified Sugarcane here in Piracicaba.
I doubt it!
The area is a sugarcane monoculture anyway - it is the cash-crop, because it is used to make alcool, for cars.