Billy Nessen, as best I have been able to determine, turned himself in,
with assurances, and is in custody in the provincial capital with
observers on site and if reports are to be believed -- and they do seem
accurate, though we won't know for certain until he is literally
entirely in the clear -- Nessen is in little or no danger and will
shortly be released to leave Indonesia. I think it is fair to say that
the international outcry on his behalf had an effect -- and should
continue to ensure final success --  and that thanks and congratulations
should go to everyone who helped contribute to that. (But, please, don't
reply to me about it. Remember, our ZNet Updates go to 135,000 people,
so replying to me can make a large scale mess at our end...sort of like
what we are trying to do when we flood authorities with messages!)

Continuing with this ZNet update, a developing section of ZNet you might
like to note is Japan Focus
(http://www.zmag.org/asiawatch/japan_focus.htm), which provides access
to important contemporary writing about Japan and Japan in the world and
makes available one of the world's richest, and hitherto largely silent
(in English), traditions of critical analysis. Japan Focus offers
Japanese and international perspectives on war and terror in Asia,
social movements, contemporary Japanese politics, U.S.-Japan-Asia
relations, economics, and society and social movements. Japan Focus
presents original translations from Japanese journals and newspapers as
well as specially-written contributions. Recent articles address Japan
and the Iraq War, Japan-North-Korea-U.S. Relations, Japanese commentary
on U.S. and Japanese foreign relations, and Japanese social movements.
Authors whose work appears at Japan Focus include Asai Motofumi, Andrew
Dewit, John Dower, Ito Ruri, Chalmers Johnson, Kang Sangjung, Gavan
McCormack, Medoruma Shun, Nakamura Tetsu, and Wada Haruki.

We have also recently made a few top page changes that you have probably
noticed by now. 

Cosmetically, we added some graphics from Artists Against Imperialism
(http://www.flonnet.com/fl2013/stories/20030704001308500.htm). We won't
be changing these, save very infrequently, so if you have your browser
cache graphics and pages (which you should certainly do) their presense
will only slow the page the first time you access them. I have to look
at this page so often each day--that I needed a bit of color and
artistry to improve the experience! We trust and hope others will enjoy
the change as well.

More substantively, we have added a ZNet Feature link that highlights a
single ZNet article at a time, a Z Magazine article feature that
highlights a single Z article, and a Web feature that highlights another
site we highly respect and recommend. We don't yet know how often these
will each be updated -- the first will be updated most often, the others
less so -- but we hope they will prove a positive addition to the top
page of ZNet.

Of course, beyond those broader changes, even just since we sent our
last update, just a bit over a day ago, we have new pieces from Klein,
Cockburn, Fitz, Pilger, Wise, Stedile, Said, and many others.

We hope you will take a look at the site again soon -- and that you will
consider, if you haven't already done so, joining the Z/ZNet Sustainer
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Here, now, to fill out this mailing, and to give weight to the above
entreaty to join the sustainer program, we include today's ZNet
Sustainer Commentary. It indicates the kind of material we send every
night to members of the Sustainer Program. It is by regular ZNet
Commentator, Vandana Shiva, and is titled Biotech Wars: Food Freedom Vs
Food Slavery. 


Biotech Wars: Food Freedom Vs Food Slavery 
By Vandana Shiva 

Monsanto through the U.S. government, is trying desperately to reverse
its failing fortunes by creating markets for its genetically engineered
crops (GMOs) through coercion and corruption. 

The E.U. has not yet cleared GM crops for commercial planting or GM food
for imports. Brazil has had a ban on GM crops. And India has not cleared
GM food crops and has stopped the spread of genetically engineered Bt.
Cotton to Northern India after its dismal performance in Southern India
in the first season of commercial planting in 2002. 

E.U., Brazil and India are all under attack overtly and covertly, for
not rushing into adopting genetically engineered crops without caution
and ensuring biosafety. 

The U.S. has threatened to initiate a dispute against the E.U. in the
W.T.O. for not importing genetically modified foods. The U.S. trade
representative, Mr. Zoellick was in Brazil at the end of May to force
Brazil to remove the ban on GM crops. The U.S. Secretary of State tried
to bully Southern African countries to the Earth Summit in Johannesburg
to accept GM food and, but Zambia refused to be bullied. In India, the

Embassy tried to pressurize the Ministry of Environment through the
Prime Minister's office to clear imports of GM corn, but a major
mobilisation of women's groups organized as the National Alliance of
Women for Food Rights under the movement of Diverse Women for Diversity,
was successful in sending back two ship loads of 10,000 tons of GM corn.
Since then the Chairman of the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee
which rejected GM crops and imports has been removed and the
Agricultural Ministry has been changed. 

Free people with free information are saying no to genetically
engineered food for both ecological and health reasons. However, genetic
engineering is being imposed on the world by a handful of global
corporations with the backing of one powerful government. 

Commercial crops produced through genetic engineering are not producing
more food nor are they reducing the use of chemicals. While the hunger
argument is the most frequently used argument to promote and push
genetic engineering, GMOs have more to do with corporate hunger for
profits than poor people's hunger for food. As a news item in the
international Herald Tribune of May 29, 2003 titled, "Biotech war recast
as hunger issue" reported, 

President George W. Bush is framing his attack on European resistance to
genetically modified crops as part of a campaign against world hunger. 

Bush and his aides are making an emotional plea, saying the
administration's stance is part of the fight against world hunger. In a
speech last week be accused Europe of hindering the "great cause of
ending hunger in Africa" with its ban genetically modified corps." (IHT,
May 29, 2003) 

The technology of genetic engineering is not about overcoming food
scarcity but about creating monopolies over food and seed, the first
link in the chain and over life itself. 

After having pressurized Lula's government in Brazil to temporarily
remove the ban on GMOs, Monsanto is now claiming royalties for genes in
the Round up Resistance Soya crops, showing once again that profits
through royalty collection are the real objective of spreading GM crops.

India has been forced to change its patent laws under TRIPS and the main
beneficiary of the Second Amendment to India's Patent Act of 1970 are
biotech corporations like Monsanto, seeking patents on genetically
engineered crops. 

Patents also criminalise and make illegal the human work of life's
reproduction. When seeds are patented, farmers exercising their freedom
and performing their duty of saving and exchanging seeds are treated as
"intellectual property thieves". This can reach absurd limits as in the
case of Percy Schmieser whose canola field was polluted by Monsanto's
Round up Resistant Canola, and instead of Monsanto compensating Percy
for pollution on the "polluter pays principle", Monsanto sued him for
$200,000 for theft of their genes. Monsanto uses detective agencies and
police to track farmers and their crops. Patents imply police states. 

Genetic engineering is not merely causing genetic pollution of
biodiversity and creating bio-imperialism, monopolies over life itself.
It is also causing knowledge pollution -- by undermining independent
science, and promoting pseudo science. It is leading to monopolies over
knowledge and information. 

The victimisation of Dr. Arpad Putzai who showed the health risks of GM
potatoes and Dr. Ignacio Chapela who showed that corn had been
contaminated in its centre of diversity in Mexico are examples of the
intolerance of a corporate controlled scientific system for real

The fabrication of the data by Monsanto on Bt. Cotton India is an
example of the promotion of an unnecessary, untested, hazardous
technology through pseudo science. While yields of GM cotton fell by 80%
and farmers had losses of nearly Rs. 6,000/acre. Monsanto used Martn
Qaim (University of Bonn) and David Zilberman) University of California,
Berkeley) to publish an article in Science to claim that yields of Bt.
Cotton increased by 80%. Qaim and Zilberman published the paper on the
basis of data provided by Monsanto from Monsanto's trials not on the
basis of the harvest from farmers fields in the first year of commercial

The fabricated data that presents a failure of Bt. Cotton as a miracle
hides the fact that non-target insects and diseases increased 250-300%,
costs of seed were 300% more and quantity and quality of cotton was low.
This is why on April 25, 2003, the Genetic Engineering Approval
Committee (GEAC) of the Government of India did not give clearance to
Monsanto to sell Bt. Cotton seeds in Northern India. 

The false claims of Monsanto were also proved with a total failure of
Hybrid maize in the state of Bihar and a black listing of the company by
the government. 

In Rajasthan, Monsanto gave itself an award for miracle yields. While
the brochures claimed 50-90 Q/acre, farmers harvested only 7 Q/acre, 90%
lower than the promise. Farmers of the Udaipur district of Rajasthan
have started a campaign to boycott Monsanto seeds. 

Reports of these failures do not reach the international level because
Monsanto controls the media with its public relations spin, just as it
is attempting to control governments and science. 

Our crops are being polluted, our food contaminated, our scientific
research and regulatory agencies threatened and corrupted. 

This is the context in which the Biotech Conference for Agriculture
Ministers in Sacremento, California, hosted by Ann Vanneman, the U.S.
Secretary for Agriculture is taking place. Ann Vanneman used to head
Agracetus, a subsidiary of Monsanto. The Brazilian Agriculture Ministry
is held captive by Monsanto. The removal of India's Agriculture

Ajit Singh, a few months before general elections is to ensure that the
threat to peasant survival under corporate control of agriculture is not
put high on the agenda and India's Agriculture Ministry also comes under
Monsanto/Cargill control. The first activity in which the new
Agriculture Minister Rajnath Singh participated was a Global Seed
Conference organised by the Biotech industry. 

Sustainability and science are being sacrificed for a reckless
experiment with our biodiversity and food systems which is pushing
species and peasants to extinction. We need to re-imbed technology in
ecology and ethics to ensure that the full ecological and social costs
are taken into account. 

What is at stake is the evolution of nature and survival of people, our
food sovereignty and food freedom, integrity of creation and our food
systems based on the evolutionary freedom of nature and democratic
freedoms of farmers and consumers. The choice before us is
bio-imperialism or bio-democracy. Will a few corporations have a
dictatorship over our governments, our knowledge and information, our
lives and all life on the planet or will we as members of the Earth
family liberate ourselves and all species from the prison of patents and
genetic engineering? 

We need to reclaim our food freedom and food sovereignty. 

Our movement in India seeks to defend our seed freedom (Bija Swaraj) and
food freedom (Anna Swaraj) by defending our rights, and refusing to
cooperate with immoral and unjust laws (Bija Satyagraha). We save and
share our seeds, we boycott corporate seeds, we are creating patent
free, chemical free, genetic engineering free zones of agriculture to
ensure our agriculture is free of corporate monopolies and chemical and
genetic pollution. 

Our bread is our freedom. Our freedom will ensure our bread. And each of
us has a duty to exercise bread freedm (Anna Swaraj) -- for the sake of
the earth, for all species, and for ourselves and the generations to

Michael Albert
ZNet / Z Magazine

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