Agbiotech and corporate special interests in reaction to stubborn global resistance have stepped-up their propaganda and bullying. This aggression is evident in the media, the marketplace, the trade and diplomatic fronts, the legislatures, courts, patent offices, and the streets of the cities where anti-globalization protests have taken place. Recognizing that a critical mass of youth, consumers, farmers, environmentalists, and public interest nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) all over the world are rejecting, not only the biotech and industrial agriculture model, but also the entire "Free Trade" globalization agenda itself, the Gene Giants and their allies know they are losing ground. Reacting to massive demonstrations in Seattle, Washington, Quebec, Sweden, and Genoa--with anti-Frankenfoods concerns often in the forefront-governing elites have clamped down and repressed youthful protestors, and have begun shifting their meetings to inaccessible locations such as the oil sheikdom of Qatar, where the 142 nation members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) are scheduled to hold a ministerial meeting November 9-13.

Since September 11, with public attention focused on terror attacks and the war in Afghanistan, White House operatives have done their best to: - sabotage stringent safety testing of genetically engineered (GE) foods and crops in the WTO Codex Alimentarius negotiations in Vancouver; - pressed Congress forward for "Fast Track" Presidential negotiating authority to enable Bush to expand the power of the WTO and spread Free Trade fundamentalism throughout the Americas; - inserted language into the Fast Track bill that would ban mandatory labeling of gene-altered foods and the use of the precautionary principle; - increased pressure on the EU to lift its moratorium on genetically modified organisms (GMOs); - and threatened Thailand and other nations seeking to ban or label GE crops. (See OCA's website for details on these stories and other news items referred to in this issue).

Monsanto, meanwhile, has tightened its stranglehold over the agbiotech and seed sector. The company in April was awarded a wide-ranging, controversial patent from the US Patent office on all antibiotic resistant marker genes (found in nearly all GMO crops), and continues to move forward to gain a similar monopoly patent on Agrobacterium tumefaciens, a vector (sort of a cellular taxi) used widely in gene-splicing. Monsanto is also requiring strict licensing and royalty agreements for scientists carrying out research on the genetic structure or genome of rice-for which the company holds a patent. (See

On the intimidation front, Monsanto continues to press legal charges against several hundred North American farmers for the "crime" of saving their seeds without paying a royalty payment to Monsanto. After gaining a precedent setting court conviction against Saskatchewan farmer Percy Schmeiser in March, unjustly accused of growing Roundup Ready canola which had actually drifted onto his fields from adjoining farms growing GE crops, Monsanto set up a toll-free "snitch line" in Canada, advertised on radio stations, for farmers to "turn in" their seed-saving neighbors. After protests the snitch line was disconnected. A similar snitch line was set up in the US several years ago.