Demon Papaya Seed

SUBHEAD: It is at worst a form of civil disobedience, at best self-defense, to eradicate the scourge of GMO crops.  

By Andy Parx on 22 July 2011 for parx News Daily - 

Image above:Greenpeace volunteers remove genetically modified contaminated fruit from a Puna farm on Big Island. From (

When the first word in the headline- "Decapitation"- caught our eye Wednesday we almost kept scanning the Honolulu paper for less bloody fare- until, that is, we read "of papaya trees unnerves Hawaii isle farmers." According to the article, someone took a machete to 10 acres on the Big Island. The same thing occurred at this time last summer to 17 acres there and another farm three months before that.

But the article ended without any speculation by anyone as to a motive for the "crime," saying (Police) said while farmers talk and speculate, they have no clues about who is committing the vandalism or why it is happening. "There's no rhyme or reason for these thoughtless acts." The TV news stories weren't much help either but the next day the Honolulu newspaper made clear what their theory was in an editorial that squarely pointed a finger, saying:
In all incidents, the papaya trees were genetically modified. William Julian, brother of the Kapoho farmer, speculated that the destruction was the work of people who oppose genetically modified crops or the use of chemicals to control weeds and pests... Julian's speculation is not far-fetched. His brother, Laureto Julian, who has grown papayas since 1967, said he had harvested his first patch of genetically engineered, or GE, "Rainbow" and "Sun Up" papayas just three days before what he called "a gang of up to five people" whacked away at his trees. The editorial predictably went on to condemn the "organized vandalism" saying: Police need to step up their investigation of this criminality and, along with the public, recognize that this goes beyond mere property damage and is becoming a form of agricultural terrorism. 
But even though it's hard to root for seeing anyone's rice bowl get broken it's apparent that the paper's editorial board has it's economic blinders pointed in the wrong direction because from our vantage point the "agricultural terrorists" are not the decapitators but the "decapitees". Though the creators of "genetically modified organisms" (GMO)- or Frankenfoods as many depict them- claim the scientific high ground, real scientists, especially those without any economic interest, recognize the violation of the first rule of science- the precautionary principle. It says that anything being released into the wild- especially for human consumption- should be considered unsafe until proven safe rather than the other way around.

It's certainly the way the Food and Drug Administration treats new drugs. But for some reason- most likely the massive amounts of cash poured into lobbying efforts and politicians' campaign coffers- testing of GMO foods have been done subject to the use of this kind of Carrollian logic.

 But safety issues aside- and make no mistake many are emerging such as colony collapse in bees which has increasingly been thought to be associated with the widespread use of GMO cereal seeds- the violation of the right of people to choose what they put in their pieholes has many hopping mad... mad enough to take matters into their own hands. The not just lack of but actual suppression of information makes any attempt to simply refuse to buy or eat GMO products impossible. Not only are GMO foods not required to have labels informing consumers but it is actually illegal to say a product contains no GMOs.

Not only that but federal law actually forbids states and local jurisdictions from enacting such informational legislation on their own. Those who try to grow organic or even just non-GMO papayas- the latter of which, by the way, are the only ones accepted in the biggest foreign papaya market, Japan- are fed up having their crops infected by the pollen that drifts on the wind from near-by GMO fields making their harvests useless for them and their customers. In some cases GMO seed distributors on the mainland such as Monsanto have gone so far as to actually sue those whose crops were infected by their seeds.

And to add insult to injury they forbid anyone to grow their GMO brands from the seeds of their own harvests, including those whose "legacy crops" have been infected. So far the courts- in the US at least- have bizarrely upheld Monsanto's and other GMO seed creators' and distributors' own "agricultural terrorism," although some small victories have led to ambiguity as to what will happen next in the appellate courts. Is it really terrorism to engage in protecting your non-GMO papayas by taking matters into your own hands and physically preventing the flowering and pollen drift of the GMO brands?

Who are the real criminals- the ones who are protecting their own health, safety and livelihood where the courts have failed to protect them or those who could care less about health and safety of others as long as they get paid? It may be "illegal" to destroy someone else's property but it certainly is at worst a form of civil disobedience, at best self-defense, to eradicate the source of the scourge of GMO crops.

 See also:
Island Breath: Global Alarm Over GE Papaya Grows 5/30/06 .

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