Saturday, October 15, 2016

The Hague Tribunal on Monsanto

The multinational thug goes under the legal microscope for human deaths and ecocide and Dr.  Channa Jayasumana and Farmer Saman provide a damning indictment of Glyphosate

Farmer Saman at the tribunal

It is well known that Monsanto promotes an agroindustrial model that contributes to at least a third of anthropogenic greenhouse gases. it is also largely responsible for the depletion of soil and water resources, species extinction and declining biodiversity, and the displacement of millions of small farmers worldwide.

Despite serious allegations against this multinational thug, they have continued to engage in activities devastating to the earth, its plants, its animals and its people through a systematic concealment strategy through lobbying regulators and government authorities, lying, corruption, commissioning bogus scientific studies, putting pressure on independent scientists, and manipulating the press and in all of these, blithely, brutally and unpardonably ignoring the damage to human beings and their social fabric in every part of the world and their massive contribution to the destruction of the stability of the global environment.

The world has had enough of this organization and its lies and its corruption of science for its own profit and gain. As part of the process to sweep them into the dustbin of one of the darkest chapters of human history – that of corporate greed taking precedence over justice – the peoples of the world gather today and tomorrow (16th and 17th October 2016) at the Institution of Social Studies at The Hague, where 30 witnesses and experts from five continents  give evidence against Monsanto and its products in front of an internationally renowned panel of judges.

The judges are Judge Dior Fall Sow of Senegal who is a consultant to the International Criminal Court and a former Advocate General at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda,  Judge Jorge Fernández who is from Souza, Mexico and who is currently Judge at the Court of Administrative Litigation of Mexico City, Judge Eleonora Lamm of Argentina who is the Human rights Director for the Supreme Court of Justice of Mendoza with a doctorate in bioethics and law, Judge Steven Shrybman of Canada who is a partner in the law firm of Goldblatt Partners LLP and practices international trade and public interest law in Toronto and Ottawa and Judge Françoise Tulkens of Belgium, who has a Doctorate in Law, a Master’s degree in Criminology and is a former judge in the European Court of Human Rights.

The Panel of Judges at the Monsanto Tribunal at The Hague - Follow the proceedings at 

Sri Lanka was represented by Farmer Kolonnage Saman and Dr. Channa Jayasumana. They were the third duo to give evidence before the Hague Tribunal.

Farmer Saman paints the frightening socioeconomic scenario farmers in Sri Lanka face as a result of glyphosate: 

 Farmer Saman gave first hand testimony on the damage caused by glyphosate which is the chemical found in such Monsanto herbicide brands as RoundUp. From him, the tribunal heard of the rapid increase in the rise of kidney disease occurring concurrently with the hardness of already hard water and both damningly being noticed with the introduction of glyphosate herbicides from Monsanto’s local cat’s paw – CIC. This was comparatively common knowledge but more important was his indictment of Monsanto who did not inform them of the dangers of using their herbicide and the social and economic cost of the chief breadwinners getting sick and ripping apart the entire social fabric of farming communities in rural Sri Lanka. He completed his testimony demanding that Monsanto provide every one of the tens of thousands (government data says 69,000) of sick farmers as well as those tens of thousands (over 22,000 at present)who have already perished with a significant financial compensation package.

Dr. Channa Jayasumana testifies to the true medical facts behind glyphosate, the rationale for the ban and the effort made by Monsanto proxies to get the ban lifted:

Dr. Jayasumana, Head, Department of Pharmacology, Rajarata University, in his testimony, took the tribunal through the history of kidney disease in Sri Lanka starting as far back as 1994 and the reasons for the 15 year hiatus from the start of the chronic application of these herbicides to the incidence of the first cases of the disease. Citing his own research as well as that of others, he outlined how the active ingredient of such products as Roundup - isopropylamine salt of glyphosate – was identified as the determining cause of Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) in unshakable testimony that the agrochemical industry has sort to deny and / or, suppress. He stated that it combined with heavy metals, leached into ground water and created the toxins that destroyed the kidneys of the farmers and their families in the rice farming belts of the country. He also informed the tribunal that Sri Lanka was the first country in the world to completely ban glyphosate and despite this ban, the proxies of Monsanto were continuously striving to get the ban lifted and using pressure on the government, threats to scientists and infiltration of key academic and state institutions to prevent research from seeing the light of day. He stated that the ban was still strongly in effect and that it was now even firmer because the WHO has recently reported that glyphosate was a probable human carcinogen.

On being questioned by the Tribunal on whether Monsanto knew about the properties of glyphosate, Dr. Jayasumana stated that glyphosate was an acylating agent capable of forming bonds with heavy metals and that Monsanto knew of this when it bought the patent from its previous owner as far back as 1970 after which one of the Monsanto scientists John E. Franz, reformulated the chemical glyphosate (assigned new purpose) to be used as a systemic herbicide.

Responding to a tribunal question on whether there had been attempts to suppress or curb the research, he stated that the University of Peradeniya had recently appointed Buddhi Marambe as a council member when he was also a director of the Monsanto proxy CIC and that every research that was proposed had to be approved and the infiltration of the academic infrastructure in Sri Lanka was typical of how Monsento worked in other countries as well.

When asked by the tribunal if the lack of protective gear was a cause for the incidence of kidney disease, he said that women and children in those areas who had never applied the chemical were also succumbing to the illness although not in the same percentages and that this was due to drinking toxin  contaminated well water.

The key to his testimony was that it was not a product that was banned but rather the active ingredient and this is of paramount importance since various adjuvants for Glyphosate exist, under dozens of trade names ever since Monsanto’s patent expired on it in 2000 with most of the giant biotech, agrichemical corporations jumping on the bandwagon wanting some profits from the world’s top-selling Roundup weed-killer (and human-killer) ingredient.

Citing all of this evidence, he appealed, with powerful scientific backing to the international community to join Sri Lanka in banning glyphosate and not just roundup while sending a strong message to the policy makers of Sri Lanka to uphold the blanket ban on all glyphosate based herbicides even though they are being pressured by various so-called scientists and advocates and lobbyists who have been bought up by Monsanto and its proxies to lift the ban.  

The Tribunal in full swing. At left, before the panel, a witness gives testimony

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