Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Agent Orange: A Code Word for Destruction of Our Environment

Unilever is supporting a dirty industry attempt to continue the destruction of Southeast Asia's rainforests. If it gets its way, orangutans could keep dying in the name of "sustainable" palm oil.
The consumer giant is attempting to ignore scientists' work and rewrite the rules on what counts as forest that should be spared from destruction, backed by the worst palm oil producers. It's a direct challenge to the strong scientific standards that groups from SumOfUs to Kellogg's to Mars have aligned behind. If we don't stop it, this could amount to a license for deforestation in the name of conservation, and undermine the huge progress we've made to save the orangutans. 
Unilever is the world's largest palm oil user, and it's done the right thing in the past to support rainforest protection. It can do the right thing again, and we know that it's sensitive to consumer pressure. Right now Unilever thinks it can push this greenwash behind closed doors. But if we can put this into the public light, it won't be worth the risk for Unilever to continue. 
Sign the petition now to tell Unilever not to greenwash rainforest destruction.

C-123 Veterans File Freedom of Information Act Complaints for Injunctions

Acting on our behalf, the Washington DC law firm of  Davis Wright Tremaine LLP tomorrow will file complaints for injunctive relief for violations of the Freedom of Information Act with both the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of the Air Force.
These actions are carefully considered and submitted only after months and years of efforts to gain the release of unclassified documentation, not protected by privacy concerns nor any other excuse. 
Focused on the exposure claims of C-123 veterans, we sought essential documentation to understand the Air Force 2012 C-123 report, and the stance taken by the VA prohibiting our veterans' exposure disability claims.
It would be nice to immediately have the agencies provide the requested materials in sudden respect of our rights under the Freedom of Information Act. That's unlikely but perhaps some conversation might ensue.
In any case, we will soon have in hand official documentation vital to proving our case before the VA.
Wes Carter

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Veterans' health today, our children and grandchildren tomorrow?
The impact of health issues on the nation’s veterans will in time confront our children and grandchildren in the form of genetically modified organisms (GMO).
The greatest threat to public health is genetically modified organism (GMO) plant production by Monsanto Company (Agent Orange and Bt cotton) and Pfizer, Inc. (Zyklon B. Holocaust gas). Both have research facilities in the Yazoo-Mississippi Delta to produce GMO’s.
Our nation’s veterans suffered from the impact of Agent Orange for years before the Veterans Administration acknowledged causation of toxic exposure to dioxin, a defoliant used in Vietnam to kill the jungle like conditions that provided cover for the enemy. The herbicide utilized two chemicals--2, 4-D and 2, 4, 5-T that was linked to a variety of health disorders: headaches, liver and blood disorders, nerve damage, cancer.
Now we know that veterans, who served in Vietnam and were exposed to Agent Orange, had their DNA mutated by exposure to herbicides, and unknowingly passed on genetic mutations to their unborn. Interesting enough the male and female veterans may have children born with spina bifida, but the woman veteran exposed to dioxin may have child with a whole host of different medical conditions supporting genetic mutation.
With this history now well defined the Agent Orange Benefits Act, was passed in 1996 to provide benefits for Vietnam veterans’ children who were born with spina bifida, as a result of Agent Orange exposure.

Search on for fire's toxic legacy

ENVIRONMENTAL-watch agencies have urged the Pollution Control Department (PCD) to look for contamination by dioxin-furans and other toxic substances in the soil and underground water near the dump-fire site in Samut Prakan's tambon Praksa.
Dioxins and furans are among the most toxic chemicals known to science and can cause cancer in humans.
The agencies have also asked the Industrial Works Department to investigate illegal dumping and contamination of industrial waste in other garbage dumps in the province.
Apha Wangkiat, an environmental lecturer of Rangsit University's engineering faculty, said after the huge fire broke out at the illegal garbage dump in Praksa on March 16, no pollution control agencies turned out to examine the level of dioxin-furans.
Dioxin-furans can taint the environment for more than 100 years and contaminate the food cycle.
Monitoring only carbon-dioxide, carbon-monoxide and sulfur-dioxide is not enough to prove the environment surrounding the dump fire is free from the contamination of toxic substances.
"We found the PCD had no capacity to examine for contamination of dioxin-furans in the environment near the garbage dump as it needed a lot of money [to pay] for testing in the laboratory," she said.
The toxic substances come from the combustion of plastic syringes, plastic tubes, and polyvinyl chloride known as PVC, which have been used in industrial factories.
Apha asked agencies to come forward with cleanup measures for the illegal garbage dump once the fire was out.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Agent Orange from farm to table

While my sister-in-law put the finishing touches on Thanksgiving dinner, I listened to her friend recount the losing battle her husband, a Vietnam veteran, fought with lung cancer. She explained her husband’s illness was caused by his wartime exposure to the toxic defoliant Agent Orange, produced primarily by two companies, Dow Chemical and Monsanto. 
Named for the colored band on its transport tanks, Agent Orange was a cocktail of chemicals, including an herbicide called 2,4-D. Shortly after the spraying — conducted to deprive guerrilla fighters of cover and a food supply — started in 1962, reports began to emerge of serious health effects, from birth defects to other illnesses. To this day, the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs offers an Agent Orange registry health exam for the possible long-term problems caused by exposure, and more than 40,000 veterans have submitted disability claims. The Red Cross estimates that 1 million Vietnamese were affected, including third-generation children born with severe birth defects.
In January the U.S. Department of Agriculture opened a public comment period on the environmental and health impacts of a new suite of crops engineered to be resistant to 2,4-D. These corn and soybean plants, produced by Dow AgroSciences, a subsidiary of Dow Chemical, would be the first developed to be resistant to the herbicide.
According to experts, the introduction of these new crops could cause 2,4-D use to jump, big time. Chuck Benbrook, a pesticide policy expert with the Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources at Washington State University, has estimated that if it’s approved, the engineered corn could cause applications of 2,4-D to jump 20-fold by 2019.

Ailing U.S. veteran wins payout over Agent Orange exposure in Okinawa

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has granted compensation to another former service member for exposure to Agent Orange while stationed on Okinawa during the Vietnam War era. Dated October 2013, the award was made to a retired marine corps driver suffering from prostate cancer that, the presiding judge ruled, had been triggered by his transportation and usage of the toxic defoliant on the island between 1967 and 1968.
The decision to grant the claim comes in spite of repeated Pentagon denials that Agent Orange was ever present in Okinawa.
According to the ruling of the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (BVA), the unnamed marine alleges he came into contact with Agent Orange while transporting it in barrels and rubber bladders between U.S. military ports at Naha and White Beach — a navy installation on the island’s east coast — and a warehouse on Kadena Air Base. He also claims to have sprayed the defoliant in the Northern Training Area, in the Yanbaru jungles, to keep back foliage and reduce the risk of forest fires.
The former marine was able to identify the barrels he helped to transport as the infamous Vietnam War defoliant due to the tell-tale orange stripes painted around their middles.
The retired service member had first applied for compensation in 2004 but his claim was initially rejected. Following appeals by the veteran, Judge Mary Ellen Larkin ruled in his favor last October, stating, “While neither the service department nor DOD confirms the presence of Agent Orange on Okinawa during 1967 and 1968, the veteran offers a highly credible, consistent account that he was directly exposed thereto during those years while performing his assigned military duties.”
According to U.S. government records and interviews conducted by The Japan Times, more than 250 former service members claim to have been sickened by exposure to Agent Orange on Okinawa, but only a handful have ever been given help by their government. Other veterans who have successfully sued for compensation include a former marine stationed on the main island during the early 1960s and a retired army truck driver exposed while driving the defoliant from Okinawa’s ports to Kadena Air Base between 1965 and 1966 (see “Vets win payouts over Agent Orange use on Okinawa,” Zeit Gist, Feb. 14, 2012).
This latest win is believed to be the first time a veteran has been awarded compensation since the Pentagon issued a 29-page report in February 2013 denying Agent Orange had been present on the island. That report, written by former USAF Col. Alvin Young, came under fire from experts for failing to order environmental tests or interviews with any veterans alleging exposure on Okinawa.
In comments to The Japan Times regarding the latest VA ruling, Defense Department spokesman Mark Wright reaffirmed the Pentagon’s confidence in the credibility of Young’s report.
“The research showed that there are no source documents that validate the claims that Herbicide Orange was shipped to or through, unloaded, stored, used or buried on Okinawa,” Wright said by email.
Additionally, Genevieve Billia, VA public affairs specialist, said, “This BVA decision was case-specific, giving the benefit of doubt to the veteran claimant, and has no impact on Dr. Young’s report.”

In Vietnam, Agent Orange still makes its deadly presence felt
The intense flushes of heat come several times an hour, as they have done for years, overwhelming the body and propelling the search for cold water. It makes him angry, frustrated – he’d like to know why it happens, but nothing shows up in hospital scans.
There’s an air of torment about Cong Nguyen. The 16-year-old is among four siblings, two of whom suffer the same regular attacks of heat that mean they can never stray far from a water tank. To make matters worse, he has never been able to grow teeth or a full crop of hair; instead, clusters of wispy, thin strands sit above sunken eyes.  “Some kids avoid me and laugh at me,” he says from the home he shares with his brothers and parents in Bien Hoa, just outside Ho Chi Minh City.
His mother thinks she knows the cause of his problems. As a teenager in the mid-1970s she would collect wood in a field with her father in southern Vietnam. The two would spend all day among the foliage, cutting down small trees, scavenging in thickets for branches that they would then carry back to their village in the evening.
The field, and those surrounding it, was the site of heavy battles between Viet Cong troops and US forces during the Vietnam War, when the US sprayed millions of liters of toxic Agent Orange across the south of the country in a bid to flush out rebels from the jungles and force civilians to relocate to cities, thereby cutting key support bases for the Viet Cong. His mother, Thuy Nguyen, now 66, remembers as a child hearing the sounds of planes flying overhead. During their foraging after the war, she often found bombshells in the fields, and from time to time would pick them up and examine them. A nearby river had an abundance of fish that she and her father would eat.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Voices Blast Dow Chemical’s ‘Agent Orange’ Seed Warfare
As the final public comment period wrapped up on Tuesday for the approval of Dow Agrosciences’ new genetically engineered and herbicide-resistant seeds, hundreds of thousands of people are demanding that the U.S. Department of Agriculture halt the “chemical arms race” that is poisoning our people and planet.
Dubbed “Enlist,” the corn and soybean seeds are resistant to the toxic herbicide, 2,4-D—a known neurotoxin that was part of the cocktail of chemicals used in Agent Orange spray.
According to food safety group Food & Water Watch, over 387,000 people responded to the USDA’s draft Environmental Impact Statement. Individuals who submitted comments voiced their personal concerns with the seeds as they urged the agency to reject their approval.
“This poison chemical company has the ruthless, malicious, heartless audacity to make such a request to have their poison, 2,4-D, a component of Agent Orange to be applied to their so-called GMO food crops,” wrote Lori Nakamura-Higa, the neice of a Vietnam veteran that suffered from Agent Orange poisoning, from Kaneohe, Hawaii. “I [am] reminded daily of the loss of quality of life trying to persevere with this plaguing struggle.”
“This chemical arms race with weeds means more pesticidal pollution, environmental damage, and higher production costs,” said Gary Rost, of Falon Heights, Minn. “[A]pproving this crop would take us backwards, seriously endangering human health and the environment.”
“You have a duty to protect the health and safety of the public. Dow’s applications are clear dangers and represent a violation of public policy,” wrote Ken Mason, Wilmette, Ill.
“Why in the world would we want to approve 2,4-D resistant corn and soybeans when Roundup resistant corn and soybeans have failed to do anything except to increase the use of pesticides?” asked Jean Bixley, Cambridge, Minn. “Pesticides are not healthy for anyone, and the government should be looking at ways to reduce or eliminate their usage, not increase it.”
“For once, do what is best for the American people instead of what big corporations are paying you to do. This could be catastrophic to public health,” said Rachel Wood, Hudsonville, Mich.
“We must stop poisoning our food with chemicals that are unsafe for our health and our environment,” wrote Kevin Peroni, from Denver, Colo. “Big agriculture and chemical companies are not honest about the risks and someday we will all pay the price for their greed.”

Doctor finds another possible deadly health problem associated with Agent Orange
As if veterans exposed to Agent Orange needed another thing to worry about, a new study published in the February issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery identifies a potential new connection between certain types of skin cancers and exposure to Agent Orange.
This new study was led by Dr. Mark Clemens of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and it analyzed medical records from the Veterans Affairs Hospital of Washington, D.C. The findings suggest that veterans exposed to Agent Orange, and the contaminant dioxin, have twice the rate of suffering invasive skin cancers. These cancers include basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. So far no evidence of increased prevalence of melanoma has been proven.
The risk of skin cancer jumped to 73 percent to those veterans who actively sprayed Agent Orange. Not surprisingly, lighter skin types and those with lighter eyes demonstrated greater statistical risk. There exists a dreaded dioxin-spawned skin condition called chloracne; and these afflicted veterans show an 80 percent incident of invasive skin cancer in the study.
As early as the mid 1980s several journals suggested this Agent Orange and skin cancer association, but it has been largely ignored. Clemens reportedly initiated this study after personally witnessing the association first hand in his clinic.

Serum Dioxin Levels in Vietnamese Men more than 40 Years after Herbicide Spraying
Recent studies have found elevated dioxin levels inside some U.S. military former air bases in Vietnam, known as hotspots. Many studies of Agent Orange have been done in U.S. veterans; however, there is little known about Vietnamese men. In 2010, we collected blood samples from 97 men in a hotspot and 85 men in an unsprayed area in Northern Vietnam. Serum concentrations of not only TCDD but also other dioxins (PCDDs), furans (PCDFs), and nonortho polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were significantly higher in the hotspot than in the unsprayed area. In the hotspot, three subareas were demarcated, based on their proximity to the air base. The total toxic equivalents (TEQ) of PCDDs/PCDFs+PCBs was 41.7 pg/g lipid in the area closest to the air base, while it was around 29 pg/g lipid in the other two subareas. In the unsprayed area, the dioxin levels were no different between men who went to the South during the Vietnam War and those who remained in the North, with TEQs PCDDs/PCDFs+PCBs of around 13.6 pg/g lipid. Our findings suggested that people living close to the former U.S. air bases might have been exposed to both Agent Orange and other sources of dioxin-like compounds.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Sign The Petition!

200 Signatures Added Since Yesterday!

Sign the Petition to United States Veterans Administration

14,672 signed

10,328 more needed
Birth Defect Research for Children wants you to join us in raising public awareness about the continuing effects on children of their parents exposure to toxins during military service. 

Donate to Birth Defect Research for Children

$1,650 donated

$3,350 more needed

Agent Orange Event Planned In Salina, Kansas

See Tuesday, March 11, 2014

This week: Agent Orange Town Hall Meetings in Kansas 

see also:

High dioxin levels in Dong Nai lakes

VietNamNet Bridge – About 16 of the 28 lakes at southern Dong Nai Province's Bien Hoa Airbase have been found to have dangerously high concentrations of dioxin.
Authorities have told local residents not to drink or use the water.
The highest concentrations of dioxins were found to be more than 8,000 parts per trillion (ppt), eight times higher than recommended levels.
The news was released yesterday morning (March 10) at a meeting in Ha Noi. It follows a report from a project titled Environmental Remediation in Dioxin Contaminated Hotspots in Viet Nam, undertaken last year and funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF)/ United Nations Development Program (UNDP).
Le Ke Son, director general of the Office of National Steering Committee 33, the body in charge of handling the consequences of toxic chemicals used by the United States during the war in Viet Nam, said that the dioxins were also found in new lakes located on high ground at the airbase.
The report said the most toxic dioxin, 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD), was found in samples of soil and sediment taken near lakes to the north and east of the airbase.
The contamination is believed to be caused by toxic chemicals used during the American War 1959-1975.
According to experts, the level of dioxins at the airbase is higher than at airports in Da Nang and Phu Cat, two others dioxin contaminated hotspots.


Veterans say Ft. McClellan Made them Sick

Life in the military can mean being in harm's way, but not necessarily from bullets and explosions. For instance, some soldiers in Vietnam cleared trees and vegetation with the herbicide Agent Orange. The substance has been linked to cancers and other diseases, which the military didn't acknowledge until years later.
A similar situation may be brewing in Alabama. Some veterans of Ft. McClellan near Anniston say they're suffering from debilitating health problems and they're blaming their time spent at the base.
Strange Illnesses
Veteran Marla Gehman used to run but now just doing some physical activity is kind of a big deal. About 15 years ago she developed fibromyalgia. It's manageable now but hasn't always been.
"I literally had to hang onto things getting out of bed in the morning because my ankles wouldn't move," said Gehman. "They were stiff, like they were fused together. I'd be reading a newspaper and go to change the page and my elbow is locked."
A few years later she developed bone loss in her mouth. A couple of teeth fell out and three more are lose. She also suffers from degenerative disc disease causing back pain.
Gehman says she has no family history of these conditions but didn't think of it as odd.
"I just chalked it up to this happens to some people," said Gehman.
Until last summer when she joined Facebook to connect with family. She stumbled upon a Facebook group of Ft. McClellan veterans. Gehman is a former military police officer. She was stationed at Ft. McClellan twice, for training in 1979 and again in the early 90s before settling in east Alabama. She says these veterans online described numerous health problems from fibromyalgia and reproductive issues to gastrointestinal disease and cancer.
The veterans suspected PCBs released by Monsanto. For decades, the company dumped tons of the chemicals around Anniston. PCBs have been linked to cancer and other illness. The controversy culminated in 2003 in a $700 million settlement with residents.
The veterans also looked to the military itself. Ft. McClellan was home to the Army Chemical School. They say they could have been exposed to sarin gas, VX nerve agent, asbestos and radiological contamination.
"Anyone who's been through basic, you spend a lot of time in the dirt and that sort of thing and drinking water that comes from who knows where," said Gehman. "It just kind of all came together for me. I wonder if that's why I have these illnesses."

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

This week: Agent Orange Town Hall Meetings in Kansas March 14-16, 2014

Vietnam Veterans host Agent Orange town hall meetings
Friday, March 14, 2014
VVA Chapter 939
Hays, Kansas
Fort Hays State University
Memorial Union, 2nd floor
Stouffer Lounge
600 Park Street
Contact Person: Larry MacIntire  (758-580-5373)

Saturday, March 15, 2014
Salina, Kansas
VVA Chapter 809
Salina Chamber of Commerce Annex
(Located behind the main building)
120 West Ash Street
Salina, Kansas 67401

Contact Persons:
Bud Deghand 785-482-0293;
Jim Deister:

Sunday, March 16, 2014
Topeka, Kansas (Mayetta)
VVA Chapter 604
Prairie Band Casino & Resort
12305 150th Road
Mayetta, Kansas
Contact Persons: Blas and Linda Ortiz (785-771-2316); Cell 785-554-3949

Vietnam Veterans of America host Agent Orange town hall meetings

Local veterans share stories about how chemical has impacted their lives, lives of children
Vietnam veterans exposed to Agent Orange have battled cancer, liver damage and other serious health problems.
But their exposure to Agent Orange also has caused birth defects and health problems in their children and grandchildren, according to the Vietnam Veterans of America.
The national organization is working to educate Kansans about Agent Orange, a defoliant deployed during the Vietnam War.
The organization has scheduled three Agent Orange town hall meetings for the month of March, including one March 16 at the Prairie Band Casino and Resort, 12305 150th Road in Mayetta.
“This is very important,” said Blas Ortiz, president of VVA Chapter 604 in Topeka. “A lot of the guys who served over there don’t know. They have been doing a lot of studies where they think this may affect seven generations down the road.”
Ortiz, of Delia, was diagnosed with prostate cancer two years ago. His daughter also has battled cancer, said Ortiz, a combat veteran who served in the Marines in Vietnam from 1964-66.
At least 3 million veterans served in Southeast Asia, and it isn’t known how many of the veterans were exposed to Agent Orange, according to information provided by VVA. Some of the veterans were deployed in areas during and immediately after spraying operations, while other veterans handled Agent Orange and did the spraying.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Long After The End Of The Vietnam War, New Questions Raised About Agent Orange Exposure
When Army veteran Steve House tells people he was exposed to Agent Orange, the toxic defoliant the Department of Defense (DOD) sprayed on trees, vegetation and rice fields during the Vietnam War, the first thing he’s typically asked is where he was stationed in that country. But House has never been to Vietnam. He didn’t join the military until three years after the last American troops evacuated Saigon.

In 1978, House, now 56, was an E-4 specialist and bulldozer operator with D Company 802nd engineers at Camp Carroll, a U.S. Army base in South Korea, where House said he and four fellow soldiers were ordered to dig an enormous trench on the base, then bury 250 barrels of Agent Orange.
In separate, exclusive interviews, former soldiers House, Bob Travis and Richard Kramer each told IBTimes how their postwar exposure to the harmful agent has had a profoundly negative effect on their lives and that the DOD and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) continue to call them liars.
"They didn't tell me what we were burying, but on the side of the 55-gallon barrels it said in bright yellow and bright orange letters, 'Province of Vietnam, Compound Orange’,” House said. “We knew that stuff was bad, and I had a lot of guilt about what I’d done to the people in Korea. I also felt really betrayed by my own government and the country that I love. "
Travis, an Army private first class and one of the two truck drivers who dumped the Agent Orange along with House, said he didn’t know much about Agent Orange at the time, “but our sergeant, who’d been in Vietnam, told us this was the stuff he had sprayed on the trees. We just did what we were told. It isn’t right that the government keeps lying about what happened at Camp Carroll.”

Friday, March 7, 2014

The Really Forgotten of the Vietnam War
What is Agent Orange? Agent Orange along with the Rainbow Defoliants  were use by the U.S. to deprive the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese army of the use of the jungle to hide troop movements, food, and cover. Defoliants were part of the U.S. military’s herbicidal warfare program to clear and prevent vegetation growth in the jungles and countryside of South Vietnam.  Operation Ranch Hand, which technically ran from 1961 to 1971 sprayed 20 million of gallons of defoliants over the countryside and brought with it long-term consequences for the civilian populations of Vietnam as well as for military personnel who were exposed to the chemicals.

Agent Orange is sometimes used broadly when talking about all of the defoliant chemicals that were used during the Vietnam War. Little known to outsiders, the chief ingredient in the defoliant chemicals, Dioxin, underwent military tests during the early Forties and revealed it to be one of the most deadly compounds recorded to date and led Congress to list Dioxin as a potential WDM (weapon of mass destruction). In the jungle battles which ensued in the South Pacific during WWII, the government opted not to use it to deprive the enemy of cover. The thought about its exposure and subsequent health problems which could occur with contact were overlooked when it came to Korea and again in Vietnam.
The problems of using such chemicals were that true-to-form, and understanding military training procedures, the safe handling, exposure, and use of Dioxin was left to happenstance, with training passed down from military personnel to military personnel, with little regard to whether or not the training was sufficient to prevent mis-handling during the mixture process; transportation; personal exposure during application; and follow-up decontamination. Also nothing was done to address the exposure our military would face when they went into the jungles and countryside following aerial spraying by planes and helicopters. And finally, with wind currents able to carry the chemical for miles outside the targeted area, it was impossible to curtail the sprayings to specific boundaries.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Bio-piracy, defamation and the irony of history a side column to the article entitled In Vietnam, genetically modified organisms find fertile ground to grow, Dr. Vandana Shiva, the Indian scientist and renowned activist on food security and food sovereignty, was quoted as follows: “When corporations claim patents [on seeds], they basically ‘pirate’ traits that nature and farmers have evolved. This is not innovation, it is bio-piracy.”
On February 3, 2014, 34 farmers’, breeders’, environmental and development organizations from 27 European countries filed an opposition to a patent from Syngenta, the Swiss agrochemical corporation, which notably is one of the three foreign companies designated to plant their Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) corn varieties in Vietnam.
Why this broad opposition to a particular patent? On May 8, 2013, the European Patent Organization (EPO) had granted a patent (EP 2140023B1) to Syngenta for insect resistant pepper (capsicum) plants. In fact, as it is stated in the press release of the coalition of organizations that filed the opposition, “a wild pepper plant from Jamaica was crossed with commercial pepper plants.” The coalition argues that: “Since the wild plant is resistant to various pests, the patented resistance already existed in nature. However, Syngenta claims the ownership to insect-resistant pepper plants, their seeds, and their fruits, although the patented plants are products of conventional breeding. Such plants should definitely not be patentable under European patent law.”
Developing countries (still) maintain a great bio-diversity, and countries like Jamaica and Vietnam are especially privileged, and have as such interest to safeguard their bio-diversity. Ethically, it is highly questionable when multinational corporations make use of indigenous knowledge and/or local varieties, apply conventional breeding techniques, and in the end succeed in obtaining the patent for what they claim to be ‘their invention’. This is what Dr. Vandana Shiva would call “bio-piracy”.

New Crop Raises Old Worries about 'Drift'
In the war against herbicide-resistant weeds, agricultural scientists are looking for new weapons.  The worry, though, is what happens when the arms race crosses the border onto a neighbors sovereign land. 
“Good fences make good neighbors,” the old saying goes. But what happens if a fenceline can’t stop one neighbor’s actions from harming another’s crop?
Some agriculture groups are saying new crops resistant to herbicides 2,4-D and dicamba could lead to just those sorts of problems.
In January, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released a draft of an environmental impact statement (EIS) that gives the go-ahead to Dow Agri Science to product corn that is resistant to 2,4-D.
Advocates of the new technology say the new crops provide a vital weapon in the war against weed resistance to glyphosate, sold under the brand name RoundUp, which is becoming a stubborn and costly problem for farmers across the country.
Unfortunately, stubborn weeds aren’t the only thing that 2,4-D kills, and gardeners, vineyard owners and even farmers of commodities who don’t switch to the new technology could potentially be affected.
EDITOR'S NOTE: This article comes from Dakotafire, a journalism project serving the James River watershed area of South Dakota and North Dakota. The project helps local media cover regional issues. Additional reporting comes from Doug Card with the Britton (South Dakota) Journal and Bill Krikac with the Clark County (South Dakota) Courier.