Thursday, June 07, 2007

The Order 81 Controversy: Much Ado About Nothing, Redux

It appears I've been taken to task for my views on this subject by one Benno Hansen, a fellow from Denmark. He has posted a comment and links to his blog below, wherein he makes much of the fact that I moderate comments before I allow them to be posted and sometimes it takes a while to get a 'round tuit' as we say.

Benno thinks I'm a stooge for Monsanto and an apostle of corporate greed.

It also seems that the sponsors of his blog are on my ISP's list of problem spammers, and my emails have gone unanswered, or else I would have posted my comments to the blog of this self confessed spammer. So be it. I am not interested in spending half the morning getting Mediacom to unblock the site just for l'il ole me.

Here's the substance of my remarks.

Benno, there are no conspiracies here-only differences of opinion. You need not be catty or supercilious-it does not add to the fund of mutual knowledge.

While I am honored that the ramblings of this country lawyer appeared momentous and threatening enough to be remarked on in the great nation of Denmark, let me clarify a few items for the record.

I am not a corporate stooge in the service of the Great Satan Monsanto.

I am not trying to cram GMOs down the throats of poor farmers in their loincloths.

I live in a modest apartment.

I drive a 20 year old Mitsubishi pickup truck with 240,000 km on the clock. That is what you call living the recycling lifestyle.

I have a mountain of debt for my education that in all likelihood will outlive me.

I'm a struggling teacher and most of my clients are indigents charged with criminal offenses.

I did not have a college degree until the age of 45.

I have to mow the lawn today to keep the landlord happy.

I'm teaching myself welding.

I have kids and grandkids.

My knees hurt going up the stairs at the courthouse.

I spent most of my working life as a factory worker, auto parts clerk, millhand, and tow truck driver.

I vote Democratic.

My working class credentials are, to put it bluntly, impeccable.

I also have a master in laws degree in agricultural law from the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville. It is the only such program in the US and maybe the entire world, judging from the number of foreign students that attend. I also work with the Drake University agricultural law center from time to time on projects of interest to the Director.

So I know a little about agriculture, law, legislation and policy. In fact. I've been published on such subjects a number of times.

I have three clients that are corporations.

One is a farmer's cooperative that raises Berkshire hogs on grass.

(Parenthetically, organizing that was a real experiment in how democracy works for people who work with their hands. I may write about it some day).

One is a nonprofit that provides mental health services to people in rural America.

One is a small electroplating shop run by an expat Austrian.

That's it, folks. No Great Satan here. Just a working stiff on temporary desk duty trying to make a living.

I also know a manufactured controversy when I see one, and that's what this is all about.

But don't take my word for it. In fact, don't take anyone's word for it.

Read CPA 81 Article 3 for yourselves. Make up your own mind about whether it's a war crime as Benno Hansen thinks, or whether there are more important things to waste time over.

If you think it's a war crime, stop by to collect your aluminum foil hats and Koolaid.


At 4:38 AM, Blogger Benno Hansen said...


I have no idea what your complaints are about - I didn't get emails from you, I haven't deleted any comments.

And I never said patent laws were war crimes in themselves. But it's a violation of the Geneva Conventions when an occupying power alters laws and economy of a territory. Period. We could then move on to discuss if the invasion of Iraq and CPA-81 circumvents this or not. Personally, I don't see how.


At 12:57 PM, Blogger Robert Luedeman, attorney at law said...

Benno, it's not my complaints or the lack of them that's at issue. Don't change the subject and start blabbing about the Geneva Conventions.
The reason you never got any emails from me is that I didn't send any emails to you. You haven't deleted any comments because you never got any. That's because Newsvine is blocked as a persistend spammer by my ISP. I explained all that.

As a matter of fact, her's what you said on your blog. Not so nice, is it? Not quite as innocent as it seems.

Benno HansenAtt. Luedeman / readers of Law Down on the Farm:

Regarding your blog entry of Friday, May 25, 2007: The Order 81 "Controversy": Tales Told By Idiots:

For some reason, about two months ago we here at Law Down On The Farm started seeing an increase of mail in the mailbag on the subject of Coalition Provisional Authority Order 81.
That's sad. Because I have been spamming the blogosphere, my newspapers and everyone in my viscinity about it for at least 3½ years. Here's a collection of the texts I have seen around the net. Luedeman quotes someone - not sure who - for this typical anti-CPA tirade:

This order prohibits Iraqi farmers from using the methods of agriculture that they have used for centuries. The common worldwide practice of saving heirloom seeds from one year to the next is now illegal in Iraq. Order 81 wages war on Iraqi farmers. They have lost the freedom and liberty to choose their own methods of agriculture
The only wrongly used words are the ones I emphasized. CPA-81 doesn't explicitly ban "traditional agriculture". But it forces a regime upon the Iraqis that will allow the multinational agricultural companies to to create an environment that will make the traditional agriculture even more difficult than in the rest of the world.

Opponents of CPA-81 are caught using these words - "prohibit", "illegal" etc - every now and then. I for one try and correct them. I'm sad to see a proponent of the corporate patent laws such as you, Luedeman, get a free shot on this account. Well, I guess it's the typical case of the truth being the first victim of any conflict.

It also seems that Iraq's agricultural sector is in decline.

Galil Hassan blames it on 'criminal sanctions' -that's Newspeak for the U.N.'s Oil for Food Program and the sanctions imposed after Iraq's brutal invasion of Kuwait....didja forget that, Mr. Hassan?

The truth isn't simple. The UN imposed the sanctions because some of it's members put pressure on it to do so. One of those members was of course the US of A. Whose government in turn was asked to do so by the corporations that funded it. Then those sanctions were interpreted and enforced by the US Army.

I'm caught in a catch 22 already. Am I apologizing for the dictator Saddam Hussein? NO! But it sounds a bit like it, doesn't it. Well I'm not. Do not misquote me on this.

If you think about it, the corporations got away with things during those sanctions that would have constituted war crimes if they had been done today by the occupational forces: denying access to medicine, sabotage of irrigation etc etc. A decade of tearing down one of the richest countries in the Middle East. Paving the way for a profitable war.

Regarding the invasion of Kuwait, it's wasn't what the US administration made it up to be. In hindsight, it appears Saddam was trapped. His CIA henchmen appears to have given him a green light. He had some reasonable claims that Kuwait was stealing his oil. Etc, etc. The truth isn't as simple as you are trying to depict it.

Iraqi farmers were forced to sell the wheat and barley they grew to the old regime's government trading monopoly at artifically low prices.
Well, although I don't know the specific details, I do know they were also allowed to buy seeds at "artificially" low prices at the Iraqi seed banks. That by the way were bombed - accidentally? Just like the seed bank in Afghanistan was bombed - accidentally? Of course, the invasion forces wouldn't bomb seed banks deliberately!?!?

In an effort to increase Iraqi agricultural productivity, high yield plant varieties are being sent to Iraqi farmers in an effort to increase production of foodstuffs.

These include varieties of wheat that are used to produce pasta.

Read: In an effort to increase Iraqi agricultural productivity US corporate profits, high yield genetically modified and patented plant varieties are being bought by US tax payers (aka US Aid which is 80% corporate subsidies) sent to forced upon Iraqi farmers in an effort to increase production of foodstuffs export goods.

These include varieties of wheat that are used to produce pasta (eaten by Italians, not Iraqis - hence meant for export and profit, not consumption).

I know you think this is "nonsense". But ordinary people around the world wouldn't agree - if they only knew!

It allows for registration of plant varieties that have an identifiable genotype that is developed by selection or presumably by genetic engineering, and it prohibits propagation of a registered variety without the assent of the breeder.
Saddam was enforcing the opposite regime: that no-one could claim ownership of a natural resource. No matter how despotic he may have acted in other regards, this is an honorable effort in my opinion, every organic consumer's opinion and many other's. The manipulation, over-turning or otherwise changing of an occupied country's laws or economy is a violation of the Geneva Conventions. The CPA-81 is a war crime no matter how you look at it or what you think of GMO's, Monsanto, Saddam or what ever. It's a fact, Jack.

What only further adds to the grotesque show we're witnessing is that European countries have been bribed into this "Coalition of the Willing". ("Willing"!? as in what? "not quite interested" or what?) The CPA-81 would never become law in the EU. It's draconian compared to our more reasonable laws. Knock-on-wood etc. Ie Denmark sent a submarine and a handful of soldiers and in return were given contracts to ship tanks across the Atlantic. Bribery.

Finally you bring up this Nobel Prize winner Dr. Norman Borlaug. We are going to have to agree to disagree on quite a few things and I'm not going into this. But you call your opponents 'idiots'. Even in the headline.

I'd like you to compare Iraq to Venezuela and Cuba. These countries are also subject of US cultural atrocities. Unlike Iraq, they are still standing. What does this tell you?


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