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Who Posted THIS Comment???

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Posted on : 10:09 AM | By : Nic | In :

I received a comment last night on my post regarding the seed vault in Norway.  It is by a profile-less person known as "Crop" (heh heh), and if any comment has ever made me feel like Big Brother is watching, it's this one.  Here's the whole thing so you don't have to go look for it:

A great amount of information regarding the Svalbard Global Seed Vault is available at the Global Crop Diversity Trust website (http://www.croptrust.org). In particular, there is a long page that answers all of the questions related to ownership and access to the Vault and to the seeds stored there (http://www.croptrust.org/main/arctic.php?itemid=211).

The article written by Mr. Engdahl is a conspiracy theory based on erroneous information. In particular, Monsanto Corporation has had nothing at all to do with the project. The Government of Norway entirely funded the building of the project. Norway and the Global Crop Diversity Trust will support the maintenance and the operations of the Vault. The Bill & Melinda Gates foundation has donated funds to the Trust that enable genebanks in the developing world and the international agricultural research centers to package and send seeds to Svalbard. The Gates foundation has no other part to play in the project, and cannot access any of the seeds stored there. The full list of all donors to the Trust is found at http://www.croptrust.org/main/donors.php.

No GM seeds are stored in the Seed Vault. The administration of the Seed Vault has decided against specifying which diversity is worthy of being conserved for future generations; that would be presumptuous and risky. Nevertheless, at this time, the Seed Vault does not offer storage to GM varieties. Norwegian law, introduced prior to the establishment of the Seed Vault and intended to apply more generally to research and use of genetically modified organisms in Norway, prohibits importation of GM seeds. This law also applies to their storage in Svalbard.

The most important misunderstanding in need of correction regards access to the seeds. Only the depositor (that is, the group that sends the seeds to Svalbard) has access to the seeds. The packages and the boxes that hold them are never opened, and only the depositor can retrieve them if needed. It works like a safety-deposit box in a bank- Norway owns the Vault, and the depositor owns the seeds stored there, and is the only entity allowed to access the seeds.

The Global Crop Diversity Trust welcomes donations from all sectors, including corporations, but these donations in no way affect control or access to seeds in Svalbard. Please do an internet search on the Vault- hundreds are articles have been written and videos produced. Also look at the Norwegian government website for the Vault (http://www.regjeringen.no/en/dep/lmd/campain/svalbard-global-seed-vault.html?id=462220), and the seed portal site run by NordGen, which lists all the depositors at Svalbard (http://www.nordgen.org/sgsv/).

The Seed Vault is global effort to help address the problems genebanks have- especially in poor regions- in safeguarding crop diversity, by providing a free back-up storage site. That Norway along with many organizations have worked to provide this service to the world for free and under the strictest protection to the depositors of seed is a cause for celebration worldwide.
I could have just deleted the comment as blatant propaganda, but I'm not like that.  If you disagree with me I will post your opinion because it's pretty apathetic to only listen to your own opinion.  And this comment just provides too much food for thought, besides being an advertisement for the seed vault.  Let's go through this point by point:

1. First of all, I got most of my information from Wikipedia and news articles.  They said basically the same things that the official website said, with the addition of actual further information.

2.  Regarding the article that I also used for information, yes, some of it should be taken with a grain of salt, but not the stuff I listed in my blog post.  This commenter claims that Monsanto has nothing to do with the project, that the Government of Norway entirely funded the project, and that the Global Crop Diversity Trust only funds support and maintenance.   I don't really care about nit-picky details about who built what.  The fact is that the corporations in the Global Crop Diversity Trust (please look it up and see their list of donors) gives money to the project.  The list does include DuPont, Syngenta, Bill and Melinda Gates, the Rockefeller Foundation, and The International Seed Federation.  Interestingly enough, the ISF has members all over the world, including Monsanto (and mostly chemical and genetic engineering companies).  Even more interesting, the new director of the ISF previously worked for Monsanto Italy.  So yes, Monsanto is giving the vault money.  It's also interesting to note that not every company listed in their membership is an 'Associate Member' of the ISF - only big hitters like Monsanto, Pioneer, and DuPont.  Also I don't really care if Bill and Melinda Gates don't access the seeds in the vault - they paid for it and that means they promoted it.

3. The commenter says that there are no GM seeds in the vault and the director has decided against storing them at this time.  I don't know where this person gets that information since they don't provide a reference.  I read the PDF FAQ on their website and it states very vaguely: "Among the types of seed samples held at Svalbard will be
traditional varieties/landraces, modern varieties, and wild species related to crops." ( Crop Trust PDF)  I am not sure what the criteria are for 'modern varieties', but modern is the opposite of traditional heirloom seeds.

4.  Yes, I understand that the vault works like a safety deposit box (didn't I say that in my blog post?), and also leads me to believe that this comment is standard cut-and-paste public relations strategy of some kind.  Actually it is more concerning to me that only the depositor can access the seeds.  If DuPont deposits heirloom seeds, proliferates the world with hybrids and GM seeds, and is the only one allowed to get the heirloom seeds out, that's a real problem. In fact, I think that was the point of my post - I don't like the idea that something this big is being set up to protect a corporation's control over food.

5. The commenter said anyone can deposit seeds.  I wonder if I could?  The truth is that they are first collecting the seeds from existing seedbanks, kind of centralizing where all the seeds in the world will be held.  It's kind of like a 'put all your eggs in one basket' strategy.  It's also incredibly expensive.  This sounds even worse to me - let's take storage of viable, necessary seeds from developing countries, lock them up in safety deposit boxes in one location, all funded by huge GM and chemical engineering companies.  I don't really care that they are telling people they are helping developing countries or whatever the claim is (and the fact they take the time post on blogs like mine leads me to distrust them).  What is really happening is that they put the seeds in the vault and then DuPont, Syngenta and Monsanto (especially Monsanto, who distributes the most GM seeds) come in and distribute GM seeds to subsistence farmers in Africa.  Monsanto also has a patent on Genetic use restriction technology, or 'terminator seeds', varieties of plants which don't grow seeds - they just die.  They originally pledged not to use this because of poor farmers (think developing countries), but in 2003 acquired the company that had developed it and hasn't ever said it wouldn't use it.  They don't even know if the GURT varieties  can't cross-pollinate and contaminate other varieties, making all plants sterile.  It is interesting to note that the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources that made the vault possible was closed to signatures in 2002, and the CropTrust website says that the treaty was an essential element to their funding strategy.  Isn't it weird how the very next year, Monsanto had acquired their terminator seed patent and figured out a vault to store seeds 'in case of emergency'?

Comments (4)

Got my 'Tin Foil Fedora' on so I am ready to comment :)

A quick Scroogle search on our friend of the environment Mr. Monsanto and his new sidekick Mr. Seed Vault uncovers and interesting coincidence:

Someone went to a lot of trouble to post this comment anywhere the connection to Monsanto and the Seed Vault is mentioned.

Every comment has the all important statement:

"Monsanto Corporation has had nothing at all to do with the project."

Interesting as well is how the writing style and sentance structure is almost identical across all the comments...

Obviously this person is just concerned with getting the facts straight and is not affiliated in any way shape or form to the Monsanto Corporation.

I know if I found a blatant error of facts on the information super cowpath I would make it my mission to find every blog and forum post connected with that heinous act and post the correct factual information - leaving out any relevant coroberation of facts for obvious reasons.

Don't forget to watch the one hour special on tonight from CNN / Fox News titled:

"Monsanto Corporation has had nothing at all to do with the project."

While your watching this riveting one hour mock-u-mentary why don't you enjoy a nice tall cool glass of Kool-Aid (Please Drink Responsibly)

ha ha excellent Peter. I hadn't even thought to look up other blogs. I think it's pretty clear who 'Crop' is...

I think I may be the first to be able to actually link Monsanto in a plausible way through the ISF. They've taken great lengths to try to hide this connection - being in control of a Seed Federation that gives money to a 'non-profit' foundation which gives money to the vault. Hmmm....

Wow, looks like you got some propaganda there in your comments section. Amazing that they're that on top of things!

Thanks for posting both the original information and this comment. It's eye-opening.

Bloody interesting stuff!