New Zealand Food Bill Threatens Agricultural Sovereignty and Personal Autonomy.

Scott, Occupy Sydney’s Kiwi occupier, is very concerned about the effect that this food bill will have on the people, land, and ethical food industries in his home country….

If you’re concerned about the safety of your food supply & governmental control of it in this day & age, you should be. Governments around the world are increasing control over the origins & make up of your food while bowing down to the demands of bio-terrorists Monsanto.

In New Zealand the Food Bill 160-2 has been introduced into Parliament by the National Party government. Prime Minister John Key & Food Safety Minister Kate Wilkinson have put forward the bill under the guise of improving food safety & cleaning up the old Food Bill of 1981. The new Food Bill is strikingly similar to the controversial Food safety Modernization Act which was passed in the United States last year. This is particularly distressing as New Zealand has always done it’s own thing in relation to not following America when it comes to damaging things; kicking out US nuclear battleships in the 1980’s.

Some of the main concerns surrounding the Food Bill 160-2 are;

1. People would be prohibited from growing their own food & trading it with their neighbours.
2. Registration would be required to provide homemade food for charitable & community events.
3.Food safety officers will be empowered to conduct armed raids without warrants & with full immunity from persecution should they overstep the boundaries.

According to the New Zealand Food Safety Authority, a division of the Ministry of Agriculture & Fisheries ( MAF), the new bill is designed to provide an efficient, effective & risk based food regulatory regime that manages food safety & sustainability issues, improves business certainty & minimises compliance costs for business. The main thing to be worried about in their statement is the issue of sustainability. Monsanto is well known for GM seeds, herbicides & pesticides. All these things are designed for maximum yield in minimum time. This sounds good in principle however in sustainability terms it’s a death sentence. The GM seeds spread to neighbouring properties & pollute heritage seeds. The toxic chemicals used in the herbicides & pesticides will eventually render the soil infertile & hence unusable.

Minister Kate Wilkinson has stated that the level of control exercised in regards to food would depend on the category of risk posed to the public. Companies dealing in high risk foodstuffs such as dairy products & meat would have a higher registration fee & be subject to more checks. Medium risk such as jams, pickles etc, a lesser fee & less stringent checks & low risk food & people that barter food less fees & checks again. She has also assured people that farmers markets, School Fairs/Fetes & the like will not need to register or be subject to checks by Food safety Officers as long as they continue to sell good quality, safe food. Despite these assurances can the public really be convinced that these controls won’t be imposed on farmers markets, community gardens, co-ops & those with fruit trees & a vege patch out the back? Personally I can’t see it happening as if there’s a buck to be made the New Zealand Government will be all over it. Even worse is the disturbing fact that if a government in cahoots with big business controls the entire food supply of a nation, in effect they have entire control over the populace! Don’t think for a second that this won’t happen in Australia too. Unfortunately Australian politicians seem to follow the United States lead in most things so be ready to fight for your food.

Info available at www.foodsafety.govt.nz/policy-law/reform-nz-food…/food-bill/

Occupy Sydney Festival Of Dissent and SIX MONTH ANNIVERSARY

The festival of dissent will begin at 9:30am on Friday the 13th when we OCCUPY THE COURTS (The Downing Centre on Liverpool Street) to show solidarity for occupiers in court that day. Feel free to come in your best Friday 13th fancy dress. Many people are fighting camping charges on that day so tent monsters and sleeping bag dwellers are very welcome at the court solidarity action.

At 6pm, Occupy Friday will kick off with workshops including Yoga, Circus and (yet to be confirmed) the Anti-Coal Seam Gas struggle. If you would like to run a workshop, please either write it on the wall of this event or just spontaneously hold it on the night. Occupy Fridays also includes Alain’s Friday Night Sustainable Cinema, Tiny Tents Taskforce, placard & political art making and respectful, constructive political discourse! Please come armed with ideas, musical instruments, a plate of food and sleeping gear if you wish to sleep over!

On Saturday morning, a contingent of occupiers will be heading to Parramatta to support Occupy Parramatta, more info @ http://www.facebook.com/groups/OccupyParramatta/

At 1:30pm on Saturday, Occupy Sydney Free School kicks off. More information coming soon about the workshops being held. Free School will be followed by our SIX MONTH anniversary General Assembly.

After the General Assembly, The Festival of Dissent will culminate with more workshops, political discussions, a forum (twitter: #osforums) about Occupy Sydney in the future, music, dancing, art, and JUBILATION when at midnight, we reach six months, which is no mean feat given the various forces that have been against us over the past six months.

If you have ever been involved or wanted to be involved in Occupy Sydney, please come down to celebrate six months of Occupy Sydney and OCCUPY FOR A BETTER WORLD. If there are any workshops, skills or ideas that you would like to contribute or announce, please do so on this event page!

Occupy Sydney has already made history, now let’s make the future!

More info coming soon….

Event page here...Invite your friends!

Hey Monsanto, give us back our little seed!!

This is written by Orfi, an occupier who is keen to spread awareness and action about the evils of Monsanto. Monsanto may seem too powerful to fight, but it’s possible to shut Monsanto out. Most of Europe has banned GM food, and the Indian Government is taking legal action against Monsatan for Ecopiracy. In Haiti, when Monsanto ‘benevolently’ donated GM seeds to Haitians in the wake of the earthquake, they knew what to do. The Peasant movement of Papay burnt 60,000 seed sacks ‘donated’ by Monsanto, saying the seeds were a threat to Haitian agricultural sovereignty and biodiversity. In Australia, an allegiance with the CSRIO has allowed Monsanto to plant GMOs in Australia. Already, many farmers have had their crops contaminated by Monsatan’s seeds. We need to stop Monsanto while we still can. On Friday the 16th March, Occupy Sydney took part in a global day of action against Monsanto. We made a beautiful garden at Occupy Sydney out of Non-GMO (Heirloom) plants and then got into our Monsanto Hazmat suits to spread awareness about Monsanto.

If there were one corporation I could punch in the face repeatedly forever it would be MONSANTO.

Spewed forth from the bowels of hell in 1901 Monsanto’s first product was Saccharine, this word has only negative connotations, sickly sweet, lacking in substance/nutrients, schmaltzy, fake, the first artificial sweetener, now it’s called Aspartame, we all know how good that crap is for us. In 1917 the US government sued them for making a dangerous product and lost!

111 years later Monsanto is in the top 3 most dangerous nefarious companies in the world, seriously; the links above and to the right are just timelines of over 100 years of crimes against humans, animals and the earth.

Empires rise and fall, fiat currencies collapse, political systems disintegrate, governments go round in circles, ideologies come and go, wars will be started, environmental catastrophes will occur.  We have survived through all of that, but we could always start again, plant some seeds and start again, now Monsanto has fucked our seeds, big time. Taken the most beautiful thing nature has created to sustain us and raped it beyond all recognition.

For the first time in 12,000 years we do not own our seeds, we do not pass them down from generation to generation, we have almost lost the capacity to grow our own food in our backyards. Because of Monsanto, in some places it is illegal to trade seeds, illegal to grow your own food, illegal to store seeds, people are hunted by Monsanto agents. It’s all there in black & white, nicely coded to give you the fuzzies, www.codexalimentarius.org

Google Monsanto is evil you get over 2 million results – Monsanto is the devil over 900,000 results – Monsanto is bad over 4 million results

When you hear Monsanto’s side of the story, it sounds so benign, so altruistic, and benevolent. Solve world hunger using our genetically modified seeds, no one need ever go hungry again in any place on this earth cause Monsanto is here, they care, cue Bob Geldof holding a bag of GMO corn seed.

Lets do a flash back to the 60’s/70’s and a wonderful human invention called Agent Orange, yep, Monsanto’s.  Used as scorched earth policy against whole villages of Vietnam and its people, cancers for them and genetic mutations for their children, the prize if they did not melt in a fiery inferno.  It started out as a weed killer called Lasso Herbicide.

Agent Orange Victims

Agent Orange trauma on the earth and its inhabitants is still going on for hundreds of thousands of people and is still in the courts.  For decades the US Army and Monsanto vehemently denied any danger to exposure.

We have amongst us at Occupy Sydney an awesome man, homeless Vietnam Veteran who is slowly dying from his exposure to Agent Orange.

Then you have the profound fuck up to our world that is Round up, almost every Australian house has some, it is used to kill weeds but studies are starting to show it causes birth defects, it kills the soil and plants.  At the moment the whole world is been sprayed with Round Up every day, 24/7, 365 days a year.  This shit is literally destroying our DNA.

Every scientific study that is done comes the conclusion that anything Monsanto does is deadly; there are exceptions, studies carried out by Monsanto scientists.

The weeds grow resistant, the insects mutate, the seeds don’t give the yields they promise, their food fed to rats leads to organ failure,  a mountain of lawsuits, executives jumping from boardroom to congress and back into congress (Donald Rumsfeld being the most well known) and last but not least violence against farming communities, just the other week a 65 yr old man spent a few days in lock up and was tortured for selling raw milk. Yep, Monsanto is involved in the hormones given to cows, Bovine Growth Hormone.

Monsanto’s other gifts to the earth and its inhabitants, PCB’s and DDT

And just to top it off their GM corn seeds are now being conclusively blamed for BCCD (Bee Colony Collapse Disorder), a few years ago almost all of the worlds bees were wiped out, causing huge cross pollination problems

Monsanto has very long and fruitful relationships with Coca Cola (water) and Du Pont (chemicals), they played their part in the creation of the Atomic Bomb and just for good measure they did business with the third Reich (just like almost everybody else).

While the financial crimes of the 1% are truly ginormous they still pale in significance to what a profound cataclysm Monsanto has unleashed on us, they took Pandora’s box and smashed it into a million pieces.  We will definitely be able to come up with a new way to trade goods and services but if our seeds are damaged, our DNA damaged, our water and soil damaged then it will get biblical

It is nigh impossible in a mere 2 pages to expose the crimes of Monsanto, I have merely touched the tip of the iceberg.

The first step is to watch a few documentaries on you tube,

The World According to Monsanto Sweet MiseryThe Future of Food .

If one wanted to get a quick understanding of where their game is at, you have a Monsanto education evening, chill out, wine/snacks, few friends, watch a few you tubes, chill out, click on some links provided throughout article and below, there is an ocean of dissent against Monsanto in the community and on the Internet, please help turn it into a tidal wave.

http://occupy-monsanto.com/

http://www.occupymonsanto360.org/

www.facebook.com/occupymonsanto

http://www.laleva.cc/pharma/monsantofiles.html

Occupy Sydney acts to throw Serco Overboard

Smashing up people’s lives: your tax dollars at work.

 Serco is famously known (to those who have heard of it) as “the biggest company you’ve never heard of” best described as a company that provides a collection of services, Serco holds the contracts for most of the traffic light systems in England, all the traffic light systems in Ireland, as well as holding a lot of government contracts for technical & IT support in Australia. As well as these services, Serco provides far more sinister services.  Serco runs Australia’s immigration detention centres at a profit. Human rights of refugees are abused while Australian taxpayers foot a one billion dollar bill.  By passing the buck onto Serco’s “care and protection” of asylum seekers, the Australian government is able to essentially turn a blind eye to practices that are designed  to trigger mental health issues in people who are already survivors of torture and trauma and leave it up to inadequate internal disciplinary action, unless of course the media applies intense pressure to the government.

Media pressure has been applied in the case of hunger strikes (Serco did not hold the contracts at that time, another for-profit company did), and the suicides of certain asylum seekers, the latest victim being an Iranian refugee just a few weeks ago.  He was fleeing from persecution in Iran, the same persecution that had killed his brother in Iran. He got to Australia only to find that any hope of freedom from persecution was dashed. Persecution of refugees is rife in Australia. He died of despair. It’s appalling that people are denied asylum when the very places they seek asylum in often had a part in destabilising their home countries (e.g. America, Britain, Australia)

Of course, the media often sides with the government and does Serco’s bidding, Demonising “boat people”. The Murdoch press loves to editorialise about asylum seekers, labeling them as heartless, irresponsible people who actually have an alternative to getting on a leaky boat to Australia with their children in a last bid for survival, and a burden on the taxpayer. The problem with media coverage like this is that it draws attention away from the realities. Realities like the fact that the humanitarian stream is the smallest immigration stream among any of the department of immigration’s streams, the highest being the skilled migrant stream. Another reality that the sensationalisers of refugee issues don’t want you to know is that the largest proportion of visa overstayers hail from Great Britain. The other fact that they don’t want you to think about is that all but two percent of us are boat people. All of us but Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders came from overseas, the government-corporation partnership depends on people falling for their divide and conquer tactics.

Can you see why Serco would want you to hate refugees when they’re making one billion dollars a year from locking up refugees? So make sure you do your own research, these people’s quality of life depend on public awareness and the public’s willingness to act out against policies that harm fellow 99%ers.

Serco is also reaping the benefits of what I like to call the prison cell-off. Serco is gaining contracts for prisons built and previously run by state governments. Serco did not have to foot the bill to build these prisons, taxpayers did, but Serco gets to ride on the taxpayer gravy train by running them. Internationally, the rate of convictions and recidivism tends to go up when prisons are run privately for profit. Really, it’s a no-brainer. If a company is profiting from locking up prisoners it will lobby the government and attempt to sway public discourse to wards passing more punitive criminal laws. Internally, it’s likely to make only tokenistic attempts to rehabilitate inmates, because re-offending leads to profit. The criminal (in)justice system then becomes a trade in human lives. Prisoners and asylum seekers stop becoming inmates and start becoming assets; commodities. In England, Serco famously won a contract with the government on the proviso that it would build extra beds into the facility. What the government didn’t think of when it was running the prison was just to put beds in the existing toilets rather than spending on building. That’s what Serco did to maximize profits.

 Despite the fact that Serco has a history of violating the UN Convention on the Rights Of the Child*, Serco has scored a contract for WA’s new juvenile detention facility. This is in the wake of a damning ruling by the High Court in England after the death of 14 year old Adam Rickwood who hung himself while on remand at Hassockfield Secure Training Centre, where it was found that he had fallen victim to a system failure and an “unlawful regime”.  An inquest found that he was not the only young person suffering, and it’s important to note that he was being held on remand, so his case hadn’t yet gone to trial. Whatever happened to the presumption of innocence? The judicial enquiry found that young people had been restrained by employees yanking back the child’s thumb, or a blow to the child’s nose or ribs, which at the time amounted to unlawful restraint. Mr Justice Foskett, The judge who presided over the case, said:

 “The children and young persons sent to [secure training centres] were sent there because they had acted unlawfully and to learn to obey the law, yet many of them were subject to unlawful actions during their detention. I need, I think, say no more.”

 Now Serco is set to take over the operation of Sydney Ferries from the NSW Government. The Manly Jetcat service was taken over by a private company several years ago (now known as the Manly Fast Ferry) fares went through the roof with no actual benefit to the consumer to justify these price hikes. Given Serco’s track record, I daresay we’ll be seeing more of those fatal ferry accidents, lower quality service and higher costs for commuters, even though taxpayer money was used to build Sydney ferries.

Serco in a nutshell: you can usually get away with ORGANISED CRIME as long as it’s a private-sector public-sector partnership.

Photo: Liam Kesteven

On the 9th of March 2012 for International Stop Serco day, Occupy Sydney participants took part in protests outside Villawood Detention Centre, Chris Bowen’s (Federal Minister for locking up refugees) office, and Occupy Sydney staged an action against the Sydney Ferries takeover (video below) an autonomous occupy group also occupied a Sydney Ferry, dropping banners saying “Smash Serco Scum”, “Throw Serco Overboard” and “Fire Serco”. Actions were also held in Western Australia and the UK, among other places.

In my opinion, companies like Serco and the governments who hand Serco contracts willy-nilly are the real terrorists!

One can’t help but wonder if there is some grand plan to mismanage Sydney ferries so much that they become leaky boats, send them over to Indonesia with people smugglers to pick up some of those much maligned boat people to drop straight to detention centres so that Serco can make a killing. Did I mention that NSW Police will be patrolling ferries as the new revenue protection thugs? Maybe they can pick up a few custodial inmates for Serco along the way….

*In terms of detention of juvenile offenders, the UNCROC states that they must be treated with leniency, rehabilitation must be the main focus and imprisonment must only be used as a last resort.

@antloewenstein’s blog is an excellent source of information regarding Serco

Guantanamo style media censorship in Australian immigration detention centres: Sydney Morning Herald

Photos of Occupy Sydney ferry action: Liam Kesteven

Photos of Occupy Sydney ferry action: Yarek Gasiorek

Sydney Action against Serco: Article by unknown.

Leaked Serco Manual Details How to “strike” Asylum Seekers: SMH