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Context of 'June 2000: Organic Farmer’s Crop Contaminated with Genetically Modified Genes'

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On April 18 and 22, 1994, members of the Haitian Armed Forces and the paramilitary Front for the Advancement and Progress of Haiti (FRAPH) enter the coastal slum of Raboteau on the outskirts of the city of Gonaives. They break into “dozens of homes, beating, and arresting those they found inside,” the BBC will recount several years later. Several of the victims are “tortured on site” and “forced to lie in open sewers” while others are shot as they try to escape. [Jamaica Observer, 3/7/2004; BBC, 10/4/2004; Center for Justice and Accountability, 1/10/2005] Between two dozen and one hundred deaths are attributed to the Raboteau Massacre. The number will remain undetermined, however, because the attackers kill many who are fleeing in boats and whose bodies fall into the sea. Additionally, the killers toss several bodies of people killed on the land also into the ocean. Days later, mutilated bodies wash back to shore. [St. Petersburg Times, 9/1/2002; Amnesty International, 3/10/2004; Center for Justice and Accountability, 1/10/2005] Among those who will be convicted for the atrocity are Louis-Jodel Chamblain and Jean Pierre Baptiste. [Human Rights Watch, 2/27/2004; Jamaica Observer, 3/7/2004; Amnesty International, 3/10/2004; BBC, 10/4/2004; Center for Justice and Accountability, 1/10/2005]

Entity Tags: Louis-Jodel Chamblain, Jean Pierre Baptiste, “Jean Tatoune”

Timeline Tags: Haiti Coup

Pierre Gaudet, owner of a 400-hectare organic soya farm and president of the Quebec Federation of Organic Producers, learns that four percent of his 60-ton crop contains genetically modified soya. His crop was apparently cross-pollinated by his neighbor’s fields. He loses $33,000 when he is forced to sell his contaminated crop on the conventional market, which pays only $190/ton compared to the $750/ton rate that is paid for organic soya. “There is no insurance for that. I can’t sue my neighbor—he followed all the rules,” Gaudet says. “All the companies tell us that cross-pollination [of soya] is impossible, so I didn’t take any special measures.” [Gazette (Montreal), 10/5/2002]

Entity Tags: Pierre Gaudet

Timeline Tags: Seeds

Two farmers from Saskatchewan, Larry Hoffman and Dale Beaudoin, file a class action lawsuit against Monsanto and Aventis alleging that the two companies’ genetically modified (GM) canola genes have infested their organic canola crops. The contamination has made it impossible for them to get their products certified as organic and as a result they are not able to sell it on the organic market. Arnold Taylor, president of Saskatchewan Organic Directorate (SOD), tells the Canadian Press that “it is almost impossible to buy uncontaminated seed let alone contend with contamination from pollen drift.” According to Marc Loiselle, a director with the same organization, organic grain and oilseed traders have zero tolerance for GM contamination. Representing the farmers is Terry Zakreski, the same lawyer who represents Percy Schmeiser. The suit is also seeking to stop the introduction of modified wheat, which the two companies are developing and which is expected to hit the market in a few years. “We have lost canola as a crop in our rotations because of genetic contamination, but we obviously cannot afford to lose wheat which is our largest crop and largest market,” Arnold Taylor says. [Star Phoenix (Saskatoon), 10/12/2001; Canadian Press, 1/30/2002]

Entity Tags: Monsanto, Aventis, Larry Hoffman, Dale Beaudoin

Timeline Tags: Seeds

One of the most active investors in clean energy technology, venture fund manager Vinod Khosla, says he has raised $1 billion for two funds, much of the money from outside investors, that will be used primarily to fund cleantech startup businesses. One firm joining Khosla in the investment is CalPERS, the California pension fund, which intends to invest $60 million into an early-stage clean technology fund. Khosla Ventures is also being joined by former Facebook executive Gideon Yu; former fund manager Jim Kim, who also has a background in clean technology; and Pierre Lamond, the co-founder of National Semiconductor and a partner at Sequoia Capital. [GigaOm, 9/1/2009]

Entity Tags: Gideon Yu, CalPERS, Pierre Lamond, Vinod Khosla, Jim Kim

Timeline Tags: US Solar Industry

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