1.Illegal varieties of GM are being imported into UK
2.GM Trial updates - day by day
excerpt: Greenpeace can now reveal that tests on imports of American GM maize coming into Bristol contained unauthorised illegal GM organisms. The varieties were banned in Europe, but were found by expert laboratory analysts in samples taken from ships over the last two years, both before and after the shipment that the 13 have been acquitted for blocking.
1.Greenpeace 13 acquitted in GM trial
Campaigners reveal illegal varieties of GM are being imported into UK
Last edited: 16-09-2005
A jury at Cardiff Crown Court today cleared 13 Greenpeace volunteers of causing a public nuisance after a two-week trial that saw the trade in GM animal feed attacked by defendants from the witness box.
The 13 were tried on charges relating to a protest last June when Greenpeace blocked a 125,000 tonne bulk-carrier from unloading its cargo in Bristol. The Etoile's huge consignment - GM animal feed from the US - was destined to be fed to British dairy cows to produce milk for the UK's biggest supermarkets. Sainsbury's, Tesco, Asda, Waitrose and Morrisons all sell own-brand milk from cows fed on American GM feed.
Speaking immediately after the verdict Ben Ayliffe, one of the defendants, said: "We're obviously extremely happy with the verdict, which vindicates our action in trying to prevent what we believed to be illegal GM organisms being imported into the country. Greenpeace believed our volunteers were rightly acting to protect people's food and the environment when we blocked the shipment."
Greenpeace can now reveal that tests on imports of American GM maize coming into Bristol contained unauthorised illegal GM organisms. The varieties were banned in Europe, but were found by expert laboratory analysts in samples taken from ships over the last two years, both before and after the shipment that the 13 have been acquitted for blocking.
Greenpeace was advised to withhold the results until the trial.
"We told the jury we were convinced illegal GM was being brought into Britain and it seems they believed us," said Ben Ayliffe. "GM crops are untested and unpredictable and pose a threat to the environment. The fact that we found illegal varieties in imported cargo shows this industry is out of control. We'll continue our campaign against GM and call for a government investigation into these GM imports."
The MV Etoile, a Panamanian-registered ship, went to anchor in the Bristol Channel off Rhoose Point, South Wales, and was prevented from docking for 36 hours after Greenpeace climbers boarded the vessel. The protesters asked the captain to turn the ship around and return its GM cargo to the US. The ship eventually entered Bristol's Royal Portbury Dock with climbers still on board.
For more contact Greenpeace on 0207 865 8255 / 07801 212967
2.GM Trial updates
Last edited: 15-09-2005
The defence for the Greenpeace volunteers finished yesterday with testimonies from two further defendants. Nicole Cook and Huw Williams both boarded the Etoile and spent the duration of the action on deck.
Nicole described her lack of faith in the UK authorities ability to stop illegal GM imports. This was partly based on her own experience as a farmer being sold illegal GM feed in 2001. She felt the response of DEFRA in this instance was woefully inadequate since they proposed she simply proceeded to grow, harvest and store the crop.
Huw described the friendly report which developed between Greenpeace and the Etoile's crew. He said Nicole and he had shared food and chocolate with the crew and heard that some of the crew members had not been allowed on shore for over four years.
14 September 2005
The jury heard from the first two defendants yesterday. Ben Ayliffe (campaigner) explained why Greenpeace undertook the action to stop the Etoile saying "We didn't just do this because we fancied it! We believe the Etoile was carrying illegal GM crops." Frank Hewetson, who coordinated the action, said "I believe stopping possibly damaging GM organisms was in the public good. I honestly believe that."
13 September 2005
Yesterday the jury heard the statement of the Etoile's Captain. Having described how his vessel was approached and boarded by Greenpeace, the Captain went on to say how, on the advice of the Coastguard, he then turned and anchored the Etoile. He said he felt "comfortable and in control of my vessel at all times." This was the final evidence in the prosecution's case.
The case for the defence starts today and is expected to continue all week.
7 September 2005
Yesterday, the court continued to hear evidence from Prosecution witnesses. Anthony Anderton, a Bristol Channel pilot, explained the role of the pilot in seeing the ship safely into port. He related how, on the 20th June, he would, as in the normal course of events, have boarded the Etoile in open sea outside port limits, but was blocked by doing so by Greenpeace protesters, so that the ship had to turn and go back to anchor. He was landed on the ship by helicopter on the 21st June and, following removal of two protestors by police, guided the Etoile safely into port on the Tuesday morning.
The Court also heard from Hugh Davies, John McAllister, Martin Bourmer and Daniel Brown, all members of the RNLI lifeboat team, who explained how they had been called to the scene on the 20th June by the coastguard. Although Greenpeace had their own safety boats, the coastguard wanted the RNLI there just in case. However they did leave the area to attend another incident of a ruptured upturned dinghy - which turned out to be a fridge. Some had attended, again in a safety capacity, on 21st June while police removed protesters from the stern of the ship. Greenpeace were described as "very professional, very well equipped" and "very competent". According to these witnesses, "The protesters did not present a danger to themselves or others. They were very polite and well mannered." The court will continue to hear from Prosecution witnesses tomorrow.
Tuesday 6 September 2005
On Monday we heard evidence from Mr Sage of Arkady Feed UK, owned by Toepfer International who are in turn owned by Archer Daniels Midland in the US. Mr. Sage confirmed that the cargo of the MV Etoile had in fact "contained GM." In addition, he said that after harvest, maize from the US (70% of which is GM) - such as that on board the MV Etoile when we took action - is all mixed together in giant silos. Non-GM and GM crops are not kept apart at all. Mr Sage claimed that his company imports 100,000 metric tonnes of these GM products into the EU roughly every six weeks. The UK alone imports about 70,000 metric tonnes of maize gluten feed each year.
Further evidence was heard from a deckhand with the Barry pilot the RNLI and the South Wales police.
Go to a Print friendly Page
Email this Article to a Friend
Back to the Archive