1.Anti-GM Rice Activists Arrested in Indonesia

2.Dirty tricks and broken promises - Monsanto's legacy in Indonesia


1.Anti-GM Rice Activists Arrested in Jakarta!
Week of Rice Action (WORA) 2008, 8 April 2008

Fifteen people from six countries were arrested today in Jakarta (Indonesia) by Polda Jaya (the Police Corps of Jakarta Raya Territory) for participating in a peaceful people's gathering to voice their protest against GM rice and call for saving the diversity of local rice to ensure people’s food security.

The demonstration, part of WORA (Week of Rice Action) that celebrates the rice culture of Asia, was jointly organized by Koalisi Rakyat untuk Kedaulatan Pangan (KRKP), Aliansi Gerakan Reforma Agraria (AGRA), Gabungan Serikat Buruh Independen (GSBI), Front Mahasiswa Nasional (FMN) and the Workers’ Union.

Those arrested include Sarojeni Rengam (PAN AP, Malaysia) and Rhoda Gueta (Asian Peasants' Coalition) and 13 others, all foreigners, from Malaysia, Philippines, Korea, Thailand, India and Pakistan.

They were present at the demonstration as observers and were waiting in the bus, following the discussions between Ir. Anton Aprijantono, the Minister of Agriculture (Indonesia), and the 300-400 demonstrators, outside the Ministry, when they were suddenly forced to follow the police car to the police station, and where at the point of writing, they are still detained for the last five hours. They are being charged with violating the immigration laws of the country and contravening the 'social' status of their visas.

Witoro of KRKP said that this is an over-reaction by the police who had been duly informed of the rally and the presence of international delegates in it. The organizers of the demonstration stated that the Indonesian police was abusing the people's freedom of speech and demanded that all arrested be released immediately without any charge.

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Biju Negi, PAN AP
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Tel: 0060-46570271/124949680

The Week of Rice Action (WORA) 2008 brings together farmers, rural communities, and other sectors of society to celebrate and protect rice culture. WORA 2008 'No to GE Rice in Asia' is being celebrated in Indonesia from 2-8 April.

WORA, initiated in 2007, is organised by Pesticide Action Network Asia and the Pacific (PAN AP) and its partner organisations in Asia. Besides organizing a multitude of activities, it collected over a million signatures for the 'People's Statement' on Saving the Rice of Asia' calling on policy-makers worldwide to protect Asia's rice heritage and food sovereignty. For more information, visit


2.Dirty tricks and broken promises - Monsanto's legacy in Indonesia


Monsanto achieved commercial approval of its GM cotton in Indonesia faster than in any other Asian country. The company was able to use this success, in commercialising its first GM crop in Asia, as a lever to promote GM crop commercialisation elsewhere in the continent.

By December 2003, however, the Indonesian Minister of Agriculture had announced that Monsanto had pulled its GM cotton out of the country. Monsanto has left behind it a legacy of broken promises and illegality.


In early 2004 Monsanto was named Best Multinational Company in the first International Business Awards competition, whose aim is to raise the public profile of exemplary companies. In making the award specific reference was made to the Monsanto Pledge that Monsanto says guides all its business activities.

Integrity is the foundation for all that we do, Monsanto boasts on its website. And integrity, the company says, includes honesty, decency, consistency and courage. These are all part of the Monsanto Pledge.


In January 2005 it was announced that Monsanto is to pay $1.5m in penalties to the US government over a bribe paid in Indonesia in a bid to bypass controls on the screening of new GM cotton crops.

According to a criminal complaint by the Department of Justice under US anti-bribery laws, the company paid $50,000 to an unnamed senior Indonesian environmental official in 2002, in an unsuccessful bid to amend or repeal the requirement for the environmental impact statement for new crop varieties.

The bribe in question was just the tip of the iceberg and the trail of corruption leads back to the U.S..


A senior Monsanto official based in the US ordered the bribing of the environmental official. According to the Security and Exchange Commission, When it became clear that the lobbying efforts were having no effect on the Senior Environment Official, the Senior Monsanto Manager told the Consulting Firm Employee to 'incentivize' the official with a cash payment of $50,000, The Monsanto manager then concocted a scheme involving false invoices to hide the bribe.

According to the Financial Times, The company also admitted that it had paid over $700,000 in bribes to various officials in Indonesia between 1997 and 2002, financed through improper accounting of its pesticide sales in Indonesia.

The bribes were financed, at least in part, through unauthorized, improperly documented and inflated sales of Monsanto's pesticide products in Indonesia, the company admitted.

The Financial Times notes, The attempt to circumvent environmental controls on genetically-modified crops in a developing country is a significant embarrassment for Monsanto, which is engaged in an ongoing campaign to win public support in the European Union for its genetically modified crops.


Over a five year period, it seems, Monsanto gave bribes to at least 140 current or former Indonesian government officials and their family members.

The recipients are said to have included a senior official in the environment ministry, a senior official in the agriculture ministry, and an official in the National Planning and Development Board (Bappenas).

The largest single set of bribes was for the purchase of land and the design and construction of a house in the name of a wife of a senior Ministry of Agriculture official, which cost Monsanto $373,990.