Now that both Colorado and Oregon have GMO labeling questions on their November ballots, one might wonder what Monsanto and the Grocery Manufacturer’s Association (GMA) are doing to stop that?
On August 22-24, the GMA hosted their inaugural “GMA Leadership Forum” at the luxurious Broadmoor Hotel ($455 min/night) in Colorado Springs. After reading through the 20-page attendee list, you might describe their meeting as a ‘food-Bilderberg group.’ The list includes 100s of executives from numerous billion-dollar corporations including Monsanto, Google, Walmart, Dupont, Pepsi, Coke, NASCAR, Kroger, GE, Kraft, Conagra, The Carlyle Group, Cargill, Hershey’s, Mars, General Mills, Kellogg, Unilever, Annie’s, Peapod, Nielson, WhiteWave and many more.
Once We Are Change Colorado found out about the GMA Leadership Forum, we planned a last minute demonstration called the “Broadmoor Bee Die-In” for August 24th, the day Monsanto would be inside presenting.
Once I arrived on scene, I decided to get some breakfast at the Natural Epicurean (of course it’s organic for Monsanto execs) and while walking through the Broadmoor courtyard, a security guard (Randy) who had been trailing me asked me to leave. I immediately complied and I filmed the entire way out. I even filmed the encounter with Wayne Hoskins, the Broadmoor’s security director who called the cops on me for supposedly trespassing.
By the time Colorado Springs Police arrived, I had put my bee costume on and that’s when arresting officer Sgt. Jerry Steckler began shaking me down for trespassing. Steckler’s only evidence was the testimony by the Broadmoor security director, who said I failed to leave the property when I was told to do so. Although I tried to explain, Sgt. Steckler told me to save it for court and arrested me. Originally we had planned to ‘die’ out front of the Broadmoor to bring awareness to the dying honey bee population, but instead the cops arrested/assaulted a bee, which was even more unforgettable.
Wayne Hoskins’ claim that I failed to comply with the order to leave was completely fabricated, in what seems to be a conspiracy to shut down the First Amendment demonstration going on outside the GMA Leadership Forum.
The most baffling part of this whole day was after I was released by Police, I noticed the video of me complying with the security’s order to leave was now only 1.2 seconds long. I thought to myself, did this cop tamper with evidence or had I possibly screwed up?
After investigating further, I found multiple videos that show Sgt. Steckler fiddling around with the video camera that was filming on the hood of the cop car. Those videos will be kept private until a forensics expert can confirm whether the video was altered or not.
The trespassing court case is set for November 17, 2014 at 8am at the El Paso Combined Court in Colorado Springs.
Without question, the Grocery Manufacturer’s Association Leadership Forum was nothing more than a ritzy multi-million dollar fundraiser for the companies who need to secretly lobby against this year’s GMO labeling campaigns. Millions were spent to stop the labeling campaigns in California and Washington; will 2014 be different or will the GMA succeed in using their millions to use propaganda to manipulate the people once again?
This time around, the Grocery Manufacturers Association is still facing a pending money laundering lawsuit for illegally concealing their campaign financiers in Washington – whom most of which were present at their huge fundraiser in Colorado Springs. The money laundering lawsuit, filed by Washington’s Attorney General Bob Ferguson, claims the GMA disguised a way for companies to oppose GMO labeling without having to declare their donations publicly. Lingering headlines about the GMA lawsuit in Washington can’t bode well for their cause in 2014 and it’s very important we shine light on the GMA’s inaugural invitation-only gathering of multinationals profiting off genetically modified organisms.
Thus far, the biggest enemy of GMO labeling in Colorado is the “Coalition Against Misleading Labeling Initiative” which was incorporated with the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office on January 28, 2014, but still has no website or Facebook. Keep your eye on them; they are the lobbyist group the media uses to source opposition to GMO labeling.
The GMO tipping point Jeffrey Smith and others have been building finally seems to be underway. Vermont had a landmark victory for GMO labels, two Oregon counties outright banned GMOs and surveys continually estimate 75%–93% of Americans support putting mandatory labels on genetically modified organisms in food.
64 other countries already have mandatory GMO labeling laws, will Colorado and Oregon propel America to become number 65?
It all depends on what happens over these next two months.
Stay tuned, the GMO fight is going to get nasty!
Bruce Baumann – Bruce@WeAreChangeColorado.org
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