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NEWS: Florida Couple Invokes Geneva Convention to Protect Trees

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posted on Apr, 6 2005 @ 08:00 AM
The Gersteins in Boca Raton, Florida are using the Geneva Convention to prevent the State from cutting down their grapefruit trees. The Convention prohibits the destruction of civilian food sources in time of war, and the couple say that prevents the State from being able to remove them during the Iraq War. The State of Florida wants to cut down the trees because they are infected with citrus canker, a disease that could spread to other citrus trees in the area.
BOCA RATON — Until now, homeowners have challenged the state's cutting of their citrus canker-infected trees by physically resisting or appealing to the courts.

A Boca Raton couple said they've thwarted the state's chain saws for a year with a more unconventional tactic: invoking the Geneva Convention.

Laura and Edmund Gerstein claim the Geneva Convention protects their grapefruit tree – a food source in time of war, they suggest – from the state's canker-eradication program.

"It was common sense," said Laura Gerstein, 54, on Tuesday. "I thought to myself: This is America and there must be a law that protects our food sources."

Gerstein scoured the Internet and felt she had found such protection in Article 54 of Protocol I of the Geneva Convention:

"It is prohibited to attack, destroy, remove or render useless objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, such as foodstuffs, agricultural areas for the production of foodstuffs, crops... for the specific purpose of denying them for the sustenance value to the civilian population or to the adverse Party, whatever the motive."

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

This sounds funny but it is no joke. This latest misuse of the Geneva Convention treaty shows how something meant to protect soldiers and civilians in time of war can be so distorted and misconstrued as to cause harm to the nation it was meant to protect. Hopefully they won't be able to find a judge who will buy this rubbish.

[edit on 4/6/2005 by djohnsto77]

posted on Apr, 6 2005 @ 08:04 AM
These people are silly. I can understand not wanting to lose your fruit trees, we all had a hissy fit when the city cut down our grapefruit tree, but we're talking about citrus disease here and the city does give vouchers for replacement trees. They can easily buy an avocado or mango tree or any other fruit tree for that matter to live off of during "wartime".

posted on Apr, 6 2005 @ 08:12 AM
will they give me a seedling from the money tree they have growing in back of the Capitol Building? If it's as productive as their's seems to be I should have no problem making thru their war..

What a novel idea, I can't wait to see how long they can protect their trees in this manner......

"for the specific purpose of denying them for the sustenance value to the civilian population or to the adverse Party, whatever the motive."

that's where they can lose's not being done to remove the foodsource from the population, but rather to protect the foodsource.

[edit on 6-4-2005 by dawnstar]

posted on Apr, 6 2005 @ 08:28 AM
Just another bunch of whackos who feel that a tree has feelings too even though that tree's disease can cripple the grapefruit industry. They will be compensated for their losses and therefore leaves them no reason to fight this practice except that they "love" the tree...sad indeed that someone would become so attached to an inanimate object

posted on Apr, 6 2005 @ 12:23 PM
Hey what can you say? You are darned if you do and darned if you don't when it comes to the greenie weines.

As far as I am concerned they can take it and shove it where the sun don't shine.
It is clear the trees are infected we have no other choice then to destroy them.

[edit on 4/6/2005 by shots]

posted on Apr, 6 2005 @ 02:19 PM

that tree's disease can cripple the grapefruit industry

Not only grapefruits, it could spread to any citrus plants including the famous Florida oranges...

A citrus blight like this could cost billions to the Florida economy.

posted on Apr, 6 2005 @ 07:37 PM
Really dumb & selfish, even though I do understand their reluctance let their trees go.

A local nursery here found some kind of moth on one of their imported trees last year and every tree within a circumference (I don't remember how big) had to be cut down - some fought the state to keep their trees but lost. The owners were compensated, but that doesn't do much for losing fruit bearing trees or a 30-year-old shade tree.

posted on Apr, 6 2005 @ 07:58 PM
Humm............I have mix feelings on this article, I come from an Island and trees take many years to grow and start producing fruits.

I can imagine the couple reluctance to have the trees gone and start all over again.

But if the safety of the citrus industry is as stake with these diseases that is plaguing the trees well I guess the government has the Right to intervene.

Back during hurricane Hugo must of my Island lost their fruit trees and the Island tropical forest was devastated.

Now after more that 15 years my parents have almost most of their trees replace and the Island rain forest has its lushness back.

Or perhaps the couple just wants to prove a point and found it under the Geneva convention

posted on Apr, 6 2005 @ 08:06 PM
Sorry, this couple is not bright. Not bright at all. The state is doing them a favor. The state of Florida cuts down the trees infected with Citrus Canker for free, instead of leaving it to the property owner to deal with. Mind you, it's not cheap to chop down a tree, and remove the stump and roots etc.

So the couple has done what? Attempted to force the state to leave that tree there because it's a "food source" and we're in a "time of war"??


The Citrus canker infection will quickly render this tree a non food source, and it will be able to be chopped anyways.

Ever see the fruit of a tree infect by Citrus Canker?

Here's one:

Eat up folks...

posted on Apr, 6 2005 @ 08:09 PM

Originally posted by marg6043
Or perhaps the couple just wants to prove a point and found it under the Geneva convention

The Geneva convetion is like most other laws (Oudated in many ways) I am willing to bet when that particular phrase was entered no one even knew of the disease.

Their point is fruitless - pun intended.

posted on Apr, 6 2005 @ 08:32 PM
I have seen diseases on fruits, but I have never seen oranges looking like somebody spray them with acid.

I spend one year in Orlando living among oranges and grapefruits when my husband was station in Florida back in 94.

To me that is what it looks like in that picture Djrums acid. I wonder if we are actually responsible for what is going on with so many things around us polluting the environment.

I really would not like to see my backyard grapefruit trees with fruits looking like that.

posted on Apr, 6 2005 @ 08:42 PM
Definitely marg, that would put me off from wanting to eat fruit for a while.

Our own pollution etc can do lots of bad things to fruit. My hometown of NYC has some issues with Acid Rain and stuff and it can do some odd things.

This is more bacterial though. Sometimes there are bacteria or fungii that can do the most vile things.

Plant life can be discolored by them, become brittle, and all in all end up dead.

It puts things into perspective for me to note that something microscopic can devastate a massive tree so quickly.

EDIT: by the way the photo was a grapefruit and was from the state of florida's info site re: citrus canker. I'm a northerner and have zero experience with citrus fruits other than eating them.

[edit on 4-6-2005 by Djarums]

posted on Apr, 6 2005 @ 08:58 PM

Originally posted by Djarums

EDIT: by the way the photo was a grapefruit and was from the state of florida's info site re: citrus canker. I'm a northerner and have zero experience with citrus fruits other than eating them.

[edit on 4-6-2005 by Djarums]

Thanks for the photo, I see now is a grapefruit, you need to go to the Islands so you can have fruits directly from the trees.
(some climbing required)

I tell you I would not touch a fruit looking like that. The people in Florida most be facing some very bad times.

posted on Apr, 6 2005 @ 09:20 PM
I am left wondering what do these people have to gain from saving a diseased tree(s)? Does the disease go away on its own? Is there a treatment for the trees that can kill the disease? If not, it's time to cut it down before alot more other people lose their trees as well. If the diseased fruit is no longer a food source, then the geneva convention doesn't seem to apply as far as I see it.

posted on Apr, 6 2005 @ 09:28 PM
Slow News Day

Cute story, but not much behind it.

From the source article:
Jerry Budney, a Fort Lauderdale attorney who represents the Agriculture Department, said the Gersteins' position has no legal merit.

"If they really felt that strongly about the Geneva Conventions, they should have taken it to court," he said, adding that the time to do that was when they received their immediate final order, which is what states the tree will be cut. "Each time the court has ruled in favor of the program." [...]

"What we do with properties that are hard access or have a flat-out refusal is that we wait until we have few of them and then we hire an off-duty sheriff's officer to help us administer an agricultural warrant," he said.

Laura Gerstein concedes that she probably won't win a war against the state.

"I can't take it to court, we don't have the money to fight it," she said. "We know we're not going to win but we can stir someone who does have money to fight for this."

As far as I know, there aren't a lot of people with money and lawyers agitating for more citrus canker, and even the Gersteins don't seem all that enthusiastic about their “cause”.

Obstinare ad absurdum.

posted on Apr, 6 2005 @ 09:39 PM
They can't even start a case like this in light of "the war in Iraq" since that war officialy ended years ago.

The War on Terror is still officialy going, but since its not a war declaration against a specific country, I doubt it has any legal value either.

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