ngin - Norfolk Genetic Information Network

28 March 2003

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THE WEEKLY WATCH NUMBER 21
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from Andy Rees, the WEEKLY WATCH editor
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Dear all

Welcome to WW21 bringing you all the latest news in brief on the GM issue.

As Bush and Blair pursue their immoral and illegal war against Iraq, a coalition of peasant groups in the Philippines, the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, has called on famers and others to boycott Monsanto's products, not only to block the use of the GM YieldGard Bt-corn which has been approved in the Philippines in dubious circumstances and in the face of mass opposition, but also to protest the US-led war on Iraq.  The KMP say Monsanto's whole development as a company is "intimately linked to war" - see HIGHLIGHTS OF THE WEEK.

The Monsanto boycott call comes in a context of a wider call for consumer boycotts of American products and services which, according to Reuters this week, is spreading across the world - see CAMPAIGN OF THE WEEK.  Meanwhile, while causing mayhem in Colombia spraying vast quantities of Monsanto's Roundup in an effort to wipe out cocaine crops, the US government appears to be working on the devlopment of Roundup-Ready Heroin!!! see HIGHLIGHTS OF THE WEEK.

As ever, please make sure your friends and other contacts who may be finding it hard to keep up with all the breaking news on GMOs, get to see WW21!

Hope you enjoy WW21 and let me know what you think.  Last week someone wrote to ask, "Whose side are you on - Saddam's?"  The bad news for the biotech industry is that even this correspondent assured us of his total opposition to Monsanto!

Andy <andy@gmwatch.org>
www.ngin.org.uk

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WEEKLY WATCH  number 21 - CONTENTS
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SETBACKS FOR THE GM INDUSTRY
OTHER HIGHLIGHTS OF THE WEEK
REPORT OF THE WEEK 1 - The UK GM Farm Scale trials fail
REPORT OF THE WEEK 2 - Prof. Derek Burke, Godfather of GM
REPORT OF THE WEEK 3 - The pro-GM corporate warriors: meet the network
QUOTES OF THE WEEK
FACTS OF THE WEEK
LIES FROM THE GM LOBBY
HEADLINES OF THE WEEK
CAMPAIGN OF THE WEEK
SUBSCRIPTIONS

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SETBACKS FOR THE GM INDUSTRY
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GM COMPANY IN INDIA SHOWS GATE TO RESEARCH STAFF:
Failure to get approval for commercialisation of GM Mustard is believed to be the reason for the exit of some of the top scientists working with Pro-Agro, in India, which is backed by the multinational firm Aventis.
http://ngin.tripod.com/240303d.htm

POLICE ARRESTS DURING COTTON PROTEST IN INDIA:
As reports of Bt Cotton failure continue to pour in from farmers around the country, Indian police arrested nine Greenpeace activists during a protest against Monsanto.  They were demanding the withdrawal of its transgenic seeds from the Indian market, an admission of Bt Cotton failure, and compensation for farmers.  Police also removed two women, who had chained themselves to the iron gates of the Monsanto Research Center building in Bangalore.  Monsanto's only reaction was to try and oust all the media from the complex, and prevent them from getting pictures.  "Greenpeace has recently concluded a sample survey of Bt Cotton farmers in three districts of Karnataka," says Dr Ashesh Tayal of Greenpeace India.  "Just like in Andhra Pradesh, the farmers reported disturbingly high incidence of pests - this, along with low, poor quality yields, point to a total failure of the technology."
http://ngin.tripod.com/260303b.htm

MASS EXODUS OF EUROPE'S BIOTECH COMAPANIES FROM GM CROPS:
The European Commission has admitted that nearly two thirds of the EU's biotech companies have cancelled GM research projects over the past four years, mainly because of the controversy over the safety and labelling of GM crops, and continuing consumer resistance.
http://ngin.tripod.com/240303d.htm

MONSANTO & CARGIL CAUGHT GENETICALLY ENGINEERING SURVEY RESULTS:
'Farm', the new campaigning and membership group for working farmers and the public, has discovered that employees of biotech giants, Monsanto and Cargill, have been seeking to exert undue influence over Farm's website poll on GM crops.  At a certain point, the polling dramatically changed towards a more pro-GM stance.  On analysing those responding to the website poll, they discovered that 72% of all the 'No' votes had come from Monsanto and Cargill IP addresses.
http://ngin.tripod.com/240303c.htm
This is far from the first time Monsanto's been caught red-faced and red-handed via its IP addresses. Previous transgressions include the posting of poison pen attacks on scientists and others on the net and trying to exploit the food aid crisis in southern Africa:
http://ngin.tripod.com/080303b.htm

CALL FOR US-MONSANTO BOYCOTT:
The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), a coalition of peasant groups in the Philippines, has called for a boycott by farmers of all Monsanto products. Rafael Mariano, KMP chair, says the Boycott on Monsanto products will be one part of the civil disobedience campaign and protest actions against the US attacks on the Iraqi people.  "The US military campaign to topple the Iraqi leadership was for the benefit of US war industries like the US-based Monsanto, the proponent of the genetically engineered Bt-corn in the country and manufacturer of Agent Orange," Mariano said. Agent Orange is the military name for the herbicides used by US troops in Vietnam.  Monsanto's version of Agent Orange had the highest levels of damaging dioxin.   The KMP said farmers should boycott these products of Monsanto: Family of Roundup herbicide, Harness herbicide (corn), Machete herbicide (rice), Asgrow seeds, DEKALB seeds and Hartz seeds.  The group likewise listed these genetically modified-varieties in its boycott list: Bollgard, InGard, Roundup ready (corn) and the Yieldgard (Bt-corn) which has been approved by the Department of Agriculture for local application. Mariano also says that during the aftermath of conflicts, US corporate giants like Monsanto benefit from the so-called food aid programs undertaken with US help to rebuild war-torn areas. "Genetically modified foods that are rejected in Africa would be shipped to Iraq..."
http://ngin.tripod.com/250303a.htm
See also CAMPAIGN OF THE WEEK below

CANADIAN GM WHEAT TRIAL STOPPED TWO YEARS AGO:
The Canadian Agriculture Department suspended a trial of GM wheat two years ago at its Indian Head experimental farm, due to concern that seed might mix.  But tests of Monsanto's Roundup Ready wheat will continue at other government sites, and some farm groups, like Canada's National Farmers Union, say they will continue to advocate an end to all such trials.
http://ngin.tripod.com/250303c.htm

GM WHEAT - NO ONE WANTS IT:
The Canadian Wheat Board, the agency which sells Canada's wheat to the world, surveyed its customers and discovered that 82% of them do not want and would not buy GM wheat.  These customers know they can't sell GM products to consumers.  Consumers do not want to eat GM food.  Consequently, all farmers, those growing GM wheat and those who don't (and whose crops would be contaminated), would lose money, about $45.8 million and $32.3 million respectively.  Only Monsanto would make money, about $157 million.
http://ngin.tripod.com/250303c.htm

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OTHER HIGHLIGHTS OF THE WEEK
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Three arrested at protest outside Monsanto headquarters
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The US-financed spraying of a Monsanto herbicide, aimed at destroying Colombia's cocaine trade, is also damaging legitimate food crops, poisoning water, and causing skin rashes, protesters said.   Three people were arrested for trespassing during a protest at Monsanto's headquarters in St. Louis.  "They've caused massive dislocations of people," said Gary Cozette, who traveled from Chicago for the protest.  "They're poisoning people. They're poisoning land.  They're poisoning rivers."
http://ngin.tripod.com/250303b.htm
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Meanwhile... USDA and Department of State Invest in Roundup Ready Heroin!
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Project Number: 500-8-001-23
Project Type: Specific C/A
Objective: Upgrade the pharmaceutical poppy industry in Turkey...
Approach: Increase alkaloid yields in poppy through agronomy and plant breeding; establish herbicide (glyphosphate) resistance through plant breeding and genetics... [glyphosate is the active ingredient in Roundup]
http://nps.ars.usda.gov/projects/projects.htm?accession=404848
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Government company accused of hiding sale of GM potatoes
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Several hundred thousand pounds of GM Bt-potatoes were knowingly sold to unsuspecting buyers as "regular potatoes" in 1999, by Spudco, the Canadian government potato company, according to officials involved.  A former employee said they were told by Spudco senior managers, "Don't say on the bill it's GM potatoes."
http://ngin.tripod.com/260303c.htm
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Ecologists slam EC round-table 'debate' on GM and non-GM co-existence
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Several European environmental organisations have accused the Commission of reneging on its promises regarding the manner in which it proposes to organise a round-table debate on the co-existence of conventional and organic crops on the one hand and transgenic crops on the other.  The weighting of representatives is heavily in favour of  the biotech industry.  Furthermore, the debate will not address crucial questions.  Which all sounds chillingly familiar.  The EU's Joint Research Centre (JRC) has calculated that, with co-existence, production costs for conventional oilseed rape would increase by 41% and those for conventional maize by 9%.
http://ngin.tripod.com/250303c.htm
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FSA hikacks school children's debating competition!
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Because of the high level of suspicion about the UK's Food Standards Agency's antics and proclaimed neutrality in the GM public debate, Robert Vint of Genetic Food Alert contacted the organisers of the the Schools Debating Competition which this year has been sponsored by the FSA to debate the following motion, 'This house would eat GM food'.  The organisers, the Durham Union Society, assured Robert that the Competition wasn't about the merits of the motion but was designed to assess the debating skills of the school teams that participated.  For this reason, the school children were not even given a choice as to which side of the debate they were on. But yesterday (27th March) the FSA was busy getting the word out to the media and the public that, to quote its headline, "SCHOOLS DEBATING COMPETITION VOTES TO EAT GENETICALLY MODIFIED FOOD" As well as spinning this to the media, the last line of the FSA's press relase makes it clear that the report on the debate by the two Food Standards Agency Board members present : "will form part of discussions by the Board about consumer acceptability of GM foods among young people".  Compare and contrast with what Robert Vint says the debate organisers told him in a phone conversation that they intended: "this was not a vote on supporting or opposing GM food but was a vote on the relative quality of the debating skills of the teams in the competition. Teams were not there to express their own views and were only told on the day whether they would argue 'for' or 'against'."  Anything else in the report is down to the objectivity of its authors: the two FSA board members, Richard Ayre and Robert Rees. Ayre is a member of the Advisory Council of Sense about Science which shares its phone line with a charity whose official contact person works for a PR company that employs ex-Monsanto PR man, Harry Swan, and whose client list includes the very corporations most likely to benefit if GM crop commercialisation gets the go-ahead.
http://ngin.tripod.com/190303d.htm
FSA's press release: http://www.food.gov.uk/gmdebate/gmpress/gmschoolsdebate
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Taxpayers to pay for clearup of ProdiGene GM corn debacle
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The US Agriculture Department's settlement with ProdiGene, over the mishandled GM corn, portrayed three months ago as a stringent crackdown designed to send a message to other potential violators, actually involved a no-interest $3.75 million government loan (worth as much as $500,000 in interest and other savings to the company over the next three years). Effectively, American taxpayers will subsidize the cleanup.  The Agriculture Department did not release this information at the time of the settlement. Gregory Jaffe, director of biotechnology issues at CSPI, said the government had misled the public, adding, "I think there was a conscious decision to create an illusion that this was a more severe penalty than it really is. This situation strongly suggests to me that the government is going to say one thing in public and do something different to help this industry as best it can behind closed doors."
http://ngin.tripod.com/260303c.htm
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Critic of biotech corn fears UC won't give him tenure
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In a flap, that raises new questions about corporate ties to universities, some academics are wondering whether the junior UC Berkeley professor, who has become a leading biotech industry critic, can get a fair hearing in a tenure review that has already gone twice as long as usual.  "What we're talking about is a conflict of interest as naked as it gets," said David Noble, a science historian at York University in Toronto.  The squabble revolves around Ignacio Chapela, who in 1998 led a fight against a controversial research partnership between the biotech firm Novartis and Berkeley's Department of Plant and Microbial Biology - apartnership whose repercussions were discussed in the article THE KEPT UNIVERSITY.
http://ngin.tripod.com/240303a.htm
In The 'Kept University' a Berkeley scientist says, "Molecular biology and genetic engineering have clearly risen as the preferred approach to solving our problems, and that's where the resources are going.  New buildings have gone up, and these departments are expanding, while the organismic areas of science - which emphasize  a more ecological approach - are being downsized."  This scientist once chaired Berkeley's world-renowned Division of Biological Control.  Today that division, along with the Department of Plant Pathology and more than half of all faculty positions in entomology, are gone - in part, many professors believe, because there are no profits in such work.  "You can't **patent** the natural organisms and ecological understanding used in biological control," Andy Gutierrez, a Berkeley entomologist, explains.  "However, if you look at public benefit, that division provided billions of dollars annually to the state of California and the world."  In one project, Gutierrez helped to halt the spread of a pest that threatened to destroy the cassava crop, a food staple for 200 million people in West Africa.
http://ngin.tripod.com/240303a.htm
The online version of this article appears in four parts at:
http://www.theatlantic.com/issues/2000/03/press.htm
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Some pesticides may lead to Parkinson's Disease
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At the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society in New Orleans, researchers at Virginia Tech presented findings which showed that some insecticides may cause a cascade of chemical events in the brain that could lead to Parkinson's disease.
http://ngin.tripod.com/250303c.htm
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Exposure to pesticides lowered dramatically when young children go organic
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A study at the University of Washington, not surprisingly, found that children fed predominantly organic produce and juice had only one-sixth the level of pesticide by-products in their urine compared with children who ate conventionally farmed foods.  Dr John Wargo, a specialist in risk analysis at Yale, was quoted as saying, "This justifies the importance of an organic diet, that organic foods lower a child's exposure.  Industry people are saying show me the dead bodies.  I don't want people gambling with my kids that way."
http://ngin.tripod.com/250303c.htm
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'We are the Poors' - The new apartheid
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Naomi Klein's review of Ashwin Desai's book "We Are the Poors" gives one a sense of what has gone wrong in post-apartheid South Africa, and of the resistance that exists beyond a neo-liberal cheer-leading elite (that has, unlike any other country in Africa, thrown open its doors to the ginat multinational biotech corporations).  Klein calls it one of the best books yet on globalization and resistance. Its secret, she says, is that it barely mentions globalization, instead weaving together richly told local stories that bring this subject vividly to life.  The book is set in the Durban area, where Desai describes the struggles of the residents of some of the poorest areas in South Africa.  Unemployment among black South Africans is more than 40%. 40,000 households lose access to electricity each month.  More than 100,000 people recently contracted cholera in Kwa-Zulu Natal from drinking contaminated water after their taps were turned off.  ANC's scandalous track record on wealth redistribution in postapartheid South Africa is coming to light.  South Africa is under real pressure from international financial markets to introduce austerity policies, and President Thabo Mbeki has cooperated with an unseemly enthusiasm.  For instance, when the WTO gave the South African government twelve years to phase out protections for its national garment industry, the ANC chose to complete the project in eight.
http://ngin.tripod.com/270303a.htm

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REPORT OF THE WEEK 1 - The UK GM Farm Scale Evaluations fail to provide conclusive results - Friends of the Earth report
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After four turbulent years, the world's largest experiment on GM crops - Britain's farm-scale trials - is all but over, with the fieldwork done and research papers written.  Opponents have chosen the lull before the first findings are published in a few month's time to mount the most detailed attack on the science yet.  "That the trials look set to produce uncertain results is not a reflection on the scientists involved," says Pete Riley, whose team at Friends of the Earth compiled the report.  "Rather it highlights the inherent problems of embarking on politically motivated science."  Campaigners are keen to shift the focus onto what even some neutral experts see as the experiment's potential Achilles' heel: its statistical power. A new analysis by Friends of the Earth, highlighted in this week's New Scientist magazine, suggests that the science of the Government-sponsored GM farm scale evaluations (FSE) will fail to provide any conclusive evidence on whether GM crops will do long-term harm to farmland wildlife.  The main findings of Friends of the Earth's report are that:
* Ecologically significant differences between GM and non GM crops may be missed because the experiment does not have sufficient statistical power.
* The scope of research was seriously limited by time and resource constraints.
* It may be impossible to detect any meaningful differences for some important indicator species.
* Monitoring of important soil organisms was dropped because of money and time constraints.
* Rare arable plants were excluded from the study because of time constraints.
* Modelling based on the results will be hampered by a lack of knowledge about interactions between different species, which food sources are preferred by which birds and mammals
* Poor geographical distribution of the trials undermines the relevance of the results (eg 45% of maize is grown in the SW region but only 8% of trials took place there).
* Advice on the use of weed killer on the GM crops was given by the companies who developed the technology, leading to concerns that the GM crops may have been managed to maximise biodiversity whilst ignoring the final yield.
* Evidence that in the US, additional herbicides are used to achieve the required level of weed control in maize crops has been overlooked, meaning the maize results could be irrelevant.
Friends of the Earth Campaigner Pete Riley said: "We have published this report because we think it is vital that the public, farmers and the Government realise the limitations of the Farm Scale Evaluation results. These studies, due out in the autumn, are incapable of providing adequate evidence that GM crops have no impact on wildlife.  This is not the fault of the researchers - their hands were tied.  .The Government was not interested in properly investigating the long term impacts of GM crops, it wanted to avoid the threat of a moratorium.  But they cannot expect the British public to accept that the future commercialisation of GM crops poses no threat to wildlife without the hard evidence."
http://ngin.tripod.com/260303e.htm

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REPORT OF THE WEEK 2 - Professor Derek Burke, the Godfather of GM
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In a recent Times Higher Education Supplement article ('This will be like no other debate' 24 March 2003), Prof Derek Burke makes some startling admissions

Burke was chairman of the government's Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes (ACNFP) from 1989 to 1997. You might have thought that the government would have sought a committee chairman who wasn't already committed to the technology he would be responsible for evaluating. Instead they chose Derek Burke - someone who was more than committed - he describes his attitude here as 'bullish':

Burke writes in the Times Higher article: 'We made that mistake about biotechnology [of hyping it] in the early 1980s... We were bullish, but if you overdo it, you will regret it. Some of this is driven by over-confidence, some by a desperate thirst for funds. Quick money can easily mislead inexperienced managers into spending too freely and uncritically, and credibility is quickly lost.'

The 'bullish about biotech' Professor Burke has been called the Godfather of GM in the UK.  The logic of having a passionate advocate of a technology as head of the ACNFP, the regulatory body overseeing the public health implications of GM foods, is a curious one.  Passionate advocacy, after all, seems incompatible with the qualities one might have thought desirable - calm reflection, proper and wide-ranging review, and due caution!

Although Prof Burke may have no direct financial interests in any of the biotech food corporations, it is also true that one would not expect him to be unsympathetic, having himself worked for a biotech company in North America in the 1980's.  During much of his time as head of ACNFP, Prof Burke was also Vice Chancellor of the University of East Anglia (UEA) and a member of the Governing Council of the John Innes Centre (JIC), the UK's leading institute for plant biotech.  Both institutions have benefited from the growth in investment in this area of research.  The year after Burke completed his Chairmanship at ACNFP, UK biotech company Zeneca committed itself to investing over GBP50 million of commercial sponsorship in the JIC, though they have subsequently pulled out.

Burke has also been a key contributor to the project to establish the commercial imperative at the heart of UK public science, particularly in areas relevant to biotechnology.
http://ngin.tripod.com/240303e.htm

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REPORT OF THE WEEK 3 - The alliance of science
'Independent' groups share pro-GM common ground
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In the UK the past few years have seen the emergence of an unprecedented battery of industry-funded lobby groups, thinktanks, websites and libertarians - many linked, all pro-GM.

THE SCIENTIFIC ALLIANCE (SA):
A corporate funded group, set up in 1991 by Robert Durward, director of the British Aggregates Association.  It is constant in its pro-GM, anti-green, pro-industry positions.

SENSE ABOUT SCIENCE (SaS):
Sense about Science is funded by non-GM companies such as Unilever and GlaxoSmithKline.  Its director is Tracey Brown, who used to work for PR company Regester Larkin, whose clients include pharmaceutical, oil and biotech companies, including Aventis, Bayer and the Bio Industry Association.  SaS has forged links with the Royal Society.  An SaS panel that addresses the issue of scientific peer review meets at the Royal Society and includes Brown, as well as Tony Gilland, from the Institute of Ideas.

THE INSTITUTE OF IDEAS (IoI):
The libertarian institute, part funded by GM company Novartis, developed out of LM (formerly Living Marxism) magazine, whose publisher was media commentator Claire Fox. LM and the IoI have a history of attacking the environmental movement.  It is now running a Genes and Society festival, in association with pharmaceutical company Pfizer.  The event is organised by the IoI's Tony Gilland, who has gone on record as saying the "farm-scale trials are an unnecessary obstacle" to the introduction of "beneficial and benign" GM.  The IoI has published a book co-authored by Tracey Brown of Sense about Science, who also chairs a session at the Genes and Society festival.  The sister organisation of the IoI is Spiked, an internet magazine run by ex-LM editor and Times columnist, Mick Hume.  Spiked has started a "public debate" on GM labelling in association with the International Policy Network.

INTERNATIONAL POLICY NETWORK (IPN):
The network, set up last year, is a coalition of international rightwing thinktanks.  The directors of the IPN in the UK are Roger Bate and Julian Morris, of the Institute of Economic Affairs.

THE AGRICULTURAL BIOTECHNOLOGY  COUNCIL (ABC):
The ABC was set up by the biotech industry as a lobby group.  It is chaired by Stephen Smith, of GM company Syngenta.  In February 2002, one conclusion of ABC's inaugural report was that if GM crops could be seen to be beneficial to birds, then the majority of people would support their growth. The ABC has moved its PR account to Lexington Communications, where its director, Mike Craven, was head of New Labour's press office and worked with deputy prime minister John Prescott.  Lexington has now hired Bernard Marantelli, formerly of GM company Monsanto, to organise a £250,000 PR campaign aimed at "regulators, legislators, retailers and consumer groups" to approve GM crops.
 
SCIENCE MEDIA CENTRE (SMC):
Based in the Royal Institution - the oldest independent research body in the world - the SMC says it is "an independent venture" but consistently defends GM and openly accepts money from GM, drug and oil companies including BP-Amoco, Dupont, Pfizer and Astra Zeneca. The head of SMC is Fiona Fox, a former contributor to LM magazine and sister of Claire Fox, of the IoI.
http://society.guardian.co.uk/societyguardian/story/0,7843,921537,00.html
http://ngin.tripod.com/260303a.htm

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FACTS OF THE WEEK
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A study published in The New England Journal of Medicine (January 8, 1998 - Vol. 338, No. 2, Stelfox et al, Conflict of Interest in the Debate over Calcium-Channel Antagonists) which was the first of its kind on conflicts of interest, showed that scientists' judgements on a controversial issue would appear to be affected by their relationship to relevant commercial interests and that the relationship need not be a direct one: "Supportive authors were also more likely than neutral or critical authors to have financial relationships with any pharmaceutical manufacturer, irrespective of the product (10%, vs 67% and 43%, respectively; P<0.001)."
http://ngin.tripod.com/240303e.htm

The EU's Joint Research Centre (JRC) has calculated that production costs for conventional oilseed rape would increase by 41% and those for conventional maize by 9%, if GM was commercialised in Europe, due to contamination problems.
http://ngin.tripod.com/250303c.htm

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HEADLINES OF THE WEEK: from the NGIN archive
http://ngin.tripod.com/mar03.htm
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27 March 2003
"We Are the Poors" - The New Apartheid
26 March 2003
'Independent' groups share pro-GM common ground
Police arrest nine activists during cotton protest
activists take Monsanto by storm
Government company sold GM potatoes to unsuspecting buyers
US subsidises GM clean-up
25 March 2003
War opponents urge US-Monsanto boycott
Boycotting Bush's backers/protest outside Monsanto headquarters
Licensing a GM 'lemon'
Pesticides cause Parkinson's etc.
24 March 2003
Chapela 'fears UC won't give him tenure'
GM protesters in court
Monsanto & Cargill genetically engineer survey results
Mass exodus of Europe's biotech companies from GM
'This will be like no other debate'
21 March 2003
Church joins anti-Bt corn drive with one millionsignature petition/
Monsanto endures barrage of farmer demands
Drop in GM trials - GM projects cancelled
StarbucksReneged on  Promise
GM means 'long-term loss'
Credibility of GM public debate hangs by a thread/
Italy's right to ban GM upheld
THE WEEKLY WATCH number 20
20 March 2003
Iraq, the 51st state/Resistance is not futile
Indian farmers likely to shy away from Bt cotton
European Consumers Not Tempted to GM Food
Broom's Barn economics critique
19 March 2003
Your genetically modified future
German could face standards watchdog over GMcrops row
Now Syngenta boss quits!
Thai rice farmersprotest U.S. interference
Strange Bedfellows

FOR THE COMPLETE NGIN ARCHIVE: http://ngin.tripod.com/nginlist.htm

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CAMPAIGN OF THE WEEK
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Opposition to US imperialism, in the form of consumer boycotts of American products and services, is spreading across the world as Reuters has reported.
http://ngin.tripod.com/260303d.htm

Ready for action?  From personal choice to public protest, you can build the Brand America Boycott with the power of your own imagination.

Call for US-Monsanto boycott, from the Philippines
Monsanto's development is "intimately linked to war"
http://www.inq7.net/reg/2003/mar/25/text/reg_4-1-p.htm

"For globalisation to work, America can‚t be afraid to act like the almighty superpower that it is.  The hidden hand of the market will never work without a hidden fist. McDonald‚s cannot flourish without McDonnell-Douglas, the designer of the F-15, and the hidden fist that keeps the world safe for Silicon Valley is called the United States Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps."

"....As for Iraq, America should bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb......" Thomas Friedman....New York Times
http://www.quitusa.com/

Find out more about the boycott and take the pledge to boycott brand America:
http://adbusters.org/campaigns/boycott_america/
http://www.boycottwar.net/
http://www.consumers-against-war.de
http://www.boycottamerica.org/
http://www.boycottbush.net/
http://www.spendforpeace.co.nz/
http://www.stopspending.org
...
Here is the one and only rule for the Brand America Boycott: this action belongs to you. You decide what brands and products stand as symbols of America's new empire-building project, and you decide how you'll make your statement. Above all else, this is a culture jam - personal, spontaneous, unpredictable.

Some people are planning a total Made-in-America boycott. Some will boycott oil for the duration of the war. Others are planning public activism against the greatest symbols of the Brand America warriors: McDonald's, Philip Morris, Exxon Mobil, Texaco, the major automakers, Tommy Hilfiger, Gap, Starbucks, Nike, Disneyland, the Hollywood cinemas. Media activists can launch TV Turnoff campaigns against Fox, CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS and MTV. The limits to your participation are the limits of imagination, and the brainstorming has already begun.
---
in the UK: leave Labour - why it's time to quit the Party if you're a member - Labour takes no notice of members until they stop paying their contributions!
http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,3604,921188,00.html
...
Disobey
by John Pilger; March 13, 2003

How have we got to this point, where two western governments take us into an  illegal and immoral war against a stricken nation with whom we have no  quarrel and who offer us no threat: an act of aggression opposed by almost everybody and whose charade is transparent?

How can they attack, in our name, a country already crushed by more than 12 years of an embargo aimed mostly at the civilian population, of whom 42 per cent are children - a medieval siege that has taken the lives of at least half a million children and is described as genocidal by the former United Nations humanitarian coordinator for Iraq?

How can those claiming to be "liberals" disguise their embarrassment, and shame, while justifying their support for George Bush's proposed launch of 800 missiles in two days as a "liberation"? How can they ignore two United Nations studies which reveal that some 500,000 people will be at risk? Do they not hear their own echo in the words of the American general who said famously of a Vietnamese town he had just levelled: "We had to destroy it in order to save it?"

"Few of us," Arthur Miller once wrote, "can easily surrender our belief that  society must somehow make sense. The thought that the State has lost its mind and is punishing so many innocent people is intolerable. And so the evidence has to be internally denied."

These days, Miller's astuteness applies to a minority of warmongers an apologists. Since 11 September 2001, the consciousness of the majority has soared. The word "imperialism" has been rescued from agitprop and returned to common usage. America's and Britain's planned theft of the Iraqi oilfields, following historical precedent, is well understood. The false choices of the cold war are redundant, and people are once again stirring in their millions. More and more of them now glimpse American power, as Mark Twain wrote, "with its banner of the Prince of Peace in one hand and its loot-basket and its butcher-knife in the other".

full story
http://www.zmag.org/content/print_article.cfm?itemID=3232&sectionID=41
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