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WEEKLY WATCH 106 (7/1/2005)

from Claire Robinson, WEEKLY WATCH editor
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Dear all

A very happy new year to all our readers. This week, we have a number of inspiring YEARLY REVIEWS of anti-GM activities in various countries over the past year, written by people in the vanguard of the resistance.

They include US-based author and campaigner, Luke Anderson, who reports on "possibly the most inspiring year as far as local activism on GM issues in the US is concerned". There will be more reviews from around the world in the weeks to come.

Monsanto's troubles continue BIG TIME, with not only more multi-million dollar losses posted for this quarter, but in the pipleline major unquantifiable liabilities. And now we have a US$ 1.5 million fine for bribing Indonesian officials to give the nod to its GM crops (COMPANY NEWS).

The questions the bribery scandal raises are:

1. If Monsanto was prepared to bribe officials for half a decade to the tune of over $700,000 in one country, what on earth have they been up to in the rest of the world? The bribes were sanctioned from the U.S. and Indonesia may well be just the tip of the iceberg;

2. All the safety approval data for Monsanto's GM
crops - in terms of health - are provided to regulators in countries around the globe by Monsanto themselves. If they'll go to the corrupt lengths we now know they went to in Indonesia in search of a regulatory fix, what are the chances that data is not being manipulated when it is totally under Monsanto's control and there are no checks?

Every single GM approval around the world that Monsanto has been a party to now needs to be urgently reviewed - new *independent* data need to be obtained, and the officials Monsanto dealt with need to be investigated.

Claire [email protected]
www.gmwatch.org / www.lobbywatch.org

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CONTENTS
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LOBBYWATCH
COMPANY NEWS
AWARD FOR JOURNALIST WHO EXPOSED GM HYPE
YEARLY REVIEWS 2004: US, Japan, UK, France
OTHER NEWS

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LOBBYWATCH
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+ FRONT GROUP TO HONOUR BORLAUG AT UN WORLD CONFERENCE
A year ago GM WATCH highlighted a conference that its organisers said would make "eco-imperialism" a household word. The conference claimed to expose "The global green movement's war on the developing world's poor". Opposition to GM crops, it claimed, was part of that "war". The conference featured Patrick Moore, CS Prakash of AgBioWorld, and Paul Driessen of the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise. It was primarily organised by the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE).

CORE, which likes to style itself "one of America's premier civil rights organizations", is now to put on what it calls a "UN World Conference-2005" on "Biotechnology: Implications & Realities" (New York, January 17-18, 2005). This UN conference will be opened by the Hon. Roy Innis, the National Chairman of CORE. It will also feature Cyril Boynes, jr of CORE, plus a video of "CORE's fact-finding trip to Africa". The conference will "honour Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and father of the 'Green Revolution', Dr Norman Borlaug".

So who are CORE? Back in the heyday of the civil rights movement, CORE was indeed one of the "premier civil rights organizations". However, during the 1970s CORE all but collapsed and the remnant was taken over by Roy Innis, who moved the organisation to the Republican right.

Black American journalists, Glen Ford and Peter Gamble, describe CORE under Roy Innis as "a tin cup outstretched to every Hard Right political campaign or cause that finds it convenient - or a sick joke - to hire Black cheerleaders". They report how James Farmer, a civil rights hero and the former head of the original Congress of Racial Equality confronted Roy Innis on TV for turning the organization into what Farmer called a "shakedown" gang.
http://www.lobbywatch.org/profile1.asp?PrId=174

This is the organisation that is now successfully associating itself with the UN and lauding Norman Borlaug and GM. An added irony is that at CORE's event last year, the UN was in the firing line along with "environmentalists" and "anti-biotech activists" as contributing to hunger and poverty in the Third World through its misplaced "eco-imperialism".

Find out more including the fake farmer being deployed at the conference.
http://www.lobbywatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=4765

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COMPANY NEWS
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+ MONSANTO FINED USD 1.5M OVER INDONESIA BRIBES
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 Financial Times reports, "The [bribe] was delivered by a consultant working for the company's Indonesian affiliate, but was approved by a senior Monsanto official based in the US, and disguised as consultants' fees.

"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 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."

In how many other countries around the world have similar things been going on? This is ver

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