» WELCOME
» AN INTRODUCTION
» PROFILES
» LM WATCH
» CONTACT
» LOBBYWATCH LINKS
»


THE WEEKLY WATCH number 30 (20/6/2003)

============================================================
THE WEEKLY WATCH number 30
============================================================
------------------------------------------------------------
from Andy Rees, the WEEKLY WATCH editor
------------------------------------------------------------
Dear all

Welcome to WW30 bringing you all the latest news in brief on the GM issue. Hope you enjoy it and please circuate widely.

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

------------------------------------------------------------
WEEKLY WATCH  number 30 - CONTENTS
------------------------------------------------------------
SETBACKS TO THE GM INDUSTRY
OTHER HIGHLIGHTS OF THE WEEK
REPORT OF THE WEEK 1 - Ruthless propaganda in the EU
REPORT OF THE WEEK 2 - Monsanto's true colours - new report
TOPIC OF THE WEEK - Gunning for the South in Sacramento
FACTS OF THE WEEK
FAIRYTALES FROM THE GM LOBBY - Suspect reporting from Pallab Ghosh
CAMPAIGN OF THE WEEK
SUBSCRIPTIONS

-------------------------------------------------------------------------
SETBACKS TO THE GM INDUSTRY
------------------------------------------------------------------------
CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD CONSIDERING LEGAL ACTION AGAINST MONSANTO
Winnipeg -- "We've given strong assurances to our customers that we will make sure   this situation is resolved in Canada, and we intend to take whatever action necessary to do that," Adrian Measner, president and chief executive officer of the big grain marketing agency, said yesterday.  It is the strongest statement the board has made on how far it will go to prevent GM wheat from being grown in the near future in Canada -- and one he plans to repeat to world wheat traders at an International Grains Council meeting in London next week. St. Louis-based Monsanto is seeking approvals from Canadian and U.S. regulators for a GM wheat that withstands its weed killer, Roundup. If such approvals are given, Canadian guarantees that its exports do not contain GM wheat will be rendered useless, Mr. Measner said. "Having it grown in Canada, it's not an option. The costs are just too horrendous and it needs to be addressed," he said.
http://www.globeandmail.com/servlet/ArticleNews/TPStory/LAC/20030619/RGRAI//query=GM+wheat
http://www.forbes.com/home_asia/newswire/2003/06/18/rtr1004491.html

UK PUBLIC DON'T WANT GM CROP COMMERCIALISATION:
83% of people believe they do not know enough about the long-term health effects of GM food to allow the commercialisation of GM crops.  This from a poll that adopted the Government's own GM debate questionnaire. The public also showed intense scepticism about the motives of GM companies.  78% of those polled said they were "worried that this new technology was being driven more by profit than by public interest". Similarly, 67% thought that GM crops would benefit mainly the producers and not ordinary people.  75% of those polled said they were worried that if GM crops were introduced it would be very difficult to ensure that other crops were GM-free.  71% were concerned about the potential negative impact of GM crops on the environment.
http://217.204.41.132/cgi/NGoto/2/31591815?435

CHINESE CONSUMERS DON'T WANT GM FOOD:
Consumer opposition to food containing GM ingredients may be pushing the controversial technology out of the Chinese market.  With the exception of Nestle's Pak Fook Fresh Soya Milk and Beancurd Dessert, and Hong Chi's Yung Ho Soya Milk, quantities of GM ingredients in common foodstuffs tested by the Consumer Council were "substantially lower" than those in a similar test three years ago. "We believe consumers are playing a part in putting the pressure on traders to use more non-GM food," Ms Lau, of the Consumer Council said.  Greenpeace activists branded Nestle a "habitual sinner" and Hong Chi a "shameless liar", claiming both companies had broken their promise on limiting GM content in their products.

CHIRAC DOESN'T WANT GMOS:
French President Jacques Chirac last week said the conditions for his country to accept GMOs were not yet fulfilled and that each country should be left free to accept or refuse them.  "We have to make sure that GMOs answer real needs and that the precautionary principle is respected," Chirac told an international meeting of young farmers in Paris.  "To me, these conditions do not seem to be fulfilled today."  He also rejected the idea that a policy be imposed on France in this matter.  "Each country should be able to make the choice (of adopting GMOs) as a sovereign nation and in a responsible way," he said.
http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/21190/story.htm

AUSTRALIA INCREASINGLY CONCERNED OVER GMOS:
A survey has found that public concern about GM foods and crops in Australia has increased.  54% of those quizzed now believed the risks of GM foods and crops outweighed any benefits.  Last year, the figure was 51%, while in 2001 it was 49%.  The highest perceived risks were potential allergens in food, multinational company control of the food supply, unknown long-term environmental impact and impact on human health.
http://www.heraldsun.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5478,6616470%255E421,00.html

AUSTRALIAN FARMERS FEAR FUTURE WITHOUT GNO BAN
Opposition extends to conservative bodies such as the Australian Wheat Board.  Growers have found support from the governments of Tasmania, Western Australia, South Australia and New South Wales, which have pledged a moratorium on the growing of GM crops. Victoria is expected to follow suit soon.  Efforts to crack the Australian market have been vigorous, and often dubious. One crucial paper on GM crop contamination published in the Science journal did not mention it had been funded by Monsanto and Bayer CropScience. The journal has launched an inquiry.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/gmdebate/Story/0,2763,981122,00.html

NSW STATE BAN ON GM PLANTING:
New South Wales has passed a bill imposing a three-year moratorium on the growing of GM food crops.  The NSW Farmers Association has said it supports postponement of any general release of GM canola until segregation and trade issues are fully addressed.  The NSW moratorium is part of an effective Australia-wide stay on planting of a commercial GM canola crop. 
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/businessstorydisplay.cfm?storyID=3508167&thesection=business&thesubsection=world&thesecondsubsection=australia&thetickercode=

CARTAGENA BIOSAFETY PROTOCOL LOOKING SET TO COME INTO FORCE:
Late last week, the Pacific nation of Palau became the 50th country to sign the United Nation's Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. The signature triggers a 90-day countdown, with the treaty coming into force on September 11, 2003.  The Biosafety Protocol, which follows the precautionary principle and empowers nation's to regulate GMO foods, could run into direct conflict with the World Trade Organization. Despite the US WTO suit contesting Europe's right to place a moratorium on some GMO food crops, the Biosafety Protocol reaffirms the right of Europe, and other countries, to set their own regulations for biotech crops.

USAID STARTS FUND TO FIGHT CARTAGENA BIOSAFETY PROTOCOL:
USAID, part of whose official role is to integrate GMOs into the agriculture of developing countries, is going to help those countries write those biosafety regulations via a $14.8 million dollar programme. Agriculture & Biotechnology Strategies (AGBIOS) is a key participant in the Program for Biosafety Systems (PBS). The program will work initially with Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, East and West Africa.
http://www.agbios.com/main.php?action=ShowNewsItem&id=4478

SEEDS MORE RISKY THAN POLLEN FOR GM ESCAPE:
Seeds are more likely than pollen to spread genes from GM sugar beet into wild relatives, researchers have warned.  Previously, concern about the leakage of genes from GM crops into the environment has focused on pollen, which can blow for long distances on the wind. But new research in France reveals that the transport of seeds may present a greater risk - within soils carried on motor vehicles or by other normal agricultural activities.  Jeremy Sweet of NIAB, a crop research company in Cambridge, says: "The research means that if you put any gene into sugar beet, it would get into wild beet - it's inevitable."  The problem is neither the crops nor the wild plants themselves, but crosses between the two. Domestic sugar beet breeds with its wild relative, sea beet (Beta vulgaris ssp. maritima), the resulting hybrids are potent weeds, producing thousands of seeds in their first year.
http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns99993840

BOHOL PROVINCE IN THE PHILIPPINES DECLARES ITSELF GMO-FREE:
The provincial board of Bohol declared the province as GMO-free. The ordinance, referred to as "The Safeguard against GMOs," penalizes any violation with a fine of P5,000 or one-year imprisonment or both. In his sponsorship speech on the resolution, assistant floor leader Tomas D. Abapo Jr. cited the pastoral letter issued by Bishops Leopoldo S. Tumulak and Christian Vincent Noel which said that the effects of genetic engineering on our environment are "certainly not" the will of God.
http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/abs_news_body.asp?section=Provincial&oid=25980

NO HUMAN SAFETY TESTING OF GMOS EXPOSED - IT'S OFFICIAL
PRIME MINISTER BLAIR IS LEFT TO WAFFLE:
*In the House of Commons (UK) Hansard Written Answers text for Friday 13 Jun 2003, GM Crops,
Alan Simpson (MP): To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what clinical trials have been conducted into the effects on the human body of the ingestion of GM foods in the (a) long and (b) short term.
Ms Blears (for the Government):  The Food Standards Agency (FSA) is unaware of any clinical trials conducted into the effects on the human body of the ingestion of genetically modified (GM) Foods.
*In the House of Commons, Hansard, Debates text for Wednesday 18 Jun 2003 Questions to the Prime Minister:
Mr. Michael Meacher (Former UK Environment Minister - just resigned): May I ask a question about the current public debate on genetically modified food? The Prime Minister has said repeatedly that a decision on whether to commercialise GM crops should be made on scientific grounds, and that it should be established whether there is a risk to health or the environment. Quite so.  Is the Prime Minister aware that there have been no human feeding trials in either the United States or the United Kingdom to establish the health or biochemical effects of consuming GM foods? Does he agree that until such tests are carried out, an important option for the Government when they are reaching a decision later this year is the exercise of the precautionary principle? Does he agree with that, and will he ensure that it is taken on board very seriously?
The Prime Minister: I certainly think it is very important for us to take on board all the issues relating to GM food. The only other thing I have said, and I say it again, is that it is important for the whole debate to be conducted on the basis of scientific evidence, not on the basis of prejudice. Let me also point out that the biotech industry in this country is immensely important...[etc.]
http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200203/cmhansrd/cm030618/debtext/
30618-03.htm#30618-03_spnew14

DOLLY THE SHEEP KILLED OFF AS COMMERCIAL PROJECT:
"Dolly the sheep" was effectively killed off as a commercial project after biotech firm PPL Therapeutics failed to convince partner Bayer that  there was a viable future for it.  Dolly - the first cloned mammal - died on St Valentine's Day.  A little over a month ago PPL dropped plans for a £42m centre to produce a range of Dolly-type drugs. Up to 140 jobs will go at PPL research facilities in Scotland and New Zealand. Geoff Cook, PPL's chief executive, admitted the future of the company was now up in the air.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/story/0,3604,980383,00.html

BIOTECH FIRMS RUNNING OUT OF MONEY:
Despite a new report by Ernst & Young being given a positive spin, it exposes the fact that in 2002, the entire US biotech industry racked up a collective net loss of $11.6 billion - a 71% increase over the $6.8 billion net loss it posted the previous year.  The report also notes that 1/3 of public US biotechs had less than a year of cash on hand at the end of 2002, with another 22% down to less than two years of cash. The quarter-century-old biotech industry is dominated by money-losing companies. Only about 20 of the 318 public US biotech companies have had any sort of sustained profitability in the last three years.
http://www.quicken.com/investments/news_center/story/?story=NewsStory/dowJon
es/20030612/ON200306120120000295.var&column=P0DFP
The audit firm Ernst and Young has published the German Biotechnology Report and the European Biotechnology Report. In 2002 the biotech sector registered a decrease in both revenues and employee numbers Europe-wide. Investments for research and development fell by 11%.
http://www.ey.com/GLOBAL/content.nsf/Germany/Branche

------------------------------------------------------------
OTHER HIGHLIGHTS OF THE WEEK
------------------------------------------------------------
-----------------------------------------------------------
Unelected Lord S. says 'Keep your nose out of my business!'
-----------------------------------------------------------
Lord Sainsbury was accused of displaying "breath-taking" arrogance, after launching a sensational attack on Prince Charles, telling him to keep his nose out of politics, after the Prince's interventions in  public debates on GM foods and similar issues.  Michael Fabricant MP said: "This is a rather strange perspective from an unelected politician sitting in the House of Lords who has continued to fund the party of Government [to the tune of £11.5 million] while simultaneously being a member of the Government which elevated him to the peerage. He is not elected and he is only in office because he is a friend  of the Prime Minister and is bankrolling the Labour Party.  If Prince Charles should keep his nose out, so should Lord Sainsbury."  Liana Stupples, of Friends of the Earth, said: "It is pretty clear that most of Prince Charles' subjects share his concerns  about technology like GM organisms. To judge by public opinion, Prince Charles has got a democratic mandate to speak on these subjects and it is Lord Sainsbury who is out of touch with what modern politics require."
-----------------------------------------------------------
The Independent Science Panel has a website
-----------------------------------------------------------
The Independent Science Panel has a website
http://www.indsp.org/index.php
See who's on the panel
http://www.indsp.org/gmgroup.php
NEW 136 page report entitled 'The Case for a GM-free Sustainable World' (PDF 469kb) http://www.indsp.org/A GM-Free Sustainable World.pdf
GM crops, do we need them? are they safe?
ISP inaugural lectures by David Bellamy, Arpad Pusztai, Stanley Ewen, Vyvyan Howard, and Mae-Wan Ho available on video, cassette and cds
http://www.indsp.org/onlinestore.php
-----------------------------------------------------------
US policing of GM crops criticised by 2 new reports
-----------------------------------------------------------
Government agencies are failing to monitor GM crops to protect the environment and public health, according to two separate studies.  The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) says, that according to its review of government data, farmers are routinely overplanting corn that is genetically engineered (GE) to be insect resistant.  The corn growers are failing to comply with a government requirement to plant 20% of their acreage with non-GE corn as a refuge.  The refuge is intended to prevent the breeding of insects resistant to the pesticide produced by GM corn.  The statistics show that 19% of all Bt corn farms in Iowa, Minnesota, and Nebraska - about 10,000 farms - violated the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) refuge requirements in 2002. 13% of farmers growing Bt corn in those three states planted no refuges at all. 
In a separate report, the US Public Interest Research Group (USPIRG) warns that nearly 70% of all field tests of GM crops conducted in the last year contain secret genes classified as confidential business information to which the public has no access.
http://ens-news.com/ens/jun2003/2003-06-18-06.asp
USPIRG says there should be a moratorium on the field testing and commercialization of genetically engineered foods and crops unless:
*independent safety testing demonstrates they have no harmful effects on human health or the environment;
*the public's right to know about field tests is improved and any products commercialized are labeled;
*and the biotechnology corporations that manufacture them are held accountable for any harm they may cause.
Two Studies Challenge Integrity of Biotechnology
http://www.agweb.com/news_show_news_article.asp?file=AgNewsArticle_2003619956_3312&articleid=98797&newscat=GN
The USPIRG report can be found at this link
http://uspirg.org/uspirg.asp?id2=10192&id3=USPIRG&
Link to CSPI study.
http://www.cspinet.org/new/200306191.html
-----------------------------------------------------------
Sudanese government reviewing policy on GM food imports
-----------------------------------------------------------
The Sudanese government has guaranteed the World Food Programme that all food deliveries will be permitted to enter the country for the next six months, while it conducts a review of itspolicy on GM foods.  A number of food shipments held up in Port Sudan for over a week due to concerns about GM food were released by Sudanese authorities on Saturday.
http://www.irinnews.org/report.asp?ReportID=34787&SelectRegion=East_Africa&S
electCountry=SUDAN
This follows intense pressure from the US and USAID after Sudan introduced a ban on all GM imports.
-----------------------------------------------------------
GM experiment destroyed
-----------------------------------------------------------
Intruders have destroyed GM research plants growing at the John Innes Centre in Norwich which has been at the heart of UK efforts to push GM crops around the world.
http://www.nature.com/nsu/030616/030616-13.html
Report on the John Innes Centre biotech promotionals
http://ngin.tripod.com/biospin.htm
-----------------------------------------------------------
GM decaf coffee grown on trees in Japan but why bother?
-----------------------------------------------------------
Despite the availability of a safe Water Process to seive out caffeine through a carbon filter, Japanese scientists have developed a GM low-caffeine coffee plant (70% less).
http://www.nature.com/nsu/030616/030616-12.html
-----------------------------------------------------------
Monsanto's PR firm astroturfing again!
-----------------------------------------------------------
Last year, GM WATCH exposed the critical role of PR firm the Bivings Group in Monsanto's covert internet campaign against its scientific and environmental critics, involving the use of fake citizens and fake organisations.
http://ngin.tripod.com/deceit_index.html
Now the firm's involvement in defending Dubya's programmes at the behest
of the Republican National Committee has been exposed.  'The Web site was designed by the Bivings Group, a media consultancy firm renowned for producing "Astroturf" political campaigns. The term, a play on the word "grassroots," refers to the manufacture of seemingly authentic public support.'
http://smirkingchimp.com/print.php?sid=11714
-----------------------------------------------------------
Watch out! Highly suspect Scottish Agricultural College report
-----------------------------------------------------------
A new SAC report, based on computer projections - a research approach that is highly dependent on what assumptions are built in, claims GM and non-GM crops can happily co-exist in the UK.  The Agricultural Biotechnology Council (ABC) who commisssioned the report represent the big biotech corporations in the UK. Selling the report to the media has been Bernard Marantelli, an ex-Monsanto PR man who moved over to PR company Lexington Communications when they won the ABC's account in the run up to the great debate in the UK.
http://society.guardian.co.uk/societyguardian/story/0,7843,921537,00.html
But although the ABC implied to the media the report had been published, it hasn't and parts of the SAC report may be witheld from the final version which will also not be peer reviewed. For more on how the work of research scientists is manipulated through the media by the biotechnology industry:
http://www.btinternet.com/~nlpwessex/Documents/sugar-beet-paper-commentary.htm

------------------------------------------------------------
REPORT OF THE WEEK 1 - Ruthless propaganda in the EU
------------------------------------------------------------
Genetic engineering is a hit and miss process derived from a discredited scientific paradigm. The industry upon which it is based is in deep financial trouble. Only a ruthless propaganda machine lies between the dead-end of genetic engineering and oblivion.

EU specialist, Steve McGiffen reports, noting how the EU's stance has evolved in a context of "the most sustained, ruthless and unscrupulous propaganda campaign which even the European Parliament, an institution which works in the face of relentless harassment from corporate lobbyists, has ever witnessed. This campaign, moreover, is not content with spreading lies and confusion amongst legislators in Brussels and other European capitals, it has also kept up a disinformation campaign which has led large numbers of people to believe the exact opposite of a number of clear truths related to GMOs and their dangers."

McGiffen concludes, "Agricultural biotechnology in its present form is a vast scientific and commercial error. The people who have invested their money, time and reputations in it cannot afford to admit this. Unfortunately, they will not be the ones that end up paying the heaviest price for their incompetence, greed and hubris. As usual, the bill will be met by those least able to afford it, and the currency in which it will be denominated will not be dollars or euros alone, but the health and livelihoods of human beings and the environment in which we live."
http://www.spectrezine.org/environment/GMO2.htm

------------------------------------------------------------
REPORT OF THE WEEK 2 - Monsanto's true colours
------------------------------------------------------------
"Imagine a world where giant chemical corporations control the food we eat, the seeds we grow and the water we drink. Imagine a world where it is not even possible to save a seed without facing up to seven years in prison; a world where tomatoes contain the genes of fish, and the seeds of our plants are genetically altered to be sterile. Imagine a world where the water and air are poisoned. Welcome to Monsanto's world, the world that Monsanto is creating right now and which will be ours if we don't stand up to stop it."

Those words and the scenario it conjures up are from the introduction to the booklet "Selling Food.Health.Hope(tm): The Real Story Behind the Monsanto Corporation" by Sarah Wright.

Wright brings together a wealth of information about Monsanto, the world's largest multinational agrochemical corporation that projects itself as clean and green. Wright's report demolishes that, and stresses that Monsanto "has lied, misrepresented facts, poisoned people and the earth, and put profit before its workers, consumers, farmers, children and communities time and again."

There are secrets that Monsanto wants to hide from the public, she says. Wright uncovers Monsanto's "history of profiteering from poisons, the secrets of its misleading and dirty science, important political connections that it has made, and its new and dangerous forays into the world of genetic engineering."

Wright says that Monsanto's record shows that it is a company that cannot be trusted, that it has poisoned communities and ecosystems, created poisons for warfare, pumped millions of pounds of chemicals into rivers and streams.

This is the corporation that is now trying to gain control over the world's food system.

Monsanto was a major producer of Agent Orange, the lethal herbicide that the US used as a defoliant in Vietnam. Today, both US war vets and Vietnamese soldiers and civilians continue to suffer the effects of Agent Orange's toxicity. US veterans sued Monsanto after the end of the Vietnam war. An out-of-court settlement had Monsanto paying some $80 million in damages to US war veterans while the Vietnamese victims received nothing.

Today Monsanto's Roundup is also used by the US to spray from the air coca plants in Colombia. Farmers and indigenous groups have suffered from this. So have livestock and fish. Other crops, rivers, lakes and creeks have been poisoned, too.

Monsanto developed and sold polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) which were considered toxic organochlorines linked to birth defects, infertility and impaired mental function, weak immune system and cancer. PCBs have now been banned. Some 3,500 residents of Anniston in Alabama filed a major environmental lawsuit against Monsanto for poisoning and covering up when it operated a plant that produced PCB. Monsanto was found guilty.

*****Monsanto has been found guilty of 'behavior so outrageous in character and extreme in degree as to go beyond all possible bounds of decency so as to be regarded as atrocious and utterly intolerable in civilized society' in US Courts.*****

It happily sells pesticides in the Philippines that have been banned in the US due to their toxicity to humans. This is the company whose reports the Philippine government is trusting to supposedly show the safety of GMOs.

Monsanto writes laws, bullies countries, and places its executives in the highest places of the most powerful government on earth. It is trying to control the whole food chain and create a system that will hold farmers, consumers and the environment to ransom. This is the company that is now in danger of controlling our food system.

Wright's report, published on June 2003 by Masipag (masipag@mozcom.com), Resist and Pressure Point, is a horror story that needs to be told. Worse than sci-fi. Wright's numerous sources (close to a hundred) are listed at the end of the report so she certainly didn't "imagine" any of it.

For a copy of the report mail ngin@gmwatch.org

-----------------------------------------------------------
TOPIC OF THE WEEK - Gunning for the South in Sacramento
-----------------------------------------------------------
The global debate over genetically-modified foods moves to California next week, where the Bush administration will tout the technology to dozens of agriculture and health ministers from developing nations.

The three-day conference beginning Monday in Sacramento will be led by U.S. Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman.

USDA will spend about $3 million on the Sacramento conference, largely to showcase agricultural biotechnology. Also on Monday, President George W. Bush is due to address a biotech industry conference in Washington.

"It's a false promise to say that current engineered crops will feed the world when U.S. officials are saying current crops would not perform well under African growing conditions," said Larry Bohlen, spokesman for Friends of the Earth.

Amadou Kanoute, regional director for Consumers International Office for Africa in Zimbabwe, told reporters in Washington that the spread of U.S. biotechnology would put small-scale African farmers, the backbone of the continent's farm sector, at a disadvantage.

"You will plunge Arica into greater food dependency," Kanoute said.
http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/business/biotech/20030620-1358-trade-biotech.html

More than 120 ministers, some senior, from 75 countries including Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, the Czech Republic, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Israel, Mexico, Pakistan, Peru, the Philippines, Uganda and Venezuela are to attend. It is backed by the US state department, the department of agriculture and the agency for international development (USAid).

Some 130 groups are mobilising, mainly to protest against what they see as the conference's hidden agenda.

"The largely US-based bio-technology industry is in crisis," said Peter Rosset, co-director of Food First, the Institute for Food and Development Policy, a thinktank based in Oakland, California. "This conference is a desperate attempt, at the taxpayers' expense, to prop up a failing industry. The whole conference is pitched at developing countries." 

Mr Rosset said that, with suspicion growing about GM food around the world, the US government had decided to bail out the industry. He said every country, with the exception of those deemed to be in the "axis of evil", had been invited. Fares for two senior ministers from each country were being paid by the US, he said. Significantly, western European countries were not attending.

Accusing the US of "trying to hijack a UN-sponsored multilateral process", Mr Rosset suggested that American taxpayers were effectively sponsoring "some of the richest companies on earth in a trade fair".
http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,981059,00.html

The Third World debunks corporate myths on GM crops
The battle over genetic engineering is being fought across the world, between those who champion farmers' rights to seeds, livelihood and land, and those who would privatize them. Food First, together with the Pesticide Action Network, has brought together a range of views from critics of GE food.For more information about this report, including excerpts, visit:
http://www.foodfirst.org/progs/global/ge/sactoministerial/voices.php

Alternative events in Sacramento
http://www.foodfirst.org/progs/global/ge/sactoministerial/events.php

Africans Challenge Bush Claim that GM Food Good for Them
An African hunger expert and a prominent African consumer leader have condemned the Bush administration's challenge at the World Trade Organization (WTO) of European policies on GMOs, saying that GMOs are not the answer to African hunger and noting that Zambia has pulled itself out of a food crisis without accepting GM food aid.
http://www.ipsnews.net/interna.asp?idnews=18890

Biotech industry stooge CS Prakash who will be speaking in Sacramento has issued the following press release:

"Sound Science Must Prevail in Sacramento,
Contact: C.S. Prakash at 1-334-444-7884; prakash@tuskegee.org

June 20, 2003; Tuskegee, Alabama - International leaders attending the Ministerial Conference and Expo on Agricultural Science and Technology in Sacramento, California next week should let sound science determine the future of agricultural technologies in developing countries, according to the AgBioWorld Foundation

...The thousands of AgBioWorld members strongly urge the protesters and the organic industry interest groups which fund them to abandon their campaigns of fear, and encourage them to instead support the application of all our best tools and science, including biotechnology, toward alleviating the ravages of hunger and malnutrition."

One activist in Sacremento commented, "This is just too sickening to be funny in that morbidly ironic way, even for a morbid sense of humor like mine:  look at the dateline of this industry propaganda piece -- TUSKEGEE Alabama, of which most people would never have heard, were it not infamous for -- that's right -- using dark-skinned people as scientific guinea pigs without their informed consent.  Ugh."

The reference is to what happened between 1932 and 1972, when the U.S. Public Health Service (PHS) conducted an experiment on 399 black men - for the most part illiterate sharecroppers from one of the poorest counties in Alabama - by doctors who had no intention of curing them of the syphilis they were suffering from. They were thus deliberately left to degenerate under the ravages of tertiary syphilis-which can include tumors, heart disease, paralysis, blindness, insanity, and death. The true nature of the experiment had to be kept from the subjects to ensure their cooperation. The sharecroppers' grossly disadvantaged lot in life made them easy to manipulate.
http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0762136.html

As for the "sound science" Prakash wants to see prevail in Sacremento: "...the 'sound science' movement is not an indigenous effort from within the profession to improve the quality of scientific discourse, but reflects sophisticated public relations campaigns controlled by industry executives and lawyers whose aim is to manipulate the standards of scientific proof to serve the corporate interests of their clients." Doctors Elisa Ong and Stanton A. Glantz writing in the  America Journal of Public Health, November 2001
http://www.ajph.org/cgi/content/full/91/11/1749

For more on Prakash:
http://ngin.tripod.com/pantsoftheyearaward.htm

The reality of US altruism:

*The US is the World's Stingiest Donor
http://www.guardian.co.uk/g8/story/0,13365,967654,00.html

*Washington's Aid Promises Misleading
http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/oneworld/20030522/wl_oneworld
/118151053610546

*US sinks plan to stop the West undercutting African farmers
http://news.independent.co.uk/world/politics/story.jsp?story=411560

*Africa's scar gets angrier - George Monbiot
http://politics.guardian.co.uk/columnist/story/0,9321,969259,00.html

*Force-feeding the hungry: a primer on the food aid crisis
http://ngin.tripod.com/forcefeed.htm

-----------------------------------------------------------
FACTS OF THE WEEK
-----------------------------------------------------------
The UK remained the dominant player in European biotech industry with 43% of total market capitalisation.
http://www.ey.com/GLOBAL/content.nsf/Germany/Branche

Today, 35 countries with 3 billion people (half of world's population, including major US trade partners outside of Europe) now require safety approvals, segregation and labeling of GM foods.
http://www.corpwatch.org/bulletins/PBD.jsp?articleid=7188

Lord Sainsbury has financed the Labour Party to the tune of £11.5 million in recent years.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------
FAIRYTALES FROM THE GM LOBBY
Suspect reporting from BBC's Pallab Ghosh
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
"The farmers here like genetic modification." That was the opening line of a report this week about GM cotton from the BBC's science correspondent Pallab Ghosh in the Indian state of Gujarat.  Nowhere in this report did Ghosh mention that the harvest of Monsanto's GM cotton in Gujarat had been so disappointing that a six-member panel set up by the state government went so far as to conclude 'it is unfit for cultivation and should be banned in the State'.
http://flonnet.com/fl2011/stories/20030606005912300.htm

A week earlier Pallab Ghosh waxed lyrical about the GM "protato".  His report claimed it was "expected to be approved in India within six months".  But the Indian press has reported that, "...no request has so far been received from developers for field trials or commercialisation of GM potato and... it cannot be approved in the current year." This directly contradicts Ghosh's report.
http://www.financialexpress.com/fe_full_story.php?content_id=36215

The key claim in Ghosh's report was about the protato's ability to counter malnutrition but this had already been exposed as fraudulent in the Indian press 3 months earlier, in March. (GM Potato Cannot Solve Malnutrition Problems : Experts
http://www.financialexpress.com/fe_full_story.php?content_id=30)

So why did the BBC not check out any of the claims that formed the basis of a story run as headline news in the UK, and which was picked up elsewhere around the world?

The answer would seem to lie with Pallab Ghosh, whose story hung purely upon the discredited claims of the Indian bureaucrat Manju Sharma and claims about the potential of GM crops by the chief executive of Dupont in India, Dr Balvinder Singh Khalsi.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/2980338.stm

This is not the first time that Ghosh has launched a story of value to the GM lobby that fell seriously below the normal standards of BBC journalism.  It was Ghosh who was behind the BBC's reports that the BMA was reviewing its position on GM.  Ghosh's claims again hit the headlines but the BMA issued a press release the same day which clearly showed the story had not even been checked with them.  The BMA labelled parts of Ghosh's report "wrong" and "totally incorrect".
http://ngin.tripod.com/310103g.htm

Stories where the central facts have been subjected to so little critical scrutiny might seem surprising from someone who is the current Chairman of the Association of British Science Writers (ABSW), a group of 800 science journalists and communication specialists in the UK. In that role Ghosh has commented critically, in evidence given before the House of Lords Select Committee on Science and Technology, on the standard of reporting to be found even in science journals.

Ghosh's has also reported critically on Dr Arpad Pusztai's work.  This is what Dr Pusztai has said about Ghosh's coverage: "[he] came up to Aberdeen after the RS [Royal Society] and the Science and Technology Committee's sitting [in 1999] and he was all smiles and extremely accommodating but when the interview went out on the BBC he twisted everything out of context.  So much so that I decided not to have anything more to do with the BBC."

One interesting point about Ghosh's role at the ABSW is that it brings him into close contact with the ASBW's President, Dame Bridget Ogilvie. Dame Bridget is on the advisory board of the highly controversial pro-GM lobby group Sense about Science.
http://ngin.tripod.com/190303d.htm

She was also a co-signatory to a letter attacking the BMA's position on GM crops authored by the highly controversial GM supporter, Sir Peter Lachmann FRS, who has been accused by the editor of the Lancet of trying to intimidate him out of publishing Pusztai's research.
http://ngin.tripod.com/rs.htm

Both Sense about Science and Lachmann featured in Ghosh's report. This over-cosy relationship with the science establishment and its lobbyists, together with a taste for GM fairytales, amongst certain UK science correspondents - Ghosh at the BBC, Henderson at The Times, Connor at The Independent and Coghlin at New Scientist, and others - risk damaging the reputation of the whole profession.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------
SUBSCRIPTIONS
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
To subscribe to the 'GMW daily' list
send an e-mail to list@gmwatch.org with the message:
'subscribe GMW daily'
You'll receive up to 30 mails a week

To subscribe to the 'WEEKLY WATCH'
send an e-mail to list@gmwatch.org with the message:
'subscribe WEEKLY WATCH'
You'll receive 1 mail a week with a news roundup
Those subscribed to the daily list will receive the WEEKLY WATCH
automatically

To subscribe to 'GMWATCH' (monthly)
send an e-mail to list@gmwatch.org with the message:
'subscribe GMWATCH'
You'll receive 1 mail a month with a news roundup
Those subscribed to the daily bulletins and WEEKLY WATCH will receive
GMWATCH automatically

To unsubscribe to any of the these lists:
just mail us saying 'unsubscribe' and specifying which list

archived at:
http://ngin.tripod.com/nginlist.htm

GMWATCH website:
http://www.ngin.org.uk

Donations made out to 'NGIN':
NGIN, 26 Pottergate, Norwich, NR2 1DX, United Kingdom
or e-mail for details: ngin@gmwatch.org

Go to a Print friendly Page


Email this Article to a Friend


Back to the Archive