"Green and consumer groups yesterday claimed one of their greatest successes in a decade as the German biotech company Bayer withdrew its application to grow a variety of GM maize..." (item 3)
"a call to arms, not only to prevent the contamination of the nation's food supply, but even more to tackle the poisoning of the nation's decision-making system by the undercover wielding of economic and financial muscle and PR manipulativeness of Big Biotech." - Michael Meacher (item 2)
1.Big Norm praises Tony Blair
2.Meacher on Seeds of Deception
3.Firm drops plan to grow GM maize
1.Big Norm struts his stuff for TB
Yesterday we heard about the love feast between Tony Blair and Norman Borlaug with John Vidal wondering, "Just who persuaded Tony Blair to congratulate Norman Borlaug on his 90th birthday" when "few people outside the fevered GM debate" know anything about the ferociously pro-GM Borlaug.
Blair was pleased to thank Big Norm for all his works, "on behalf of the government and the British people". Vidal also noted Prof CS Prakash's son's rap of praise: "Norman Borlaug, you may be, the greatest man in history" etc., etc. http://society.guardian.co.uk/societyguardian/story/0,7843,1181068,00.html
Well, now the love-fest has continued with Big Norm strutting his stuff for TB!
"Tony Blair, you may be
the greatest man in history.
Using lies and spinology
to overcome public hostility.
Getting funds from Lord Sainsbury
your Minister of Technology.
You're the man we look up to.
That is why we're thanking you."
Thanks to Robert Vint for bringing that to our attention on this bright and lovely April 1st.
2.Seeds of Deception (UK edition)
by Jeffrey Smith ISBN 1 903998 41 7
Green Books Tel : 01803 863260. Books in stock within the next two weeks.
Foreword by Michael Meacher
This is a brilliant book which combines shrewd dissection of the true nature of GM technology, a devastating critique of the health and environmental hazards of GM crops, and scarifying examples of the manipulation of both science and the media by the biotech industry.
Despite the British Government's GM Nation Debate in mid-2003, the level of understanding of GM remains alarmingly low in the UK. This book should be compulsory reading, not only for the general public, but even more so for the decision-makers who have never been exposed to systematic analysis of the problems created by GM.
What is so exciting about this book is that it is no dry text of scientific exegesis - it positively fizzes with the human drama of the cabals and conspiracies behind the scenes which have littered the history of Big Biotech in its frantic efforts to get itself accepted. It is meticulously documented and powerfully written, somewhere between a documentary and a thriller.
It reveals above all that GM is not some arcane issue about science or technology-it is ultimately about power. There are no consumer benefits from GM crops, the alleged benefits to farmers are deeply disputed, environmental and health testing has never been carried out, non-GM farmers are being put seriously at risk. So why is GM being pressed at all? The answer, set out painstakingly and frighteningly in this book, tells us a great deal about how power is exercised today-funding political parties and key individuals, networking around opinion-formers and decision-makers, and fixing strategic job swaps between the biotech industry and Government. And this is not just conjecture; plenty of examples are given which illustrate how secretive and malign these influences are.
The main area of cover-up is undoubtedly the GM effects on health. It is a staggering fact that there have been virtually no clinical or biochemical tests of the impacts of eating GM foods on human health. Jeffrey Smith sets out, like a detective story, the unravelling of the L-tryptophan fiasco, the StarLink maize allergy mishap, and the cauliflower mosaic virus promoter hazard, as well as a host of other health risks, both predicted and unpredictable.
But the kernel of the book is the commercialization of politics and the politicization of science. For those who still believe the constitutional fantasy that governments act in accordance with their manifesto in the general interests of society, this book will come as a shocker. The exercise of power today is much more hard-nosed and ruthless, and the power-brokers are not the electorate, but Big Business. As a case study of this suborning of democratic accountability, Jeffrey Smith's account is an eye-opener. But most of all it is a call to arms, not only to prevent the contamination of the nation's food supply, but even more to tackle the poisoning of the nation's decision-making system by the undercover wielding of economic and financial muscle and PR manipulativeness of Big Biotech.
3.Firm drops plan to grow GM maize
John Vidal, environment editor
Thursday April 1, 2004
Green and consumer groups yesterday claimed one of their greatest successes in a decade as the German biotech company Bayer withdrew its application to grow a variety of GM maize, saying that constraints imposed upon it by the government had made the crop uneconomic.
Bayer said it was committed to growing GM crops in Britain, but none is likely to be planted for at least four years.
The decision will embarrass the government, which only three weeks ago gave the firm permission to grow the maize for two years. No other crops are in the regulatory pipeline, and few firms are expected to apply to grow them in Britain.
A spokesman for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs shrugged off Bayer's decision: "We do not apologise for the fact there is a tough EU-wide regulatory regime on GMs."
Anti-GM groups and opposition parties called on the government to review its strategy. "This is the death-knell in the short term for GM crops in Britain. The only GM crop with a government green light now doesn't even have the support of its manufacturer," said a Greenpeace spokesman.
Michael Meacher, the former environment minister and a leading GM critic, said: "The government has been saved from itself and the electoral furore which would have followed licensing."
Andrew George, Liberal Democrat rural affairs spokesman, accused biotech firms of wanting the profit but not the problems of GM crops.
However, there was speculation about why Bayer pulled out. No decisions had been made on distances separating conventional and GM crops, or about who should compensate farmers for genetic "pollution".
Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace yesterday said the GM crop, Chardon LL, may have been withdrawn because it was considered outdated.