Last week we had the Voice of America broadcasting in London c/o the US embassy and that alarming academic and seedy opportunist, Prof Philip Stott.
This week we had intimations that the Voice of America was being heard loud and clear within the European Commission with Commissioner Byrne apparently caving in to US lobbying and proposing to allow traces of unapproved GMOs to contaminate European food claiming to be GM-free, while Environment Commissioner Wallstroem (see item 3) reassures the US that the Commission is in the business of heading off the 'militant factions' seeking a moratorium (presumably she has in mind the likes of Britain's Women's Institute, or the BMA, etc.).
But NEXT WEEK... it's the real thang, as Pants over London give way to reveal Bush in Europe.
Item 2 suggests some half-hearted attempt at placatory noises ahead of the George W's visit, with Frankenshrub's National Security Adviser saying:
"Reasonable people can disagree on the best approach to policy issues such as global climate change and genetically modified food."
He added that it was imperative for allies to have "an open, healthy debate on issues where we differ."
So that's what the US embassy and Stotty were up to recently, was it?
Enabling an open healthy debate among reasonable people... by getting speakers to brand European consumers "paranoid" (Haskins) and environmental groups the "green menace" (Karembu), while recommending compulsory GM studies for our children to make sure they better understand the issues (Borlaug) than those unreasonable people their parents.
Meanwhile US consumers continue to be helped avoid the paranoia induced in the ignorant by the green menace by a continued refusal to allow them to know how their food is produced (see item 3). This is capitalism with an Orwellian face:
1. Bush to face a Europe skeptical of US intentions
2. Rice Says No 'Values Gap' Between U.S. And Europe
3. STATES JOIN GLOBAL FIGHT OVER BIOTECH LABELING
1. Bush to face a Europe skeptical of US intentions [shortened]
Saturday 9 June 2001
BRUSSELS (AP): When President George W Bush comes to Europe next week to meet America's closest friends, he'll encounter more doubt, skepticism and disagreement than the United States has attracted from European allies in many years.
To some Europeans, the new Republican administration in Washington not only looks like something from another continent but virtually from another planet.
Among the many deep divergences between America and its allies: Europeans have serious doubts about US plans for a missile defence system. They hold dear the Kyoto protocol on climate change that Bush wants to abandon. And the US-push for genetically modified foods scares the pants off people from Sweden to Sicily.
"The administration is perceived as unilateralist, aggressive and in many ways more interested in protecting itself, the United States, from the world than protecting the world from itself," said Dominique Moisi of the French Institute for International Relations.
As a consequence, negative attitudes toward the United States are rising as the conservative administration in Washington attempts to deal with the largely centre-left governments of Europe.
Bush begins the first European trip of his presidency Tuesday in Madrid. He flies Wednesday to Brussels to meet leaders of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, then on to Goteborg, Sweden, for a summit with members of the European Union. All this is a prelude to his first meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
2. Rice Says No 'Values Gap' Between U.S. And Europe
June 8, 2001 12:36 am EST, REUTERS
By JoAnne Allen
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Bush rejects the premise that a "values gap" is driving a wedge between the United States and Europe, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice said on Thursday.
Despite differences on a number of social issues, the United States and Europe will remain strong allies because of their shared interests and common values, Rice said in a speech to the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.
Speaking four days before Bush leaves for his first overseas visit as president, Rice said he views the trip as an opportunity to advance America's common goals with Europe and to discuss their common challenges.
"Reasonable people can disagree on the best approach to policy issues such as global climate change and genetically modified food," Rice said, adding that it was imperative for allies to have "an open, healthy debate on issues where we differ."
"The debate over a values gap or a strategic split ignores the fact that at a very fundamental level our economic interest and our security interests -- far from driving us apart -- are major factors in keeping the United States and Europe working together," Rice said.
Bush is scheduled to travel to Europe on Monday for a six-day trip that will take him to Spain, Belgium, Sweden, Poland and Slovenia where he will have his first meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
He is expected to face tough questions from European allies who are skeptical about his policies on missile defense and global warming and other issues.
European leaders were caught by surprise by Bush's rejection of the 1992 Kyoto treaty, which requires industrial nations to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases thought to cause global warming.
White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said on Thursday that Bush was looking forward to discussing the issue when he goes to Europe next week.
"He is going to tell the Europeans that he takes the situation very seriously, that global climate change is an issue that nations do need to deal with," Fleischer told reporters.
Fleischer would say not whether Bush plans to present his European counterparts with any specific proposals for dealing with global warming.
3. STATES JOIN GLOBAL FIGHT OVER BIOTECH LABELING
By Ann Schraderand Steve Raabe
Denver Post May 29, 2001
Tuesday, May 29, 2001 - With his infant son cradled in his arms, Patrick West walked to the microphone in the state Capitol's old Supreme Court chambers. West brandished a candy bar, noting that the label spelled out percentage of fat, amount of sugar, grams of protein and how much partially hydrolized oil was under the wrapper. But there was no mention of whether the ingredients were genetically engineered.
"I'm trying to find out what I can or can't feed my family," West, who heads a group that supports food labeling, told members of a Colorado Senate committee at the Feb. 12 hearing. "The bottom line ... I want to know what's in my food."
The bill that was the subject of the meeting, SB 146, was indefinitely postponed, meaning it was dead for the legislative session. Opponents said labeling should be done on the federal level, not through a patchwork state system.
The proposal would have required most products containing genetically engineered ingredients to have a label separate from the ingredients list or to be accompanied by a notice.
"It's an issue that won't go away. I will come back with a bill next year," said the bill's sponsor, state Sen. Ron Tupa. "It's simply a choice that I'd like consumers to have."
Sixteen other states, Congress and federal agencies grappling with the labeling issue and a growing number of nations also are debating whether labels must disclose to the public whether a product contains genetically engineered ingredients.
Tupa, a Boulder Democrat, decided to carry a labeling bill when West, state chairman of the Natural Law Party of Colorado and director of the Consumer Coalition for Food Labeling, approached him after failing to get enough support to get the issue on the November ballot.
About three dozen people, ranging from those associated with organizations to individual consumers and farmers, testified in favor of labels at the February hearing, saying consumers have a right to know what they're eating. Many wore yellow buttons that said in red lettering: "Lettuce Know If It's GMO," referring to genetically modified organisms.
On the other side of the issue, a dozen representatives of agribusinesses, such as the Colorado Corn Growers and the Colorado Livestock Association, argued against state-by-state labeling laws.
Tupa noted that labeling of another type of food, organic products, wasn't required on a federal level until several states began passing laws.
In December, the U.S. Department of Agriculture for the first time defined organic, saying the term applied to fruits, vegetables, grains, meat and dairy products produced without pesticides, growth hormones, irradiation and genetic engineering.
In September, a federal judge in Washington, D.C., dismissed a lawsuit asking for mandatory labeling of GE products. The lawsuit, filed by the Center for Food Safety and others, challenged a 1992 Food and Drug Administration policy that says genetically engineered foods are essentially the same as those produced by traditional methods.
In 1999, the FDA held three public hearings and received 50,000 written comments on the policy. In spring 2000, the agency conducted a number of consumer focus groups around the country. The FDA found "an uneven knowledge and understanding" of biotech foods and "strongly held but divergent views" on special GE labeling.
After reviewing the information gathered in the hearings and focus groups - coupled with finding no adverse health effects from GE foods on the market - the FDA decided in September to keep its no-special-labeling policy.
Public sentiment is much stronger in Europe and Asia for labeling or even outright bans on GE imports from the United States, which are seen as a potential health and environmental risk. Generally, European countries have opposed various American imports on health grounds, although critics in this country have accused them of ignoring evidence that the food is safe.
Laws requiring labeling of GE foods have been passed in the European Union, Russia, Czech Republic, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand and Ecuador.
Sri Lanka has banned imports of GE foods, while several European countries - including Spain, Italy, France, Austria, Luxembourg, Norway, Greece and Switzerland - have placed restrictions on planting or field testing of some GE crops.
Margot Wallstroem, the European Union's environment commissioner, said she will submit proposals for labeling and tracing of GE organisms in all 15 member nations to head off militant factions seeking a moratorium on GE foods in Europe.
The European parliament recently approved new rules on labeling and monitoring GE food, preparing for the foods to appear on the market. However, consumer groups, environmental organizations and some European governments say the rules don't go far enough. The groups seek provisions to hold makers of GE food liable for any damages they may cause to public health or the environment.
Those who support labeling in the United States and Colorado point to the European reaction, noting that U.S. companies label GE foods and crops for export but not for sale at home.
"Do we really think everybody in Europe is dumb?" asked Logan Chamberlain, a natural foods activist from Boulder County. "It's about money. What we eat creates our health." ...