9 May 2003
Disease Labs Spread Across US/St Louis police get set to deal with protesters
*Louis police get set to deal with protesters
*Disease Labs Spread Across US Biodefense could pose bigger safety threat than bioterrorism
City police get set to deal with protesters
Post-Dispatch updated: 05/07/2003 09:59 PM</FONT><BR>
Hundreds or even thousands of protesters could descend on St. Louis on May 18, the opening of the World Agricultural Forum's 2003 conference.
St. Louis police are bracing for any possible problems, mindful of Seattle's experience with violent protesters who disrupted the World Trade Organization's meeting there in December 1999.
Four Seattle police officers were in St. Louis this week to talk about what happened when 50,000 demonstrators overwhelmed 400 Seattle officers. Downtown Seattle was shut down in clouds of tear gas.
Protesters in Seattle smashed windows and vandalized cars. Police fought back with rubber bullets and tear gas. Major riots followed at international conferences in Genoa, Italy, and Quebec, Canada.
"We don't anticipate the same level of violence or intensity" as Seattle, St. Louis Police Chief Joe Mokwa said Wednesday. "But we do know right now that we have some visitors in our city who were involved in the Seattle protests and other protests."
He would not elaborate.
Assistant St. Louis Police Chief Everett Page met with the Seattle officers and will head the police detail for protesters. "We will have patience and tolerance for those who want to demonstrate peacefully," Page said. "We don't want a physical confrontation. "But we're not going to allow lawlessness."
Seattle police learned about violence from protesters the hard way, Page said. "They'll say they're going to start something at 10, but then they'll start it at 3. Their sole purpose is to disrupt the convention any way they can."
In Creve Coeur, extra police will be on hand at the Monsanto property for the annual Creve Coeur Days. Monsanto is one of the hosts of the annual celebration, which includes carnival rides and game booths on Monsanto property.
Creve Coeur Police Chief John Beardslee said his department will gather information about possible protests and coordinate a plan with city police.
The Hyatt Regency hotel at Union Station is hosting the "World Congress" meeting of the World Agricultural Forum. The forum brings together agriculture industry leaders and world leaders to deal with the future of global agriculture.
St. Louis police also will be stretched on May 18 by the Cardinals-Cubs game at Busch Stadium and a detail for the annual Annie Malone Parade. And Mokwa also is concerned about a conference called Biodevastation 7 set for May 16-18.
The Gateway Green Alliance, a St. Louis group affiliated with the Green Party USA, is the local organizer of Biodevastation 7. It's a gathering of scientists, farmers and activists opposed to genetically modified foods and other technologies used in industrial agriculture.
Daniel Romano, an organizer with the group, said that 200 to 800 people are expected to attend the Biodevastation 7 conference and that there will be 200 to 2,000 protesters at the World Agricultural Forum. "We anticipate a lot of people coming in at the last minute," said Romano. "But there are so many other factors that could affect attendance."
Mike Intravia, president of Clayton-based Allied Intelligence Inc., an international security consulting firm, is head of security for the forum. He said he is working with St. Louis police and other law enforcement agencies to prepare for possible protests.
Allyce Bess and Heather Ratcliffe of the Post-Dispatch contributed to this report.
Disease Labs Spread Across US
Biodefense could pose bigger safety threat than bioterrorism
Gateway Green Alliance
P.O. Box 8094, St. Louis MO 63156
For immediate release: May 9, 2003
Contacts: Michael Allen, 314-353-8176; Edward Hammond, 512-494-0545
May 9, 2003. St. Louis, Missouri. Communities across the US are confronting bioweapons in their backyard. But these bioweapons are not from Osama bin Laden or Saddam Hussein. They are part of the US biodefense program and their critics say that the US weapons lab plans are neither safe for the environment nor creating peace.
The biolab critics point to the Bush administration's sabotage of a UN inspection system for biological weapons that actually would have helped protect US citizens. Instead, the administration is rushing into a massive expansion of America's biodefense program. From Boston to Honolulu, more than three dozen biodefense labs have been proposed. With biological weapons, offensive and defensive are virtually inseparable. Though the administration says the labs will defend the US from biological terrorists, skeptics argue that the biodefense program itself is the greater threat to peace, health and the environment.
Sunshine Project Director Edward Hammond maintains "Secrecy at the labs threatens us all. Safety from bioweapons depends on openness and peoples' rights to know; but some government agencies leading the biolab building boom have atrocious records of public accountability. If the government's trend toward secrecy continues, it may well trigger a new bioweapons race."
The Sunshine Project and other non-profit watchdogs say the labs will store and grow the world's most dangerous organisms and create genetically engineered diseases. They will train hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people in the perverse science of making biological weapons.
Hammond will speak several times in St. Louis at the 7th International Gathering on Biodevastation, May 16 - 18. The Biodevastation event will immediately precede the World Agricultural Forum (WAF), which will emphasize genetically modified (GM) food.
Biodevastation 7 is hosted by the Gateway Green Alliance, which sees a connection between genetic engineering in agriculture and bioweapons. Gateway Green spokesperson Don Fitz believes that "Just like nuclear power provided the basis for nuclear weapons, genetic engineering is being used both to gain control of world agriculture and to create some of the most dangerous weapons development the world has ever seen."
A major panel at Biodevastation 7 will be "Backyard Bioweapons: Biolabs, Biodefense, Biotech, & $ Billions." Its speakers will include:
* Edward Hammond on "Biotech, bioweapons, biodefense, and US policy;"
* Inga Olsen on "DOE's biodefense program and plan for Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory;"
* Steve Erickson on "US Army bioweapons activities at Dugway Proving
* Peter Shorett on "A $1.6 billion secret: Boston's downtown biolab and
public access to information;"
* Colin King, Nuclear Watch of New Mexico, on "Los Alamos National
Lab's venture into bioweapons."
Other Biodevastation panels will cover "Environmental Racism," "Globalization, Food Imperialism & War," "The International Threat to Farms & Farmers" and "Crop Contamination & the Future of Indigenous Agriculture."