US voice adds unwelcome echo to immigration debate

David Pallister
Monday January 7, 2002
The Guardian


David Blunkett's proposals for immigrants to become more assimilated with British culture have found a new, and probably deeply unwelcome, advocate in Pat Buchanan, the former US presidential candidate regularly excoriated for his extreme rightwing views.

Rehearsing a familiar theme from his three bids for the presidency, Mr Buchanan claims in a book published this week that Britain and the rest of Europe will be overwhelmed by a wave of "Islamic-Arab-African" immigration. Citing birth rate statistics - falling in the west and rising in Islamic countries - he says Britain could have a majority non-white population by the end of the century. In London it will happen by the end of the decade.

The populist and inflammatory views of Mr Buchanan, who was once dubbed a "flirter with fascism" for his defence of accused Nazis, have been variously described as verging on the racist, anti-Semitic, xenophobic and homophobic. In his last campaign for the Reform party, after his split from the Republicans, he attracted the support of far right organisations and white supremacist groups including the American Friends of the British National Party.

Promoting his book, The Death of the West: How Mass Immigration, Depopulation & a Dying Faith are Killing our Culture and Country, Mr Buchanan supported Mr Blunkett on the question of immigrants having to learn English.

"They should be told: 'You're coming to our country. You want to be a member of our family. We have certain mores, traditions, customs, history, heroes. This is who we are. This is not a flop house. This is a nation.'"

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WORLD: GM crops see strong increase in 2001
11 Jan 2002
Source: just-food.com editorial team

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Despite ongoing controversy over the use of genetically modified crops, the amount of
land under cultivation by GM crops grew considerably in 2001, reports the
International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA),
a group that promotes use of the technology in poor countries.

The area of land under cultivation with GM crops soared 19% to 52.6m hectares or
130m acres in 2001, with five and a half million farmers now actively using the
technology. Three quarters of these farmers are in developing countries.

ISAAA chairman Clive James called the growth in GM technology “unprecedented” in the
history of world farming. He is quoted as saying that it exceeded the enthusiasm with
which US farmers adopted hybrid wheat in the 20th century to create the
"bread-basket" of the Mid-west. 

Four countries currently dominate the GM technology landscape. The US grows 68% of
GM crops, Argentina 22%, Canada 6% and China 3%.

On a crop-by-crop basis, soybean still takes the lion’s share of GM acreage at 63%,
followed by corn with 19% and cotton with 13%. The report singled out Chinese cotton
as the boom crop, as cultivation increased threefold to 3.7m acres to account for nearly
a third of the total crop. James indicated that India might well move towards adopting GM
technology to support its world-leading cotton industry.

However, the debate about the safety of GM crops continues, and the United Nations
Food and Agriculture Organisation has expressed concern about the speed of adoption
of the technology.

James admitted that there had been intense speculation that the global area under
cultivation by GM crops would shrink in 2001, but this proved unfounded.

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Date: Fri, 11 Jan 2002 09:45:25 +0800
From: zimbabwefriends@mail.com
Subject: U.S. & British Conspiracy Against Zimbabwe


From: Panafegal@aol.com

http://www.gamji.com/daily_trust.htm
Harare Land Issue: US, British Conspiracy
Daily Trust (Abuja)
OPINION
January 4, 2002

Onah L. Iduh

When the meeting of Common-wealth Foreign Ministers on Zimbabwe which
met in Abuja under the auspices of President Olusegun Obasanjo on
September 6, 2001 came out with a series of resolutions on the way
forward in the Zimbabwean land crisis now known as the Abuja Accord with
all contending interests in the land crisis in agreement, there was
quite some relief. However, with recent threats of sanctions from the EU
countries and the actual signing of a bill by President G. W. Bush
slamming sanctions on Zimbabwe, the land crisis certainly has entered a
fresh dark zone with all imperialist forces baring their fangs, not
minding the morality and civility of their stand.

Certainly, British colonialism in whatever form may be facing its
final battle in Zimbabwe and perhaps the beginning of its final
confrontation in Southern Africa. How long this confrontation will last
is immaterial and to some extent irrelevant.

Significantly noteworthy is that Zimbabwe is for the first time waking
up from the euphoria of political independence it forced out of settler
colonialism in 1980 to the reality of the proverbial man living by the
riverside but washing his hands with spittle.

For students of history and dispassionate observers of the Zimbabwean
land problem, it may not surprise them that there are apparent
confrontations between white farmers and war veterans of the liberation
struggle. In fact, this is even long overdue considering the fact that
the major impetus for peasant participation in the liberation war was
basically land. That this remains unachievable over twenty years after
political independence and they still kept their cool could perhaps be
attributable to the commanding respect or the rhetorical competence of
President Robert Mugabe. What may in fact surprise any conscientious,
humane and liberal-minded person is the seeming convergence of
neo-colonial forces in fighting against an underdeveloped and
colonially-impoverished nation as Zimbabwe. That they are placing
sanctions on a government that is democratising land use and ownership
as against the racially-skewed acquisition and ownership which placed
over 70% of arable land in the hands of white minority farmers may make
one wonder on the true meaning of democracy, civilised ethics and
justice which these Western nations claim as guiding principles in their
relationship with others.

The nature and scope of colonial occupation and exploitation in Africa
have varying dimensions. This is mainly dictated by climatic factors.
While in West Africa the hostile, mosquito-infested tropical climate
made it very dangerous for whites to settle down and operate the
colonial machinery directly, the temperate climate of Eastern and
Southern Africa provides a favourable and similar climatic conditions as
in Europe for the colonialists to feel so much at home, more so when
they incidentally discovered that these lands, particularly in Southern
Africa literally flow with milk and honey - gold, diamond and very
fertile land, among others.

Given these enticing features, direct political administration and
land appropriation of the territory by white settlers became a
compulsive necessity without recourse to the basic rules of civilised
transaction. It was under this situation that the Limpert Concession of
1889 became the legal precursor by white settlers to unjustly
expropriate land from Zimbabwean peasants first as mining fields and
subsequently for farming. This land expropriation was given legal
backing in the Land Apportionment Act of 1930. This Act further
strengthened by the 1951 Land Husbandry Act and the 1969 Land Tenure Act
reserved 70% of fertile arable lands for the less than 1% white settlers
while the majority peasant population was
pushed into what was then known as 'Native Reserves' made up of a mere
30% of the poorest and rocky agricultural land - a group that subsists
only on farming. It is also pertinent to note that this primitive or
rather atavistic land acquisition by white settlers went on without due
regard to civilised etiquette of compensation.

The major preoccupation of the liberation movements was therefore to
get back the land and push out the uninvited guests. The first to be
formed was Zimbabwe Africa Peoples Union (ZAPU) under Joshua Nkomo. A
faction of this broke away under Robert Mugabe and formed the Zimbabwe
Africa National Union (ZANU) and later ZANU-PF (Peoples Front). They
both had their armed wings and both professed scientific socialism as
their political ideology and painstakingly applied this as a basis for
recruitment for the guerrilla combat and political mobilisation against
colonialism.

ZANU's military wing, Zimbabwe National Liberation Army (ZANLA)
successfully
mobilised the peasant masses in the Maoist revolutionary tradition by
diligently identifying the grievances of the people over land
deprivation and apparent discriminatory practices in the marketing of
agricultural products. According to a historian, Professor Terence
Ranger, "by the time the guerrilla war began - peasants had a long
tradition of understanding what had been done to them. They knew that
their land had been taken in order to establish white commercial farming
and ranching; they knew that the Rhodesian state had discriminated in
favour of white agriculture and had intervened in their own production
in intolerable ways. Locally, they fought during the guerrilla war for
the recovery of their lost land."

Apart from this simplistic interpretation of the Zimbabwean liberation
struggle especially their socialist ideological bent, the revolutionary
elite configure themselves as victims of the twin instruments of
colonialism - capitalism and racism. The brand of racist capitalism they
came to bitterly experience established a chasm between an African
worker as against a white worker performing similar jobs, a situation
which in classical capitalist system operates on the dialectical norm of
the working class against the bourgeoisie. Naturally, therefore, the
liberation fighters found the confluence task of eliminating both racism
and capitalism.

It was under this scenario as the guerrilla fighters of both ZANU and
ZAPU were making serious incursions and weakening the grip of the
colonialists that the Lancaster House Constitutional Conference of 1979
was called after such similar talks in Geneva and Malta failed.

At the Lancaster House discussions, the land question was the dominant
issue and a proviso was made in the course of the talks on a
willing-seller, willing-buyer as a means of buying back the land from
white farmers. On this note, ZANU unequivocally affirmed that it would
be historically and morally wrong "to tax the colonially-deprived and
impoverished Zimbabweans in order to raise such resources since the land
was never bought from them in the first place." They contested that the
British colonial government was morally and legally bound to pay and
compensate the white settler farmers for the land to be acquired for
resettlement after independence. The constitutional talks almost broke
down over this issue but only resumed when British and American
governments made promissory commitments of 75 million pounds and $520
million respectively to assist any
new government in Zimbabwe in mobilising the fund for the buy-back of
land for resettlement. On this note, Zimbabwe was granted political
independence on
April 18, 1980.

However, recent events in Zimbabwe over the land crisis suggest that
Britain and America may have been forced to concede then to assist in
land re-acquisition on either of two things or both. One, to immediately
and systematically halt the guerrilla warfare that had every potential
of overcoming the forces of the racist minority government and
thereafter institute a strong socialist state in which case everything,
that is, the structure, resources and investments of racist capitalism
would be lost. Two, to buy time for the racists and their cohorts in
Britain, America and South Africa to strategise and consolidate their
plans of sustaining racist exploitation as the new Zimbabwean government
would be basking in the euphoria of political independence.

That the British government never intended to honour the Lancaster
House promise became apparent by the day as they continued to
prevaricate and attach difficult and extraneous conditionalities to any
fund they intended to provide. Meanwhile, President Robert Mugabe under
the strains and burden of the responsibilities imposed on him by the
liberation struggle proposed and enacted the Constitutional Amendment
N0. 16A (Amendment Act N0. 2 of 2000). This legislation seeks to assert
that the responsibility of compensation for any land compulsorily
acquired for resettlement lies on Britain but accepts to pay for any
improvement made on any land. The main reason for the act was to free
land acquisition for resettlement from legal constraints being exploited
by white farmers to delay land reform and resettlement programme.
Moreover, the willing-buyer, willing-seller clause in the undertaking
could never be met since there would never be any willing seller among
the white settler farmers.

Under Amendment Act No. 2, the land crisis entered into what the
Zimbabwean government calls the "Fast Tract" phase. In a publication,
People First: Zimbabwe's Land Reform Programme, President Mugabe
eloquently and succinctly expressed that "many wonder why the issue of
land is such a fundamental National Question in Zimbabwe and elsewhere
in our Southern African region. They need not go very far. It remains a
principal and loaded marker of frontiers of our being, both as
individuals and as sovereign nations; a marker whose utility and
symbolism runs the whole gamut, right down to the common man and woman
in the village. For us, life comes from, flourishes and ultimately ends
in land. Our loss of it through colonial conquest went deeper in meaning
than the mere loss of a means of production. It amounted to the loss of
our being."

The principal focus of the Fast Tract phase according to the president
"would be the restoration of equity and fairness in the ownership and
access to national resources, away from their colonial and racial
divisive misallocation. That way, our goal of funding a non-racial,
fully integrated multicultural society of equals would be realised."

The land crisis has certainly gone beyond signing accords. The racial
and ideological dimensions of the crisis seem to be pushed to the fore.
Although this is not and may never be openly articulated, Britain and
America seem to be incensed by President Mugabe's avowed socialist
policies. This they fear may upstage the capitalist structures if the
land reform is pursued to its conclusions. The fight is therefore
two-pronged - it is seen as a battle against socialist/communist
incursion. That is why all capitalist interest groups are up in arms
against Mugabe either to frustrate the land reform or lose his grip on
power in the forthcoming presidential election or both so that in the
event of his defeat, the new government which might likely be a
puppet may return to the economic status quo prior to the 'Fast Tract'
era. Secondly, imperialist gang-up is also necessary so that in the
event that Mugabe is not scared into back-pedalling on the land reform
or be defeated in the March 2002 presidential election, the effects of
the sanctions now imposed on Zimbabwe would scare potential land or
anti-imperialist reformists in other Southern African states. This is
however made blunt by diplomatic manipulations by British and American
governments who are obviously twisting the arms of their minions,
including African states to either gang up or keep quiet as they unleash
the sophistry of their media
power against the already impoverished nation. It is indeed
heart-rending to see British and American governments hastily and
compulsively slamming sanctions on Zimbabwe when for over a century,
they remotely and actively aided the greatest political and economic
banditry -coloniakism- and the worst form of inhumanity against Africa
perfected in the savagery of apartheid.

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BioDemocracy News #37 Jan/Feb 2002
Frankencorn Fight: Cautionary Tales
By Ronnie Cummins, Organic Consumers Association
www.organicconsumers.org

Quotes of the Month:

"Corn diversity is essential to the future of our agricultural
systems. Jack Harlan, the famous botanist, has noted that genetic
diversity 'stands between us and catastrophic starvation on a scale we
cannot imagine." Press Release by Greenpeace Mexico 9/1/01

"We have to get away from the romantic anachronism that developing
countries should strive for self-sufficiency in food." John Block,
former US Secretary of Agriculture, 1986

"For people who want to buy corn, there really isn't much choice but
to come to us." Bob Kohlmeyer, Cargill Corporation, Des Moines
Register 11/15/00

"We have a saying in our company. Our competitors are our friends. Our
customers are the enemy." James Randall, Archer Daniels Midland
Corporation, quoted in Fortune magazine 4/26/99

"Farmers don't like to hear that we're essentially a ward of the
government, that we're on a workfare program," Alan Libbra, Illinois
farmer, St. Louis Post-Dispatch 12/5/01

"Regardless of what the biotechnology industry wants us to believe,
agricultural genetic engineering is an imprecise science. it relies on
methods that include the haphazard insertion of genetic elements into
a plant's genome. This in turn may result in the disruption of complex
gene interactions and may lead to potentially catastrophic results."
Dr. Michael Hansen & Ellen Hickey, Global Pesticide Campaigner, April
2000


BIODIVERSITY BOMBSHELL

On September 4, 2001 Mexican officials admitted that an alarming
number of genetically engineered (GE) corn plants have been detected
growing alongside traditional corn varieties over a widespread area in
the state of Oaxaca. For millennia corn has been sacred to the Maya
and other native people of Mexico. Over centuries small farmers have
carefully bred and preserved thousands of different traditional
varieties of corn, called landraces, which are specific to each
geographical region, soil type, and micro-climate of the country.
Corn, or maize as it is called traditionally, remains today the most
important crop for a quarter of the nation's 10 million indigenous and
small farmers. Corn tortillas play a major role in the diet of Mexico'
s 100 million people. Critics have warned that GE corn should never
be imported into Mexico, the most important world center of
biodiversity for corn, since the gene pool of the nation's 20,000 corn
varieties and plant relatives, including the progenitor species of
corn, called teosinte, could be irreversibly damaged by "genetic
pollution" from the genetically engineered (herbicide-resistant or
Bt-spliced) maize being aggressively marketed by Monsanto, Syngenta
(formerly called Novartis), and other agbiotech transnationals.

Under pressure to protect the nation's corn biodiversity, Mexican
authorities have proclaimed a moratorium on domestic cultivation of GE
corn. Meanwhile, they have ignored the massive dumping of millions of
tons of cheap (US taxpayer-subsidized) GE corn by corporations such
Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) and Cargill. Agronomists and
environmentalists fear that Mexican farmers have now, perhaps
unknowingly, spread this imported Frankencorn into most of the
corn-growing regions of the country, by planting GE corn from the US
which was supposed to be sold for human food consumption only. Since
impoverished Mexican farmers are looking for the cheapest corn seed
possible to plant, they are increasingly choosing to buy the imported
GE-tainted corn from the US, since it is considerably cheaper than
non-subsidized Mexican varieties.

CORN DUMPING: COLLATERAL DAMAGE

Compounding Mexico's genetic pollution problem is the fact that major
overseas buyers of corn (Europe, Japan, Korea) are stubbornly refusing
to buy gene-altered corn. Consequently North American exporters are
finding it necessary to dump increasing amounts of GE-tainted maize on
captive markets such as Mexico, China, Egypt, Colombia, Malaysia, and
Brazil. Nineteen percent of the US corn, 14 million acres, is now
genetically engineered, although GE acreage is down 30% from two years
ago, mainly due to global resistance against Frankenfoods.

Corn dumping in Mexico has accelerated since the advent of the 1994
North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Under the relentless
pressure of globalization, Mexico has been transformed from being a
major producer of corn (producing 98% of its needs for example in
1994) to a major importer, ranking third in the world (after Japan and
Korea) in terms of imports from the US and Canada. The reason for this
is simple. Corn costs essentially $3.40 a bushel for family-sized
farmers in the US and Canada to produce, and even more for a small
farmer in Mexico. Yet Cargill and ADM, due to their monopoly control
of the market, pay US farmers less than $2.00 a bushel, with the US
taxpayer picking up the remainder of the tab. This enormous subsidy in
turn gets reimbursed to farmers, although large corporate farms get
the lion's share of the US's annual $20-30 billion in farm price
support payments. Even with enormous taxpayer subsidies, most years US
farmers have trouble even recuperating their costs of corn
production-leading to demands by family farmers for a breakup of
Cargill and ADM's grain monopoly. Only organic corn farmers, operating
outside ADM and Cargill's cartel, are receiving a fair price for their
harvest. And of course North American organic corn growers are
increasingly alarmed over the fact that "genetic pollution" or gene
flow from GE corn fields are starting to contaminate their valuable
crops.

Longstanding Mexican government regulation of corn supply and prices,
support for small corn growers, and price subsidies for corn tortillas
for Mexican consumers have been eliminated, all at the behest of
Cargill, ADM, and ADM's powerful Mexican partner, Gruma/Maseca. The
end result of this globalization process is that small and
medium-sized farmers, both North and South of the border, can't make a
living, while ADM and Cargill (and their preferred customers such as
McDonald's, Wal-Mart, Tyson, Smithfield) make a killing. Meanwhile,
consumers, who have been promised that Free Trade would result in
lower prices, are paying more for food every year. Corn tortillas, the
main staple of the Mexican diet, have risen in price 300% since NAFTA
came into effect.

SOUTHERN CORN BLIGHT: A CAUTIONARY TALE

As botanists and plant breeders warn, contaminating Mexico's
irreplaceable corn landraces and germplasm pool could be
"catastrophic" for farmers and consumers. For example in 1970,
millions of acres of the US corn crop were devastated by a Southern
corn leaf blight which destroyed 15% of the total US harvest (50% of
all corn in some areas), leading to over $1 billion in losses, not to
mention marketplace shortages. By going to the "germplasm" bank of
thousands of traditional varieties cultivated in Mexico, and
withdrawing several varieties which were resistant to the Southern
corn blight, plant breeders were able to use conventional
cross-breeding and come up with a single blight-resistant hybrid
variety which was planted in 1971-thereby saving billions of dollars
in losses and maintaining global food security.

Underlining the central importance of corn biodiversity and preserving
traditional varieties or landraces, researchers have also found in
recent years that a perennial variety of corn's original parent,
teosinte, found in Mexico, contains genes that can protect plants from
seven of the nine principle viruses that infect corn crops in the US.

Of course if herbicide-resistant and Bt corn had already been
polluting Mexico's centers of corn biodiversity before 1970, no one
knows if the traditional variety resistant to Southern corn blight
would still have been around to save the day. Likewise no one can
predict the impact of Frankencorn pollution on virus-resistant
teosinte varieties and other corn plant relatives. But one thing is
certain, if globalization continues to drive several million Mexican
farmers from the land, and forces traditional growers to shift to
growing non-corn export crops, most of the nation's heirloom corn
varieties or landraces will be lost forever, since centralized seed
banks (which typically store rather than cultivate their thousands of
different varieties) cannot properly preserve landraces which are no
longer being cultivated in their native areas. Analysts estimate that
almost a million small farmers-primary breeders and stewards of
thousands of corn and other crop landraces--already have been driven
from their cornfields and communal lands (ejidos) since Mexico
essentially turned over control of its agricultural sector to Cargill,
ADM, and other North American food giants.

Even US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) scientists have
previously warned that genetically engineered crops should not be
grown where wild relatives exist (prohibiting for example GE cotton
from being grown in parts of southern Florida, where wild relatives of
cotton exist), much less in biological centers of diversity such as
the maize-growing areas of Mexico. Of course this concern over genetic
pollution didn't prevent the EPA in October 2001 from giving the green
light to allow Bt corn to continue to be grown for seven more years in
the US, ignoring environmental and public health concerns voiced by
scientists and consumer groups--knowing full well that millions of
tons of GE-tainted corn continue to be exported by US corporations to
centers of corn biodiversity such as Mexico, Central America, South
America, and the Caribbean.

Genetic engineering of agricultural crops and corn dumping not only
pose a serious threat to Mexico (and Central America's) corn
biodiversity, but also pose a threat to continental peace and
stability as well. Since NAFTA went into effect, local and regional
markets for indigenous and small farmers in the region have been
undermined and destroyed. Farmers are finding it increasingly
difficult to sell their corn, beans, coffee, or other crops. Rural
poverty and hunger have increased, forcing millions of campesinos to
migrate to the US. Mounting desperation has also spawned widespread,
at times violent, agrarian conflicts in Mexican states such as
Chiapas, Oaxaca, and Guerrero and threatens to reignite armed struggle
across Central America.

FRANKENCORN: ADDITIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL HAZARDS

The threat to thousands of traditional varieties of corn in Mexico is
just one of the environmental hazards of genetically engineered corn.
Other environmental dangers include:

. Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis)-spliced corn and crops pose a mortal
threat to organic and sustainable (low-chemical input) agriculture,
since they may soon destroy the effectiveness of organic farmers' most
important biopesticide. In its non-GE, natural Bt spray form, Bacillus
thuringiensis is the most important pest control agent in organic
agriculture, with yearly sales in the US alone of $60 million. This
non-GE spray form of Bt is applied externally and evaporates within
2-7 days. Scientists predict that the super-potent, long lasting toxin
found in Bt gene-spliced corn and other plants are likely to give rise
to Superpests such as corn ear-worms which will be immune to the
natural organic Bt sprays.
. Bt-spliced crops such as corn damage the soil food web, killing
beneficial soil microorganisms and reducing soil fertility. Bt corn
leaches its powerful genetically engineered poison into the soil (a
toxin which differs considerably from the naturally occurring Bt soil
bacteria) and remains toxic up to eight months, even after being
plowed under the soil.
. Bt-spliced crops kill off natural predators and disrupt the balance
among insects, leading to pest infestations.
. Bt-spliced crops kill beneficial insects such as lacewings and
ladybugs.
. Bt-spliced crops, due to increased insect mortality, reduce the food
supply for birds and other insect predators such as bats.
. Bt-corn pollen (ingested along with other Bt-contaminated corn
tissue) kills monarch butterflies and related species, such as the
endangered Karner Blue butterfly.
. Herbicide-resistant GE corn, sprayed with Monsanto's Roundup Ready
weed killer, kills all the foliage in and around cornfields, depriving
butterflies and related insects of important food sources such as
milkweed. Roundup or glyphosate residues also remain in the soil and
water, killing soil microorganisms and marine life.

FRANKENCORN: HUMAN HEALTH HAZARDS

Bt corn is designed to punch holes in the intestines of certain
insects and kill them. But what does it do to the gut, immune system,
and other vital organs of humans and animals? A good question,
especially since the biotech industry, EPA, and other government
officials have never bothered to look at this public health issue,
despite growing concerns expressed by a broad cross-section of
scientists and public interest consumer groups. Everyone by now has
heard about the StarLink corn fiasco 18 months ago, when an illegal
and likely allergenic variety of Bt corn contaminated 10% of the US
corn crop and forced a billion dollar recall of 300 brand name
products, including Kraft Taco Bell shells. But what about the other
varieties of Bt corn, the stuff you're likely eating every time you
bite into a corn product which is not labeled "organic?"

The Gene Giants claim that Bt corn is chemically "substantially
equivalent" to conventional corn, and that eating it, therefore, will
have exactly the same physiological impact as consuming regular corn.
Well-respected experts such as Dr. Michael Hansen from the Consumers
Union point out that this is not true. The Bt endotoxin and proteins
expressed in every cell of genetically engineered corn are different
from what humans and animals have ever eaten before. The haphazard
insertion of a "genetic cassette" (including promoters, vectors, and
antibiotic resistance marker genes) into the corn host genome is
essentially random since scientists don't know if or when the foreign
gene will be spliced into the plant's DNA, which of hundreds or even
thousands of proteins will be expressed or generated, or even how many
copies of the gene will be produced. Bt, the naturally occurring soil
bacteria, is not the same as Syngenta or Monsanto's patented and
gene-altered Bt forcefully injected into GE corn. Although there's a
lot we don't know yet about the potential hazards of eating GE corn,
in terms of toxins, allergies, and impacts on the human gut and
digestive system, there are enough danger signs already to give us
pause for thought. Mounting evidence includes the following:

. Hundreds of Americans over the past year have reported allergic
reactions to the FDA after eating corn products likely containing
StarLink corn or other Bt varieties.
. Scientists have pointed out that all Bt corn varieties produce
proteins closely related to the suspected allergen in StarLink corn.
. Cattle and other animals have been observed on a number of farms in
the Midwestern US refusing to eat genetically engineered corn, while
simultaneously munching conventional corn, along with the entire
cornstalk, right down to the ground.
. In a well-funded and carefully-designed experiment carried out by
Dr. Arpad Pusztai in the UK in 1995-99, rats fed lectin-spliced
potatoes (Bt is a member of the lectin family) suffered significant
damage to their gut, immune system, and other vital organs. Pusztai
later warned--after he was abruptly fired and his lab was shut
down--that all gene-spliced lectins, including Bt crops, should be
carefully investigated for possible adverse human health impacts.
. Gene-altered antibiotic resistant marker (ARM) genes, similar to
those contained in Bt corn, have been found in the guts of bees which
had consumed the pollen from GE plants. Sophisticated studies in the
Netherlands and Britain have indicated that ARM genes can likely
combine with bacteria already present in the human throat, mouth, and
gut. These "armed genes" can then give rise to new virulent,
antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria, exacerbating the already
serious problem of antibiotic resistant pathogens such as salmonella,
now routinely found in non-organic meat and other animal products. The
British Medical Association and the World Health Organization have
recommended that the use of antibiotic resistance genes in GE corn and
other food crops be eliminated.

FRANKENCORN AND MICE: ANOTHER CAUTIONARY TALE

Concerned that industry and government have failed to carry out proper
scientific studies on the safety of GE corn and other Frankenfoods, a
young Dutch science student, Hinze Hogendoorn, recently decided to
take matters into his own hands. Dr. Mae Wan-Ho, a British geneticist
and world renowned critic of biotechnology, reported the results of
this simple, yet remarkable animal-feeding experiment on her website
www.i-sis.org in December 2001. Here are excerpts from Dr. Ho's
report:

"A Dutch farmer left two piles of maize in a barn infested with mice,
one pile GM (genetically modified), the other non-GM. The GM pile was
untouched, while the non-GM pile was completely eaten up. Incredible!
Young undergraduate Hinze Hogendoorn, from University College, Utrecht
devised his own laboratory tests and confirmed the finding, and more.
An activist group (Jongeren Milieu Aktief) presented the report Hinze
has written to the Dutch parliament on December 11, 2001 and is
featuring it on their new website (www.talk2000.nl).

Hinze couldn't find a single scientific report on animals being tested
for preference of GM versus non GM food on the web when he began. On
extending his search to effects of GM foods on animals, he came across
reports from companies developing GM foods, all declaring there were
no adverse impacts. But he also came across independent researchers
who have reported harmful effects, including Dr. Arpad Pusztai, who
found GM potatoes damaged the kidney, thymus, spleen and gut of young
rats.

[Hinze] was stumped at first, because he would have needed to go
through a lot of bureaucracy to experiment on animals. However, he
managed to rescue 30 female six-week old mice bred to feed snakes from
a herpetology centre. [Hinze gave] them a staple food along with the
two foods [GM and non-GE corn and soya] that were to be compared, so
they could really show their preference without being starved.

Large cages were used so the mice had plenty of room to move around.
At the beginning, all the mice were weighed before they were put into
the cage[s].The mice had not eaten for some time, but amazingly, they
[immediately] showed very definite food preferences [preferring the
non GM corn and soya]. For the next [nine] week[s], Hinze continued to
give the mice GM and non GM maize or soya chunks. the mice consumed
61% non GM and 39% GM food when given free choice.

For the next experiment, Hinze tested for the [health] effects of GM
food. Over the next 10 days, he kept track of the amount of food that
the two groups consumed each day, and weighed the mice, halfway
through and at the end of the experiments.

The group fed GM ate more, probably because they were slightly heavier
on average to begin with, but they gained less weight. By the end,
they actually lost weight. In contrast, the group fed non GM ate less
and gained more weight, continuing to gain weight until the end of the
experiment. The results were statistically significant.

That was not the only difference observed. There were marked
behavioral differences. The mice fed GM food "seemed less active while
in their cages."

The most striking difference was when the mice were weighed at the end
of the experiment. The mice fed GM food were "more distressed" than
the other mice. "Many were running round and round the basket,
scrabbling desperately in the sawdust, and even frantically jumping up
the sides, something I'd never seen before." They were clearly more
nervous than the mice from the other cage. "For me this was the most
disconcerting evidence that GM food is not quite normal."

Another "interesting result" is that one of the mice in the GM cage
was found dead at the end of the experiment. Hinze concluded, "At the
end of everything, I must admit that the experiment has done nothing
to soothe my qualms concerning genetically enhanced food."

FRANKENCORN OR PESTICIDES: CHOOSE YOUR POISON

The hazards of genetically engineered corn, and other GE foods, are
frightening. But even if global resistance were able to drive GE corn
off the market tomorrow, we would still be left with a highly toxic,
chemical-intensive, industrial-style system of corn production which
is depleting soil fertility, poisoning municipal water supplies, and
quickly turning indigenous people and family farmers into an
endangered species. Even without Frankencrops, we would still be
facing an out-of-control globalization process, which is driving
millions of farmers off the land and forcing desperate peasants to
chop down remaining forests--in the process driving hundreds of
thousands of landraces and traditional varieties of plants,
microorganisms, (and animals) into extinction.

Syngenta's conventional (non-GE) corn and pesticides are just as scary
as their Frankencorn. Syngenta profits by selling corn farmers either
gene-altered Bt corn or its conventional (fertilizer and
pesticide-intensive) hybrids, along with its super toxic weed killer,
Atrazine, a known carcinogen. Unfortunately Atrazine not only kills
weeds, but also ends up as a dangerous residue in the meat and dairy
products of animals that have eaten Atrazine-sprayed corn. Atrazine,
along with its companion pesticides, have also polluted wells and
drinking water in 97% of the communities in the US Corn Belt. What's
more dangerous, eating Bt corn, consuming pesticide residues in your
Big Mac or non-organic dairy products, or drinking the tap water that
comes out of your faucet?

Similarly, Monsanto is in the business of selling toxic pesticides and
herbicides, whether it is to farmers growing GE crops, farmers growing
non-GE hybrid crops, Roundup-spraying drug warriors in Colombia or
California, or suburbanites trying to get that perfectly green lawn.
After 100 years of poisoning the public with substances like PCBs and
Agent Orange, Monsanto tells us that their latest toxic chemicals such
as Roundup, or their latest seed varieties, such as Roundup Ready corn
are perfectly safe. Should we believe them? Or what about Cargill?
They're happy to sell their chemical nitrate fertilizers (which also
end up in most Americans' drinking water) to farmers, whether they are
planting GE Frankencrops or just conventional industrial hybrids. Or
ADM, who are happy to sell you either GE corn or non-GE corn, as long
as they can drive the prices down which they pay to farmers, and drive
the prices up to their "enemy," the consumer.

The solution of course to all this is to buy and eat organic food, and
to buy from local and regional farmers and companies, rather than the
transnational corporations whenever possible. Mexicans can protect
their health and preserve their biodiversity by boycotting gringo
GE-tainted corn and buying organic corn produced by Mexican farmers
cultivating traditional varieties. US consumers similarly can protect
their health, their drinking water, and their children by buying
organic and local. Fortunately this is what more and more people are
doing everyday, not only in the USA but across the world. Farmers in
130 nations are now producing certified organic food for a booming
market of organic consumers, making organic the fasting growing
component of world agriculture. Thirty million Americans are now
buying organic food and the numbers are rising every month. Since
September 11, sales of organic and natural food have increased 8%.

RAISE HELL NOT FRANKENCORN

Beyond voting with our consumer dollars and our knives and forks for a
sustainable and organic future, organic consumers also need to
organize ourselves into a potent political force. As the labor
populist Mother Jones told rural Americans 100 years ago: "It's time
to raise less corn and raise more hell." Instead of letting the
politicians raise our taxes in order to subsidize the profits of the
Gene Giants and corporate agribusiness, we should be raising hell in
Washington and in our state capitals to raise corporate taxes to
subsidize healthy food and a healthy environment. Instead of
subsidizing GE corn, pesticide-intensive corn, and industrial-sized
farms, our billions of dollars in farm subsidies should be promoting
organic agriculture, saving family farms, and promoting Fair Trade,
not Free Trade, among nations.

The OCA, is organizing, along with our allies in the Genetically
Engineered Food Alert <www.gefoodalert.org> a national day of protest
against genetically engineered corn on February 6. We will be
targeting the largest food corporation in the US, Kraft/Phillip
Morris, as well as other companies and supermarket chains to remove GE
corn from US consumer products. On this day we will also be telling
the government to take Bt corn off the market, unless it can be proven
safe for human consumption and the environment (which of course it
cannot). At the same time we are calling on grain exporters and the US
government to protect corn biodiversity and to honor the global treaty
on Biodiversity (the Biosasfety Protocol signed in Cartagena,
Colombia, Feb. 2000) by ending the dumping of taxpayer subsidized GE
corn in Mexico and other nations.

We need your help to pressure Kraft and to leaflet major supermarket
chains on Feb. 6. We need to tell America's food giants to stop
selling Bt corn and other unlabeled and untested Frankenfoods. If you
are willing to help leaflet in your community, please send an email to
simon@organicconsumers.org
To send a email to Kraft click here
http://www.gefoodalert.org/takeaction/

Stay tuned to BioDemocracy News and our website
www.organicconsumers.org for the latest news and developments. We have
thousands of articles posted on our website (and a convenient Search
Engine to find them) which deal with GE food, Mad Cow, food
irradiation, industrial agriculture, food safety, organic food, and
globalization. On our website you'll also find the latest information
and Action Alerts on current OCA campaigns, such as the Starbucks
campaign. Check us out.

*** End of BioDemocracy News #37***

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