July 3, 1999

Subject: FWD Biotech industry starting to panic + Monsanto to sell Nutrasweet + Terminator Technology On Agenda In Montreal UN Meeting last week + The burning tongue from Coke products + Earth Day 2000 a millennial celebration + An AMAZING 1021 FEET LONG CROP CIRCLE


Monsanto, the giant is crumbling under the weight of its own greed.

Either they go out of business - that is, they go bankrupt - or they stop messing the environment of the planet with their GM Frankencrops and messing up people's health people with their sweet poison Aspartame...

Check also the good news about Earth Day 2000 and the stupefying Crop Circle that appeared in Britain...

Best regards,

Jean Hudon
Earth Rainbow Network Coordinator

Biotech industry starting to panic

Fearful of a public backlash that might drive the biotech industry into oblivion, Monsanto is reaching out to its critics.

Last week, Jeremy Rifkin, the biotech critic, flew to Monsanto's world headquarters in St. Louis to address something called the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.

According to a report in the New York Times, the multinational giants wanted Rifkin to help them "paint a portrait of the biotechnology landscape of the year 2030 and how it evolved."

Also last week, Gordon Conway, president of the Rockefeller Foundation, met with Monsanto's directors in Washington, D.C. to persuade them to drop the terminator gene. It used to be that farmers would plant seed, the crop would come up and be harvested, except for a handful of plants, which the farmer would let go to seed, and save that seed for next year's planting. With the terminator gene, the crop comes up, but there are no seeds. So the farmer has to go to Monsanto to buy more seed.

Conway told Dow Jones Newswires he is worried that the backlash over the terminator gene, which is years from reaching the commercial stage, is damaging public support for crop biotechnology in general, which might slow research that could benefit poor farmers overseas. "We have a lot of people to feed and biotechnology is one of the answers," said Conway.

Whatever you feel about citizens of conscience meeting with corporations to seek to persuade them to do the right thing, (and we are not of one mind on this), it is clear that the biotech industry is in a panic over its beloved high-tech future.

The masses in Europe are in full revolt over the issue (with the Prince of Wales leading the charge against the corporatist Labor Party in the UK). And a lawsuit that the mainstream press has largely ignored -- a lawsuit that threatens the well-being of Monsanto, Norvartis and other biotech firms -- is making its way through the courts.

In May 1998, a number of public interest groups sued the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), alleging that the agency violated federal law by allowing biotech foods onto the market without first adequately testing the foods for safety and then without adequately labelling those foods so that consumers know whether, for example, they are eating fish genes spliced into their tomato sauce.

The federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act incorporates the precautionary principle -- a new food additive is presumed unsafe until established safe through standard scientific procedures. But the FDA ruled in 1992 that genetically engineered foods are not new food additives.

In the FDA's critical 1992 statement of policy on biotech foods -- the policy that opened the floodgates that allowed biotech foods to pour into the marketplace -- the FDA claims that it was "not aware of any information showing that foods derived by these new [biotech] methods differ from other foods in any meaningful or uniform way."

In fact, internal reports and memos obtained during the course of discovery for the lawsuit reveal the FDA's own scientists warned that foods produced through recombinant DNA technology entail different risks than do their conventionally produced counterparts.

But these scientists were consistently disregarded by the bureaucrats who approved the agency's current policy of treating bioengineered foods the same as natural foods that have been changed by conventional breeding practices.

"There is a profound difference between the types of unexpected effects from traditional breeding and genetic engineering which is just glanced over in this document," warned Dr. Louis Priybl of the FDA's Microbiology Group in criticizing a 1992 FDA draft policy paper on the issue.

Dr. Linda Kayl, an FDA compliance officer, complained that the FDA was "trying to fit a square peg into a round hole" by concluding that "there is no difference between foods modified by genetic engineering and foods modified by traditional breeding practices."

"The processes of genetic engineering and traditional breeding are different, and according to the technical experts in the agency, they lead to different risks," Kayl said. Kayl and other FDA scientists recommended that genetically engineered foods undergo special testing. To no avail. So, Americans are now eating genetically engineered foods. And for the most part, they don't know it.

The main genetically engineered crops in the United States are soy, corn, canola, cotton, potatoes, papayas, and raddichio. (You might say -- hey, I don't eat cotton. But cottonseed oil is in many vegetable oil blends, which are in many processed foods.)

It has been estimated that corn and soy alone are in 70 to 80 percent of U.S. processed foods. And since 40 percent of this season's soybean crop and 30 percent of the corn crop have been genetically engineered, you are probably eating genetically engineered foods, whether you like it, or know it, or not.

Steven Druker, the executive director of the Iowa City-based Alliance for Bio-Integrity, is the driving force behind the lawsuit against the FDA. The lawsuit has received little media publicity since being filed last year, but Druker predicts that when the American people learn the details of the FDA's deception, we'll see an earthquake of public reaction against biotech foods.

"The FDA has been intentionally unleashing a host of potentially harmful foods onto American dinner tables in blatant violation of U.S. law," Druker told us. "And they have been covering up the fact that they have been acting so wrongly. I don't like that. And most people who learn the facts do not like it."

Bon appétit.

Russell Mokhiber is editor of the Washington, D.C.-based Corporate Crime

Reporter. Robert Weissman is editor of the Washington, D.C.-based Multinational Monitor. They are co-authors of Corporate Predators: The Hunt for MegaProfits and the Attack on Democracy, Common Courage Press, 1999, http://www.corporatepredators.org.

(c) Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman Focus on the Corporation is a weekly column written by Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman. Please feel free to forward the column to friends or repost the column on other lists. If you would like to post the column on a web site or publish it in print format, we ask that you first contact us (russell@essential.org or rob@essential.org).

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Date: Sun, 27 Jun 1999
From: Mark Graffis <ab758@virgin.vip.vi>
Subject: Terminator Technology On Agenda In Montreal

Rural Advancement Foundation International (RAFI) News Release - 18 June 1999 http://www.rafi.org

** SBSTTA DELEGATES: You are invited to attend a briefing on GURT/Terminator technology immediately following the morning session on MONDAY 21 JUNE at 1:00PM at the SBSTTA venue. Room to be announced. Light snacks will be served.

Montreal Meeting of the Biodiversity
Convention Must Move to Stop the GURT Hurt

*** SYNOPSIS : The UN Convention on Biological Diversity's Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical, and Technological Advice (SBSTTA) meets in Montreal next week (21-25 June) and will discuss terminator and traitor technology. Dubbed "GURTs" (Genetic Use Restriction Technologies) by the UN, terminator technology has been studied by an independent panel of SBSTTA scientists who have tabled their report to governments.

Industry's credibility problem on terminator technology is worsening as public statements of questionable judgement and accuracy continue. These include statements in communications to SBSTTA delegates. Governments have good reason to be concerned that they may not be hearing the whole truth from industry giants like AstraZeneca and Monsanto.

If GURTs are allowed, they may effectively strip governments of their intellectual property policymaking power. As "hardware protection", GURT technology could be used to control traits and varieties indefinitely, thereby creating de facto perpetual patents. "Stacked" GURTs involving many proprietary genes may also move toward "bloatware" seeds prone to side-effects and unpredictable internal and environmental interactions. Additionally, SBSTTA needs to consider the possibility of GURT weapons.

The combination of global anger over greed-driven, anti-farmer terminator tech and concerns about perpetual patents and stacking should move governments at SBSTTA to recommend a UN inquiry into the factors that are causing private sector research to become so focused - arguably obsessed - with the creation of malignant seed technologies.

*** INDUSTRY CREDIBILITY PLUMMETS : When government delegates to the Biodiversity Convention's SBSTTA register and pick up their meeting documents on Monday morning, they will find among the papers an open letter from AstraZeneca's Research Director, Dr. D.A. Evans. (AstraZeneca, a UK/Swedish multinational, is the owner of Verminator technology, a GURT designed to addict plants to proprietary chemicals.) Seeking to allay concerns, Evans begins his letter - dated February 24 - by saying:

"Firstly let me state categorically that Zeneca is not developing any system that would stop farmers from growing second generation seed, nor do we have any intention of doing so."

But less than one week before the Evans letter, on February 18, the company's US joint venture - ExSeed Genetics - received a world patent (WO 99/07211) on a new technology whose purpose precisely contradicts AstraZeneca's statement. From the patent:

"There remains a need for an inducible lethal trait in seed of a number of plant species.... the present invention is a method of preventing volunteer plants from developing from fallen seed which includes planting and growing the germinateable mature seeds of the present invention and applying an activator to the plants produced therefrom, to produce daughter seeds or embryos which will not germinate."

Fallen or saved, it does not matter. In either case the invention prevents farmers from growing second generation seed, unless the farmer buys a proprietary chemical. ExSeed's Research Director and the inventor, Dr. Peter Keeling, was previously a senior scientist employed directly by AstraZeneca. In the past, ExSeed and Zeneca have cooperated to jointly own rights to several patents. According to RAFI's Executive Director Pat Mooney, "It is indisputable that AstraZeneca's letter does not tell governments the whole truth. Observers may wish to draw their own conclusions as to why."

But the confusing statements from industry don't end with AstraZeneca's embarrassing predicament. A Monsanto statement also included in the government delegate's documents asserts that the US umbrella group InterAction (an NGO) "has agreed to work with its members and other groups to help... a thorough, independent and comprehensive consideration be given to the concerns raised about the impact of new gene protection technologies."

InterAction, however, denies that they have been contacted by Monsanto. Says RAFI's Pat Mooney "What's going on here? Monsanto seems to be calling for a de facto moratorium and for a global dialogue. This is commendable, however the company says it is working with InterAction to develop the process. First, the rest of the world has never heard of InterAction. Second the issue is wider than Monsanto, it involves at least 13 patent-holders in a half-dozen countries. Third, InterAction denies that they have been contacted by Monsanto and agrees that they don't have the competence to address the issue."

Industry is expected to be present in force at SBSTTA and to vigorously promote terminator technology. Delegates will have difficult work deciding if company statements are to be considered reliable.

*** THE FIRST LETTER DOESN'T MATTER: The SBSTTA science report draws a sharp distinction between so-called "V-GURTs" (V for "variety") and "T-GURTs" (T for "trait"). The difference is the level at which the terminator function operates. In V-GURTs, such as DeltaPine's original Terminator patent, a lethal function in the plant stops reproduction of viable seed entirely, the second generation is sterile. In T-GURTs, an inhibiting function operates at the gene level, such that the plant may be able to produce viable seed; but certain proprietary traits (for example, drought or disease resistance) will not be expressed in subsequent generations unless external chemicals are applied. The SBSTTA report is harsh in its criticism of V-GURTs; but treads much more softly on T-GURTs, which it naively claims may help farmers.

"While the T-GURT/V-GURT distinction may be helpful in understanding terminator science," says RAFI's Edward Hammond, "the report authors erred in suggesting the distinction might be meaningful in a policy context. In fact, it would result in impractical and ineffective rules." Numerous T-GURTs exist - indeed almost all known iterations - which share the negative characteristics of V-GURTs. For example, AstraZeneca's Verminator is a T-GURT, since it addicts plants to chemicals rather than killing seed. Similarly, Novartis has patented a technique to use T-GURT technology to disable a plant's natural disease resistance, making it more likely to require chemicals.

"Clearly," says Hammond, "these T-GURTs and an unlimited number of future variants share most if not all of the V-GURT disadvantages. SBSTTA cannot be so simplistic in its approach. Recommending a ban on V-GURTs while forgetting T-GURTs will give a green light for the sale of chemically-addicted, genetically-mutilated seed. Companies will ensure profits by building V-GURT disadvantages into T-GURT platforms. They're already doing it, and in the future the trend will accelerate as techniques become more refined and companies realize the seed production profit advantages of T-GURTs."

"Instead of following the faulty distinction," says RAFI's Research Director Hope Shand, "SBSTTA should recommend a ban on all forms of terminator/GURT seeds. If, in the future, new GURTs are proposed which are purportedly beneficial for farmers and biodiversity, very specific exemptions from the ban might be made. These should be considered on a case by case, gene by gene basis and, if approved, then placed in the public domain. By banning the technology outright, governments can study the social and economic impacts in their own national context before putting their farmers and biodiversity at risk. Regulators will be able to establish that a scientific, social, and ecological consensus exists that a specific GURT in a specific variety is indeed just, safe, and beneficial."

"But," Shand adds, "the GURTs that the life industry is currently patenting fall light years short of meeting even those simple tests. Terminator apologists like the US Department of Agriculture argue that the technology should not be banned because sometime in the future there might be a few very limited beneficial uses. USDA's reasoning is desperate. SBSTTA should ban GURTs, and then maybe, just maybe, in the future governments will decide to approve an exception or two. If it's the other way around, whatever motivates industry pocketbooks will be unleashed and governments will have little chance to stop it."

*** PERPETUAL MONOPOLY : As the number of patented GURTs has dramatically expanded, so too have concerns that the technology is a threat to government prerogative on intellectual property policy. The subtly and variable combinations of GURTs may be used to give create indefinite physical monopoly over traits, without the legal monopoly of a patent. This problem has been clear to many developing country governments for some time, following DeltaPine's haughty 1998 boast of its goal to sell millions of hectares of terminator cotton, rice, and wheat seed in developing country markets.

Now it is becoming clear to Northern governments that terminator's beyond-intellectual-property threat extends to them as well. According to the SBSTTA report authors:

"...patents can only be obtained when an invention can be claimed. Instead, the V-GURT technology, at least in principle, may be applied to any seed, novel or not.... patents have a finite time duration... while the V-GURT technology may be used indefinitely.... the V-GURT technology would confer an absolute anti-copy protection in the sense that the seed could not be reused by any farmer, either large or small scale. Protection would not be dependent on legal procedures..."

RAFI maintains, as explained above ("The first letter doesn't matter"), that this observation by the SBSTTA scientists with respect to V-GURTs will apply to all industry GURTs. Industry T-GURT varieties will be the practical equivalent of V-GURTs because of their built-in dependencies on chemicals in order to express traits critical for successful farming.

*** GENETIC BLOATWARE AND SIDE-EFFECTS: US Government scientists and private sector researchers envision the loading of multiple GURTs into plant varieties to create complexes of proprietary genes each turned on (or off) by its own chemical trigger. But much like unreliable computer programs with complicated features that make basic tasks difficult, cause problems with other software, and create technical dependencies, the stacking of GURTs in plant varieties poses potential problems.

Called "bloatware" in computer science, the possibility of unduely complex, difficult to predict bloatware seeds may be in farming's future. RAFI's Mooney asks "Will farmers have to shop for seeds like pharmaceuticals... consulting the label for interactions and side effects?" Hammond adds, "If this happens, much of it sadly would be unnecessary since so many of the traits companies want to link to GURTs are either negative or are genes that would be linked to chemicals for economic instead of agronomic reasons." Adds Mooney, "Companies won't be able to resist the temptation to profit by 'GURTing' everything, when in fact the vast majority of 'value-added' traits might not need a chemical trigger and could be more useful and require fewer inputs if regulated by natural cycles."

*** GURT WEAPONS: While there is no overt offensive genetic warfare research being conducted anywhere in the world, the potential for GURT weapons is undeniable. According to the SBSTTA science report, in 3 to 7 years new GURTs are expected that will be "more robust and penetrant, but at the same time much harder to detect and police, due to the subtle and potentially non-transgenic nature of the changes made... "

A GURT encoding, for example, a suicide sequence such as the University of Texas' patented GRIM gene might be introduced through tainted seed, inputs laced with a recombinant vector (such as a genetically engineered virus), or an air or waterborne microorganism. Such a GURT could easily proliferate undetected and not cause any harm until triggered.

A GURT weapon trigger would be a very specific chemical or environmental condition, probably in and of itself relatively benign; but lethal in the presence of the GURT. It could, for example, be a chemical sprayed from the air, or a compound found in agricultural inputs. The GURT might also be constructed to be triggered by the environment, for example by linking GRIM genes to a promoter sensitive to heat. In the GRIM example, once the GURT has proliferated, the appropriate chemical or environmental condition would trigger the cell death wherever the GURT was present.

Like GURTs in general, GURT weapons might be applied to virtually any plant species, including major crops. GURT bombs could be used on domesticated and other animals. In fact, the University of Texas has already experimented with its lethal GRIM system in mammalian cell cultures... of course for non-military purposes. Additionally, such GURT weapons would not have to be used to be effective: their mere existence for particular crops or environments would be enough to exert a compelling influence over potential victims, who might starve or face economic collapse if the weapons were used. GURT weapons would also likely be very inexpensive compared to other arms and be amenable to plausible deniability because of their extreme stealthiness.

At this point GURT weapons hopefully remain theoretical; but they are easily envisioned. The shadow of GURT warfare provides additional compelling reasons for SBSTTA to call for a ban of the technology and for governments to consider classifying some GURTs as potential weapons.

** IN MONTREAL: Because of the objections of a very small number of countries, the Bratislava COP compromised and backed away from declaring GURTs for what they are: a dangerous and immoral technology that poses threats to farmers, biodiversity, and food security. This SBSTTA should make - especially considering the additional information now available - a clear statement that GURTs are a malignant technology. SBSTTA should make a clear recommendation to COP V that it pass a resolution deciding that parties shall ban GURTs in their country and advising them to reject GURT patents on the basis of public order and morality.

Finally, in light of the Terminator, Verminator, and numerous other efforts underway by the private sector to deliberately incorporate negative traits into seeds, SBSTTA should recommend that, in conjunction with other UN bodies, the CBD should participate in an international inquiry into the underlying factors which are causing private sector seed research to produce anti-farmer and anti-diversity technologies.

----- END

** End of text from cdp:headlines **

This material came from the Institute for Global Communications (IGC), a non-profit, unionized, politically progressive Internet services provider. For more information, send a message to igc-info@igc.org (you will get back an automatic reply), or visit their web site at http://www.igc.org/ . IGC is a project of the Tides Center, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization.

Date: Thu, 01 Jul 1999
From: Betty Martini <Mission-Possible-USA@altavista.net>
Subject: Fwd: [aspartame] Monsanto to sell Nutrasweet (Who would buy the Monsanto Titanic: They have to know lawsuits are coming as Aspartame Disease is declared a world epidemic by H. J. Roberts, M.D., and a medical text is about to be published on the world plague?) August 28 is Aspartame Awareness Day all over the world, to notify all consumers aspartame is a deadly neurotoxin!

Monsanto is really missing the boat. All they have to do is change the package to read rat poison and they could make all kinds of money. They think they are going to get Neotame approved, new patent, and do it again. I have already told the FDA if they approve it with all they knowledge they have it will probably start a war, as the world now knows.

Betty Martini, Founder Mission Possible International 770 242-2599

>FOCUS-Monsanto intends to sell NutraSweet business > >ST. LOUIS, July 1 (Reuters) - Life sciences company >Monsanto Co. (NYSE:MTC - news) said Thursday it >planned to sell its artificial sweetener business, >which includes such well-known brands as NutraSweet, >as part of a restructuring aimed at reducing debt. > >The maker of the Celebrex arthritis drug and Roundup >herbicide said its biogums unit, which makes food >ingredients and industrial products, was also for >sale. The company plans to keep its nutrition research >business, which is part of its nutrition and consumer >products division. > >The artificial sweetener and biogums businesses employ >2,100 people worldwide and have plants in the United >States, France and England. The company said it would >begin looking for a buyer immediately. Proceeds from >the sale will be used to pay down debt, Monsanto said. > >St. Louis-based Monsanto said the divestitures were >part of a restructuring plan announced in November >1998 that called for selling non-core businesses. >Monsanto said in May it would sell $1.5 billion to >$2.0 billion worth of its assets to help raise >much-needed cash. > >Analysts had widely expected Monsanto to put all or >part of its nutrition business up for sale after it >spent $6 billion to acquire several seed companies >last year. The strategy cemented Monsanto's position >as the leading seed company, but left the company in >debt. > >A deal to be acquired by American Home Products, which >analysts had said would alleviate the debt problems, >fell through in October. > >``I had expected them to have these on the block for >some time, so it came as no surprise,'' said William >Fiala, an analyst with Edward Jones. ``It just took a >lot longer for them to come out and say they were for >sale.'' > >Earlier this year, Monsanto said it would sell its >algins food ingredient business. That unit, along with >the artificial sweetener and biogums businesses, had >combined sales of $1 billion in 1998. > >Monsanto did not name any potential buyers, but >analysts said NutraSweet, which is the leading >artificial sweetener, and the ingredients business >would attract interest. > >``I think the company that is probably going to look >the hardest at these business is ADM (NYSE:ADM - >news),'' said John McMillin, food industry analyst >with Prudential Securities. ``They are an ingredient >company.'' > >A spokeswoman for Decatur, Ill.-based Archer Daniels >Midland Co. was not immediately available to comment. > >Shares of Monsanto were up $2.69 at $41.13 in >afternoon New York Stock Exchange trading. > >------------------------------------------------------------------------ Check out our Aspartame Group's Website!! http://presidiotex.com/aspartame Take aspartame products back and demand a refund! http://www.dorway.com Take our latest survey! http://www.onelist.com/surveycenter/aspartame

Date: Mon, 28 Jun 1999
From: Betty Martini <Mission-Possible-USA@altavista.net>
Subject: The burning tongue from Coke products

Below is a completely technical explanation of the burning tongue for those who need it dealing with Coke or the press or people in Belgium, etc. This information was given to me by a physician who says he has Lou Gehrigs Disease from aspartame. He once filed suit against the FDA over approval of the chemical poison. He is an M.D. and chemist.

Regards, Betty Martini, Founder Mission Possible International 770 242-2599

European Coke victims complain of burning tongue.

The intact NutraSweet/aspartame molecule to which the tongue and its very sensitive neural structures are uniquely exposed is by far the most potent toxin in the whole picture. The protective mechanism in the tongue elicits burning from the sweet taste buds on the front of the tongue in response to continued or overwhelming exposure, as the cause may be, by noxious toxins. The phenomenoon of the bleed over or shorting out through the damaged myelin sheath with neuropathies in general and methanol alcohol poisoning in specific, is well known to medical science to cause normal sensations to be turned into pain sensations. The very structure of the tongue puts tremendous pressure and shearing forces on the nerves that are involved in it, thereby producing neuropathic pain from sick nerves. The production of burning sensation in response to autoimmune inflammation and allergy is a common experience and is well known to anyone with n allergic sore throat. The nerves subserving the tongue are cranial nerves not spinal nerves. Therefore, they are not protected the same way spinal nerves are. They exit the skull through small holes called foramina. Bells Palsy and trigeminal neuralia are examples well known to medical science wherein cranial nerves when swollen cause these types of problems when for any reason they are impinged in the foramina.

Many on support groups on line for victims of Aspartame Disease experience the "burning tongue" even several months off the toxin aspartame. Dr. Bowen explains the burning sensations are common to neuropathies during the recovery period.

Earth Day 2000 a millennial celebration

Monday, June 28, 1999

What event inspired millions of people to celebrate, convinced hundreds in the U.S Congress to vote in favor of nature and helped numerous environmental programs to succeed?

Earth Day '99, of course, and events already scheduled for Earth Day 2000 are sure to blow the roof off the last Earth Day of the millennium.

Here's a sample of who was active in Earth Day '99 events across the country: * Ten thousand people attended various Earth Day activities in Rhode Island; Austin, Texas and Cleveland, Ohio. * Thirty-five thousand Contra Costa County, Calif., citizens celebrated Earth Day '99 with music, environmental films, restoration and clean-up projects and Eco-friendly food. * The California Bay area hosted events that saw 35,000 activists and * Earth Day San Diego inspired 60,000 people to celebrate nature.




East Field (1), near Alton Barnes, Wiltshire, UK. Reported 12th June