Konformist: RENEGADE News 10-02-99 Part I
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An 8-hr. video for $5!Chomsky(9/20/99)/Goodman/Grossman/Bensky/Bernstein
Monday, September 27, 1999 3:58 PM
Dear Supporters and Other Friends of JusticeVision:
We are happy to announce the contents of the next tape in the Democracy
University Video Series, Volume 17:
Noam Chomsky on the Lessons of Yugoslavia and East Timor (Kansas State
University, 9/20/99, 1 hour 46 minutes);
The L.A. Teach-In on the Crisis at ("Free Speech Radio") Pacifica, with
Bensky, Dennis Bernstein, Roy Tuckman, and (by telephone) Helen Caldicott
(Los Angeles, 3 hours 32 minutes);
Amy Goodman, on the massacre she witnessed in East Timor in 1996 (1 hour 15
Richard Grossman: "The Corporate Insurgency Against Democracy" (59 minutes);
The termination without notification or hearing of Ruben Tapia's "Enfoque
Latino" by Pacifica's Los Angeles station, KPFK, following an alleged
violation of it's "gag rule", plus a visit to the tent city that arose in
protest of the lock-out at KPFA in Berkeley (35 minutes).
If you are already down as a subscriber your tape will be mailed to you as
soon as we are able to get them made and packaged, probably about a week. If
you haven't sent in your donation for earlier tapes in the series please do
so, since we are almost out of funds to buy blank tapes. We are sending an
8-hour tape this time, even though it is more work and the blank tapes cost
more, because we have a lot of timely and informative material that we do
not want to have to hold back. Please help us by sending in your checks for
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series (at $5 each by subscription):
Volume 15: Michael Parenti at CSUF, Howard Zinn at Sonoma State Univ.,
Noam Chomsky interviewed at MIT, Belgian journalist Michel Collon on the 4
goals of NATO in Europe, Sara Flounders, and Lenore Foerstel. All of these
talks related to the US/NATO bombing of Yugoslavia. Total time: 6 hours 6
Volume 16: The First Hearing of the Independent Commission of Inquiry to
Investigate U.S./NATO War Crimes Against the People of Yugoslavia held in
New York City on July 31, 1999. The tape includes the two major plenaries and
most of 2 workshops, and is 6 hours 7 minutes long. Among the 25 speakers
were Michael Parenti and Ramsey Clark, who gave the keynote address.
Like Volume 17, these are both excellent and thoroughly engrossing tapes,
with much that relates to what we can expect in the future. As a subscriber,
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We are happy to announce that thanks to the efforts of many of you we now
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through and send in their pledges, although many have not so far. Assuming
they do, our next goal is to reach 1000 subscribers by the end of the year
(by December if possible). We'll need your help to do that. I'll keep you
posted as to how the subscription count is progressing. As a thank you to
those that spread the word I'll send a copy of Democracy University Volume 1
to each of those that refer a new subscriber between now and the next
I really enjoyed my 3200 mile drive to Kansas and back (from L.A.) to tape
Noam, but felt bad that I didn't have time to visit subscribers along the
way. It was a treat to bump into two of you at the event: Preston Enright
(of Boulder) and Chris Renner (of Manhattan, KS).
Best wishes and thank you for your consideration and/or support,
and producer of the Democracy University Video Series
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INDEPENDENT (London) September 26
By Geoffrey Lean
MONSANTO, the genetically modified food giant, drew up plans to make
billions of dollars out of the world's water crisis, confidential company
documents reveal. The documents, seen by the Independent on Sunday, identify
a "vast economic opportunity" for the company in impending global shortages
of resources such as water.
They outline a strategy to use "environmental issues" to "deliver strong
financial returns" and create "a compelling possible future for Monsanto -
financially, strategically and aspirationally."
The revelation of the strategy - drawn up in connection with recently
dropped plans to establish water businesses in India and Mexico - follows
the publication 10 days ago of a report on the growing global
environmental crisis by the United Nations Environment Programme.
The GEO 2000 report identifies impending water shortage as the world's
greatest environmental problem after global warming. It says that over
one-third of the world's people already live in countries suffering "water
stress" and that, on present trends, two-thirds will do so by the year 2025.
It adds: "The declining state of the world's freshwater resources may prove
to be the dominant issue on the environment and development agenda of the
The confidential Monsanto document - a "sustainable development sector
strategy" and a "water business plan" use the same statistics and take up
the same theme. The business plan adds that two billion people worldwide
"still lack reasonable access to safe water" and says that this is likely to
rise to 2.5 billion over the next decade.
The document, like much of Monsanto's material on genetically modified
foods, is written in idealistic language. The strategy paper says that one
of its aims, as well as strengthening Monsanto, is "to help solve some of
the world's major environmental issues and to improve quality of life in the
process". It concludes: "We at Monsanto have been given the rare opportunity
to enjoy the wealth of spirit that comes from doing the right thing while we
are doing business."
But the documents display a sharp sense of the gains for Monsanto, both now
and in the future: "Initial entry into the water business will create
US$400m in annual revenues. furthermore, extension of the water platform
beyond the safe and healthy water business has the potential to create
several billion dollars in annual revenue."
It adds that there would be "other strategic benefits", including
"reshaping Monsanto's image as a more sustainable and environmentally
It goes on: "Population growth and economic development will apply
increasing pressure on natural resource markets. Those pressures, and the
world's desire to prevent the consequences of those pressures if unabated,
will create vast economic opportunity."
Yesterday Dr Vandana Shiva, director of the Research Foundation for
Science, Technology and Ecology in New Delhi, India, said: "Monsanto is
seeking a new business opportunity because of the emerging water crisis.
Since water is as central to food production as seed, and without water life
is not possible, Monsanto is now trying to establish its control over it.
[as] a source of guaranteed profits. Privatisation and commodification of
water are a threat to the right to life."
A Monsanto spokesman confirmed that the company had made plans to exploit
the world water situation but had decided several months ago not to proceed.
"We do not like to talk too much about plans that were never completed," he
said. But he did not rule out that the company might return to them in the
Foes Stalking Genetic Engineering of Crops
Author: Edie Lau and Paul Schnitt
Source: Sacramento Bee (Jeffrey Francis Tufenkian)
The vandals who knocked down corn and lopped the tops off sugar beets in
research fields in Davis might have trashed the wrong plants. Their
message, though, was unmistakable: Genetically modified crops will not
fill America's grocery shelves without a fight.
A passionate and sometimes sharply ideological debate over food with
altered DNA has been developing for years, but mostly confined to
Europe. Product advocates figured Americans would be an easy sell.
After all, changing the genetic makeup of crops potentially could reduce
the use of chemical pesticides, increase yields and make foods more
Now the debate, which traces its roots to the Flavr Savr tomato invented
in Davis, is catching the attention of the American marketplace. At
stake are hundreds of millions of dollars in corporate and government
research and investment, scientists' careers and the very gene pool of
future agricultural ecosystems. Challenges to so-called transgenic crops
are coming from multiple fronts:
* Recent evidence suggests that genes engineered into crops may have
unwelcome side effects, including killing good insects as well as pests
and transferring herbicide resistance to weeds.* The European Union
requires labels on food derived from transgenic crops. Under pressure
from European retailers and consumers, Campbell Soup Co. decided late
this summer to forgo selling transgenic food products there at all.
Gerber Products Co. intends to eliminate transgenic ingredients in its
baby foods worldwide -- even though Gerber's parent, Novartis Corp., is
abioengineering giant. Consumer resistance to genetically modified food
rising in Japan and India, as well.
* Vandalism of presumed transgenic crops, first seen in Europe, reached
the United States this summer. Activist groups Reclaim the Seed and
Cropatistas claim they've damaged fields in Maine, Vermont and
California. The incidents include crop destruction at the University of
California, Berkeley, and on two private farms near Lodi.
At UC Davis, vandals struck twice recently. The researchers involved
said they lost about 1 1/2 acres of conventional corn and about a
half-acre of sugar beets, a fraction of which were transgenic. "Many of
us are somewhat surprised at how the situation has turned in the past
year," said Kent Bradford, a UC Davis plant physiologist and director of
the Seed Biotechnology Center, a new program to streamline the making of
What surprises Bradford is the timing of the protests, starting just
when it seemed transgenic crops would become an agricultural staple.
Perhaps unknowingly, Americans routinely eat food made with genetically
modified ingredients. "People are still healthy, nothing dramatic has
happened," he said. "We assumed we were sort of over the hump."
Genetically modified crops penetrated the marketplace swiftly. In 1995,
the entire U.S. corn and soybean crops were conventional. This year, 54
percent of soybeans and 33 percent of corn, growing on almost 66 million
acres of farmland, are genetically altered.
Though the Midwest grows vastly more of such crops than California, the
technology took root here. Calgene, a biotech company in Davis now
owned by Monsanto, in 1994 introduced the first genetically modified
consumer crop: the Flavr Savr tomato, a fruit long on shelf life but, it
turned out, short on flavor.
This year, cotton was the top genetically engineered crop in the state,
with the planting of 50,000 acres, 5.5 percent of the total.
Farmers also planted genetically modified corn -- about 11,000 acres,
less than 3 percent.
Promoters of genetic engineering argue that agriculture has relied for
generations on selective breeding to enhance desired traits and
eliminate undesirable traits, and that the new technology merely does
the job faster.
But gene-altering techniques are fundamentally different because they
enable people to give plants DNA from outside the plant kingdom.
The most common altered crops either make their own insecticide, are
resistant to specific herbicides or both. The insecticidal plants, for
example, contain toxins naturally produced by a soil bacterium that are
lethal to specific insects and no others.
The research pipeline is full of possible new products. AgrEvo is
testing herbicide-tolerant rice on the UC Davis campus and at about a
dozen private paddies in the Sacramento Valley. Among numerous other UC
Davis biotech studies are projects to make apples crunchier and juicier;
to retard rot in melons; and to grow fruit and nut trees in compact
sizes so that they require less water and are easier to pick.
If the ideas seem endless, the appetite for them, suddenly, does not.
"Do we really want to have this in our environment?" Jeff Tufenkian, an
environmental consultant in San Diego, said he began this year to
explore that question, and decided the answer was no. So he volunteered
to be a media liaison for the underground protesters who destroy the
plants they call "Frankenfoods."
Tufenkian said he considers gene-altered crops a form of pollution worse
than chemical contamination because the alteration is systemic. "When
you're spraying (pesticides), it's just going more on the outside," he
"You're not eating it with every bite."
Farmers are wary of environmental side effects, too. Joe Carrancho, a
rice grower in Colusa County, worries that genes in herbicide-resistant
rice would spread to surrounding weeds, rendering the spray useless.
"What I'm afraid of is what happens down the road," he said.
The "wake-up call" for U.S. activists on genetically modified plants was
a Cornell University study published in the journal Nature this spring
showing that pollen from insecticidal corn can kill monarch butterfly
Linda Rayor, a co-author of the caterpillar study, said she is not
opposed to biotechnology, per se, unlike many who cite her research.
"It's clear that fanaticism on both sides is really craziness," she
At UC Davis, Sharon Kessler's doctoral thesis work was set back six
months by this month's cornfield vandalism. Kessler said hers was
ordinary corn and her study involves finding naturally occurring
mutations that affect the size and shape of leaves.
"My corn's definitely not scary," Kessler said. "I understand the
concerns that people have about transgenic crops. I want to make it
clear that they're just hurting innocent people doing non-transgenics."
With controversy and negative publicity rising, the agriculture
industry's initial rush to designer crops is slowing distinctly.
Tim Johnson, manager of the California Rice Commission, said he doesn't
expect genetically modified rice to be introduced commercially in the
state until 2002 -- if then. "We will grow (altered) rice in California
if and only if the people who buy our rice say they want it," he said.
Leaders of the California Crop Improvement Association, a nonprofit
group that provides certification for seed type, quality and purity,
decided last week to begin a new program identifying for processors
which crops are
genetically altered and which are not.
"We're not taking a political stand that genetically modified varieties
are bad," said Chip Sundstrom, the executive director. "We are simply
respecting the consumers' concern and right to know what they are
purchasing and eating."
Farmers are stuck in the middle. No commercial grower of transgenic
crops this season could be reached for comment. Seed dealers guard the
names out of concern for their security.
Carrancho, the Colusa County rice grower and president of Rice Growers
of California, isn't growing transgenics and doesn't know if he will.
"I certainly don't want to get caught with a rice dryer full of
altered rice that can't be sold for anything other than dog food," he
said. "If we can prove that this is the way to go, and we can overcome
perception ... I would like to think, yes, that we are at the point that
we can use it. But I'm not sure yet."
Prison Radio <radioqc@...>
LIVE FROM SEATTLE: WORLD TRADEWATCH RADIO
Tue, 28 Sep 1999 21:43:33 -0700
Help get this alternative coverage on your local non-commercial station!
Syndicated columnist Norman Solomon and veteran radio journalist Julie
Light will co-host World Trade Watch, a series of five daily programs
from the historic WTO Summit in Seattle November 29-Dec. 3, 1999.
Find out how you can get your local station to carry WORLD TRADE WATCH!
Programs are FREE to non-commercial stations.
CONTACT US TODAY: (510) 251-1077
Co-Produced by the NATIONAL RADIO PROJECT: www.radioproject.org,
CORPORATE WATCH: www.corpwatch.org, and the INSTITUTE FOR PUBLIC
The air you breathe, the food you eat, even the size of your bank
account are all affected by the World Trade Organization. Yet
transnational corporations increasingly call the shots and benefit from
international trade policy. Companies like Microsoft and Boeing plan to
roll out the red carpet for top officials from 135 countries at the
upcoming summit. Environmentalists, labor and community activists from
around the globe will also converge on Seattle to hold forums and
protests, demanding that their voices be heard.
WORLD TRADE WATCH will be talking to farmers from India, trade activists
from Ghana, peasants from Chiapas, and grassroots activists from the US
and around the world. We'll track behind the scenes corporate lobbyists
and buttonhole official trade representatives. We'll have reports from
the field and lively in-studio discussion.
WORLD TRADE WATCH can be aired live from the NPR satellite or via tape
delay. One-hour programs can also be aired in 29-minute modules.
Broadcast quality programming will also be distributed on the Internet.
Live uplink from KUOW Seattle
A67.7 on the public radio satellite
INTERNET BROADCAST QUALITY:
www.radioproject.orgDownloadable version of the programs in MPEG format.
See the site for software and instructions. Winamp is necessary for
playback. In order to take full advantage of MPEG quality a professional
sound card is required.
INTERNET FOR PERSONAL LISTENING:
WTO series in RealAudio format on Corporate Watch website:
www.corpwatch.org, or the National Radio Project web site,
Corporate Watch Editor
Transnational Resource & Action Center
PO Box 29344
San Francisco, CA94129 USA
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