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Konformist: RENEGADE News 10-02-99 Part I

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  • Robalini@aol.com
    Please send as far and wide as possible. Thanks, Robert Sterling Editor, The Konformist http://www.konformist.com If you are interested in a free subscription
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 2, 1999
      Please send as far and wide as possible.


      Robert Sterling
      Editor, The Konformist

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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
      earlier tapes so that we can buy blank tape and get the new ones made and
      mailed. In case you have extra resources and would like to help out, we also
      need funds for more VCRs so we can make more videotapes at a time and get
      them out faster. Even when we are home we can only make about 2 tapes an
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      Anything you can send will be greatly appreciated and will be put to good

      If you are not a subscriber to the series you may order this new tape
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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,
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      We are happy to announce that thanks to the efforts of many of you we now
      have about 400 signed up as subscribers. Hopefully, most of them will follow
      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,

      Ralph Cole
      JusticeVision videomaker,
      and producer of the Democracy University Video Series
      (213) 747-6345; DemocracyU@...

      PS: If you received this announcement via a friend or a listserve you may
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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
      coming century."

      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
      positive company".

      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
      DAMN <damn@...>

      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
      transgenic plants.

      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
      Tufenkian said.

      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@...>
      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
      Email: wtw@...

      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
      13:00-13:59 EST

      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.

      WTO series in RealAudio format on Corporate Watch website:
      www.corpwatch.org, or the National Radio Project web site,
      Julie Light
      Corporate Watch Editor
      Transnational Resource & Action Center
      PO Box 29344
      San Francisco, CA94129 USA
      Tel: 415-561-6559
      FAX: 415-561-6493
      Email: cwatch@...
      re-sent by Prison Radio

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