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  • Robert Cohen
    Dear Friends, Imitation is the sincerest form of flatery! First, New York s VILLAGE VOICE took liberties by re-writing my column. Now: London s GUARDIAN
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 4, 2001
      Dear Friends,

      Imitation is the sincerest form of flatery!
      First, New York's VILLAGE VOICE
      took liberties by re-writing my column.


      London's GUARDIAN newspaper has "lifted"
      my Monsanto column, thought-for-thought.
      (Almost word-for-word)


      The New "Bush Gang" in Washington Love Frankenfoods

      GM lobby takes root in Bush's cabinet

      Biotech firms could have undue influence, say critics
      Special report: GM debate
      Special report: George Bush's America

      John Vidal
      Thursday February 1, 2001
      The Guardian newspaper (UK)

      When Bill Clinton was president, it was an open secret
      that his government favoured agricultural biotechnology
      and actively promoted it as a potential US global money-spinner.

      But the strength of the genetically modified food lobby in
      George Bush's new cabinet, and its links with the GM global
      leader, Monsanto, are greater than anything that came before,
      it has emerged.

      The secretaries of defence, health and agriculture, the attorney
      general and the chairman of the House agriculture committee
      all have links with the firm or the wider industry.

      The most active GM advocate is expected to be John Ashcroft,
      the proposed attorney general, who received $10,000 (£6,800)
      from Monsanto in the recent elections, the most the company gave
      to any congressional candidate. Mr Ashcroft led calls to the
      Clinton administration to promote GM crops in developing
      countries and to persuade Europe to accept them.

      If the appointment of Tommy Thompson, the former governor
      of Wisconsin, as secretary of health and human services is
      confirmed, he will be given overall responsibility for food safety,
      pharmaceuticals and the Food and Drug Administration, which
      licenses biotechnology in the US.

      Mr Thompson is a GM supporter and has accepted money for
      his campaigns from Monsanto. He used state funds to set up a
      £200m biotech zone and was one of 13 state governors to
      launch a campaign, partly funded by Monsanto, to persuade
      Americans of the benefits of GM crops.

      Ann Veneman, the new agriculture secretary, was a director of
      the GM company Calgene, now owned by Monsanto, and has
      been active in world trade talks which would favour US
      companies exporting GM crops to developing countries.

      Donald Rumsfeld, the defence secretary, was president of
      Searle Pharmaceuticals when it was bought by Monsanto.

      Larry Combest, a Texas Republican who will chair the powerful
      House of Representatives agriculture committee, received $2,000
      from Monsanto in last year's elections. He is known as a strong
      supporter of GM food.

      Clarence Thomas, the judge whose vote for Mr Bush in the
      supreme court helped decide the election, was a Monsanto
      lawyer from 1977 to 1979. His views on GM are not known.

      Charles Lewis, director of the Centre for Public Integrity, said:
      "It looks like Monsanto and the biotechnology industry has the
      potential to bring undue influence on the new government."

      A spokesman for the charity Christian Aid said: "This does not
      bode well. We should be proceeding cautiously with GM. We
      fear even greater pressure on poor countries to introduce the
      technology, to the detriment of poor farmers and consumers
      who may further lose control of their food security."

      Loren Wassel, Monsanto's director of public relations, declined
      to comment yesterday.

      Robert Cohen
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