-LONDON READS THE NOTMILK COLUMN
- 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.
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
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.