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GE - SchNEWS 201, 15 February 1999


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Published in Brighton by Justice? - Brighton's Direct Action collective

Issue 201, Friday 19 February 1999



"Parliament is being besieged by them. We have our own crop of genetically
modified lobbyists."
- Alan Simpson, Labour MP

As SchNEWS went to press New Labour were stubbornly refusing to call a five
year ban on genetically modified organisms (GMO)despite the outcry against
'frankensteins food' growing louder every day. Meanwhile the bio-technology
companies must be holding their collective (three)heads in their hands.
Last year the biggest and baddest of them all, Monsanto, spent one million
pounds on an advertising campaign, yet support for gmo's plummeted; leaked
memo's from the company confirmed that just when they thought it couldn't
get any worse it did, again and again and now support for gmo's has hit
rock bottom.

So what do you do when you've lost the argument with the public? You take
the advice of PR company Burson Marsteller, the greenwash specialists, and
fast spinning cog in the propaganda machine of the new world order. Yer
good ol' neighbourhood perception managers advised EuropaBio- the main
lobby organization for the European BioIndustry back at its first
cake-divvying session in 1997- to leave any public debate to "those charged
with public trust - politicians and regulators - to assure the public that
biotech products are safe".

Now SchNEWS would never accuse the party of the people from being hand in
glove with big business; the following list is just an uncanny

   * David Hill, one of the top media men for the Labour Party until a year
     ago, now works for Monsanto's PR company Bell Pottinger.
   * Cathy McGlynn is also employed by Bell Pottinger after six years of
     working as an adviser to Jack Cunningham Labour MP (who chairs the
     Cabinet committee on biotechnology and says a ban on gmo's would "not
     be sensible")
   * Lord Sainsbury, the billionaire whose supermarket empire sells
     unlabelled genetically modified food with abandon is New Labour
     Science Minister
   * The genetic food company Zeneca has an executive on the Dept of
     Healths Committee on the Toxicity of Chemicals in Food. Their Chief
     Executive Peter Doyle is also on the Department of Trade and
     Industry's Biotechnology Research Council.
   * Novartis, a rival of Monsanto and Zeneca, sponsored last years Labour
     conference, paid for a training session to tell new MPs how to behave
     and has one of its ex-employees, Nick Palmer, sitting in the Commons
     as the New Labour MP for Broxtowe (Novartis gives him #5,000 a year to
     be its Parlimanetary adviser)

And surely it can't be true that New Labour offered genetic engineering
companies including Monsanto, millions of pounds in inducements to expand
their UK operations?

Or that companies involved in GM food have met government officials and
ministers 81 times since Labour came to power. An analysis by Friends of
the Earth showed Monsanto's executives secured 17 audiences with ministers
in Blair's first year in office - one meeting every three weeks.

Still, even if Labour do slap on a ban, Monsanto and Zeneca have threatened
to appeal to the European Union, reckoning the British authorities have no
power to halt genetic research if it has been given the go-ahead by the EU.

So it's back to Tory Blair who reckons the food is healthy, tasty, heaven
sent dietary bliss and will settle for nothing else, for himself or his
family. He must have been drooling when on Thursday activists delivered
four tons of mutant soya beans to his doorstep.

"I wouldn't eat it willingly…It is commercially driven and we are like a
guinea pig generation."
- Dr.Mae Wan Ho, reader in biology at the Open University.

So forget the arguments that we have been genetically modifying crops for
thousands of years (look mate, sticking the anti-freeze gene from an arctic
fish into strawberries is a whole different ball-game from natural breeding
processes which take years); that GMO's are gonna feed the world (the World
Health Organisation say we already produce one and a half times what the
world needs to feed itself, it's just a shame that market forces mean the
poor can't afford to buy it); that genetic crops are more environmentally
friendly because they use less pesticides! (get a grip - they actually need
more pesticides and disturb the balance of the soil. We haven't a clue what
would happen if these crops cross-breed with wild-plants, produce
superweeds, create novel toxins, eradicate the wildplants that our native
insects and birds depend on to survive in our countryside. In fact all over
the world when non-indigenous species have been introduced into new
environments they have caused long term damage.)

The fact is that this massive bio-tech experiment s the only avenue left if
intensive farming systems are to have any chance of survival.

The SchNEWS alternative is small-scale organic farms which would wrestle
food production away from the multinationals, would create jobs, would
safeguard and improve the environment, would improve health, would put a
greater percentage of the population back in touch with the land.

Just take a look at the million wetland rice farmers in the far east who
have shifted to sustainable agriculture, where group-based farmer-field
schools have enabled farmers to learn alternatives to pesticides whilst
still increasing yields. While in the USA farmers are applying sustainable
technologies so well they have higher yields than conventional farmers,
without relying on toxic chemicals or the lame assurances of the gene age

How many times do we have to say it, big business is only interested in
profit, government is only interested in sucking up to big business.

The Monsanto Monitor
P.O. Box 92066, 1090 AB Amsterdam, Holland. Tel: +31-20-468 2616; Email:

Genetix Update
PO Box 9656, London, N4 4JY Tel 0181 374 9516
GEN can also supply a list of genetic crop sites around the country

Nationwide Food Survey
Beacon House, Willow Walk, Skelmersdale, Lancashire, WN8 6UP
Produce 'How to Avoid Genetic Foods'

"The Unbottled Gene"
A week of evening talks in London from Monday 8th to Friday 12th March 1999
For details of venues ring 0171 254 6863


Grow yer own!

Organic food is the only food that under EC legislation cannot contain
gmo's. Unfortunately it's still pretty expensive, so why not start growing
your own fruit and veg. Find out how by sending a SAE to the Henry
Doubleday Research Association, Ryton Organic Gardens, Coventry, CV8 3LG
Tel 01203 303517

   * On Wednesday Monsanto and Perryfields Holdings Ltd, were given a
     pathetic #17,000 fine plus costs after breaking safety regulations in
     Lincolnshire. A six-metre border designed to stop the escape of GM
     pollen was found to be inadequate. As pollen can travel for miles and
     bees don't know the difference the borders are a joke.



Tueday 23rd Feburary 7 pm upstairs at the Hobgoblin Pub, London Rd

(please note date change!)



What's behind the recent wave of embassy occupations and demonstrations
across the globe by Kurds, protesting at the arrest of the leader of the
PKK, Abdullah Occalan ? Much has been made of their 'illegal' tactics
(invading foreign embassies etc) and the PKK's status as 'terrorists', but
what hardships have motivated such resistance?

The Kurds are the biggest stateless people in the world, numbering 20 to 25
million spread over 200,000 square miles including parts of Iran, Iraq,
Syria, but mainly Turkey, where they are a sizeable minority. The current
war- going on since 1984- in south east Turkey has seen over 22,000 Kurds
killed, and forced 3 million to flee the country. Amnesty have reported
numerous human rights abuses, and Turkey had the second highest expenditure
in the world on conventional arms during 1992-96; over $6 billion in 1996
alone. So why does the West turn a blind eye to these atrocities, whilst
getting self-righteous about the problems in Kosova?

Could it be that Turkey has huge arms deals with the US and Germany, or
that in 1997 the British company Vickers sent 800 tanks to the Turkish
regime? The Campaign against the Arms Trade is calling for an arms embargo
on Turkey and implementation of Robin Cooks' so-called 'ethical' foreign
policy. But the West doesn't want to rock the boat in Turkey- they are an
important NATO ally. Air bases in SE Turkey are used by British and US
planes to police the no-fly zone over Iraq. Only last week Iraq's foreign
minister Tariq Aziz met the Turkish authorities to ask them to stop the
flights. They refused, but made it clear that they wanted a favour in
return from the West. Could Occalan have been handed over as a thank you
present? His capture is clouded in confusion. He was staying in the Greek
embassy in Nairobi, and soon after leaving, mysteriously ended up in
Turkish custody. It is unclear whether the Greek authorities deliberately
handed him over. Greek and Turkey are old rivals, and the affair caused
such an outcry in Greece that 3 cabinet ministers have had to resign.
Nairobi, where Occalan was captured is also the main base for US
intelligence in Africa (what a coincidence!).

As SchNEWS went to Press, the embassy siege in London had finished, and all
the occupants had been arrested under the Prevention of Terrorism Act.

Kurdish Information Centre: 10 Glasshouse Yd., London EC1A 4JN (0171 250

   * Given that all schools and universities in Kosova have been closed
     since 1989 by the Serbian authorities, a group of students are doing a
     tour of the UK from the 15th to 27th March. They will be talking at
     universities in London, Derby, Leicester, Manchester, Bradford,
     Edinborough and Aberdeen. Can they talk at your University? Ring 0161
     2260404 if interested.



Between Saturday 20th - Sunday 28th March at a venue near Brighton All
hands are needed to help out making, preparing and repairing - canvas
structures (they've got an industrial sewing machine), portable compost
toilets, kitchen resources, banners, defenses, etc.for a large scale land
occupation. If you wanna get involved ring 0961 373 385.



   * There's a national demonstration to defend asylum seekers rights and
     protest at new legislation on asylum and immigration going through
     parliament. Saturday 27th February @12 noon, Embankment, London,
     (Embankment tube). Contact 101 Villa Rd., Birmingham, B21 1NH , 0121
     5546947 email:
   * Citizen Smith - a new squatted Sunday afternoon veggie café has opened
     in North West London at 161 College Road, Kensal Green, London NW 10.
     Contact 07931 980534
<> [Turn your
     graphics off - online editor]
   * The latest set of Corner House briefings are available on subjects
     such as racism, conflict and globalisation. Contact Corner House, PO
     Box 3137, Station Rd., Sturminster Newton, Dorset, DT10 1YJ Tel 01258
   * WANTED-films! Whether it's a 90 minute feature, pop video or 30 second
     experimental animation. Deadline is 26th February . Send to RIL
     Independent Film and Video Festival, 53 Carnew St., N.C.R., Dublin 7,
     Tel +353 1 8681466 email:
   * WinVisible (women with visible and invisible disabilities) have a
     number of pamphlets and leaflets available. Send SAE for a list to
     Crossroads Women' Centre, 230a Kentish Town Rd., London, NW5 2AB Tel
     0171 482 2496
   * Natural Selection is a web search engine specifically designed to find
     and twist far right and racist sites on the net, using ridicule as a
     weapon. More details check out
<> email:
   * The Equality Housing collective, based in Oxford, squats empty
     buildings and brings attention to housing problems . They are
     currently occupying a disused nursing home in north Oxford owned by
     the council, and with the help of local kids have made many
     improvements to the building. Despite recent favourable talks leading
     to potentially permanent occupation, the council have decided to try
     and repossess the building anyway. Contact 07775 700732
   * Saturday 27 is a Day of Action for sanctions to be removed against
     Iraqi. Meet 1-3pm, Piccadilly Gardens. More info 0161 834 8301
   * If you're in Brighton, there will be a talk about sanctions on 22nd
     Feb. 2pm at the University of Sussex, A1 lecture theatre. Speakers
     will be George Galloway MP, Sabah Al-Mukhtar (leading Arab voice on
     international law) and Mailan Rai (Voices of the Wilderness campaign)



On Saturday 27th February from 10am there will be a gathering for people
participating in actions on June 18th actions against globalisation. It's
at the(squatted) United Reform Church, Church Street, Stoke Newington,
London N16 - with a social in the evening.

Opps in SchNEWS 200 we missed out how to the June 18th list, send an email
to Then type in the following request: Subscribe
J18DISCUSSIONS with your email address.

   * There's also a June 18th discussion in Glasgow 3-4 April. Contact:
     Counter Information (Autonomy) c/o 28 King Street, Glasgow G1

Stop-press: Greenpeace have occupied towers at Livepool docks to stop gmo's
coming into the port



In November last year two members of a Czech anarchist group were brutally
attacked by a group of at least five neo-nazis in a Prague club. One of the
two was knocked out after a short fight, while the other, Michal Patera,
was injured. Fearing for his life, Michal drew his legally owned gun and
fired at his attackers. One of the fascists was shot three times, and the
others withdrew for a moment. Michal managed to escape, but was arrested
shortly after by the police. For defending his life, Michal is now charged
with "attempted murder motivated by ideological conviction" and faces 25
years in prison, with at least one year in "protective custody" before his
case goes to trial. None of the attacking neo-nazis faces even minor

This is the fourth time in a few years that the Czech authorities have
thrown a victim of fascist terror in jail on charges of murder or attempted
murder for defending his life. The Czech anti-fascist movement has also had
to raise large amounts of money to cover lawyer fees, and is now skint. If
you can help send donations to SF International Secretariat, PO Box 1681,
London, N8 7LE (cheques payable to NELSF)

Letters of solidarity to: Michal Patera (1976), PO Box 5, 14057 Praha 4,
Czech Republic, or send them by email to the Defense Campaign:



Lambeth Council are not having an easy job with their plans to gentrify
Brixton, as squatters have realised that a barricade a day keeps the
bailiff at bay. The 121 centre is an 18-year old autonomous squat in the
heart of Brixton, open as a bookshop, advice centre, meeting space for
radical groups etc. A notice of eviction was served for last Monday, and
according to the Inspector of Operations for Brixton police, the bailiffs
were expecting to stroll in, remove the door and brick up the space. Oh
dear! What they weren't expecting was for 70 anarchists to be dancing in
the street at 6.30am to a sound system, behind barricades in the roads,
with the warning cry of a WW2 air raid siren blaring from the rooftop. (In
fact the fort proved so effective that a number of activists woke up on
Valentines morning to find themselves barricaded inside the building ,
asking passers by if they could borrow a ladder!) Offices in the town hall
were later occupied until police came and broke up the party. While local
residents were supporting 121, three other squats in the area were evicted
that morning. The Lambeth evictor is ruthless, and help is needed in
defending the buildings. It doesn't take much…at another squat, open for 10
years as a workshop, bailiffs were greeted by lots of locals sitting in
armchairs in the street who told them the house was crammed with people
(ahem!). The bailiffs left crying, "but you promised this property would be
empty this morning, you people are supposed to be peaceful types!"

Get a copy of the South London Stress! Contact 121 Railton Road, Brixton
London, SE24, tel 0171 978 8214 email



SchNEWS warns all tomatos not to think they are artic fish. You can't swim
and you will drown.


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