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GE - (yet another US action) MN BOLT WEEVILS ATTACK GE CORN




BIOENGINEERING ACTION NETWORK (BAN) 
POBox 11703 Eugene, Oregon (541) 302-5020 
ban@tao.ca 
<http://www.tao.ca/%7Eban>http://www.tao.ca/~ban

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SPETEMBER 3, 1999

CONTACT:
BAN PRESS OFFICE: jeffry@towardsfreedom.com 
(619) 584.6462
MIDWEST CONTACT: Melissa Sorensen (612) 879-8929

MINNESOTA BOLT WEEVILS ATTACK GENETICALLY ENGINEERED CORN RESEARCH

 The following Communique was e-mailed to the Bioengineering Action Network on
Thursday, September 2 by an anonynous Minnesota group calling itself the Bolt
Weevils. The group destroyed corn at a Novartis Seed Research field in Goodhue
County, MN, and glued locks to the companys corporate offices in Golden
Valley,
both within an hour of the Twin Cities.
 This latest direct action against genetic engineering and the biotechnology
industry marks the  6th in a series of transgenic crop sabotages in the U.S.
since November 1998. The first action against genetically engineered (GE)
crops
was in California in 1989, when activists destroyed strawberries sprayed with
Fronstban, a genetically engineered bacteria that causes the berries to resist
frost. On Thanksgiving of 1998, a group of conservative farmers called the
California Croppers played a game of tag football on an experimental plot of
transgenic corn on the University of California campus at Berkeley. 
Agricultural biotechnology research has gained a strong foothold at UCB since
Monsanto and Novartis started pouring millions of dollars in research funds
into the Natural Resources Department.
 In July of this year, the Cal Croppers took hit UCB again, taking out 14 rows
of research corn. A week later, two similar actions in the Bay Area were
carried out on commercial Roundup Ready (RR) corn, a crop engineered with a
gene that resists the effects of Monsantos top selling herbicide, Roundup.
Just
two weeks ago at the University of Maine in Bangor, an underground group
calling themselves Seeds of Resistance destroyed a research field of Monsantos
RR corn.  Last week in Vermont, activists left posters with pictures of
Monarch
butterflies in a trashed field of Bt corn, a GE insecticide proven fatal to
the
imperiled species. 
 These actions seem to have largely been inspired by the numerous GM crop
attacks around the world over the past two years. To date over 40 field test
crops have been targeted in the night, preventing the further development
of GM
crops for commercial release. An above-ground group in Britain called Genetic
Snowball have organized numerous public crop pullings, claiming full civil
reponsibility as a matter of protecting public health. Crop and greenhouse
actions have also occured in Ireland, France and Korea, and in New Zealand, by
the Wild Greens.  In India, militant farmers burned Monsantos transgenic
cotton
publicly, announing the beginning of Operation: Cremate Monsanto.
 The Bioengineering Action Network is simply a network of groups and
individuals concerned enough about Genetic Engineering in agriculture,
biopiracy and patenting, transgenic animal and human research, and the
motivations of the entire Biotechnology industry, to take action against it. 
BAN denies any reponsibility for any of these direct actions, but the
foundation of the network stands in solidarity with all non-violent direct
action taken covertly and overtly. The contact information for BAN is totally
public, and the BAN press office is happy to publicize attacks on the research
and development, distribution, and production of genetically modified
organisms. Attacks on small farmers using GM seeds should be carefully
researched beforehand, concerning the potential financial impacts on those
individuals.
 Photos will be available through the local BAN contact listed above, as well
as statements in support of the Minnesota action, and directions to the
site of
the crop action there. For reports on action campaigns to stop GE worldwide,
visit the BAN web site at <http://www.tao.ca/%7Eban>http://www.tao.ca/~ban
 The National BAN press officer (listed above) can be contacted anytime for
commentary and references. (COMMUNIQUE TO FOLLOW)


===================COMMUNIQUE==================

Subject: MN. BOLT WEEVILS ATTACK NOVARTIS RESEARCH
Date: Thu, 02 Sep 1999 18:34:40 GMT
COMMUNIQUE FROM THE MINNESOTA BOLT WEEVILS
SEPTEMBER 1, 1999

Harvest came early this year at the Novartis Corporation's Seed Research
facility on Hwy 19 in Goodhue County, Minnesota. Several thousand stalks of
corn from research plots ajoining the Northrup-King (Novartis' Seed Division)
facility were trampled and crushed in the pre-dawn hours of  Wed. September 1
by the Bolt Weevils. Simultaneously in a northern Twin Cities suburb, another
strain of Weevils glued and jammed the locks at Novartis/NK Seeds' Corporate
offices at 7500 Olson Memorial Hwy, to prevent another day of profiting off
the
dirty business of genetic engineering.

Reviving the namesake of the MN farmers who toppled NSP power lines in the
1970s, todays Weevils targetted one of the largest "life sciences"
conglomerates in the world. Created in Switzerland in 1997 by the merger of
two
major pharmaceutical and agriculture firms (Ciba-Geigy and Sandoz/NK  Seeds),
Novartis is one of many companies seeking to commercialize and expolit the
most
basic biological process- genetic evolution.

Much of the corn attacked by the Bolt Weevils was labelled as genetically
modified with Bt (Bacillus thuregensis), a bacterial insecticide sprayed
topically by organic and small scale farmers as a last resort to control
problem insects, but now increasingly genetically engineered directly into the
DNA of corn, cotton and potatoes, to make plants express the pesticide
throughout. Ecologists, farmers and corporate executives alike agree that such
widespread exposure to the toxin will eventually create Bt-resistant "super
pests", rendering small scale use of the bacteria in spray form obsolete.
Novartis and other companies producing Bt seeds respond to this prediction by
suggesting "refuges" of non-Bt crop be grown amidst transgenics to slow
adaptation by insects. This rationale ignores the reality of
cross-pollination,
and could unleash irreversible genetic pollution on plants and insects.

Additionally, recent research has revealed that Bt pollen has a similar  fatal
effect on the intestines of the Monarch butterfly as on the corn borer, and
scientists have shown that engineered Bt accumulates in the soil and could
disrupt soil ecology irreversably.

Decades of farm policies designed to boost profits for agricultural chemical 
companies like Monsanto, Dow and Dupont has left the rural farm economy in
shambles, with suicide rates among desperate farmers on the rise.  Intensive
industrial agribusiness has severely degraded, eroded and poisoned  the
American heartland. Now these very same companies are creating new  ways to
profit off industrial agriculture, promising farmers "improved" genetically
altered seeds that will boost production and help them compete on the world
market.

Rapid industry consolidation has centralized control over the research and 
development of powerful genetic technologies, allowing the industry to control
market forces. This trend spells disaster for the global food supply, from
agrarian third world communities to rural America. Family farms won't survive
without a new approach to farm economics and a turn to ecological farming
practices. There is abundant knowledge of such agricultural methods, as
evidenced by the growing organics and permaculture movements, and more
importantly, by the ancient breeding and seed saving traditions still used in
indigenous  cultures. Why have these practices taken a back seat to
agribusiness?

The Bolt Weevils' harvest is meant as a WARNING to the entire  "life-sciences"
industry that opposition to its sinister plan is far more widespread than they
think, and growing  exponentially. Though the true natures of this industry
are
hidden behind slick PR campaigns, people all over the world are exposing and
attacking it on many levels, most dramatically in the fields and greenhouses
where research and breeding occurs.

Our fellow weevils in Europe, Asia, New Zealand, Maine, Vermont, and 
California, have set the stage for a full scale underground attack on the
roots
of this threat to the future of life on earth. Unsurprisingly, government
agencies like the USDA, FDA, EPA, and state departments of agriculture have 
acted as collaborators with the biotech industry, and should also be targeted.
This action should be seen as an incitement to join the biotech resistance by
taking direct action against this menace in all its  forms.

END
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