MAY PEACE PREVAIL ON EARTH


January 8, 2003

Miscellaneous Subjects #169: Another Mixed Bag of Good And Not So Good News


Hello everyone

First let me explain why you all got again today the welcome message from the automated listserver. This is due to an attempt by the technician at the company providing me with this automated listserver who has erased and recreated the entire list in an attempt to resolve the "hiccup" glitch - which hopefully won't happen anymore now - through resetting the entire system. Unfortunately I did not see in my emails his warning about his attempt in time to disable the automatic sending of this welcome message again to all of you. Sorry for this inconvenience. You need to know also that you CANNOT be subscribed twice since this automated system is designed to prevent that.

Now here are various news and material of interest that I compiled last week.

Jean Hudon
Earth Rainbow Network Coordinator
http://www.EarthRainbowNetwork.com

This compilation is archived at
http://www.EarthRainbowNetwork.com/Archives2002/MiscelSubjects169.htm


"Thank you for your incredible work of the past year which has been informative and sometimes the only sensible source of information available!"

- Stephanie Hope <peace@last2012.fsnet.co.uk>


CONTENTS

1. More Miracles from Wisconsin
2. Corporate Personhood Is Doomed!!!
3. New Chairman Of 9/11 Commission Had Business Ties With Osama's Brother In Law
4. Airport Security, NAZIMERICA
5. Nice new weapons for Portland Police and others
6. GM Crops are Breeding with Plants in the Wild


See also:

Government Openness at Issue as Bush Holds Onto Records (Jan 3)
http://www.truthout.org/docs_02/010403A.wh.secrecy.htm
The Bush administration has put a much tighter lid than recent presidents on government proceedings and the public release of information, exhibiting a penchant for secrecy that has been striking to historians, legal experts and lawmakers of both parties.

Bush accused of civil rights clampdown (January 5)
http://www.observer.co.uk/international/story/0,6903,868965,00.html
President George Bush is presiding over the most secretive administration in 'living memory', according to American civil rights groups and congressmen. Critics accuse him of orchestrating an unprecedented clampdown on freedom of information and the press. This has resulted in a dramatic increase in documents and proceedings being classified secret and an overall shutdown of the free flow of information over the government's political and legal conduct. They are also concerned over what they see as alarming restrictions on the Freedom of Information Act. CLIP

FBI agents say White House scripting 'hysterics' for political effect (Jan 4)
http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=30312
Intelligence pros say the White House is manufacturing terrorist alerts to keep the issue alive in the minds of voters and to keep President Bush's approval ratings high, Capitol Hill Blue reports. The Thursday report said that the administration is engaging in "hysterics" in issuing numerous terror alerts that have little to no basis in fact. CLIP

Shanghai supertrain makes first journey (Dec 31)
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/2616339.stm
The German chancellor and Chinese premier travel on the inaugural run of the world's first magnetic levitation train. The train, built and designed by the Transrapid consortium, links the Chinese city of Shanghai with its airport - and represents the first ever application of new "maglev" technology, in which the train literally floats above the track. (...) Held up by powerful magnets, the train travelled at speeds of over 400km/h (250mph) - completing the 30km (19 mile) journey in the planned time of eight minutes. In a taxi, the same journey takes an hour. (...) But critics of the maglev train say that at a cost of $1bn, it is too expensive and wastes energy. They say high-speed trains already in use in Japan and Europe can travel nearly as fast as maglev trains, but on standard tracks.

DR Congo rebels sign ceasefire (Dec 30)
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/2616121.stm
Rebel leaders controlling north-eastern Democratic Republic of Congo have agreed to end a fortnight of fighting for the mineral-rich town of Beni, near the border with Uganda. Aid agencies say that tens of thousands of people have been displaced by the conflict between the rival factions. Last month most groups signed a power-sharing agreement to end Congo's four year war, but fighting in several parts of the country has since escalated. The battle for the strategic and wealthy town of Beni started only hours after the agreement was concluded. UN peacekeepers reported that as many as 75,000 people have since been forced to flee their villages as troops and militiamen of at least three rebel factions clashed in the north-eastern corner of Congo that borders Uganda. Now, under UN pressure, leaders of the rebel groups have agreed to lay down their weapons and observe an immediate ceasefire. CLIP

Powell ups pressure on Iraq as war preparations gather pace (December 31 2002)
http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2002/12/30/1041196597682.html
US Secretary of State Colin Powell has warned the standoff with Baghdad "can't go on indefinitely," as Iraq's neighbours made contingency plans in the event of a war. "I think that this can't go on indefinitely," Powell told NBC's Meet the Press yesterday, adding that the United States would wait to hear from UN chief weapons inspector Hans Blix before taking any decisions. (...) In an apparent U-turn by the kingdom's rulers, Saudi Arabia has reportedly agreed to let US forces use airbases and a key command centre on its soil, a move that would boost a US-led campaign both logistically and diplomatically. Meanwhile, the aircraft carrier the USS George Washington and another carrier have been ordered to prepare to leave for the Gulf within four days, according to US television reports. The Washington Post reported that US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has ordered a significant deployment of ground forces, combat aircraft and logistics support to the region -- usually the last phase of war preparations.

New Kenya leader promises reform (Dec 30)
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/2614963.stm
Handover of power: From Moi (l) to Kibaki Kenya's new leader Mwai Kibaki says his administration will not engage in a witch-hunt against the party that ruled the country since its independence in 1963. (...) Hundreds of thousands attended the inauguration in historic Uhuru Park, witnessed by regional heads of state. (...) At the end of the brief ceremony there was a huge cheer from the crowd. CLIP

Musharraf warned Indian PM of 'unconventional warfare' (December 31)
http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2002/12/30/1041196597500.html
Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf revealed today he warned Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee earlier this year that Pakistan could step beyond conventional warfare if it had to defend its territory. Musharraf, addressing an army corps reunion in Karachi, did not mention the threat of nuclear weapons but said he was prepared to take severe measures at the height of crisis between the nuclear-armed arch rivals.

Don't stare, but the ship's awash with Bushes
http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2002/12/30/1041196597963.html
(...) The Bush family (17 of them!) is paying its way, but taxpayers are paying for the extraordinary security to protect them.

The LAST page of the Internet (A MUST SEE!)
http://www.1112.net/lastpage.html

Weird Things You Would Never Know
http://www.xlibris.de/magickriver/weirdthings.htm




1.

NOTE FROM JEAN: Here is a follow up on a story I sent you recently -- to read it again check "A MIRACLE IN WISCONSIN (Oct 14) at http://www.stratiawire.com/article.asp?id=655 -- This is rom StrataWire written by John Rappoport as has been recommended by "Judith Iam" <judeiam@cwnet.com> who introduced it this way: "Good Food = Smarter, Healthier, Well - Behaved Kids! Of course, this goes for adults as well and a study which gave daily vitamins to a homeless population and to prisoners also produced 'miraculous' results. Does a car run on diet coke -- or the fuel it's made to run on?"

MORE MIRACLES FROM WISCONSIN DECEMBER 30.
http://www.stratiawire.com/article.asp?id=788

Of all the articles I have written for the WIRE, the one that has gotten the most play is MIRACLE IN WISCONSIN.

You can find it with a keyword search in my archive. It detailed the enormous success of the Appleton School, which instituted a healthy lunch program and got rid of the junk-food vending machines on their premises.

The results, in terms of behavior and test scores and grades, were staggering.

A few minutes ago, I received a message of thanks from the Feingold Association, a group I mentioned in the story. Their newsletter, Pure Facts, ran the original piece on Appleton, and I derived my article from that.

The message from Feingold said my story had gotten around the world, and Feingold has been receiving many inquiries about their excellent work on the issue of food allergies and chemicals and dyes in food. Anything I can do to forward the mission of Feingold is a big plus.

The Appleton School, as well, has received several hundred calls, and has been sending out videos and literature on their successes. I hope many more people will find out what kind of revolution Appleton has been leading.

So how about we create a good storm here?

I invite any groups, organizations, schools who have picked up on the Appleton plan and are using it now to send through reports to me, via Stratia. We can keep spreading the word, and kids can get stronger and smarter.

Feingold, for years, has been surviving through tough sledding, and is a marvelous organization. With some funding, they could change a few countries in a few years. They’re that good on the subject of food.

The log-jam is breaking. People are ready and willing to take action and dissolve the chemical chains that have been binding them to the food industry. It’s a good fight, and we can win it.

I know there are readers out there who have kids in school. Contact Appleton and see if you can import their system into your community.




2.

From: "Leti Guerra" <letiguerra@hotmail.com>
Subject: Corporate Personhood Is Doomed!!!
Date: Fri, 27 Dec 2002

I really think this should be sent out to all!! Corporations enjoy WAY TOO MUCH power - power stolen from the people.

Peace,

Leti

---

From: http://www.CommonDreams.org/views02/1226-04.htm

Published on December 26, 2002 by CommonDreams.org

Sing, Dance, Rejoice - Corporate Personhood Is Doomed

A Review of Thom Hartmann's Unequal Protection: the Rise of Corporate Dominance and the Theft of Human Rights

by Richard W. Behan

Unequal Protection may prove to be the most significant book in the history of corporate personhood, a doctrine which dates to 1886. For 116 years, corporate personhood has been scrutinized and criticized, but never seriously threatened. Now Thom Hartmann has discovered a fatal legal flaw in its origin: corporate personhood is doomed.

What is "corporate personhood?" Suppose, to keep Wal-Mart at bay, your county commissioners enact an ordinance prohibiting Wal-Mart from doing business in your county. The subsequent (and immediate) lawsuit would be a slam-dunk for Wal-Mart's lawyers, because this corporation enjoys - just as you and I do as living, breathing citizens - the Constitutional rights of "due process" and "equal protection." Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. is a person, not in fact, not in flesh, not in any tangible form, but in law.

To their everlasting glory, this is not what the Founding Fathers intended, as Mr. Hartmann explains in rich and engaging detail. And for 100 years after the Constitution was ratified, various governmental entities led corporations around on leashes, like obedient puppies, canceling their charters promptly if they compromised the public good in any way. The leashes broke in 1886, the puppies got away, and the public good was increasingly compromised - until it was finally displaced altogether.

Today, the First Amendment protects the right of corporations-as-persons to finance political campaigns and to employ lobbyists, who then specify and redeem the incurred obligations. Democracy has been transformed into a crypto-plutocracy, and public policy is no longer crafted to serve the American people at large. It is shaped instead to maintain, protect, enhance or create opportunities for corporate profit.

One recent example took place after Mr. Hartmann's book was written. Senators Patty Murray from Washington and Ted Stevens from Alaska inserted a last-minute provision in this year's defense appropriation bill. It directed the Air Force to lease, for ten years, one hundred Boeing 767 airplanes, built and configured as passenger liners, to serve as aerial refueling tankers. Including the costs of removing the seats and installing the tanks, and then reversing the process ten years from now, the program will cost $17 billion. The Air Force never asked for these planes, and they weren't in President Bush's budget for the Defense Department. Political contributions from the Boeing company totaled $640,000 in the 2000 election cycle, including $20,230 for Senator Murray and $31,100 for Senator Stevens.

(NOTE FROM JEAN: I would not be surprised if those one hundred Boeing 767 airplanes are to be used to actually spread poisonous chemtrails over America...)

The chairman of the CSX Corporation, Mr. John Snow, has been nominated by President Bush to be the new Secretary of the Treasury. Mr. Snow's company, another legal person, exercised its Constitutional rights by contributing $5.9 million to various campaigns - three-quarters of it to Republicans - over seven election cycles. It was a wise investment. In 3 of the last 4 years, averaging $250 million in annual profits, CSX paid no federal income taxes at all. Instead, it received $164 million in tax rebates - money paid to the company by the Treasury Department.

No, this is not what the Founding Fathers intended democracy to be. Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, as Mr. Hartmann details, were seriously anxious about "moneyed corporations" and their potential interference in public affairs. The Bill of Rights these two men drafted contained the ten Constitutional amendments that survive, and two more that did not: one was to control corporate expansion and dominance. (The other was to prohibit a standing army.)

As the 19th century wore on American corporations entered lawsuit after lawsuit to achieve a strategic objective: corporate personhood. With that, they could break the leashes of social control and regulation. They could sue county commissioners. Or lease their unsold airliners to the Air Force. Or collect millions in tax rebates.

In his spellbinding Chapter 6 - "The Deciding Moment" - Mr. Hartmann tells how corporate personhood was achieved.

Orthodoxy has it the Supreme Court decided in 1886, in a case called Santa Clara County v. the Southern Pacific Railroad, that corporations were indeed legal persons. I express that view myself, in a recent book. So do many others. So do many law schools. We are all wrong.

Mr. Hartmann undertook instead a conscientious search. He finally found the contemporary casebook, published in 1886, blew the dust away, and read Santa Clara County in the original, so to speak. Nowhere in the formal, written decision of the Court did he find corporate personhood mentioned. Not a word. The Supreme Court did NOT establish corporate personhood in Santa Clara County.

In the casebook "headnote," however, Mr. Hartmann read this statement: "The defendant Corporations are persons within the intent of the clause in section 1 of the Fourteenth AmendmentÖwhich forbids a State to deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." Here, anyway, corporate personhood was "provided" - in the headnote, instead of the formal written decision of the Supreme Court. But that's not good enough.

What is a "headnote?" It is the summary description of a court decision, written into the casebook by the court reporter. It is similar to an editor's "abstract" in a scientific journal. Because they are not products of the court itself, however, headnotes carry no legal weight; they can establish no precedent in law. Corporate personhood, Mr. Hartmann discovered, is simply and unequivocally illegitimate.

The court reporter for Santa Clara County was Mr. John Chandler Bancroft Davis, a graduate of Harvard Law School.

Mr. Hartman has in his personal library 12 books by Davis, mostly original editions. They display Davis's close alliance with the railroad industry, and they support persuasively Mr. Hartmann's argument that Davis injected the personhood statement deliberately, to achieve by deceit what corporations had so far failed to achieve in litigation.

If Davis knew his headnote was legally sterile, though, we can only speculate about his tactics. Perhaps he thought judges in the future would read his headnote as if it could serve as legal precedent, and would thereafter invoke corporate personhood in rendering court decisions. That would be grossly irregular, and it would place corporate personhood in stupendous legal jeopardy if it ever came to light. But something of that sort must have happened, because corporate personhood over time spread throughout the world of commerce - and politics.

Mr. Hartmann doesn't fill in this blank, but his daylighting of the irregularity will be the eventual undoing of corporate personhood. Its alleged source in Santa Clara County is a myth, a lie, a fraud. Corporate personhood simply cannot now survive, after Mr. Hartmann's book, a rigorous and sustained legal attack.

Sustained it will have to be, for years or decades or even longer: corporations will fight the attack bitterly, but we now know corporate personhood has utterly no basis in law.


Richard W. Behan's current book is Plundered Promise: Capitalism, Politics, and the Fate of the Federal Lands (Island Press, 2001). For a description of the book, a synopsis, and further information, go to http://www.rockisland.com/~rwbehan/

Mr. Behan is currently working on a more broadly rendered critique, Derelict Democracy: A Primer On the Corporate Seizure of America's Agenda. He can be reached by email at rwbehan@rockisland.com. For more on Mr. Hartmann's book, see http://unequalprotection.com




3.

New Chairman Of 9/11 Commission Had Business Ties With Osama's Brother In Law

Now you would think that being a business partner of the brother in law and alleged financier of 'Enemy No. 1' would be considered a bona fide 'conflict of interest', particularly when your mandate --as part of the 9/11 Commission's work-- is to investigate 'Enemy No. 1'.

by Michel Chossudovsky globalresearch.ca

From: http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/CHO212A.html

27 december 2002

Unknown to most, UNOCAL's partner in the Cent-Gas trans-Afghan pipeline consortium, the Saudi Company Delta Oil is owned by the bin Mahfouz and Al-Amoudi clans which allegedly have ties to bin Laden's Al Qaeda.

According to a 1998 Senate testimony of former CIA director James Woolsey, powerful financier Khalid bin Mahfouz' younger sister is married to Osama bin Laden,. (US Senate, Senate Judiciary Committee, Federal News Service, 3 Sept. 1998, See also Wayne Madsen, Questionable Ties, In These Times,12 Nov. 2001 )

Bin Mahfouz is suspected to have funnelled millions of dollars to the Al Qaeda network.(See Tom Flocco, Scoop.co.nz 28 Aug. 2002)

Now, 'by sheer coincidence', former New Jersey governor Thomas Kean, the man chosen by President Bush to lead the 9/11 commission also has business ties with bin Mahfouz and Al-Amoudi.

Thomas Kean is a director (and shareholder) of Amerada Hess Corporation , which is involved in the Hess-Delta joint venture with Delta Oil of Saudi Arabia (owned by the bin Mahfouz and Al-Amoudi clans). Delta-Hess 'was established in 1998 for the development and exploration of oil fields in the Caspian region...In Azerbaijan Delta Hess is involved in the Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli PSA (2.72%) and the Garabaghli-Kursangi PSA (20%). It is also an equity holder in the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil pipeline':

'An air of mystery hangs over Delta- Hess, which... is registered in the Cayman Islands. Hess is in no hurry to reveal the terms of the alliance, which it says are subject to confidentiality clauses. 'There's no reason why this should be public information,' a Hess spokesman says.' -(Energy Compass, 15 Nov. 2002)

Coincidentally, the former Governor of New Jersey is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, together with another prominent member of the board of directors of Amerada Hess, former Secretary of the Treasury Nicholas Brady:

In other words, Delta Oil Ltd. of Saudi Arabia --which is a partner in the Hess-Delta Alliance--is in part controlled by Khalid bin Mafhouz, Osama's brother in law.

And former Governor Thomas Kean not only sits on the board of directors of a company which has business dealings with Khalid bin Mahfouz, he also heads the 9/11 Commission, which has a mandate to investigate Khalid's brother in law, Osama bin Laden.

Dr. Kissinger had a conflict of interest and resigned! The vice chairman of the Commission, former Sen. George Mitchell of Maine, resigned for the same reason. (See Xymphora, 19 Dec 2002 )

Now you would think that being a business partner of the brother in law and alleged financier of 'Enemy No. 1' would also be considered a bona fide 'conflict of interest', particularly when your mandate --as part of the 9/11 Commission's work-- is to investigate 'Enemy No. 1'.

And the corporate media applauds. Without acknowledging his Saudi business connections, Thomas Kean is heralded as 'a man of extraordinary integrity, decency and intellect.' In the words of the Baltimore Sun: 'he lacks obvious conflicts of interest' (26 Dec.2002). To which I respond: 'how more obvious can you get'!

It is also worth mentioning that Thomas Kean also sits as co-chairman of the Homeland Security Project (HSP) under the auspices of the Century Foundation. In this capacity, Kean has played a key role in the draft recommendations of the Century Foundation, which laid the groundwork of the Office of Homeland Security legislation.




4.

Date: Tue, 31 Dec 2002
From: "John T. Linnell" <integrity@simantha.com>
Subject: Airport Security, NAZIMERICA

At least this kind of behaviour should make a lot of tourists wary of visiting the 4th Reich, (Nazimerica). The 70 year old in this story should be given a medal. Please pass this on to everyone on your lists.

"A friend living in the Midwest was listening to National Public Radio (NPR) early yesterday morning (12/29/2002) when he heard the following news item.

A grandmother in her late 70's was at an airport on the west coast. The grandmother was riding in a wheelchair and when the airport security people used a metal detection wand to check her out, there was a beep due to her belt buckle.

The security people asked her to take off her belt and she told them that if she took off her belt, her pants would fall down. The security people then began pulling her up forcefully and trying to take off the grandmother's belt. The grandmother picked up her cane and hit one of the security men who was frisking her; she started talking loudly and saying, none of this would be happening if your boss, the Shrub, had not ordered the 9/11 attacks and killed all those people. I'm going to sue Continental Airlines and the airport and I'm going to get billions and give it to the victims of 9/11! A crowd was gathering around to listen to the 70+ year old grandmother's comments, and the security personnel backed off and left her alone!

More and more people are learning the truth about 9/11 and I am happy to hear that National Public Radio ran this news item. For those of you who do not know, the term the Shrub is referring to Bush Jr.; Shrub is a code name some people use for Bush Jr (The Moron alias IQ80)."




5.

Date: Mon, 06 Jan 2003
From: "John T. Linnell" <integrity@simantha.com>
Subject: Nice new weapons for Portland Police and others

Seen what the Americans are up to now. More lovely weapons which you can bet outfits like the Portland Police will try to get. After all, why shoot a baby with a rubber bullet or pepper spray them in the face when you can just sit back and boil them in their own skins.

Think I'm kidding?? Read the article then take action to get this insanity stopped.

From: http://www.observer.co.uk/international/story/0,6903,825082,00.html

Army's secret 'people zapper' plans

Antony Barnett, public affairs editor

November 3, 2002

The Observer

Britain has been involved in secret talks with the United States over the development of so-called non-lethal weapons, including lasers that blind the enemy and microwave systems that cook the skin of human targets.

The Observer has established that British and US military leaders met at the Ministry of Defence HQ in London to discuss the operational benefits of such technology when used as a 'persuasive tool' against people from enemy regimes.

Documents obtained under the US Freedom of Information Act detail talks about battlefield uses of the weapons and whether they could be used to back up economic sanctions against target countries. The weapons include lasers that can blind and stun an enemy and cut through metal to disable vehicles.

Another weapon discussed was a system that uses microwave beams to heat the water in human skin in the same way as a microwave oven cooks a meal. The third category of weapons was the use of gases similar to those deployed to end the terrorist siege in a Moscow theatre, which killed more than 100 hostages.

The disclosures prompted demands last night from opposition politicians for a full statement on Britain's involvement in developing such weapons. Opposition MPs and campaigners believe the fact that the military is considering developing and using these weapons in war or as a tool to threaten other states breaches a number of international arms and humanitarian treaties.

Menzies Campbell, foreign affairs spokesman for the Liberal Democrats, called on the Government to 'come clean' on Britain's involvement and will demand Foreign Secretary Jack Straw gives details.

'These reports have serious implications,' Campbell said. 'If Britain and American are together seeking to exploit loopholes in existing international arms convention, our credibility will be severely undermined. Suggestions that we use such weapons as part of any sanctions programme is a level of policy which must be discussed on the House of Commons.'

British personnel at the secret meeting with the US military included Vice Admiral Sir Jeremy Blackham and Dr Martin Hubbard, who heads the non-lethal weapons research programme at Porton Down, Wiltshire. US officers included Major General Bice, deputy commander of the US Marines in Europe, and Brigadier-General Richard Zilmer, deputy director of US operations at European Command Headquarters.

The documents reveal the full scope of the new weapons programmes that the US military is developing. The first was high-power microwave technology that cooks an enemy's skin. Its military name is the Vehicle-Mounted Active Denial System (V-Mads), but it has already been nicknamed the People Zapper. It works by harnessing electromagnetic power to fire an invisible pulse of energy at light speed towards a target. The beam causes the water molecules under the skin to vibrate violently, producing heat and discomfort. Scientists believe the system could heat a person's skin to about 130 degrees in two seconds.

The US delegation admits there might be problems with legal claims by victims.

The documents reveal that both the British and US military believe laser beams have a 'number of potential applications and desirable attributes as a non-lethal weapon'. They are impressed that laser guns can be 'tunable' either to stun or kill. Although laser weapons that permanently blind are banned under international law, the documents show officials are studying low-energy lasers that blind temporarily and others that produce a stunning effect.

The classified document, which is an 'assessment report' of a meeting that took place on 30 November 2000, admits the term 'non-lethal' was inaccurate.'




6.

Sent by "Mark Graffis" <mgraffis@hotmail.com>

GM Crops are Breeding with Plants in the Wild

Published on December 29, 2002 by the lndependent/UK

by Geoffrey Lean

Alarming new results from official trials of GM crops are severely jeopardizing Government plans for growing them commercially in Britain.

The results, in a new Government report, show - for the first time in Britain - that genes from GM crops are interbreeding on a large scale with conventional ones, and also with weeds.

The report is so devastating to the Government's case for GM crops that ministers last week sought to bury it by slipping the first information on it out on the website of the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) on Christmas Eve, the one day in the year when no newspapers are being prepared.

Even then, the department published only a heavily edited summary of the main report. Unusually, the full report, which will contain much more devastating detail, was withheld from publication on the website. Defra said it was available on request, but when The Independent on Sunday tried to ask for it last week, the department said no one was available to provide it.

The report, the result of six years of monitoring of GM crops in Britain, is particularly politically explosive and it gives the first results from the official farm-scale trials, which ministers have been running to test the suitability of growing GM crops in Britain.

The Government has repeatedly said that the results of the trials would settle the question of whether GM crops endangered the environment but - perhaps because it knew what the research had found - it has been downplaying their significance in recent weeks.

The trials - originally set up to buy time in the face of strong public hostility to the crops - were not designed to look at the possibility of genes from GM crops contaminating nearby plants, but focused on the effects of different uses of pesticides on GM and non-GM plants. But, after this was criticized, studies of this "gene flow" were bolted on.

The report covers true studies carried out between 1994 and 2000 by the National Institute of Agricultural Botany and the Laboratory of the Government Chemist. It shows that genes from GM oil seed rape, specially engineered to be resistant to herbicides, contaminated conventional crops as far as 200 yards away.

Equally alarmingly, GM oil seed rape that escaped from a crop harvested in 1996 persisted for at least four years, until studies ended in 2000.

In another case, the report adds: "It was found that some combine harvesters were not cleaned after the harvesting of the GM crop," and "subsequently flushed out'' the GM seed on to ground intended for conventional crops "causing contamination of this field."

Most worryingly of all, the report shows that the GM crop readily interbred with a weed, wild turnip, giving it resistance to herbicides and thus raising the prospect of the development of "super weeds".

The report concludes that the research "indicates that commercial-scale releases of GM oil seed rape in future could pollinate other crops and wild turnip".

Other studies from elsewhere in the world have shown that interbreeding occurs, and English Nature, the Government's wildlife watchdog, has said super weeds will "inevitably" emerge in Britain if GM crops are grown commercially.

In a commentary also published by Defra on Christmas Eve, the official advisory committee on releases to the environment said that the contamination was "entirely within expectations".

The committee added that "in itself" gene flow did not constitute a risk to the environment. But Pete Riley of Friends of the Earth said the results showed that if GM crops became widespread, almost all similar crops would inevitably become contaminated, severely threatening organic agriculture. He added: "It is not surprising that the Government has tried to cover up this report.

"It shows that we need to know a great deal more about these issues before we even contemplate growing GM crops commercially."




SUBSCRIPTION TO THE EARTH RAINBOW NETWORK E-LIST

If you would like to subscribe to the Earth Rainbow Network automated listserver and regularly receive similar compilations covering a broad range of subjects, including each new Meditation Focus issued every two week, please click on this SUBSCRIPTION page.





BACK TO THE FIRST HOME PAGE OF THIS SITE