Brown Stuff

Brian Small bjsmalld at
Tue Aug 17 21:56:56 PDT 1999

Jim Heartfield wrote
>Brian is confusing the political issue with the scientific. Is there any
>evidence that the products concerned are dangerous? That would be

I do see the GM issue as mostly political. I first got interested in it after reading an article in the Z archives ( ) about a pulped issue of _The Ecologist_. Andthen I ran across a couple Rachel's Environmental Weekly articles on Genetic Engineering. All the material in my last post that rises above the "semi-literate" mark was probably lifted from a couple different issues of Rachel's ( ). The FDA "smear" was something I pasted in.

I tried to separate the pasted sections from my comments with the URL but it may not have been clear. If I come across any "copper-bottomed" scientific evidence of GM danger I'll post it.

Rachel's number 586 is about the precautionary principle.

"1. People have a duty to take anticipatory action to prevent harm. (As one participant at the Wingspread meeting summarized the essence of the precautionary principle, "If you have a reasonable suspicion that something bad might be going to happen, you have an obligation to try to stop it.")

"2. The burden of proof of harmlessness of a new technology, process, activity, or chemical lies with the proponents, not with the general public.

3. Before using a new technology, process, or chemical, or starting a new activity, people have an obligation to examine "a full range of alternatives" including the alternative of doing nothing.

4. Decisions applying the precautionary principle must be "open, informed, and democratic" and "must include affected parties."


Maybe Jim Heartfield sees GM opposition as a knee-jerk reaction against science. I see a lot of it as opposition to large corporate power that deserves at least a nod of approval if not more substantial support. (Looks like Jim Heartfield has more immediate concerns with the RUC in Ireland.) I got lost with the "Zionist Occupation" reference but flouride may be another case a failure to examine "alternatives. I haven't looked into, just heard murmurs about people avoiding it, though not for "Conspiracy" reasons.

JIm Hearfield also wrote
> Brian should check the facts. Monsanto did patent the terminator
>gene. But it has not introduced it

I thought the terminator gene was developed by a small company with lots of tax-payer money and then that company was bought by Monsanto. Was the technology patented after Monsanto bought out the company that did the original research? Where do you get your facts about Genetic Engineeering that give you so much confidence?

Monsanto seems to be bullying its way over any concerns about the new technology. That's what bothered me before any scientific debate. " ** A Monsanto official told the NEW YORK TIMES that the corporation should not have to take responsibility for the safety of its food products. "Monsanto should not have to vouchsafe the safety of biotech food," said Phil Angell, Monsanto's director of corporate communications. "Our interest is in selling as much of it as possible. Assuring its safety is the FDA's job," Angell said. "

This attitude along with the FDA "smear" information should be cause for concern.

The potential for GM danger made me nervous to just let organizations whose only concern is profit, to go and do whatever the hell they want with it. Not that I've done anything but become a member of Japan's A Seed. Thanks to whoever it was that posted the list of organizations concerned about the WTO.

Maybe some of the people that read a lot of Noam Chomsky's work can help me out here. He talks about the necessity of the authorities to rationalize (explain?) their power. The interview I read he used an example of keeping a three year old from running across the street. It seemed to me like powerful Monsanto as a proponent of GM should spend more time verifying it's safety and explaining its necessity.

One of the other Rachel's talks about the potatoe listed as a pesticide and sold in supermarkets with no labeling. It's inbetween FDA and EPA jurisdictions. It has the BT bug-killing gene in it, scientists fed the bacteria to mice with no ill-effects so they figured the potato would be allright. No direct tests on the potatoe. " In any case, it is crystal clear that genetically-engineered products need extensive testing before their effects can be understood. The simple view, that genes control only one characteristic of a bacterium, plant or animal has been shown to be false. Genes contain a potential that can be expressed in various ways, depending upon the environment in which the gene grows. Thus a gene may develop in one way in one environment and another way in another environment. Testing in one environment may not reveal what the gene will do when it finds itself in another environment. This has been demonstrated elegantly by Craig Holdrege in his book, GENETICS AND THE MANIPULATION OF LIFE: THE FORGOTTEN FACTOR OF CONTEXT.[12]


Just above this little snip they talk about inconclusive evidence that

a "new EMS disease revealed that people with the disease most likely got it from L-tryptophan produced by the fifth genetically- engineered version of a bacteria " Not "copper-bottomed" but what's the rush?

When, if, the world market is socialized GM might make more sense - I have my doubts. In the mean time is trying to slow things down a bit all that bad?


PS Yet another half-assed post, I think Carl is doing a better job

on GM and wanted to go back to lurking but I was afraid I inadvertently

plagairized Rachel's Environment and Health Weekly.

PS All the Orwell info was great, this LBO list never ceases to impress, enlighten and stimulate. It expands the vocabulary too, "pruitogenic" and "demotic" not to mention "Kulak."

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