Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"
Date: Thu, 19 Nov 1998 00:12:50 +0100
From: Richard Wolfson <email@example.com>
X-MIME-Autoconverted: from quoted-printable to 8bit by smv06.globecomm.net
I am told that this website has essays from most of the leading sceintists
who are critical of GE
Fired rBGH Investigative Reporters Get Ethics Award (Please Post)
LOS ANGELES (October 24, 1998). Former WTVT investigative reporters Jane
Akre and Steve Wilson have received one of the top honors in journalism for
standing up to the station when they say they were ordered to broadcast
false and misleading news reports.
The national Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) presented the
husband-and-wife team its Award for Ethics at the group's annual conference
Saturday in Los Angeles. It was only the _____ time the group has bestowed
such an ethics honor in its 89-year history. In presenting the honor, SPJ
President Fred Brown said the award recognizes those individuals who,
through their actions and decisions, provide a role model for all
"(Jane Akre and Steve Wilson) actually lost their jobs for refusing to
incorporate false information into an investigative story about bovine
growth hormone," Brown said, "and then waged a post-employment campaign to
make sure the record was set straight in the case." The two received a
standing ovation in the cavernous hotel ballroom packed with journalists
from around the country.
Akre and Wilson were both fired by Fox-owned Channel 13 in Tampa just
before Christmas of last year. They filed a lawsuit April 2, claiming they
were dismissed for refusing to following orders to broadcast what they knew
and documented to be false and misleading reports about the presence of a
potentially deadly hormone they discovered in the milk supply throughout
Florida and elsewhere.
The journalists have charged Fox managers and lawyers ordered them to lie
and slant their reports in wake of two threatening letters from a lawyer
representing the Monsanto company which makes the hormone in question.
Their state court whistleblower complaint details how Monsanto directed
its strong-arm pressure to kill or influence the story to Fox News chief
Roger Ailes. He reportedly passed it along to Rupert Murdoch's Fox
Television Stations division which owns and operates Channel 13.
"We are both humbled and heartened by this unexpected honor," says Akre.
Her co-plaintiff Steve Wilson added, "A WTVT producer testified under oath
in a deposition just last week that Jane and I have terrible reputations at
WTVT. This was especially troubling in light of the fact neither of us ever
worked with this woman. In fact, for the entire year we were there, we
essentially worked alone and could never get our best work on the air
without misleading the viewers, which we refused to do. "Our lawsuit was
never about a simple employment dispute, as some local journalists seem
inclined to believe without taking the time to really look into the
facts," Wilson said.
"As proud as we are to receive this award, its real significance is that
our peers at SPJ reviewed the situation on their own and saw the issue the
same as we: to what extent can viewers and readers be served if journalists
anywhere start giving into pressure to falsify or slant their reports?" he
Wilson and Akre are also in the process of preparing a formal complain to
the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) asking for a full and complete
investigation into the character of a licensee who would order journalists
to use the public airwaves to present news reports known to be false or
slanted. The 13,500-member SPJ represents journalists throughout America
and is dedicated to encouraging the free practice of journalism,
stimulating high standards of ethical behavior, and perpetuating a free
press. Respected Washington Post columnist David Broder also received an
ethics award at the conference. Broder was cited for lifetime acheivement.
KOKH-TV in Oklahoma City received an aware for its reports examining its
own and other media coverage of the federal building bombing
Thanks to MichaelP <firstname.lastname@example.org> for forwarding this:
Skyrocketing brit opposition to gen-manipulated foods
Genetic food facing crisis
Leaked internal documents show leading company's concern over
'skyrocketing' public opposition
By John Vidal and David Hencke
Guardian (london) Wednesday November 18, 1998
Monsanto, the world's leading genetic food company, is facing public
meltdown in Britain and Germany with a "society-wide" collapse of support
for its radical technologies, according to leaked internal documents.
Amid deepening media problems, and resentment by supermarkets, only senior
civil servants and (mostly Labour) MPs have shown growing support for
Monsanto's controversial technologies in the past year.
Two internal documents, leaked to Greenpeace and confirmed by Monsanto last
night as genuine, say that the company should now consider crisis
management. A company spokesman said Monsanto "was not at the moment
considering pulling out" of either country, but that it was concerned at
While many independent polls have shown the British public to be wary of
the introduction of genetically modified foods, this is the first internal
company analysis to have been made public. Monsanto's latest polls and
focus groups, according to the documents, show that an earlier collapse of
support for GM foods has now accelerated with public opposition
"skyrocketing", despite a £1 million advertising campaign.
"At each point we keep thinking that we have reached the low point... but
we apparently have not," writes the author of the papers, Stan Greenberg, a
US poll adviser who has worked for President Clinton, Tony Blair and German
Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.
Monsanto's strategy in Britain is shown to have been to try to persuade "a
socio-economic elite" of the benefits of the technology, so that they would
in turn lead others into accepting foods with GM ingredients. The only
progress it says it has made in the past year is with the political elite,
"upper-level civil servants and MPs", many of whom it is known to have met.
"Media reporting on biotechnology has been particularly difficult in
Britain," says Greenberg, "with key papers and reporters waging a campaign
on GM foods."
Greenberg recommends the company should prepare for a crisis in Germany,
where Monsanto says support for GM foods is lower than anywhere else in
Daniel Verakis of Monsanto in London said last night: "This information is
not new or different to what has already been said."
In a further development, the Ministry of Agriculture has bowed to pressure
from the biotechnology industry and abandoned plans to insist on full-scale
crop trials for genetically modified crops.
New regulations being rushed through Parliament halve the number of trials
needed to test new plant and seed varieties - drastically cutting the
amount of information collected by the ministry before the crops can go on
sale to the public.
The regulations follow the threat of legal action from the industry - and
are contrary to the Government's original intention to regulate new
varieties. Objections to government plans have been lodged by the National
Farmers Union, the Country Landowners Association, the Lincolnshire Seed
Growers' Association and Friends of the Earth. But Lord Donoughue,
parliamentary under-secretary at MAFF, has overruled complaints by tabling
The Liberal Democrats are to try and block the changes - and objections to
the Government's new regulations are to be tabled by Norman Baker, Liberal
Democrat MP for Lewes. Mr Baker said yesterday: "There is a case for more
tests on new genetically modified seeds, not fewer."
The new rules abolish the need for seed trials to be replicated - causing
concern in the NFU that new varieties could be grown in Britain based on
Pete Riley, food campaigner for Friends of the Earth, said: "Genetic
engineering is a new and still unpredictable technology. To halve the
amount of data needed is not only weak but in total contempt of public
** NOTICE: In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is
distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in
receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. **
>From the Independent 13 Nov 98
3) Scientists create a cow-human hybrid
By Steve Connor, Science Editor
Scientists have fused the nucleus of a human cell with an egg cell taken
>from a cow to create the world's first embryonic clone of an adult man.
The human-cow hybrid did not survive beyond a few days but it developed to
the stage of a 32-cell embryo in an experiment that has far- reaching
ethical implications. An American biotechnology company, Advanced Cell
Technology (ACT), based in Worcester, Massachusetts, yesterday stunned the
scientific community by announcing in a press statement that it had created
the hybrid embryo three years ago >from the cells of one of its own
The company's aim was to generate human embryonic "stem cells", which are
the vital progenitor cells of all the body's many different tissues.
"This advance, based on fusing a human somatic [non- reproductive] cell
with a bovine egg cell from which the nucleus has been removed, may enable
the production of an unlimited supply of such stem cells for transplant
medicine," the company said.
Although it is thought unlikely that a human-cow hybrid embryo would ever
be able tobe implanted in a womb and develop normally, the research will
raise fears that the company may be pioneering a form of human cloning.
However Michael West, ACT's president and chief executive officer, denied
that the research would lead to the full cloning of an adult. "We will not
use this technology to clone human beings," he said yesterday.
The research, which has not been published in a scientific journal, was
performed by Jose Cibelli, an Argentine-born scientist at the University of
Massachusetts, which has a commercial link with ACT. Dr Cibelli took 52 of
his own cells - either white blood cells or skin cells >from the inside of
his cheek - and fused each with a cow egg. Most failed to thrive, according
to a New York Times report, but one embryo grew and divided five times.
Dr Cibelli and his university colleague James Robl, who is well known in
the area of animal cloning, have filed patents on the process with ACT
controlling the commercial rights.
Asked if he was concerned about destroying 52 potential twins of himself,
Dr Cibelli told The New York Times: "I never thought about it. But if you
use your own cells to treat a disease you may have, you are not taking
cells from another person selfishly."
Scientists Reject Hormone Growth in Cattle
By Mark Bourrie OTTAWA, Nov 15 (IPS) - Environmentalist are supporting six
government scientists who blew the whistle on politicians and chemical
industry executives trying to pressure them into approving the use of
cattle growth hormones in Canada.
Growth hormones such as recombinant bovine Somatotropin (rBST) have been in
use in the United States for five years but cannot be used here until
approved by 'Health Canada' - the Canadian Department of Health. Although
banned, traces of rBST have turned up in milk and cheese here as local
farmers apparently have bought the hormone in U.S. border towns and
smuggled it into Canada.
When the six scientists at Health Canada balked and went public with
stories about the pressure being put on them to approve rBST, senior
managers in the department created two scientific panels to look into the
issue - one comprised of veterinarians, the other appointed by the Royal
College of Physicians and Surgeons. Opponents of the panels say that one of
the "independent" scientists on the phsyicians and surgeons panel is
Rejeanne Gougeon, a nutritionist at McGill University in Montreal. She,
according to her curriculum vitae, has worked as a consultant for a U.S.
agrichemical firm inbolved in producing rBST Elzabeth May, executive
director of the Sierra Club of Canada, says the six scientists, who have
taken their complaints to a civil service arbitration panel, have risked
their careers to expose the pressure being applied to approve new drugs.
''The crux of their complaint and their grievance is that the health of
Canadians is being compromised by a culture of approvals within Health
Canada,'' she said. ''They're under pressure to approve pharmaceuticals,
pressure to approve verterinary drugs, pressure to approve substances that
get into the food supplies of Canadians before adequate testing. There are
some very serious allegations that have been made.'' May says the six
scientists came forward after a series of drugs and growth hormones were
approved despite warnings from government scientists.
For example the growth hormone 'Revelor H', which is intended to improve
beef production, was ''approved over the objections of three Health Canada
scientists who believed there was not yet adequate evidence that this
growth hormone was safe to be in our food supply,'' she said. ''This was
while Canada was before the world trade organization challenging the
European ban of beef hormones. Political interference and pressure from
the manufacturer got Revelor H approved before it should have been.''
May's organization has called for a public inquiry into the way Health
Canada approves drugs.
The Canadian government denies the allegations made by the scientists.
Health minister allan Rock told the Canadian Parliament that his ministry
has not yet approved rBST and will not do so until it is proven to be safe.
But Maude Barlow, director of the Council of Canadians - a group that
fights against free trade and the growing power of transnational
corporations - says that the Canadian government is giving up its power
over public health.
''We believe that Health Canada, under tremendous pressure from the drug
industry, is about to approve this dangerous drug,'' she says. ''Their
bosses may have ordered the scientists not to speak about it publicly, but
they have been brave enough to come forward.'' Quoting from a Health
Canada document, Barlow said the government wants to make Canada ''the
prefered place of business from a regulatory point of view.'' It has
ordered drug regulators ''to advocate the strategic interests of our
industrial clients...no longer the Canadian public, but the person or
company who pays for the service,'' she says. ''Very simply, the health
protection branch of the government of Canada is being dismantled and now
directly serves transnational food, drug and chemical corporations.
Scientists are forced to approve drugs that are not safe for animal or
''Food inspection has been given over to a new agency whose mandate is to
promote trade, not to protect health. In simple language, this is the
corporatization of the government of Canada's health protection branch so
that no one will be in charge of animal or human health.'' The panel
hearings are expected to last for several months. (END/IPS/mb/mk/98)
Richard Wolfson, PhD
Consumer Right to Know Campaign,
for Mandatory Labelling and Long-term
Testing of all Genetically Engineered Foods,
500 Wilbrod Street
Ottawa, ON Canada K1N 6N2
tel. 613-565-8517 fax. 613-565-1596
Our website, http://www.natural-law.ca/genetic/geindex.html
contains more information on genetic engineering as well as
previous genetic engineering news items
Subscription fee to genetic engineering news is $35 for 12 months
See website for details.
--Dan in Sunny Puerto Rico--
To Unsubscribe: Email email@example.com with "unsubscribe sanet-mg".
To Subscribe to Digest: Email firstname.lastname@example.org with the command