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US Out Of Step With 'Civil' Society Again

US refusal to agree on draft accord on biological weapons of mass destruction exposes its own commercial interests in patented pathogenic organisms.

The only country to reject the draft accord, the US, apparently did so for commercial reasons. US negotiator Donald A. Mahley said it put "national security and confidential business information at risk.''

This supports the trials the US is already carrying out with patented genetically modified organisms around the world, many of which can be described as bio-weapons. A scientific report, commissioned by the US Army, was released in June, outlining a large range of military "opportunities" in biotech possibilities, including brain implants, real- time monitoring of gene expression and performance-enhancing drugs. Some items on the list raise ethical problems.

In April 2001,(copy attached) 100 civil society organizations from 28 countries called on all governments to reinforce the global ban on biological weapons. The US decision can be again to be seen as flying in face of public and scientific perspectives. The Royal Commission report released on Friday has reviewed ethical issues surrounding genetic engineering which may well include references to the use and abuse of genetic bio-weapons.

"The NZ government should look carefully at decisions on the future of corporate funded research in our Crown Research Institutes and universities as a matter of urgency," said Susie Lees of GE Free NZ, "since many are sponsored by overseas interests. Last year over 130 unauthorised GE experiments were found in an ERMA audit."

Michael Ladisch, a director and biotech researcher at Purdue University, wants the military to think seriously about biotech, and is hoping to equip the Pentagon with the expertise to determine important research projects.

Companies like Monsanto who produced chemical weapons such as Agent Orange, are now producing GE crops, which include terminator technology which may threaten world security. Other new technologies being developed will require certain chemical applications to initiate growth of crops. These types of living patented products have spread uncontrollably over the past few years. The main U.S. concern,that the draft accord did not protect corporate 'commercially sensitive information.'

Field trials of GM crops, plants with human genes inserted, and others engineered with an interleukin genes have been carried out.(1) Interleukin genes may spread by pollen to crop plants and weeds consumed by human beings, livestock as well as wild mammals. Insects feeding on plants producing GM pharmaceuticals are eaten by birds and mammals.

Interleukins may promote viral disease spread or viruses may pick up the interleukin gene from the GM crops, to become more lethal. In secret sites around the world they may first become apparent as new virulent diseases emerge.

Genetically modified fungi purported to control the supply of drugs have been trialled in Tashkent and new strains of pathogenic viruses and bacteria are regularly produced in the laboratory.

``It does close the chapter on 6 years of negotiation,'' Indian Ambassador Rakesh Sood said. ``Whether it closes the book or not we don't know.'' A retired UK government biological weapons expert feared the United States was making a big mistake.

(1)ISIS Report - July 19, 2001.GM AIDS Virus More Deadly.The Institute of Science in Society www.i-sis.org

Ends


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