Published in Brighton by Justice?
- Brighton's Direct Action collective
ISSUE 252, FRIDAY
24th MARCH, 2000
“ If Phosmet is proven to have caused BSE, the worldwide use of organophosphates
(OPs) could be put into jeopardy, costing the chemical industry billions. The
government know more than they’re letting on. They’ve stuck to the scrapie theory
to placate people and give the impression they’ve got it under control.”
Whoever the monkeys have been at the top of the tree, the Party line has stayed the same. Mad Cow Disease came about by feeding scrapie infected meat and bone meal to cows. But one West Country farmer has a different theory. One that the authorities and the pesticide producers have gone to great to lengths to silence.
Since 1982 British farmers have been forced by law to treat their cows for warble fly with a pour on organophosphate called phosmet - originally formulated as a weapon by nazi chemists during World War II. Big business soon realised its profit potential and, post war, it was exclusively marketed as an agricultural pesticide by ICI, and later their cunningly renamed subdivision Zeneca. Seeing how his own organically reared cows never developed BSE, but phosmet-treated cattle brought onto the farm did, Somerset dairy farmer Mark Purdey refused to treat his herd. In 1984 MAFF took him to the High Court, but lost.
“Before 1982 farmers could treat warbles with an organic ground-up root compound called Derris. This was outlawed, so they could sell more organophosphates,” said Purdey. Organophosphates, used to treat headlice in school children, have been implicated as a potential cause of Gulf War Syndrome. Purdey managed to alleviate symptoms in a BSE infected cow by injecting oxime, an antidote to pesticide poisoning. The cure was never completed as MAFF turned up and destroyed the cow. Unconvinced by the accepted cause of BSE and CJD, Purdey set about studying how disease clusters reflected OP usage. He found Britain, the only country enforcing phosmet use, to have the highest rate of disease. Ireland had some BSE, but OP use was voluntary, and given at a lower dose. Brittany (France) began to develop BSE following an enforced phosmet trial, and human new variant CJD was clustered in Kent’s Wield Valley, where hop and top fruit growth gets saturated with organophosphates.
Agitated by Purdey’s discoveries, the pesticide industry hit back. The dubiously named National Office of Animal Health (NOAH), a lobby group representing the UK animal medicine industry, whose membership reads like a Downing St dinner party invite list of extremely dodgy chemical interests - including Bayer, Monsanto, Novartis, Pfizer, Roche, Schering-Plough etc - published documents discrediting Purdey’s work. NOAH produced an independent expert, Dr David Ray, for the BSE Inquiry, who turned out to be receiving funding from Zeneca for his Medical Research Council toxicology unit. “I don’t think this affected my judgement,” Ray told SchNEWS. “You may not believe it, but I didn’t realise Zeneca produced phosmet at the time.” Hmmm. In March 1996 - one week before the UK government admitted to a link between BSE and new variant CJD - Zeneca sold the phosmet patent to a PO Box company in the Arizona desert. As Ray said: “Zeneca are not keen to be sued.”
Whether Purdey is a genius or a paranoiac, MAFF’s continued reluctance to explore the OP link to BSE is significant. “Anyone with a suitable proposal can approach MAFF for funding,” a spokesman told SchNEWS. However, Brown had to stop his research for lack of cash, as did another chemist, conducting similar tests, a year ago.
More sinister is the attention Purdey, and those who have taken up his theory, has received. His house mysteriously burnt down, and a barn collapsed onto his science library. He’s been shot at, and following the publication of a 1993 Independent article, he awoke to find his telephone lines cut - preventing him receiving follow up media calls. Strangers, with in depth knowledge of his movements appear on his farm, freak his wife out and tail him when he travels. The solicitor who defended Purdey’s High Court action died when his car went inexplicably out of control. Purdey’s vet (who said this theory should be taken seriously) was killed in what the local rag described as: “Mystery vet death riddle,” when his car was ‘magnetised’ into the front of an oncoming lorry on a clear straight road. “I’m easier to marginalise as a crank,” says Purdey. “But these people were professionals.”
Anyone familiar with the start of the anti nuclear movement may recall the discrediting of Alice Stewart, who discovered the link between radiation and cancer. Scientists who aligned themselves with her had their cars rammed off the road. In 1978 four children belonging to anti-herbicide activist Carol Van Strum were killed in a house fire in Five Rivers, USA.
Purdey has managed to secure an April meeting with Food Safety Minister, Baroness
Hayman. MAFF are at last wishing to at least appear to be listening...or are
they? David Ray described the parts of the theory as ‘implausible’. Though perhaps
more plausible than Ray’s own recent appointment to the Veterinary Medicines
Committee - the ‘independent body’ responsible for ensuring the safety of chemicals
such as phosmet.
Spare a thought for Tory MP for Suffolk Central, Michael Lord, who had a spot of bother with some local yokels. He owns land near Bedford that is home to the rare great crested grebe, and had twice previously failed to get planning permission to build 35 houses there. So, like all good direct activists who are sick of state bureaucracy, the former tree surgeon decided to take matters into his own hands, and turned up with a JCB to get to work trashing the land. Unfortunately over 50 locals, the cops, fire brigade, and local TV turned up while he was working. Apparently the trees have preservation orders on them, and locals didn’t want more development in their village. Some dodgy individuals also slashed the JCB’s tires and put a brick through the MP’s car window, so he got a bit annoyed and threatened to sue the local TV station! The local council are currently deciding whether or not to prosecute over the felling of the trees.
“Mayday is Green - because it is the arrival of Spring, an ancient festival of renewal, hope and transformation, celebrated for thousands of years right across the Western Hemisphere; it is Black because the struggle for the 8 hour day came to a head with an enormous strike across the US on May 1st 1886 and the consequent execution of some of its anarchist organisers was to be a turning point in late 19th century radical politics; and it is Red because four years later in 1889 MayDay was adopted as Workers’ Day by the International Labour Congress and has been celebrated across the world ever since.”
May 1st is the next big date for your diaries. The next co-ordinated day of anti-capitalist action across the globe, following on from the fine tradition of the global street parties in May ’98 (SchNEWS 168), the world’s financial districts on June18th (SchNews 217/8), and the demonstrations against the World Trade Organisation last November (SchNEWS 240).
Digging for Victory with Reclaim The Streets: “Guerrilla gardening is a way to reclaim open space, protect biodiversity, enhance food security and challenge capitalism. Bring with you everything you need to make a Guerrilla Garden: a sapling, vegetable seedlings, flowers, herbs. Subvert the packaging of capital: turn designer trainers into plant pots, traffic cones into hanging baskets... Start planting NOW!”
Meet 11am Parliament Square. www.reclaimthestreets.net; www.agp.org For top Guerrilla Gardening tips go to www.primalseeds.org Other events include a very big surprise for the Millennium Dome! * For a lowdown on events elsewhere check out www.mayfirst.fsnet.co.uk
MAYDAY 2000 - A FESTIVAL OF ANTI-CAPITALIST IDEAS: APRIL 28 -May 1st ‘Bookfair,
workshops, stalls, film festival, art, footie tournament, tours of revolutionary
London, a MASSIVE Critical Mass bike ride, top gigs, parties, a May Queen event
with a twist.’ BM Mayday, London, WC1N 3XX. Office Tel 020 374 5027 www.freespeech.org/mayday2k
The 5 protesters who had been occupying tunnels under the proposed route of the A130 in Gorsewood, Essex, were evicted last Friday (17th). They had managed to set a new record for the amount of time spent underground by remaining in the tunnels for 40 days and nights.. The Northern section of the road has now passed through the planning stages and sections of woodland and meadows are being destroyed as we speak. Campaigners are now heading off to Ashingdon, a proposed housing development situated along the route. 07957 915977.
Supporters of the Simon Jones Memorial Campaign are celebrating a landmark
victory in the High Court. Simon was killed on his first day of work at Shoreham
docks, yet the Crown Prosecution Service refused to prosecute the company responsible
saying they didn’t have enough evidence. One jubilant supporter told SchNEWS
that the CPS “were torn to bits” in the courtroom at their decision not to prosecute
Euromin for corporate manslaughter. “Every decision the CPS have made about
corporate manslaughter is now open to re-examination.” www.simonjones.org
A 16 year old girl and her mother will be lodging a formal police complaint following what they describe as ‘appalling’ practise during a rape investigation.
On 13th March, the girl lost her compensation appeal for rape after the Criminal Injuries Compensation Appeals (CICA) panel ruled that she had consented to the attack. The assault, which took place when she was 12, occurred when the victim had been driven to some woodlands by two older men. Once there, she was encouraged to consume large amounts of alcohol and was then left with her attacker.
During the appeal hearing the girl was made to endure questioning regarding her previous ‘sexual experiments’, with the panel claiming that she was ‘interested in sex’ and using this as evidence that she had consented to the attack.
The panel relied on the fact that she had been drinking, and that she had lied to her mother as to her whereabouts on the evening.”Lying about where she was does not mean that she consented to sex” said the girl’s mother.
The victim’s age in relation to that of her attacker was not taken into account. The victim’s family and Women Against Rape (WAR), who represented the girl, believe that issues of race and class played a crucial part in the panel’s decision. The panel claimed that the girl had been ‘coached’ in her statements, a conclusion the family believe was reached due to preconceptions of blacks being of lower intelligence. “They took one look at me and made up their minds” said the victim.
Women Against Rape, Crossroads Women’s Centre 0171 482 2496.
In 1993 Mark Barnsley was attacked by 15 drunk students outside a Sheffield pub while out walking with his six week old baby. Despite independent witnesses testifying that he was the person attacked, he was the only person arrested and eventually received a sentence of 12 years (see SchNEWS 169). The Sheffield Crown Prosecution Service have consistently refused to hand over to the defence all evidence they have in their possession, as they are legally obliged to do. The campaign is organising a National Anti-CPS day of action next Wednesday (29th). For more info email: email@example.com. Letters of support can be sent to Mark Barnsley WA2897, HMP Full Sutton, York, YO41 1PS.
* There is a public meeting on Saturday 1st April to help fight for Hikmet Bozat to remain in the UK. Hikmet is a Kurd who in 1994 received a conviction for terrorist activities against Turkish banks, a charge which he denies. Despite serving his sentence he remains in prison facing deportation to Turkey. Meeting starts at 3pm, Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, London. More info 07939 598818.
“The best hope has to be the regeneration of the spirit of self-reform...”
This Friday marks a year since NATO launched their campaign against Milosevic’s ‘ethnic cleansing’ of Albanians from Kosova. One year on sees the province in ruins with a bitter legacy . After an agreement was reached the UN moved in and set up the province’s provisional government, the UN Interim Administration in Kosovo (UNMIK). There is growing concern amongst Kosovans that their affairs are largely being managed for them, with locals being given only low level positions on the government and international corporations dominating the regeneration of the infastructure. Local groups are playing an influential role in instilling a sense of rejuvenation into the ravaged province. The Balkan Community Initiatives Fund campaigns to support them contact them at c/o 21 Barbauld Road, London N16 OSD, 0171 249 7337.
THE ‘MISSION STATEMENT’
“We dedicate ourselves to improving life on our planet.....we have the conscience to care more...we respect life and living things”.Who could have written such harmonious, poetic, caring words? Believe it or not this wasn’t plucked straight from Wordsworth, it was part of Du Pont’s mission statement. Du Pont is a member of the International Climate Change Partnership who reckon the earth isn’t warming up (and please can we carry on with our earth-destroying activities).
Another company straight out of fantasy land are BP Amoco, whose mission statement reads that they are “a force for good in everything they do”. Erm...did we miss something? Is black gunge over wildlife, beaches, and beauty spots benificial? If they are to believe these mission statements work, they only have to look back at our old friends Monsanto who let it be known they were the world’s saviour, the digestive answer to Jesus Christ, and we all believed them didn’t we?
We leave you with Du Pont’s final sentence... “and each day will leave for home with conscience clear and spirits soaring” Oh! Stop it please......
Cor-blimley-theyre-practically-giving-them-away book offer SchNEWS Round issues 51 - 100 £5 inc SchNEWS Annual issues 101 - 150 £5 inc. SchNEWS Survival Guide issues 151 - 200 and a whole lot more £6 + £1.20 postage (US Postage £4.00 All three yours for £15 inc. postage (US add £10.00 postage). In addition to 50 issues of SchNEWS, each book contains articles, photos, cartoons, a yellow pages list of contacts, comedy etc. All the above books are available from the Brighton Peace Centre, saving postage yer tight gits.
Subscribe to SchNEWS: Send us first class stamps (e.g. 20 for the next 20 issues) or donations (cheques payable to "Justice?"). Or £15 for a year's subscription, or the SchNEWS supporter's rate, £1 a week. Ask for "original" if you plan to copy and distribute. SchNEWS is post-free to prisoners. You can also pick SchNEWS up at the Brighton Peace and Environment Centre at 43 Gardner Street, Brighton.
Last updated 24th March 2000