Orwell’s America
Re: “The Furor over TIPS”

This is REALLY, REALLY scary. It reminds me of George Orwell’s 1984, in which children could report their parents to the authorities and have them jailed. Or, when, even just walking down the street required acting perfectly in every way, and any lack of conformity resulted in prison, torture, and shackles against the gates of death. The government really needs to rethink this. This plan would be devastating to our society.

Benjamin Seeberger


Profiting from the Wind
Re: “Killing the Messenger”

There is no real way to contain the genetic material from genetically-modified crops. Winds carry it where they will. Earlier articles published by Nature have suggested this possibility. Naturally, proof that this is actually occurring will provoke all of the hysterical wrath of Monsanto and its fellow demonic organizations. Money is their god. Public welfare and the possible consequences of their Frankencrops have no importance, unless they affect their financial bottom line.

Jess Friedlander


Sound Policies
Re: “Killing the Messenger”

Be aware that Nature received much more feedback than just the letters it chose to publish. I am part of a group that submitted a very detailed and lengthy analysis of the data in the Quist and Chapela paper published in Nature. The bottom-line is that all the data were at best inconclusive, at worst, unquestionably artifacts. The net result: the Quist and Chapela paper neither proves nor disproves anything.

Had the paper been submitted to a mainstream genetics journal, it never would have survived the review process. Dr. Chapela is being asked to abide by the exact same standards of science which apply to everyone else; no more, no less. Rather than rising to the challenge and producing data that stands up to scrutiny, Dr. Chapela and his supporters simply accuse any critics of mudslinging, thereby contributing to the heated rhetoric.

The presence of engineered genes in Mexico is, to be sure, a matter requiring public discourse, for which public policy must be created. However, such discourse and such policy must be based on accurate data. The use of flawed data can only lead to flawed public policy.

Wayne Parrott, PhD
Center for Applied Genetic Technology
The University of Georgia


Maneuvering Toward War
Re: “A Coup in the Hague”

I read earlier this year about the moves the U.S. was making to remove Bustani from his position. The most depresing part of it is how little the American public knows of the government’s maneuvers to suit its own ends. Bustani could have meant the difference between war or no war in Iraq. The transparency of the Bush administration’s motives scream the obvious: rid ourselves of the one person who just might be able to get inspectors back into Iraq and the wheels of the war machine will be brought to a screeching halt. And we certainly can’t have that, can we?



Behind the Bakassi
Re: “Nigeria’s Vigilante Justice”

Because Nigeria is a country in disarray, I see no justification for dismantling the Bakassi outfit, a group which has served to provide some level of security for the people of the Southeast region. I am sure that there are more urgent matters that the present administration of Obasanjo has failed to address, so why single out the Bakassi? During this failed regime, corruption and fraud have gone unchecked and, yet, we are reminded daily of the Bakassi mission to correct society’s ills.

Who is fooling whom? The Bakassi should be left alone as long as the Arewa states are busy introducing Islamic laws while the Obasanjo regime looks the other way. The same could be said about the western states, where the OPC is holding sway. Banning the Bakassi outfit will not solve any problems but, rather, only prove Nigeria’s hate for the Igbo.