Angels Disrupt Nanotech Conference and Present 'Can of Worms' Award to former Monsanto Man.

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Buckinghamshire, UK, 9th Dec 2004

A host of heavenly angels from THRONG (The Heavenly Righteous Opposed to Nanotech Greed) appeared today unto a nanotechnology business conference in order to bestow a "Can of Worms" Award on a representative of the Nanotechnology Industry. Chosen to receive the award was Mr Harry Swan, formerly of Monsanto, who is Nanotechnology manager of Britain's leading producer of carbon nanotubes, Thomas Swan & Co.

Nanotechnology, the manipulation of matter at the levels of atoms and molecules (a million nano-angels can dance on the head of a pin), is being touted to Industry as “the next big thing� despite major concerns over its safety and disruptive societal impacts.

Holding a banner that read “Nanotechnology - its not big and its not clever�, a dozen angels sang a melodic chorus of “Hark the throng of angels sing, Nanotech's a dodgy thing� as the “Can of Worms� award was presented by THRONG archangel Sarah Phimn. She cautioned delegates against the foolish attempt to rush nanotechnology to market: “Where these nano fools rush in we angels fear to tread�, she said.

The “Nanotechnology - Delivering Business Advantage� conference is intended to convince UK businesses to adopt this controversial set of technologies. The conference, featuring speakers from arms company BAE and chemical giant ICI, is in part sponsored by The Institute of Nanotechnology - a UK Nanotech Trade Group whose backers include GM crop company Syngenta, food giant Unilever and defence contractor Qinetiq.

“The same greedy corporations who messed with the genetic basis of life are now seeking to alter and privatize nature right down to the atomic level�, explained THRONG spokesangel Pandora Spocks. “We want to warn companies attending this conference that getting into nanotech is really not a clever idea – for society or their business�

This is the first in what is hoped to become an annual “Can of Worms� award ceremony. This year's prizewinner, Harry Swan, is very familiar with opening cans of worms: He was responsible for Monsanto's public relations attempt to convince the public to accept GM foods - just a small taste of the bigger controversy over nanotechnology still to come.

Notes to Editors:

- For more details, photos and video contact Gabriel: +44(0)7746 411539

- Copies of the information given to delegates and of Sarah Phimns award presentation speech will be available at and

- Details of the conference can be found at

- The Institute of Nanotechnology can be reached at

- THRONG are not affiliated with THONG (but we offer them a tip o' the hat!) see

Award Speech given by Sarah Phimn, THRONG Archangel, at "Nanotechnology-Delivering Business Advantage" conference, Bucks UK - 9th Dec 2004

"Brothers and sisters
Be not afraid. We have tidings of great importance. We are here on behalf of THRONG (The Heavenly Righteous Opposed to Nanotech Greed) to hand over the first ever "Can of Worms Award" to a representative of the nanotech industry.

We have been watching the earthly plain for many millennia and from the firmament we have noticed of late many fools rushing into the great nanotechnology gamble. This causes us much concern. Those we see rushing into nanotech include: the great foolish armies of the world; the foolish US president and of course the transnational companies fresh from making foolish things such as weapons (like BAE Systems), pesticides (like BASF) and GM Crops (Syngenta).
Where these nano fools rush in, we angels fear to tread.

Our angelic host will pass out amongst you hymnals to explain our concern.

And its not just us in the heavenly high getting our halos in a twist about small things. Environmental groups, the insurance industry, trade unions ... why even royals and royal societies are issuing stern warnings:
- about the toxicity of nanoparticles.
- about the military use of nanotechnologies.
- about how nanosensors will increase control and surveillance.
- about how nanotechnology will strengthen corporate power.
- about patents on matter.
- about circumventing disability rights.

It is clear to us that the emerging field of Nanotechnology is an almighty can of worms fraught with problems, dangers and, lets face it, really bad PR problems..

And so we are here to present the first ever Can of Worms Award to:
Mr Harry Swan (of Thomas Swan and Co.)

Now.. you might not all realise but Harry is no stranger to opening messy cans of worms.

He was PR spokesperson for Monsanto. He had the job of convincing the British public that they wanted GM foods. Oops!
Later Harry took a job with a company that helps big oil and biotech companies attack environmental and human rights groups. tut tut!

But with an unerring nose for new cans of worms, Harry has now returned to the family firm to stake its future on becoming the UK's major producer of carbon nanotubes - toxic asbestos-like fibres.

Harry, with neither regulations, safety tests or a clear liability regime in place for nanotechnology we can already hear those worms squirming .. You are a very deserved winner of this can of worms..
But really we would advise you NOT to open it...."


A Nano-hymn

Hark the throng of angels sing, nanotech's a dodgy thing
Piece by piece the world defiled
Godlike science running wild
Careful al ye people wise
Nano could be your demise
We will not cooperate
With your corporate nano-state
Hark the throng of angels sing, nanotech's a dodgy thing

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