PANTS ON FIRE -- VOTING DEADLINE TODAY 18 MAY
*1. The Institute of Public Affairs - smearing indigenous NGOs
*2. Scottish Enterprise - pushing BIO propaganda into schools
*3. The John Innes Centre - biospinology at its finest
Recently we reported on the black propaganda attacks on indigenous NGOs opposing GMOs in the Phillipines (suggesting they were secret communists, front organisations, had changed their stance on GMOs etc.), and also a Manola Jara article in the Manila Times hyping Prakash's Patrick Moore claims regarding Greenpeace and GMOs.
To judge by the article below Jara is no stranger to controversy. The article suggests that the character of Jara's media attacks on Filipino NGOs suggests his information sources are foreign transnational corpoarations.
Asians as guinea pigs for profits
Bernardo V. Lopez
BusinessWorld [Phillipiens] May 17, 2001
Genetically engineered (GE) crops are a product of million-dollar research programs of transnationals (TNCs). They go into such expensive programs because, for every million dollars they put in, they get back twenty million. They also hope to control global agriculture in the process, especially in the Third World, by inducing dependence on and monopolizing GE seedling production. But there is a dilemma. GE is still being questioned as a health and environment hazard, yet it has grown by leaps and bounds because of TNC perseverance.
They use Third World nations as guinea pigs to prove that GE is indeed viable. The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) endorsed the field testing of "golden rice" here. Field testing is the guinea-pig factor. TNCs are allowed to plant experimental GE crops whose effects on humans or the environment are still unknown. If the effects are irreversible, then guinea pigs can die. It took years to realize that the Taiwanese "golden kohol" was an enemy of rice crops. But by the time the harm became apparent it was too late. It was being produced extensively all over the nation.
The TNCs first targeted Europe and the United States as the prime GE market. They found a strong resistance because the consumers were not as uninformed as in the Third World. They knew high-tech agriculture could result in a vengeance from nature. The controversy began when a Monarch butterfly fed with pollen from GE corn died. The TNC scientists argued that it was safe but many did not believe them. It may take a decade or two to really know the effects of GE crops. The American Corn Growers Association and National Family Form Coalition in the US protested against GE corn. The great "Label War" ensued.
European consumers wanted food with GE crops labelled. The TNCs resisted, realizing it would kill their business. In the U S, the influential TNC lobby group found powerful allies, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Agriculture Department which argued that labelling was not necessary. When Greenpeace discovered GE in food produced by 11 firms here through lab tests, the firms denied knowing about GE. When TNCs realized the strong anti-GE movement among consumers in the developed countries, they turned to the poorer countries which they believed would be less adamant. Expensive PR campaigns could easily convince poorer folks of the benefits they attributed to GE. And so the battle is now here in the Third World. They have chosen the poor countries as guinea pigs to prove that their products are safe. In a decade or so, they hope to prove they are safe. If they are not, it would be the golden kohol disaster all over again. IRRI was requested in this column for a reply if they are funded by TNCs directly or indirectly. They were endorsing the golden rice of the Swiss AG Syngenta. The Rockefeller Foundation funded the golden rice research. IRRI never replied. Was their silence an admission of guilt? I hope IRRI is not field testing golden rice without a permit from the DA.
The TNC modus operandi here is to get the support of NGOs and farmer associations to be the backbone of the campaign to convince farmers to adopt and consumers to eat GE. Another style is to put up their own associations or NGOs. A previous piece in this column on golden rice received a deluge of reactions by e-mail. Going through this mountain of e-mail data, I suddenly realized the extent and expense of TNCs' PR campaigns for GE. They believe that through sophisticated PR they can buy the Filipino to accept GE.