Looks like Prakash & Co. are giving "eco-imperialism" another outing - this time in Washington. Here are the details followed by our commenst on their previous event in New York.
Eco-Imperialism: Reflections on Earth Day
It’s time to focus on the needs of the Earth’s poorest people, say experts at National Press Club event
Washington, DC Environmental experts will meet on Earth Day (Thursday, April 22nd) to address the implications of eco-imperialism: policies that seek to protect the environment, but deny people in impoverished nations economic opportunities, the chance for better lives, and the right to rid their countries of diseases that were vanquished long ago in the United States and Europe.
Participants include energy, malaria, biotechnology, climate change and human rights experts, who intend to make this Earth Day a clarion call for more responsible environmentalism both in the USA and abroad. Aspects of eco-imperialism to be discussed include:
* Energy development in developing countries, and the social and economic benefits that reliable, affordable electricity brings.
* The use of DDT and other pesticides to control malaria. (Every year, 300 million people get malaria, and 2 million die mostly women and children, and mostly in sub-Saharan Africa.)
* The value of biotechnology to increase agricultural output and reduce malnutrition, which affects 800 million people and leaves many so weakened that they die of diseases they would otherwise survive.
* Environmental programs that negatively affect poor people in the United States.
* The human rights implications of laws and policies that stifle progress in these areas.
WHEN: Thursday, April 22 (Earth Day) 12:00 noon to 2:30 pm
WHERE: First Amendment Room, National Press Club, 529 Fourteenth Street, NW, Washington
WHAT: Light lunch, followed by press briefing and question-and-answer period
Niger Innis (national spokesman, Congress of Racial Equality) Commentator
Paul Driessen (author of Eco-Imperialism, director of Economic Human Rights Project)
John Meredith (national advisory council member, Project 21)
Dr. CS Prakash (professor of plant genetics, Tuskegee Institute)
Dr. Sallie Baliunas (environment-science host, TechCentralStation.com)
Dr. Roger Bate (fellow, American Enterprise Institute and Africa Fighting Malaria)
Please advise us whether you will be attending, so that we can ensure adequate food and beverage.
GM Watch special report: *Eco-imperialism in New York - exploiting the poor for corporate purposes*
19 January 2004
A conference that its organisers say will make "eco-imperialism" a household word is taking place at the Sheraton Hotel & Towers, New York, Tuesday. According to the title of the event "eco-imperialism" is, "The global green movement's war on the developing world's poor". Opposition to GM crops, it is claimed, is part of that "war".
The conference is being organised by the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). CORE styles itself "one of America's premier civil rights organizations". Its national spokesperson Niger Innis says, "We intend to stop this callous eco-manslaughter".
Conference panelist, Dr. Patrick Moore, who is described as Greenpeace's "co-founder", is also keen to expose the "pain and suffering" the environmental movement "inflicts on families in developing countries" - something which, he says, "can no longer be tolerated."
According to fellow panelist, Prof CS Prakash, "By orchestrating unfounded scare stories that biotech crops are unsafe or untested, they put huge road blocks on the development of plant genetic engineering that could bring economic prosperity to the rural poor in Uganda and Bangladesh."
Another panelist, Paul Driessen, is the author of "Eco-Imperialism: Green Power - Black Death", a book which lays at the door of the environmental movement, "the hunger and suffering of millions of the world's poor who are denied the benefits of genetically engineered food."
The book's editorial reviews, include one from Prakash - he enthuses, "Great book!" According to Patrick Moore,"This book is the first one I've seen that tells the truth and lays it on the line".
But when it comes to GM crops both the book and the conference studiously ignore the fact that many development experts and NGOs have been just as sceptical about the value of GM crops for the world's poor as environmental organisations. http://ngin.tripod.com/feedingorfooling.htm
Many of the strongest objections have come, in fact, from experts and farmers in developing countries themselves. Dr Tewolde Egziabher of the Environmental Protection Authority in Ethiopia is among those who argue that the future of agriculture in the developing world is actually being harmed by the hype over GM crops which is drawing precious resources away from other agricultural innovations and practices that have far more to offer resource-poor farmers. http://www.lobbywatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=1905
The Director-General of the UN's Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), Jacques Diouf, has pointed out that irrigation and road-building are far more urgent priorities in improving Africa's agriculture than encouraging the introduction of GM crops. http://www.lobbywatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=1693
And a closer look at those behind both the "eco-imperialism" book and the "eco-imperialism" "teach-in" in New York, raises some disturbing questions about their precise motivation and the reliability of their pronouncements.
MEET THE EXPERTS
These are the "experts" being assembled by CORE at the Sheraton Hotel.
*PAUL DRIESSEN, author of "Eco-Imperialism: Green Power - Black Death"*
Driessen's book is published by the Free Enterprise Press, the publishing arm of The Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise (CDFE), where Driessen is a a Senior Fellow. He is also a principal of Global-Comm Partners, a Northern Virginia public relations firm specializing in environmental issues.
According to a review of Driessen's book on the CDFE's website, the book helps the reader "to understand why the environmental movement is engaged in the most appalling example of genocide the world has ever known!"
In the late 1980s CDFE and its Executive Vice President, Ron Arnold, launched the anti-environmentalist Wise Use movement. Arnold has also been a consultant for Dow Chemical, as well as Head of the Washington State chapter of the American Freedom Coalition, the political arm of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church (1989-91).
In 1991 Arnold told the New York Times, "We [CDFE] created a sector of public opinion that didn't used to exist. No one was aware that environmentalism was a problem until we came along." According to CDFE's President Alan Gottlieb, who made his name as a gun lobbyist and has done time in prison for tax-evasion, "For us the environmental movement has become the perfect bogeyman."
Ron Arnold, who was one of the first to brand environmentalist "eco-terrorists", has stated his aim is "to destroy the environmental movement". In an interview with CNN Arnold said part of his intent was to "kill the bastards". He added, "People in industry, I'm going to do my best for you. Environmentalists, I'm coming to get you." (Interview, CNN, May 30, 1993 )
The Wise Use movement has had links with right-wing militias. The scapegoating and demonising of environmentalists is said to have contributed in some cases to their becoming the targets of physical assaults, arson and even bomb attacks. (The Green Backlash, Andrew Rowell, 1996)
Driessen served as editor of another book published by CDFE's Free Enterprise Press, "Rules for Corporate Warriors: How to fight and survive attack group shakedowns", by Nick Nichols, Chairman & CEO of PR firm Nichols Dezenhall.
In a leaked presentation that Nichols made to a pork-producers group on how businesses should deal with their critics, Nichols quotes Al Capone, "You can get more with a smile, a kind word and a gun than with a smile and a kind word", and George Carlin, "If you can't beat them, arrange to have them beaten!" Nicholls advised the pork producers that they needed to, "Fight like guerillas" and "Take no prisoners". Source: http://www.gmwatch.org/profile1.asp?PrId=248
*CYRIL BOYNES AND NIGER INNIS of CORE*
In his introduction to Driessen's book, Niger Innis of the Congress of Racial Equality, says, "The time has come to hold these radicals... accountable for their excesses, and the poverty, disease and death they have perpetrated on the poor and powerless. Eco-Imperialism is an excellent start... The world's destitute masses will love it."
In the press release for the conference, its organisers - CORE - are described as one of America's premier civil rights organizations. This was true in the hay day of the civil rights movement. However, during the 1970s CORE all but collapsed and the remnant was taken over by Roy Innis, Niger's father, who moved the organisation to the Republican right.
Black American journalists Glen Ford and Peter Gamble describe CORE under Roy Innis as "a tin cup outstretched to every Hard Right political campaign or cause that finds it convenient - or a sick joke - to hire Black cheerleaders". They report how James Farmer, the former head of the original Congress of Racial Equality confronted Roy Innis on TV for turning the organization into what Farmer called a "shakedown" gang.
Innis is also on the Advisory Committee of Project 21. Ford and Gamble describe it as a "Black front group" and "a network and nursery for aspiring rightwing operatives". Project 21 opposes affirmative action and the minimum wage but supports GM foods. Project 21 has been funded by R.J. Reynolds, and it has lobbied in support of tobacco industry interests. Source: http://www.gmwatch.org/profile1.asp?PrId=174
*ROGER BATE of Africa Fighting Malaria*
Africa Fighting Malaria is just one of a series of far-right free-market "NGOs" to which Bate connects. These include the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the Institute of Economic Affairs, the International Policy Network and the European Science and Environment Forum. The latter was co-founded by Bate who was ESEF's first director.
In its mission statement on its original website, ESEF described itself as "a non-partisan group of scientists" and claimed, "To maintain its independence and impartiality, the ESEF does not accept outside funding from whatever source...".
However, documents released by tobacco giant Philip Morris as part of a court case revealed that ESEF was established with money from the tobacco industry - solicited by Bate. As Big Tobacco's European front organization, ESEF's task was to smuggle tobacco advocacy into a larger bundle of "sound science" issues, including "restrictions on the use of biotechnology." Source: http://www.gmwatch.org/profile1.asp?PrId=18
*DR. PATRICK MOORE, "Greenpeace co-founder"*
The description of Moore as "co-founder" of Greenpeace is misleading, although he was among a number of founder members of the organisation. However, Moore has had no role in the organisation for almost 20 years, having quit in the mid-1980s.
Since leaving he has been a full-time paid director and consultant for the British Columbia Forest Alliance. The Alliance was the brainchild of PR firm Burson-Marsteller and has a budget of around $2m derived mostly from the forest industry. It campaigns for clear-cutting.
Moore's attacks on Greenpeace and other environmentalists as "ultraleftists" who "use Gestapo tactics" and who are guided by "pagan beliefs and junk science" have delighted industry. His language is a direct echo of CDFE's Ron Arnold who has long attacked environmentalists as "eco-fascists" and communists and called for a "holy war against the new pagans who worship trees and sacrifice people". Source: http://www.gmwatch.org/profile1.asp?PrId=89
*PROF CS PRAKASH of AgBioWorld*
Prakash is Director of the Center for Plant Biotechnology Research at Tuskegee University, Alabama, USA. He is best known for his pro-GM AgBioWorld campaign.
In May 2003 Prakash was the lead orator when U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick announced the U.S.'s intention to file a World Trade Organization case against the European Union over its "illegal five-year moratorium on approving agricultural biotech products." (Tuskegee Scientist's Expertise a Key Component of World Trade Organization Initiative)
Although Prakash claims the status of a leading scientific expert, his pronouncements on GM often have little grounding in either truth or science. He told the press in the Philipinnes, for instance, that GM crops can help reduce farmers' post-harvest losses because "most genetically-modified crops have longer shelf life". This is untrue.
In his report Genetically Modified Crops and Sustainable Poverty Alleviation in Sub-Saharan Africa, Aaron deGrassi of the Institute of Development Studies, at the University of Sussex, notes, "Another surprising example of advocacy trumping facts is C.S. Prakash... Prakash has repeatedly cited [GM] sweet potatoes [in Kenya] as a positive example of the benefits of GM for African countries, but has confessed to having no knowledge of the results of scientific trials in Kenya."
Baseless claims are not the only aspect of Prakash's campaign which have led to questions. AgBioWorld has presented itself in the past as a mainstream science campaign 'that has emerged from academic roots and values' and which carefully eschews corporate support. Yet according to the annual report (2000) of the Washington-based Competitive Enterpise Institute (CEI), the centre piece of AgBioWorld's campaign - Prakash's declaration supporting the use of GM crops in the developing world - was part of CEI's much wider campaign against "death by regulation". The same CEI campaign has been directed against U.S. government efforts to discourage smoking because, according to the CEI, "there are things more valuable than health".
Greg Conko, Director of Food Safety Policy at CEI, is a "co-founder" of AgBioWorld. Conko regularly co-authors articles with Prakash. CEI has a multi-million dollar budget that comes from corporate sponsors like Dow Chemicals.
There is also evidence of connections between Prakash's campaign and Monsanto's highly controversial Internet PR company Bivings. Source: http://www.gmwatch.org/profile1.asp?PrId=106
Other contributors to Tuesday's conference include Deroy Murdock of the Atlas Economic Research Foundation, which helps to finance far-right groups around the world, and Fiona Kobusingye, who is described as a "businesswoman, Uganda".
Also quoted below is the Kenyan Akinyi Arunga, Director of Youth Affairs for the Inter Region Economic Network (IREN) in Kenya. IREN was formed by James Shikwati with Atlas funding. In 2002 Shikwati wrote an article for the (London) Times, entitled "I do not need white NGOs to speak for me", describing a pro-GM, pro-free-trade march at the Earth Summit in Johannesburg. The media contact for that march was Kendra Okonski - the daughter of a US lumber industrialist who has worked out of various rightwing NGOs - all run, needless to say, by "whites". * CORE to Hold Teach-In, Demand End to "Eco-Imperialism" http://www.gmwatch.org/profile1.asp?PrId=169
One of Okonski's employers has been the Competitive Enterprise Institute, to which both Bate and Prakash also connect. CORE has also worked with CEI in the past on counterprotests. http://www.gmwatch.org/profile1.asp?PrId=174
CORE's campaigning on the "eco-imperialism" issue began around the time the U.S. filed its WTO case against the European Union. Bush's call for European governments to restart approvals of GM crops also "earned the praise" of members of Project 21 to which Niger Innis connects. CEI was represented at the U.S.'s launch of the WTO case, which was presented as being undertaken in the interests not of giant US corporations but the poor and hungry in the Third World.
The "eco-imperialism" campaign smacks of the same effort to advance US corporate interests via a cynical attempt to exploit the hundreds of millions of hungry people in the world.