1.Thomas Deichmann: 'All smoke and mirrors' - GM Watch
2.Hypochondria Resurrected - Thomas Deichmann
1.Thomas Deichmann: 'All smoke and mirrors'
In this article from the German press (item 2), Thomas Deichmann dismisses concerns over Monsanto's MON863 corn as totally bogus - 'All smoke and mirrors'. That's an accusation Deichmann's fond of levelling, as can be seen not just from his repeated cries of 'hoax' when reporting concerns over biotechnology.
Prior to his resurrection as a GM expert, Deichmann's principal claim to fame was as a 'debunker' of a very different set of 'myths'. Deichmann's notoriety reached its height with an article on Bosnia he contributed to the magazine LM (formerly Living Marxism), in which he accused journalists of fabricating evidence of imprisonment and atrocities at the Trnopolje camp in Bosnia. As a result of Deichamnn's article, LM was sued out of existence with the court concluding, as did war crimes tribunals at the Hague, that Trnopolje was 'a camp where Muslims were undoubtedly imprisoned' and where 'many were beaten, tortured, raped and killed by their Serb guards'.
Deichamnn, in his role as apologist for Serb nationalist atrocities, also published a sympathetic interview in LM with the Bosnian Serb leader, Radovan Karadzic, who had by then been charged with genocide. And Deichamnn even put in an appearance as the final defence witness at the trial in the Hague of Dusko Tadic. The war crimes tribunal clearly found Deichmann's 'evidence' less than convincing, convicting Tadic of crimes against humanity, including 'killings, beatings and forced transfers' of civilians, as well as a particularly horrific sexual mutilation. One of the detention camps where these horrendous crimes were committed was Trnopolje.
According to journalist Paul Stoop of the Berlin Tagesspiegel, nobody had ever heard of Deichmann before he reinvented himself as a fully-fledged Bosnia expert and began exposing 'myths' about Serb nationalist atrocities. And as the battle of ideas over Bosnia receded, Deichmann was reborn again - this time as an expert exposer of 'myths' about GMOs.
Although Deichmann now claims to be championing science, the common thread with Deichmann, as with the rest of the LM network, is that truth is always subjugated to ideology. The ideological position of this political network is that it's vital to support genetic engineering as part of the championing of 'human endeavour' and the beating back of the 'culture of fear'. For this reason, they believe all restictions on genetic technologies or big business should be strenuously opposed.
As a result, Deichmann has called for Greenpeace's charitable status in Germany to be removed because of their actions in opposing genetic engineering. To this end, the man who previously went to such lengths to try and make the world turn a blind eye to crimes against humanity, now reckons up every instance of direct action by Greenpeace as a source of indictment. He berates the organisation not only over its 'various illegal activities' but also for disseminating 'unscientific opinion on scientific issues' - an interesting stance given that the LM network have been in the very thick of climate change denial.
Note, by the way, how in 'Hypochondria Resurrected', Deichmann has almost completely airbrushed out the actual researchers, led by Professor Gilles Eric Seralini of the University of Caen, who took a detailed look at the Monsanto study that supposedly supported the safety of MON863. Deichmann transforms the peer reviewed work of Professor Seralini and his colleagues, published in a journal edited by a research scientist for the Food and Drug Administration, into 'Greenpeace' merely reinterpreting some 'old feeding studies, which were sufficiently examined already'!
Deichmann certainly knows a lot about smoke and mirrors.
(The following translation of Deichmann's article was posted on the AgBioView list.)
For more on Deichmann
For more on the LM network and its various guises
Kolner Stadt-Anzeiger, July 10 2007
A brouhaha like this over food is nearly unprecedented. Seldom have so many emotional and financial resources been squandered, in order to repeatedly reach the same conclusion: MON863 corn is safe. But for many, this message is obviously so hard to swallow that they aren't even willing to hear it.
MON863 was developed in the genetic engineering laboratories of the US multinational Monsanto. It is equipped with the ability to defend against corn rootworm, it is grown on millions of acres - and eaten by countless humans and animals. And why not? It is exactly as safe as the yellow cobs we grow domestically. This was confirmed all over again last Thursday by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).
The reason why the authority had to clarify matters once more is an announcement by the environmental group Greenpeace in March 2007. Its Hamburg office had reported a new "study by independent French scientists" who claimed that "gene-corn" carries "potential health risks." In rat feeding studies, the animals allegedly showed "symptoms of poisoning and damage to the liver and kidneys." And supposedly, for the first time, "a health risk for approved gene-plants has been proven."
In reality, however, there were no new sensational bioassays. Greenpeace had only reinterpreted old feeding studies, which were sufficiently examined already some years ago and verified. All smoke and mirrors, a finding immediately reached by several scientific institutions.
At the end of March, the Federal Institute for Risk Evaluation (Bundesinstitut für Risikobewertung) stated that the "renewed statistical analysis of the data does not provide any reason" to question the earlier findings. One month later, the same thing was notified by France's Sood Safety Authority (AFSSA). In the mean time, the EFSA experts had also begun to evaluate the new Greenpeace interpretations of the bioassays. From it "no new safety concerns" emerged, according to the latest announcement.
The nation has once again trembled because of a statement by the "German fear industry". For the anti-genetic-engineering-front, however, the accomplishment is trivial. The rat story of 2004 is simply resurrected. Just like the fairy tale of the collapse of Monarch butterflies, which drop from corn-stalks; the story about allergens released from transgenic Brazil nuts and the legends about "killer-potatoes." By the middle of June Greenpeace was already working on the next "scandal": This time it concerns the transgenic corn line NK603, which they claim is "possibly injurious to health". Rat feeding studies supposedly demonstrated "effects on the functions of the kidneys, brain, heart and liver." We'll see how much money and anxiety will be wasted this time around in examining Greenpeace's hypochondria.