2.Woolas -- criminally negligent?
NOTE: Prior to adopting his recent role as the Government's chief advocate for GM, the UK's Environment Minister, Phil Woolas, is known to have been briefed by the ABC - the Agricultural Biotechnology Council - a lobby group formed in 2002 by Monsanto along with Bayer, BASF, Dow, Dupont and Syngenta.
The ABC is represented by the PR firm Lexington Communications, run by Mike Craven, who is incredibly close to New Labour. Craven was previously an aide to the UK's former Deputy Prime Minister and prior to Lexington, he was the Labour Party's chief media spokesperson. Before that he was a lobbyist with the PR firm Market Access. While Craven was Managing Director of Market Access it faced accusations of a 'massive disinformation campaign' in lobbying for the European 'patents on life' directive, which was approved despite strong public opposition.
1.Phil Woolas' comments on Farming Today
NOTE from Roger Mainwood: For anyone who missed Environment Minister Phil Woolas' comments on Farming Today (Fri 5th Oct), here are some key quotes. Questions are from presenter Mark Holdstock.
M.H.: What currently is the Governments stance on GM ?
P.W: ....If you are opposed to GM it is now up to you to provide the evidence that there is harm. 10 years ago it was the other way around, the proponents had to show it was safe. Our policy hasn't changed but the question has.
M.H. Are you saying that if those opposed to GM fail to come up with the evidence that GM is harmful then there is no reason why this technology can't go ahead?
P.W: I am saying that.....
M.H. How long do those opposed to GM crops have do you think to come up with evidence that would rule them out. How long would you be prepared to give them?
P.W. I think about a year . I think the debate has now kicked off. It is in the public domain, again. I think we've got time to say let's have a serious debate about this.
2.Woolas -- criminally negligent?
COMMENT from Dr. Brian John: This man is now teetering on the edge of criminal negligence. Just a reminder of what we wrote to him three weeks ago, and to which he has not replied:
Extract from letter from GM Free Cymru (mostly relating to the spat with Prince Charles), dated 18th August:
"4. We are intrigued, and indeed angered, by your statement implying that there is no scientific evidence that GM crops have done harm. There is abundant evidence, some of it collected by your own Government during the FSE programme a few years ago. Have those findings relating to environmental damage been struck off the DEFRA record? Are you also unaware of the extensive literature relating to health impacts and environmental damage directly linked to GM technology? (3) Or have you been advised by your DEFRA civil servants and your Advisory Committees (such as ACRE and ACNFP) that the scientific evidence brought forward by dozens of honest scientists is somehow flawed or irrelevant? Please give us your answers to these questions.
6. Finally, we are gravely concerned that you appear to have decided to adopt the anti-precautionary principle with respect to GM crops, and to push them on both the British public and the poor people of Africa even if they do not want them and see no future for them. In inviting the Prince to "provide the evidence" of disasters associated with GM you are assuming that GM crops are safe unless somebody like the Prince can prove otherwise. That attitude is, if we may say so, both arrogant and unscientific.
Arrogant because GM crops have NEVER been proved to be safe, since both the GM industry and the British Government have carefully avoided any independent studies designed to assess harm. Why has the Pusztai experiment never been repeated? Why has the Newcastle "feeding trial" involving GM soy never been repeated or extended?
You know as well as we do that the reason is that the Government -- and the GM industry -- are scared to death of what might emerge. And your attitude is unscientific because it is a fundamental feature of both EU and UK legislation that the precautionary principle MUST be used in the assessment of GM crops and foods.
Your scientists have NOT demonstrated lack of harm with respect to GM technology, as the Prince of Wales knows full well."
Besides formally adopting the ant-precautionary principle, [Phil Woolas] is willfully refusing to look at, let alone accept, the evidence that has repeatedly been brought to his attention. He is also pretending that the Government's own FSE programme [FSE = Farm Scale Evaluations] never happened -- that clearly showed harm, in spite of the trials all being rigged to show the opposite. We all need to ask this guy some hard questions, and insist on replies.
If anybody wants to get after this wretched fellow, and cite our letter in the process, feel free!!