Tuesday, 30 January 2007


This is a long posting, but well worth reading and filing. As someone who has campaigned for many years against GM food, I have seen similar lies propagated by the pro-gm lobbyists. Pro-vivisection lobbyists use similar tactics.
Well done to the people on gmwatch for producing these awards.

PANTS ON FIRE AWARDS - 2006http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=7495 In 2006 French demonstrators faced gunfire during one anti-GM protest and protesters have faced violence and intimidation on other occasions, while scientists critical of GM have faced gagging, vilification and even dismissal. But in 2006, as in previous years, the GM lobby did its utmost to put a very different story into circulation. This involves manufacturing attacks on farmers, laboratories and scientists, while claiming it is GM opponents that engage in disinformation and cause appalling suffering in the developing world. But those who have really suffered - like the Bt cotton farmers in India who've taken their own lives after their GM crops failed - have been the victims not of opposition to GM but of the cynical campaign of hype orchestrated by promoters of this technology. This is why countering the massive and deceptive push behind GMOs helps defend the interests of the poor, who also suffer when valuable development resources are diverted as a result of GM industry spin and the disinformation disseminated about more productive alternatives to GM agriculture.So here's our pick of some of the most outrageous lies, disinformation, PR chicanery and unfounded abuse smelted by the GM lobby in 2006.


*BIGGEST PACK OF LIES - 2006*The award goes to: Dr C Kameswara Rao, Executive Secretary of the Foundation for Biotechnology Awareness and Education (FBAE) of India for the following: "In the event of Golden Rice, research laboratories, trial fields and even scientific workers were attacked, striking such a fear that led to hiding a handful of prototype Golden Rice seed in a bombproof bunker in an unspecified place in Switzerland." Read the offending articleFrom verbalism and vocalism to vandalismhttp://www.fbae.org/Channels/Views/from_verbalism_and_vocalism_to_vandalism.htm GM Watch comment http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=7244

*MOST MISLEADING HEADLINE - 2006* The award goes to:Farmer quits GM trial after phone threats This was the headline that topped an article by The (London) Guardian's science correspondent, Ian Sample. Sample ran with the story without managing to confirm with anybody other than GM industry sources that these threats had actually occurred. The UK farming press subsequently reported that, according to the police, no such threats had been made.Read the offending article http://www.guardian.co.uk/gmdebate/Story/0,,1973379,00.html GM Watch commenthttp://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=7422 http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=7400

*FAKE GENOCIDE AWARD - 2006*Genocide deniers may be about as despicable as it gets in the disinformation stakes, but what about those who manufacture fake crimes against humanity? The 2006 award for spreading such disgusting smears goes to: CS Prakash's AgBioWorld for persistently posting on its AgBioView list articles with claims such as:"In Zambia, where people are starving to death, Greenpeace unleashed their political agenda and probably killed many people." (Why We Need Genetically Modified Crops - Hegemony in Science)http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=7174 "Already, alarmist groups have exacted tragedy as the price for their exaggerated fears and peculiar reasoning - once by persuading the president of Zambia to decline genetically modified corn from the United States during a famine." (As millions starve, alarmists block famine solutions) http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=7330 There was no tragedy in Zambia when it rejected GM food. Non-GM food was substituted instead. The Zambian Red Cross is unequivocal about this, "We didn't record a single death arising out of hunger." (GM lobbyists' lies over Zambia)http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=7092But the material posted by Prakash on AgBioView has included claims by GM lobbyists that "perhaps as many as 20,000 Zambians died" (Roger Bate, American Enterprise Institute) and that "you're talking about literally crimes against humanity" (Willy DeGreef, former Head of Regulatory Affairs at GM giant Syngenta).http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=7092 For moreFake Blood on the Maizehttp://freezerbox.com/archive/article.asp?id=339

*PROPAGANDA LAB AWARD - 2006* This award goes to Dr Douglas Powell and his co-authors for: Powell D.A., Blaine K., Morris S., Wilson J., Agronomic and consumer considerations for Bt and conventional sweet-corn, British Food Journal, Vol. 105, No. 10, pp. 700-13. To understand why, we can do no better than turn to New Scientist. Controversy over claims in favour of GM cornNew Scientist (vol 190, No.2553), 27 May 2006, p7http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn9235-controversy-over-claims-in-favour-of-gm-corn.html A leading researcher into scientific ethics is calling for the withdrawal of a paper published in the British Food Journal two years ago purporting to show that consumers preferred genetically modified to non-GM sweetcorn. The study, carried out at a farm store in Canada, claimed that sales of the GM crop were 50 per cent higher. The journal later awarded the study a prize as its "most outstanding paper" of 2004.Now the campaign group GM Watch has published a photograph that it says shows a large sign suspended above the non-GM corn during the study that asked: "Would you eat wormy sweet corn?" The GM corn, it claims, was labelled as "quality sweet corn". The paper (vol 105, p700) claims that the corn was marked simply as either genetically engineered or regular.If this is the case, "it is grounds for the journal to retract the article", says Richard Jennings, who studies research conduct at the University of Cambridge. Journal editor Chris Griffith of the University of Wales Institute in Cardiff has refused to withdraw the paper, but says he is willing to publish a letter condemning it followed by a response from the lead author, Doug Powell of Kansas State University.For GM Watch comment and a photo of the "wormy corn" sign:http://www.gmwatch.org/p1temp.asp?pid=72&page= 1For related correspondence in the British Food Journal:http://www.foodsafetynetwork.ca/en/article-details.php?a=3&c=9&sc=62&id=897For a GM Watch profile of Doug Powell:http://www.gmwatch.org/profile1.asp?PrId=257 GM WATCH AFTERWORD: Just imagine photographic evidence emerging of a bunch of anti-GM scientists running this experiment with a sign asking "Would you eat mutant sweet corn?" over the GM corn. Not only would the paper in which they'd failed to disclose this be withdrawn post-haste, the researchers' careers would suffer terminal damage. But running a propaganda lab seems to be fine and dandy as long as your findings support GM. They'll even give you an award.At least now the researchers have got an award they deserve!

*KILLER HYPE AWARD - 2006*The award for the ruthless promotion of corporate interests with total disregard for the consequences, goes to Monsanto and its subsidiary and sub-licensee seed companies for their use of every PR trick in the book in the pushing of Bt cotton to small farmers in India. The consequences of their actions were writ large in 2006, particularly in the main cotton growing belt of Maharashtra. This is where - with the industry pulling out all the stops, and callous and corrupt local and national politicians joining in the chorus - more farmers were persuaded to opt for Bt cotton than anywhere else in India. And they paid a terrible price. As farmer suicides spiralled, even the Bollywood star paid by Monsanto-Mahyco to hype Bt cotton in Maharashtra disassociated himself from the company and its product. Relevant quote: "Most suicide cases relate to those farming families which have run up huge debts because of the high cost in using the expensive genetically-modified cotton seeds, which have to be bought every year. Crop failures in this situation, therefore, leave farmers with debts they are unable to pay and [they] are then hounded by loan sharks." (All in a day: Six farmers commit suicide, The Times of India) http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/2047898.cms See also the reportEVERY TRICK IN THE BOOK - THE MARKETING OF BT COTTON IN INDIAhttp://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=5741 And a truly heart-breaking article by India's leading development journalist on the failure of this year's Bt cotton harvest in Maharashtra.http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=7430

*ORGANIC SLANDER AWARD - 2006* Goes to the journal Nature Biotechnology for an editorial which trumpeted the need for a constant repetition of "basic truths" in order to establish "the facts" and counter the "myths" about the hazards of GM food, while basing itself on a lie.The editorial contrasted the publicity surrounding the E. coli O157 contamination of spinach in the US with that over the GM contamination of US rice. The truth of the E. coli outbreak, claimed the editorial, was that organic spinach apparently caused significant numbers of people to get sick and some possibly to die. Yet the publicity surrounding this calamity was very moderate and restrained, the editorial claimed.But the journal's editors had bought into an anti-organic myth and had failed to establish the facts. There is NO scientific evidence that organic spinach caused anyone to get sick or die! All 13 of the bags of spinach found to contain E. Coli O157 came from conventional farms - not one was organic!In other words, the Nature Biotechnology editorial bases its rallying cry for truth on scare-mongering and baloney about organics. And this is just the latest episode in a long-running campaign to smear organic food and farming, in which GM proponents have played a leading role.http://www.gmwatch.org/p2temp2.asp?aid=7&page=1&op=1 Read the offending articleWhy Silence Is Not An OptionNature Biotechnology, October 2006 Vol. 24 (10), Page 1177 http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=7243

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