Palaces For The People
Wednesday, October 29, 2003
Starlink is not the Problem!

...For example, what was the response when Monsanto researchers notified FDA that the most widely used genetically engineered product, Roundup Ready soybeans, contained a surprise package-some unintended and unsuspected gene fragments? Apparently when Monsanto enabled soybean plants to survive spraying with their weed killer, Roundup, by splicing a gene into the bean's DNA, they tossed in a little extra.

FDA's response: a big yawn. Media response: UK papers carried the story. A newswire service reported it in the US. Maybe some newspapers and news stations picked it up, but we did not see it anywhere except in the July News column of Whole Life Times.

Although this story should have smeared egg on the faces of biotech cheerleaders who claim that genetic engineering is more precise than conventional breeding techniques, scientist to this day publish high-profile opinion pieces making this now-disproved assertion.

...Monsanto and other producers of GE seeds fund plenty of research at universities around the world, making it easy to recruit "notable scientists" as mouthpieces. They also fund think tanks and similar organizations to spread their misleading messages.

An example of a widely published mouthpiece for big agribusiness is Dennis Avery, the author of SAVING THE PLANET WITH PESTICIDES AND PLASTICS, and currently is director of the Center for Global Food Issues for the Hudson Institute, a pro-corporate think tank with major funders such as Monsanto, DuPont, Novartis, Dow, and ConAgra. The biotech industry's PR firm, Burson-Marsteller, allegedly involved in a massive PR campaign to counteract the escalating global anti-GE movement in the US and abroad, is represented on Hudson Institute's board.

Herb London, President of the Hudson Institute, is a John M. Olin Professor of Humanities at New York University, a position funded by the John M. Olin Foundation. The Olin Foundation was created and is still controlled by the Olin Corporation, a leading North American chemical giant and top producer of agricultural chemicals, including sulfuric acid, fertilizers and pesticides.

Herb London also sits on the Board of Associates for the Palmer R. Chitester Fund--a right-wing foundation which sells educational materials based on John Stossel's 20/20 reports on ABC, giving ABC a cut of the profits. Remember Stossel's 20/20 hatchet job on organic foods? Another major contributor to the Palmer R. Chitester Fund is the Olin Foundation. Is a picture beginning to emerge?

The corruptive inbreeding of interests does not end with the connections between agribusiness, a conservative foundation, a conservative think tank, a widely published media mouthpiece for agribusiness, and a supposed independent journalist. We won't even start in on the well documented revolving door between Monsanto and FDA, or other US agencies that develop and implement biotech policy.

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