Palaces For The People
Monday, December 08, 2003
 

AgBioWorld "Competitive Enterprise Institute" google linkages






http://www.cei.org/gencon/019,03005.cfm



Needless restrictions on agricultural biotechnology would harm the world's ability to battle hunger in the 21st century, say Gregory Conko and C.S. Prakash, co-founders of the AgBioWorld Foundation. They say that the concerns of anti-biotechnology campaigners simply are not supported by the scores of peer-reviewed scientific reports or data from tens of thousands of field trials.



The AgBioWorld Foundation is a nonprofit organization that provides information to the general public about developments in plant science, biotechnology, and sustainable agriculture.





http://www.cei.org/dyn/view_bio.cfm/3



Gregory Conko is a Policy Analyst and Director of Food Safety Policy with the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a Washington, DC-based public interest group dedicated to the principles of free enterprise and limited government, where he specializes in issues of food and pharmaceutical drug safety regulation, and on the general treatment of health risks in public policy. Mr. Conko is particularly interested in the debate over the safety of genetically engineered foods and the application of the Precautionary Principle to domestic and international environmental and safety regulations....



...Mr. Conko is also the Vice President and a member of the Board of Directors of the AgBioWorld Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization he co-founded with Tuskegee University plant genetics professor C.S. Prakash. The AgBioWorld Foundation provides information to teachers, journalists, policymakers, and the general public about developments in plant science, biotechnology, and sustainable agriculture.





http://www.cei.org/pages/links.cfm



If you like the content featured on the Competitive Enterprise Institute's website, we recommend that you visit some of the following sites.



Africa Fighting Malaria

AgBioWorld Community...





http://www.cei.org/gencon/003,02593.cfm



Dr. Prakash recently drafted a "Declaration of Scientists in Support of Agricultural Biotechnology," which has garnered the signatures of more than 2,000 scientists from around the world, including Nobel Prize winners James Watson and Norman Borlaug. The text of the Declaration and a list of signatories can be viewed at http://www/AgBioWorld.org, a web-site established by Dr. Prakash to share scientific information with policymakers, reporters, and members of the public.



AgBioWorld.org is supported and maintained by C.S. Prakash, Director of the Center for Plant Biotechnology Research at Tuskegee University. For more information about the Open Letter or the Scientists Declaration, contact Dr. Prakash or Gregory Conko, Director of Food Safety Policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute: 1 (202) 331-1010.





http://www.cei.org/dyn/experts_by_issue.cfm?category=14



CEI Expert Profile: Gregory Conko

Gregory Conko is a Policy Analyst and Director of Food Safety Policy with the Competitive Enterprise Institute where he specializes in issues of food and pharmaceutical drug safety regulation, and on the general treatment of health risks in public policy. Mr. Conko is particularly interested in the debate over the safety of genetically engineered foods and the application of the Precautionary Principle to domestic and international environmental and safety regulations. He frequently participates in international meetings on food safety and trade as a credentialed Non-Governmental Organization representative.




http://www.cei.org/dyn/experts_by_issue.cfm?category=36



CEI Expert Profile: C.S. Prakash

C.S. Prakash is professor of pant genetics at Tuskeegee University in Alabama, and a co-founder of the AgBioWorld Foundation. MORE>>




http://www.cei.org/gencon/019,03087.cfm



Gregory Conko is Director of Food Safety Policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute in Washington, DC, and C.S. Prakash is Professor of Plant Molecular Genetics at Tuskegee University in Alabama. The authors are co-founders of the AgBioWorld Foundation, based in Auburn, Alabama.





http://www.cei.org/utils/printer.cfm?AID=3005



Needless restrictions on agricultural biotechnology would harm the world's ability to battle hunger in the 21st century, say Gregory Conko and C.S. Prakash, co-founders of the AgBioWorld Foundation. They say that the concerns of anti-biotechnology campaigners simply are not supported by the scores of peer-reviewed scientific reports or data from tens of thousands of field trials.



The AgBioWorld Foundation is a nonprofit organization that provides information to the general public about developments in plant science, biotechnology, and sustainable agriculture.





http://ngin.tripod.com/060302d.htm



PRAKASH ADMITS AgBioWorld BASTARD CHILD OF "WELL-FUNDED FRONT FOR CORPORATIONS"



In 'Part of the Network: How Prof CS Prakash and his AgBioWorld campaign are part of a network of pro-corporate extremists' (first published as an article in SPLICE, Vol. 7, Issue 6), NGIN first exposed how, since it's very inception, C. S. Prakash's AgBioWorld campaign had been tied into the Competitive Enterprise Institute - a rightwing thinktank funded by the likes of Philip Morris and Dow Chemicals and notorious for its extreme pro-corporate agenda.


http://www.prwatch.org/improp/cei.html



In the article we exposed how the Prakash petition, AgBioWorld's launch pad, which had always been presented as a Third World scientist's rallying point for fellow academics, actually formed part of the Competitive Enterprise Institute's wider campaign against "death by regulation" - the same CEI campaign that has encouraged smoking as a political rejection of government education programmes because, according to the CEI, "there are things more valuable than health"!

http://members.tripod.com/~ngin/freesociety.htm



Now, in the very thick of the attacks on Ignacio Chapela, Prakash has quietly gone public on AgBioWorld's CEI connection. A footnote at the end of an AgBioWorld press release, "Report of Transgenes in Mexican Corn Called Into Question" attributed to:


- Gregory Conko, Competitive Enterprise Institute , Washington DC;

conko@cei.org

- C. S. Prakash, Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, AL; prakash@tusk.edu

states, "Prakash and Conko are co-founders of the AgBioWorld Foundation

(http://www.AgBioWorld.org)".


[ISB News Report, March 2002;

http://www.isb.vt.edu/news/2002/news02.mar.html#mar0202]




http://ngin.tripod.com/180502b.htm



AGBIOVIEW: HELP! HOW YOU CAN HELP AGBIOVIEW TO CONTINUE...



AgBioWorld's tangled web begins to fray



Without Monsanto's PR company running the show for him, poor old CS Prakash is having to pass round the begging bowl - see below.



Prakash, in his first public reference to the controversy that has engulfed AgBioWorld, states, "Despite certain misinformation being spread around, AgBioWorld Foundation receives no corporate funding."



But then nobody said Monsanto's PR operatives were actually putting money into AgBioWorld's pocket - just designing the website, archiving the list, making it available off their server, providing critical content... (Curiously, pretty much all the things Prakash suddenly needs money to do!)



Nobody ever doubted that Prakash and his 'friends' (such as AgBioWorld's co-founders, the Competitive Enterprise Institute*) have been doing the rest.



For more on who's really behind AgBioWorld, and on the dirty tricks campaign it forms part of, see:



Monsanto's World Wide Web of Deceit (multiple items)

http://ngin.tripod.com/deceit_index.html

or

http://www.biotech-info.net/costs.html#PRnews



Also:


*Part of the Network

How CS Prakash and his AgBioWorld campaign are part of a network of pro-corporate extremists

Article first published in SPLICE, Vol. 7, Issue 6

http://ngin.tripod.com/freesociety.htm



PRAKASH ADMITS AgBioWorld BASTARD CHILD OF "WELL-FUNDED FRONT FOR CORPORATIONS"


http://ngin.tripod.com/060302d.htm




http://ngin.tripod.com/161002b.htm



*Gregory Conko who's described as "Policy Analyst and Director of Food

Safety Policy, Competitive Enterprise Institute"



The Competitive Enterprise Institute is described by PR Watch as "a well funded corporate front". GM company Dow Chemicals is amongst its corporate donors. Its attitude to GM food aid could be seen in the context of its "death by regulation" campaign which has been directed against not only against any regulation of GM foods but against government efforts to discourage smoking. According to the CEI, "there are things more valuable than health". Tobacco giant Philip Morris is another notable CEI sponsor.

http://www.prwatch.org/improp/cei.html




http://ngin.tripod.com/pantsoftheyearaward.htm



Such lies and smears are far from the full extent of the Prakash fraud, however. Take Prof Prakash’s "AgBioWorld Foundation". Prakash presents this as a mainstream science campaign, in support of "agbiotech", that has "emerged from academic roots and values" and which eschews corporate support. The centre piece of AgBioWorld's campaign is Prakash’s petition supporting the "judicious" use of genetically engineered crops in the developing world. This declaration has always been presented by Prakash as a Third World scientist's rallying point for fellow academics. But according to the annual report of the Competitive Enterpise Institute (2000), the petition formed a key part of the CEI's much wider campaign against "death by regulation"!



Recently, Prakash has been more open about the fact that Greg Conko of the CEI was a "co-founder" of his campaign. The midwifery of an organisation described by PR Watch as "a well funded corporate front", and which opposes restrictions on smoking just as vociferously as it does those on GM foods, sits a little oddly with Prakash's claims of AgBioWorld's "academic roots and values"!




http://ngin.tripod.com/020103b.htm



On biotech Dow says:

" We are participating in the dialogue and working to understand and address people's honest concerns about such topics as labeling and biodiversity."

http://www.dow.com/environment/debate/d2.html

That's somewhat hard to relate to Dow???s funding of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the industry front group that co-founded AgBioWorld which is notorious for its smear campaigns against scientists and others with "concerns about such topics as labeling and biodiversity."



[For more on Dow see the COMPANY NEWS section of GMWATCH 5. On Dow and AgBioWorld see http://ngin.tripod.com/freesociety.htm]




http://ngin.tripod.com/251102a.htm



Avery's claims on organic are so ludicrous that even Greg Conko of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and the co-founder of AgBioWorld, has criticised his grasp of statistics. Conko told Avery on Prakash's pro-GM list, AgBioView, that the extreme selectivity of Avery's statistics on killer organics, "doesn't seem to be convincing anybody who doesn't already have a predilection to believe you in the first place".


http://www.sare.org/htdocs/hypermail/html-home/42-html/0476.html




http://www.monbiot.com/dsp_article.cfm?article_id=515



Bivings is the secret author of several of the websites and bogus citizens' movements which have been coordinating campaigns against environmentalists. One is a fake scientific institute called the "Centre for Food and Agricultural Research". Bivings has also set up the "Alliance for Environmental Technology", a chlorine industry lobby group. Most importantly, Bivings appears to be connected with AgBioWorld, the genuine website run by CS Prakash, a plant geneticist at Tuskegee University, Alabama.



AgBioWorld is perhaps the most influential biotech site on the web. Every day it carries new postings about how GM crops will feed the world, new denunciations of the science which casts doubt on them and new attacks on environmentalists. It was here that the fake persuaders invented by Bivings launched their assault on the Nature paper. AgBioWorld then drew up a petition to have the paper retracted.



Prakash claims to have no links with Bivings but, as the previous article showed, an error message on his site suggests that it is or was using the main server of the Bivings Group. Jonathan Matthews, who found the message, commissioned a full technical audit of AgBioWorld. His web expert has now found 11 distinctive technical fingerprints shared by AgBioWorld and Bivings's Alliance for Environmental Technology site. The sites appear, he concludes, to have been created by the same programmer.



Though he lives and works in the United States, CS Prakash claims to represent the people of the third world. But he set up AgBioWorld with Greg Conko of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the far-right libertarian lobby group funded by such companies as Philip Morris, Pfizer and Dow Chemical. Conko has collaborated with Matthew Metz, one of the authors of the scientific letters to Nature seeking to demolish the maize paper, to produce a highly partisan guide to biotechnology on the AgBioWorld site. The Competitive Enterprise Institute boasts that it "played a key role in the creation" of a petition of scientists supporting biotech (ostensibly to feed the third world) launched by Prakash. Unaware that it had been devised by a corporate lobby group, 3,000 scientists, three Nobel laureates among them, signed up.





http://www.gene-watch.org/genewatch/articles/16-2matthews.html



...But if anyone deserved the cow dung it was Giddings, for almost every element of this spectacle was framed so as to deceive. Take, Chengal Reddy. Reddy is not a poor farmer, nor even the representative of poor farmers. He is a politician who has on occasion admitted to never having farmed in his life. His “Indian Farmers Federation” is a lobby for big commercial farmers in Andhra Pradesh, where his family is a prominent right-wing political force — his father having coined the saying, “There is only one thing that Dalits [untouchables] are good for, and that is being kicked.”



If it seems doubtful that Reddy was in Johannesburg to help the poor speak for themselves, the identity of the march organizers is also not a source of confidence. Although the London Times ran an admiring commentary on the march under the headline, “I Do Not Need White NGOs to Speak for Me,” the media contact on the organizers’ press release was Kendra Okonski, the daughter of a U.S. lumber industrialist. Okonski has worked for a variety of anti-regulatory NGOs, including the ultra-right Competitive Enterprise Institute, all funded and directed, needless to say, by “whites.” Okonski also runs Counterprotest.net, a website devoted to helping pro-corporate lobbyists take to the streets in mimicry of popular protesters.



Given this, it hardly needs saying that the “Bullshit Award” was far from the imaginative riposte of impoverished farmers that Giddings suggests. Rather, it was the creation of another right-wing pressure group. Based in New Delhi and well known for its fervent support of deregulation, GM crops and Big Tobacco, the Liberty Institute is part of the same coalition that organized the rally — the deceptively named Sustainable Development Network. In London, the SDN shares offices, along with many of its key personnel — including Okonski — with the International Policy Network, a group whose Washington address happens to be that of the Competitive Enterprise Institute. ...



... Still more revealing, though, is the fact that Giddings’ denunciation of the Berkeley scientists was almost identical to the attacks which launched the campaign against them on the very day of the research’s publication. In an article about the Mexican maize controversy, the journal Science described how “widely circulating anonymous e-mails” accused Chapela and Quist of “conflicts of interest and other misdeeds”. Those e-mails surfaced first on the listserv of AgBioWorld, a pro-biotech group co-founded by Greg Conko of the Competitive Enterprise Institute and one C.S. Prakash, who edits AgBioView, an email list in which GM critics have been compared to Hitler and the 9/11 terrorists.



AgBioWorld prominently circulated emails from a “Mary Murphy” and an “Andura Smetacek” that claimed Dr. Chapela was an “activist first” and a “scientist second,” and that he colluded in attacks on “biotechnology, free-trade, intellectual property rights and other politically motivated agenda items.” Smetacek even insinuated that Chapela had actually designed his research in collusion with “fear-mongering activists.” On top of that, Smetacek wanted to know how much money Chapela was getting in “expenses” from the anti-biotech “industry.”



Although the internet is an easy place to launch such inflammatory attacks from Hotmail-type addresses, it is also a place where, without meticulous care, the details of identity can be surprisingly easy to track.



In July 2000 a “Mary Murphy” posted a fake Associated Press article on the message board of foxbghsuit.com, a website dedicated to a legal case connected to Monsanto’s genetically engineered cattle drug rBGH. The Hotmail reply address given matches that of Chapela’s attacker; however, Murphy is also identified as bw6@bivwood.com — the domain name of The Bivings Group, an internet PR employed by Monsanto.



The e-mail headers of “Andura Smetacek” are still more startling. In her earliest emails, Smetacek presented herself to the AgBioView list as a concerned observer of the GM debate writing from London. However, the Internet Protocol address on those messages is 199.89.234.124 — numbers assigned to Monsanto’s headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri. ...




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