ngin - Norfolk Genetic Information Network

27 June 2002


1. The Cowardly Crusader & Canada's Propaganda War
2. good Greef! - messages that build trust

re: item 1, check out the charming "I support malaria" t-shirts warn by smiling child models

Note also Fred Curran's e-mail address is fcura@STARPOWER.NET. Suggesting Curran maybe more of a Cura.


1. 3 items from SPIN OF THE DAY - PR WATCH

a) The Cowardly Crusader
Someone who calls himself "Fred Curran" has been creating "parody" websites attacking environmental groups including Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and the Pure Food Campaign. Curran's parodies, at, and, say that Greenpeace "has no credibility," FoE is supported by "thousands of suckers," and the Pure Food Campaign is a "propaganda machine" running an "organic con game." But what about the credibility of "Fred Curran"? His domain name registration* lists his address as 1800 M St NW, Washington, DC, which happens to be the address of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. "Curran" lists his phone number as 202-728-7510, which rings at the office of SpiralHeart, "a non-profit organization dedicated to providing education & training in the Reclaiming Tradition style of Witchcraft." Either we've got a witch at the USDA, or Curran is using a fake name, a fake address and a fake phone number. If there's a whistleblower out there who would like to expose his real identity, contact


b) Canada's Propaganda War for Engineered Foods
The Canadian government, working closely with the biotech industry, is spending millions getting Canadians to accept genetically modified foods. Lyle Stewart describes the "spider's web of influence" that brings together the biotech and agri-food industries, large grocery distributors, the Hill & Knowlton PR firm, and industry-created front groups such as the Food Biotechnology Communications Network, and co-opted NGOs including the Consumers' Association of Canada. Source: This magazine, May/June 2002

c) Greed On the Rise, And So Is Ethical Puffery
"Greed and corruption have always lingered at the edges of Corporate America, from Civil War profiteers to inside-trading scandals of the '80s," observes Gary Strauss in USA Today. "Yet the new millennium has ushered in a wave of fraud, corporate malfeasance, investment scams, ethical lapses and conflicts of interest unprecedented in scope." Not coincidentally, more and more corporations are issuing feel-good reports about their achievements in the field of corporate social responsibility (CSR). According to the KPMG accounting firm, the number of U.S. companies issuing reports on environmental and social issues has risen 14 percent in the past three years. "As the demand grows for corporate accountability and responsible behavior, many U.S. companies realize they must share their values - as well as their value - with their stakeholders," explains KPMG's Michael Radcliffe. According to Echo Research, an international reputation research firm, there is "an increased effort to manage CSR effectively and a greater and more positive profile in the media as a result." There is even a PR wire service,, devoted exclusively to issuing news releases about corporate social responsibility. Source: USA Today, June 12, 2002


2. Good Greef - messages that build trust
Companies form group to champion biotechnology
International Chamber of Commerce

Paris, 20 June 2002 - Companies involved in the life sciences have joined forces to present common positions on regulatory, social and ethical issues related to biotechnology and to promote the benefits that the life science industries are bringing to society.

At the inaugural meeting of the ICC Commission on Biosociety, Chairman Willy De Greef said: "The benefits are not getting through to society - they are just not talked about." He added that this was despite the life sciences' well-documented record in improving environment and health
And saving lives.

More than 40 senior executives from companies and business associations involved in agriculture, food processing and pharmaceuticals constitute the new commission's membership. They resolved to bring a cross-sectoral view to biotechnology issues and to help deliver more reliable information to government and international policy-makers.

The commission's chairman had no illusions about the difficulty of the group's assignment. He warned that the uncoordinated proliferation of international policies and regulations affecting the life sciences "threatens the survival of the innovative wave."

"Everybody seems to feel the need to make laws about the life sciences," Mr De Greef said. The result was "duplication, overlap and confusion."

Mr De Greef, who is head of regulatory affairs for biotechnology at the Swiss agribusiness company, Syngenta, told the new commission its task would be to demonstrate that the life sciences are an essential part of the solution to society's problems. "What can we learn across sectors? How do we transform superior information into coherent messages that build trust?" he asked.

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