ngin - Norfolk Genetic Information Network

29 August 2002

SO WHO'S PUTTING THE BULL IN THE BULL#%$@ AWARDS?

"If Time wanted a true hero, it should have picked Prakash, also an Indian native. He literally gets down in the dirt..." from The Villainous Vandana Shiva 'A false environmental prophet'
Michael Fumento, National Review Online, August 27, 2002
http://www.nationalreview.com/comment/comment-fumento082702.asp
---
So AgBioView is trumpeting a Bullshit Award which has gone to Vandana Shiva and assorted NGOs including the admirable Third World Network (see below). NGIN has previously brought you the Prof Bullsh*t awards, not to mention the Pants on Fire awards, and they say imitation is the highest form of flattery. [http://ngin.tripod.com/fav.htm
http://ngin.tripod.com/pants.htm]

Ostensibly, the award comes from Barun Mitra and his Liberty Institute, a New Delhi based NGO. Yet earlier today we drew attention to a recent flurry of attacks on Vandana Shiva and NGOs on AgBioView, including one attack on Shiva sent directly by a Monsanto employee.

We also noted the previous attacks on Vandana Shiva by Monsanto's PR cyphers, Murphy and Smetacek. Prakash's AgBioWorld/AgBioView campaign has been shown itself to be a Monsanto PR operation. [http://ngin.tripod.com/deceit_index.html http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,3604,723899,00.html]

Mitra also has strong AgBioWorld connections. He collaborated on a rabidly pro-GE AgBioWorld document called 'critical issues in agricultural biotechnology' with AgBioWorld co-founder, Gregory Conko of the Competitive Enterprise Institute (described by PR Watch as a "well-funded front for corporations").
[http://www.agbioworld.org/biotech_info/articles/critical.html]

Mitra's Liberty Institute has lobbied hard for approval of Monsanto's GE cotton in India, claiming there should be "free access" to new technologies without any Government regulation or "interference", "Any government is ill-placed to judge the merits and the potential of any frontier technology. The vetoing power of the government is susceptible to being misused by vested interests who concoct pseudo-scientific arguments and often use unethical means for influencing government's decisions."

The Liberty Institute even hosted a press conference at which representatives of large corporate farmers threatened to grow Monsanto's GE cotton regardless of Government approval. The Liberty Institute  has also been a strong supporter of Big Tobacco, publishing, for example, an attack on the World Health Organisation by Roger Scruton - the philosopher exposed as in the pay of the tobacco industry. The Liberty Institute is also part of rightwing coalitions like the International Consumers for Civil Society (ICCS) and the International Policy Network
(IPN), as is Prakash's AgbioWorld.

Another member of these groupings is Australia's IPA which previously sought to smear the Third World Network in the Malaysian press. Their attack they said had been inspired by CS Prakash [MALAYSIAN NEWS, March 13 2001]. Prakash denied any involvement but subsequently circulated other IPA smears against indigenous opposition to GMOs in the Third World.

Clearly what we're seeing is an orchestrated attempt to denigrate and discredit civil society movements in the Third World who dare to challenge the activities and interests of Monsanto.

For a charming picture of the Liberty award that shows industry PR's usual elegant lightness of touch, see:
http://www.libertyindia.org/events/barun_award.htm
---
From: "AgBioView" <agbioworld@yahoo.com>
Thu, 29 Aug 2002
 
Liberty "Bullshit Award for Sustaining Poverty" Awarded Today To Vandana Shiva - http://www.libertyindia.org/events/bullshit_award_28august2002.htm

Johannesburg, August 28  - At a mass rally today in Johannesburg, the winner of the Bullshit Award for Sustaining Poverty was announced. In a closely run race, the winner was chosen for her important contribution to sustaining poverty around the world, in her role as a mouthpiece of western eco-imperialism.

In front of a rapt crowd of farmers from Africa and Asia, the award - a plaque mounted with a cow manure, representing the traditional agricultural technology that the winner favours - was bestowed on Ms. Vandana Shiva. Other award nominees included Greenpeace International, BioWatch, SAFeAGE, and the Third World Network.

The award was bestowed on behalf of Indian farmers by Barun Shankar Mitra of the Liberty Institute in New Delhi, India, who commented:

"Vandana Shiva is an individual whose immense presence at the World Summit on Sustainable Development and other global meetings, and her passionate defense of poverty, has resonated as far as newspapers and TV cameras can be found.

"Millions of people rely on backbreaking labor and low-intensity subsistence farming, not out of choice but out of necessity, yet Ms. Shiva claims that modern agricultural technologies are too dangerous for the poor. But given the choice, poor rural farmers seize the opportunity to use modern technologies to improve their agricultural productivity. Ultimately, it is farmers who should make the choice over what technologies they use, not eco-imperialists such as Shiva. Farmers are the most important stakeholder in this debate and their voice must not be ignored.

Farmers are choosing modern agricultural technologies out of their own free will - and for good reasons. And by so doing they are benefiting the environment. Low intensity farming not only hurts farmers, but also endangers environmental quality. Poverty and environmental degradation go hand in hand - and modern technologies alleviate poverty and enable environmental protection. This means that we should empower poor people to use these technologies, to increase their consumption of resources, which will benefit them as well the environment."

Unfortunately, the goddess of poverty was not able to attend the event in person to receive the award (a sign that she is perhaps not omnipresent). Mr. Mitra invites her to accept it at any time during the World Summit on Sustainable Development. Liberty Institute (www.libertyindia.org) is a member of the Sustainable Develoment Network (www.sdnetwork.net).

See the picture of this award at
http://www.libertyindia.org/events/barun_award.htm
For more information, or to interview Barun Mitra, please contact Kendra Okonski, 072-477-2371.

************************

'Bullshit Trophy' for 'Contribution of These Three To Poverty'

- Beeld Report newspaper (South Africa) (Translation from Afrikaans language)

AUGUST 29, 2002:  Farmers from Africa and Asia and hawkers from all over the country yesterday handed over a "Bullshit Trophy" (yes, that really is the name) to Greenpeace, the Third World Network and BioWatch for their contribution to the "continuance of poverty" in developing countries.

The trophy consists of a piece of wood with two mounted heaps of dried cattle dung - "unluckily we could not find elephant dung in time". Mr Barun Mitra of the Sustainable Development Network (SDN), a coalition of non-governmental organizations that believe, amongst others, that sustainable development is only possible through free trade, did the handing over in Johannesburg yesterday.

Mitra accused the three NGOs of being parasites that "live on the blood of the poor" and did not assist in improving agricultural productivity in the third world. "They are not interested in famine or poverty. They are only concerned with their own interests. "They sit here at the World Summit for Sustainable Development in their hotels for the affluent and romanticize everything", he said.

Seven vendor organizations, among them the Gauteng Hawkers Association, and seven farmers associations from South Africa, Kenya, the Philippines and India, yesterday protested under the banner of the SDN outside the Sandton conference center. Amongst others the farmers demand more access to the best technology, to be able to trade inside and outside the borders of their countries, and to sell their products at a price which is not distorted by agricultural subsidies, tariffs or quotas. The hawkers demand the right to trade where and with whom they preferred without interference by government and with self-regulation. The memorandums of both groups were handed to Mr Mosiua Lekota, minister of defence. Mr Leon Louw, secretary of the Informal Business Forum, to which most of the hawker organizations belong, yesterday said it was a shame that hawkers had been prohibited to sit and trade next to Johannesburg and Soweto streets during the WSSD. The approximate 20 000 hawkers in Johannesburg were "losing millions of rands" as a result of this ban, Mr Louw said.

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