ngin - Norfolk Genetic Information Network

31 May 2002

MONSANTO DECEIT IN THE PHILIPPINES/"CORPORATE PHANTOMS" DEMONIZE THE GE FOOD DEBATE

What is it that the new Monsanto pledge says about acting with openness, transparency, humility, integrity...?

"some radio personalities in Naga City have been contacted to promote in their radio programs the advantages of GMO propagation....   ...Batanes said that in cahoots with the agrochemical companies that promote GMO propagation, some radio stations were at least paid P25,000 a month to do propaganda work....  ...Monsanto could not be contacted immediately for comments on the allegations" (from item 1)

1. Monsanto deceit in the Phillipines
2. "Corporate Phantoms" Demonize the GE Food Debate (PR Watch with urls)

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1. Monsanto deceit in the Philippines

MILITANTS SCORE MONSANTO MEETING WITH LOCAL POLICY MAKERS
Philippine Daily Inquirer, May 28, 2002

NAGA CITY-At least two militant groups in Bicol yesterday scored Monsanto for alleged influence peddling by hosting a cocktail party for local policy makers and known advocates against the propagation of genetically modified organisms (GMO) at the Hotel Intercontinental today.

Willy Marbella, secretary general of the militant Kilusang Magbubukid sa Bikol, said several governors, anti-GMO advocates and church leaders from Bicol are to be met by top Monsanto officials in Southeast Asia.

Marbella said among the invited personalities are Gov. Al Francis Bichara, Archbishop of Caceres Msgr. Leonardo Legaspi and Bishop Jesus Varela of Sorsogon. He claimed that Monsanto is employing a sophisticated tactic of bringing together these important personalities in Bicol to convince them to support the commercial propagation of Bt-corn and field testing of genetically modified rice.

Marbella further claimed that even before the local governments in Bicol could approve the commercial propagation of Bt-corn, Monsanto has already prepared the groundwork in Camarines Norte.

He said the importance of the cocktail party to Monsanto's GMO commercial venture in Bicol is indicated by the presence of top officials like Benette D. Begemanh, president for Asia Pacific, Allan T. Smith, director for South East Asia, and Juan Ferreira, country director in the Philippines.

"We don't really know what are at stake here. But we are sure that this so-called cocktail party is a major move of Monsanto to aggressively sell the GMO commercial propagation," Marbella said.

Joel Batanes, spokesperson of the anti-GMO alliance called Bicol-Resist, said they have also received reports that some radio personalities in Naga City have been contacted to promote in their radio programs the advantages of GMO propagation.

Batanes said that in cahoots with the agrochemical companies that promote GMO propagation, some radio stations were at least paid P25,000 a month to do propaganda work.

Monsanto could not be contacted immediately for comments on the allegations hurled against the second biggest agrochemical firm in the world that promotes GMO propagation.

Monsanto last year figured in a scandal in Panagan, Tigaon, Camarines Sur when it proceeded to field-test the Bt-corn without the knowledge of the Department of Agriculture regional office. Juan Escandor Jr., PDI Southern Luzon Bureau

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2. "Corporate Phantoms" Demonize the GE Food Debate

PR WATCH [note the useful urls at end]
http://www.prwatch.org/spin/index.html

Two weeks ago, Guardian columnist George Monbiot described how the Bivings Group, a PR company contracted to Monsanto, invented fake citizens to post messages on internet listservers.

"These phantoms had launched a campaign to force Nature magazine to retract a paper it had published, alleging that native corn in Mexico had been contaminated with GM pollen," Monbiot writes in today's column. "But this, it now seems, is just one of hundreds of critical interventions with which PR companies hired by big business have secretly guided the biotech debate over the past few years. ...

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. ... He set up AgBioWorld with Greg Conko of the Competitive Enterprise Institute [1], the far-right libertarian lobby group funded by such companies as Philip Morris, Pfizer and Dow Chemical. ... Another US company, Berman & Co, runs a fake public interest site called ActivistCash.com[2]... The marketing firm Nichols Dezenhall[3] set up a site called StopEcoViolence, another 'citizens' initiative,' demonizing activists. ... The hatred directed at activists over the past few years is, in other words, nothing of the kind. In truth, we have been confronted by the crafted response of an industry without emotional attachment."

Source: The Guardian (UK), May 29, 2002
[1]http://www.prwatch.org/improp/cei.html
[2]http://www.prwatch.org/improp/ddam.html
[3]http://www.tompaine.com/feature.cfm/ID/5246
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Monsanto's web of deceit: multiple items
http://ngin.tripod.com/deceit_index.html

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