ngin - Norfolk Genetic Information Network
 

from the NGIN list of Norfolk Genetic Information Network
http://www.ngin.org.uk
---
more MOORE disinformation

Recently we circulated an article from the NGIN list called 'MOORE
disinformation' - see:  http://members.tripod.com/~ngin/moore.htm
Biotech proponent, C.S. Prakash, has subsequently put out, on his
AgBioView list and elsewhere, a response to parts of this from its main
subject, Patrick Moore.

Moore's response has also been put on a Monsanto-sponsored website. See:
http://www.biotechknowledge.com/showlib.php3?uid=5089&country=india
If you search the site, you will find many articles there attacking
environmentalists that quote Patrick Moore (going back to at least 1995).

In the introduction to Moore's response, as it went out on his AgBioView
list, Prakash wrote:

"Recently, Jonathan Mathew of the Norfolk Genetic Information Network
(http://members.tripod.com/~ngin) issued a scathing attack on Dr.
Patrick Moore, founder of Greenpeace for his support of biotechnology
and his endorsement of the Agbioworld petition."

In fact, the article was not intended as an attack on Moore per se, nor
on his endorsement of Prakash's petition, but on the way in which he and
his support for biotech has been presented by the biotech industry,
Prakash and others, ie the packaging of Moore as a leading figure in the
environmental movement who has recently broken with Greenpeace.

Ironically, in his introductory comment, Prakash perfectly exemplifies
the kind of spin we were attempting to draw attention to. Prakash refers
to 'Dr. Patrick Moore, founder of Greenpeace'. Similarly, on the
Monsanto site Moore's response to NGIN is headed 'Greenpeace Founder
Supports Biotechnology', and this was also the title of Prakash's
original press release drawing attention to Moore's endorsement of the
AgbioWorld petition and criticism of Greenpeace (particularly in
relation to Golden Rice).

Compare Prakash's description of Moore with what Moore himself says on
his own website <http://www.greenspirit.com> about his wish to avoid
misleading people on this issue:

"I always say the I am 'a founding member of Greenpeace'... The reason I
do not use 'co-founder' is that it makes it seem like there were only
two founders."

Prakash's 'Dr. Patrick Moore, founder of Greenpeace', of course, makes
it seem like there was only one! There are, of course, quite a few
people who could be styled 'founding members'.

What's most remarkable, though, about Patrick Moore's response to the
NGIN article is that he indirectly confirms almost every point we made.
In other words, while Moore goes to great lengths to explain, or place a
more positive interpretation on, the information we provided in the
article, he disputes hardly any of the facts and quotes we provided.

For instance, we pointed out that while statements in press articles and
in the Prakash press release from which they originated, clearly suggested Moore had only recently broken with Greenpeace, Moore had in reality ceased to have any active or meaningful connection with the organisation back in the mid-1980s.

Moore, in his response, confirms this although he says he left in 1986
and not 84/85.

We said Moore's subsequent career was, to say the least, a remarkable
one for a man who was being presented by biotech proponents as a leading
environmentalist, ie he had founded a fish farm business and then, after
that had got into difficulties, had for at least a decade worked for a
logging-industry funded pressure group which was in the business of
attacking environmentalists like Greenpeace.

Moore in his response, while seeking to justify his actions, confirms
all the essential points in this account.

The problem with this for the biotech industry and its spin doctors is
that once it is established, as it now is, that:

(a) Moore was never the 'founder' or 'co-founder' of Greenpeace (in the
sense suggested)

(b) Moore ceased any active connection with Greenpeace at least 15 years ago

(c) Moore has done little but attack Greenpeace, and other
environmentalists, for at least a decade, and

(d) he has been paid by industry to do so

any suppposed newsworthiness of Moore's current criticism of Greenpeace
and support for the agbiotech industry simply disappears.

In other words, as we originally said, Moore criticisng Greenpeace and
supporting an environmentally-questionable industry, far from being a
novelty, is entirely true to form.

But then "Pro-Corporate Greenpeace Basher Supports Agbiotech" hardly has the same ring about it.

Below we reproduce what went to the AgBioView list, with NGIN's
responses added between ***   ***

There are also 3 items on Burson-Marsteller given at the end, as Patrick
Moore attempts to make light of this connection. B-M are also,
incidentally, the PR representatives of Monsanto and Europa-BIO.
---
AgBioView - http://www.agbioworld.org

[PRAKASH] Recently, Jonathan Mathew of the Norfolk Genetic Information
Network (http://members.tripod.com/~ngin) issued a scathing attack on Dr.
Patrick Moore, founder of Greenpeace for his support of biotechnology
and his endorsement of the Agbioworld petition. This was published in
several Internet lists including Agnet and AAAS' Scope (GMF).

Here, Patrick Moore responds to the criticisms and allegations of
Jonathan.

- Prakash
============

Response to NGIN attack.

 - From: Patrick Moore <patrickmoore@home.com>

The Norfolk Genetic Information Network (NGIN) has published an article
accusing me of using "disinformation" in my efforts to bring some logic
into the debate over genetically modified food crops. Typically, they
are the ones spreading disinformation. I have responded to some of their
more serious allegations below. Anyone interested in reading what I have
actually written on this and other subjects can visit the Greenspirit
web-site at <http://www.greenspirit.com>

-
NGIN says: The press release, titled "GREENPEACE FOUNDER SUPPORTS
BIOTECHNOLOGY: Moore Criticizes Colleagues for Opposing Golden Rice",
came soon after Greenpeace released a letter from Gordon Conway in which
he agreed with Greenpeace's contention that Golden Rice has been
massively hyped by industry. The timing of the press release suggests it
was intended to undermine such criticism. Similarly, the recent upsurge
in the disinformation campaign aimed at environmental NGOs in the
Phillipines (sic) co-ordinates exactly with the arrival in the country
of Golden Rice.

Moore response: The timing of my signature to the AgBioWorld Foundation
petition had nothing to do with Gordon Conway's statement. I met C.S.
Prakash in Melbourne and he informed me of the petition so I signed it.
Besides, Greenpeace and others have taken Gordon Conway's statement out
of context in the same way they tried to use Igor Potrykus comments to
attack biotech companies. The criticism of NGOs in the Philippines is
roundly deserved if they are opposed to the development of Golden Rice.
***
NGIN response: Moore, like Prakash, misses the point. We didn't comment
on the timing of Moore's signature but on the timing of Prakash's press
release!

Greenpeace, incidentally, released the entire text of Gordon Conway's
letter so it's difficult to see in what sense they took his comments out
of context.

And Patrick Moore should perhaps hesitate before endorsing what he terms
the 'criticim' of Filipino NGOs on the grounds that if they oppose
'golden rice' they deserve what they get. The disinformation campaign we
referred to has centered on fake e-mails full of disinformation, sent in
the names of leaders of the targeted NGOs.
***
---
NGIN says: In fact, Prakash's claim of a recent Moore-Greenpeace
connection is completely bogus. Moore actually left Greenpeace back in
1984/85, ie he hasn't worked with any of the supposed "colleagues" he's
said to be criticising for the past 16 years or more! Who broke with
who, is also open to question. According to Greenpeace's Tamara Stark,
Moore's exit was "not necessarily by his own choice".

Moore response: I was a founding member of Greenpeace in 1971. I left
Greenpeace as an elected director in 1986, after 15 years as a director
of Greenpeace and Greenpeace International. I remained a member of
Greenpeace for many years after that, and seeing as though we gave
ourselves life-time memberships in 1975, I am still technically a
member. What Prakash is referring to by my "recent break" with
Greenpeace is my recent decision to support GMO crops for their many
environmental and social benefits. Tamara Stark was not with Greenpeace
until years after I left active involvement. It was my choice to leave
Greenpeace and focus on sustainability and consensus-building rather
than extremism and confrontation.
***
NGIN response: Moore says that he left Greenpeace as an active
participant in the mid-1980s. This confirms the accuracy of our
statement that he hadn't worked with any of the supposed "colleagues" he
was, according to Prakash, criticising for the last decade and a half.

Moore's continuing 'membership' of the organisation, for however long
that actually continued, is an irrelevance. There are a number of people
who for PR and other purposes maintain Greenpeace membership but who, in
reality, oppose its programmes and policies. Moore clearly falls into
this category, given that as part of the BC Forest Alliance he has, since
1991, been issuing repeated attacks on Greenpeace and other environmental
organisations.

Prakash's statment that 'Recently, however, [Moore] broke with
Greenpeace' is clearly disingenuous in relation to a man who has been a
vociferous opponent of the organisation for a decade or more. It is also
disingenuous of Moore to say Prakash is referring only to his
disagreement with them over GMOs. This certainly would not have been
apparent to most readers of the press release who would almost certainly
have concluded that until this recent break Moore had been a leading member of the organisation.
***
---
NGIN says: After he left Greenpeace in '84/'85, however, Moore initially
pursued a somewhat curious career for an environmentalist. He set up a
fish farm.

Moore response: When I left Greenpeace I wanted to do something that
could be described as "sustainable development". I established a salmon
hatchery and spent seven years growing native Chinook salmon at my
family home, Winter Harbour, on northern Vancouver Island. I could never
understand the "environmentalist" opposition to aquaculture. Of course,
like anything, aquaculture can be done badly, but I had a very good
hatchery and grew beautiful, delicious fish. So what is so "curious"
about growing fish, anyway? Aquaculture provides wholesome food, creates
employment, takes pressure off wild, over-fished, species, etc. The
omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil are very good at preventing heart
disease. One of the reasons I left Greenpeace was because I couldn't get
them to be in favor of anything. I thought "If these guys are against
growing fish, what on Earth are they in favor of?"
***
NGIN repsonse: It's interesting that Moore uses the expression, "When I
left Greenpeace" about his departure in the mid-eighties, having earlier
sought to fudge this issue.

Most environmental organisations have strong reservations about the
impact of fish farms on the marine environment. We mentioned this issue
simply as yet one more indication that the picture being presented of
Moore as, until recently, a leading member of the environmental movement
was seriously suspect. In other words, if Moore is supposed to be an
environmentalist, then he's certainly an idiosyncratic one and has not
been part of the mainstream for a very long time.

Moore's account of his motivation for fish farming, incidentally, is
notably different to that of Jonathan Mayer, a fish biologist and former
employee of Moore's who apparently says, "When asked why he started a
fish farm, Patrick replied:'To make money'"
***
---
NGIN says: It was only after this business venture failed and Moore got
into serious financial trouble, that Moore established an environmental
consulting firm (Greenspirit, formed in 1991). The firm's consultancy
has, apparently, not been without controversy.
<http://www.fanweb.org/patrick-moore>

Moore response: The salmon farm succeeded for seven years. In 1989 the
market fell due to over-supply (over-success), and the industry rapidly
consolidated. We decided that a family operation was no longer viable so
we wound it up in an orderly fashion and ceased production. I did not
get into serious financial trouble and never have been. I formed my
consultancy as a vehicle for my work. The idea that I turned to the Dark
Side due to financial desperation is ridiculous. I can do whatever I
want because I am very capable at many things, including carpentry,
writing, photography, gardening and running a chain saw. The web-site
"Patrick Moore is a Big Fat Liar" was put up by an extreme little band of
anarchists. For my response to the claims made there please see:
<http://www.greenspirit.com/notaliar.htm>

***
NGIN repsonse: A very minor point, but if the market became difficult in
1989; the farm succeeded for seven years; and, Moore has already told
us, he was involved with the fish farm for seven years after leaving
Greenpeace (he says in 86), then either the fish farm improbably
succeeded for several years after the market downturn or these dates are
hard to tally.
***
---
NGIN says: At around the same time that Moore set up Greenspirit, he
also became a full-time paid director and consultant, and a main
spokesperson, for the British Columbia Forest Alliance.

Moore response: I was born into a third-generation forest industry
family. Forestry is British Columbia's most important industry.
Incorporating environmental values (increased parks and wilderness,
better forest practices, pollution reduction) has been major feature of
recent policy development in this field. I have been helping the forest
sector to meet this challenge proactively and progressively. The
anti-biotech groups are also anti-forestry as a rule, something I also
cannot understand as wood is the most renewable material and fuel used
in our society. Again, I am against bad forestry, but I am very much in
favor of good forestry. I
believe we should grow more trees and use more wood as a substitute for
non-renewable fossil fuels and non-renewable materials such as steel and
concrete wherever possible. NGIN blows any semblance of objectivity by
inferring that one's very association with the forest industry is proof
you are "not an environmentalist". My Ph.D. is in ecology and I have
spent
a lifetime studying forests.

The Forest Alliance is an industry initiative to bring community leaders
from all walks of life together to help adopt sustainable forestry and
to
explain the importance of the industry to the public. The Forest
Alliance
supports the doubling of parks and wilderness in BC, the Forest
Practices
legislation, third-party certification of forest products,
multi-stakeholder processes (such as the
<http://qlg.org> Quincy Library Group in California).
***
NGIN response: Parts of this read like a Forest Alliance press
statement. Our point was simply that if Moore was busy representing the
logging-industry via the Forest Alliance, he certainly was not part of
the mainstream environmental movement, at least from the time he took
his job with the Alliance back in 1991.

Incidentally, Moore says, "My Ph.D. is in ecology and I have spent a
lifetime studying forests." Moore's Ph.d, we understand, related to the
impact of mining, not the clear-cutting which he now seeks to justify.
***
---
NGIN says: This industry-funded pressure group was the brain child of
the anti-environmental PR multinational, Burson-Marsteller. B-M even put in
one of its own employees as Executive Director, as well as handpicking
many of the Alliance's board. B-M was forced to withdraw from the
Alliance
in a welter of bad publicity, but the Alliance has continued to be used,
as intended, as the British Columbian forest industry's PR weapon
against
Greenpeace and other environmental groups, using TV ads and other
campaigns to undermine and discredit them.

Moore response: Burson-Marsteller Canada (the former Canadian arm of the
New York-based PR giant) was used by the forest industry in BC to help
them establish the Forest Alliance, an alliance of industry, labor,
contractors, community leaders, aboriginal leaders, etc. There was no
evil
plot, just an effort to get out in front on the environmental agenda,
something the forest industry was a bit late in recognizing. The purpose
of Forest Alliance communications is not to discredit, but certainly to
set the record straight in the face of the misinformation campaign that
has been waged against the industry for many years.
***
NGIN response: This also sounds like a Forest Alliance statement - and a
half! The role of B-M in setting up "citizen's groups" and other
apparently "grassroots" organisations (which, in fact, are industry
front organisations intended to undermine and effectively annul
environmental or consumer campaigning organisations) is very well known.
The BC Forest Alliance is a classic example as is its work pushing
Monsanto's rBGH and itws work with Big Tobacco. See below for 3 articles
on B-M's activities.
***
---
NGIN says: In one Canadian television ad for the Alliance, aired in
September 1994, Patrick Moore stated "even the chief conservation
biologist with the World Wide Fund for Nature in Europe, which is the
leading mainstream environmental group, agrees that clear-cutting is
necessary in some cases and is the best method in some cases."

Moore response: This is true. I quote from a WWF brief to the government
of British Columbia "We think clearcutting does have a place in some
Canadian forests." I agree with them. The person I was referring to
above
is Per Rosenberg, who was speaking at a meeting in Hamburg on behalf of
WWF when he made the statement. WWF has always had a problem with this
issue because they do not agree with extreme positions like Greenpeace's
"ban clearcutting worldwide". They recognize that forest harvesting is
sometimes best done in "patches", "openings", "clearings", etc. The word
"clearcut" has been so thoroughly loaded with negative images that it
has
no objective meaning anymore so it is used as a weapon. So WWF will not
agree with Greenpeace but they are very reactant to say they support
"clearcutting" because of what their members will think.
***
NGIN response: Others seem to take a different view of *Moore's*
objectivity.  Monte Hummel, for example, is quoted, as the President of
WWF Canada, as complaining,

"I have read Patrick's book, Pacific Spirit. It is not the work of a
'forest ecologist' but a disappointing blend of pseudo-science and
dubious assumptions being used to defend clearcutting and the forest
industry."

Dr Leonie Jacobs University of Utrecht in the Netherlands is quoted as
saying,

"he is presently paid by the timber industry to deliberately mislead the
public and politicians about the acceptability of aggressive logging
practices."

One thing is certain. Patrick Moore is a highly controversial
industry-linked figure and not somebody accepted as a leading figure in
the environmental movement.
***
---
NGIN says: Moore's claims provoked a furious response from Jean-Paul
Jeanrenaud, head of the forest programme of World Wide Fund for Nature
International, who accused Moore of "grossly misrepresenting" WWF's
position on clearcutting, something WWF "deplored". Jeanrenaud also went
on to note that this was not the first time the Forest Alliance had,
"selectively quoted, distorted and misrepresented statements by
representatives from WWF". Jeanrenaud further pointed out that the
"chief
conservation biologist with the World Wide Fund for Nature in Europe",
whose support Moore had claimed, did "not even exist".

Moore response: No explanation was ever given as to the nature of my
"misrepresentation". I simply quoted Per Rosenberg. Apparently Per's
formal title at the time was Forest Officer for WWF Sweden. He was
representing the WWF at an international meeting in Hamburg, Germany so
one might assume what he said represented their position. The claim that
such a person "did not even exist" is based on the claim that I didn't
get
his title right, not that Per was a fictitious being.
***
NGIN response: There is clearly a considerable gap betwen the head of
the forest programme of WWF's account of Moore and the Forest Alliance's
representation of WWF's views, and Moore's. This once again confirms
that Moore has long been a controversial and divisive figure and
NOT accepted as a leading environmentalist.
***
---
NGIN says: Moore's other attacks on environmental groups have often been
of an extreme character, claiming for example that they are riddled with
communists, that they have 'anti-human','anti-democratic' and
'anti-civilization' attitudes, and that they are guided by a mixture of
'pagan beliefs' and 'junk science'

Moore response: Mostly correct. My criticism is never in the form of
character assassination or personal attack, unlike the venom aimed at me
by the extreme groups. As for communists, I merely pointed out that a
lot
of peace and social activists, many who sympathized with the Sandinistas
and Soviets, brought their anti-American, anti-corporate, anti-trade
agenda with them into the environmental movement in the late 1980's
after
the Berlin Wall came down. I still think that much of the environmental
movement has been hijacked by political activists who use green rhetoric
to push agendas that have little to do with ecology.
---
NGIN says: (quoting me) "Environmental extremists have been toying with
anti-science, anti-humanitarian, and anti-intellectual policies for some
time now. In this case it is not merely a case of mischief or "fair
comment". This kind of witch-hunt can lead to the kinds of policies
enforced by Lysenko under Stalin."

Moore Response: I think it is important to remind people what can happen
when anti-intellectual forces embark on campaigns of persecution.
Scientists are afraid to mention they work in "genetic engineering", and
many students will be deterred from entering the field by the fear
campaign that has been waged against biotechnology. It is not
far-fetched
to imagine the banning of genetic research based on the hysteria against
GMOs. There is definitely an air of fascism, eco-fascism, in the zero
tolerance statements of many anti-biotech groups.
***
NGIN response: It seems characteristically extreme to brand the
challenging of a technology which is supported by massive corporate and
state power as Stalinist!

Our main point, however, which is unclear from Moore's selective
quotation was to show how the rhetoric Moore (via Prakash - the
Stalinism quote is from the Prakash list) is now aiming at GM critics is
almost identical, in its language and extremity, to the rhetoric Moore
has developed over a decade of representing the interests of the forest industry.
***
NGIN says: Moore has,
however, been far more charitable about his more recent associates.
Dismissing concern about Burson-Marsteller's alleged PR work on behalf
of
the Argentinian generals at the time of the death squads, Moore told the
Canadian press, "people get killed everywhere".

[MOORE] Apparently if you volunteer to be on the board of a citizen's
group that
was formed with the advice of a public relations company that ten years
earlier advised the Economic Ministry for Argentina then you are guilty
of
being a "death squad", or at least of associating with them. (part of
Burson's advice was that Argentina must improve human rights if they
expected any financial assistance from IMF etc.) My statement, taken
completely out of context, was simply an exasperated response to this
effort to link me to the death squads.
***
NGIN repsonse: Moore again misses the point which was the difference
between the lengths he has gone, as here, to defend industry and his
hyper-critical attitude towards environmentalists (eg labelling them as
communists, as comparable to Stalinists, as fascists or eco-fascists
etc. For additional info on B-M's highly questionable activities see the
3 articles given at the end.
***
---
NGIN says: The story of Moore's support for GMOs, then, turns out NOT to
be, as advertised, that of a leading environmentalist who has suddenly
turned his back on his Greenpeace colleagues due to his adherence to
science, logic and GMOs, but that of a man trading on a now distant
Greenpeace past who has a proven track record of misinformation on
behalf
of an environmentally-damaging industry.

Moore: It is actually Greenpeace that continues to trade on the work of
many people who are no longer with the organization. By the time I left
in
1986 we had built the organization into a $100 million/year group with
offices in 21 countries. Our campaigns to stop nuclear testing, save the
whales, reduce toxic discharge, etc. were what put Greenpeace on the map
and gave it credibility. It pains me greatly to see the organization
adopt
policies that are harmful to the environment and to prospects for
improving the human condition. To dismiss the entire forest products
industry, which provides a renewable, solar-based material for fuel,
building, printing, packaging, sanitation, etc. as
"environmentally-damaging" is simply extremist. NGIN is trying to make
the
argument that because I support sustainable forestry I must not be an
environmentalist. I support sustainable forestry because I am an
environmentalist. As for all the other nasty attacks they are not worth
a
response so I will leave it at this. Again, I encourage you to visit my
web-site and see that I approach environmental issues in a thoughtful,
informed manner. One's effectiveness in public debate can often be
measured by the vehemence of the personal attacks against you, used as a
way of avoiding discussion of the actual subject at hand and to deflect
public attention away from the real issues. My personality is not one of
the most pressing but I am actually quite a nice person and I would be
pleased to reply to any further questions that might arise from this
exchange.

Cheers,
- Patrick Moore, Greenspirit, "MAY THE FOREST BE WITH YOU"
Please visit: <http://www.greenspirit.com>
***
NGIN repsonse: As we said, the NGIN article was not intended as an
attack on Moore or his personality as such, but on the way in which he
and his support for biotech have been spun by biotech supporters like
C.S. Prakash, ie the packaging of Moore as a leading environmentalist
who has recently broken with Greenpeace and the suggestion that the
breaking point has been GMOs.

Patrick Moore has been at loggerheads with Greenpeace and the rest of
the environmental movement for years, and no amount of spin can cover
that up.

Additional info on B-M -- 3 items:
1. BURSON-MARSTELLER: PR FOR THE NEW WORLD ORDER
2. Dirty spin doctors
3. Monsanto's PR Firm, Burson-Marsteller, Hires a "Progressive" Group
in Chicago to Help Fight the Anti-Biotech Movement
---
1. BURSON-MARSTELLER: PR FOR THE NEW WORLD ORDER
By: Carmelo Ruix

[The author is a Puerto Rican journalist living in Vermont, where he is
a guest lecturer and research associate at Goddard College's Institute
for Social Ecology. You can find another of his articles on B-M at:
http://www.oneworld.org/cse/html/dte/dte20000930/dte_cross.htm]
 
The public relations (PR) business is one of the fastest growing
industries in the global market economy. In order to face perils like
labor unions, organized consumer activists and environmental groups,
governments and corporations have come to rely more on slick PR
campaigns. The peril to popular democracy posed by PR firms should not
be underestimated. Using the latest communications technologies and
polling techniques, as well as an array of high-level political
connections, PR flacks routinely "manage" issues for government and
corporate clients and "package" them for public consumption. The result
is a "democracy" in which citizens are turned into passive receptacles
of "disinfotainment" and "advertorials" and in which critics of the
status quo are defined as ignorant meddlers and/or dangerous outsiders.

Burson-Marsteller (B-M) is the world's largest PR firm, with 63 offices
in 32 countries and almost $200 million in income in 1994. Although its
name is unknown to most people-- even to many in activist circles-- B-M
is fast becoming an increasingly important cog in the propaganda
machine of the new world order.

Human Rights, Anyone?

On the human rights front, B-M has represented some of the worst
violators of our age. These include:

* The Nigerian government during the Biafran war, to discredit reports
of genocide.

* The fascist junta that ruled Argentina during the 70's and early 80's,
to attract foreign investment.

* The totalitarian regime of South Korea, to whitewash the human rights
situation there during the 1988 Olympics.

* The Indonesian government, which got into power through a CIA-
sponsored bloodbath. (It should be pointed out, however, that B-M denies
that it is handling the issue of genocide in East Timor)
 
* Ideological barriers are no object. B-M also represented the late
communist Romanian despot Nicolae Ceaucescu.

* Other third world human rights violators that have been represented by
B-M include the governments of Singapore and Sri Lanka.

Doesn't this bother the consciences of B-M's executives? Not at all.
Commenting on his firm's work for Argentina's fascists, B-M founder
Harold Burson said that "We regard ourselves as working in the business
sector for clearcut business and economic objectives. So we had nothing
to do with a lot of the things that one reads in the paper about
Argentina as regards human rights and other activities".

Corporate Environmentalism

For years B-M has been involved in major environmental issues all over
the world, not hesitating to give polluters a helping hand when
confronted by activist groups and/or government regulations. Many
transnational corporations have turned to B-M for help in the creation
of a pedantic, elitist and corporate-oriented brand of environmentalism.
It is the hope of entrepreneurial sectors and neoliberal demagogues that
this type of safe and harmless environmental activism will displace the
more militant and agressive grassroots groups.

B-M's environmental services have benefited industrial polluters, such
as the following:

* Babcock & Wilcox, when its nuclear power plant in Three Mile Island
had its famous mishap in 1979.

* Union Carbide, to handle the public relations crisis caused by the
Bhopal tragedy in 1984.

* Exxon, to counter the negative press coverage it got in the wake of
the Exxon-Valdez oil spill in 1989.

* Ontario Hydro, an industrial concern, headed by Earth Summit secretary
general Maurice Strong, which is the biggest source of CO2 emissions in
Canada. This corporation is currently selling nuclear reactors to
Argentina and Chile.

* The Louisiana-Pacific (L-P) logging company, famous for its union-
busting, clear cutting of old growth forests and support for anti-
environmental front groups. L-P hopes to convince its employees and the
public that rural unemployment in North America is caused by
environmental extremists and opressive government regulation and not by
unsustainable logging practices or the relocation of s awmills to
low-wage countries like Mexico.

* B-M formed the British Columbia Forest Alliance (BCFA), a Canadian
front group which has L-P among its founding members. BCFA is
campaigning against restrictions on logging and is actively working to
smear and discredit environmentalists. Other BCFA members include
Mitsubishi and Weyerhaueser.

* B-M is a key player in the nuclear industry lobby. According to
Canadian journalist Joyce Nelson, B-M has for years "represented top
nuclear power/nuclear weapons contractors such as General Electric,
AT&T, McDonnell Douglas, Asea Brown Boveri and Du Pont. In fact,
Canada's first Candu [nuclear] reactor sale to Argentina in the early
1970's was later renegotiated during the reign of the military junta,
for whom Burson-Marsteller did an image-cleanup from 1976-1981". In
addition to this, since 1993 B-M subsidiary Black, Manafort, Stone &
Kelly (see
sidebar) has been representing Nordion International, a newly-privatised
subsidiary of Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd., Canada's state-owned
nuclear power company.

* B-M coordinated the oil industry's campaign to discredit and destroy
president Clinton's proposal for a BTU tax.

* A B-M executive sits on the board of Keep America Beautiful, a front
for the packaging and waste hauling industries that lobbies against
mandatory recycling laws, especially the passage of a national bottle
bill in the US.

B-M's most powerful and influential 'environmental' client is the
Business Council for Sustainable Development (BCSD), an eco-capitalist
outfit founded by Swiss banker Stephan Schmidheiny. A leading theorist
and advocate of neoliberal dogma and corporate environmentalism,
Schmidheiny agressively combines entrepreneurship and statesmanship. He
is a board member of NestlE9, and a director and shareholder (5%
owner) of B-M client Asea Brown Boveri. BCSD's original task was to act
behind the scenes at the 1992 Earth Summit, which was chaired by the
current head of B-M client Ontario Hydro Maurice Strong, to neutralize
and silence any voices critical of the irresponsible behavior of
polluting corporations. In the words of Joyce Nelson, "With the able
assistance of public relations giant Burson-Marsteller, a very elite
group of business people (including B-M itself) was seemingly able to
plan the agenda for the Earth Summit with little interference from NGO's
or government leaders". Nowadays BCSD is advocating free markets and
unfettered corporate activity as the only salvation of the environment.
Its members
include the CEO's of Asea Brown Boveri, Browning Ferris Industries,
Ciba-Geigy, Dow Chemical, DuPont, BCFA member Mitsubishi, Maurice
Strong's Ontario Hydro, Royal Dutch-Shell, and companies from Argentina,
Brasil, Chile, Spain, India, Kenya, Nigeria, Thailand and Venezuela.

Dirty Tricks and Front Groups

B-M was hired by the pharmaceutical corporation Eli Lilly and Monsanto
subsidiary Nutra Sweet to promote the use of the genetically-engineered
synthetic bovine growth hormone rBGH. This hormone, which increases milk
output in cows, is strongly opposed by dairy farmers and consumer
and environmental activist groups. Their two main arguments are that 1)
There is already a milk glut in the US. To bring more of it into the market
would depress prices so severely that small dairy farmers would be run
out of business; and 2) the use of rBGH has already been linked to severe
health problems in cows and to calves born with grotesque birth defects.

B-M's campaign to neutralize the opposition to rBGH included the use of
spies to penetrate activist groups. This fact became public when
University of Vermont spokesperson Nicola Marro admitted that a mole had
been placed in an anti-rBGH ad-hoc group headed by Jeremy Rifkin,
a well- known critic of biotechnology and author of several books.
Participants in the group singled out a woman named Diane Moser as a
suspect. Moser, who attended a Washington DC meeting of the group,
avoided small talk and read a paperback during the meeting. Vermont state
representative Andrew Christiansen, who a ttended the meeting, told
journalist John Dillon that "She said she represented housewives concerned
about BGH...I had suspicions immediately. I've never seen anybody with a
paperback coming to a me eting like that". When the activists called the
number she left in the sign-up sheet, it rang in the Washington DC
offices of Burson- Marsteller. B-M executive Timothy Brosnahan
acknowledged that Moser was a B-M employee but denied knowing of any
snooping on her part.

A freedom of information act (FOIA) request by activists Tim Atwater and
John Stauber, who were then with Rural Vermont and the Foundation
on Economic Trends respectively, uncovered a broader pattern of
espionage against foes of rBGH. Atwater and Stauber's FOIA request uncovered
documents of the quasi-governmental, farmer-funded National Dairy Board
(NDB), which promotes rBGH. These documents revealed that the
NDB hired the PR firm of Creswell, Munsell, Fultz & Zirbel (CMF&Z). This
firm is a subsidiary of communications conglomerate Young &
Rubicam (Y&R), which happens to be B-M's parent company. Given that Y&R
represents rBGH backer Monsanto, Stauber concluded that "The
day-to-day work is done out of Burson-Marsteller and CMF&Z. But I'm sure
there's overall coordination with Young & Rubicam". Stauber is
now editor of PR Watch, a newsletter that provides critical reporting on
the PR industry, and is co-author, along with Sheldon Rampton, of Toxic
Sludge is Good for You: Lies, Damn Lies and the Public Relations
Industry (Common Courage Press, 1995).

B-M works for Hydro-Quebec (H-Q) promoting the James Bay 2 project. If
the final stages of the construction of James Bay 2 are finished, it will
become the most destructive hydroelectric project in the history of
North America, disrupting the ecological balance of an area the size of France
and permanently displacing the Cree and Inuit indigenous populations in
the area. To undermine grassroots opposition to James Bay 2, B-M
created a phony group of concerned citizens called the Coalition for
Clean and Renewable Energy (CCRE), which was headed by Harvey Schultz,
former head of New York City's department of environmental protection.
According to John Dillon, "Schultz, Burson-Marsteller, and (CCRE) have
hosted briefing sessions for academics, and business and community
leaders-- opinion makers who can carry the good word about Hydro-Quebec
back to their institutions".

The state of Vermont has proved particularly reluctant to buy
electricity from H-Q because of pressure from local activists. In order
to counteract
this threat, B-M hired the Vermont law firm of Sherman & Kimbell to
lobby the state government in favor of electricity purchases from H-Q. This
law firm registered as a foreign agent under the Foreign Agents
Registration Act, which requires America n lobbyists to list their
foreign clients
and how much they're being paid to represent them. However, since B-M
itself has refused to register as a foreign agent for H-Q, most of its work
for the James Bay 2 project remains a secret.

Selling NAFTA

In 1990 the Mexican government hired B-M to sell NAFTA to the American
public, media and politicians. B-M subcontracted this job to one of its
subsidiaries, The Brock Group (TBG), a consulting firm that has done
work for American Express, Bell Atlantic, Bacardi, Toyota and the
Taiwanese government. TBG is headed by former senator, Republican
National Committee chairman, US trade representative and labor secretary
William Brock. He was certainly qualified for the job. As US trade
representative, Brock engineered the Caribbean Basin Initiative and the
US-Israel Free Trade Agreement, and began the negotiations that would
eventually culminate in the signing of the US-Canada Free Trade
Agreement.

William Brock co-chairs the Multilateral Trade Negotiations (MTN)
Coalition, which was founded in 1990 to 'educate' the public-- and lobby
for--the now-completed Uruguay Round of the General Agreement on Tariffs
and Trade (GATT). The coalition's members include American
Express, General Motors, IBM, General Electric, Cargill, Citicorp,
Procter & Gamble and other companies and trade associations. According to
Malaysian activist Martin Khor Kok Peng, the MTN Coalition had a big
influence on the 1990 G-7 Summit meeting held in Houston, USA, in
which GATT figured prominently. At the Houston Summit, MTN held a high-
profile press conference and released a report by an 'eminent
persons group' on world trade.

The Contra Connection

One of TBG's top executives happens to be former Miami businessman and
ambassador to Venezuela Otto Reich. During the Reagan
administration, the Cuban-born Reich headed the US state department's
Office of Public Diplomacy (OPD), whose task was to disseminate
disinformation about the Sandinistas and discourage reporting critical
of the contras. This outfit, whose operations were later found to be
illegal by
the US General Accounting Office, was staffed with five psychological
warfare specialists from the 4th Psychological Operations Group of Fort
Bragg. According to John Stauber and Sheldon Rampton, "the OPD...helped
spread a scurrilous story that some American reporters had received
sexual favors from Sandinista prostitutes in return for writing slanted
stories". In 1987, after the US Congress shut down the OPD, congressman
Jack Brooks called it "an important cog in the (Reagan) administration's
effort to manipulate public opinion and congressional action".

Interestingly enough, the OPD was conceived at an August 1983 meeting
between then CIA director William Casey and a small group of PR
industry executives. The meeting, whose purpose was to create a
propaganda strategy for the Nicaraguan contras, was attended by B-M senior
vice- president Kenneth D. Huszar and Philip Morris publicist James
Bowling, who later moved to B-M. Their advice to Casey included the
creation of a communications function within the White House, a
recommendation that led to the creation of the OPD.

B-M, Mexico and the Neoliberal Project

B-M's success in insuring the passage of NAFTA encouraged the Mexican
governing elite to retain the firm's services. It now has a luxurious
office in the posh Colonia Anzures district on Mexico City that caters
to customers like the Council of Businessmen, the National Stockbrokers'
Association, the ministry of commerce and industrial development, and
the Office of the President of the Republic. In addition to this, B-M parent
Young & Rubicam rakes in over $100 million every year from Mexican
clients. It is not an exaggeration to say that the credibility of the neoliberal
project in the western hemisphere hinges on Mexico. Businessmen,
politicians and neoliberal ideologues all over the hemisphere have touted
Mexico as a symbol of capitalist success because of its privatization
policy and its faithful adherence to the economic formulas prescribed by
multilateral development banks (a.k.a. the Bretton Woods institutions).
After the massive expenditure of political energy in getting NAFTA passed,
business elites in both Mexico and the US are hard-pressed to put on a
convincing performance in order to give credibility to future trade
agreements. Bringing Guatemala and Chile into NAFTA has already become
an agenda item.

However, neoliberal designs for Mexico are endangered by a series of
crises, including the blatantly fraudulent elections of 1994, the embarassing
collapse of the peso, revelations of drug-related corruption that
compromise the Mexican elite all the way up to the president's office, a
spate of
political assassinations that seems to be beheading the ruling political
party's leadership, and the popularity of the EjE9rcito Zapatista de
LiberaciF3n Nacional (EZLN). B-M has a lot of work to do in Mexico. In
the words of reporter Jon Reed, who investigated B-M's activities in
Mexico, "Burson-Marsteller and other Mexican and transnational PR firms
have demonstrated their effectiveness by working behind the scenes--
gauging public opinion, counseling government and corporate leaders,
shaping media coverage, and facilitating elite-to-elite communications-- in
short, guaranteeing that the inevitable upheavals in an authoritarian
and unjust society do not interrupt business as usual".

Destroying Health Care

One of NAFTA's most nefarious consequences will be the dismantlement of
Canada's government-run health care system. Since it places very
strict limits on what domestic or foreign corporations can do, its more
progressive features--such as compulsory licensing in order to control drug
costs-- will eventually be challenged as barriers to trade. Once the
Canadian system is gutted by NAFTA's notoriously secretive and undemocratic
dispute resolution mechanisms, Canadian citizens will have no choice but
to turn to the 'free market' for medical services and insurance.

However, American and Canadian pharmaceutical and insurance companies
that want to crack open the Canadian market are frustrated by the fact
that Canadians are very happy with their health care system. Worse yet,
more and more Americans, especially in Vermont, are now calling for the
introduction of single-payer health insurance in their country--a step
in the direction of a Canadian-style system. This presents a grave
problem for
neoliberal demagogues, since it exposes the basic conflict between
capitalism and democracy.

Enter Burson-Marsteller's health care unit, whose staff includes "a
medical doctor/physician; former FDA (Food and Drug Administration)
commissioner; former hospital administrator; former pharmaceutical
communications executives; former non-profit communications chiefs;
grassroots specialists, and former reporters" according to the senior
editor of O'Dwyer's newsletter, which monitors the PR business.

B-M has plenty of experience in matters of public health. On behalf of
client Philip Morris, B-M created the National Smokers' Alliance (NSA) to
fight against smoking restrictions. According to John Stauber and
Sheldon Rampton, the NSA "is a state-of-the-art campaign that uses full- page
newspaper ads, direct telemarketing, paid canvassers, (toll free)
numbers and newsletters to bring thousands of smokers into its ranks
each week.
By 1995 NSA claimed a membership of 3 million smokers". The NSA is
headed by B-M vice-president Thomas Humber and its members include
B-M executives Pierre Salinger and Kennetz Rietz, as well as Peter
Kelly, senior partner of B-M subsidiary Black, Manafort, Stone & Kelly (see
sidebar). In addition to this, B-M was hired by the A.H. Robbins company
when its Dalkon Shield IUD contraceptive injured thousands of women
who used it, and it is now currently promoting the 'virtues' of Eli
Lilly's anti-depressant wonder drug Prozac.

The winners of the health care debate in the US were beyond any doubt
the pharmeceutical transnational corporations (eleven of which are B-M
clients) and the major insurance companies (which include B-M clients
Met Life, Equitable Life, Aetna, State Farm and Mutal of Omaha). Now
both businesses are vertically integrating themselves into
superconglomerates known as health maintenance organizations (HMO's).
According to
Joyce Nelson, "During 1994 both the pharmaceutical industry and the
private insurance industry consolidated into even bigger players on the
health care scene, with B-M playing a major role in arranging the
mergers among its clients". HMO's are not required to cover all
illnesses or
people, but can instead discriminate against elderly citizens and/or
people with health problems in order to reduce operating costs.

What can we do?

The awesome power of the 'manufactured consent' of the mass media,
created in no small part by PR firms like Burson-Marsteller, can be
discouraging to many politically aware citizens. However, despair is
what the PR business sells: despair from even the smallest possibility of
positive social change from below. If we are to believe that organized
citizens cannot effectively challenge corporate and government power, then
the PR flacks will have truly triumphed. But, as Rampton and Stauber say
in their book, "The fact that corporations and governments feel
compelled to spend billions of dollars every year manipulating the
public is a perverse tribute to human nature and our own moral values".
 

Recommended reading:

PR Watch. This quarterly newsletter, edited by John Stauber, provides a
progressive and critical perspective on the public relations business. 3318
Gregory Street, Madison, Wisconsin 53711, USA.

Sources:

Center for Public Integrity. Private Parties: Political Party Leadership
in Washington's Mercenary Culture. 1992.

Center for Public Integrity. The Trading Game: Inside Lobbying for the
North American Free Trade Agreement. 1993.

Deal, Carl. The Greenpeace Guide to Anti-Environmental Front Groups.
Odonian Press, 1993.

Dillon, John. "Burson-Marsteller: Poisoning the Grassroots" Covert
Action Quarterly: Spring 1993.

Greenpeace. The Greenpeace Book of Greenwash. 1992.

Khor Kok Peng, Martin. The Uruguay Round and Third World Sovereignty.
Third World Network. 1990.

Nelson, Joyce. "The Time of the Hangman" Adbusters: Winter 1989-1990.

Nelson, Joyce. "Burson-Marsteller, Pax Trilateral and the Brundtland
Gang vs. The Environment" Covert Action Quarterly: Spring 1993.

Nelson, Joyce. "Dr. Rockefeller Will See You Now" Z Magazine: May 1995.

Nelson, Joyce. "NAFTA's Nuclear Agenda" Z Magazine: June 1995.

Parry, Robert. Fooling America: How Washington Insiders Twist the Truth
and Manufacture the Conventional Wisdom. Morrow, 1992.

Rampton, Sheldon & Stauber, John. Toxic Sludge is Good for You: Lies,
Damn Lies and the Public Relations Industry. Common Courage Press,
1995.

Reed, Jon. "Interview with the Vampire: PR Helps the PRI Drain Mexico
Dry" PR Watch: fourth quarter, 1994.
---
2. Dirty spin doctors

[based on a Guardian article (13th August 1997) exposing the news
management techniques of the world's largest PR and crisis management
consultancy, Burson-Marsteller]

Peter Frankental exposes the polluters' PR company with its tentacles
at the heart of government

British Petroleum's court action against Greenpeace and their subsequent
decision to withdraw their damages' claim raise the stakes yet again in
the war of the transnationals against the environmentalists. While legal
proceedings are loaded heavily against activists, as the McLibel Two and
anti-roads protestors have found, the public relations' battle is a more
even contest. While direct action can be effective in gaining media
coverage and public support for causes, the resources of transnationals
can equally buy a lot of valuable advertising. A recent Guardian article
(13th August 1997) exposed the news management techniques of the world's
largest PR and crisis management consultancy, Burson-Marsteller.

When thousands were killed and maimed by Union Carbide's leaking
chemicals at Bhopal, Burson-Marsteller were quickly on the scene to
ensure that Union Carbide's version of events was picked up by
the world's media. When the Exxon Valdez leaked oil in Alaska,
Burson-Marsteller were brought in to smooth over the troubled waters.
When Argentina's junta were throwing dissidents out of helicopters,
Burson-Marsteller were acting on their behalf to promote trade. When
Three Mile Island spilled out its nuclear toxins, who better to reassure
the US public than Burson-Marsteller. One of their current campaigns is
convincing the public of the safety of genetically altered food.

Their other clients include McDonalds, Canada's timber industry, and the
governments of Saudi Arabia and Indonesia. In the US and Canada,
Burson-Marsteller has mobilised in support of the National Smokers'
Alliance, against a proposed energy tax, in support of the fur trade and
in favour of a growth hormone that boosts milk production. The more
ecologically damaging a process or event, the more likely it is that
Burson-Marsteller will be called upon to manipulate public opinion in
its favour.

A network of 36 offices ensures that their tentacles are spread around
all the key centres of power worldwide, with sophisticated political
contacts. Derek Draper, for example, is a former chief aide to Peter
Mandelson, and a director of Progress magazine, a bland publication
notable for carrying advertisements for the armaments' industries.
According to The Independent, he is also an employee of the political
consultancy, Prima Europe, which jointly produces publications with
Burson-Marsteller. It's hardly surprising therefore, that a recent
edition of Progress contained a supplement promoting the manufacturers
of weapons of mass destruction. What is more worrying is that this
edition purported to come from the Labour Party and was circulated
selectively to Labour Party members. Now that companies like
Burson-Marsteller can no longer pay MPs to do their dirty work, they can
quite easily slide in through the back door of ministerial offices and
policy units. It is clearly time to broaden the debate on parliamentary
ethics to cover the conduct of the executive and the insidious influence
of the arms industry.
---
3. Monsanto's PR Firm, Burson-Marsteller, Hires a "Progressive" Group
in Chicago to Help Fight the Anti-Biotech Movement

A Publication of the Center for Media & Democracy
Vol. 6, No. 4 / Fourth Quarter 1999
<www.prwatch.org/>

Engineering Opinions on Engineered Foods

Monsanto and Burson-Marsteller Hire a Consumer Organizer

Executives at the Burson-Marsteller PR firm are saying as little as
possible about their pro-biotech PR campaign for the Monsanto company.
Jerry Morrison, a longtime consumer and labor organizer who now runs a
firm called the Strategic Consulting Group, says he didn't even know
Monsanto was the end client when B-M hired him in early November to
pitch local groups about the merits of genetically modified foods.

Morrison has especially close ties with Citizen Action of Illinois, the
state's leading consumer organization. In 1998, he ran the successful
U.S. congressional campaign of Jan Schakowsky, a member of the Citizen
Action board of directors who is well-known as a Chicago consumer advocate.

Morrison's wife serves on the Citizen Action board, and his business
partner, Bob Creamer, is Schakowsky's husband and was Citizen Action's
executive director prior to resigning last year under a cloud related to
his handling of the organization's finances.

Morrison was hired in conjunction with public hearings that the Food and
Drug Administration has scheduled as part of its "Biotechnology in the
Year 2000 and Beyond" program. In Chicago, a hearing was held on Nov.
18, with some environmentalists complaining that they received very
little advance time to register. The FDA initially booked a room with
seating of only 100, and some people say when they called they were told
the roster was already full. After the number of people wanting to speak
surpassed 500, FDA moved the hearing to a larger venue.

Morrison readily admitted that B-M has hired him to meet with farmers,
unions, consumer and "faith-based" groups to counter what he describes as
"environmentalist public hysteria" about biotech foods.

"I've been a union organizer, a community organizer," Morrison said. "I'm
not going to have my credentials questioned by these folks. On most
issues I work with environmental groups. I disagree with them on this
issue. Burson-Marsteller has approached me to work with them on a number
of other issues in the past and I declined because I disagreed with
them, but I agree with them on this issue."

In fact, Morrison's liberal credentials appear to be precisely the reason
he was hired. PR Watch interviewed several activists who disagree with
Morrison's position but declined to be quoted on the record. "I'm a
friend of Jerry's," explained one, who said he is "pissed off" at his
decision to work for Burson-Marsteller. Morrison's connections, he said,
make it easier to stifle organized consumer opposition to biotech foods.
"It may not mean that Citizen Action goes out and says they're fine," he
said. "It may just mean that they're silent, and that can be worse."

Both Morrison and Burson-Marsteller have been cagey about the details of
their work. Morrison told O'Dwyer's PR Services that he coordinates his
work with B-M's Chicago office, but refused to give the name of the
person he reports to. John LaSage, B-M's Midwest Region Chairman, said
he wasn't aware that Morrison had been hired. Peter Himler, B-M's
executive vice president for media relations, even refused on Nov. 11 to
confirm that Monsanto was a client. However, the New York Times reported
on Nov. 12 that Monsanto "recently retained Burston-Marsteller . . . at
an annual cost of millions of dollars."

Direct Impact, a subsidiary of B-M specializing in "grassroots PR," has
also been involved in trying to get pro-industry testimony at the FDA
hearings.
 


INDEX