ngin - Norfolk Genetic Information Network

4 January 2002


In mid-December a new pro-biotech website suddenly popped out of the virtual ether:

The organisation ostensibly behind the site, IFCNR - the International Foundation for the Conservation of Natural Resources - appear to have had no active role in biotech advocacy previously. The rationale behind their new area of work is clear:

"The failure of the Life Science sector to establish its own advocacy strategies - based on science and the truth - leaves institutions such as Trader Joe's virtually disarmed when confronted by critics such as Greenpeace."

This raises the "specter of having radical and self-serving NGOs dictate the nation's and the world's food policies based on deceptive tactics. That is an unforgivable disservice to the public, to science, and to the environment. It should not, and must not be allowed."


"The "victory" by Greenpeace signals the absolute necessity of agricultural biotechnology concerns to create compelling advocacy campaigns of their own..."
[Trader Joe's Defenseless Against Greenpeace]

It also made plain one of the lines of attack of such "compelling advocacy campaigns":

"the egregiously self-serving economic incentives inherent in Greenpeace's position... Greenpeace and other participants in the Trader Joe's campaign are heavily invested in the organic food industry. Greenpeace's United Kingdom office head is one of the largest organic farmers in Europe."

This is more or less the same smear that ended up in the High Court in London after a UK newspaper, to its cost, published a letter which the court was told came from Prof Anthony Trewavas but which there is evidence was part of a similar industry campaign to smear biotech critics as tainted by association with violence, on the one hand, and as motivated by financial self-interest, on the other.

IFCNR has articulated the familiar lines of attack once more in a new year message, "So why are environmental and animal rights advocacy groups rampaging about the globe destroying field tests of these new crops, vandalizing the research facilities... They employ the tactics of strong-arm extortionists and thugs against retailers such as Trader Joe's grocery outlets for stocking products containing even trace amounts of biotech-enhanced hybrid foods, developed and safety tested for the past decade."

This is part of a "Statement" by the President of the International Foundation for the Conservation of Natural Resources, Stephen S. Boynton.

Whose money may be backing IFCNR and Boynton's new found interest in biotech advocacy is not known but Boynton certainly could be something of an expert on "self-serving economic incentives".

His biotech advocacy role follows on from such lurid pasts capers as a clandestine anti-Clinton campaign that helped bolster the legal efforts of Paula Jones in her sexual harassment lawsuit where "critical assistance was provided by Stephen S. Boynton, a conservative Virginia attorney"

Boynton drew on long-standing ties to rightwing billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife and was a key player in Scaife's anti-Clinton Arkansas Project in which $1.8 million, was "paid out in "legal expenses" with no further explanation of what sort of legal services were provided... records indicate that the money went to conservative lawyer Stephen Boynton and... David Henderson, who in turn funneled some of the money to various anti-Clinton operatives". A certain "lack of documentation" to support the money flowing to Boynton and Henderson has been alleged.

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