Monsanto's PR firm 
The Bivings Group
June 2002


Bivings' admission of involvement 

In a letter published in The Guardian on Wednesday 12 June 2002, Gary Bivings, the President of The Bivings Group, an internet PR agency contracted to Monsanto, states that, "The allegations made against the Bivings Group in two recent columns (The fake persuaders, May 14, and Corporate phantoms, May 29) are completely untrue." Bivings goes on to claim that, "the Bivings Group has no knowledge of either Mary Murphy or Andura Smetacek" - the e-mail aliases used to attack Berkeley scientist Ignacio Chapela and to smear other biotech industry critics on the internet.

Anyone can check the veracity of Bivings' claims at the following url: 
Here you will find a message posted by 'Mary Murphy' on June 9, 2000 from her usual hotmail address but with the additional identifying details: ( is a domain owned by The Bivings Group, formerly known as Bivings Woodell Inc. 

In fact, before Gary Bivings' letter of denial had even been published, Bivings' head of online PR, Todd Zeigler, had confided to the BBC that one of the e-mails in question was sent by someone "working for Bivings" or "clients using our services". The admission, made to BBC TV's news and current affairs programme, Newsnight, was included in their report on the Mexican maize scandal broadcast on 7th June 2002 (see the programme transcript). By including the phrase "clients using our services" in the admission, Bivings appear to be directly implicating the client most directly relevant to the e-mails in question - biotech industry giant, Monsanto. 

For further comment on the letter

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