The pro-GM list, AgBioView, claims to stand four-square for sound science and is unbending in its oppposition to irrationality, scaremongering and disinformation. As such, it often makes for entertaining (if disturbing!) reading. Indeed, it sometimes verges on the plain terrifying in the extremity and inaccuracy of the information and opinion it circulates.
Not so long ago, NGIN forwarded to AgBioView a plea from Jim Thomas of Greenpeace for a retraction, after it had been claimed on the AgBioView list that Greenpeace had been responsible for murder! There have also been claims on AgBioView that environmentalists:
a) are worse than Goebbels and Hitler
b) are in the pay of the organic multinationals
c) could probably have been kept quiet about GM with the help of a few well-placed payments to Greenpeace!
This is a list, remember, graced by most of the leading supporters of agbiotech.
Yesterday there was another compelling contribution (reproduced below) from regular AgBioView contributor, Andrew Apel. Apel puzzled over the fact that there was concern over the introduction of GM crops to the Third World.
Why? It didn't seem to make any sense, he mused. After all, he pointed out, we know they are only kicking up a fuss about biotech in the developed world in order to create a bigger market for their organic multinational paymasters, so why this inexplicable concern about the poor??
Luckily, Apel was able to illuminate even this extraordinary mystery. Let's follow the money, he suggests, and we're bound to find that it's all part of an activists' scam to preserve the funding of those profiteering from "humanitarian aid". After all, if GM crops were to make the South more self-sufficient, "aid" profits would take a nasty dive!
Our attention has also been drawn to yet another recent example, from only the day before, of the stunning inaccuracy of some of the information provided on this 'sound science' list. Marcus Williamson, editor of the GM Food News website <http://www.gmfoodnews.com/ contacted us after AgBioView subscribers were treated to an article from the The Times of India giving the views of Peter H Raven. This pro-GM 'expert' is President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and he has good reason not to be worried about the impact of GM crops on biodiversty.
Have you seen this latest BS from AgBioView?
"In the US alone, 400 varieties of soyabeans are being grown -- all of them are genetically modified."
What nonsense! Who is this "Peter Raven" character? Another unbiased scientist, obviously...
The introduction of any new strain is bound to be received with some suspicion. The GM crops themselves don't limit biodiversity any more than conventional agriculture does. Farmers buy advanced strains of anything for they believe they are buying the seeds that will grow into better-yielding crops. In the US alone, 400 varieties of soyabeans are being grown -- all of them are genetically modified. So where is the question of homogenisation? That GM crops produce just one kind, is a myth. [Raven quoted in 'Mr Green Thumb' http://www.timesofindia.com/today/04intw1.htm ]
One of the more puzzling features of the so-called "debate" over biotechnology is the concerted effort by non-governmental organizations (increasingly calling themselves 'civil society' organizations) to export fear of biotechnology to developing nations. In the developed nations, these organizations have typically used fearmongering to gain funding from organic industry profiteers and other vested interests.
However, in developing nations, there is little market for "organic" food, and scarcely any funding available from local groups who can expect to benefit or profit from fearmongering. Yet the efforts to cultivate a fear of biotechnology in developing countries continues. Why?
It is entirely likely that the organizations cultivating fear of biotechnology in developing countries are doing so in order to protect the export markets for "humanitarian" aid. Numerous "non-profit" organizations make tremendous amounts of money on exporting aid to developing countries. If the developing countries become self-sufficient, the export market for humanitarian aid suffers accordingly, along with profits. Thus, it becomes imperative for activist organizations to prevent developing countries from gaining access to more productive modern technologies.
It would not be surprising if this were the case. Activists have, for instance, aligned themselves with labor to fight against free trade, which threatens to move personal income opportunities from the developed to the less-developed countries.
If this is what is going on, it should be possible to "follow the money" or find other sorts of ties between the groups cultivating fear of biotechnology and the groups exporting "humanitarian" aid to developing countries. Is anyone aware of any such ties? If there are such ties, this would obviously be a shameful state of affairs.