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'BIOTECH BOUNTY' is the title of the latest issue (March 2004) of 'The American Enterprise', a publication of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). Biotech's principal bounty, to judge from the contents, is biotech lobbyists. This issue of The American Enterprise is chock full of their offerings.
AEI is the Godfather of Washington Neo-Conservative lobby groups. It has the guiding hand of pharma giant Merck and Dow Chemical's CEOs on its Board and is America's richest and most influential think tank and is generally regarded as one of the Bush administration's closest allies.
Many of the leading lights in the Bush administration, including Vice President Dick Cheney, directly connect to AEI, which also rents office space to the Project for the New American Century (PNAC). Founded in 1997, PNAC has been agitating since its inception for war with Iraq. Like PNAC, the AEI is regarded as a major promoter of Bush's war-agenda.
BIOTECH BOUNTY has half a dozen articles on the GM foods theme, including one by CS Prakash and Greg Conko called, 'Technology That Will Save Billions From Starvation' http://www.taemag.com/issues/issueID.157/toc.asp
These are the articles:
*Let Them Eat Precaution
By Jon Entine, an AEI fellow who tells his readers that "It's high time genetically modified products got their fair shot in the marketplace."
*Reaping the Biotech Harvest
By Lester Crawford, head of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) which (theoretically) regulates GM foods although it's largely a voluntary process in the US under which the biotech companies police themselves.
*How Much Should We Worry about Biotech?
By Tony Gilland and Carol Foreman
Tony Gilland is part of the notorious far right LM-network. His piece "discusses the worrying European trend of emotional and psychological, rather than rational, responses to concerns about biotechnology.
Carol Foreman "encourages us to love not fear biotech products". The author was an outspoken lobbyist on behalf of Monsanto's genetically engineered cattle drug rBGH before returning to the Consumer Federation of America (CFA)!
*Battle for Biotech Progress
By Patrick Moore "A Green activist warns that the anti-science, anti-human obstructions of environmentalists must be resisted." Not everyone would recognise someone who helps front 8 a Canadian logging industry front group as the AEI's "a green activist" but as usual this article trades on Moore's connection with Greenpeace which ended nearly two decades ago.
Moore writes, "Imagine an advertising campaign that showed graphic images of blind children in Africa, explained Vitamin A deficiency, introduced Golden Rice, and demonstrated how Greenpeace's actions are preventing the delivery of this cure. Imagine another ad that showed impoverished Indian cotton farmers, explained Bt cotton, and presented the statistics for increased yield, reduced pesticide use, and better lives for farmers--followed by the clear statement that activists are to blame for the delayed adoption of the technology."
*Technology That Will Save Billions From Starvation
By C. S. Prakash and Gregory Conko. Prakash and Conko founded the AgBioWorld campaign. Conko works for AEI's young cousin the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) which has Dow Chemical among its funders. AgBioWorld has had links to Monsanto's PR operations, particularly its Internet PR firm Bivings.
Prakash was exposed in a recent report by an academic, Aaron deGrassi, at the Institute of Development Studies, as promoting the benefits of Monsanto's GM sweet potato project in Kenya when he had no knowledge of the data. The recent publication of that data has shown the project has been a complete failure with the GM sweet potato outperformed by the conventional sweet potato which it was supposed to be replacing beacause of its "miserable" performance!!
Aaron deGrassi analysed 3 showcase projects for GM crops in Africa and found that not one was delivering significant benefits for Africa's farmers quite the reverse. Far from "saving billions", the hype and misinformation with which this technology is being promoted and the resulting distortion of research funding and priorities actually threatens the prospects of improving the livelihoods and food security of the very people it is supposed to help.
What makes the whole thing particularly distasteful is that the real agenda here has little to do with "saving millions" and an awful lot to do with "making billions" via US corporate interests. The real bounty that the AEI, the Bush administration, the biotech corporations and their allies and proxies are interested in is a trade one.
The timing of BIOTECH BOUNTY fits perfectly into the Bush adminsitration's trade agenda and its WTO case on GMOs - a case that in the end it could not get one African country to support even though it launched it in the name of Africa. The principal orator at the launch was, inevitably, CS Prakash.
For more on Prakash, Conko, CEI, LM, Gilland and Moore, see our directory THE BIOTECH BRIGADE at http://www.gmwatch.org