Date Added to website 20th June 2015
Immediate Release 04.03.2015
ROYAL SOCIETY SLAMMED FOR SUPPORTING FRAUDULENT GMO SCIENCE
American lawyer Steven Druker reveals the full scale of the lies, scientific fraud, intimidation, corruption and political interference underpinning the introduction of GMOs into the food supply. This all constitutes a global conspiracy without parallel, which places at risk not just human and animal health in the short term but in the longer term the ecology of the whole planet.
THE UK's premier scientific institution, the Royal Society, has come under renewed attack for its unquestioning allegiance to the "GM enterprise" and for its ongoing attempts to establish a "scientific orthodoxy" for the political convenience of the Government.
For more than fifteen years the RS has played a key role in the Government's campaign to convince the British public that GMO crops and foods are both safe and necessary, and it has willingly provided "scientific" support or cover for a succession of Government ministers and their pro-GM policies. In the process it has promoted fraudulent research (1) (3), vilified scientists who have discovered "inconvenient" things about GM safety (2), supported the pretence that there is a scientific consensus on GMOs, effectively abandoned scientific ethics, and brought science itself into disrepute (4).
In recent years the RS has had little direct involvement in the promotion of GM technology on the record, but senior members of the Society have repeatedly taken a high profile in the GM debate (5), and always the message has been "Trust us. We are senior scientists. We tell you that GMOs are safe, and have a major role to play in feeding the world, and anybody who tells you otherwise is both incompetent and biased." It is also clear from statements from successive Chief Scientific Advisors, Environment Secretaries and Presidents of the Royal Society that the GM enterprise must prevail, and that in order to achieve that a strict scientific orthodoxy must be enforced -- even if that involves the citation of fraudulent scientific research, the silencing of "maverick" scientists and the abandonment of the Precautionary Principle. As many independent scientists and NGOs have remarked, that is a deeply sinister and unsettling scenario.
In a new book published today (6), American lawyer Steven Druker is heavily critical of the role of the Royal Society in the misrepresentation of scientific evidence and in blocking an honest and unbiased examination of the accumulating evidence of harm associated with the use of GMOs worldwide. He states that GM foods are inherently and unacceptably risky, and that they are ethically unsustainable because they cannot endure an honest airing of the facts.
Commenting on the new book for GM-Free Cymru, Dr Brian John said: "This book deserves to be read by everybody who has concerns about the conduct of science and the manner in which scientific ethics have effectively been abandoned since commerce became the primary driver of the overall research programme. Steven Druker recounts the terrifying saga of the marginalisation and devaluation of science in the USA insofar as it relates to GMO crops and foods, and he shows how there has been a systematic and cynical political takeover of science, in which fraud is not only tolerated but encouraged. The American people are already paying the price of this betrayal through large-scale health damage. Thankfully, things are not quite so bad in Europe, where we do have a flawed regulatory system which provides consumers with a degree of protection -- but there is no room for complacency, and until the Royal Society takes the lead in accepting the validity of "inconvenient" GMO safety studies and in urging precaution on the UK government, consumers will continue to be at risk of health damage."
Dr Brian John
(1) In 2001 the Royal Society made this fraudulent citation: "the only way to clarify Dr Pusztai's claims would be to refine his experimental design and carry out further studies to test clearly defined hypotheses focused on the specific effects reported by him. Such studies, on the results of feeding GM sweet peppers and GM tomatoes to rats, and GM soya to mice and rats, have now been completed and no adverse effects have been found (Gasson & Burke, 2001)". That was a deliberate and carefully constructed deceit. Gasson and Burke did not refine or repeat the Pusztai experiments. It has been repeatedly pointed out subsequently that neither the Gasson-Burke paper, nor the papers they cite, may be used to support the contention of "no adverse GM effects".
(2) In February 1999 a letter was written by 19 Fellows of the Royal Society which had the clear intention of discrediting the GM safety research done by Dr Arpad Pusztai and his colleagues at the Rowett Research Institute in Aberdeen, destroying his reputation as an eminent scientist, and terminating an ongoing laboratory project. There was also an attempt to intimidate the Editor of the Lancet, Dr Richard Horton, into refusing publication of a note by Ewen and Pusztai which had successfully gone through a stricter than usual peer review process. The actions of senior RS scientists at the time were, and remain, reprehensible, since Pusztai's only "crime" was to have discovered that GM potatoes damaged the health of the animals which consumed them -- which was not what the scientific and political establishments of the day wanted to hear. The Royal Society decided that shooting the messenger was more convenient than listening to the message. In spite of the fact that the Pusztai research was never found to be at fault, and that it has been effectively verified by scores of subsequent peer-reviewed papers, the Royal Society has never apologised for its actions.
(3) The Royal Society was also heavily criticized in 2003 for attempting to "rig" the GM science debate at that time, and for seeking to misrepresent the findings of the Government's FSE programme of GM field trials. The Society made no proper arrangements for public involvement in its GM discussion process, and actively discouraged the participation of "outsiders" in meetings. It was also accused of orchestrating a press campaign to "flag up" a series of very dubious conclusions about the supposed environmental benefits of a GM crop management system developed at Brooms Barn Research Station, in spite of the demonstrable inadequacies of the brief scientific paper on which these conclusions were based. It also attempted to "sabotage" the publication of the Report on the Health Impacts of GM Crops published by the Scottish Parliament's Health Committee, by issuing its own press release on the Brooms Barn study on the same day.
(4) In 2012, in the context of the demonstrations against the Rothamsted GM wheat trials, Sir Paul Nurse, the president of the Royal Society, said: "Scientific discoveries can be unsettling and their application for societal benefit complicated to implement. That is why we must have informed public debate on these issues, free from hype and fear. We need to do scientific experiments to find out if genetically modified crops are safe and if they deliver genuine public benefit. If they fail on either score, they should be put to one side. That is why the trial at Rothamsted should be allowed to go ahead." That was an extraordinary piece of blatant hypocrisy, given the role played by the RS in the destruction of the Rowett Institute GM potato trials in 1999.
(5) In March 2014 the Council for Science and Technology (CST) published ".......a new 50 page report which records the progress of the first generation of GM crops, the potential applications coming through the pipeline and the regulatory challenges. The report makes a series of recommendations that would allow a safe and sustainable agriculture to use GM varieties for the benefit of the farmer, consumer and the environment." The authors of the report were Professor Sir David Baulcombe FRS, University of Cambridge; Professor Jonathan Jones FRS, Sainsbury Laboratory; Professor Jim Dunwell, University of Reading; Professor John Pickett FRS, Rothamsted research; Professor Pere Puigdomenech, University of Barcelona. They were referred to as "independent scientists" but every one of them had at the time a direct financial interest in the "success" of the GM enterprise, either through shareholdings, patent protection or a dependence upon a continuing flow of research funding in the GM field. In addition, three of them have taken a high profile in the attacks on fellow scientists who have had the temerity to discover anything inconvenient about GMO safety and environmental effects. The report was a classic piece of "science in the service of politics", designed to bolster Environment Secretary Owen Paterson's campaign against GMO regulation in Europe. GM-Free Cymru described the report as "in turns naive, biased, disingenuous, cynical and downright dangerous," written by "five authors who exist in a state of denial about the risks associated with their pet technology." Since the Report was designed as an assessment of the developments in the science of GM crops since the Royal Society report published in 2009, it is inconceivable that the RS was not consulted on its contents and we can be sure that it effectively gave its approval.
Book Title: "Altered Genes, Twisted Truth: How the Venture to Genetically Engineer our Food Has Subverted, Science, Corrupted Government, and Systematically Deceived the Public", by Steven Druker.