GM Free Cymru

The GMO conspiracy
Paterson, Glover and GM industry join forces in a campaign of lies and deception

Date Added to website 13th May 2014

There is now powerful evidence of a high-level GMO conspiracy in Britain, designed to undermine democracy and to promote the interests of the GMO multinationals and to get GMO products into the food chain, regardless of what the health and other consequences might be. At the heart of this conspiracy is Owen Paterson, the UK Environment Secretary, who has made an unenviable reputation for himself as a Minister whose every move is designed to minimise or even eliminate environmental protection. Conspiracies generally involve secret meetings, lies, deception, media manipulation, scientific fraud and a deliberate attempt to undermine democracy. There is now powerful evidence in the public domain of all of these things, in the context of a governmental obsession with GMOs in the face of strong public antipathy. We in GM-Free Cymru have highlighted Paterson's activities on many occasions:

The article reproduced below is a good resume of what has been going on in the last 12 months regarding the desperate push by the GMO industry, with the close involvement of UK Environment Secretary Owen Paterson and the EU Chief Scientist Anne Glover, to get its crops into British fields and its foods onto British dinner plates. A key ally in the process of misrepresenting GMO science and misleading the public is the sinister organization called the Science Media Centre (SMC). Thanks to Genewatch, it has been revealed that DEFRA civil servants and Paterson have held secret briefings and Email exchanges with the Agricultural Biotechnology Council and other pro-GM trade organizations to promote the narrow commercial objectives of Monsanto, Syngenta, bayer and the other mutinationals, while denying or ignoring any of the abundant down-sides to the GM enterprise -- including growing scientific evidence of health damage, socio-economic issues and the rather fundamental issue of public mistrust of GMOs. There is little doubt that Paterson, together with Anne Glover, is promoting the idea that there is an undisputed "scientific orthodoxy" showing that GMOs are harmless and indeed desirable -- and that this orthodoxy is supported by a strong scientific "consensus." That is all, of course, complete nonsense, but in certain quarters common sense has long since been abandoned. From where Paterson stands, the commercial opportunities associated with GM science (which are actually nebulous if not actually fanciful) appear to override all other considerations.[cid]=574133&als[itemid]=574455[cid]=574133&als[itemid]=574495

Paterson and Glover must be exposed as puppets of the GMO industry and as dangerous individuals who are actually undermining the credibility of science, as well as undermining democracy. They must be held to account. We call for both of them to resign -- and if they will not accept our invitation to do that, they should both be sacked forthwith. When all is said and done, we are the ones who pay their salaries, and they have long since stopped representing our interests.

Monsanto, Syngenta and Bayer CropScience:
The GMO Biotech Sector can't win the Scientific Debate. Co-optation, Deception and Collusion

By Colin Todhunter Global Research, May 11, 2014

British Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Secretary Owen Paterson is a staunch supporter of the GM sector (1). Despite criticisms of him being an industry puppet (2) and content to ignore the devastating, deleterious health, environmental, social and agricultural impacts of GMOs (3), both he and other officials like the EU's chief science advisor Anne Glover (4) have been more than happy to act as mouthpieces for the GM sector by making false statements and claims about the benefits and safety of GMOs that fly in the face of scientific findings.

Paterson's support for GMOs is being carried out in partnership with a number of institutions, including the Agricultural Biotechnology Council (ABC), which is backed by GM companies such as Monsanto, Syngenta and Bayer CropScience (5).

Evidence recently emerged of meetings and briefings involving ministers and the ABC and its industry backers, despite no such meetings with groups worried about the impact of GM on human health and the countryside. In response, GeneWatch UK made a Freedom of Information request to find out what was said at the briefings. Paterson's department refused to give details. GeneWatch lodged a formal complaint with the Information Commissioner in the hope that ministers will be forced to admit how GM companies are driving government policy. The evidence strongly suggested that the Government is colluding with the GM industry to manipulate the media and plot the return of GM crops to Britain.

Paterson's department refused to provide details of a telephone conference between the department and the ABC on June 10 last year. Ten days later, Paterson made a speech calling for opposition to be dropped and claiming GM crops and food were 'probably safer' than the conventional equivalent. It also refused to release a "message on media suggestions" sent by the ABC to the ministry last April, or details of discussions between Monsanto and the ministry two months before. In addition, his ministry would not provide details of a meeting and emails between former environment minister David Heath and the ABC.

However, details of certain emails have now been made public. They reveal what the veil of secrecy is trying to hide and what many strongly suspected: collusion between the government and the GM sector is rife.

The emails between civil servants and the GM industry reveal how the two developed a media strategy to convince the public about the merits of GM food. Writing on the Mail Online website (6), Sean Poulter notes that the email contacts were part of a wider strategy designed to relax European regulations on growing GM crops and spend millions of taxpayers' money on GM research in British fields. Owen Paterson has pushed for faster approval of new crops and lobbying for public support and has lobbied the EU to allow biotech crops to be planted in Britain even if they are banned elsewhere.

Poulter argues that such support represents a coup for the GM industry and follows a meeting with ministers and researchers in 2012 which came up with a series of 'to do' lists.

The GM sector is working to get its products into Britain by infiltrating or creating institutions and co-opting strategically placed politicians and officials in order to influence decision making and manipulate public perception about GM crops. The ABC has been central in influencing government policy. Indeed, Poulter notes that email exchanges often coincided with major announcements by ministers, which shifted government policy in support of GM crops.

Civil servants hosted a meeting with industry leaders in June 2013 to decide how to present the government's agri-tech strategy. Officials at the Business, Innovations and Skills (BIS) department even emailed the ABC asking for advice on how to promote the policy. Poulter writes that one BIS official asked for "any ideas you may have that will showcase agri-tech – as you are aware it will need to be eye-catching but reflect the main themes of the strategy."

BIS also created a list of journalists and influential people who should be targeted with information about the new strategy and asked the ABC if it wanted to add any names or flag up "potential pitfalls." The ABC responded by adding some names, but it also highlighted a number of journalists on the list who had been critical of GM.

The GM sector – via Paterson's and his Environment, Food and Rural Affairs department, the BIS, the ABC, the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Science and Technology in Agriculture (7), strategically placed scientists with their 'independent' reports (8) and the industry-backed Science Media Centre (9) – is mounting a full-fledged assault on Britain.

Its strategy also involves an ongoing attempt to get GM food into the EU via the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP/TAFTA), which is also shrouded in secrecy. The negotiations for this treaty are backed by the US GM sector: it is aimed at dismantling regulations on behalf of big corporations, bypassing democratic procedures and threatening governments with legal action (10-14).

The majority of the British public who express a view on GM food do not want it (15). However, we are experiencing a consistent, multi-pronged attack on democracy that seeks to distort the debate over the GM issue, hijack institutions, co-opt so-called 'public servants' and pass off vest commercial interests as the 'public good'.

The GM sector will only get its products into Britain (and elsewhere) if its institutions and mouthpieces in government, academia and the media are left unchallenged. Part of the strategy involves counting on a misinformed and easily manipulated public.

Be informed and take action: