Blair picks fight with the British people/FoE Hits Out at GM Scientists' lack of data/The wit and wisdom of Joe Perry (4/3/2004)

"Blair is giving [GM] the nod on the basis of flawed testing. If GM is sown in our fields he will reap a whirlwind of protest." - Greenpeace, item 2

1.FoE Hits Out at Letter from GM Scientists
2.The wit and wisdom of Joe Perry
3.Tony Blair has today picked a fight with the British people - Greepeace
4.From 'Behind the Headlines' - the corruption of politics inside New Labour - GM WATCH

1.Friends of the Earth Hits Out at Letter from GM Scientists
Press Release, March 4 2004

Friends of the Earth today attacked a letter from scientists behind the Government's GM crop trials which claims that GM maize is better for the environment than conventional maize. Even though the chemicals used on most of the non-GM maize in the trials will shortly be banned, the scientists claim that GM maize will damage wildlife less than alternative herbicide regimes used on conventional maize. Friends of the Earth says their conclusions are "highly speculative" and based on insufficient data.

On Friday the Environment Audit Committee's report into the GM trials is expected to conclude that no GM crop should be given commercial approval until new trials are carried out.

The GM trials, or Farm Scale Evaluations (FSE), compared the impact on farmland wildlife of the herbicide regimes used on GM and conventional crops. The results, published at the end of 2003, appeared to show that GM maize was slightly less damaging to farmland biodiversity than growing conventional maize. But most of the non-GM maize was sprayed with atrazine and other related herbicides, which will be banned in the EU from 2006 because of their damaging impacts on the environment. So it is little wonder that GM maize was found to be less damaging in the FSE.

The letter is published in Nature, by a number of scientists involved with FSE's concludes that:

"We therefore expect weed abundances under future conventional herbicide management for maize crops to be considerably larger than that reported here for atrazine used pre-emergence (AE), but smaller than for the four sites analysed that used non-triazines alone."

The scientists' analysis of FSE sites where atrazine and the other triazine weedkillers were not used is based on only four samples, and in some cases just two. Consequently the authors were unable to provide separate statistical analysis for these sites because of the lack of data. The little data that is presented suggests that those herbicides which will continue to be in use post 2006 (after atrazine and the other triazine weedkillers are banned across the EU) showed a large variation in impacts - including less damaging impacts on biodiversity - and therefore any conclusions drawn are highly speculative.

Friends of the Earth will ask ministers who requested the new analysis, why, and who funded it.

Friends of the Earth's GM campaigner, Pete Riley said:

The scientific conclusions in this letter take statistics to the limit. They are highly speculative and are not backed up by sufficient data. The truth is that the FSE GM maize trials were flawed and cannot be used to justify the commercial development of GM crops."

2.The wit and wisdom of Joe Perry

The scientist at the center of this controversy Joe Perry, an active member of Scientists for Labour (ie Tony Blair's Labour Party), wrote to The Guardian back in December as part of the continuing correspondence over George Monbiot's article exposing how pro-biotech lobby groups had been infiltrated by an extreme political network (connected to LM magazine) with an appalling history of genocide-revisionism, defence of war crimes etc., and an equally obnoxious agenda.

Perry wrote: "George Monbiot's article recalled another in which Patrick Moore, co-founder of Greenpeace, pointed to the Trotskyists and anti-capitalists who ditched socialism for the environmentalist bandwagon when the iron curtain fell, and became influential within Greenpeace and similar pressure groups. Many of us do things when we are young that we regret later. But then we grow up and become professors - like you, George."

Here are two published replies:

Professor Perry smears the environmental movement as a counterweight to the detailed evidence on how contributors to LM and its off- shoots denied the events in Rwanda and Bosnia in which huge numbers of people were massacred and tortured. No wonder George Monbiot characterises some of our leading scientists as idiots savant.
Jonathan Matthews GM Watch

Contrary to what Professor Perry might believe (Letters, December 10), Greenpeace has not been infiltrated by Trotskyists. There is a bloke down the corridor with a goatee, but other than that he seems normal. Given Joe Perry is chief statistician for the government's GM farm-scale evaluations, I do hope his prejudices stay out of his work.
Dr Doug Parr Chief scientist, Greenpeace

Thursday 4th March 2004

Reacting to comments by the Downing Street spokesman that the Government is to announce the commercialisation of GM maize, Greenpeace campaigner Sarah North said:  "Tony Blair has today picked a fight with the British people. Once again he's pushing a pet project in spite of the evidence. There are thousands of people ready to fight this decision in the fields, the streets, the courts and the supermarkets. Today is just the start of it - there could be chaos in the countryside.

"British farmers are already suffering, and the last thing they need is a new threat from a technology that shoppers won't touch. Blair is giving it the nod on the basis of flawed testing. If GM is sown in our fields he will reap a whirlwind of protest."

For more contact Greenpeace on 0207 865 8255 / 07801 212967

4.From Behind the Headlines
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Feb 9th
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