Lobby assault on UK Parliament (29/6/2004)

Lobby alert – Lobby assault on House of Commons

We don't yet have a date for the first of the two meetings detailed below - the one at the House of Commons - but note the involvement of Dr Ian Gibson MP, chair of the House of Commons Select Committee on Science and Technology, in setting up this rabidly pro-GM panel.

Gibson recently made a highly deceitful speech on GM in the House of Commons, which was full of scientifically unsupportable assertions, not to say downright inventions, and some of which was lifted almost word for word from an article by Derek Burke.

Gibson also, at the behest of the pro-GM lobby group Sense About Science, asked Tony Blair in the House of Commons to respond to Derek Burke's letter, which it subsequently emerged was also the work of Sense About Science, calling for more government support for GM.

These are the panelists:

*Kimball Nill who is billed as "Agriculture Commodity Coalition" which is a group of 14 farm commodity organizations that is funded by the biotech-industry funded Council for Biotech Information (CBI) to run a coordinated pro-GM public information campaign known as the "Tomorrow's Bounty Project". http://www.agctr.lsu.edu/Subjects/soybean/pdf/asajuly19.PDF

Nill is also Technical Issues Director for the American Soybean Association (ASA). Part of Nill's ASA role is to "proactively" deal with "threats" from "emerging international technology related issues that could impact U.S. soybean exports" - yoyu get the picture! ASA is has received millions of dollars from companies like Monsanto, Pioneer Hi-Bred International, BASF, Stein Seed Co. and others. Prior to joining the ASA in 1996, Nill served "in several positions supporting Monsanto Company's venture capital and biotechnology R&D efforts"

*Colin Berry, who is part of the industry-friendly pro-GM lobby group, the Scientific Alliance, was recently profiled in a Spiked-online piece attacking the precautionary principle, and is on the advisory council of Sense About Sience. http://www.lobbywatch.org/profile1.asp?PrId=136&page=S http://www.senseaboutscience.org.uk/about.htm

*Prof Mike Wilson, who admits to being known as a "biotech evangelist" and whose public statements on GM have been criticised for their grossly misleading character. He is also part of the Scientific Alliance and on the Advisory Council of Sense About Sience. http://www.lobbywatch.org/profile1.asp?PrId=150&page=W

*Dr John Pidgeon, who is a keen supporter of GM and heads Broom's Barn Research Station, which is part of Rothamsted Research, both of which undertake research for Monsanto, Bayer etc. http://www.lobbywatch.org/profile1.asp?PrId=188&page=R

*Bob Fiddaman, who is a GM crop trial farmer who sat on the UK National Farmers Union's strongly pro-GM Biotechnology Working Group and who represents the NFU on the board of SCIMAC, the industry-producer body of supporters of GM crops developed to oversee "the safe introduction of GM crops". He is SCIMAC chairman for 2004. His fellow leading SCIMAC member, Roger Turner, is also on the Advisory Council of Sense About Science. http://www.nfu.org.uk/stellentdev/groups/press/documents/biography/spokesman _bobfidd_ia40112e59-1.hcsp

For more about Sense About Science who seem to be hoverring in the background of this event: http://www.lobbywatch.org/profile1.asp?PrId=151&page=S

"GM Question Time: Parliamentary Q&A Session"

This session has been arranged by Ian Gibson MP and David Curry MP. The panel includes:
*Professor Sir Colin Berry, Queen Mary, University of London
*Dr John Pidgeon, Broom's Barn Research Station, Rothamsted Research
*Professor Michael Wilson, University of Warwick
*Kimball Nill, Agriculture Commodity Coalition
*Bob Fiddaman, Farmer and participant in the FSE's

Science and Authority
Thurs 8 July, 7pm ICA

The volume of facts and information available continues to increase exponentially. At the same time, there is an acknowledged questioning of authority. Many worry that much science is in the hands of corporate interests, and that some scientists writing for established journals are failing to disclose conflicts of interest. Has the practice of peer review become corrupted – and does it anyway make us too dependent on established networks? How are we to judge expertise? How evaluate 'media panic' - whether about cloning or MMR? If our pursuit is excellence, who can we trust to act as our brokers? Speakers: Colin Blakemore, chief executive of the MRC; Richard Horton, editor of The Lancet and founding member of the Committee on Public Ethics; Ian Gibson, MP, chair of the House of Commons Select Committee on Science and Technology; and Lawrence McGinty, ITN Health and Science editor. Chair: Fiona Fox, Director, Science Media Centre.

GBP8, GBP7concs. GBP6 ICA members
Programmed in partnership with the Wellcome Trust

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