CS Prakash, Joel Cohen and embracing the BioNuclear Bunny (12/1/2005)

Loving Andura, embracing the BioNuclear Bunny
- Today in AgBioview

CS Prakash's pro-GM AgBioView list brings subscribers news today of the "incredible potential of pharming" and how it is being obstructed by "baseless accusations and fearmongering by special-interest food-nanny groups."

AgBioView's pharma eulogy comes courtesy of the bionuclearbunny.blogspot.

The BioNuclear site proclaims, "Our future is Biotech and Nuclear. Embrace the change. Embrace the Bunny."

It has links to Steven Milloy's "Junk Science" website, to Prakash's "AgBioWorld" and to a site promoting Paul Driessen's book, "Eco-imperialism, Green Power, Black Death", which Patrick Moore declares "the first book I've seen that tells the truth".

AgBioView also has an article attacking farmers' markets as well as a brief excerpt from an article in Britain's Daily Telegraph, "Organic Ketchups Boost Fight Against Cancers".

According to the Telegraph, US researchers have found "hard evidence that organic vegetables can be healthier than conventional ones". However, the excerpt is immediately trumped on AgBioView by a piece from Tom DeGregori, assuring the faithful that anything organic can do, "Biotech Can Do Better!"

DeGregori is a board member of the American Council on Science and Health - an organisation described by PR Watch's John Stauber as an "industry front group that produces PR ammunition for the food processing and chemical industries."

He's also a fierce Prakash loyalist who famously once used the AgBioView list to laud the "fake persuader" Andura Smetacek, later shown to be an e-mail front used by Monsanto to post poison-pen attacks on its critics.

Before the Monsanto hate campaign was finally exposed, DeGregori hailed Andura on AgBioView;

...In sum, I have one word for your comments - MAGNIFICENT! Keep on posting your comments.
Tom DeGregori
(August 8, 2000)
see - http://www.lobbywatch.org/profile1.asp?PrId=35

On today's AgBioView, next up after DeGregori is a spot more tsunami exploitation. An article headed, "Agricultural Reforms Best Help for Tsunami-Hit Countries" refers us to a report released by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) that, it says, "calls on all countries - including wealthy donor nations - to provide more resources for agricultural research in poor countries, particularly in the development of genetically modified (GM) crops" which "are key to reducing poverty".

The report, it is claimed, "debunks many misconceptions about biotech crop research." This claim is repeated on AgBioView in another article about the report - once again from the BioNuclear Bunny. According to the Bunny, the new report debunks "the myth that AgBioTech is just another ploy by the Industrial/Government/Military complex of the USA to extend its hegemony of world domination"

The BioNuclear Bunny puts the report's conclusions across as follows: "the rich, fat busy-bodies of the developed world" are poking their noses in other peoples' business and trying to tell them how to run their lives, "because they just know better than everyone else". These are the "professional busy-bodies and worriers of the filthy-rich environmental and anti-globalization organizations" who "have convinced many countries to raise the bar so high that it is making it difficult for those nations on a budget (a real budget) to get any of that great [GM] research out the door where it can do some good".

The Bunny assures us that while "no one is advocating that anyone be allowed to release any old genetically modified plant willy-nilly", it's clearly unacceptable for too much time to be taken up testing "while every year, thousands upon thousands of desperate women and children die of malnutrion, hunger, and the endemic diseases of the under-nourished". All of which, it is implied, would be cured by GM crops.

Of course, anyone who's looked at some of these cure-all crops in detail - like the GM sweet potato that was touted to fight hunger and poverty but turns out to have been little more than a PR hoax - might have reason for scepticism.

And, funnily enough, it just so happens that the man behind the IFPRI report, about which the BioNuclear Bunny waxes so lyrical, is none other than Joel Cohen - one of the originators of the sweet potato project.

It was Cohen, together with Robert Horsch of Monsanto and another Monsanto man, who first recruited Florence Wambugu to front the project. Cohen, then at USAID, arranged for USAID to pay for Wambugu's post-doctoral position with Monsanto while she worked on the GM sweet potato.

Horsch has been quite open about his role at Monsanto - it's to "create goodwill and help open future markets". Wambugu reinforces the point: "it [the GM sweet potato] has no commercial value to Monsanto, except as PR." Unfortunately for Horsch and Cohen, the PR value of the Wambugu/sweet potato project is now all but exhausted - indeed, it has actually backfired on the industry as it has become clear that the technology has proven a complete failure, despite all the promises, and that it was never much more than a PR showcase for GM and Monsanto in any case.

So now up pops Joel Cohen in the hour of need with a new report that not only claims once more that GM crops are the "key to reducing poverty" but which also makes the point that they're not all about the likes of Monsanto: "Many people assume that large multinational corporations control the global development of genetically modified foods, but the reality is that poor countries have their own vibrant programs of public biotech research."

This is no little thanks, of course, to the likes of Joel Cohen's former employer, USAID, which has amongst its advisors one CS Prakash. Come to think of it, wasn't Tom - "We love you, Andura!" - DeGregori once a Consultant to USAID, not to mention a member of its Research Advisory Committee?

What a small world.

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