GM lobby group in controversy over Gore film (17/10/2007)

1.Revealed: the man behind court attack on Gore film
2.BBC Messes Up Again on Gore Story

NOTE: Martin Livermore who heads the Scientific Alliance - the corporate front group that features in both these articles - is a PR consultant who formerly promoted GM crops for Dupont. And the Alliance's Advisory Forum has been stuffed with leading GM proponents since its inception, including Tony Trewavas, Mike Wilson, Philip Stott, Mark Cantley, and Vivian Moses, who is also Chair of the biotech industry backed PR body, CropGen. Moses, Trewavas and Cantley are still on the Forum - so much for their positioning themselves as champions of mainstream science.

1.Revealed: the man behind court attack on Gore film
Fuel and mining magnate backed UK challenge to An Inconvenient Truth
Jamie Doward, home affairs editor
The Observer, Oct 14 2007

The school governor who challenged the screening of Al Gore''s climate change documentary in secondary schools was funded by a Scottish quarrying magnate who established a controversial lobbying group to attack environmentalists'' claims about global warming.

Stewart Dimmock''s high-profile fight to ban the film being shown in schools was depicted as a David and Goliath battle, with the Kent school governor taking on the state by arguing that the government was ''brainwashing'' pupils.

A High Court ruling last week that the Oscar-winning documentary would have to be screened with guidance notes to balance its claims was welcomed by climate-change sceptics.

The Observer has established that Dimmock''s case was supported by a powerful network of business interests with close links to the fuel and mining lobbies.

Dimmock credited the little-known New Party with supporting him in the test case but did not elaborate on its involvement. The obscure Scotland-based party calls itself ''centre right'' and campaigns for lower taxes and expanding nuclear power.

Records filed at the Electoral Commission show the New Party has received nearly all of its money - almost GBP1m between 2004 and 2006 - from Cloburn Quarry Limited, based in Lanarkshire.

The company''s owner and chairman of the New Party, Robert Durward, is a long-time critic of environmentalists. With Mark Adams, a former private secretary to Tony Blair, he set up the Scientific Alliance, a not-for-profit body comprising scientists and non-scientists, which aims to challenge many of the claims about global warming.

The alliance issued a press release welcoming last week''s court ruling and helped publicise Dimmock''s case on its website. It also advised Channel 4 on the Great Global Warming Swindle, a controversial documentary screened earlier this year that attempted to challenge claims made about climate change.

In 2004 the alliance co-authored a report with the George C Marshall Institute, a US body funded by Exxon Mobil, that attacked climate change claims. ''Climate change science has fallen victim to heated political and media rhetoric ... the result is extensive misunderstanding,'' the report''s authors said.

Martin Livermore, director of the alliance, confirmed Durward continued to support its work. ''He provides funds with other members,'' Livermore said.

In the Nineties, Durward established the British Aggregates Association to campaign against a tax on sand, gravel and rock extracted from quarries. Durward does not talk to the media and calls to the association requesting an interview were not returned last week. However, he has written letters to newspapers setting out his personal philosophy. One letter claimed: ''It is time for Tony Blair to try the ''fourth way'', declare martial law and let the army sort out our schools, hospitals and roads.''

He later clarified his comments saying he was merely pointing out that the army had done a ''fantastic job'' in dealing with the foot and mouth crisis. He has also asked whether there has been a ''witch-hunt against drunk drivers''.

2.BBC Messes Up Again on Gore Story
Andy Rowell

The BBC span is making a real hash of the Al Gore story. Today on Radio Four''s flagship lunch-time news programme, it invited Martin Livermore from the Scientific Alliance, to give an interview on Gore winning the Nobel Prize.

As we have blogged on the site, the Scientific Alliance was set up by Scottish quarryman Robert Durward in 2001 to fight environmental regulations and take the sceptical line on climate change.

It was one of the first ''corporate front groups'' to be set up in the UK. It has consistently tried to undermine climate science and networked with Exxon-funded groups in the US and UK.

However rather than saying the Alliance undermines the debate on climate science, the BBC''s presenter Shaun Ley described the Alliance as ''campaigning to improve the quality of debate about science''.

Asked about the Nobel award to Gore, Martin Livermore the Alliance''s ex-Dupont front man said that it was ''not healthy'' to give awards to ''fashionable causes''. He also warned Gore''s award would ''close down the scientific debate''.

When asked about the recent legal case against Gore''s film in the UK, which had been objected to by ''a parent'', Livermore said the Judge who had criticised Gore had made a ''sensible decision'' on a ''political film'' that represented ''just one point of view''. What the BBC failed to do again is actually tell the listener what was going on here.

To an uninformed listener it seems that the Scientific Alliance and legal action - the parent -are completely separate. The problem is they are not. They are funded by the same person: Robert Durward, a Scottish Quarryman and chair of the New Party - which his political opponents have described as fascist.

The so-called parent is Stewart Dimmock, who is a member of the New Party, a failed New Party councillor, who has admitted being backed by the New Party in taking the legal action.

So, unbeknown to the public, on the radio at lunch-time the BBC interviewed an ex-chemical industry spokesman who works for a front group set up by a quarryman who was talking about a legal case that the quarryman has funded. But that''s obviously too complicated for the BBC or too insignificant a fact to tell their listeners.

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