Royal Society, Spiked etc. versus the "conspiracy theorists" (18/12/2003)

The following items were forwarded from the "psci-com: on the public understanding of science" list. Predictably, the somewhat vehement responses to the information posted about the new GM WATCH directory on biotech promoters and about George Monbiot's related Guardian article, all come from interested parties:

*Timandra Harkness writes for Spiked, the main publication vehicle of the LM network. She has also contributed to events organised by the Institute of Ideas, directed by Claire Fox, LM's former co-publisher, as well as cointributing to Novo, LM's German sister publication. She has also contributed to an event organised by the Transport Research Group, widely considered to be an LM front group.
More on Spiked: http://www.lobbywatch.org/profile1.asp?PrId=124
More on LM: http://www.lobbywatch.org/profile1.asp?PrId=78

*Bob Ward does media and PR stuff for the Royal Society (RS). In a letter to The Guardian in response to the Monbiot article, Ward claimed that the RS didn't host the Sense About Science Working Party on peer review, yet we have leaked information showing that the Working Party has indeed been hosted at the RS. The document also shows that Ward could hardly be unaware of this as he is named in the document as one of those delegated to liaise with the Working Party!
More on Sense About Science: http://www.lobbywatch.org/profile1.asp?PrId=151
More on the RS: http://www.lobbywatch.org/profile1.asp?PrId=113

Michael Kenward describes himself as the "e-minder" of the Association of British Science Writers (ABSW) whose President is the Vice Chairman of Sense About Science
More on the ABSW president: http://www.lobbywatch.org/profile1.asp?PrId=145

Nothing could better illustrate the importance of knowing *who* one is dealing with as well as the misleading nature of *what* is being presented.
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From the "psci-com: on the public understanding of science" list

Date:    Wed, 17 Dec 2003 14:04:27 +0000
From:    Jim <jim@ETCGROUP.ORG>
Subject: New global directory of pro-GM lobby group/promoters

New global directory of pro-GM lobby group/promoters etc. at www.gmwatch.org

If anyone missed the Guardian article on this, a fully referenced version of 'Invasion of the entryists' is now available on George Monbiot's site
www.monbiot.com

Essential and extensive reading for those concerned about Independent Science Reporting:.. pass it on!
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Date:    Wed, 17 Dec 2003 14:47:13 -0000
From:    Timandra Harkness <timandra@CLARA.CO.UK>
Subject: Re: New global directory of pro-GM lobby group/promoters

Since who we know is apparently more important these days than what we think - does "Jim" have a surname?

Timandra Harkness (contributor to Spiked, the Guardian online, the Telegraph and Motorcycle Voyager magazine, in case anybody cares)
www.timandraharkness.com

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Date:    Wed, 17 Dec 2003 14:49:23 -0000
From:    MK <mk@DIAL.PIPEX.COM>
Subject: Re: New global directory of pro-GM lobby group/promoters

The Monbiot article was the one that described the Science Media Centre in delightfully lurid terms.

Hilarious paranoia on Monbiot's part. He seems to object because the science world is getting its act together in the same way that the green movement has done for years.

Only one side, it seems, is allowed to spin its story to best effect.

MK

======================
Michael Kenward
ABSW e-minder
http://www.absw.org.uk

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Date:    Wed, 17 Dec 2003 15:20:02 -0000
From:    MK <mk@DIAL.PIPEX.COM>
Subject: Re: New global directory of pro-GM lobby group/promoters

The email address is from the "etcgroup", "formerly RAFI - the Rural Advancement Foundation International" and previously famous for "grey goo" scares about nanotechnology.

http://www.etcgroup.org

MK

_______________________________________________________________________
Michael Kenward           /      Phone: +44 (0)1444 400568  Fax: 401064
                         /
Science Writer & Stuff  /           Genetically modified words for sale

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Date:    Wed, 17 Dec 2003 15:38:16 +0000
From:    Jim <jim@ETCGROUP.ORG>
Subject: Re: New global directory of pro-GM lobby group/promoters

Hi Timandra et al

Sorry - here are my contact details:

Jim Thomas - ETC Group (UK)
16b Cherwell St,
Oxford,
OX4 1BG
United Kingdom

Phone: +44 (0)1865 201719
Mobile:+44 (0)7752 106806
email: jim@etcgroup.org
web: www.etcgroup.org

Michael Kenward is half-right - we do work on societal implications of Nanotechnology (amongst other things) but 'grey goo' is very much not our doing (That was Eric Drexler). we do write about Green Goo sometimes, as a shorthand for nanobiotech, where self replication and nanotechnology do merge in rather closer timescales than science fiction nanobots.

We are not involved in the GMwatch directory but I thought PSCI readers would be interested and was surprised it hadn't featured already.

best
Jim Thomas

(contributer to RSA Journal, The Times, Guardian, Ecologist and various
other places
from time to time ;-)

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Date:    Wed, 17 Dec 2003 15:42:25 -0000
From:    "Ward, Bob" <Bob.Ward@ROYALSOC.AC.UK>
Subject: Re: New global directory of pro-GM lobby group/promoters

Ho ho ho! For those interested in both sides to the debate about so-called "Independent Science Reporting", it might be worth reading the letters in 'The Guardian' responding to George Monbiot's hilarious article at:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/letters/story/0,3604,1103605,00.html

Merry Christmas to all those conspiracy theorists out there!

Bob Ward
Senior Manager
Policy Communication
Royal Society
6-9 Carlton House Terrace
London
SW1Y 5AG

Tel: +44 (0) 20 7451 2516
Fax: +44 (0) 20 7451 2615
Mobile: +44 (0) 7811 320346

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Date:    Wed, 17 Dec 2003 18:02:44 -0000
From:    MK <mk@DIAL.PIPEX.COM>
Subject: Re: New global directory of pro-GM lobby group/promoters

The nastiness in Monbiot's article was what got me. It seems that Fiona Fox, director of the Science Media Centre, is suspect because her sister is involved in a think tank that boy George dislikes. Guilt by association write large there.

MK

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Date:    Wed, 17 Dec 2003 18:45:45


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