Project 21

'The debate over the use of [GM foods] in Africa is unfortunately not just about food. If that were the case, millions more Africans would be going to bed with full stomachs and be properly immunized since we have the technology to do both right now. What is really at issue here is the same European mentality that has successfully suppressed Africans and people of African decent for hundred of years.'

Those are the words of Project 21 member John Meredith in a press release issued at the time of a speech by Bush at the Biotechnology Industry Organization conference in Washington, D.C. in June 2003: Black Group Praises Bush for Demand that European Leaders Step Up International Fight Against Hunger; Renews Call for End to European Ban on Genetically Modified Foods.

According to Project 21, it has been a leading voice of the African-American community since 1992. It also says it is, 'a leading voice for a new generation of African-American leadership' - a generation that is ready to go beyond 'the nation's civil rights establishment'.

Project 21 is an initiative of the National Center for Public Policy Research  - a conservative/free market foundation with a strongly anti-environmental agenda. PR Watch describes Project 21 as 'a conservative African American organization that opposes affirmative action and the minimum wage and has issued news releases in support of genetically modified foods. Project 21 has been funded by R.J. Reynolds, and it has lobbied in support of tobacco industry interests, opposing FDA regulation of the industry, excise taxes and other government policies to reduce tobacco use.' 

Black American journalists Glen Ford and Peter Gamble describe Project 21 simply as a 'Black front group' and 'a network and nursery for aspiring rightwing operatives'.     

One of those operatives is Niger Innis who sits on Project 21's Advisory Committee. Innis is also the National Spokesman for the
Congress of Racial Equality - CORE - which in May 2003 organised a counter-protest against Greenpeace, alleging its 'opposition to genetically modified foods' was among the ways by which 'these zealots' cause 'misery and death'.

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