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Truth becomes treason in an empire of lies. Attacks against health web sites like yours truly and others, and our readers—yes, that would be you—are rapidly escalating.
Thinly veiled threats are issued not just by industry spokespersons (many of whom hide their industry ties from their readers), but also international organizations like UNICEF. It's become very evident, very quickly, that now more than ever, we need your support to counter the increasingly dirty tactics of these industry players.
Simply by reporting the scientific evidence—which is published in peer-reviewed journals, mind you—I've been labeled as a top "anti-vaccine influencer" for my pro-safety stance on vaccines, and a "media supporter of domestic eco-terrorists" for my reporting on the hazards of Roundup and genetically engineered foods.
Why Is UNICEF Accusing Health Journalists of Lying?
A recently published report1 by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) reveals that the organization is tracking "the rise of online pro-vaccine safety sentiments in Central and Eastern Europe," and has identified the most influential pro-vaccine safety influencers" on the web.
UNICEF included me on the list, along with other independent health websites like GreenMedInfo.com, Mothering.com and NaturalNews.com, just to name a few. In their opening reference, they use a quote by Mark Twain that reads:
"A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes."
Clearly, UNICEF is inferring that I and other vaccine-safety advocates are lying about the situation and therefore should be ignored. This would be hilarious if it wasn't so serious.
Here we have an international organization supposedly dedicated to children's health and wellbeing, and instead of addressing the ample scientific evidence showing the potential harm of vaccines, they're entering into ever-deepening partnerships with vaccine company giants like Merck2 and GlaxoSmithKline3 (GSK).
They spend precious time and resources on public relations schemes to convince you to ignore any science that raises questions about the wisdom of "carpet-bombing" infants' and young children's immune systems with potentially harmful vaccines.
This is especially disturbing because Merck has been involved in numerous criminal scandals and class-action lawsuits in recent years, including fraudulently marketing its deadly drug Vioxx; lying about the true efficacy of its mumps vaccine.
Additionally, they engaged in scientific fraud (a charge brought by its own scientists); and hiding critical side effects associated with its osteoporosis drug Fosamax, just to name a few of the most publicized.
Even more shocking, in 2009, it was revealed that Merck actually had a hit list of doctors to be "neutralized" or discredited for voicing critical opinions about the pain killer Vioxx—a drug that indeed ended up killing more than 60,000 people before it was pulled from the market.
Two years later, in 2011, the company ended up pleading guilty to a criminal charge over the fraudulent marketing and sales of this deadly drug.4 But sure, let's listen to UNICEF and trust the guys who go so far as to threaten the lives of those who question the safety of a very factually dangerous drug. Then there's GSK, whose leadership among corporate criminals is illustrious indeed.
Not only was GSK found guilty in the largest health fraud settlement in US history just last year, for which they were fined $3 billion. A couple of months ago, Chinese authorities accused the company of bribery and illegal marketing schemes. Chinese police claim to possess evidence showing that bribery has been a "core part" of GSK China's business model since 2007.
Doctors and government officials are said to have received perks such as travel, cash, and sexual favors that when combined, amounted to nearly $5 billion, according to some reports. The company allegedly used travel agencies as middlemen to carry out these illegal acts. Four Chinese GSK executives have so far been detained on charges of cash and sexual bribery.
GSK also spent more than 10 years covering up information that proved they knew about the serious health dangers of their blockbuster diabetes drug Avandia, as it would adversely affect sales. While carousing with the true liars and criminals, UNICEF deems it fitting to paint me and other health journalists as the liars; the ones leading you astray.
Little does UNICEF realize that by publicizing a list of monitored "vaccine influencers"—the health reporters who stick pegs in the wheels of their crafty PR schemes by publishing all those studies the vaccine industry would rather see buried—they've basically given you a Who's Who of real vaccine information.
"[W]hile the document purports to be analytical and descriptive, it has proscriptive and defamatory undertones, and only thinly conceals an agenda to discredit opposing views and voices. UNICEF's derogatory stance.
This is all the more surprising considering that websites such as GreenMedinfo.com aggregate, disseminate and provide open access to peer-reviewed research on vaccine adverse effects and safety concerns extracted directly from the US National Library of Medicine, much of which comes from high-impact journals."
GMO-Labeling Supporters Now Accused of Supporting Eco-Terrorism. What's Next?
Another recent article, published in Forbes Magazine,6 really ups the ante of the attack on health journalists and their readers with the headline: " Domestic Eco-Terrorism Has Deep Pockets. And Many Enablers." The article, written by Jay Byme and Henry I.Miller, reads in part:
"In recent years, [eco]terrorists have attempted to gain sympathy and "justification" for their actions by means of disinformation campaigns that relentlessly smear the safety and utility of genetic engineering applied to agriculture... "Frankenfood" headlines may sell newspapers and organic food, but this kind of "black marketing" — enhancing the perceived value of your products by disparaging those of your competitors – can also encourage serious criminal acts.
...There exists in this country a vast, well-established, highly professional, protest industry fueled by special interest groups seeking to line their own pockets... Anti-genetic engineering campaigns are openly funded and promoted by mainstream organic food marketers like Gary Hirshberg, the chairman of Stonyfield Organic, and alternative health and food-supplement hucksters Joe Mercola and Mike Adams — all cynical fear-profiteers who benefit from increased consumer mistrust in their competitors' products... The ultimate objective, of course, is to sell more overpriced, overrated organic food...
One result of the widely disseminated disinformation effort is an environment that provides encouragement to extremists who commit criminal acts. It comes from the Facebook and Twitter followers of the genetic engineering conspiracy theorists, organic marketers and "right to know" labeling activists... Against the backdrop of this fear-mongering, hate-speech and support for acts of terror toward legal, highly regulated, safe and societally valuable R&D, we should condemn not only the perpetrators themselves but also their corporate and media enablers."
Why Am I on Biotech's Hit List?
Alright, now that we've been labeled as "enablers of domestic eco-terrorism" as well—again by simply reporting on research that is published in peer-reviewed journals and interviewing educated researchers and professionals in the field—let's take a look at who's behind the name calling. The first author of this hit-piece is Jay Byrne, whose author's bio identifies him as president of v-Fluence Interactive Public Relations, Inc. Why does Mr. Byrne fail to mention in his bio that he was a former Monsanto executive?
Jay Byrne actually headed up corporate communications for Monsanto Company from 1997 to 2001. And this piece is nothing if not a corporate communication; clearly, there are persistent ties there. How nice for Monsanto to be able to call up their old communications director and have him pen a totally impartial article warning you of your eco-terrorism ties and contributions, should you decide to support a GMO labeling campaign. Back in 2001, Jay Byrne also made the following statement, which is more than a little telling:
"Imagine the internet as a weapon, sitting on a table. Either you use it or your opponent does, but somebody's going to get killed."
Byrne's company v-Fluence Interactive Public Relations7 is also a thinly veiled arm of big Biotech. According to Byrne, "traditionally produced foods and agricultural practices are under attack... Leveraging such issues as pesticides, GMOs, hormones, antibiotics, Mad Cow disease, CAFOs and trade concerns linked to risk factors (human health, environmental risks and consumer choices/controls)." If that's not a statement taken right out of Big Biotech's playbook, I don't know what is. He's certainly not speaking with any concern for your health and wellbeing.
Perhaps Jay would like to address the recent contamination of alfalfa and wheat exports. While it was just recently approved for commercial use, it was already found in contaminated and rejected exports sending yet another shock to countries who require labeling or reject genetically engineered crops. Monsanto is single-handedly destroying farmer's export markets by genetically polluting and contaminating our entire agriculture.
"These five stakeholders represent a core group of commercial players who act in advocacy roles seeking to influence public attitudes, commercial and governmental policies negatively impacting agriculture and food biotechnology. These influencers directly or via their organizations have been principal drivers via direct activities, funding or complementary marketing behind North American anti‐GMO advocacy campaigns in 2011.
While the scope of this report focused on NGOs it is important to note that absent commercial partners – specifically those in the organic, natural products and alternative health sectors – who provide funding and other leverage for anti‐GMO advocacy there would be little effective or sustained advocacy in this space."
Remember Henry Miller?
Coincidentally, if the name Henry I. Miller—the second author of that hit piece—rings a bell, it could be because you paid attention during last year's campaign to get genetically engineered foods labeled in California. He was front and center of the "No on Prop 37" campaign, posing as a Stanford professor in TV commercials and flyers, telling California voters that the ballot measure was "arbitrary," "completely illogical," and "ill conceived."
In reality, he's not a Stanford professor; he's a research fellow at the Hoover Institution, a conservative think tank that happens to be housed on the Stanford campus. Furthermore, Stanford has a policy to not take positions on candidates or ballot measures, and does not allow political filming on campus. The campaign's TV ad was eventually pulled due to the misrepresentation of Miller.9 He also has a long history10 of defending toxic chemicals such as DDT, in addition to working for Big Tobacco.
If you care about your right to know what's in your food, your right to choose organic, and your right to learn how your food is being produced, I suggest you etch the names Jay Byrne and Henry Miller into your memory, so you know exactly who is speaking when you come across their industry PR pieces, because nowhere do either of these men fess up their close ties to the industries they defend.
The Science Media Centre—the Dark Side's PR Center
Another not-so-independent source of information is anything generated by the Science Media Centre (SMC).11 Headquartered in the UK, there is also a US-based outlet.12 The SMC13 claims to be "an independent press office helping to ensure that the public have access to the best scientific evidence and expertise through the news media when science hits the headlines." Yet their list of funding sources reads like a a Who's Who of big biotech14 -- multibillion dollar giants like:
CropLife (pesticide and biotech trade group)
Chemical Industries Association
The organization lays claim to being objective and non-biased because they don't receive more than five percent or so of their funding from any one company, organization or individual. But how non-biased can you possibly be when so much of the funding comes from different companies and front groups within the same industries? Their highly conflicted panel of "experts" represent the funding industries and are NOT providing the media with objective academic feedback. Why would any company pay to have some independent, objective expert speak out against them? In short, the SMC has one agenda, and that is to deceive you with corporate propaganda.
For example, they provide handy tips to their "independent" experts in a document15 called "Communicating Risks in a Soundbite: A Guide for Scientists." It explains how to respond to media questions by downplaying problems. For example, if a reporter asks, "Is it risky?" the scientist should get the journalist to instead ask about the benefits by replying, "the benefits outweigh the risks." Another suggested answer: "It is a very small risk. So small that I believe it is safe."
Not exactly players with an objective view of science.
This might explain why the Science Media Centre pounced16 on the French study showing organ damage and massive cancer tumors in rats fed GE corn. This was the first lifetime feeding study that has ever been conducted with GE food, so it was sure to be a major embarrassment to Big Biotech. The very same day the French report was published came a press release17 from the Science Media Centre claiming "anomalies throughout the paper" despite the authors having been through the usual peer review process.
In short, you can bet if there's a harmful substance out there that makes money, there are at least one or more front groups, posing as independent non-profit organizations, disseminating anything but independent safety reviews and information pertaining to it. It's high time to pull back the curtain and see who's really pulling the strings and levers.
I hope you will support not only this web site by reading and sharing what you learn here with others, but also any number of other health journalists reporting the results of research that Big Business would rather you didn't know. It's quite clear that many of us have targets on our proverbial backs, and the attacks are quickly escalating. Now is the time to stand together, form a united front, and show them that we simply will not be cowed by their thinly-veiled threats.
Why Does Monsanto Hate Americans?
Interestingly ,Monsanto seems to be fine with supporting GMO labeling when there's no other choice. Here's a Monsanto ad from the UK, letting British consumers know how much the company supports the mandatory labeling of their goods—even urging Britons to seek such labels out—ostensibly because Monsanto believes "you should be aware of all the facts before making a decision." What's the difference between British shoppers and American shoppers? Why does Monsanto support one nation's right to know but not another?
Join Us in Your Right to Know by Getting GMOs Labeled!
While California Prop. 37 failed to pass last November by a very narrow margin, the fight for GMO labeling is far from over. In the past few weeks, Connecticut and Maine have passed GMO-labeling bills, and 20 other states have pending legislation to label genetically engineered foods. So, now is the time to put the pedal to the metal and get labeling across the country—something 64 other countries already have.
I hope you will join us in this effort.
The field-of-play has now moved to the state of Washington, where the people's initiative 522, "The People's Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act," will require food sold in retail outlets to be labeled if it contains genetically engineered ingredients. Please help us win this key GMO labeling battle and continue to build momentum for GMO labeling in other states by making a donation to the Organic Consumers Association (OCA).
Remember, as with CA Prop. 37, they need support of people like YOU to succeed. Prop. 37 failed with a very narrow margin simply because we didn't have the funds to counter the massive ad campaigns created by the No on 37 camp, led by Monsanto and other major food companies. Let's not allow Monsanto and its allies to confuse and mislead the people of Washington and Vermont as they did in California. So please, I urge you to get involved and help in any way you can.
- No matter where you live in the United States, please donate money to these labeling efforts through the Organic Consumers Fund.
- Sign up to learn more about how you can get involved by visiting Yeson522.com!
- For timely updates on issues relating to these and other labeling initiatives, please join the Organic Consumers Association on Facebook, or follow them on Twitter.
- Talk to organic producers and stores and ask them to actively support the Washington initiative.
- 1 UNICEF Report, Tracking anti-vaccination sentiment in Eastern European social media networks
- 2 UNICEF June 3, 2013 Press release
- 3 Global Vaccine Ethics and Policy May 11, 2013 Press Release
- 4 New York Times November 22, 2011
- 5 Greenmedinfo.com August 29, 2013
- 6 Forbes July 10, 2013
- 7 v-Fluence Interactive Public Relations
- 8 Inagribiz.org, v-fluence, Food and Agricultural Advocacy Slideshow, ACI 2013 (PDF)
- 9 LA Times October 4, 2012
- 10 Right to Know Press release October 15, 2012
- 11 Science Media Centre UK
- 12 Science Media Centre USA
- 13 Science Media Centre, About Us
- 14 Science Media Centre, Funding
- 15 Science Media Centre, Communicating Risk in a Soundbite, Pamphlet (PDF)
- 16 Reuters September 19, 2012
- 17 Science Media Centre Press release September 19, 2012