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Biotech shill Mark Lynas fabricates GMO success story reported by MSM


Mark Lynas

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(NaturalNews) A noted biotechnology hack has been accused of making up a GMO success story that was dutifully reported by the mainstream media.

Mark Lynas once described himself as "the first anti-GMO activist in the world" who suddenly got science and has subsequently re-launched himself as a shill for the genetically modified seed and food industry.

To that end, as reported by GM Watch, a recent headline perfectly captures this remarkable transformation: "Why the Founder of the Anti-GMO Movement Converted to the Side of Science." Of course, this is this kind of repentant environmentalist angle that the legacy media find most attractive.

History of bogus claims, ties to biotech industry

His claim to being a founding father of the anti-GMO movement has been widely panned as being completely false by a number of real, leading anti-GMO figures in the environmental movement. However, that has not stopped him from continuing to make it.

GM Watch
notes:

His remarkable conversion story has won him the favor of the world's richest man, Bill Gates, whose Foundation has set up a position for Lynas at Cornell, as part of the controversial Cornell Alliance for Science. This allows Lynas to do paid promotion of GMOs "to the exclusion of almost everything else." And, as we have seen, his big conversion story is also his calling card with the world's media.

Lynas' "conversion" story was at the heart of an April piece in The New York Times entitled, "How I Got Converted to GMO Food." It was a piece that GM Watch summarily dissected in a series of letters to the editors of the Times that faulted nearly every aspect of his article.

However, even more damaging information has emerged, and this information completely shreds any remaining credibility that Lynas claims to have.

"Globally significant"

The crux of his NYT article focused on a poor Bangladeshi farmer named Mohammed Rahman, whom Lynas said he met "on his meager acre of waterlogged land" where he was growing GM eggplant, also known as Bt brinjal. Lynas said the crop was an incredible success to the point where Rahman has been able to completely end all use of pesticides while making an even greater profit by selling his eggplant crops at a premium and marketing them as insecticide-free.

What is happening on that small plot of farmland in Bangladesh is "globally significant," declares Lynas, which serves as justification for making claiming, "We need this technology. We must not let the green movement stand in its way."

Is he right? Hardly, according to Farida Akhter, a member of a Bangladeshi non-governmental organization that has been monitoring Bt brinjal field trials. According to GM Watch, Akhter said that she has tracked down Lynas' farmer and found nearly all of his narrative to be misleading or outright fabricated.

For one, Akhter says, the farmer, whose real name is Hafizur Rahman, is far from being a poor, miserable lot being lifted out of his poverty by a GMOcrop. He is actually "a Polytechnic graduate" and a "well-off commercial vegetable farmer." What's more, multiple chemicals -- including pesticides -- were used on the crop. According to Akhter, the farmer Rahman complained that the Bt brinjal developed a "rough surface" that "gets soft very quickly," unlike the traditional variety, which is "shiny and remains fresh for a longer time."

None of these details were included in Lynas' written account, where he only reported increased profits for a small farmer who now "looked forward to being able to lift his family further out of poverty."

"Failed crop"

GM Watch further noted:

Akhter also argues that the Lynas narrative serves to distract from the multiple problems many other farmers have been having with the Bt brinjal trials. Similar problems were also seen last year, the first year Bt brinjal was trialed in Bangladesh, culminating in a furious press conference at which farmers complained they had been "fooled" and used as "guinea pigs" for a failed crop, and demanded compensation for the huge losses they said they had incurred.

Lynas is used to being criticized for his lack of integrity and honesty, as evidenced by his typical reaction to such criticism: attack the critic. When GM Watch first exposed his dishonesty about having once been a key figure in the anti-GMO movement, he denounced the organization as liars being paid by Big Organic "to do the dirtiest kind of attack jobs," a claim that eventually forced an apology from him.

When his claims about what is happening with GMOs in the developing world are questioned, his typical response has been to point out that the individual doing the questioning hasn't actually been there. However, when the criticisms come from people in the countries he is citing, he then changes his strategy and calls them liars, claiming they are on the payroll of a special interest group.

"Of course, we are not in Bangladesh and so it is difficult for us to say definitively that the idyllic account of the Bt brinjal trials promoted by Lynas in the NYT is as wildly inaccurate as Farida Akhter says. We do, however, know that Lynas has a record of making claims that subsequently turn out to be poorly evidenced or simply untrue," GM Watch reported.

You can read Farida Akhter's full rebuttal of Lynas' claims here.

Sources:

http://gmwatch.org

http://www.aginfo.net

http://www.biotech-now.org

http://www.spinwatch.org

http://gmwatch.org

http://ubinig.org

http://truthwiki.org/The_Green_Revolution_-_...

http://truthwiki.org/Genetically_modified_cr...

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