Is there a “business angle” to Greenpeace’s ruthless crusade against Filipino scientists’ research on agricultural biotechnology?
This was one of the questions that was triggered by recent revelations that the European pressure group is operating with some US$350 million in public relations fund as it moves to stop the research on, and commercialization of, genetically engineered crops, particularly in the Philippines.
The question makes a lot of sense. Why would a pressure group invest that much for a campaign? And why the ferocity and intensity of the propaganda being used?
Moreover, why would its members resort to destroying government property just to stop scientific research work? Why would they employ what others see as scare tactics and disinformation schemes that are anyway easily debunked by respected and recognized scientific experts?
What’s in it for Greenpeace if the Philippines backs out from its policy of using agricultural biotechnology for its food security program?
Some say Greenpeace needs to sustain its high-profile “creative campaigns” to make sure its donors are happy. Greenpeace reportedly enjoys much support from major corporate donors, and so-called “donor-directed grants.”
These grants are big money given by big corporations to certain foundations with the specific condition that they are to be given to Greenpeace. With the kind of money it can spend in its war against Filipino scientists and the support it has from global corporations, Greenpeace is definitely not some kind of a “grassroots movement” organization.
The view is that the more spectacular the tactics employed by Greenpeace, the more it gets the assurance that revenues from “donations” will continue to flow-and-grow. Another view is that Greenpeace may actually have a business motive behind its efforts to stop scientific research.
Some of our media friends called our attention to an article which appeared in a local publication more than a decade ago when Greenpeace first made its presence felt here.
The European pressure group was then gearing up for its first major battle in connection with the entry of the controversial Bt Corn variety.
That was the time when a local Greenpeace propagandist was telling Filipinos that Bt Corn will cause “cancer, countless deaths and deformities.”
Greenpeace-allied prelates were also then telling farmers that the variety will turn them into homosexuals. Everything proved to be nothing more than unscientific scare tactics.
It was during that time that a professor of plant molecular genetics from the Tuskegee University of the USA warned Filipinos about Greenpeace and its possible “business agenda.” Writing to a local publication, Professor C.S. Prakash, PhD., revealed that “Canadian government officials have discovered Greenpeace is no small-dollar grassroots movement, rather it is part of a multibillion-dollar protest industry.”
Canada has caught on to Greenpeace’s game and revoked its charitable status noting their lack of demonstrable public benefit,” he continued.
Here’s the interesting portion of that letter. Professor Prakash said: “Greenpeace leaders have close financial relationships (both personal and professional) with the organic food industry’s marketing interests against biotech foods in Europe and the US as evidenced by the immediate move by a Greenpeace UK director to work for Iceland Food as a lobbyist.”
“Agence France Presse also reported that Greenpeace Brazil went so far as to license their own line of organic products in that country,” he added.
So, is Greenpeace merely protecting certain big business interests?
We don’t know because unlike many real international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for instance, Greenpeace does not publish (online or otherwise) their audited financial report or any detailed information about how they spend donors’ money—and multi-million dollar public relations fund—on their self-styled “campaigns.” This despite Greenpeace’s pronouncement in their website that they are committed to “ensuring transparency and accountability for their operations.”
But how can Greenpeace talk about transparency and accountability if they cannot be open about their own funding?
Already, many thinking Filipinos have expressed some concern that there could be truth to the allegations regarding Greenpeace’s ties with big business. If the allegations prove to be true, it would certainly be a sad day for this country.
We would have been unnecessarily embroiled in a conflict triggered by a powerful and rich European pressure group who is merely trying to protect its business interests.
It would be tragic that many of us have been misled by the scare tactics vilifying our Filipino scientists’ research and for what? Just to kill the competition of the organic food business where Greenpeace’s masters allegedly have investments?
We must not let this country be divided and our food security strategy jeopardized by a European group, which may just be promoting another line of food products.