Leading Scientist sacked after presidential intervention because of critisizing GE foods

A sensational turn of the Arpad Pusztai affair


Dr Arpad Pusztai, a world renowned nutrition expert, expressed doubts about the safety of GE foods on BBC TV "World In Action broadcast" in August 1998. Because he was a leading expert, this was a great sensation. So Pusztai's critisim was aired all over the world.

But a few days later again, all over the world, the story was aired that he was an old man (68) who had confused his results, making wrong conclusions. This was however a lie. Both me and other scientists who talked with him when this happened found that his mind was perfectly clear. The "senility" story was part of a plot aimed at destroying his credibility.

He was sacked by his employer, Rowett Research Instiute, the leading nutrition research institute in UK.

Pusztai was heavily attacked by fellow scientists, especially the British Royal Society (the foremost scientific organization, corresponding to the National Academy of Science in other countries). He was expelled from the illustrious international Lectin research group that he had founded.

But the world leading medical journal, Lancet, found these attacks unfair and published Pusztai's research. This was a first step towards his rehabilitation as a scientist that Pusztai has struggled hard for ever since these concerted attacks started. Several independent scientists, including PSRAST, have been supporting his case, finding the attacks on him unscientific, being dictated by partial interests in favor of genetic engineering.

Sensational turn

Now the story has taken a sensational turn. From an article in the UK newspaper "Daily Mail" (july 2003) it appears that Prime Minister Tony Blair was instigated by President Clinton to stop Pusztai.

Excerpt :

"Breaking his long silence over the affair, he [Pusztai] now claims that he was fired as a direct consequence of Tony Blair's intervention. The day after his World In Action broadcast, he believes that two phone calls were put through to his boss, Philip James, from the Prime Minister's office in Downing Street.

The following day he was fired. He says he was informed of the calls by two different employees at the Rowett. Dr Putsztai and his wife were also told by a senior manager at the institute that Blair's intervention followed a phone call to Downing Street from President Bill Clinton, whose administration was spending billions backing the GM food industry. To sceptical ears, this sounds scarcely credible. Would the Prime Minister really have had any influence over the position of a respected scientist?

And yet the story is supported by two other eminent researchers. Stanley Ewen, says another senior figure at the institute told him the same story at a dinner on September 24, 1999.

'That conversation is sealed in my mind,' Ewen says. 'My jaw dropped to the floor. I suddenly saw it all - it was the missing link.

'Until then, I couldn't understand how on Monday Arpad had made the most wonderful breakthrough, and on Tuesday it was the most dreadful piece of work and immediately rejected out of hand.'

The second source to confirm the story is Professor Robert Orskov OBE, who worked at the Rowett for 33 years and is one of Britain's leading nutrition experts. He was told that phone calls went from Monsanto, the American firm which produces 90% of the world's GM food, to Clinton and then to Blair.

'Clinton rang Blair and Blair rang James,' says Professor Orskov.

'There is no doubt he was pushed by Blair to do something. It was damaging the relationship between the USA and the UK, because it was going to be a huge blow for Monsanto.'

Source: "The sinister sacking of the world’s leading GM expert – and the trail that leads to Tony Blair and the White House. By Andrew Rowell. Daily Mail July 7, 2003.

Comment by PSRAST

The aggressive and united attacks against Dr. Pusztai by leading scientists appear in a new light through this revealing story.

It appears that a major part of the community of scientists in the GE field has turned into a deliverer of "desired truths" as dictated by the government and by the powerful multinational industry. Many scientists may be doing so most unwillingly, but the Pusztai case is a warning example of what they can expect if they dare to fulfill their duty as scientists to be objective and impartial. For more about this problem, see Dysfunctional science - Towards a "pseudoscientfic world order"? and The New Thought Police - Suppressing Dissent in Science.

The tenet of biotech proponents that a majority of scientists find GE foods unproblematic, sounds very hollow against this background.

It needs to be added that it was no coincidence that Clinton got involed. The biotech giant Monsato was a major sponsor of President Clinton and had a strong influence on his policies. After he took office, his administration supported the corporation in several ways, including appointing Monsanto people to FDA top positions, threatening (by way of USDA) dairymen with confiscation if they labelled their milk free from Monsantos rBGH (genetically engineered hormone), supporting an attempt by FDA to allow genetically engineered foods to be listed among organic foods, and most importantly, it was the Clinton administation that enabled the launch of (Monsanto's) GE foods into the market by gagging the FDA scientists who warned about their dangers (see FDA lawsuit).

Related articles

For more about the Pusztai story, see

"Genetically Engineered Food - Safety Problems"
Published by PSRAST

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