Harassment of scientists by environmental groups continue

An environmentalist group continue to harass scientists using Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests in order to purport a conspiracy that scientists involved in biotechnological research are somehow bought and paid for by the genetically modified industry. According to Hank Campbell at Science 2.0, that is the result of an effort on the part of the anti-GMO group US Right to Know (USRTK).

Back in February of this year, a story reported by a Discover magazine blogger revealed that anti-GMO activists were using intimidation in order to silence opposition to biotechnological foods (GMO). Keith Floor of Science magazine reported that US Right to Know (USRTK) filed Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to obtain the names of scientists who have written articles on the website GMO Answers. GMO Answers is a website funded by food and biotechnology companies, respectfully.

USRTK Executive Director Gary Ruskin states he wants to find out the link between universities and businesses and to what extent they are part of the GMO (his words) PR machine. He thinks anyone who supports GMO science is on the take. However, Keith Floor did some looking into Ruskin’s allegation and found none of the scientists posting at GMO Answers are connected to the GMO, agriculture or food companies (such as Monsanto) in any way.

In another article written by Keith Floor, this one for Nature, Michelle McGuire, a nutrition scientist at Washington State University in Pullman and who has never been associated with GMO Answers in any way, is the subject of scrutiny by USRTK for debunking a strange claim that the pesticide glyphosate was in breast milk.

Hank Campbell also points out the hypocrisy of USRTK’s witching by pointing out:

What is the final, and most important piece of evidence to show corporations are not in control of anything at all in what is a culture war rather than a science one? If they were, FOIAs would also be piled up at Washington State University looking for “soft money” being pushed toward organic food and anti-GMO zealot Chuck Benbrook.

Not surprisingly, not a peep from the Union of Concerned Scientists which was created to defend scientists from just such intimidation and persecution. UCS and the Natural Resources Defense Council seem to be just fine with FOIA requests used against every other evidence-based position, since their silence aids their wealthy donors in the $100 billion Big Organic industry.