International Foundation for the Conservation of Natural Resources
The International Foundation for the Conservation of Natural Resources (IFCNR) says it is a non-profit independent foundation and 'the preeminent global advocate for issues, the resources themselves, as well as the nations, people, and industries involved with environmental issues.'
IFCNR has traditionally focused on defending hunting, trapping and fishing but more recently GM has been added to its list of causes and it now has a website focusing specifically on this issue.
The rationale behind this focus is made clear in an IFCNR article about how a specialty grocery chain had gone GM free following, 'a year-long campaign of street theater intimidation orchestrated by Greenpeace' - 'Trader Joe's Defenseless Against Greenpeace' :
'The failure of the Life Science sector to establish its own advocacy strategies - based on science and the truth - leaves institutions such as Trader Joe's virtually disarmed when confronted by critics such as Greenpeace.'
This raises the 'specter of having radical and self-serving NGOs dictate the nation's and the world's food policies based on deceptive tactics. That is an unforgivable disservice to the public, to science, and to the environment. It should not, and must not be allowed.'
IFCNR articulated its line of attack in a new year message, 'So why are environmental and animal rights advocacy groups rampaging about the globe destroying field tests of these new crops, vandalizing the research facilities... They employ the tactics of strong-arm extortionists and thugs against retailers such as Trader Joe's grocery outlets for stocking products containing even trace amounts of biotech-enhanced hybrid foods, developed and safety tested for the past decade.'
This is part of a 'Statement' by the President of the IFCNR, Stephen S. Boynton.
Boynton's biotech advocacy role follows on from such previous campaigns as a clandestine anti-Clinton campaign that helped bolster the legal efforts of Paula Jones in her sexual harassment lawsuit against the then President where 'critical assistance was provided by Stephen S. Boynton, a conservative Virginia attorney.'
In that campaign Boynton drew on long-standing ties to rightwing billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife and was a key player in Scaife's anti-Clinton Arkansas Project in which $1.8 million, was 'paid out in "legal expenses" with no further explanation of what sort of legal services were provided... records indicate that the money went to conservative lawyer Stephen Boynton and... David Henderson, who in turn funneled some of the money to various anti-Clinton operatives.' A certain 'lack of documentation' to support the money flowing to Boynton and Henderson has been alleged.
IFCNR's 'Director of Communications' and 'Editor in Chief' is John D. Aquilino Jr.. The Washington Post describes Aquilino as 'a gun activist, prominent in groups that campaign for gun rights.' (Pitting Gospel Against 12-Gauge In Hyattsville) His gun advocacy work has led to his being quoted in the entry for 'nigger' in the The American Heritage- Dictionary of the English Language: ' "Gun owners are the new niggers . . . of society' (John Aquilino)'.
Aquilino is also described as a partner and a Senior Fellow with PEAT Institute in Washington, D.C. He's also said to have 'worked on behalf of biomedical research'. The PEAT Institute has been described as 'a PR firm' but the institute prefers the term 'an advocacy strategy group' and says, 'Its clients are private corporations with sustainable use products'.
The distinction is based on the idea that corporate attempts to 'apply the techniques of brand marketing/traditional public relations spin to counter the allegations of animal rights and environmental advocacy are fruitless. The former simply is not compatible with the latter on any level. PR and brand advertising is equated in the public's mind with 'selling' something. Advocacy is seen as 'helping' the helpless.'
IFCNR goes on to say, 'Few consultancies understand the immense pull of advocacy. Those that do, and the PEAT Institute is one, demonstrate strategies that neutralize NGO rhetoric...'
Aquilino's vision of NGOs was outlined in an article entitled, 'The Truth About The Antis' in the hunting magazine The Sporting Classic. It verges on the paranoid, suggesting the kind of tightly knit but wide-ranging conspiracy familiar from the writings of anti-semites or fervent anti-communists:
'A relatively small number of very articulate and highly intelligent individuals govern the world's animal rights and environmental activist groups. They hold the reins of a litany of organizations... Their spin-off groups and coalitions are as legion as the targets they attack and provide the veneer of credibility to their claim of 'speaking for the public' ... Brilliantly calculating and utterly relentless... their ultimate goal is to control the multi-billion dollar resource-related enterprises that provide our food and shelter, our energy, our health care and jobs.
'To understand the bigger picture and the real threat posed by the Anti's, look closely at groups like Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace. They hammer away with boycotts, law suits and legislative measures, all shutting down livestock producers, commercial fisheries and fish farms, modern agriculture, the biotechnology industry that provides our medicines, timber concerns, mining, coal, oil, nuclear energy, to mention a few.
'Their payoff comes from positioning themselves as advisers to governments and international regulatory bodies...'
This vision is applied to 'biotechnology'. Behind an item on the GM issue on NBC-TV's Today Show, IFCNR identifies the hidden hand of the 'staunchly anti-GMO/pro-organic food Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy'. The failure of a spokesperson for BIO to make the industry's case effectively on TV, is seen as an object lesson for the whole industry:
'If U.S. agricultural biotechnology is to avoid the mistakes that lost it so much time, energy and consumer empathy in Europe and increasing throughout Asia and elsewhere, it must not let anti-biotech NGOs carry each public debate. The Today Show debacle clearly demonstrates the need for groups such as Sustainable Resources International LLC to school the industry on dealing with advocacy tactics and strategy.' (Why Biotech Advocates Lose Public Debates)
The identity of the company offering this service, 'Sustainable Resources International LLC', is unknown.