Corporations

Cold War Rhetoric Fuels Global Warming

Daniel J. Popeo, a former Nixon and Ford staffer, founded and runs the heavily corporate-funded Washington Legal Foundation, one of many business front groups smearing serious health and environmental concerns as "junk science." In its June 9 New York Times advertisement (p. A19) Popeo employs his trademark hysterical McCarthy-era Cold War rhetoric to accuse environmentalists of conspiring with "envious foreign competitors and international bureaucrats" to destroy the American economy and "satisfy an ideological agenda."

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Microsoft Front Group Applauds Pro-Microsoft Court Ruling

The Association for Competitive Technology, which was created and funded by Microsoft to defend its interests against charges of antitrust violations, has applauded last week's appeals court ruling reversing the order to break up Microsoft. "From the outset of this trial, the Association for Competitive Technology (ACT) has consistently argued that preserving the right of a company to add features to their products is the central issue in this case," states an ACT news release.

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Corporate Cash and Campus Labs

The credibility of university research is on the line as corporations step up their funding. One issue is academic freedom. Corporations that fund university research often demand the right to control what scientists can say publicly about their work. "They're like bullies in a sandbox who take away their toys when you don't agree with them," says David Kahn, a researcher at the University of California-San Francisco who was sued for $10 million by the company that sponsored his study, after he published a report that the AIDS drug he was testing was ineffective.

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Oil Companies Spy on Environmentalists

Since 1995, a private intelligence firm with close links to the British government's MI6 spy agency has been working for Shell and BP oil, collecting information on green activists. The firm's agent, who posed as a left-wing sympathiser and film maker, was asked to betray plans of Greenpeace's activities against oil giants. He also tried to dupe Anita Roddick's Body Shop group to pass on information about its opposition to Shell's oil drilling in Nigeria.

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Trouble Brews for Starbucks CEO

Demonstrators are targeting the Starbucks coffee company for misleading the public about its "Fair Trade" coffee. Starbucks CEO Orin Smith has admitted that sales of Fair Trade coffee make up less than one-tenth of one percent of the company's revenues. Demonstrators also criticize Smith's support for coffee growers that operate "sweatshop plantations" in places like Viet Nam.

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Monsanto Launches Weekly Electronic Newsletter

Monsanto has launched The Advantage, a weekly electronic newsletter with news summaries regarding what it calls "a world of biotechnology benefits." Headlines for the week of May 30 included "Bush Proclaims National Biotechology Week," "Professor Cites Benefits of Biotechnology," "Enhanced Grape Could Mean Better, Cheaper Wine," and "Study Shows GM Plants Do Not Crowd Out Other Plants." Their website had a few bugs when we visited, but hopefully they'll fix those as easily as they've fixed the EPA.

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Chemical Industry Discusses PR Damage Control

Environmental activist Dave DeRosa snuck into the March 22, 2001 meeting of the Vinyl Formulators Environmental Forum and caught industry representatives discussing ways to limit bad publicity connected with Bill Moyers exposT of the chemical industry.

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