KSJ Tracker July 24, 2014

Are these science writers and publications facing death threats for covering GMOs?

[Note: See this Tracker post for a reply that Mike Adams published on his blog, and for an update with more names added to the target list.]

An anti-GMO activist has compared some science journalists and publications to the Nazis, saying they are "Monsanto collaborators who have signed on to accelerate heinous crimes being committed against humanity under the false promise of 'feeding the world' with toxic GMOs."

In the post on his Natural News blog, Mike Adams also writes that " it is the moral right -- and even the obligation -- of human beings everywhere to actively plan and carry out the killing of those engaged in heinous crimes against humanity."

It is not known whether Adams is behind a separate website that appeared today called Monsanto Collaborators, which listed more than a dozen science writers as collaborators, including Keith Kloor, Jon Entine, Brooke Borel, and others. It also listed Discover, National Geographic, MIT's Technology Review, and Forbes.com, among others, as "publisher collaborators."

Adams writes of the Monsanto Collaborators site that "someone has indeed launched a website that appears inspired by a suggestion from this story."

Kloor has been most responsible for calling attention to Adams, reporting in May on his Discover blog Collide-a-Scape that Adams appeared as a guest on The Dr. Oz Show on May 13th. In a clip from the show, Oz introduces Adams as "the renegade health ranger," whose website "gets more than 7 million hits per month." Adams's Natural News describes him as an "activist-turned scientist" whose mission " is to empower consumers with factual information about the synthetic chemicals, heavy metals, hormone disruptors and other chemicals found in foods, medicines, personal care products, children's toys and other items."

Kloor also reported in that post that Adams had threatened Jon Entine, who wrote a profile of Adams headlined, in part, "Most 'dangerous' anti-science GMO critic?", which appeared on the website of The Genetic Literacy Project and was cross-posted to Forbes, where Entine is a contributor. Entine says Adams threatened him and Forbes with legal action over what Adams said were inaccuracies in the profile. Forbes took down the post, enraging Entine, who says the magazine has promised to review his rebuttal and perhaps repost the profile.

According to Entine, Adams sent him this in an email:

As you are now well aware, you are about to be named in a personal lawsuit which will cite the extensive body of your defamation and cyber bullying efforts, all of which have been archived and time stamped for court evidence. You can count on this lawsuit requiring considerable resources of your time and money for the foreseeable future.

You are no doubt also aware that I have many friends in law enforcement and that we are simultaneously pursuing an effort to have you arrested and charged with cyber bullying crimes. I honestly cannot say for sure whether such an effort will be successful, but it is one of the areas we are actively pursuing against you.

The post in which Adams called for "the killing of those engaged in heinous crimes against humanity" is entitled, "Biotech genocide, Monsanto collaborators and the Nazi legacy of 'science' as a justification for murder."

It begins by describing Monsanto "as the most hated and evil corporation on the planet," and charging that several websites are now "marching to Monsanto's orders, promoting GMOs and pursuing defamatory character assassination tactics against anyone who opposes GMOs, hoping to silence their important voices." These are the Monsanto collaborators "who have signed on to accelerate heinous crimes" against humanity, Adams writes.

He compares them to Nazi collaborators, writing that the "parallels" are "numerous." The post is accompanied by pictures of Hitler and Goebbels. (The Monsanto Collaborators site features a swastika.) He writes that "cash and blackmail--sometimes both--are the tools used by the biotech industry to sway public opinion," and that "sex traps are routinely attempted against outspoken anti-GMO activists in an effort to create photographic or video evidence which can be used to blackmail them."

I've emailed Adams asking for clarification of some of the things he's written.

The complete list of journalism collaborators, in addition to those named above,  includes Jennifer Ackerman, Mischa Popoff, John Stossel, David Tribe, Don Hazen, David Rotman, Mark Lynas, Emil Karisson, Steven Novella, and Theresa Phillips. Others on the list of "publisher collaborators" are Alternet, Daily Caller, and Modern Farmer. A third list--of scientists--is "under construction," the website says.

I've emailed Adams to ask for comment.

-Paul Raeburn

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