wikileaks ico  Home papers ico  Cables mirror and Afghan War Diary privacy policy  Privacy
IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
02ROME2999 2002-06-19 13:50:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Rome
Cable title:  

GOOD AND BAD SCIENCE TAKE CENTER STAGE IN BIOTECH

Tags:   EAGR ETRD TSPL TBIO EAID IT 
pdf how-to read a cable
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
					  UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 05 ROME 002999 

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

STATE FOR SCIENCE ADVISOR NEUREITER
EUR/ERA FOR HEN-NIL
EB FOR GADSEN
EB/TPP/ATT FOR PEREZ
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 02 ROME 02999 01 OF 05 191328Z
E FOR SHUB
OES A/S TURNER, PDAS ROCK
STATE PASS USTR FOR STROJE, NOVELLI
STATE PASS USDA FOR APHIS:SMCCAMMON
USDA/FAS:BLUM
USDA/FAS/ITT:EJONES
USDA/FAS/OA:SLUTSKY
USDA/OS/HEGWOOD
STATE PASS FDA FOR EFLAMM
EPA FOR OFFICE OF ADMINISTRATOR
NSC FOR EDSON, CLOUD

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAGR ETRD TSPL TBIO EAID ETRD TSPL TBIO EAID ETRD TSPL TBIO EAID ETRD TSPL TBIO EAID ETRD TSPL TBIO EAID IT ITEAGR ITEAGR ITEAGR ITEAGR
SUBJECT: GOOD AND BAD SCIENCE TAKE CENTER STAGE IN BIOTECH
DEBATE

REF: A. A. ROME 1965


B. B. ROME 2765



1. (U) THIS CABLE IS SENSTIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED. IT IS NOT
INTENDED FOR DISTRIBUTION ON THE INTERTET.



2. (U) THIS IS AN ACTION MESSAGE FOR OES WHICH REQUESTS
REPLY TO REF A TRANSMITTED APRIL 22, 2002. ALSO SEE PARA 19.



3. (SBU) SUMMARY. THE ROLE OF SCIENCE IN THE ITALIAN
BIOTECHNOLOGY DEBATE IS GROWING, THANKS IN PART TO EMBASSY
EFFORTS. IN THE LAST TEN DAYS, TWO DEBATES FEATURING LEADING
U.S. AND ITALIAN SCIENTISTS HAVE BEEN WELL COVERED BY THE
MEDIA AND HAVE THROWN INTO QUESTION THE UNSCIENTIFIC
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 03 ROME 02999 01 OF 05 191328Z
FOUNDATIONS USED BY AGMIN ALEMANNO TO POSIT HIS "TIME FOR
CHOICES" WHITE PAPER. ALEMANNO'S TEAM IS REGARDED WITH
SKEPTICISM AND EVEN CONTEMPT BY THE ITALIAN SCIENTIFIC
COMMUNITY. AT THE MINISTER'S JUNE 4 STAGE-MANAGED PUBLIC
ROLL-OUT OF HIS WHITE PAPER, OUTDATED AND SUPERSEDED RESEARCH
WAS PRESENTED AS GOSPEL, SECONDED BY A THEOLOGIAN, AND
COMMENTED ON FROM THE FLOOR BY A PRESELECTED GROUP OF
PRO-ALEMANNO, ANTI-GMO PROPONENTS.



4. (SBU) SUMMARY CONTINUED. OTHER ELEMENTS OF THE GOI
APPEAR MORE AND MORE WILLING TO ENDORSE SCIENCE AND RESEARCH
AS A WAY TO OPPOSE THE ALEMANNO LUDDITES AND THEIR ANTI-GMO
PROPOSALS. THE MINISTRY OF ENVIRONMENT, IN ON-THE-RECORD
ADDRESSES AT THE DG AND U/S LEVELS, ENDORSED THE NEED FOR
SCIENCE-BASED POLICY, STRONG U.S.-ITALIAN RESEARCH
COOPERATION, AND USING THAT COOPERATION TO REOPEN A BROADER
U.S.-EU DIALOGUE DURING THE 2003 ITALIAN PRESIDENCY. THE PM'S
NATIONAL BIOTECHNOLOGY COMMISSION PRESIDENT HAS SPOKEN
SIMILARLY, AND TOLD US WE SHOULD EXPECT ENDORSEMENT OF THE
PRINCIPLES OF COOPERATION DOCUMENT DESCRIBED REF A FROM THE
PM'S OFFICE BY THE END OF JUNE. LAST, BUT BY NO MEANS LEAST,
THE PRIME MINISTER, CONTINUING TO FIND HIS WAY WITH CAUTION,
HAS SAID THAT ITALY MUST REMAIN OPEN TO RESEARCH, AND LOOK TO
THE EXPERIENCE OF OTHER COUNTRIES. THIS IS AN OPPORTUNITY WE
SHOULD NOT FAIL TO EXPLOIT. SEE EMBASSY ANALYSIS STARTING
PARA 16.END SUMMARY.

RAISING THE BAR ON FEAR-MONGERING?



5. (U) THE ITALIAN SCIENTIFIC COMMUNITY HAS REMAINED
STEADFASTLY PRO-BIOTECHNOLOGY, BUT HAS BEEN RELUCTANT TO
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 04 ROME 02999 01 OF 05 191328Z
EXPRESS ITS VIEWS DUE TO FEARS OF REPRISALS FROM
GOVERNMENT(E.G. DISCRIMINATORY CUTBACKS IN ALREADY SCARCE
RESEARCH FUNDING) AND ACTIONS BY ANTI-GMO GROUPS WHO HAVE
DISRUPTED OR DESTROYED EXPERIMENTS INVOLVING GMO PLANTS AT A
RESEARCH PLOT NEAR VITERBO AS RECENTLY AS TWO WEEKS AGO. IN
THE FIRST DAYS OF THE BERLUSCONI GOVERNMENT, THERE WAS HOPE
THAT A PRO-SCIENCE, PRO-BUSINESS GOVERNMENT WOULD ACT QUICKLY
TO OPEN THE WAY FOR RESUMED BIOTECHNOLOGY RESEARCH. IN THE
LAST SIX MONTHS, AS THE CONTOURS OF ALEMANNO'S ANTI-BIOTECH
POLICIES HAVE BECOME CLEARER, THAT HOPE HAS FADED.
SCIENTISTS NOW BELIEVE THAT THE PRIME MINISTER ALONE CAN
OPPOSE ALEMANNO'S PROPOSED POLICY, AND THEY ARE TRYING TO
HELP EXPOSE THE SHABBY SCIENTIFIC UNDERPINNINGS OF THE
AGRICULTURE MINISTER'S WHITE PAPER BY CONDUCTING THEIR OWN
PROGRAMS WHICH SHOW THE BENEFITS OF THE TECHNOLOGY.



6. (SBU) THE SCIENTISTS ARE ASSISTED IN THEIR EFFORTS TO
CREATE A PUBLIC FOR THEIR DISCUSSIONS BY A HANDFUL OF
ORGANIZATIONS. PROMINENT AMONG THEM HAS BEEN THE EINAUDI
FOUNDATION, WHOSE "OBSERVATORY FOR BIOETHICS" HAS SPONSORED A
NUMBER OF PRO-BIOTECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS IN THE LAST YEAR. MOST
RECENTLY, ON MAY 31 AND JUNE 1, THE EINAUDI FOUNDATION
ORGANIZED A TWO DAY PROGRAM ON PLANT VACCINES AND ENHANCING
NUTRITION IN FOODS USING BIOTECHNOLOGY. ABOUT 250 PEOPLE,

UNCLASSIFIED

UNCLASSIFIED PTQ4238

PAGE 01 ROME 02999 02 OF 05 191328Z
ACTION EUR-00

INFO LOG-00 NP-00 AGRE-00 AID-00 CEA-01 CIAE-00 COME-00
CTME-00 DODE-00 DOEE-00 ITCE-00 DOTE-00 SRPP-00 MEDE-00
EB-00 EXME-00 E-00 FAAE-00 UTED-00 VC-00 FRB-00
HHS-01 H-01 TEDE-00 INR-00 ITC-01 L-00 NASA-01
AC-01 NSAE-00 OES-01 OMB-01 OPIC-01 PM-00 ACE-00
SP-00 SSO-00 SS-00 STR-00 TEST-00 TRSE-00 USIE-00
EPAE-00 ECA-00 PMB-00 DRL-02 G-00 NFAT-00 SAS-00
/011W


--------------------------

BF77D2 191329Z /38
R 191350Z JUN 02
FM AMEMBASSY ROME
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 4327
HQ EPA WASHDC
USDA WASHDC
NSC WASHDC
INFO EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE
AMCONSUL FLORENCE
AMCONSUL MILAN
AMCONSUL NAPLES

UNCLAS SECTION 02 OF 05 ROME 002999

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

STATE FOR SCIENCE ADVISOR NEUREITER
EUR/ERA FOR HEN-NIL
EB FOR GADSEN
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 02 ROME 02999 02 OF 05 191328Z
EB/TPP/ATT FOR PEREZ
E FOR SHUB
OES A/S TURNER, PDAS ROCK
STATE PASS USTR FOR STROJE, NOVELLI
STATE PASS USDA FOR APHIS:SMCCAMMON
USDA/FAS:BLUM
USDA/FAS/ITT:EJONES
USDA/FAS/OA:SLUTSKY
USDA/OS/HEGWOOD
STATE PASS FDA FOR EFLAMM
EPA FOR OFFICE OF ADMINISTRATOR
NSC FOR EDSON, CLOUD

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAGR ETRD TSPL TBIO EAID ETRD TSPL TBIO EAID ETRD TSPL TBIO EAID ETRD TSPL TBIO EAID ETRD TSPL TBIO EAID IT ITEAGR ITEAGR ITEAGR ITEAGR
SUBJECT: GOOD AND BAD SCIENCE TAKE CENTER STAGE IN BIOTECH
DEBATE

MOSTLY PRO-BIOTECH, ATTENDED THIS PROGRAM AT THE CENTER FOR
NATIONAL RESEARCH. DR. CHARLES ARNTZEN OF ARIZONA STATE
UNIVERSITY, SUPPORTED IN PART BY THE EMBASSY, WAS THE MAIN
U.S. SPEAKER. DR. INGO POTRYKUS, INVENTOR OF GOLDEN RICE,
LED THE NUTRITIONAL ENHANCEMENT DISCUSSIONS. THE MAIN TALKS
WERE BROADCAST ON RADIO RADIKALE, AND LOCAL MEDIA AND PRESS
INTERVIEWED DR. ARNTZEN.



7. (U) THE WORKSHOP WAS OPENED BY THE MINISTRY OF
ENVIRONMENT(DG CLINI, WHO HAD TOLD US THE PREVIOUS DAY THAT
THE MINISTER HAD AGREED TO EXPLORE A MORE OPEN APPROACH TO
BIOTECHNOLOGY). THE BRIEF STATEMENT POINTED OUT THAT EUROPE
WAS NOT, AND COULD NOT BE, GM FREE, THAT RESEARCH, INCLUDING
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 03 ROME 02999 02 OF 05 191328Z
STRONG PARTNERSHIP WITH THE U.S, WAS ESSENTIAL TO
UNDERSTANDING THE POTENTIAL OF BIOTECHNOLOGY, AND THAT ITALY
HAD TO TAKE POLICY DECISIONS IN A EUROPEAN AND LARGER
CONTEXT. EST COUNS SPOKE ON THE NEED FOR POSITIVE
STEWARDSHIP IN POLICY FORMULATION WITH PARTICULAR NEED TO
SEPARATE EMOTIONAL SPECULATION AND OPINION POLLS FROM THE
VERIFIABLE AND SYSTEMATIC INQUIRIES OF SCIENCE. LEONARDI
SANTI, PRESIDENT OF THE PRIME MINISTER'S COMMITTEE ON
BIOTECHNOLOGY, SAID THAT ITALY WOULD SOON CONCLUDE AN
AGREEMENT ON RESEARCH WITH THE U.K. AND THAT THE PM'S OFFICE
STRONGLY SUPPORTED A RESEARCH AGREEMENT WITH THE UNITED
STATES.



8. (U) ARNTZEN AND POTRYKUS WERE THE MOST EFFECTIVE
SPEAKERS. ARNTZEN OUTLINED RESEARCH WHICH PROMISED AN EDIBLE
PLANT-BASED VACCINE FOR HEPATITIS B WITHIN 5 YEARS. POTRYKUS
DELIVERED A CHILLING CRITICISM OF THE EU REGULATORY SYSTEM
THAT WAS HAMPERING THE DISSEMINATION OF GOLDEN RICE AND OTHER
NUTRITIONAL ENHANCEMENTS, SUCH AS IRON, WHICH HE CLAIMED
COULD SAVE UP TO 40,000 LIVES A DAY IN THE DEVELOPING WORLD.



9. (U) ON JUNE 6, ASSOBIOTECH, THE NATIONAL INDUSTRIAL
ASSOCIATION, PRESENTED A HALF-DAY PROGRAM TO PRESENT A STUDY
OF ITALIAN "TYPICAL" PRODUCTS AT RISK FROM PESTS AND DISEASES
WHICH COULD BE IMPROVED BY BIOTECHNOLOGIES. PROFESSOR
FRANCESCO SALA OF THE UNIVERSITY OF MILAN INTRODUCED THE
STUDY, AND HIS PRESENTATION WAS SUPPORTED BY OTHER
SCIENTISTS, WHOSE REMARKS WERE INTERRUPTED BY THE SHOUTS OF
ABOUT A DOZEN LEGAMBIENTE (ITALY'S MAJOR ENVIRONMENTAL NGO)
PROTESTORS FROM THE STREET BELOW.

UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 04 ROME 02999 02 OF 05 191328Z


10. (SBU) IMPORTANT REMARKS WERE MADE BY MINISTRY OF
ENVIRONMENT U/S TORTOLI, WHO PLACED BIOTECHNOLOGIES IN
AGRICULTURE IN A SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT CONTEXT, SPOKE IN
FAVOR OF U.S.-ITALY RESEARCH COOPERATION, A EUROPEAN NETWORK
(AN IDEA PRESENTED A FEW DAYS EARLIER TO EST COUNS BY FORZA
ITALIA SCIENCE ADVISOR ARATA), AND THE KEY ROLE ITALY COULD
PLAY IN ITS 2003 EU PRESIDENCY. COMMENT: TORTOLI'S SPEECH WAS
DRAFTED BY DG CLINI FOR THE MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENT.
ASSOBIOTECH HAD SEEN AN EARLIER DRAFT OF THE SPEECH, AND
ADVISED TORTOLI TO BE CAREFUL. HE WAS NOT, WHICH WE ASSUME
REFLECTS A DECISION BY MIN OF ENVIRONMENT MATTEOLI TO MOVE
MORE OPENLY IN OPPOSITION TO ALEMANNO'S MORE NATIONALISTIC
POSITION. END COMMENT.



11. (U) THE MOST SURPRISING REMARKS OF THE DAY WERE MADE BY
THE CHAIR OF THE SENATE AGRICULTURAL COMMITTEE, MAURIZIO
RONCONI. OPENLY CRITICAL OF ALEMANNO'S POSITIONS, RONCONI
CALLED FOR A POLICY OF REALISM, FOUNDED ON SCIENCE. HE
ARGUED THAT GM FREE AGRICULTURE DID NOT EXIST IN ITALY NOW,
THAT GMO FREE SEEDS WERE NOT AVAILABLE IN SUFFICIENT
QUANTITIES, AND THAT A ZERO TOLERANCE POLICY WOULD NOT
BENEFIT, BUT WOULD DAMAGE SMALL FARMERS WHO WOULD HAVE TO PAY
A PREMIUM PRICE FOR SEEDS UNDER THE ALEMANNO POLICY. HE NOTED
THAT NO "GM-FREE" CERTIFICATION SCHEMES WERE IN PLACE, AND
THAT DESIGNING AND IMPLEMENTING A RELIABLE SCHEME WOULD BE

UNCLASSIFIED

UNCLASSIFIED PTQ4237

PAGE 01 ROME 02999 03 OF 05 191329Z
ACTION EUR-00

INFO LOG-00 NP-00 AGRE-00 AID-00 CEA-01 CIAE-00 COME-00
CTME-00 DODE-00 DOEE-00 ITCE-00 DOTE-00 SRPP-00 MEDE-00
EB-00 EXME-00 E-00 FAAE-00 UTED-00 VC-00 FRB-00
HHS-01 H-01 TEDE-00 INR-00 ITC-01 L-00 NASA-01
AC-01 NSAE-00 OES-01 OMB-01 OPIC-01 PM-00 ACE-00
SP-00 SSO-00 SS-00 STR-00 TEST-00 TRSE-00 USIE-00
EPAE-00 PMB-00 DRL-02 G-00 NFAT-00 SAS-00 /011W


--------------------------

BF77F7 191329Z /38
R 191350Z JUN 02
FM AMEMBASSY ROME
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 4328
HQ EPA WASHDC
USDA WASHDC
NSC WASHDC
INFO EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE
AMCONSUL FLORENCE
AMCONSUL MILAN
AMCONSUL NAPLES

UNCLAS SECTION 03 OF 05 ROME 002999

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

STATE FOR SCIENCE ADVISOR NEUREITER
EUR/ERA FOR HEN-NIL
EB FOR GADSEN
EB/TPP/ATT FOR PEREZ
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 02 ROME 02999 03 OF 05 191329Z
E FOR SHUB
OES A/S TURNER, PDAS ROCK
STATE PASS USTR FOR STROJE, NOVELLI
STATE PASS USDA FOR APHIS:SMCCAMMON
USDA/FAS:BLUM
USDA/FAS/ITT:EJONES
USDA/FAS/OA:SLUTSKY
USDA/OS/HEGWOOD
STATE PASS FDA FOR EFLAMM
EPA FOR OFFICE OF ADMINISTRATOR
NSC FOR EDSON, CLOUD

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAGR ETRD TSPL TBIO EAID ETRD TSPL TBIO EAID ETRD TSPL TBIO EAID ETRD TSPL TBIO EAID ETRD TSPL TBIO EAID IT ITEAGR ITEAGR ITEAGR ITEAGR
SUBJECT: GOOD AND BAD SCIENCE TAKE CENTER STAGE IN BIOTECH
DEBATE

COSTLY. HE ADDED THAT LOMBARDIA, AMONG ITALY'S MOST IMPORTANT
AGRICULTURAL AREAS, WAS SOLIDLY AGAINST A GM-FREE POLICY.
CONCLUSION? ITALY NEEDS MORE RESEARCH AND FIELD TRIALS, AND
LABELLING AIMED AT CONSUMERS' RIGHT TO MAKE AN INFORMED
CHOICE.



12. (U) THE MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE WAS NOT PRESENT DURING
THE FOREGOING PRESENTATIONS. WHEN HE ARRIVED, THE HECKLERS
STOPPED HECKLING, AND ALEMANNO HAD THE FULL ATTENTION OF THE
ROOM. FROM A NEUTRAL STATEMENT ABOUT THE VALUE OF RESEARCH,
HE BRIDGED TO HIS FAMILIAR CLAIMS OF RISKS, OF THE
CONTAMINATION OF ITALIAN VARIETIES BY GM VARIETIES,
MENTIONING IN PASSING THAT THRESHOLDS WERE NOT A SCIENTIFIC,
BUT A POLITICAL ISSUE, AND THAT ITALY'S PROBLEM IS QUALITY
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 03 ROME 02999 03 OF 05 191329Z
AND SAFETY, NOT INCREASED PRODUCTION. ON FIELD TRIALS FOR
GMOS, ALEMANNO SAID THAT COULD NOT TAKE PLACE UNTIL THE
VARIETIES WERE PROVED SAFE FOR THE ENVIRONMENT--HE CONCEDED
THAT HEALTH IS NO LONGER AN ISSUE--AND AN EFFECTIVE
GM/GM-FREE "FILTER" HAD BEEN DEMONSTRATED. HE DID NOT OBJECT
TO BEING COMPARED BY THE AUDIENCE TO FORMER GREEN PARTY AG
MINISTER PECORARO SCANIO, AND SAID HE WOULD NOT ENCOURAGE
INVESTORS IN AGRICULTURAL BIOTECHNOLOGY.



13. (SBU) COMMENT: REACTION TO ALEMANNO FROM THOSE ATTENDING
WAS CONSIDERED DISMAY. MOST FOUND A SILVER LINING IN THE
PRIME MINISTER'S REFUSAL TO CLOSE ITALY TO BIOTECHNOLOGY,
ANNOUNCED IN BRIEF REMARKS AT THE JUNE 4 TAVOLA
AGRIALIMENTARE IN THE PRESENCE OF ALEMMANO, BUT MANY
CONCLUDED NO REAL DECISION WOULD BE TAKEN ON POLICY UNLESS
ALEMANNO MOVED TO A DIFFERENT POSITION IN THE GOVERNMENT.
ASSOBIOTECH PRESIDENT SERGIO DOMPE TOLD ESTCOUNS HE BELIEVES
THAT BERLUSCONI WILL MOVE FORWARD, BUT WILL BE IN NO HURRY.
THE GAME PLAN SEEMS TO BE CONTAINED REACTION TO ALEMANNO, NOT
INITIATIVE BY THE PM. END COMMENT.

SCIENCE BOWS TO POLITICS: ALEMANNO AND A TIME FOR CHOICE



14. (U) ON JUNE 4, IN THE MIDDLE OF THE TWO WORKSHOPS
DESCRIBED ABOVE, ALEMANNO CONDUCTED HIS OWN "SCIENTIFIC
PROGRAM" AT LA SAPIENZA(UNIVERSITY OF ROME), WHERE HE DEBUTED
PUBLICLY HIS WHITE PAPER TO AN AUDIENCE OF ABOUT 300. THERE
WAS VIRTUALLY NO OVERLAP BETWEEN THE AUDIENCES ATTENDING THE
SCIENTIFIC WORKSHOPS REPORTED ABOVE AND THE AUDIENCE
ATTENDING THE ALEMANNO PROGRAM. ALEMANNO'S WARM-UP SPEAKERS
INCLUDED NO BIOTECHNOLOGISTS, AND RESEARCH SUPPORTING THE
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 04 ROME 02999 03 OF 05 191329Z
HIGH RISK OF GMOS TO THE ENVIRONMENT INCLUDED THE DISCREDITED
MONARCH BUTTERFLY FINDINGS ORGINALLY REPORTED IN NATURE. ONE
SERIOUS SCIENTIST ATTENDING THE PROGRAM TOLD EST COUNS THAT
THE MOST CITED SCIENTIST ON THE ALEMANNO PANEL WAS A
MICROBIOLOGIST WITH FOUR CITATIONS, TWO OF THEM IN A NON-PEER
REVIEWED JOURNAL.



15. (U) THE PANEL AVOIDED PUBLIC DEBATE BY ALLOWING ONLY
PRE-SCHEDULED INTERVENTIONS FROM ALEMANNO SUPPORTERS,
EXCEPTING ONE INTERVENTION BY AN ASSOBIOTECH SPOKESMAN WHO
WAS QUICKLY DISMISSED FOR HIS INDUSTRY BIAS. WHEN ALEMANNO
TOOK THE STAGE FOR WHAT BECAME A HALF-HOUR BARBURNER OF A
SPEECH, HE PROCLAIMED THAT HE HAD HELED THE DIVIDE BETWEEN
SCIENTISTS AND ENVIRONMENALISTS/FARMERS/CONSUMERS, AND THAT
HIS POLICY PROPOSAL, SOON TO BE INFORMED BY THE WORK OF A
MULTIDISCIPLINARY TASK FORCE, WOULD INTRODUCE INTO THE
PARLIAMENT A DEBATE TO HELP ITALY MAKE THE RIGHT CHOICE ABOUT
GMOS. SINCE HE TOOK NO QUESTIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE, THERE
WAS NO CHALLENGE TO HIS CLAIMS.

EMBASSY ANALYSIS: DOES SCIENCE MATTER IN THIS DEBATE?



16. (SBU) BIOTECH OPONENTS AND PROPONENTS ARE LAYING OUT
THEIR POSITINS BASED ON SCIENCE. IT'S JUST NOT THE SAME

UNCLASSIFIED

UNCLASSIFIED PTQ4239

PAGE 01 ROME 02999 04 OF 05 191329Z
ACTION EUR-00

INFO LOG-00 NP-00 AGRE-00 AID-00 CEA-01 CIAE-00 COME-00
CTME-00 DODE-00 DOEE-00 ITCE-00 DOTE-00 SRPP-00 MEDE-00
EB-00 EXME-00 E-00 FAAE-00 UTED-00 VC-00 FRB-00
HHS-01 H-01 TEDE-00 INR-00 ITC-01 L-00 NASA-01
AC-01 NSAE-00 OES-01 OMB-01 OPIC-01 PM-00 ACE-00
SP-00 SSO-00 SS-00 STR-00 TEST-00 TRSE-00 USIE-00
EPAE-00 PMB-00 DRL-02 G-00 NFAT-00 SAS-00 /011W


--------------------------

BF7809 191329Z /38
R 191350Z JUN 02
FM AMEMBASSY ROME
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 4329
HQ EPA WASHDC
USDA WASHDC
NSC WASHDC
INFO EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE
AMCONSUL FLORENCE
AMCONSUL MILAN
AMCONSUL NAPLES

UNCLAS SECTION 04 OF 05 ROME 002999

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

STATE FOR SCIENCE ADVISOR NEUREITER
EUR/ERA FOR HEN-NIL
EB FOR GADSEN
EB/TPP/ATT FOR PEREZ
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 02 ROME 02999 04 OF 05 191329Z
E FOR SHUB
OES A/S TURNER, PDAS ROCK
STATE PASS USTR FOR STROJE, NOVELLI
STATE PASS USDA FOR APHIS:SMCCAMMON
USDA/FAS:BLUM
USDA/FAS/ITT:EJONES
USDA/FAS/OA:SLUTSKY
USDA/OS/HEGWOOD
STATE PASS FDA FOR EFLAMM
EPA FOR OFFICE OF ADMINISTRATOR
NSC FOR EDSON, CLOUD

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAGR ETRD TSPL TBIO EAID ETRD TSPL TBIO EAID ETRD TSPL TBIO EAID ETRD TSPL TBIO EAID ETRD TSPL TBIO EAID IT ITEAGR ITEAGR ITEAGR ITEAGR
SUBJECT: GOOD AND BAD SCIENCE TAKE CENTER STAGE IN BIOTECH
DEBATE

SCIENCE. BIOTECH OPPONENTS USED OUTDATED, OFTEN DISCREDITED
OR NON-PEER REVIEWED "RESEARCH" TO JUSTIFY THEIR POSITION.
BIOTECH PROPONENTS, WHO KNOW THE SCIENCE, CAN EXPOSE THE
SPECIOUS LOGIC UNDERLYING ALEMANNO'S POSITION BY REFERRING TO
INTERNATIONALLY PEER-REVIEWED FINDINGS, AND STUDIES BY THE
EUROPEAN COMMISSION AND OTHER BODIES. BY INTERNATIONALIZING
THE DEBATE, BIOTECH SUPPORTERS REDUCE THE RISK OF PERSONAL
RETRIBUTION, AND FORCE ALEMANNO'S NATIONALISTIC VIEW (WE WILL
PROTECT OUR NATIONAL AGRICULTURAL HERITAGE BY CLOSING OUR
POLITICAL BORDERS TO ALL BIOTECHNOLOGY) TO BE LOOKED AT IN
INTERNATIONAL BIOLOGICAL, ECOLOGICAL, AND TRADE TERMS. THE
POTENTIAL OF BIOTECHNOLOGY TO ADDRESS THE HEALTH AND
AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTIVITY NEEDS OF THE DEVELOPING WORLD,
DISMISSED BY ALEMANNO AS MINIMAL, CAN BE DEMONSTRATED BY
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 03 ROME 02999 04 OF 05 191329Z
ARNTZEN AND POTRYKUS, BY SCIENTIFIC LEADERS LIKE NORMAN
BORLAUG AND PER PINSTRUP ANDERSEN WHO HAVE FIRST HAND
EXPERIENCE IN THE DEVELOPING WORLD, AND BY DEVELOPING WORLD
SCIENTISTS LIKE ROMANO KIOME FROM KENYA.



17. (SBU) ALEMANNO SIMPLY HAS NO SCIENTISTS OF DISTINCTION
WHO SUPPORT HIS POINT OF VIEW. THE MORE WE TAKE HIM AT HIS
WORD IN HIS ENDORSEMENT OF RESEARCH AND SPECIFICALLY OF
RESEARCH WITH THE U.S.--HIS DG AMBROSIO TOLD EST COUNS AND
AGMINCOUNS OVER LUNCH JUNE 7 THAT THE MINISTER WAS FULLY
COMMITTED TO COLLABORATION, AND THAT ALL 24 OF THE
AGMINISTRY'S INSTITUTES WERE AVAILABLE AND FAVORABLY
DISPOSED-- THE MORE WE RAISE THE BAR ON THE SCIENTIFIC
STANDARD ITALY WILL USE TO EVALUATE ITS POLICY OPTIONS ON
BIOTECHNOLOGY. FURTHER, A STRONG PROGRAM OF VISITING U.S.
SCIENTISTS, WHO ARE HELD IN HIGH REGARD, CREATES
OPPORTUNITIES FOR PUBLIC MEETINGS WHICH INCREASE THE AMOUNT
OF SCIENTIFIC INFORMATION IN CIRCULATION IN THE MEDIA AND
AMONG CONSUMER AND ENVIRONMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS AS WELL AS THE
GENERAL PUBLIC. IN THE MEDIUM TERM WE COULD CREATE SOME
HEALTHY SKEPTICISM ABOUT ALEMANNO'S NOSTALGIC VIEW OF ITALIAN
AGRICULTURE AND THE THREATENING MANNER WHICH HE PRESENTS
BIOTECHNOLOGY.



18. (SBU) THIS DOESN'T MEAN SCIENCE WILL EASILY WIN THE DAY.
AS HE LOSES GROUND IN THE SCIENCE DEBATE--AND WE WILL REPORT
SEPTEL ON THE BILATERAL DIMENSIONS OF THE BIOTECH DEBATE
SPARKED BY THE FAO SUMMIT-- WE FULLY EXPECT A RENEWED RESORT
TO EMOTIONALISM AND ANTI-GMO DEMONSTRATIONS BY GREEN
ORGANIZATIONS. THESE WILL ATTRACT MEDIA ATTENTION, AND
REINFORCE THE UNCERTAINTY ABOUT THE SAFETY OF BIOTECHNOLOGY
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 04 ROME 02999 04 OF 05 191329Z
IN THE MIND OF THE ITALIAN PUBLIC. WE NOTE, HOWEVER, THAT
RECENT ANTI-GMO DEMONSTRATIONS HAVE BEEN POORLY ATTENDED --
EVEN THE JUNE 6-7 ANTIGLOBAL DEMONSTRATORS NUMBERED ONLY
10-12,000 INSTEAD OF THE 40,000 PREDICTED. MEDIA-COVERED
SCIENCE DEBATES LIKE THOSE REPORTED HERE ARE ONE
COUNTERMEASURE WE CAN EMPLOY TO FURTHER USG POLICY ENDS.



19. (SBU) ACTION REQUEST: OES IS ASKED TO RESPOND TO ROME
1965 TRANSMITTED APRIL 22, 2002. THIS MESSAGE REQUESTS
DEPARTMENT'S CONCURRENCE IN DISCUSSING COOPERATION ON
BIOTECHNOLOGY RESEARCH, THROUGH A FORMAL BILATERAL MEETING AT
THE EXPERT LEVEL, UNDER THE UMBRELLA S&T AGREEMENT. THIS
WILL ALLOW US TO TAKE FIRST MEASURES, AMONG THEM A
AFFIRMATIVE RESPONSE TO OES/SCP'S SUGGESTION THAT EST COUNS
AND A GOI REP EXAMINE THE US-EU BIOTECH TASKFORCE AS AN
ADMINISTRATIVE MODEL, AND ATTEND A SESSION OF THE TASK FORCE
AS OBSERVERS, AND AS A WAY TO RELATE POSSIBLE BILATERAL
COOPERATION TO THE BROADER US-EU CONTEXT, CLEARLY SOMETHING
THE GOI WISHES TO DO. IT WILL ALSO ALLOW US TO DISCUSS WITH
THE GOI ITS HOPE OF CONVENING A BILATERAL MEETING OF EXPERTS
SOMETIME BEFORE THE END OF 2002. EMBASSY BELIEVES THAT A
SCIENCE-BASED APPROACH TO THE GOI ON BIOTECH, SUPPORTED
THROUGH A BILATERAL AGREEMENT, CAN GIVE US AN EFFECTIVE WEDGE
TO CONTINUE TO ISOLATE AND EXPOSE THE INTELLECTUAL INADEQUACY

UNCLASSIFIED

UNCLASSIFIED PTQ4240

PAGE 01 ROME 02999 05 OF 05 191329Z
ACTION EUR-00

INFO LOG-00 NP-00 AGRE-00 AID-00 CEA-01 CIAE-00 COME-00
CTME-00 DODE-00 DOEE-00 ITCE-00 DOTE-00 SRPP-00 MEDE-00
EB-00 EXME-00 E-00 FAAE-00 UTED-00 VC-00 FRB-00
HHS-01 H-01 TEDE-00 INR-00 ITC-01 L-00 NASA-01
AC-01 NSAE-00 OES-01 OMB-01 OPIC-01 PM-00 ACE-00
SP-00 SSO-00 SS-00 STR-00 TEST-00 TRSE-00 USIE-00
EPAE-00 PMB-00 DRL-02 G-00 NFAT-00 SAS-00 /011W


--------------------------

BF7817 191329Z /38
R 191350Z JUN 02
FM AMEMBASSY ROME
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 4330
HQ EPA WASHDC
USDA WASHDC
NSC WASHDC
INFO EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE
AMCONSUL FLORENCE
AMCONSUL MILAN
AMCONSUL NAPLES

UNCLAS SECTION 05 OF 05 ROME 002999

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

STATE FOR SCIENCE ADVISOR NEUREITER
EUR/ERA FOR HEN-NIL
EB FOR GADSEN
EB/TPP/ATT FOR PEREZ
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 02 ROME 02999 05 OF 05 191329Z
E FOR SHUB
OES A/S TURNER, PDAS ROCK
STATE PASS USTR FOR STROJE, NOVELLI
STATE PASS USDA FOR APHIS:SMCCAMMON
USDA/FAS:BLUM
USDA/FAS/ITT:EJONES
USDA/FAS/OA:SLUTSKY
USDA/OS/HEGWOOD
STATE PASS FDA FOR EFLAMM
EPA FOR OFFICE OF ADMINISTRATOR
NSC FOR EDSON, CLOUD

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAGR ETRD TSPL TBIO EAID ETRD TSPL TBIO EAID ETRD TSPL TBIO EAID ETRD TSPL TBIO EAID ETRD TSPL TBIO EAID IT ITEAGR ITEAGR ITEAGR ITEAGR
SUBJECT: GOOD AND BAD SCIENCE TAKE CENTER STAGE IN BIOTECH
DEBATE

OF BIOTECH OPPONENTS, AND IN THE LONG RUN ERODE THE POLITICAL
SUPPORT ALEMANNO AND HIS FOLLOWERS ENJOY NOT BY MERIT, BUT BY
THE ABSENCE OF A STRONG AND WIDELY DISTRIBUTED
COUNTER-MESSAGE.



20. (U) SCIENCE INTERN LEIGH SYLVAN CONTRIBUTED TO THE
DRAFTING OF THIS MESSAGE.
SEMBLER

UNCLASSIFIED

>
2002ROME02999 - Classification: UNCLASSIFIED