IBD: Russia Meddles In Our Science

The esteemed Investor’s Business Daily ran a fascinating two-part commentary this week on how Russia is subverting  American science, particularly concerning genetic engineering. The U.S. has been at the forefront of developing GMO foods, while at the same time Russia has banned GMOs and seeks to limit U.S. advantage by engaging in anti-GMO propaganda.

Whatever you think about the organic vs. GMO debate in the U.S., it’s wrong that Russia is exerting so much foreign interference.

As Stanford molecular biologist Henry Miller writes in IBD:

Genetic engineering in agriculture is a sector that holds intense interest for the Russians. Harkening back to the Lysenkoism catastrophe for agriculture in the Soviet Union, their expertise and current R&D in that area are virtually nil, and there is a ban on genetically engineered organisms from abroad entering the country, so they’ve adopted a strategy of trying to stymie its development elsewhere.

As Dr. Alex Berezow of the American Council on Science and Health pointed out: “RT has never been fond of GMOs (genetically modified organisms), which are largely the result of American innovation. In a 2015 article, RT reported on Russia’s decision to ban GMO food production in Russia. Tellingly, one of the protesters shown in the report is holding a sign that reads, ‘Goodbye America!’ The anti-GMO stance is not based on science or health concerns; instead, it’s based entirely on hurting U.S. agricultural companies.”

A Russia-centered group concocted the bizarre FactorGMO scam, which billed itself at its 2014 launch as “the world’s largest international study on GMO safety,” as though that issue was still in doubt.  The $25 million project has vanished into thin air.  And RT has just released (May 23) a “documentary” film, “The Peril on Your Plate,” a propagandistic screed that presents yet again all the anti-genetic engineering memes and fake news.

None of this is surprising.  As one of my colleagues, a prominent Russia expert, observed, “Whatever stirs up trouble in the U.S., Russia is ready to help make it worse.”

Read Part I … 

Read Part II…

Washington Examiner: Russian-funded environmental group gave millions to anti-fracking groups

So far, no hard evidence has emerged that says Donald Trump knowingly colluded with Russia during the 2016 campaign.

But there is plenty of evidence in the form of a tangible money trail that links Vladimir Putin’s Russian government with U.S. environmental groups. In fact, the source of this funding has been subject of two congressional committee inquiries. Most recently, Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, who chairs the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, released a report in March that explores Russia’s motives for disrupting America’s energy sector.

“Russia benefits from stirring up controversy about U.S. energy production,” Smith said in a press release. “U.S. energy exports to European countries are increasing, which means they will have less reason to rely upon Russia for their energy needs. This, in turn, will reduce Russia’s influence on Europe to Russia’s detriment and Europe’s benefit. That’s why Russian agents attempted to manipulate Americans’ opinions about pipelines, fossil fuels, fracking and climate change. The American people deserve to know if what they see on social media is the creation of a foreign power seeking to undermine our domestic energy policy.”

Read more…

New York Times: Cyberattack Shows Vulnerability of Gas Pipeline Network

By Clifford Krauss

HOUSTON — A cyberattack on a shared data network forced four of the nation’s natural-gas pipeline operators to temporarily shut down computer communications with their customers over the last week.

No gas service was interrupted, the companies said, and the interruption of customer transactions was merely a precaution. It was unclear whether any customer data was stolen.

The attack highlighted the potential vulnerability of the nation’s energy system, cyberexperts say. Beyond consumer and business data — energy companies possess much proprietary information about their holdings, trading strategies and exploration and production technologies — the increasing dependence of pipeline infrastructure on digital systems makes them a particularly ripe target. Control valves, pressure monitors and other equipment connected to wireless networks are vital to daily functions of everything from refineries to oil wells.

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Lancaster Online: Pa. natural gas boom falls in Russia’s crosshairs as gas-rich nation amplifies discord in American politics, energy sector

June 6, 2018
By Mike Wereschagin

When President Barack Obama won his first term, Russia was the world’s leading natural gas producer. Then along came Pennsylvania. During Obama’s first year in office, as the global economy struggled to pull itself out of the Great Recession, U.S. natural gas production edged ahead of Russia’s, and it hasn’t relinquished the lead.

The Marcellus Shale boom drove America’s natural gas production increase, and Pennsylvania drove the Marcellus boom, according to U.S. Energy Information Agency data.

That’s made Pennsylvania a battleground in the same propaganda war Russia waged to influence the 2016 presidential election. Russia depends on its natural gas exports to Europe for cash and clout and has tried to preserve its dominance of that market by sowing discord in U.S. and European environmental debates, according to two congressional committees and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

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