I remember visiting the ruins of Hadrian’s Wall in Northern England, and collecting a piece of stone from the wall to bring home with me as a souvenir. I had planned to mount it on a frame and attach a little plaque retracing the history behind the construction of Hadrian’s Wall. I reflected on the fact that this may be the most remembered achievement of the Roman emperor who came to power in ad 117. As many as 18,000 Roman soldiers manned this 80-mile-long barrier, built to keep the northern barbarians from invading the south.
Hadrian is remembered for building a physical wall to keep people out.
However, the European Commission (EC) has the singular dishonor of erecting artificial trade barriers in a cynical but misguided attempt to keep palm oil out of the EU! This is the self same EC that sanctimoniously hauled Microsoft to court for violating the EU’s competition laws. Now the EC stands accused of violating the very same competition laws in a vain effort to protect the EU’s own indigenous edible oilseed industries such as its rapeseed and sunflower oil industries, which are unable to compete on a level playing field with the hyper yielding palm oil!
The subterfuge and under the radar operations employed by the EC using green group surrogates and manufactured and false evidence against palm oil was designed to obfuscate and conceal the EC’s decision to take the low road on palm oil!
In 2005, the oddball Center for Science in the Public Interest published a “report” called “Cruel Oil: How palm oil harms health, rainforest and wildlife” in which they made wild and unsubstantiated claims against the palm oil industry.
The report was later exposed as having been prepared with the assistance of Aid Environment listed as partners with Hivos — a Netherlands based civil society group with direct links to campaigns in Indonesia. Hivos, in turn, is funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs for close to 70% of its annual 100m Euro budget.
More recently, an academic study by researchers Caroline Boin and Andrea Marchesetti entitled “Friends of the EU.”(Vide: http://www.policynetwork.net/accountability/publication/friends-eu) showed that the EU, through its environmental ministries and commissions is involved in funding up to 70% of the operating budgets of FOE EU which then engaged in heavy palm oil bashing!
If that was not bad enough, Italian civil libertarian group, Libertiamo blasted the whole shameful sham wide open when they published a study entitled “Taxpayer Funding, NGO Collusion and Manufactured Crises: A Case Study of Malaysia and Palm Oil.” In this study, Libertiamo points out that since 2005, the European Commission (EC) has provided nearly €5million (MYR 19.7 million) to the World Wildlife Fund and €4 million (MYR 15,8 million) to Friends of the Earth. Climate Action Network (CAN) also received nearly €1 million (MYR 3.9 million) in the past two years alone.
Worse, Libertiamo charges that the attacks are based on “manufactured and false evidence!”
More galling, the EC has recently unleashed their attack dogs on Africa just as African nations had embarked on large scale commercial cultivation of palm oil. Palm oil in fact originated from Africa and now that Africa, has woken up to the economic benefits of palm oil cultivation, the dirty fingerprints of the EC can be seen all over the Press releases by its green group surrogates such as Greenpeace and WWF against probably the most benign of edible oilseed crops, environmentally speaking!
It is interesting to note that Africa was left alone and unmolested so long as they had produced palm oil for domestic consumption and limited exports which the Africans had done for generations. However, the cyclonic castigation of palm oil that ensued in press statements designed to obfuscate and mislead global opinion against African palm oil, the moment it embarked on developing export capacity is indeed revealing! THE END