International Biographical Centre
How much would you be willing to pay for the title of ’International Professional of the Year’?
Well as people in Perth have been finding out via letter, the going rate is
US$325 – about AU$358 – through a UK-based organisation called the International Biographical Centre.
It’s owned by the publisher Melrose Press Ltd and to add credibility to their mail offer the people they have been targeting include WA professionals who have been awarded Membership to the Order of Australia (AM).
The material promoting the International Biographical Centre creates a false impression about the credentials of the organisation. It also wrongly implies that the receiver of the letter has been picked through a special research process considering their work and qualifications.
Descriptions of certificates, medals and sashes on offer are embellished to justify the cost of US$325 per item, with a price reduction for a package deal.
A publication, only available to those who pay to be in it, is similar to other directory schemes. Internet blog site users describe them as “phone books with fake leather covers” and a “Who’s Who of gullible people”.
WA ScamNet would advise people to consider carefully how much they are willing to pay for an ego boost which isn’t necessarily worth the paper it is written on.
Anti-GM speaker draws fire
09 Mar, 2012 04:21 PM
AN international speaker on Genetically Modified (GM) food safety – visiting Australia as a guest of Greenpeace and other anti-biotechnology
campaigners – has been criticised for promoting misleading scientific credentials.
Professor Gilles-Eric Seralini was in Australia from February 27 to March 4, lecturing on the health risks of GM foods and pesticides.
He visited Sydney, Canberra, Adelaide, Perth and Margaret River on the tour co-ordinated and promoted by anti-GM groups – the Network of
Concerned Farmers, MADGE, GM Crop Watch, FOODwatch, Organic Federation of Australia, the GM-Free Australia Alliance, Gene Ethics and Greenpeace.
Professor Seralini’s tour bio described him as an independent scientist from the University of Caen in France who has been an “expert adviser” for the French Government and European Union on GM foods, conducting research into the health effects of eating GM foods for the past decade.
He has also been President of the Scientific Board for the Committee for Research and Independent Information on Genetic Engineering (CRIIGEN) since 1999.
But industry sources raised concerns with Rural Press that the CRIIGEN’s website credits the Professor with being recently named the "International Scientist of the year 2011" in a bogus certificate awarded by the International Biographical Centre of Cambridge, England.
They also pointed to the WA Department of Commerce’s ScamNet website which contains a bulletin warning consumers about false claims made through certificates purchased from the International Biographical Centre, which has nothing to do with Cambridge University.
“How much would you be willing to pay for the title of ’International Professional of the Year’?” the ScamNet website warns.
“Well as people in Perth have been finding out via letter, the going rate is US$325 – about AU$358 – through a UK-based organisation called the International Biographical Centre.
“The material promoting the International Biographical Centre creates a false impression about the credentials of the organisation.
“WA ScamNet would advise people to consider carefully how much they are willing to pay for an ego boost which isn’t necessarily worth the paper it is written on.”
Director of the WA Agricultural Biotechnology Centre at Murdoch University in Perth, Professor Mike Jones said the CRIIGEN website “proudly” displayed Professor Seralini’s certificate, despite the State government’s consumer protection warning.
“You really have to wonder about his scientific credentials if he can be fooled by this scam but perhaps someone else nominated him,” he said.
“So my advice to any of you hearing Gilles-Eric Seralini is don’t be fooled by his anti-GM polemics.
“If he can be fooled by an honorary degree scam – that is not what it appears to be – what does that say about his science?
“If it was me I’d have the certificate taken down immediately but it’s still up there and I’m sure that it’s not peer reviewed.”
Professor Jones said he attended the visiting French Professor’s anti-GM talk at Murdoch University last Friday and distributed flyers warning those in attendance to be wary of the speaker’s assertions.
Professor Jones said the Professor’s talk was “not designed for scientists” and had been organised by the University’s School of Media
Communication and Culture.
Dr Felicity Newman from Murdoch University’s School of Media Communication and Culture said the forum successfully engaged rigorous open debate on a red button issue of public importance.
Dr Newman said she helped organise the event’s staging at Murdoch University for Greenpeace and other anti-GM groups, following an approach from the office of WA Greens MLC Lyn MacLaren.
She said the university hosted the event for free and was not paid by any other groups.
Dr Newman said both sides of the GM debate put forward strong points of view, with plenty of time left over for questioning following the
She said there was strong opposition to the Professor’s talk – with some opponents believing it should not take place – but those detractors had an opportunity to air their concerns during questioning.
Dr Newman said a “lively debate” took place and the university’s researchers had an opportunity to hear opposing points of view on the GM issue.
“I’m not a scientist but was very happy to see the issues being played out on the day and providing food for thought,” she said.
Dr Newman said the majority of the 60 attendees were largely provided by the anti-GM lobby and about 10 pro-GM audience members made their points of view known during robust debate.
She said Professor Jones succeeded in throwing doubt onto some of the points made during the talk.
But the French Professor also conveyed a strong message regarding the relatively short time-frame for testing and scientific discovery for GM foods, compared to the regulatory approval processes required for drugs.
A Greenpeace spokesperson said every venue at which Professor Seralini spoke was full to capacity, with between 70 and 150 people at each lecture.
However the Professor was unavailable for comment to Rural Press, having cancelled the final speaking engagement of his tour scheduled in Perth Sunday night due to poor health and was flying out of the country.
The Greenpeace spokesperson said Professor Seralini's central message was that “GM crops are essentially pesticide crops”.
“People were generally shocked to hear the results of Professor Seralini's peer reviewed scientific studies,” she said.
“At the end of lectures, people asked how they could act to change food labelling and food safety assessment legislation for GM foods in Australia.”
Rural Press contacted CRIIGEN regarding its promotion of the Professor’s certificate from the International Biographical Centre but did not respond by deadline.