Adhil Patel | 21.10.2005 08:58 | Analysis
The IPN is the bastard child of the Institute of Economic Affairs, a rightwing think-tank established in 1955. The IEA itself has published some peculiar reports including one calling for money to be "denationalised". But the IEA's rightwing agenda is at least able to claim some independence. The IEA says it limits any corporation's funding to 2 percent of its turnover and does not accept money tied to research areas. The International Policy Network's executive director Dr Julian Morris previously worked at the IEA but he has inherited none of his former employer's ethics.
The IPN is shameless: its activities directly correlate to the size of the cheque. Its main funders, Pfizer, Microsoft, ExxonMobil and Monsanto, get exactly what they pay for: their positions supported "independently" by IPN research. Pfizer gets reports defending its position on intellectual property and drug reimportation, Microsoft gets rabbid anti-Linux advocacy, Exxon gets global warming denial and Monsanto gets defences of gene patents and an anti-organic campaign.
In February 2005 the IPN was attacked in the House of Commons for the ulterior movtives of its work. The relationship between funding and output is so blatant that most journalists steer clear of the IPN's "research". But each year the IPN chooses a selection of journalists it wants to get coverage from and woos them financially. Corporate hospitality is one thing, but the IPN leaves nothing to chance, handing individual journalists up to $10,000 in rewards for articles promoting the IPN line.
One fake NGO the IPN has created is the "Campaign for Fighting Diseases". It shares the same offices and staff as the IPN. Funded entirely by drug companies, the positions it takes are indistinguishable from those eminating from Pfizer's PR department.
Another fake NGO is the "Sustainable Development Network", nominally run by Kendra Okonski, a prolific anti-environmentalist, and again operating out of the same premises. The SDN has argued the global warming is not happening and says we should not eat organic food.
The network's executive director is no less fake than his think tank: he allows himself to be described in conference programmes and alongside his articles as "Dr Julian Morris", despite never being awarded a PhD.