Bernard Marantelli works for the London-based PR company Lexington Communications, directed by Mike Craven, having been recruited as a consultant in February 2003. He has helped Lexington with its work for the the UK biotechnology-industry lobby group, the Agricultural Biotechnology Council (ABC), particularly during the UK's Public Debate on GM. The ABC was founded in 2002 by Monsanto along with Bayer CropScience, BASF, Dow Agrosciences, Dupont and Syngenta.
Prior to Lexington Marantelli worked on PR for Monsanto. Recruited in 1998, his first role was to coordinate 'scientific communication' for Monsanto's Government and Public Affairs office in London. In 2000 he was transferred to the Scientific Affairs team in Monsanto's European headquarters Brussels where his responsibilities are said to have included 'issues management' and 'scientific communication' for the Europe-Africa region.
His exact role during the crisis over GM-contaminated food aid in southern Africa is not known. In late October 2002, Monsanto's electronic newsletter, 'The Biotech Advantage,' carried the headline 'Academics Say Africans Going Hungry Because of Activist Scare Tactics.' The activists in question turned out to be the staff of a Catholic theological centre and a Zambian agricultural college. Their 'academic' attackers, by contrast, included AgBioWorld's founders, CS Prakash and Greg Conko, as well as AgBioWorld supporter Andrew Apel.
Around this time Friends of the Earth in the UK received an interrogative e-mail from one 'Max Russell-Bennett,' ostensibly a private citizen. The e-mail had an AgBioWorld press release attached which implied that thousands had died in the Indian state of Orissa as a result of resistance to GM food aid. It urged 'activists' not to make the same mistake in southern Africa. In reality, all the deaths in Orissa had been caused by a cyclone. A check on the IP address rof the 'Max Russell-Bennett' e-mail revealed that it had originated with Monsanto Belgium.
Curiously every letter in the name Bernard Marantelli can be found in 'Max Russell-Bennett' except for the final letter of the forename ('D') and surname ('I'). It would be unfair to suggest that this provides a clue to Max Russell-Bennett's real ID, but suspicion of those who work for Monsanto is inevitable in the light of the evidence that this is a company whose PR representatives engage in covert PR tactics.
- LobbyWatch Bernard Marantelli Accessed 7 Sep 2007