This site deals only with the corporate corruption of science, and makes no inference about the motives or activities of individuals involved.
There are many reasons why individuals become embroiled in corporate corruption activities - from political zealotry to over-enthusiastic activism; from gullibility to greed.
Please read the OVERVIEW carefully, and make up your own mind.
Helen M Garnett
— An Australian researcher who worked briefly with the ARIA/IAI group —
Helen Garnett was a professor in the Department of Biology at the University of Wollongong in Australia, and somewhat of an expert in microbial pollution. She was used by the IAI/ARIA group working for Philip Morris in a number of Asian workshops to promote the problems of Legionella and other organisms in air-conditioning systems.
Helen Garnett's value to the tobacco industry lay in the fact that she promoted the dangers of air-conditioning problems other than tobacco smoke. By focussing on the dangers of Legionella and other micro-organisms, she raised the question of 'sick building syndrome' being soemthing distinct from cigarette smoking — a problem of maintenance of the building mechanisms.
This allowed the tobacco industry to convince legislators that the source of the problem [which was people smoking at work in closed air-conditioned offices] was only a secondary issue. She would have supported the tobacco industry propaganda without any need for distortion or disinformation — merely by lending her name and status to the tobacco industry disinformation projects by appearing on their speaker's platform along with other more-established, tame tobacco scientists
So it is diffucult to make any judgement about the involvement of Helen Garnett in these tobacco industry scams. She briefly became one of a small group of WhiteCoat-trainers and tobacco-industry lawyers/scientists who were operating disinformation campaigns in South East Asia. But there is no evidence that she was ever knowingly recruited by the tobacco companies, or treated by them as a 'consultant' — other than being included in their speaker's list where she made a standard speech about the dangers of microorganisms in air-conditioning systems.
It is notable that, in the organisation of these conferences and symposia, she was not included as a member of the Panel Discussion group which almost always comprised a carefully selected group of tame tobacco scientists.
In some of these symposia, every speaker (with the exception of Garnett) can be identified now as a well-known tame tobacco scientist:
Garnett could hardly have remained entirely ignorant, however. She was clearly involved in discussion sessions where the activities of the tobacco-front organisation, ARIA, APAIAQ and IAI were discussed. And on numerous occasions she would have been mixing socially with George Leslie and John Rupp and David Billings (Covington & Burling) who organised these astroturfs and fronts for the tobacco industry.
- long-term external consultants like Philip Witorsch, Linda Koo, Sarah Liao, George Leslie, and Professor Roger Perry
- full-time employed tobacco scientist like Chris Proctor
- full-time contracted lawyers like John Rupp and David Billings
- or recruited academic 'Whitecoats' like He, Reverente, Somera, Roc, Wongphanich, etc.
However, in the absence of any indications to the contrary, one should perhaps give her the benefit of the doubt and just assume that she was only gullible, self-centered, or perhaps over-eager to enjoy some minor celebrity status on an Asian scientific speaker's circuit.
Prof. Helen M. Garnett serves as Independent Non-Executive Director of Energy Resources Of Australia Limited since January 2005. From October 2003 to 31 December 2008, Professor Garnett was Vice Chancellor of Charles Darwin University in the Northern Territory.
Between 1994 and 2003, Professor Garnett served as the Executive Director of the Australian Nuclear Science & Technology Organisation (ANSTO) and as an Australian representative to the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency.
Professor Garnett is an Emeritus Professor of the University of Wollongong and of Charles Darwin University, a Fellow of the Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering and a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
Professor Garnett is currently Director of the Australian Centre for Plan Functional Genomics, Director of the Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation and Director of the Museum and Art Gallery, NT Foundation. She chairs the Australian Biosecurity Intelligence Network.
Some key documents
1979: Helen M. Garnett is at the Department of Botany and Microbiology, University of Witwatersrand, Jan Smuts Avenue, Johannesburg, South Africa
1990 April 24: -26 Brochure for Philip Morris closed Lisbon Conference IAQ in Warm Climates says that she is the first speaker on Day 1: "Legionella: An Unwelcome Pollutant" [They appear to be using her to
1990 Oct 19: British American Tobacco draft participants and speaker's list for a "Meeting of New South East Asian Consultants in Manila" At this time John Rupp and George Leslie have been recruiting WhiteCoats (surreptitious) scientists throughout Asia to provide 'independent' evidence for the tobacco industry during national legislative inquiries into the possible health effects of passive smoking.
This is now their second wave of recruits. Established WhiteCoats are included in some of these sessions
Participants and Speakers
- Dr I Fihir, Jakarta
- Dr Lee Siew Eang — Singapore
- Dr Lim Heng Juat — Kuala Lumpar
- Dr Wen-chen Victor Liu — Taipei
- Dr Quah Lee Kiang — Singapore
- Luis Ferrer (Chair)
- Helen Garnett — Legionella
- Linda Koo — The epidemiology of lung cancer in Chinese women
- George Leslie — [1.] Prioritisation of health hazards from indoor air pollutants [2.] ARIA, APAIAQ & IAI. History, activities, etc
- Roger Perry — [1.] Indoor Air: analytical considerations [2.] Air Monitoring Project in Hong Kong [3.] Road traffic exhaust as an indoor air pollutant
- Ben Reverente — [Not specified]
- Camilo Roa — Atopic Respiratory Disease
- Lina Somera — [Not Specified]
- David Billings, John Rupp
1990 Oct 20: Conference "Indoor Air Quality: Architectural and Medical Concerns" sponsored by the Philippine College of Occuptional Medicine and United Architects of the Philippines.
- Quah Lee Kiang — (Singapore) ARIA and IAI
- Helen M Garnett — (Australia)
- Roger Perry — (UK) ARIA, Whitecoat recruiter
- George B Leslie — (UK) ARIA, Whitecoat recruiter
- Camilo C Roa Jr — (Philippines) Whitecoat
- Lina C Somera — (Philippines) Whitecoat
- Benito R Reverente Jr — (Philippines) Whitecoat recruiter and consultant
- Luis M Ferrer — (Philippines) Architect/Whitecoat
1990 Oct 20: Press Release put out after SE Asian conference "Indoor Air Quality: Architectural and Medical Concerns".
A major international seminar on Indoor Air Quality — Architectural and Medical concerns was held today at the Manila Pavilion. The seminar was chaired by Dr. Pedro de Guzman, President of the Philippine College of Occupational Medicine, and was attended by an array of local as well as international experts on indoor air quality issues.
Professor Helen Garnett of Australia described the role of microbiological agents,' including the organisms leading to outbreaks of Legionnaires's disease, in the indoor air pollution mix. Like several other speakers, Professor Garnett called for attention to building hygiene as a partial but nonetheless important key to improving the health of building occupants in industrial as well as office setting.
1991 Mar 25: Far East ETS Consultancy Program. This is now being handled by Sharon Boyse the head of the Issues Department of British-American Tobacco. Helen Garnett is on the speaker's list along with "the usual suspects" Roger Perry, George Leslie, etc.etc. She is now obviously seen as 'part of the team'.
1991 June 28: 2nd International Symposium on Environmental Health held at the Hyatt Hotel Seoul, Korea Sponsored by Hayang University and the Korea Ministry of Environment, but under the control of Institute of Environmental & Industrial Medicine.
The speakers include
- Philip Witorsch — USA (IAPAG) - a life-long tame tobacco scientist.
- Helen Garnett — Professor, Department of Biology, Uni of Wollongong, Sydney
- Sarah Liao — EHS Consultants Hong Kong, [She was a consultant, Whitecoat recruiter, and provided laundry service for Linda Koo]
- Christoper Proctor — listed here as Professor, School of Pharmacology, Georgetown University Medical Center — [but actually a tobacco chemist working for BAT and Covington & Burling]
- Lee Kiang Quah, Professor School of Building and Estate Management, National Uni of Singapore [Architect and Whitecoat]
- Jung Koo Roh, Dir Toxicology Research Center KRICT [Whitecoat at the Korean Research Institute for Cancer and Toxicology]
- Roger Perry, Imperial College —ARIA and chief Whitecoat recruiter.
1991 Nov 28: -29 She is invited guest speaker at the IAI's International Symposium on Indoor Air Quality in Asia at the Central Plaza Hotel, Bangkok. The organising committee consists of George Leslie, Sara Liao and four of the Asian WhiteCoats.
The co-sponsor organisation was the Asian Association of Occupational Health, which, while probably innocently involved itself, had as successive presidents two tobacco industry WhiteCoats, BR Reverente (Philippines) and Malineee Wongphanich (Thailand).
1995: to the present Dr. Helen M. Garnett. Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO).
2006 Jan: Vice Chancellor of Charles Darwin University in the Northern Territories.
2009 Aug 8: Professor Helen Garnett is Vice-Chancellor of Charles Darwin University. In her previous position, Professor Garnett was Executive Director of the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO).
Professor Garnett has a national and international reputation for her contribution to the life sciences and the peaceful development and application of nuclear technologies. She is a former Australian representative to the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency and the National Health and Medical Research Council.