When Vested Interests Meet the Pharmaceutical Lobby and Anti-religious Lobby
Georges Fenech, head of the Miviludes, stated when issuing the 2010 report of his Mission: “Anything natural is suspect as a front for cult abuses”. This strange orientation may be easier to understand if one knows that Fenech is also one of the founding members of Momagri, a pro-GMO (genetically modified organisms) lobby involving major companies in the food processing industry and the pharmaceutical industry (Limagrain, Pierre Fabre and others).
The head of the Miviludes is also president of the Echanges Franco-Tunisiens Association [French-Tunisian Exchanges]. Far from using this position to make every effort to introduce more democracy in the country, Fenech constantly advocated for the authoritarian regime of former President Ben Ali, ignoring the repeated violations of human rights in this country. On January 17, 2011, on LCP TV, he admitted that “we were late to condemn Ben Ali’s ferocious repression”.
Fenech has been a close ally of the regime. The EFT association was established by Hosni Djemmali, a French-Tunisian businessman and media tycoon, regarded as Ben Ali’s media spokesperson in France. Djemmali is a close friend of Fenech, who has frequently been invited, along with his wife and other VIPs, to the Tunisian hotels owned by Djemmali, for meetings to help French companies expand their investments in Tunisia.
Fenech used these opportunities to praise the regime concerning Tunisia’s pharmaceutical industry. In April 2009, during the gala dinner of the Echanges Franco-Tunisiens Association, on the topic of health, Georges Fenech allegedly applauded Tunisia: “Well, fine, I will not tell you that everything is perfect. But nonetheless, regarding health and new technologies like bio-medical, it works”. (Bakchich, May 4, 2009)
As early as May 2003, he reportedly promoted Tunisia to encourage the establishment of the pharmaceutical industry. In an interview with journalist Patricia de Sauzéa, he said: “Tunisians are asking for cooperation with France in many branches. For example, the city of Monastir, which owns a scientific university, would like the establishment of French pharmaceutical firms to answer the national needs.” His friend, Pierre Fabre, another co-founder of the Momagri, understood it well, and became associated as early as 2005 with the Société des Industries Pharmaceutiques de Tunisie (SIPHAT) [Society of Pharmaceutical Industries of Tunisia]. Fabre became head of the first pharmaceutical industry in the country, and now holds 65 percent of SIPHAT’s shares.
In January 2007, Georges Fenech was the one who lobbied in the National Assembly, in front of the Commission for Laws, for amendment 139 regarding obligatory vaccines, against the position of the Commission’s president and against the position of the government: “Vaccinations are mandatory, but, depending on the vaccination, penalties are not the same. We propose to strike with the same penalties any refusal to vaccinate, this is to say six months imprisonment and a fine of 3,750 euros.” But if Georges Fenech, great scourge of so-called cults, seems to have strange connections with the hegemonic will of the pharmaceutical industry, he is not the only one.