Robert Vint's response(s) to Andrew Apel's claim on the Prakash list that GM critics are somehow implicated in the kind of terrorism that has recently affected America and that they have blood on their hands
Dear Mr Apel,
As is evident from my last message I unreservedly condemn crimes against humanity such as the attacks on New York (and, since you mention it, my own government's indefensible attack on the civilians of Dresden). I do not condemn the destruction of property in self-defence when the democratic process has failed - US citizens used force to get independence from Britain, Martin Luther King used civil disobedience to obtain rights for African Americans, Gandhi burned UK textiles in his struggle against the British Empire and the farmers of Asia are using Gandhi's methods to resist American economic colonialism and corporate domination by burning GM crops.
The protests against economic globalisation are by citizens organisations in both the richest and poorest nations that have been shut out of secret negotiations between western governments and corporations. I support peaceful methods for preventing these meetings from taking place until they are run in a democratic manner - and am encouraged by the belated recognition of this democratic deficit by some western governments. I condemn the tiny minority of protesters who use violence at these protests (and note that many of them seem to be either neo-nazi infiltrators or plainclothes police) - it is unjustified, counterproductive and undermines efforts by peaceful protestors to get their message heard.
What I find sickening in your original article is the equation of the mass murder in New York with the reasonable actions of some of the world's poorest farmers in defence of their livelihoods. That accusation is unforgivable and deserves an apology.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Wednesday, September 19, 2001 12:46 AM
Subject: Re: The Face of Terrorism
Dear Mr. Vint,
The growth of the global economy poses many challenges, and as you well know, any change has its opponents. Regardless, we must throughout guide ourselves with a moral compass that points to human welfare. History has chronicled the results of believing that there are ideals which supersede human happiness, or misery; and the proponents of such misguided ideals are justly vilified.
I do not believe you would applaud an attack on your person or your home as an acceptable form of expression, any more than you can find in my remarks some preference for McCarthyism. In an open culture, credible debate is more than welcome, it is part of cultural growth.
Mr. Vint, I ask you to join me in condemning the terrorism perpetrated with airplanes on New York and Washington. I invite you to join me in condemning the attacks of ELF and Masipag and Confederacion Paysanne and others on experimental crops and research facilities. I ask you to join me in condemning the thugs who inflicted immeasurable damage on the peaceful cities of Genoa, Gothenburg, Prague, Seattle and Quebec.
Finally, Mr. Vint, I invite you to join me in condemning all violence and destruction that masquerades as being part of a "public debate." On the other hand, perhaps you prefer to consider the firebombing of Dresden to have been an "artistic statement."
Robert Vint wrote:
TO: Andrew Apel, Editor - AgBioView Dear Mr Apel, I rather expected the far right and America's corporate lobbyists to tastelessly exploit the appalling crime in New York for their own ends (see your letter below) and to use it to advocate a return to McCarthyism. So is anyone who questions the right of the US Government to dominate the economies of foreign nations and its right to punish nations that refuse to buy its products now going to be labelled a terrorist? Are the farmers in India, Mexico, Indonesia, the Philippines and Brazil, who struggle to protect their rural economies from corporate control and GM crops, now to be equated with people like Mr bin Laden? Are the consumers in Sri Lanka, whose wish for a ban on GM foods was overturned by foreign corporate threats, to be seen as enemies of America? Are the African nations that have agreed laws to ban GM crops designed with 'hostile intent' to be labelled as murderers? And are all American citizens who campaign for global democracy and the sovereignty of elected governments now going to be accused of treason? Most American citizens are amazed by (or still unaware of) the massive unpopularity of their government in developing nations that has resulted from decades of its bullying, arrogant and exploitative foreign policies. This unpopularity makes it possible for extremist groups to flourish in the Middle East and elsewhere. Your own statements perfectly exemplify the kind of blind arrogance that provoked the insanely brutal response of the suicide bombers. Mr Apel, it is time for you and your cronies to repent. Robert Vint.
Subject: The Face of Terrorism
With the recent attacks on workers in the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, attacks perpetrated by those who put political ideology above human life, we have an opportunity to re-evaluate the politics of Greenpeace (which has openly declared human welfare to be at the bottom of its agenda), and similar groups which advocate destruction and its attendant misery as a means of advancing their purposes. Those who destroy for political purposes are not unknown to this group.
Some strike at "globalization" by destroying opportunities for those in developing countries to feed themselves; others strike at "globalization" by destroying research which could improve relationships between agriculture and the environment, others strike at "globalization" by killing innocents in more direct ways. With the plane-bombs, we can see all of these groups for what they are. Groups politically committed to destructive politically-motivated action rather than intelligent dialogue.
The activists who spit upon and hurled rocks and offal at those scientists in New Zealand who joined with the Royal Commission in advocating a peaceful coexistence between different forms of agriculture, must now be viewed in a different light - the activists must now be viewed as cultural vandals, who carelessly leave death and poverty in their wake.
Perhaps after the crudescence of terrorism in New York and Washington, the world will wake up to the politically-motivated destruction advocated by Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, Earth Liberation Front, Masipag, the Confederation Paysanne, the Genoa Social Front and others, and see that this is wrong. Seattle, Washington, Prague, Quebec, Genoa, are all part of the same wrong.
And this is wrong. Vandana Shiva has blood on her hands, so does Mae-Wan Ho. So do others of their ilk.
I recommend these folks lay low, very low, until political terrorism becomes fashionable again.