Climate change - Making big polluters pay / Overpopulation 11:51 Dec 07 11 comments
Mayo needs to wake up to Fracking 23:37 Aug 25 0 comments
Monsanto Roundup Linked to Global Boom in Celiac Disease and Gluten Intolerance 16:00 Mar 28 3 comments
Galway Bay salmon farm halted as EU concerned by ‘Fundamental errors’ in scientific data 00:08 Dec 01 0 commentsmore >>
Joined up thinking for the Irish Left
Grexit or Compromise: Which Way for the Greek Left? Wed Feb 25, 2015 00:08 | Christos Kefalis
How the Austerity Con Works Tue Feb 24, 2015 21:26 | Michael Burke
Greek Reforms Submission as Presented to the President of the Eurogroup Today Tue Feb 24, 2015 11:32 | Irish Left Review
Grassroots Strategy Weekend Tue Feb 17, 2015 21:56 | Irish Left Review
The Politics of Breathing Space ? or Why the Irish Government Can?t Let Syriza ?... Tue Feb 17, 2015 15:18 | Michael Taft
Spain is not Greece, or is it? Electoral prospects for the left in 2015. Thu Feb 05, 2015 19:00 | modulus
SYRIZA and Memnosyne Sat Jan 24, 2015 09:09 | Jerome Nikolai Warren
Why the Workersâ€™ Party Wed Jan 21, 2015 20:08 | Gavin Mendel-Gleason
â€śItâ€™s boring but necessaryâ€ť: An Interview with Jos Alembic (aka â€śQâ€ť) o... Mon Jan 05, 2015 18:44 | Jerome Nikolai Warren
Is Class Real? Some Empirical Contributions from Econophysics Tue Oct 28, 2014 18:40 | Gavin Mendel-Gleason
Life should be full of strangeness, like a rich painting
THE WRATH OF KANE: BANKING CRISES AND POLITICAL POWER 09:32 Fri Jan 30, 2015
ALWAYS THE ARTISTS: WEEK THREE OF THE BANK INQUIRY 23:11 Thu Jan 22, 2015
FIANNA FÁIL AND THE BANK INQUIRY : SOME INITIAL OBSERVATIONS 21:04 Mon Jan 12, 2015
PETER NYBERG BANK INQUIRY EVIDENCE, 17 DECEMBER 2014 18:05 Sun Dec 28, 2014
For Some Vicious Mole of Nature: Making Sense of The Irish Bank Crisis 21:07 Fri Dec 26, 2014
Farewell from NWL Sun May 19, 2013 14:00 | namawinelake
Happy 70th Birthday, Michael Sun May 19, 2013 14:00 | namawinelake
Of the Week? Sat May 18, 2013 00:02 | namawinelake
Noonan denies IBRC legal fees loan approval to Paddy McKillen was in breach of E... Fri May 17, 2013 14:23 | namawinelake
Gayle Killilea Dunne asks to be added as notice party in Sean Dunne?s bankruptcy Fri May 17, 2013 12:30 | namawinelake
Press Release: Criminalisation of non-violent Belgian anti-GM activists.
Dendermonde, 12th February 2013. Today the court of Dendermonde convicted 11 activists of 'gang formation'. In doing so, the judge has criminalised their participation in the non violent direct action and debate on May 29th, 2011, which brought attention to the need for a sustainable agriculture system.
Dendermonde, 12th February 2013. Today the court of Dendermonde convicted 11 activists of gang formation. In doing so, the judge has criminalised their participation in the non violent direct action and debate on May 29th, 2011, which brought attention to the need for a sustainable agriculture system.
This is an extremely dangerous precedent which will have an impact on all kinds of civil action. With this verdict, the Belgian court has fundamentally undermined the right of citizens to freedom of speech. For example, one of the participants has been given a six month custodial sentence for talking to the press.
After it became known that the anti-GM activists were to be charged with forming a criminal gang, a large number of people from the environmental and agricultural sectors, academics and politicians rallied behind the defendants and put themselves forward to join them in the dock as voluntary defendants. A number of organisations ranging from trade unions to farmers’ organisations, and including Oxfam and Greenpeace, expressed their solidarity with the charged activists. Today’s ruling will further strengthen this solidarity.
“This is absurd,” said Tjerk Dalhuisen, a Dutch defendant. “If the Belgian justice system thinks that this is the way to keep us quiet, then they’re wrong. We shall continue in our struggle for sustainable agriculture without genetic manipulation and without pesticides. We do not want to be guinea pigs in industries’ experiments and we will continue to make our voices heard.”
They wanted to challenge the governments’ agricultural policy which allows unwanted GM in food and agriculture, while health and environmental impacts have yet to be sufficiently tested. By taking this action they were also taking a stand against the increasing privatisation of food production, including the patenting of crops.
Groups have been calling for a democratic debate about the introduction of genetically modified crops for years. Environmental and agricultural organisations including Friends of the Earth, Landwijzer, Greenpeace and the organic Bioforum have been campaigning constantly for sustainable agriculture and emphasising that GMO’s cannot be a part of this. They objected to the potato field trial which they described as unwanted and useless. Above all, they highlighted the environmental risks involved in such an experiment. Three experts from the Biotechnology Safety Council gave negative advice regarding the potato trial. They emphasised the environmental risks linked to the trial and pointed out that it was scientifically ungrounded. In August 2012 a judge in Ghent ruled that the GM field trial itself was actually illegal because there was no justification for the fact that the ministers in charge did not allow for objections or for minority positions on the Biotechnology Safety Council to be considered.
The action took place after all these other attempts from people to express their views had been systematically swept aside. The structural problems in agriculture, and the consequences of the use of genetically modified organisms have still not been openly discussed in Flanders, and public debate about the issue is systematically avoided.
The group of activists had prepared a thorough defence. This was based on calling up expert witnesses, video testimonies from scientists, and video footage from the action in order to prove that 1) the action was covered by the principle of freedom of expression, and 2) that action was necessary in order to protect the precautionary principle. The action in Wetteren was carried out to protect the environment, public health and small-scale farming.
Without any further discussion, the judges refused to hear these testimonies or to view the video footage. The testimonies, however, were crucial to emphasise the political nature of the action. The judges therefore denied the defendants their legal right to an appropriate defence, as well as the opportunity to question the use of genetically modified organisms in agriculture. They also refused to allow the 91 voluntary defendants to be included into the proceedings. The presence of so many voluntary defendants demonstrates that a large number of people do not accept that action for sustainable agriculture has been criminalised.
The message to the politicians, the media, academia and the judiciary is clear: we, and many people with us, will continue to struggle for a fair, sustainable, GMO-free agriculture, and this movement continues to grow.