The Hague will not be trying Monsanto for ecocide
Meetings that will occur in the Netherlands are purported to be some kind of trial. Richard takes a closer look in his latest addition to the blog.
Are you interested in writing about a science related topic? Then check out our information on becoming a guest writer.
Facebook is trending with the idea that Monsanto will be facing a trial in The Hague. That is a clever bit of misdirection. The reality is much more mundane. In October a foundation will be holding meetings in a western Netherlands city.
How did this bit of deception come about?
Marie-Monique Robin sponsored a foundation. The foundation is named “The Monsanto Tribunal Foundation”. Now this foundation could be based anywhere, say Berlin. But in an inspired bit of misdirection they chose The Hague as their city. Presto Chango: Tribunal to try Monsanto for ecocide in The Hague. Even a cursory review shows this is just your garden variety meeting. Arnaud Apoteker will be the moderator with a variety of speakers like Ronnie Cummins of the Organic Consumers Association and Dr. Vandana Shiva.
There is no attempt to be objective. No prosecution, no defense, and so far they have not tried to even bring the trappings of a mock trial to bear. A look at the organizations and folks sponsoring these meeting reads like a whos who of organic and anti-agricultural biotechnology special interests. As you might imagine Monsanto was not amused.
The supporters of the anti-agricultural biotechnology movement shouldn’t be amused either. Thought-leaders in the movement are tricking folks into thinking that this “tribunal” holds some kind of official weight. It would be one thing if they were out in the open, letting everyone see behind the curtain that this is really just a gathering of like minded folks coming together to bash a corporation they loath. That would be fine. But to apply the veneer of a trial at The Hague to the proceedings is as clever as it is disingenuous.
Personally if a movement I supported seemed to be tricking me, I’d have to reevaluate my support of that movement. When talking scientific issues, it is ethically dubious to attempt to deceive your opponents, but to deceive your supporters is unconscionable. It would appear that the sponsors of this “tribunal” would like their supporters to spread this misinformation far and wide in an attempt to inflame public opinion against Monsanto. That truly abuses the trust of the people who believe in your cause.
But then again I suppose it supports their agenda for when they come out with their condemnation of Monsanto as their meeting concludes on World Food Day (nice bit of theater there). That will be a juicy but meaningless headline: International Tribunal at The Hague finds Monsanto Guilty of Ecocide. If you lay the deceptive groundwork, that false headline will trend far and wide come October. I would be quite angry to be so used.
It was brought to my attention that I neglected to address the funding aspects. Taken from the crowdfunding section of the tribunal’s website:
“The Steering Committee of the Monsanto Tribunal decided that the costs incurred in the organisation and running of the Tribunal should be financed by the citizens of the world and by civil society organizations…”
To recap, they have used subterfuge to make their supporters believe these meetings have some kind of legal weight. That belief will then get them to open their purse strings. Speakers like Vandana Shiva and booking conference rooms don’t come cheap, but misleading your followers into supporting that cost is flabbergasting. I said before that I’d be angry to discover I was misled, but to find out that my money was taken under false pretenses would leave me livid.
Image Credit: Richard Green