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August 2, 2000


Please post a retraction


Mr. Williamson:

Reasonable people will conclude that you support "direct action" campaigns
if you publish information on how to participate in such activities on you
web site. Your web site's very first posting is a link to "Monsanto Day's
of Action." According to previous news reports, this annual event has
resulted in vandalism, property destruction and threats to people. The
organizers have publicly called for field trial vandalism, economic
threats to technology developers and retailers, blocking access to market
for products, and more...

Recently, the National Organization for Women won a U.S.-based RICO
lawsuit against anti-abortion activsts for engaging in activities far less
egregious than those supported on your web site. In case you are unaware,
RICO stands for Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act
(http://www.now.org/press/07-99/07-16-99b.html). I hope Monsanto,
Novartis or one of the biotech industry groups considers filing such a
suit against these groups and considers including people like you as

NOW attorneys presented a compelling case that abortion opponents violated
the anti-racketeering laws by using violence, intimidation and extortion
to stop abortion. Replace the word abortion with biotechnology and you
have a pretty good example of how such a case might work.

These "direct action" programs against companies, researchers,
universities and others are far from non-violent. Executives and
researchers are assaulted (yes with pies, but assault none-the-less)
intimidating them from participating in public events. Arson at Michigan
State, dozens of property destructions in North America and Europe, masked
invaders sneaking on to farmers land in the midnight hours to destroy
crops, and even spreading misguided fears to consumers and the implied
threat of violence or attack to farmers or researchers are vile,
undemocratic and akin to common thuggery and extortion tactics of the
worst kind of criminals.

As all these activities are in fact "criminal" perhaps I should edit my
previous comments to remove the offensive references and replace them with
your obvious willingness to support criminal behavior, corporate extortion
and misleading fear mongering.

Of course, you would probably threaten me with legal actions with such
comments as well. Mr. Williamson, you'll soon learn that by taking a
public role in the biotechnology debate that includes "publishing"
information, such that you do on your web site, you expose yourself to
this scrutiny.

Thank you.

Oh, and if you truly believe you are a pacifist then please stop
harrassing the good people on Dr. Prakash's chat and please stop using
your web site to encourage fear and intimidation. Regardless of the fact
that you may choose to hide behind the Internet sitting at your nice
office desk and you may have never participated in such activities,
promoting them and spreading fear yourself is in fact a form of violence.

Shame on you for not knowing as much.

A. Smetacek

>Date: Mon, 31 Jul 2000 22:16:12 +0100
>From: Marcus Williamson
>Subject: Please post a retraction and an apology

>To: agbioview@listbot.com
>Cc: andura_smetacek@yahoo.com,

>Please post a retraction to the AgBioView list and an apology for this
libellous posting. I am a pacifist >and have never taken part in, or
supported, violence against research.
>I am an individual who opposes biotechnology
because I believe it is
>harmful to the enviroment and may be harmful to
> animals and humans. My
>page "Genetically Modified Food - UK and World
> News"
>(http://www.gmfoodnews.com) presents world news
> about Genetically
>Modified food. My company does not fund my work on
> this subject at
>all. What I do with my own time and money is my own
> decision.
>Now, let's keep to facts on this list and stay away
> from libellous
>statements, please.
>Thanks & regards
>Marcus Williamson
>Editor, "Genetically Modified Food - UK and World
> >Date: Jul 31 2000 14:22:54 EDT
> >From: Andura Smetacek
> >Subject: Published literature... who's funding the
> activists? BASF?
> >
> >REGARDING: the posting which noted that BASF funded
> Connecthotel and
> >Marcus Williamson who is an anti-biotechnology
> activist who supports
> >violence against research...
> >
> > > AgBioView - http://www.agbioworld.org,
> > > http://agbioview.listbot.com
> > >
> > > p.s. I noticed from your web site that one of
> your
> > > business clients is BASF. Did you know that
> they
> > > too develop biotechnology applications in
> > > agriculture? I wouldn't want you to support or
> take
> > > money from someone engaged in activities you
> believe
> > > dangerous or unethical.
> >
> >Activists frequently use strong arm tactics to
> threaten companies to
> >avoid GMOs, threaten boycotts and engage in
> misleading fear campaigns
> >to influence consumers. Worst of all they promote
> violence against
> >researchers and those seeking answers about
> biotechnology risks and
> >benefits; however, I find it ironic that they use
> money they derive
> >from companies whose practices they oppose to do
> so.
> >
> >More ironic is that these companies are willing to
> help them do it. I
> >suspect it is unwittingly.
> >
> >Scientists and those who care about delivering on
> the promises of
> >biotechnology should not fund or support those who
> engage in these
> >activities. I noticed another case, where New
> England BioLabs 2000-01
> >Catalog gives space and notes funding and support
> for the Union of
> >Concerned Scientists.
> >
> >UCS has many good people and causes; however, their
> campaign against
> >biotechnology is not one of them. They help spread
> fear and
> >misinformation and attack scientists who support
> the technology. New
> >England Biolabs, and their customers, like BASF,
> and their customers,
> >should not support these groups.
> >
> >I've copied New England Biolabs and BASF on this
> message; perhaps
> >others should consider the same when they find
> similar examples.