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7-Misc: Will Monsanto accuse Paul Mobbs as "co-conspirator"?



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TITLE:  On genetiX snowball's "Handbook for Action
SOURCE: Paul Mobbs, mobbsey@gn.apc.org
DATE:   April 18, 1999

----------------- archive: http://www.gene.ch/ ------------------


Hi all,

You may be aware of the recent legal action by Agrevo and Monsanto against the genetiX snowball (GS) group. At the High Court in London on Monday 19th April things will move one step further when Monsanto will seek a permanent injunction against those involved in GS to stop them pulling up test sites. However the test as to whether or not you are in GS is not whether you've done any damage, or whether you're an active part of the group - it is whether or not you possess a copy of GS's "Handbook for Action".

It was my view that the possession a book being used as a measure of guilt was discredited some time ago, and was only a measure recently used by the Nazi party in the 1930s, Senator JoE McCarthy and the British special Branch on the look out for active animal liberationists. But it would appear that Monsanto have ressurected this guilt-by-association approach as a means of identifying anyone who might have the slightest urge to mess up one of their sites.

However, the injunction does not stop there. Just to make sure they know who has a copy of the book Monsanto are demanding as part of the High Court injunction a list of all those people GS have sent copies of the handbook to so Monsanto's lawyers can hunt them down an serve them with copies of the injunction.

Now to me, as someone who is not an active participant in GS (I just provide space for their website), and who has no intention of ripping up a genetic test site, it all seems a bit much. I believe that the action by Monsanto offends many of the principles of freedom of thought and expression that most modern democracies legally defend (unfortuately they still do not have de facto protection in the UK because the Human Rights Act 1998 has not been legally 'commenced', and is not likely to be until 2001). Therefore, in solidarity with those who Monsanto wish to persecute - both in GS and anyone who has a copy of the handbook - I have today created an Adobe Acrobat version of the handbook so people can print it off and circulate it easier. In my view the only response to an effort by a private corporation to restrict the availability of ideas is to "wideband" them to the largest possible audience.

If you wish to download a copy of the handbook the Acrobat file is located in the "Green Backlash" section of my website at:
<http://www.gn.apc.org/pmhp/dc/backlash/>http://www.gn.apc.org/pmhp/dc/backlash/

If you wish to browse the existing HTML version, or download the HTML version as one ZIP file, then go to the genetiX snowball website to get the version I prepared perviously -
<http://www.gn.apc.org/pmhp/gs/>http://www.gn.apc.org/pmhp/gs/

As stated by Martin Luther King, "For evil to succeed all it needs is for good men to do nothing". I do not believe that legal action that seeks to determine guilt by the possession of books is morally right. I believe it offends all those hard-won rights and freedoms that people have won over many centuries of struggle. I hope that you will pass this message on to your friends, and that you will all download copies of the GS "Handbook for Action".

It is clear that, despite what 'New Labour' says, there is still not true guarantee of freedom of expression in the UK. Even if groups do eventually win the legal battles, the hassle of continual legal challenges from corporations seeking to restrict and obfuscate debate on important issues in relation to the public's well-being will always drain and immobilise those involved. In the face of such a power the only response is solidarity and resistence with those subjected to that power.

If any of you outside the UK have space on your websites - arounds 2 to 3 megabytes would be idea - you might like to set up 'mirror' sites of the GS website to ensure the message about the genetic modification of our food, and the steps ordinary people can take to get involved in the issue, can still get out. Please contact me if you can offer some web space.

Finally, for your security, and in case Monsanto should ever decide to get nasty at me, I'm sending this mail out with the recipeint list suppressed, and when it's done I'm deleting it. I have no wish to act as a conduit for one corporations actions against freedom of expression.


Peace 'n' love

Paul
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"We are not for names, nor men, nor titles of Government, nor are we for this party nor against the other… but we are for justice and mercy and truth and peace and true freedom, that these may be exalted in our nation, and that goodness, righteousness, meekness, temperance, peace and unity with God, and with one another, that these things may abound." (Edward Burroughs, 1659)

THE FREE RANGE ACTIVISM NETWORK
Facilitators -
  Paul Mobbs - mobbsey@gn.ac.org, tel./fax 01295 261864
  Tim Shaw - timshaw@gn.apc.org, tel./fax 01558 685353
Website -
<http://www.gn.apc.org/pmhp/rangers/>http://www.gn.apc.org/pmhp/rangers/

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