9 January 2003
ANTI-TERROR LAWS USED AGAINST GM CAMPAIGNER/GM PROTEST CHARGES DROPPED
1. GM protest charges dropped
2. Anti-terror laws used against US genetic engineering campaigner
Here's the latest good news about dropped charges on a GM crop trashing - this time from Colchester.
This follows the December 2002 decision by Dorset Police to drop charges against those arrested in August 2002 for allegedly removing GM crops in Hilton, Dorset:
(Dorset Police have not yet provided a press release about dropping
For more info on crop trashings and court cases see the "Dig It Up" page here:
Editor, Genetically Modified Food-News
Tuesday, 7 January, 2003, 17:26 GMT
GM protest charges dropped
Protesters who damaged a genetically modified crop claim the case against them was dropped because prosecutors knew a jury would be sympathetic.
The two campaigners appeared on Tuesday before magistrates in Colchester, Essex, where the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said criminal damage charges had been discontinued.
Andy Abbott, 33, from Colchester, said the dropped case showed that authorities had given up trying to prosecute GM protesters.
"The government is giving a green light to people to trash GM crops," he said.
A CPS spokesman said: "Once we looked at the evidence we decided there wasn't sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction and we have therefore discontinued the case.
"However it doesn't mean that in future prosecutions over attacks on GM crops will be discontinued."
Mr Abbott and Jack Upton, 21, also from Colchester, handed themselves in to police after two acres of the GM maize was damaged at Wivenhoe, Essex, last year.
A Greenpeace spokesman said: "People are still getting off with this but the government is still pushing ahead with GM crops - the resistance is there but the government doesn't realise that."
Under new Oz 'anti-terrorism' laws it seems we are now keeping out nonviolent activists against genetic engineering.
See the article below.
For the Earth
Security Masks Political Bans
The Howard Government is using heightened security fears to declare Australia off-limits to political opponents, blocking a US genetic engineering campaigner from our shores.
Immigration Minister Philip Ruddock gave Doyle Canning, 22, his personal seal of disapproval in signing off on a DIMIA report that stated refusal of her holiday visa should "discourage" other activists from visiting Australia.
Her likely crime? Associating with anti-globalisation activists during a six-month "field semester" in Tasmania and Victoria undertaken as part of her education degree.
The Vermont-based genetic engineering campaigner told Workers OnLine she was "shocked" to find herself on a Government blacklist.
"It's a bit of a worry to be barred from a country like Australia, especially when they refuse to give you the reasons," the US citizen said. "I have never engaged in violent activities of any kind but, I can only presume, they class me as a terrorist.
"I met some great people when I was in Australia two years ago. I wanted to visit some of my friends and comrades, it was going to be a holiday, I wasn't going to do any work at all."
Canning addressed workshops in the lead-up to S11 during her six- month study tour here and assumes that is behind Government's holiday ban.
Her record sports one trespass conviction, arising out of the "peaceful occupation" of a US Congressman's office in Vermont, for which she was subseqently fined $50. That conviction was recorded before her last visit to Australia.
Canning works in Vermont as a biotech researcher-activist, supporting local communities opposed to the arrival of GE operations in their regions.
She explained that, unaware of her undesirable status, she made a standard internet application for an Australian holiday visa on September 1, 2001. She was turned down, on line, and told to contact the Australian Embassy.
After being refused entry under Section 501 of the Immigration Act she wrote to the Minister. Ruddock responded in July of this year, endorsing an 11-page DIMIA report, including "attachments A, B and C" which she was not allowed to see.
"He said he had considered the evidence and decided I was not of good character," Canning said. "It's indicative of the global political climate in which organising so people can live in peace and dignity is now regarded as a criminal activity."
She filed a complaint with the Commonwealth Ombudsman who sough access to the contents of the mysterious "attachments A, B and C" on her behalf. Ruddock's office refused to make them available to the Ombudsman.
Workers OnLine understands the Ombudsman has sought a ruling from the Attorney General on the hush-hush element of the Immigration Department decision.