Skip to main content
Read page text

REGULARS 6 Letters

Readers have their say.

10 News

The latest events and stories.

16 Campaigns

Find out what's going on , where, when, and how t o get involved.

20 Debate

cover story

Is FTSE4Good - the new 'ethical' index - just stock market capitalism dressed i n green? Craig Mackenzie and Rob Cartridge debate the issue.

55 Reviews

George Monbiot's response t o violence. What really goes o n i n space? What o n earth are these weapons? Al l i n reviews this month .

62 The Exchange

Our noticeboard for environmental services and needs. Free for campaign groups and NGOs.

66 References

COLUMNS 7 From the Front

Paul Kingsnorth reaches Bolivia.

9 Coward's stand

Ros Coward previews Rio+10.

57 Sick Century

cover story

Eduardo Goncalves looks at some highly disturbing drug experiments.

59 En Garde

Gard Binney o n the facts of environmental destruction.

PROFILE 24 Barbara Lee and Frontiers of Freedom

Founder Edward Goldsmith • Editor Zac Goldsmith Managing Editor Malcolm Tait • Assistant Editor Jeremy Smith • News & Campaigns Stephanie Roth • Sub-editor Jonathan Bond • Science Editor Peter Bunyard • Comment Editor Aidan Rankin • Distribution Manager Sally Snow • Marketing Manager Kate de Bass • Art Director Lou Tait • Production Manager Chris Gregory • Advertising Manager Andrew Heddle • Publisher Ian McAuliffe

Editorial Office: Unit 18, Chelsea Wharf, 15 Lots Road, London SW10 OQJ, UK Tel: +44 (0)20 7351 3578 Fax: +44 (0)20 7351 3617 Email:


Needles in every haystack On Sunday 7 October America dropped the first of many bombs on Afghanistan. And to show that this was going to be something of a 'humanitarian' war, large bundles of food were dropped at the same time. In fact, the amount of food involved was minuscule in comparison to the country's needs, but the show was a success, and images of American food bags, with crude 'USA' markings that would embarrass Ronald McDonald, were blasted from every part of the media.

for America's blue chips, and the World Trade Organisation in its short history has consistently favoured the interests of the multinationals over those of nation states. Norberg-Hodge has compared corporate globalisation to a Jihad. Reading through the annual reports of some of America's biggest companies, it's not hard to see why. 'As I look to the future,' writes the CEO of Campbell Soup Company to his shareholders, 'I shiver with business excitement. That's because Campbell Soup Company is engaged in a Global Consumer Crusade.'

But if Mr Bush predicts victory in the war against terrorism, he is wrong. For the problem America faces today is unlike any it has faced before, and two factors render the traditional missile approach utterly useless.

The first, simply, is that the conditions of modern civilisation, from nuclear power plants to centralised water installations, could not be more suited to terrorist ambush. We have built for ourselves a giant stack of cards that is vulnerable to the mildest of winds, and against which the only safeguard, as Aidan Rankin points out on page 47, is decentralisation on every level.

The second is that there is no traditional enemy. When Israel's Netanyahu argued that we should forget looking for needles and focus instead on the haystacks, he was effectively advocating bombing us all. For the world is the haystack, and its every corner teems with people that not only loathe America, but consider it their duty to undermine her. It doesn't take much thought to recognise that a world whose 'stability' is maintained only by the grace of missiles is not a stable world.

So what is the solution? Yes in the short term, America was theoretically justified in seeking to root out those responsible for the New York massacre, if only to ensure they do not repeat what happened. But to regard such a course as a solution is madness. These were not random deeds of the mentally unstable. They were extremes of a large movement that is gaining ground globally, and which takes nourishment from every act of American aggression. America has so far chosen to avoid addressing the reasons for its own unpopularity, but the very fact that there are thousands of people in more than 60 nations willing to die for a cause, should at least prompt a cursory analysis into the nature of that cause.

Fundamentalism is not a condition that naturally and inevitably affects certain races. It is a reaction to perceived threat. Anthropologist Helena Norberg-Hodge has described that the relations between Buddhists and Muslims in Ladakh, where she lived for 20 years, polarised in exact proportion to the extent to which Ladakhi people lost control of their selfsufficiency and autonomy to an alien economy.

The greatest threat today to people's politics, economies and identity must surely be the global economy whose pillars ensure that virtually every nation is under the spell of America's corporations. The massive power of the World Bank and IMF for instance is routinely used to open doors

America is certainly in a difficult position, and unless its every move is honest and open to scrutiny, it will necessarily be accused of using international empathy to further its overseas interests (see Mr Blair's use of current events to rush through unacceptable domestic policy). US retaliation against those responsible for the New York carnage is one thing. Rooting out 'evil-doers wherever they may be', is another. For a lot of people, that sounds too much like a blank cheque. It goes without saying that one man's terrorist is another's freedom fighter, and every corrupt nation has its own. If Kashmiri separatists are terrorists for instance, as the Bush administration announced, for using violence to free themselves of an artificial political association with India, where does that leave opponents of Saddam Hussein or the people of East Timor? And what if the Tibetans were to counter vicious Chinese occupation of their land with violence? Would that too be terrorism?

If this is a war against terrorism, then we must at the very least define what is meant by the term. The OED describes it as: 'the systematic use of violence and intimidation to coerce a government or community into acceding to specific political demands'. But if that is correct, what has been America's treatment of Pakistan, if not terrorist? Overwhelmed by massive debt, poverty and drought, Pakistan is in no position to support the battles of a far-off nation they regard with justifiable suspicion, and whose recent plight pales into comparison next to then own On even turf, they would have remained neutral, but through intimidation they had to capitulate.

In the meantime, it is unfortunate that critics of economic and cultural globalisation now find themselves, apparently, in bed with a force whose aspirations are

quite different to their own. Osama Bin Laden,

guilty or not, is a globalises He cares little for diversity of culture, opinion, custom and tradition, all foundations for a sustainable and stable world.

But campaigners must not be intimidated by false insinuations that to criticise American policy is to support terrorism. Britain and Stalin shared a loathing of Hitler. That didn't make Churchill a communist. The fact is, if the world is plunged into ecological, economic

and social catastrophe, it will be largely because of America, not least following Wfts& 3 Mr Bush's refusal to combat catastrophic climate change. Bin Laden is a serious danger. But so too is Mr Bush.

Editorial Board: Helena Norberg-Hodge, Steven Gorelick, John Page, all of the International Society for Ecology and Culture. Tel: +44 (0)1803 868650 (UK) • +1 510 548 4915 (US)

Associates: Agnes Bertrand, Institute for the Relocalisation of the Economy, France • Marcus Colchester, World Rainforest Movement, UK • Samuel Epstein, University of Illinois, US • Sally Fallon, The Weston A Price Foundation, US • Ross Hume Hall, McMaster University, Canada • Mae-Wan Ho, Open University, UK • Mohammed Idris, Consumers' Association of Penang, Malaysia • Martin Khor Kok Peng, Third World Network, Malaysia • Sigmund Kvaloy, Ecopolitical Ring of Cooperation, Norway • Kalle Lasn, Adbusters Media Foundation, Canada • Jose Lutzenberger, Former Minister for the Environment, Brazil • Jerry Mander, International Forum on Globalization, US • Patrick McCully, International Rivers

Network, US • Ralph Nader, US • Robin Page, Countryside Restoration Trust, UK • John Papworth, Fourth World Review, UK • Jakub Patocka, Literarni Noviny, Czech Republic • Jeremy Rifkin, Foundation on Economic Trends, US • Charles Secrett, Friends of the Earth, UK • Vandana Shiva, Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology, India • David Suzuki, David Suzuki Foundation, Canada • Richard Willson, The Times, UK • Tracy Worcester, ISEC, UK

Advertising and publishing handled on behalf of Ecosystems by Think Publishing Ltd, Vigilant House, 120 Wilton Road, London SW1V UZ.Tel: +44 (0)20 7808 7535 • Fax: +44 (0)20 7808 7536 • Email:

Subscription and further information on page 66

My Bookmarks

    Skip to main content