On how Wikileaks and Mr. Assange are helping science
One of the most basic scientific rules is that a scientist needs to work based on facts. The recent rise of ‘Fake News’ and the manipulation of research outcomes and attempts to suppress and bend scientific information that is inconvenient to powerful stakeholders undermines the trust in science and scientists. Platforms like Wikileaks are therefore not only of invaluable importance for democratic-minded people in controlling the powerful but are as well an invaluable asset for the scientific community by providing facts for their work. This is what Wikileaks and Mr. Assange did in the past. They provided facts and thereby helped egs. scientists of our organization in their work as outlined hereafter. Everyone contributing to providing and/or producing facts ought to be protected: Whistleblowers, Journalists and Scientists alike.
How Wikileaks helped critical science and scientists
Critical Scientists Switzerland was partly founded by scientists engaged in risk research of genetic engineering (GE), especially in the agro-food sector and who are questioning the many (undocumented) claims made by the biotech industries and pointing out the need for the application of the precautionary principle. These scientists were and continue to be subjected to orchestrated, relentless attacks targeting not only their sciencei but also their personal integrity.ii Many affected scientists always suspected that those attacks were funded and orchestrated by or with the support not only of multinational biotech companiesiii but also state actors (e.g. government agencies), to protect invested business interests. But it was not until the Wikileaks revelation on the WTO-Biotechcaseiv and other biotech revelations concerncing Spainv and Slovakiavi that the suspicion were proven true. Thanks to Wikileaks and also in recent times thanks to other investigative journalists like Ruskinvii and Hakimviiione can now prove that industry and some state actors (e.g. US embassy personnelix) cooperated in targeting not only inconvenient scientists but also non-aligned state agencies and governments,x and how they did it.xi Only with such facts and rigorous transparency can the public in democratic societies hold their elected law makers and public servants and the private sector accountable.
No deportation & Thank you
It is obvious that scientists need to take a stand as well. If we do not defend the messengers of facts and protect the fact-based plurality of voices and open debate, whether the messenger is a Whistleblower, a Journalist, a Scientists or someone else, also the scientific project itself is under threat. Consequently, CSS takes that stand. We reiterate the appeal of UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Niels Melzer, against the impending deportation of Mr. Assange to the USA.xii Secondly CSS just wants to than Wikileaks and Mr. Assange for their merits for science by providing the fuel of science: the facts. Revealing the truth is not a crime but a service.
Critical Scientists Switzerland
ii CEO (2017): Setting the record straight on false accusations: Dr C. Portier’s work on glyphosate and IARC
iii Hakim, Danny (2016): Scientists Loved and Loathed by an Agrochemical Giant. With corporate funding of research, “there’s no scientist who comes out of this unscathed.”
iv Wikileaks: FRANCE AND THE WTO AG BIOTECH CASE (2007)
v Wikileaks: SPAIN'S BIOTECH CROP UNDER THREAT (2009) https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/09MADRID482_a.html
vi Wikileaks: NEW GMO LAW LOOKS GOOD, SO FAR (2006) https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/06BRATISLAVA375_a.html
vii Ruskin, Gary (2019): Monsanto Internal Documents Reveal Campaign Against U.S. Right to Know https://www.commondreams.org/newswire/2019/08/08/monsanto-internal-documents-reveal-campaign-against-us-right-know
viii Hakim, Dany (2017): Monsanto Emails Raise Issue of Influencing Research on Roundup Weed Killer https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/01/business/monsantos-sway-over-research-is-seen-in-disclosed-emails.html
ix Gillam, Carey (2013): UPDATE 1-U.S. State Dept. promotes Monsanto's GMO crops overseas -report https://www.reuters.com/article/usa-gmo-report/update-1-u-s-state-dept-promotes-monsantos-gmo-crops-overseas-report-idUSL2N0DV2XF20130514
x Vidal, John (2011): US targets EU over GM crops. US embassy cable recommends drawing up list of countries for 'retaliation' over opposition to genetic modification
xi Smith, Jeffrey (2010): WikiLeaks: US Should Retaliate Against EU for Genetically Modified Resistance https://www.huffpost.com/entry/wikileaks-us-should-retal_b_799271
xii Melzer, Niels (2019): UN expert says "collective persecution" of Julian Assange must end now https://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=24665&LangID=E