Tuesday, August 31, 2004

La Vanguardia has given its featured space on the letters to the editor page to one Juan López de Uralde, the executive director of Greenpeace Spain. López slams Bjorn Lomborg ad hominem, claiming that Lomborg is a liar when he said he was a former member of Greenpeace. In fact, Lomborg never appeared on any official Greenpeace membership list. Says López, "In order that Lomborg's media strategy function, it is basic that he present himself as a "repentant ecologist". He knows why he had to invent a past he does not have." In other words, it's a conspiracy! Typical Spanish logic.

Lomborg's response is that he believed that a person like him who gave money and support to Greenpeace and went to meetings and protests and signed petitions and the like was a member. Lomborg was never on any Greenpeace list of official members, but the Greenpeace organization includes only a hard core of a few dozen cadres in each country where it is present as official members--and they make all the decisions. Very few Greenpeace activists are actually members with a voice in the organization.

Also, Lomborg does not present himself as a "repentant ecologist". He is an environmentalist. He simply believes that the environmental movement would be much better off if it stuck to the facts rather than using scare tactics.

López also says, "The book "The Skeptical Environmentalist" has been denounced in Denmark for "faults of scientific rigor" by the Public Committee in charge of guaranteeing the rigor of scientific publications."

This is Lomborg's statement on his website:

"The Danish Committees on Scientific Dishonesty (DSCD) have finally ended their case on March 12, 2004, rejecting the original complaints. They have decided that the original decision is invalid and has ended any further inquiry.

The Danish Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation has, on December 17, 2003, repudiated findings by the Danish Committees on Scientific Dishonesty (DSCD) that Bjørn Lomborg’s book “The Skeptical Environmentalist” was “objectively dishonest” or “clearly contrary to the standards of good scientific practice”.

The Ministry, which is responsible for the DSCD, has released a highly critical assessment of the Committee’s January 7 ruling. The Ministry finds that the DCSD judgment was not backed up by documentation, and was “completely void of argumentation” for the claims of dishonesty and lack of good scientific practice.

The Ministry characterises the DCSD’s treatment of the case as “unsatisfactory”, “deserving criticism”, and “emotional” and points out a number of significant errors. The DSCD's verdict has been remitted."

So. Mr. López of Greenpeace has slandered Mr. Lomborg, accusing him of having ulterior, hidden, conspiratorial motivations behind his statements and publications, calling him a liar regarding his environmentalist activist past, and saying that the Danish Committee on scientific dishonesty has censured Lomborg's book without mentioning that said committee's censure has been repudiated by the government ministry in charge of that committee.

What I find interesting is that Mr. López of Greenpeace didn't bother to come up with one factual argument to rebut Mr. Lomborg's position.

Also, if we want to go ad hominem, Greenpeace is a wonderful target. Greenpeace was indicted in a US court for criminal conspiracy in 2003. Greenpeace has been accused in the US of money laundering--of transferring tax-free donations to a non-tax-free subsidiary without paying the required taxes. The Greenpeace organization has been repeatedly criticized for its lack of transparency and the dictatorial control that its cadres exercise over it. Greenpeace is a big business; it takes in more than half a billion dollars every year, including contributions from major foundations such as Merck and Rockefeller. Greenpeace has repeatedly broken the law in its protests and endangered the lives of both its activists and others.

No links, of course. However, I suggest Googling the words Greenpeace, indictment, money laundering, foundations, membership, and transparency. There's a lot of interesting stuff out there.

You may be wondering how La Vanguardia gets away with publishing crap like this letter or Ramon Aymerich's article. The answer is that nobody from the outside ever reads it or has the slightest idea what kind of libels it is spreading, so it never gets sued. Yet 200,000 Spaniards read it every day and, presumably, believe it. No wonder most of them are gibbering imbeciles when it comes to economics, politics, and any other significant issue. And La Vanguardia is probably the best newspaper in Spain. Imagine what people who read El País believe.

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