September 23, 2003


Battle is joined as Greenpeace faces off against a boatload of genetically-modified maize! Who will win? Greenpeace has the numbers, but can a bunch of environmentalists outwit superintelligent cybermaize from the planet’s most evil secret laboratories? Following is a round-by-round account of the War of Veracruz from Greenpeace’s own weblog:

We have stopped a ship!

Early this morning we took action against a ship delivering an illegal shipment of genetically engineered maize to the Mexican port of Veracruz. Activists are currently on the anchor chain, preventing the offloading of the contaminated shipment. We put three inflatables in the water, and two activists climbed onto the anchor chain to prevent the ship from pulling up the anchor. The shipment has been stopped.

Round one is a big win for the Greenpeace kids! Take that, you evil maize! Now, on to round two:

The action is going smoothly

The two activists chained to the anchor of the contaminated ship are in for the long haul. A boat from the Mexican navy is slowly circling, observing the action. The two activists, one from Argentina and one from Mexico, are set to stay where they are for quite a while.

This Greenpeace “dope-a-dope” strategy is causing all sorts of problems for hapless maize. Can the genetically-boosted supergrain recover? Round three will be crucial:


The ship Ikanu Altamira has turned around and headed back to the United States with its cargo of 40 000 tons of genetically engineered maize. We had sent a group to meet with the captain of the cargo ship, and videotaped him agreeing to leave Mexico with his cargo. He did not agree to sign an agreement. It was getting dark as the activists left their perch on the anchor chain. Greenpeace activists had spent twelve hours on the anchor chain, in two shifts. With the activists gone, the anchor was pulled up and the ship sailed out to sea. Three Greenpeace inflatables escorted the ship twelve miles offshore, out of Mexican waters and into international waters.

It’s a total victory for Greenpeace! Maize is vanquished! Let the celebrations begin!

We did it!

After 24 hours of constant radio watch and 12 hours of action 40,000 tonnes of contaminated maize is on its way back to the USA. No violence, no arrests but a very calm and peaceful action. We even managed to get some smiles from the crew as they left the port of Veracruz with all the GE maize still on board. What a success not just for Greenpeace but for the people of Mexico. We did it for the campesinos. For the future of the children of Mexico. There is a wonderful feeling on board. Many people are tired after spending the day bobbing around in the boats or attached to the anchor chain. It is hard to unwind when your dream has just come true, but we have been playing some international football in the hold to get rid of any remaining energy.

But wait ... while the Greenpeacers are playing “international football”, maize has snuck up behind them with a sack of horseshoes! Watch out, brave heroes!

The ship has returned

The ship that we had prevented from unloading 40 000 tons of genetically engineered maize at the Mexican port of Veracruz has returned, and is now unloading it's cargo. Unfortunately, we can't do all the work of the Mexican government, which is why we are taking them to court to make sure they do their job. I did not want to have to write this weblog entry. A few hours ago we heard a rumour that the ship Ikan Altamira had snuck back into the port of Veracruz to unload it's cargo. We had this story confirmed about an hour ago. Apparently, the less-than-honest captain had communicated with the port authorities and had received an escort into the port from the Mexican navy. They chose a route that we could not see from the Arctic Sunrise, and kept off the radio so we would not know that they were returning.

The winner: maize, by a brutal knockout. You can’t keep a good crop down.

(Via reader “bb”.)

UPDATE. Aieeee! It’s the Giant Sea Corn, come to kill us all!

Posted by Tim Blair at September 23, 2003 03:10 PM

If i was the captain I would have dropped the anchor lower... Just a thought. Might have saved him some time.

Posted by: Murdoch Software Engineer Std at September 23, 2003 at 03:19 PM

Oh the pain, oh the suffering, now those poor campesinos will have to eat the evil GM Maize. What is the world coming to? How dare these evil monsters bring food in to a nation facing starvation. Food!!! How dare they!! ...

Ooops sorry, I had my sarcasm button hit.

Suck Shit Hippy. :-) Beaten by vegetation.

Posted by: Todd at September 23, 2003 at 03:23 PM

That would have to rate as one of the funniest posts I have seen Tim.
Ahhh the humiliation - the mighty colossus of Greenpeace humbled by corn on the cob. I think they had better stay away from protesting about meat until they have finished their vegetables :)

Posted by: Rob at September 23, 2003 at 03:28 PM

but who will think of the children??

Posted by: The Central Committee at September 23, 2003 at 04:01 PM

Greenpeace won't.

Thanks to the 'less-than-honest' captain sneaking back into port choosing a route that Greenpeace couldn't see (was the ship a Unimog?) the children of Mexico will eat dinner tonight.

Never trust Greenpeace with port security. Corn will get past them every time.

Posted by: ilibcc at September 23, 2003 at 05:12 PM

Bit of irony here- vegetables beaten by vegetables. Professional protesting- it's a legume eat legume world.

Posted by: Habib Bickford at September 23, 2003 at 05:13 PM

The would-be corn-hijackers had nothing between their ears.

Posted by: pooh at September 23, 2003 at 05:17 PM

Just how much tresspass, dealying, obstruction and other lawbreaking activities do these hippies have to engage in before it becomes justifiable to use discretionary force (teargas, jet hoses, rubber bullets, real bullets - whatever is appropriate) ?

I'm just, you know, asking...

Posted by: TreeHuggingHippyCrap at September 23, 2003 at 05:19 PM

Greenpeace activists, huh? Veracruz, huh? I say turn Woodrow Wilson's guns on 'em.

Aquel dia yo jure (On that day I swore
Hacia el puerto volvere To the port I will return
Aunque el destino cambio mi vida Even though destiny changed my life
En morire In I shall die
Aquel dia yo jure On that day I swore)

Posted by: slatts at September 23, 2003 at 05:24 PM

I have taken the liberty of illustrating this epic tale.

Posted by: Evil Pundit at September 23, 2003 at 05:39 PM

What a villain, that less-than-honest captain. He berthed his cobs despite self-infatuated meddlers. He harshed their mellow. Hitler.

Posted by: carlyle at September 23, 2003 at 06:15 PM

This has to be the funniest anecodote of commie losers rejoicing over their own stupidity before suffering a collective nervous breakdown. Stalin's useful idiots,no, just villiage cretins.

Posted by: d at September 23, 2003 at 06:28 PM

Another thought…

If the GM crop was genuinely illegal there… Why was the Mexican Navy escorting it in?

Posted by: Murdoch Software Engineer Std at September 23, 2003 at 07:26 PM

This is one of the most hilarious stories, a true example of green lunacy.

I should hope that the Greenpeace activists are not deterred, but rather emboldened in the future. Perhaps they could get every Greenpeace member to hold a rally in an African nation ravaged by famine, and they could proudly boast to the Africans that they need not fear GM modified food arriving in their ports, all thanks to Greenpeace.

The mob would then tear the greenies to pieces and assault them.

Posted by: Jono at September 23, 2003 at 08:10 PM

For the life of me, I can't imagine why the port authorities didn't arrest the Greenies and throw them in jail. What they did cannot possibly be legal. I would suspect bribery, except the Greenies sound too stupid to bribe the local police.

Posted by: R C Dean at September 23, 2003 at 09:58 PM

Oh why oh why can't you cute third-worlders just accept your fate and starve. We just want to feel good about ourselves and your selfish insistance on eating is making us feel

GreenPeace (not GreenPeas - no food for you!!!)

Posted by: GreenPeace at September 23, 2003 at 10:59 PM

Damn you super-intelligent super corn! Damn you all to hell!

Oh, and guys, container ships don't "sneak" anywhere. They stay in marked channels. Perhaps next time you shouldn't go below decks for a celebratory bowl of hemp once the ship leaves.

Posted by: monkeyboy at September 23, 2003 at 11:45 PM

LMAO! The left hasn't put on such a funny show since those peace activists in the UK kept trying to chain themselves to trucks carrying munitions.

Posted by: renworm at September 24, 2003 at 12:13 AM

"Solyent Green is . . . Coooooooooooooorn!"

Posted by: JorgXMcKie at September 24, 2003 at 12:53 AM

If the Birkenstock Brigade had the courage of their convictions, they surely would have blockaded the dockside warehouse to keep this dangerous substance from the well-fed middle-class burgermeisters of Veracruz.

Posted by: Tongue Boy at September 24, 2003 at 12:57 AM

Interesting that Greenpeace is allowed to break all sorts of laws, rules, etc., but the captain is "less-than-honest."

Posted by: Jerry at September 24, 2003 at 01:51 AM

Love the adolescent dedication to pointless gestures. "We did it! We rock! But then we were like totally tired and had to go home and the ship just came back. That was like so not cool. That ship captain sucks."

Posted by: kelly at September 24, 2003 at 02:04 AM

thanks for the play by play! lol

Posted by: amidnightsmoker at September 24, 2003 at 03:21 AM

I did a little research on the Cartagena Protocol. Basically the signatories to the treaty have to make informed decisions about modified organisms, and have to inform one another beforehand when they plan to ship GMOs, the product must be accompanied by appropriate paperwork, etc. Part of the framework is a "Biosafety Clearinghouse" where member countries must register GMOs that they have decided to import, the nature of the modification, etc. Here is Mexico's approval of the import of certain modified maize for use as food:

Is it the same maize that Greenpeace tried to block? The same modification? Was the ship carrying the proper paperwork? How would I know? But it seems likely to me that there was nothing illegal about the maize after all.

This research, by the way, took about 3 minutes.

Posted by: Joe G. at September 24, 2003 at 03:51 AM

Whats wrong, from an environmental perspective, with Genetically Modified crops?

I remember in 1995 (?) GreenPeace were protesting French nuclear tests in the South Pacific ocean, and the Frenchies sent a couple of bombs their way, killing two crew members.

What is it with the French? Americans bomb terrorists, Frenchies bomb green peace.

Posted by: Jonny at September 24, 2003 at 04:31 AM

I wonder if you could grow GM marijuana, bet you'd get a killer strain.

Posted by: Jonny at September 24, 2003 at 04:34 AM

The hoo-ha from the nutty sociopaths about genetically modified food is as varied as the sociopaths themselves. Everything from "it's not as nutritionally sound" to "it could cause mutations in people"... none of which is true. No one has demonstrated (yet) any potential or actual nutritional differences between GM foods and non-GM foods. (Actually, I keep wishing they'd put big prominent labels on GM vegetables just so I can go out of my way to eat them instead. :-)

There are some legitimate (but fairly minor) concerns about biodiversity issues and longterm effects of the modified genes in terms of intermixing with native plants. None of this has anything to do with the safety of the food itself.

It strikes me as ironic that many people are concerned about world hunger, yet when we take steps to do something about it, the very people who you'd think would support these efforts oppose them out of baseless fears. If the nuts have a case they need to present it in a sane fashion--running around screaming "fire! fire!" does no good, nor does trying to block ships carring perfectly healthy corn.

Posted by: 42nd SSD at September 24, 2003 at 05:44 AM

Isn't stopping (detaining) a ship at sea without legal authority, well, er... piracy?

Decent countries punish piracy with life imprisonment or summary execution, though sadly the latter has fallen out of favour...

Posted by: Sigivald at September 24, 2003 at 05:59 AM

Corn = Hitler

A Panamanian Army officer told me about how they fooled some of these characters when they were trying to 'block the canal' for some stupid ass reason. They had a local merchant befriend the Greenies then give them a big discount on rum. By sundown they were smashed and screwing each other in the zodiacs. Cops and soldiers motored up to their blockade, cut their chain, stole their inflatables and took control of their Rainbow Warrior boat. The Greenies came-to the next morning in a little bay 20 miles from the canal with no diesel for the boat's motor. They were so embarassed they didn't complain and they have avoided Panama since.

Posted by: LB at September 24, 2003 at 06:14 AM

I second Jonny's comments above, regarding GM marijuana. When someone splices DNA from Psilocybin mushrooms, or peyote, into one of those bred-up strains of Superweed, like we have in northern California, listen carefully for the cries of harm to the environment, or screwing up human allergic reactions, or whatever bugaboo is thrown up by these miserable little Tranzi bastards--all you will hear is a deep, profound silence.

Posted by: Mike James at September 24, 2003 at 06:46 AM

I'd have to agree with Murdoch - drop the anchor chain about a fathom. "Hope you guys have the keys to all those locks..."

Posted by: mojo at September 24, 2003 at 07:35 AM

Heh - a great read. Haven't laughed so much for ages. Well done.

Posted by: David Farrar at September 24, 2003 at 08:56 AM

42nd SSD

"There are some legitimate (but fairly minor) concerns about biodiversity issues and longterm effects of the modified genes in terms of intermixing with native plants."

I have worked with ecologists and botanists on environmental campaigns (I'm not a lefty), so I am naturally interested in the effects of GM food. I don't think the issue you mentioned above really stands up as compared with "normal" farming, which has its downfalls - pesticides, run off, fertiliser, cleared land &c. These problems may be overcome with GM crops. That is GM crops may be an improvement to the environment i.e. reduce the use of pesticides, fertilisers, and the amount of land that needs to be cleared.

The only problem I can see is that if these plants are cloned, this may lead to a lack of genetic diversity, which is essential for survival. The upside of this, is that by splicing and modifying certain genes, there may actually be an increase in genetic diversity.

Posted by: Jonny at September 24, 2003 at 09:50 AM

Greenpeace can't even fight off the fucking FRENCH, for crying out loud. How the hell do expect that collection of whorehouse leavings to beat GM corn?

Posted by: Eichra Oren at September 24, 2003 at 09:52 AM

Mike James,

Sounds good - if you go to Australia in the summer, go up to the north coast of NSW (Byron Bay) and pick mushrooms. The mushrooms there grow out of Cow Dung and have gold tops. You will find them in the paddocks, its best to make tea out of them, they taste disgusting.

Posted by: Jonny at September 24, 2003 at 09:57 AM

Quote of the thread:
'The mob would then tear the greenies to pieces and assault them.' (Jono)

I love it when they get torn to pieces first.

Posted by: pooh at September 24, 2003 at 11:40 AM

This part of their blog entry says it all to me:

What a success not just for Greenpeace but for the people of Mexico. We did it for the campesinos. For the future of the children of Mexico. There is a wonderful feeling on board.

Ah, the wonderful feeling you get when you deny food to children! Isn't socialism wonderful?

Posted by: David at September 24, 2003 at 09:11 PM

Is this idea copyrighted Tim? I think it will make an excellent computer game!

Posted by: Berend de Boer at September 25, 2003 at 11:32 AM