[Coral-List] personal attacks on coral-list
douglasfennertassi at gmail.com
Wed Oct 29 02:05:22 EDT 2014
I wonder if personal attacks are now allowed on coral-list. I just
read the rules for coral-list on the NOAA website, it says no "inflammatory
commentary" but I don't see it say anything explicit about personal
attacks. I thought the reason for setting up the alternative
"free-for-all" list-serve was for such things, where people are free to
call anybody else whatever they want. Perhaps you don't know about that,
Richard, and should become familiar with it. It is open to anyone, and you
can say anything you like. It's in Yahoo Groups, called "
I think it would only be fair if those accused had the right to rebut
the accusations in the same forum they were made. However, an endless
argument about details which are only tangentially relevant to coral reefs,
would indeed likely bore most readers.
In the mean time, could we please have a clear statement from the
administrator for coral-list about whether personal attacks are allowed? I
rather doubt that most of the readers would like to see lots of name
calling and mud slinging. We've done very well in the past, and I join
everyone else in appreciating the great job Jim Hendee does.
This post also refers back to that of Charles Sheppard (Chagos
Conservation Trust Chairman) a couple of days ago.
'CONFLATION' OF 'THE CHAGOSSIAN ISSUE' WITH CONSERVATION
Sheppard claims that the conservation of the Chagos is often conflated
with "the Chagossian issue" (their right to return to their homeland)
implying that the two should be unrelated issues. The very fact that the
no-take Marine Protected Area, which the Chagos Conservation Trust (CCT)
zealously advocated, extinguished the historical rights of a Chagossian
owned and part-crewed inshore fishery, based in exile from Mauritius,
demonstrates that a neat separation of these issues is simply not possible.
CHAGOS CONSERVATION TRUST and CHAGOSSIANS
Sheppard promotes the work that CCT does with Chagossians and "hopes
that the work we do .... is understood". I am sure it is but this is far
from the whole story. We are not told of the continuing distrust and
dislike that the largest community organisation, the Chagos Refugee
Group (CRG) has for the CCT. Whether rightly or wrongly, many
Chagossians consider both Sheppard and CCT as 'anti-resettlement'.
Despite ?88,000 of Government money, CCT's 'outreach' programme has made
no progress with the Chagossian community in Mauritius not because as he
implies, of the lack of support by the Mauritian Government, but because
the community there does not want to have anything to do with them. This
was made plain to me when I visited Mauritius in October 2013 at the
invitation of the CRG.
A brief example may illustrate some rationale for Chagossian beliefs.
In 2000, Chagossians were granted the right of abode but could not
return through lack of funding. There was then a resettlement
feasibility study commissioned by the British Government which concluded
in 2002 that resettlement was unfeasible. That study was claimed to be
'independent' but has now been shown to have been interfered with by
government officials, and its conclusions and science flawed.
The direct result of the study was that the Government banned
Chagossians from their islands in 2004. The Government meanwhile
concealed documents relating to the study until 2012, claiming many
times that they had been destroyed. The Chagossians were unable to
effectively challenge the outcome of the study and as a consequence lost
their case in the House of Lords in 2008 (by a majority 3:2 ruling).
Within the next few months an action will commence in the English
Supreme Court to have the 2008 decision overturned.
The documents disclosed in 2012 show that Sheppard was the reviewer of
that study for the Government and whilst he was highly critical of some
parts which appear favourable to resettlement, he failed to identify
flaws in the Coastal & Oceanic Processes sections which led to the
overall negative conclusion. His summary stated that these sections were
"scientifically sound" and whilst he acknowledged that he was not fully
qualified to review all aspects he reassured officials that: "the
results and arguments are convincing - and very important". He did not
recommend that an expert be asked to check these crucial aspects. A
subsequent expert review has assessed Sheppard's review "uncritical" and
that "those tasked with assessing the robustness of the science were not
qualified to do so" [see NOTE below for link].
It could thus be argued that Sheppard played a key role in a flawed
report which led to Chagossians being banned from their homeland. It is
hardly surprising therefore that he and the organisation which he now
leads (CCT) is regarded with deep distrust.
Following his 2002 review, and for the next 10 years, Sheppard was the
environmental adviser to the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT)
Administration. In July 2013 at a meeting with the BIOT Deputy
Commissioner, Chagossians and their representatives raised the issue of
Sheppard's role in the 2002 study and expressed a lack of confidence in
his impartiality. He was 'retired' from this post several months later
and replaced by Dr Mark Spalding.
NOTE: A detailed 31 page document examining the 2002 feasibility study
has been presented by Chagossian lawyers to the British Government and
to the courts. It is publicly available at this link
together with a recent expert review of the study which examines the
Contractor with Ocean Associates, Inc.
PO Box 7390
Pago Pago, American Samoa 96799 USA
phone 1 684 622-7084
"belief in climate change is optional, participation is not."
belief in evolution is optional, use of antibiotics that bacteria have not
evolved resistance to is recommended.
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