Defining itself as “an independent non-profit-organization concerned about the impact of science and technology on society,” the International Network of Engineers and Scientists for Global Responsibility (INES) is composed of more than 90 member organizations in 50 countries. Founded in 1991 in Berlin, INES focuses its efforts on “disarmament and international peace, ethics, justice and sustainable development.” In the words of Professor Joseph Rotblat, an INES Council Member who in 1995 was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize for his work as an anti-nuclear activist, the organization is today a haven for “scientists with a social conscience.” As such, INES members are expected not only to have “training in science or technology,” but also a keen sympathy for the group’s anti-capitalist agenda.
For instance, according to INES’s founding document, members must work to minimize the “gross inequalities and injustice between and within industrialized and developing countries [that] undermine economic, social and environmental security.” Moreover, INES members must tailor their scientific pursuits to fit within the organization’s vision of re-distributive justice, and “work for the reduction of military spending and for the transfer of resources to the satisfaction of basic needs.”
Considering itself primarily a “network” for like-minded engineers and scientists, INES regularly reaches out to those who share its political motivations. Hence it often partners with leftist NGOs like the anti-nuclear coalition Abolition 2000. Dr David Krieger, President of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, serves as Deputy Chair of INES. The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation gives enormous financial support to INES, including annual grants exceeding $179,000 each year from 2002 through 2004.
INES promotes research from those professionals who share its grave concerns about the budding relationship between capitalism and science. In May 2003, for instance, INES solicited contributions from its members in order to publish a document called “Towards a Convention on Knowledge.” Written by scholars from three affiliate groups — the Institute of Science in Society, Scientists for Global Responsibility, and the Trans World Network — this document lashed out at the “increasingly intimate alliance between science and big business,” and condemned those scientists who did not share the authors’ view of a science grounded in a leftist conception of ethics. “The predominant attitude among scientists is that science is ethically neutral,” insisted the writers. “So they keep bringing more powerful and uncontrollable means of destruction to the fray.” By the latter, the writers had in mind the global proliferation of new technologies; and their solution dovetailed with the socialist sympathies of INES members: “New forms of public ownership.”
In October 2001, just a month after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, INES published in its monthly newsletter an item called the “Merida Manifesto.” Authored by a group of INES-aligned professors in various Latin American countries, the manifesto, while eschewing a frank endorsement, rationalized the attacks as retribution for “criminal U.S. foreign policy.” Wrote the professors: “We join the short list of those who clearly and strongly condemn the international behavior of the United States government and other imperialist states in the last century and the beginnings of the twenty first. As a matter of fact, such unjustified behavior has been, directly or indirectly, the cause of the death of millions of children and innocent people in general.”
The authors then asserted that the U.S. led-effort to destroy the Taliban and al Qaeda in Afghanistan was the moral equivalent of the September 11th attacks. “This is not to say that we justify in any way the violent events that took place in New York and Washington last September 11,” they wrote. “However, we equally disapprove the violent and murderous response of the U.S.A. government against the people of Afghanistan.” In conclusion, the manifesto counseled against any excessive sympathy for the American victims of September 11: “We must also denounce the unfair and quite disproportionate significance given to the terrorist attack of September 11 by comparison with many other terrorist acts carried out around the world—many of them performed by the U.S. government.”