Excerpts From SourceWatch pages tagged Monsanto along with other news articles that will help to paint a bigger picture for folks who still aren’t getting how damn serious the players in our food wars really are.
More great information can be found in my friend Mr. Shaw’s articles on Monsanto:
From St. Louis Business Journal, September 28, 2011 -
Monsanto buys pest control tech startup
Monsanto Co. said Wednesday it bought Beeologics, a startup that researches and develops biological tools for targeted pest and disease control.
Beeologics’ current biological research projects use a “naturally-occuring process” to provide targeted pest and disease control, Monsanto said. Those projects include a possible product to help protect bee health, including control of Colony Collapse Disorder. Monsanto said that work will continue under its ownership.
Beeologics’ expertise will allow Monsanto to further explore the use of biologicals in agriculture, the company said.
“The connections between Monsanto and the new Bush administration are also very solid. G.W.’s pop, Bush Sr. appointed Clarence Thomas, a Monsanto attorney, to the Supreme Court. Thomas played a key role in the selection of G.W. as president. John Ashcroft, the current attorney general, was the top recipient of Monsanto contributions when he recently tried to get reelected to the U.S. Senate. Donald Rumsfeld, the current secretary of defense, was president of Searle Pharmaceuticals, now owned by Monsanto. Tommy Thompson, now the secretary of Health and Human Services, helped the biotech industry by getting the state of Wisconsin to set up a $37 million biotech zone there. He received $50,000 from the biotech industry for his reelection campaign. The current secretary of Agriculture, Ann Veneman, was on the board of directors of Calgene Pharmaceuticals, an affiliate of Monsanto. Recently, Linda J. Fisher, a former Monsanto official, was nominated by Bush to be second-in-command at the EPA. She was Monsanto’s representative in Washington from 1995 to 2000 and coordinated the company’s strategy to blunt resistance to genetically modified food”
See also GM lobby takes root in Bush’s cabinet.
Other high level government connections include Stansfield Turner, former Director of the CIA and member of the Monsanto Board and Earle H. Harbison former president of Monsanto and CIA officer for 19 years. For still more connections check out the Organic Consumers Association website. See also Revolving Doors.
Monsanto’s close ties are paying off now in Iraq. Article 81 (one of the “100 Orders” Paul Bremer issued “means that in future Iraqi farmers will be forced to plant ‘protected’ crop varieties defined as new, distinct, uniform and stable…. Where ownership of a crop is claimed, seed saving will be banned, and royalties will have to be paid by the farmer to the registered seed “owner”. Farmers will be required to sign contracts relating to seed supply and, probably, to the marketing of the harvest. Where GM crops are involved (and possibly in other cases as well) they will also be required to sign contracts for the purchase of herbicides, insecticides and fertilisers…. The control of all protected varieties will last 20 years for field crops and 25 years for trees and vines. Farmers who save seed or otherwise break their agreements, and farmers unlucky enough to find the adventitious presence of ‘registered varieties’ in their fields, can be prosecuted; or else their harvests, tools and buildings will (may) be destroyed. Conversely, farmers will have no right to claim compensation from the seed owners who, for example, allow their GM crops to pollute organic crops and destroy livelihoods in the process. “In 2002, FAO estimated that 97 percent of Iraqi farmers used saved seed from their own stocks from last year’s harvest or purchased from local markets. When the new law – on plant variety protection (PVP) – is put into effect, seed saving will be illegal and the market will only offer proprietary ‘PVP-protected’ planting material ‘invented’ by transnational agribusiness corporations”
See also Mutant Seeds for Mesopotamia.
Monsanto and the American Farm Bureau have teamed up to sponsor a PBS program called America’s Heartland. The idea, they say, is to educate citizens about farming, but others see a more suspicious motive – the softening of Americans views toward factory farming and genetic engineering. “Having built its California audience with a typically cheerful tone and general avoidance of controversies underlying the state’s food supply, the new national “Heartland” has a two-year financial commitment, station officials said, from the powerful voice of the nation’s farming establishment, the American Farm Bureau Federation, and St. Louis-based agribusiness giant Monsanto Co. Both sponsors decline, as does KVIE, to say how much they’re spending. But the investment is significant. ‘It takes seven figures to produce a show like this,’ said Jan Tilmon, KVIE vice president for content and a creator of “California Heartland.” “We project that the first season of the program will be available in markets totaling more than 60 percent of the nation’s viewers … reaching more than 71 million households.” says Jim O’Donnell, Director of Program Marketing, KVIE-TV ”Former U.S. Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman of Modesto has also helped introduce the new national show by talking up ‘a tremendous amount of viewers’ for the California version”. This comes at a time when public broadcasting is increasingly coming under major control of Republican interests…
Gates Open For Monsanto In Africa
Skimming the Agricultural Development section of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation web site is a feel-good experience: African farmers smile in a bright slide show of images amid descriptions of the foundation’s fight against poverty and hunger. But biosafety activists in South Africa are calling a program funded by the Gates Foundation a “Trojan horse” to open the door for private agribusiness and genetically engineered (GE) seeds, including a drought-resistant corn that Monsanto hopes to have approved in the United States and abroad.
The Water Efficient Maize for Africa (WEMA) program was launched in 2008 with a $47 million grant from mega-rich philanthropists Warrant Buffet and Bill Gates. The program is supposed to help farmers in several African countries increase their yields with drought- and heat-tolerant corn varieties, but a report released last month by the African Centre for Biosafety claims WEMA is threatening Africa’s food sovereignty and opening new markets for agribusiness giants like Monsanto.
The Gates Foundation claims that biotechnology, GE crops and Western agricultural methods are needed to feed the world’s growing population and programs like WEMA will help end poverty and hunger in the developing world. Critics say the foundation is using its billions to shape the global food agenda and the motivations behind WEMA were recently called into question when activists discovered the Gates foundation had spent $27.6 million on 500,000 shares of Monsanto stock between April and June 2010.
Water shortages in parts of Africa and beyond have created a market for “climate ready” crops worth an estimated $2.7 billion. Leading biotech companies like Monsanto, Syngenta, Bayer and Dow are currently racing to develop crops that will grow in drought conditions caused by climate change, and by participating in the WEMA program, Monsanto is gaining a leg up by establishing new markets and regulatory approvals for its patented transgenes in five Sub-Saharan African countries, according to the Centre’s report.
Monsanto teamed up with BASF, another industrial giant, to donate technology and transgenes to WEMA and its partner organizations. Seed companies and researchers will receive the GE seed for free and small-scale farmers can plant the corn without making the royalty payments that Monsanto usually demands from farmers each season.
Farmers in India are finding that the “biotechnology revolution” is having a devastating effect on their crop lands and personal debt levels. “In 1998, the World Bank’s structural adjustment policies forced India to open up its seed sector to global corporations like Cargill, Monsanto, and Syngenta. The global corporations changed the input economy overnight. Farm saved seeds were replaced by corporate seeds which needed fertilizers and pesticides and could not be saved” Says Vandana Shiva, leader of the movement to oust Monsanto from India.
See also Monsanto in India.
Mexican maize mischief
Dr Ignacio Chapela, Associate Professor at UC Berkeley and graduate student David Quist were the target of attack by Monsanto after publishing a paper in the science journal Nature telling of contamination of indiginous Mexican maize (corn) with GMOs. The lead-up to the incident, however, is downright spooky (1). Still, Chapela was determined to publish what they found. So Monsanto employed the services of a firm called Bivings Group which used a phony e-mail campaign to persuade the prestigious science journal Nature to retract the paper, the first time in the publication´s 133 year history that it had ever retracted a paper.
See also Monsanto’s Mexican Maize Mischief.
Monsanto, agent Orange, dioxins & Plan Columbia
The following is excerpted from The Legacy of Agent Orange.
“Agent Orange was manufactured by Monsanto, Dow Chemicals (manufacturers of napalm), Uniroyal, Hercules, Diamond Shamrock, Thompson Chemical and TH Agriculture. Monsanto [was] the main supplier. The Agent Orange produced by Monsanto had dioxin levels many times higher than that produced by Dow Chemicals, the other major supplier of Agent Orange to Vietnam…. Monsanto’s involvement with the production of dioxin contaminated 2,4,5-T dates back to the late 1940s. ‘Almost immediately workers started getting sick with skin rashes, inexplicable pains in the limbs, joints and other parts of the body, weakness, irritability, nervousness and loss of libido,’ to quote Peter Sills, author of a forthcoming book on dioxins. Internal Monsanto memos show that Monsanto knew of the problems but once again a cover-up was the order of the day…. Operation Hades, later changed to Operation Ranch Hand, sprayed 6 million acres of forest in Vietnam, 19 million gallons of defoliant. The intention was to turn Vietnam into desert, to cause such destruction that Vietnam would never recover…. The most gruesome legacy caused by spraying Vietnam with dioxin contaminated Agent Orange was that born by the Vietnamese themselves. In a locked room of Tu Du Obstetrical and Gynaecological Hospital in Saigon are rows of formaldehyde-filled jars containing deformed fetuses, a grotesque illustration of Man’s inhumanity to Man. The level of poverty in Vietnam prevents the preservation of further examples. Many of the living have fared little better, limb deformities, cancers.”
“The Vietnamese government estimates that three million Vietnamese were exposed to these chemicals during the war, and that at least 800,000 suffer serious health problems today as a result”.
Monsanto has sued many a farmer when their GM crops have turned up on the farmer’s fields even though the farmers say they never planted them. For an alarming expose of Monsanto’s legal battles with American farmers see the report Monsanto vs. U.S. Farmers.
In the Washington Post article (Jan 1, 2002) “Monsanto Hid Decades Of Pollution PCBs Drenched Ala. Town, But No One Was Ever Told” a grim story of Monsanto’s treacherous behavior in Anniston Alabama was revealed. It is summed up in this chilling paragraph: “They also know that for nearly 40 years, while producing the now-banned industrial coolants known as PCBs at a local factory, Monsanto Co. routinely discharged toxic waste into a west Anniston creek and dumped millions of pounds of PCBs into oozing open-pit landfills. And thousands of pages of Monsanto documents — many emblazoned with warnings such as “CONFIDENTIAL: Read and Destroy” — show that for decades, the corporate giant concealed what it did and what it knew.”
See also Monsanto’s Global Pollution Legacy.
Monsanto & world food crisis
Monsanto, ever on the lookout for a new financial opportunity, especially one which, on the surface at least, appears to be benevolent found one in biofuels. The growing of corn, in Monsanto’s case, genetically engineered corn, for the production of ethanol purportedly to reduce the use of fossil fuels. Unfortunately though, as is often the case with Monsanto, this silver lining has a rather large and ominous cloud, and in the massive diversion of land once used to grow food to growing crops for the fueling of automobiles yet another crisis has ensued. In early 2010, Monsanto, along with other biotech companies and philanthropists, became involved in an ongoing project designed to develop new African drought-tolerant maize varieties. While the new seeds promise increased yields during drought years, the project (specifically Monsanto’s involvement) is not without controversy.
See also Monsanto and the World Food Crisis.
Disinformation Tools, Lobbyists and Campaigns
Monsanto gave $658,207 to federal candidates in the 2010 election cycle through its political action committee (PAC) – 48% to Democrats, 52% to Republicans.
Monsanto spent $6,560,000 for lobbying in 2010. $1,030,000 was to outside lobbying firms with the remainder being spent using in-house lobbyists.
The Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF) (formerly called the “Guest Choice Network (GCN)”) is a front group for the restaurant, alcohol, tobacco and other industries. It runs media campaigns which oppose the efforts of scientists, doctors, health advocates, animal advocates, environmentalists and groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving, calling them “the Nanny Culture — the growing fraternity of food cops, health care enforcers, anti-meat activists, and meddling bureaucrats who ‘know what’s best for you.’”
CCF is registered as a tax-exempt, non-profit organization under the IRS code 501(c)(3). Its advisory board is comprised mainly of representatives from the restaurant, meat and alcoholic beverage industries.
- Monstanto Buys Influence In Universities (misbehavedwoman.wordpress.com)
- Monsanto trying to take over world seed supply, nation by nation. (thetruthiswhere.wordpress.com)
- The World According to Monsanto …………. (2012patriot.wordpress.com)
- Boycott GMO Companies Such as Dean Foods – From OCA (karinconway.wordpress.com)
- Nebraska – Duped By Monsanto (misbehavedwoman.wordpress.com)
- Monsanto Global Seed Monopoly ??? (2012patriot.wordpress.com)
- The Politics of Food (powerofslow.wordpress.com)
- Organic farmers expand lawsuit against Monsanto (blogs.nature.com)
- Oregon farmers wait anxiously on Monsanto ‘Round Up’ Ruling (newsfortheproactive.com)
- David Vs Monsanto: Parts 1 and 2. (thetruthiswhere.wordpress.com)
- You Are Eating Genetically Modified Foods ??? (2012patriot.wordpress.com)