MONSANTO CORPORATION - Page 3

Proof of Monsanto's Evil Is Readily Available All Over The Web - Spread Out . .
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Monsanto: Typical Criminal Corporation
or
An Analysis of the Collusion Between Corporations and the Bodies That Regulate Them

Part 1

by Alex Ko

I hope to show that many of the institutions (e.g. Congress) and regulatory bodies (e.g. FDA, EPA) that have been created and entrusted to protect the public interests have been sadly corrupted by the very wealthy. Rather than protecting public health and safeguarding public interest, these bodiesí goals are to comply with the wishes of the corporations and subvert the will of the people. I know, I know, say it isnít so, but see for yourself...

Who is Monsanto Anyway?

"Without chemicals, life itself would not be possible."
-Monsanto Advertisement

Since before the Cold War, Monsanto has faithfully churned out an innumerable variety of both industrial and consumer chemicals. Monsanto has had its greedy corporate hands in chemical ventures that range from the widely used herbicide Roundup (their largest profit maker, totaling annual sales of $9 billion)(1) to dioxin 2,4,5-T, "one of the most powerful carcinogens known" (2), a key component in the defoliant Agent Orange. Like other producers of chemicals (e.g. Dow and Dupont), Monsanto has been to court numerous times due to the alleged cover-ups of data which showed their chemicals to be unfit for human use, most notably, Monsantoís involvement in the creation of dioxin and its subsequent use in Agent Orange.

Although, Monsanto has primarily been a corporation that makes chemicals, they have more recently branched out into the growing agriculture biotechnology market; they have been prolific in research and development in this field. Monsanto researchers pioneered the development and creation of rBGH (bovine growth hormone), and they have spliced genes and re-arranged DNA in plants like soybeans and corn [for more about Monsanto, rBGH, and recent cover-ups, see below. -Ed.] Indeed, it is in the field of genetic engineering that Monsanto has become most dominant. "Over the past two decades. Monsanto has positioned itself as the industry leader, spending $1.5 billion on genetic research in a bid to grab the lionís share of what could be an $8 billion-a-year market for DNA-enhanced farm products."(3) Monsanto has begun to successfully market and sell a variety of genetically engineered seeds to many small farmers and larger players in agro-business. Everything from potatoes that have built in pesticides to soybeans that are engineered to be herbicide-resistant have been birthed from the labs of Monsanto and sold to consumers in Europe and in the U.S.

These high-yield bio-engineered foods are often created by the marriage of very disparate genetic stock. Genes from viruses, bacteria, other animals like chicken and fish are readily spliced into the genetic code of fruits and vegetables. These jigsaw puzzle oddities have been heralded as what will feed the ever expanding human population, and these genetically engineered foods are said to help to end the global food shortage. Well, at least the folks at Monsanto think so.

Manna From the Laboratory

Many of you readers may have been upset or even repulsed by the fact that genes from viruses and bacteria are now being spliced into food. I share your concern, and I donít think that my reservations spring from a Luddite fear of technology. It is intuitive for one to think that unhindered and unregulated tampering with DNA is maybe, oh I donít know, a potential ecological nightmare. The effects of adding many anomalous life forms into the Eco-system is truly incalculable. Whatever your feelings on this issue are, both the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have already approved such practices. These organizations have also approved the introduction of these new plants into the Eco-system.

Many individual farmers are now using seeds produced by Monsanto that have pesticides like Bacillus thringiensis (Bt)-- a toxic bacterium once applied topically-- built into their genetic make-up. Likewise, cotton farmers and potato farmers are now planting crops that are genetically altered to be herbicide resistant, which allows them to use Monsantoís herbicide Round-Up without fear of damaging crops. These plants have also been engineered to die if they are treated with any other broad-spectrum herbicide (4). If Monsanto can have enough of their Monsanto-specific seed stock into the marketplace, then they can feasibly gain large influence over small farmers and the larger agro-business industry. The implications here are enormous. Monsantoís effects on both the ecology of this planet and the day-to-day lives of farmers is potentially detrimental. Rather than fully examining these issues I have raised (I trust that I have sufficiently piqued your interest, so go out there and find out for yourself), I will instead try to answer the troubling questions of: How the hell did this happen? Why was Monsanto not stopped?

They Own Everbody

"The fact that there were problems in a business is not a crime. Every business has problems. Some businesses have very serious problems. That is not a crime. But if you have problems in your business and you lie to cover-up the problems, and you lie to your clients who are paying you to conduct studies, and you lie to the government agencies who are responsible for regulating your business, then you are committing a crime..."
-U.S. Attorney Scott Lassar

Monsanto has had a history of eluding regulation of their products and prosecution for lying about product toxicity. Unfortunately, this may in large part be as much the fault of the regulatory bodies as it is due to Monsanto. For example, Monsanto was in court for years due to their involvement with Agent Orange, a defoliant used in the Vietnam War by U.S. forces. This defoliant contained hormones, which induced a cancerous growth rate in plants, causing them to grow until they exploded. Unfortunately for both the plants and U.S. troops, one of Agent Orangeís active ingredients was the chemical dioxin. A very minute amount of dioxin is terribly carcinogenic. Three ounces of dioxin in the New York City water supply would kill the entire population. An estimated thirty pounds of dioxin was dumped on Vietnam.(5) Many vets who came home were very ill, and some of their children were born with terrible deformities.

The EPA finally banned the use of Agent Orange in 1979, and it later began to look into the role that dioxin played in the veteransí illness. Initially, Monsanto and Dow Chemical completely denied any wrongdoing in the matter. They produced scientific document after scientific document, which "demonstrated" that "there is absolutely no evidence for dioxin doing any damage to humans except for causing something called chloracne. Itís a rash."(6) Vietnam veterans eventually successfully sued Monsanto, Dow, and several other corporations and won a large settlement. However, Monsanto continued to claim that it had no knowledge of dioxinís carcinogenic properties. It was this denial, and documents supporting it which allowed less regulation of dioxin by the EPA. It was not until the late 1980ís that the EPA discovered that many of Monsantoís scientific studies were flawed. In specific, the information supplied by Monsanto that the EPA relied on to conclude that dioxin was safe, was found to be completely false.(7) Company files documenting knowledge of dioxin's ill effects were discovered as were data showing that Monsantoís scientists doctored their dioxin studies.(8) In the 1990's, Dioxin was finally regulated as it should have been. Meanwhile, had Monsanto already made a fortune off it. There is a definite pattern to this inept process of regulations. Monsanto gives false information to regulatory agencies. These agencies then use this data as the basis of regulations concerning Monsanto. The public is, in turn, victimized by agencies and processes that are mean to protect them.

Moreover, people within the regulatory body often have ties to Monsanto. This is one of the chief reasons why regulation of biotechnology has been so lax. Companies can buy and sell officials like pieces of candy. For example, Linda Fisher, who runs Monsantoís Washington division, used to run the EPA division responsible for regulating plant pesticides and their use.(9) The very people in charge of regulation are courted and hired by Monsanto, and they are then used as liaisons to places like the FDA and EPA. This is a well documented corporate tactic. Corporations offer people in government a cushy job, and they nicely do what theyíre told while theyíre in their governmental position.

The Libertarians among you are now forming your anti-government arguments right now: private, non-governmental oversight is whatís needed, we should never have allowed them to do the regulating in the first place. Okay fair enough... I tackle the myth of private regulation and oversight next time.

Please feel free to e-mail me at alexk@ucla.edu if you want to talk about the evil that men and women do. Or if you just want to talk about the inherent chaos/absurdity of the post-modern world, or the beautiful poetry of men engaging in competition or the possibility that "its" all being orchestrated by inter-dimensional gods or...

Sources:
1. "No Way Around Round-Up." M. Arax and J. Brokaw. Mother Jones. Jan/Feb 1997.
2. "Corporate Crime and Violence: Agent Orange." R. Mokhiber. Sierra Club Books.
3. "A Growing Concern." S.Benson et al. Mother Jones. Jan/Feb 1997.
4. Same as citation 1.
5. Same as citation 2.
6. Same as citation 2.
7. "Crimes Against Environment: Due Process and the Nova Scotia Herbicide Trial." C. Goff.
8. "Anatomy of a Cover-Up." L.C. Caster. The Nation. Nov.30,1992.
9. "Paid Protection." R. Burstein. Mother Jones. Jan/Feb 1997.

This time around, Alex Ko is a 5' 8.5", 155 lb. Korean male with an insatiable for good food and fine women. He is currently preparing for the Galactic Synchronization with Hunab Ku, the Eternal Source, which will occur in our local space/time continuum at December 2012. Alex hopes that the ensuing collapse of "reality" will still allow the existence of Korean cuisine.

Monsanto and Censorship

Just as I was finishing editing this issue of NW, I was referred to a webpage which coincidentally involved more evil shite by the Monsanto Company. I will sum it up, but I strongly encourage all of you to read one article at www.monitor.net/rachel/r593.html, and check out more info at www.foxbghsuit.com. And www.monsanto.com, if you want to see what they've got to say.

Essentially, TV reporters Jane Akre and Steve Wilson were fired from their jobs at Fox Channel 13 WTVT in Tampa, Florida because they wrote a deep, important piece about rBGh (a synthetic chemical which allows cows to produce more milk) and Monsanto, and refused to back down or dilute the story when asked to by their superiors.

Akre and Wilson did a four-part investigative report rBGH, its potential health effects, the use of rBGH by local farmers, the distribution of milk in Florida which may or may not have come from cows treated with rBGH, and the claims and counterclaims regarding the drug from Monsanto and other scientists.

I read the full transcript of the report and was extremely impressed. It was well-done, in-depth, pretty objective, and important. I didn't know that TV journalism could be this good; and evidently, it can't, as they lost their jobs over it and the story was never aired. The report had a number of important revelations. Publicly, Monsanto claims that there are no ill-effects of drinking milk from cows treated with rBGh, but Akre and Wilson show that rBGh is seen as potentially dangerous by many scientists, and by Monsanto's own internal documents. Specifically, rBGH stimulates increased production of a hormone called IGF-1, which causes the cows to produce more milk. Studies show that this leads to increased levels of IGF-1 in the milk itself (although the amount of the increase is disputed), and IGF-1 has been linked to increased rates of cancer in humans. The scientists interviewed seemed to think that more tests should be done to verify health risks, and implied that the drug should not be used until reliable results are available.

In addition, the report shows that Monsanto's health effects research that allowed the drug's passage by the FDA was amazingly brief, misleading, and fraudulent (but as we see from Alex's article above, Monsanto is no novice in that area). Akre and Wilson questioned local farmers, and found that nearly all farmers in Florida use Monsanto's rBGH in their cows, so it would be virtually impossible for a concerned consumer in the area to get non-rBGH milk. In fact, dairies which have tried to label their milk as "rBGH-free" have been sued and intimidated by Monsanto. This story is an incredibly valid issue of public health in the community, and country.

And finally, when the journalists tried to point out a potential health problem, one that could cost the Monsanto Company money, the Monsanto sent its legal staff to get WTVT. The station caved, and edited the story to be softer, misleading, even occasionally false. When Akre and Wilson refused to air the story, they were harassed and cajoled until they were finally fired. Akre and Wilson are currently suing WTVT, claiming that the station attempted to knowingly broadcast lies, which is a violation of FCC rules.

This is of course disturbing for a number of reasons: Explicit corporate vetoes of important news stories; human health at risk due to a drive for profit; the failure of regulatory bodies to protect the public; infringement of free speech of individuals (the small dairies) by pressure from the wealthy; the inability for the public to choose to not have these potentially dangerous chemicals used to produce their food. It is the sort of thing which we all know happens regularly, but that we don't see in such clear terms very often.

One NewsWatch reader wrote to me some weeks ago saying that media is very good at pointing out problems, but does not give helpful information or ideas about solving the problems. I think that this is one within our grasp. I think that politicians and merchants could be easily moved by a little organized opposition. Call or write your local representatives, sending them the information on the webpages listed above. Spread the word to your friends. Contact your local market and tell them your concerns about rBGH used on your milk. Insist on speaking with managers and corporate representatives. Tell them you at least want the option to buy non-rBGH milk. Contact the dairies themselves. Maybe even boycott the stores. Spread the word to as many people as you can. I think that many people will be willing to do something about this because it is their own health at risk. And I think that the businesses and politicians will be susceptible to public pressure, as neither wants to be linked to letting their customers and constituents get cancer. I think that pressure could lead to, at the very least, the use of labels to identify milk from cows treated with rBGH.

Sources: Rachel's Health and Environment Weekly #593, Fox BGH Suit website, Monsanto website

Random Quote of the Issue:

"We paid $3 Billion for these television stations. We will decide what the news is. The news is what we tell you it is."
-David Boylan, station manager of Fox WTVT Channel 13 in Tampa Florida, to reporters Steve Wilson and Jane Akre, after they refused to broadcast an edited version of their news story about bovine growth hormone and the Monsanto Company. Wilson and Akre felt that the edited version was misleading and false. After several months of dispute over the story, Wilson and Akre were fired, without the story being broadcast.

Proof of Monsanto's Evil Is Readily Available All Over The Web - Spread Out . .
So I Am Providing This Dedicated Site To Bring It All Together.
Page 2 | Page 3 | Page 4 | Page 5 | Page 6 | Page 7 | Page 8
Page 9 | Page 10 | Page 11 | Page 12 | Page 13