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Monsanto Propaganda Machine At Work

Carey Gillam reports. Pariah Monsanto has now been exposed deploying its dishonest propaganda machine in the court of public opinion in a sophisticated attempt to whitewash its deadly yet very profitable glyphosate-based herbicide.
The strategy has been to generate outrage over supposed and concocted flaws in the scientific process which led glyphosate’s jaw-dropping listing as a “probable human carcinogen.”
That cited ‘independent scientist’? Turns out he’s actually on the Monsanto payroll. ‘Court document’ citations? Turns out they were NOT public court documents after all, but instead were cherry-picked tidbits fed to the ‘accommodating’ reporter. ‘Accomodating reporter’ Kelland? Turns out she herself has undisclosed ties to Monsanto.
This latest serial episode reminds us – yet once again – to NEVER, ever believe anything coming from Monsanto. Jim

“A widely circulated story published June 14 in the global news outlet Reuters (for which I formerly worked) laid out what appeared to be a scandalous story of hidden information and a secretive scientist, “exclusive” revelations that the story said could have altered a critical 2015 classification that associated Monsanto’s Roundup to cancer and triggered waves of lawsuits against Monsanto…

“Authored by Reuters’ reporter Kate Kelland, who has a history of cozy relations with a group partly funded by agrichemical company interests, the piece accused a top epidemiologist from the U.S. National Cancer Institute of failing to share “important” scientific data with other scientists as they all worked together assessing the herbicide glyphosate for the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). That group reviewed a wide body of research on glyphosate and determined in March of 2015 that the pesticide should be classified as a probable human carcinogen. Had the group known of this missing data, it’s conclusion could have been different, according to Reuters.

.. “The story was particularly timely given glyphosate and Roundup are at the center of mass litigation in the United States and under scrutiny by U.S. and European regulators. After the IARC classification, Monsanto was sued by more than 1,000 people in the United States who claim they or their loved ones got non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) from exposure to Monsanto’s glyphosate-based Roundup and the company and the cases could start going to trial next year. Roundup is the most widely used herbicide in the world and brings in billions of dollars a year for Monsanto. The company insists the IARC classification is meritless and the chemical is proven safe by decades of research…

“And finally, in an odd exclusion, the story fails to disclose that Kelland herself has at least tangential ties to Monsanto and friends. Kelland has helped promote an organization called the Science Media Centre, a group whose aim is to connect certain scientists such as Tarone with journalists like Kelland, and which gets its largest block of funding from corporations that include the agrichemical industry. Current and past funders include Monsanto, Monsanto’s proposed merger partner Bayer AG, DuPont and agrichemical industry lobbyist CropLife International. Kelland appears in a promotional video for SMC touting the group and authored an essay applauding the SMC that appeared in a SMC promotional report. ”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/594449eae4b0940f84fe2e57

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Monsanto Exposed Once Again

To gain an understanding of Monsanto by studying its history leads to the comprehension it represents a serious threat not only to our families – and the environment – but also to undermining the foundation of our democratic institutions.
This hard-hitting, no nonsense article from Australia penetrates the fake Monsanto facade and reveals its inner darkness. Jim

“Monsanto, one of the world’s biggest pesticide and seed corporations and leading developer of genetically modified crop varieties, had a stock market value of US$66 billion in 2014. It has gained this position by a combination of deceit, threat, litigation, destruction of evidence, falsified data, bribery, takeovers and cultivation of regulatory bodies.

“Its rise and torrid controversies cover a long period starting with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs, chemicals used as insulators for electrical transformers) in the 1940s and moving on to dioxin (a contaminant of Agent Orange used to defoliate Vietnam), glyphosate (the active ingredient in Roundup herbicide), recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH, a hormone injected into dairy cows to increase their milk production), and genetic modified organisms (GMOs).

“Its key aim in dealing with health and environmental issues is to protect sales and profits and the company image. The latter has been a monumental failure, making Monsanto potentially the most hated corporation in the world…

“As a result, the regulators have by and large facilitated Monsanto’s interests. A former EPA manager, William Sanjour, said: ‘Unfortunately the EPA is more concerned with protecting the interests of companies than with defending the public interest’…

“The extent to which Monsanto uses bribery is not known. One example that was revealed was the $700,000 paid to Indonesian officials between 1997 and 2002 to facilitate the introduction of GM cotton to that country. The US Department of Justice fined Monsanto $1.5 million for this bribery…

“Monsanto has been caught falsifying studies on PCB; 2,4,5-T; and dioxin. It also concealed dioxin levels in Agent Orange (the defoliant used in the Vietnam War) to maintain that lucrative market. Adverse data were destroyed or withheld…

“In the criminal trial in 2002 over the poisoning of residents in Anniston, Mississippi, by the Monsanto PCB factory, a US judge said Monsanto’s conduct was ‘so outrageous in character and extreme in degree as to go beyond all possible bounds of decency, so as to be regarded as atrocious and utterly intolerable in civilized society’…

“In 2013, the Supreme Court of Virginia upheld a ruling fining Monsanto $93 million for poisoning the town of Nitro with Agent Orange chemicals.

“Monsanto’s strategy in getting control of the world’s food system has so far been successful, relying on government support, effective advertising, intimidation and litigation.

But public opposition is mounting. Huge numbers of people around the world took part in the March Against Monsanto in 2015. The organic industry in the US is booming because this is the only way consumers can choose non-GM foods. Farmers are starting to reject GM seeds. However, there is a long way to go before Monsanto falls.”

https://www.greenleft.org.au/content/how-monsanto-seeks-agricultural-domination

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Monsanto Dealt Major Blow in Mexico

The Monsanto-led TEN-YEAR campaign to force its transgenic (GE) corn on Mexico appears to have failed. Mexico is the world-renowned birthplace of maize. In this ruling, Monsanto’s attacks on Indigenous and peasant farmers has been dealt a stunning defeat by Mexico’s highest court.
“…Mexico’s Supreme Court refused to review an appeals court decision from 2013, which in effect will allow the appeals court to verify the suspension of permits for the planting of GE corn grain and uphold the enforcement of the ban throughout the country. The original decision included a declaration that the benefits of GMO corn remain unproven.”
Devon Pena translates this article fromthe Mexican newspaper ‘La Journada.’ Jim https://ejfood.blogspot.com/…/monsanto-in-mexico-breaking-n…

“The first chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (SCJN) refused to review or analyze an amparo promoted by the company Monsanto, with which the multinational intended that the maximum court of the country pronounce on the final status of the issuance of commercial permits for the sowing of transgenic maize…

“The lawyer of the Corn Collective, René Sánchez Galindo, explained that last Wednesday in a private meeting, the Supreme Court justices evaluated the appeal that Monsanto filed. None of the justices endorsed the company’s request, which is a requirement for the Court to place it on iys docket, as individuals cannot impose these requirements.”

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Monsanto Trying to Hide from Public

Just what is Monsanto trying to cover up? Soon the world may strike the mother lode as Monsanto’s deepest, darkest secrets appear destined for a public disrobing.
In court transcripts, District Court Judge Vince Chhabria has signaled his lack of patience and disgust for Monsanto’s relentless penchant to keep all-things-secret. Ace journalist Carey Gillam reports. Jim

“The transcript of a recent court hearing reveals that Judge Vince Chhabria, who is overseeing a combination of more than 55 lawsuits filed against Monsanto in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, warned Monsanto that many documents it is turning over in discovery will not be kept sealed despite the company’s pleas for privacy. He threatened to impose sanctions if Monsanto persists in ‘overbroad’ efforts to keep relevant documents out of public view.

“The litigation against Monsanto has been filed by people from around the United States who allege that exposure to Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide caused them or their loved ones to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a type of cancer that originates in the lymphatic system and has been on the rise in recent decades. While those lawsuits are being handled together as ‘multi-district litigation’ (MDL) in San Francisco, hundreds of other plaintiffs are making similar allegations in multiple state courts as well. And the teams of lawyers involved say they are continuing to meet with prospective additional plaintiffs.

“‘I have a problem with Monsanto, because it’s —- it is insisting that stuff be filed under seal that should not be filed under seal,’ Judge Chhabria stated in the hearing. When documents are ‘relevant to the litigation, they shouldn’t be under seal, even if they are not – are embarrassing to Monsanto, you know, even if Monsanto doesn’t like what they say’…

“The central question to the mass of lawsuits is causation – can Roundup cause cancer, and has Monsanto wrongly covered up or ignored the risks. But the litigation is also threatening to pull back a curtain of secrecy that cloaks the government’s work with Monsanto and its assessment of glyphosate, the key ingredient in Roundup.”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/judge-threatens-to-sanction-monsanto-for-secrecy-in_us_58c2de66e4b0c3276fb78433

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Merger Plans Against Solid Anti-Trust History

Excellent article providing good background and insight by our friend, Vermont organic farmer Will Allen (author of ‘The War on Bugs’).
In 1967, a federal judge backed the government’s fully justified Anti-Trust action and “ordered Monsanto to sell all of its interest—50 percent—in Mobay back to Bayer.”
It’s time to respect that precedent and nix this outrageous anti-competitive merger of malevolent Monsanto & Bayer – plus similar proposed monopolistic mergers involving other ‘Big Six’ Chem/Biotech players Dow, Dupont and Syngenta. Jim

“Fifty years ago, the Monsanto and Bayer corporations were forced to separate in order to avoid violating basic antitrust regulations. U.S. courts declared that the two chemical giants, when operating together under the name Mobay, stymied market competition and comprised a monopoly that could not stand…

“In addition to market control, Bayer’s proposed purchase is aimed at steadying a reeling Monsanto, which is mired in turmoil from a long list of objectionable activities involving toxic pesticides and its increasingly unpopular genetically-modified organisms. Ironically, given its own sullied past that includes Nazi sympathizing and marketing heroin-laced cough syrup for children, Bayer is being portrayed as the one riding to the rescue of Monsanto’s poor public image. If anything, it’s a sign of just how low the Monsanto brand and reputation has plummeted, forcing it to try and improve its image by sidling up to Bayer, a participant in some of the cruelest crimes in human history.”

http://www.alternet.org/environment/monsanto-bayers-chemical-romance-heroin-nerve-gas-agent-orange

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Explosive Internal EPA Documents

Now explosive formerly internal EPA documents may blow wide open multiple glyphosate lawsuits against Monsanto.

Meanwhile, covering all bases, Monsanto-friendly federal legislation that would retroactively gut ALL class action lawsuits is being filed by House Judiciary Chair Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA). Jim

“…But in the correspondence, longtime EPA toxicologist Marion Copley cites evidence from animal studies and writes: ‘It is essentially certain that glyphosate causes cancer.’

“Attorneys for the plaintiffs declined to say how they obtained the correspondence, which is dated March 4, 2013. The date of the letter comes after Copley left the EPA in 2012 and shortly before she died from breast cancer at the age of 66 in January 2014. She accuses Rowland of having ‘intimidated staff’ to change reports to favor industry, and writes that research on glyphosate, the key ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup, shows the pesticide should be categorized as a ‘probable human carcinogen.’ The International Agency for Research on Cancer, an arm of the World Health Organization, declared as much – that glyphosate was a probable human carcinogen – in March 2015 after reviewing multiple scientific studies. Monsanto has rejected that classification and has mounted a campaign to discredit IARC scientists…

“‘The bill is designed to ensure that no class action could ever be brought or litigated for anyone,’ said Joanne Doroshow, executive director of the Center for Justice & Democracy. ‘It would obliterate civil rights, antitrust, consumer, essentially every class action in America.'”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/carey-gillam/questions-about-epa-monsa_b_14727648.html

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Mexico Continues to Nix GE Corn

Congratulations to Mexico which is exercising its prerogative to prevent the growing of GE corn crops.
GE corn, in particular, is a losing proposition which endangers Mexico, the birthplace of corn. More generally, GE crops disadvantge the public interest and promotes seed consolidation and corporate control since unlike traditional seeds, contractual restraints prevent farmers from replanting their own seed. Additionally, the documented increase in chemical usage associated with GE crops has negative impacts on both people and the environment. Jim

“A ban on planting genetically modified corn in Mexico is likely to continue for years as a slow-moving legal battle grinds on, said a top executive of U.S.-based seed and agrochemical company Monsanto Co.

“Last week, a Mexican court upheld a late 2013 ruling that temporarily halted even pilot plots of GMO corn following a legal challenge over its effects on the environment.

“‘It’s going to take a long while for all the evidence to be presented,’ Monsanto regional corporate director Laura Tamayo said in an interview. ‘I think we’re talking years’…

“Mexico is the birthplace of modern corn, domesticated about 8,000 years ago and today the planet’s most-produced grain…

“Critics say genetically modified corn plantings will contaminate age-old native varieties…”

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-mexico-monsanto-idUSKBN15E1DJ

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Monsanto Bullies EPA Over Glyphosate

More illegitimate Monsanto self-serving political pressure has been exposed.
Monsanto’s ill-gotten fortunes have been based upon glyphosate (primary ingredient in their deadly ‘Roundup’ herbicide). Now additional evidence demonstrates they are investing their considerable political power to protect this ticking-time-bomb cash cow.
The shameful EPA has now buckled under heavy industry pressure to stall on glyphosate review despite the fact that last year an arm of the World Health Organization designated glyphosate as a “probable human carcinogen.” Jim

“This might have been a tough week for Monsanto Co. The Environmental Protection Agency was slated to hold four days of public meetings focused on essentially one question: Is glyphosate, the world’s most widely used herbicide and the lynchpin to Monsanto’s fortunes, as safe as Monsanto has spent 40 years telling us it is?

“But oddly, the EPA Scientific Advisory Panel (SAP) meetings, called to look at potential glyphosate ties to cancer, were ‘postponed’ just four days before they were to begin Oct. 18, after intense lobbying by the agrichemical industry…

“‘This is outrageous. The industry wants to say that our own government scientists, the top ones in their fields, aren’t good enough for these panels,’ said Michael Hansen, senior staff scientist at the Consumers Union. ‘If the EPA wants to add extra epidemiologists that is great but why didn’t they do it before? They are doing this because of pressure from industry.’

“The industry clearly has much at stake, as does the public. Glyphosate is the key ingredient in Monsanto’s branded Roundup herbicides as well as herbicides marketed by numerous agrichemical companies around the world. It is also the key to what has been 20 years of sales of genetically engineered glyphosate-tolerant crops developed by Monsanto. The future sales of both the chemical and the crops are being jeopardized by the mounting concerns that glyphosate can cause cancer and other illnesses or disease.”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/carey-gillam/epa-bows-to-chemical-indu_b_12563438.html

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Good Background on Proposed Bayer-Monsanto Merger

A properly functioning anti-trust regulatory structure would quickly dismantle – as unacceptably monopolistic – the proposed record-sized merger of mega micreants Monsanto & Bayer.
Meanwhile, the three-day peoples’ Tribunal begins today in the Netherlands. The Tribunal “will adopt the format of the UN’s international court of justice but will have no standing in law” (https://www.theguardian.com/…/monsanto-staged-stunt-gm-seed…). Jim

“The Big Ag tech giants Monsanto — maker of Agent Orange, genetically modified seeds and weed-whacking chemicals — and Bayer — famed for manufacturing poison gas for Nazi concentration camp use, heroin, baby aspirin and systemic pesticides — are merging. Food security advocates, consumers and non-zombies worldwide are deeply concerned…

“Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders describes the mega-deal as ‘a threat to all Americans.’

“‘These mergers boost the profits of huge corporations and leave Americans paying even higher prices,’ he said…

“On October 15-16, a panel of six internationally renowned judges will hear testimony from 30 witnesses covering five continents where there are reports of injury by Monsanto’s products. This grassroots-led international citizens’ tribunal and People’s Assembly will culminate in November with the release of advisory opinions prepared by the judges. The tribunal’s work, which includes making the case for corporations to be prosecuted for ecocide, is all the more relevant because of the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) announced plan to ‘prioritize crimes that result in the ‘destruction of the environment,’ ‘exploitation of natural resources’ and the ‘illegal dispossession’ of land,’ according to a report in The Guardian UK.”

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/37971-monsanto-bayer-the-year-of-merging-dangerously

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Opposition Grows to Ag Mega Mergers

A growing number of Americans are saying ‘NO’ to proposed mergers underway by multinational corporations – such as the one between Monsanto and Bayer. Industry consolidation and increased monopoly control lessens competition and works against the interests of both farmers and the people.
The US Dept of Justice needs to do its job and enforce Anit-Trust laws on the books. Jim

“‘The continuing consolidation of seed and pesticide companies essentially creates a monopoly of toxicity in control of the world’s seed market and food supply. These agrichemical giants threaten the availability and genetic diversity of seeds that are critical to a sustainable food system and to our ability to respond to the impacts of climate change,’ Andrew Kimbrell, executive director of Center for Food Safety, said Tuesday…

“‘I’m afraid this consolidation wave has become a tsunami,’ said Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley, the Republican chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, as the hearing opened.”

http://www.commondreams.org/news/2016/09/20/over-700000-people-urge-doj-reject-biotech-mega-mergers