By Aaron Kesel
Last week Activist Post reported that Monsanto had kept dossiers on influential people throughout France and other European countries. This week, it was revealed that the German chemical and pharmaceuticals giant Bayer disclosed that Monsanto, the controversial U.S. pesticide producer behind genetically modified organisms (GMOs) involved in more than 13,000 plaintiffs lawsuits alleging illness had kept “watch lists” of its opponents including journalists in key EU member states and in EU institutions.
Bayer revealed that U.S. seeds and pesticides maker Monsanto kept lists of both key pro- or anti-pesticide influential figures in at least seven EU countries as well as in EU institutions.
The lists were compiled for Monsanto by PR agency Fleishman-Hillard, AFP and France24 reported.
“[Fleishman-Hillard] drew up lists of stakeholders in France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Spain and United Kingdom, as well as regarding stakeholders related to EU institutions,” Bayer said in a statement.
Earlier this month, Bayer promised transparency over the lists after a French television channel revealed the existence in France of files on prominent backers and opponents of pesticides and genetically modified crops.
“The lists primarily include journalists, politicians and other interest groups,” Bayer said.
French prosecutors allege that Monsanto kept a file of 200 names, including journalists and lawmakers in hopes of influencing positions on pesticides. The investigation was opened after newspaper Le Monde filed a complaint alleging the bribery. Monsanto admitted in a press conference with journalists that other countries in Europe were also affected by its lists.
“It’s safe to say that other countries in Europe were affected by lists … I assume that all EU member states could potentially be affected,” Matthias Berninger, Bayer’s head of public affairs and sustainability, told journalists on Monday.
French public-sector research institutes Inra and CNRS also said they would file criminal complaints over mishandling of their employee’s personal data, after finding that some of their researchers and executives were included in Monsanto’s influencer list.
Bayer stated that to its knowledge Monsanto had not broken any laws lobbying scientific decisions on its products.
It added, “Bayer will ask an external law firm to investigate the project Monsanto commissioned and evaluate the allegations. The law firm will also inform all of the persons on the lists of the information collected about them”.
Monsanto is documented to have paid off Sir Richard Doll, a renowned cancer researcher, for 20 years. Doll received a consultancy fee of $1,500 a day in the mid-1980s for his research on Monsanto’s Agent Orange, finding the chemical didn’t cause cancer.
As this author reported for Activate Now, Bayer/Monsanto was recently faced with a jury concluding that its Roundup product causes cancer. The finding was according to a second U.S. jury who ruled its Roundup weed killer was a carcinogenic substance that caused plaintiff Edwin Hardeman’s disease.
While Monsanto always insisted “glyphosate has a long history of safe use,” a study by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer classified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic” back in 2015.
One year later, another organization, PAN, the Pesticide Action Network International, issued a 96-page report stating that glyphosate contaminates the Global Ecosystem. That same year the FDA suspended testing for glyphosate residues in food. Those foods, according to a subsequent report by Food Democracy Now! and the Detox Project, included many of America’s most popular foods including – cookies, crackers, popular cold cereals, and chips. The chemical was also found in several wines including organic wines, baby food and formula, breast milk and even tampons.
Glyphosate is also sprayed directly on many types of conventional crops before harvest, including wheat, oats, and barley. In all, glyphosate is used in some fashion in the production of at least 70 food crops, according to the EPA, including a range of fruits, nuts, and veggies.
Glyphosate was also listed as a carcinogen on California EPA’s Prop 65 list in July of 2017, while a study published in January of 2017 proved that chronic consumption of low levels of Roundup (which contains glyphosate) caused fatty liver disease in animals.
Meanwhile, in another study scientists have found that exposing rats to ultra-low doses of Roundup caused liver and kidney damage.
Another study done by the WHO and UN experts at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) conflicted the IARC report and found that “glyphosate did not cause cancer and pose a risk to humans.”
An additional report in 2017 by the European Chemical Agency agreed with the FAO study stating that glyphosate was “safe.”
Monsanto now (Bayer) has an obvious conflicting record on whether or not its glyphosate chemical is safe or not.
Another California man, Dewayne Lee Johnson, was awarded $289 million in August last year after a state jury found Roundup caused his own cancer. That award was later reduced to $78 million and is on appeal by Bayer.
One may wonder why they chose to go with Bayer instead of Monsanto, as Bayer also has a nasty history. No one is forgetting anytime soon that Bayer sold tainted hemophiliac medicine which caused users to contract AIDS, sorry PR reps.
Bill Maher runs down both evil companies’ so-called “achievements” in the video below, which includes “giving heroin to children as medicine, creating Zyklon B, PCBs, Aspartame, DDT, Agent Orange and of course Roundup!”
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Bayer’s Roundup product isn’t the only product that causes problems; another commodity called Dicamba has also faced a backlash.
Dicamba has been under fire by farmers for causing widespread damage to their crops that are not GMOs designed to resist the chemical. Dicamba was even banned in Arkansas by the Plant Board, which Monsanto disputed and sued the group for acting outside its authority in prohibiting its herbicide’s use and failing to consider research Monsanto had submitted to federal regulators.
Dicamba is considered more toxic than glyphosate, but less toxic than 2,4-D, the third most common broadleaf herbicide. (Monsanto is working on crops that are resistant to 2,4-D, as well.) Yet, when used properly, dicamba is considered only mildly toxic to people, pollinators, wildlife, and aquatic organisms. There is no scientific consensus on whether it has cancer-causing properties, though the EPA says “Dicamba is not likely to be a human carcinogen.”
Then there is Monsanto’s product it canceled launching, called NemaStrike, which is designed to be applied to crop seeds to protect them from worms and other bugs. The launch was halted after reports indicated that it caused strange rashes on people who came into contact with the chemical.
Monsanto recently lost its third legal battle over its massively popular Roundup herbicide facing a fine of being ordered to pay $2.055 billion by a jury in San Francisco who ordered the chemical giant to payout to a couple Alva and Alberta Pilliod of Livermore, California, that said it caused their non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
$2 billion in punitive damages and $55 million in compensatory which is certain to be reduced by the trial judge or on appeal as David Levine, University of California, Hastings School of Law professor told the Associated Press, “There is zero chance it will stand.”
The Pilliods said they used Roundup once a week for nine months of the year for more than three decades before being diagnosed with cancer in 2011 and 2015, according to BuzzFeed News.
“We wish that Monsanto had warned us ahead of time of the dangers of using Monsanto and that there was something in the front of their label that said, ‘Danger, may cause cancer,’” Alberta Pilliod said at a press conference, according to BuzzFeed. “It’s changed our lives forever. We can’t do the things that we used to be able to do and we really resent Monsanto for that fact.”
There are now three cases against Bayer found to be guilty for causing cancer; a pending estimated 11,200 Roundup lawsuits by farmers, home gardeners, and landscapers; and a total of 13,000 plaintiffs claiming its glyphosate-based herbicides cause non-Hodgkin lymphoma and other cancers. There are also six more trials due to start this year alone in federal and state courts in the U.S. Bayer is going to have a busy time with litigation, especially since this piles on top of a flood of lawsuits over waterways contaminated with PCBs (chemical compounds used in transformers, paints, sealants), and fresh cases emerging over Dicamba.
The current trial on Roundup for Hardeman is still pending liability ruling; however, with the evidence cited in this article, it seems like Bayer is surely liable.
According to U.S. Right To Know’s Monsanto Trial Tracker, the next trial (Gordon v. Monsanto) is fixed for August which will be against Sharlean Gordon, a cancer-stricken woman in her 50s, currently set for trial in St. Louis County Circuit Court on Aug. 19th.
Because of these lawsuits, Monsanto is having its dirty laundry aired out exposing the tactics Monsanto used to deny cancer risk and protect its prized chemical Roundup.
The Guardian reports that Monsanto employed a number of corrupt tactics including ghostwriting studies (paying off researchers), interfering with regulatory agencies, refusing to conduct long-term safety studies all while spending millions of dollars on secretive PR campaigns to attack scientists and critics.
“Monsanto was its own ghostwriter for some safety reviews,” Bloomberg reported, and an EPA official reportedly helped Monsanto “kill” another agency’s cancer study. An award-winning investigation in Le Monde details Monsanto’s effort “to destroy the United Nations’ cancer agency by any means possible” to save glyphosate.
“Monsanto’s ghostwriting and strong-arming threaten sound science and society,” wrote Tufts University Professor Sheldon Krimsky. The discovery documents, he said, “uncover the corporate capture of science, which puts public health and the very foundation of democracy at risk.”
It’s unfortunate that recently deceased former President George H.W. Bush’s legacy is leaving earth with the monstrosity that is now Bayer. Among many atrocities, the former director of the CIA is also known for deregulating the industry that is responsible for poisoning people with Agent Orange, as well as also having been responsible for the research of the uranium used for the Manhattan Project (Dayton Project) and PCBs chemicals.
One has to wonder how much George H.W. Bush was paid since he deregulated the government to allow Monsanto to produce their crops as the video above documents and drafted laws on how the U.S. would handle GMOs. One can also speculate how may people Monsanto actually paid to push their cancerous products on humanity. But it’s important to point out once again for the reader that the company was caught in the 1980s when it paid off Richard Doll who pushed that their chemical product in the form of Agent Orange didn’t cause cancer.
This should all come as no surprise as Monsanto also had Blackwater set up as its “Intel arm” by Cofer Black, the former head of the CIA’s counter-terrorism center. In 2008 Black traveled to Zürich to meet Kevin Wilson, a security manager for global issues at Monsanto. Black worked as the chairman for the Total Intelligence Consulting Company at the time, which was owned by Blackwater. During this meeting with Wilson, Black proposed to make Total Intelligence the “intel arm” of Monsanto.
Monsanto then hired Total Intelligence Solutions from 2008-09 under the agreement, contracting the firm to “infiltrate animal rights activist groups by having employees become legal members.” It also promised to monitor activists’ blogs and websites on Monsanto’s behalf.
Besides George H.W. Bush deregulating the industry for Monsanto and Sir Richard Doll pushing that its Agent Orange chemical was safe, there is also the story of Michael R. Taylor’s who has a history of back-and-forth employment between the big agriculture industry’s public and private sector. Taylor first began his career working for a corporate law firm that represented Monsanto, before being hired as a policy chief for the FDA in the early ’90s. Taylor was later hired directly by Monsanto as its vice president of public policy, before being tapped again to lead the FDA in 2009.
Taylor’s policies in the ’90s allowed for the approval of GMOs and recombinant bovine growth hormone, or rBGH. However, as the FDA chief, he never required producers to label food products containing GMOs, thus creating the controversy we have today.
Taylor is far from the only former Monsanto employee who would later go on to work in government. In fact, former Monsanto employees have worked in every aspect of government at the State Department, Department of Defense, Supreme Court, EPA, Social Security Administration, and Department of Commerce, according to AHRP which has extensively documented the revolving door.
Citizens are growing increasingly aware that companies like Bayer/Monsanto are bad for their health and the environment. It’s heartbreaking to see a chemical company involved with the poisoning of U.S. families still poisoning people decades later.
What’s more worrying is that Monsanto ordered Blackwater to harass private citizens, paid off researchers and has had a revolving door in the U.S. for policy. All of this truly shows the extent of the stain of corruption that Monsanto has manufactured and been allowed to continue.
In a news report, Reuters mentioned that Monsanto’s stock is down “40 percent since the first adverse U.S. judgment on Roundup last August, leaving the company with a market capitalization smaller than the price it paid for Monsanto” in its acquisitional merger of the company.
Bayer/Monsanto will continue to face multiple pronged attacks against its dangerous products, finally being exposed for their cancer-causing elements in their chemicals and other health hazards in not one, not two, but three different commodities and more likely to come. This latest news of keeping dossiers on influential people in France and other countries in Europe who Monsanto could then attempt to bribe, like they did to Richard Doll paying as consultants, is just another part of Monsanto’s filthy corrupt history that Bayer now bears with the merger. For more information, and an up to date play by play of upcoming Monsanto trials this writer highly recommends readers read, “Secret Documents Expose Monsanto’s War on Cancer Scientists” written by U.S. Right To Know.
Aaron Kesel writes for Activist Post. Support us at Patreon. Follow us on Minds, Steemit, SoMee, BitChute, Facebook and Twitter. Ready for solutions? Subscribe to our premium newsletter Counter Markets.
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