Monsanto’s Dark History


MONSANTO CHEMICAL COMPANY AT NITRO ON THE KANA...

 

By EcoWatch

06 April 13

rom its beginnings as a small chemical company in 1901, Monsanto has grown into the largest biotechnology seed company in the world with net sales of $11.8 billion, 404 facilities in 66 countries across six continents and products grown on more than 282 million acres worldwide. Today, the consumer advocacy nonprofit Food & Water Watch released its report, Monsanto: A Corporate Profile.

“There is a growing movement of people around the country who want to take on Monsanto’s undue influence over lawmakers, regulators and the food supply,” said Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch and author of the book Foodopoly. “People need to know about Monsanto’s history as a heavy industrial chemical manufacturer; a reality at odds with the environmentally friendly, feed-the-world image that the company spends millions trying to convey.”

“At the end of March, the American public saw first hand the unjustifiable power that Monsanto holds over our elected officials when an unprecedented rider, dubbed the ‘Monsanto Protection Act,’ was tacked onto the spending bill to fund the federal government,” said Dave Murphy, founder and executive director of Food Democracy Now! “This is an outrageous interference with our courts and separation of powers and we cannot sit back and allow our elected officials to continue to take orders from Monsanto at the expense of family farmers and consumers.”

The report offers a timeline of milestones in the company’s history including chemical disasters, mergers and acquisitions, and the first genetically modified plant cell.

“Despite its various marketing incarnations over the years, Monsanto is a chemical company that got its start selling saccharin to Coca-Cola, then Agent Orange to the U.S. military, and, in recent years, seeds genetically engineered to contain and withstand massive amounts of Monsanto herbicides and pesticides,” said Ronnie Cummins, executive director of Organic Consumers Association. “Monsanto has become synonymous with the corporatization and industrialization of our food supply.”

The report concludes with recommended actions for the federal government to take to temper Monsanto’s anti-competitive practices and control over agricultural research and government policies. It also suggests steps that regulators should take to better protect consumers and the environment from the potentially harmful effects of genetically engineered (GE) crops.

“Even though you won’t find the Monsanto brand on a food or beverage container at your local grocery store, the company holds vast power over our food supply,” said Rebecca Spector, west coast director of Center for Food Safety. “This power is largely responsible for something else we cannot find on our grocery store shelves-labels on genetically engineered food. Not only has Monsanto’s and other agribusinesses’ efforts prevented the labeling of GE foods, but they spend millions to block grassroots efforts like California’s Prop 37 in order to keep consumers in the dark.”

“The chemical pesticide industry, with Monsanto leading the way, took over U.S. seed industry and engineered bacterial genes into food crops with the primary purpose of selling more weed killer that contaminates our food, water and bodies,” said David Bronner, the CEO of Dr. Bronner‘s Magic Soaps and leader in GE food labeling campaigns across the country.” Just like the citizens of Europe, Japan and China, Americans deserve the right to opt out of the genetically engineered food science experiment.”

 

 

Chemical Disasters, Agent Orange, and GMOs: Monsanto’s Legacy Traced in Exposé


Published on Wednesday, April 3, 2013 by Common Dreams

Food & Water Watch highlights toxic ‘corporatization and industrialization of our food supply’

Jacob Chamberlain, staff writer

Chemical disasters, Agent Orange, and the first genetically modified plant cell are among just some of the dark milestones belonging to the history of the biotech giant Monsanto highlighted in a new report released Wednesday by consumer advocacy group Food & Water Watch.

 The in-depth historical analysis Monsanto: A Corporate Profile presents a corporation “steeped in heavy industrial chemical production,” who only recently began marketing itself through an “environmentally friendly, feed-the-world image”—an image that is contradictory to a century of toxic chemical production and a food supply saturated with un-labeled GE crops, herbicides, and artificial growth hormones.

Monsanto, as FWW shows, now holds vast “undue influence over lawmakers, regulators, and our food supply,” and has caused great devastation to farmers around the world through its global seed monopoly.

“Despite its various marketing incarnations over the years, Monsanto is a chemical company that got its start selling saccharin to Coca-Cola, then Agent Orange to the U.S. military, and, in recent years, seeds genetically engineered to contain and withstand massive amounts of Monsanto herbicides and pesticides,” said Ronnie Cummins, executive director of Organic Consumers Association in response to the report. “Monsanto has become synonymous with the corporatization and industrialization of our food supply.”

“Even though you won’t find the Monsanto brand on a food or beverage container at your local grocery store, the company holds vast power over our food supply,” said Rebecca Spector, West Coast Director for the Center for Food Safety. “This power is largely responsible for something else we cannot find on our grocery store shelves — labels on genetically engineered food. Not only has Monsanto’s and other agribusinesses’ efforts prevented the labeling of GE foods, but they spend millions to block grassroots efforts like California’s Prop 37 in order to keep consumers in the dark.”

The report arrives after President Obama signed last week what has been dubbed the “Monsanto Protection Act”—legislation critics say amounts to “corporate welfare” for biotechnology corporations like Monsanto that puts both farmers and the environment in jeopardy.

The law will essentially “bar US federal courts from being able to halt the sale or planting of genetically engineered (GE) crops even if they failed to be approved by the government’s own weak approval process and no matter what the health or environmental consequences might be,” Greenpeace wrote last week.

“At the end of March, the American public saw first hand the unjustifiable power that Monsanto holds over our elected officials when an unprecedented budget rider, dubbed the ‘Monsanto Protection Act,’ was tacked onto the spending bill to fund the federal government,” Dave Murphy, founder and executive director of Food Democracy Nowstated following the release of Food & Water Watches new report. “This is an outrageous interference with our courts and separation of powers and we cannot sit back and allow our elected officials to continue to take orders from Monsanto at the expense of family farmers and consumers.”

Monsanto’s legacy continues… Read more here.

 

Monsanto Protection Act Proves Corporations More Powerful Than US Government


 

 

Major Tự Đức Phang was exposed to dioxin-conta...

Major Tự Đức Phang was exposed to dioxin-contaminated Agent Orange (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

We’ve seen similar scenarios in the past, events in which the massive financial power of multi-national corporations is able to buy out legislators who were elected to ‘represent’ voters. But now, Monsanto has set the bar even higher. Instead of just getting a few kickbacks or avoiding USDA regulation, Monsanto lobbyists have gone as far as to generate legislative inclusions into a new bill that puts Monsanto above the federal government.

 

It’s called the Monsanto Protection Act among activists and concerned citizens who have been following the developments on the issue, and it consists of a legislative ‘rider’ inside (Farmer Assurance Provision, Sec. 735) a majority-wise unrelated Senate Continuing Resolution spending bill. You may already be aware of what this rider consists of, but in case not you will likely be blown away by the tenacity of Monsanto lobbyist goons.

 

If this rider passes with the bill, which could be as early as this week, Monsanto would have complete immunity from federal courts when it comes to their ability to act against any new Monsanto GMO crops that are suspected to be endangering the public or the environment (or considered to be planted illegally by the USDA). We’re talking about courts that literally can do nothing to Monsanto if it’s found that their newest creation may be promoting cancer, for example. Whether it’s a GMO banana or an apple, Monsanto could continue planting the food abomination all it wants under court review.

 

Food Democracy Now has launched a petition on the subject, explaining:

 

“The Monsanto Protection Act would strip judges of their constitutional mandate to protect consumer rights and the environment, while opening up the floodgates for the planting of new untested genetically engineered crops.”

 

What really enraged Monsanto was the incident back in 2010, when a federal judge actually revoked Monsanto’s approval to plant GMO sugar beets due to environmental concerns. This is exactly what Monsanto intends to stop, literally becoming more powerful than federal courts in their conquest to monopolize the entire food chain.

Monsanto Overcomes US Government

 

Monsanto has literally gotten away with murder ever since it was founded way back in 1901. Very few people actually realize the history of this company. Not many activists realize that this is the same company that was responsible, along with Dow Agrosciences, for creating Agent Orange. Created for the US military to be used during Vietnam as a ‘defoliant’ (really used for incognito chemical warfare operations which affected both allied and enemy troops), the concoction that was Agent Orange consisted of a medley of highly toxic ingredients including dioxin — a type of toxic substance considered to be one of the deadliest on the planet.

 

Agent Orange, from Monsanto, killed 400,000 people and led to 500,000 children born with troubling birth defects. And in addition to those stats 1 million were rendered disabled or at least suffer from health issues from Agent Orange exposure. This includes US soldiers.

 

So what happened to Monsanto after they designed a ‘defoliant’ that was actually a deadly chemical weapon that killed, maimed, and ruined lives of innocents and US soldiers? Monsanto issued a truly heart-felt statement that their Agent Orange wasn’t really that dangerous despite all of the evidence that is now accepted as fact:

 

Oh, and they settled for what amounts to chump change in order to silence the dying veterans, paying 45% of the 180 million dollar payout in order to make the veterans drop the charges. Then, of course, they eventually went on to make genetically modified crops and take over 90 plus percent of the GM seed market. A market that they have actually cornered by patenting their seeds, which India calls ‘biopiracy’. Before that, they mass produced plastics that we now know are morphing the hormones of consumers.

 

But let’s also not forget that Monsanto has so many ties inside the US government that it has managed to slip into a very comfortable position. Former Vice President for Public Policy at Monsanto, Michael Taylor ultimately became a major head the FDA. Before that, Taylor conveniently worked specifically on Monsanto’s “food and drug law” practices. Specifically in regards to Monsanto’s cloned rBGH. But remember, this was before Monsanto decided to go for a more ‘blatant’ route.

 

Now, instead of just operating in the shadows, Monsanto is pushing a much bolder move with the Monsanto Protection Act. It not only sets a troubling precedent for Monsanto, but also for other bloated multi-national corporations that want to obtain higher authority and immunity from US courts. –

 

 

 

See more at: http://www.riseearth.com/2013/03/monsanto-protection-act-proves.html#more

 

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The Toxic Effects of Agent Orange Persist 51 Years After the Vietnam War


Tuesday, 07 August 2012 09:42By Jeanne Mirer and Marjorie CohnTruthout | Op-Ed Truthout

Defoliant spray run, part of Operation Ranch Hand, during the Vietnam War by UC-123B Provider aircraft.Defoliant spray run, part of Operation Ranch Hand, during the Vietnam War by UC-123B Provider aircraft. (Photo:USAF)There are images from the US war against Vietnam that have been indelibly imprinted on the minds of Americans who lived through it. One is the naked napalm-burned girl running from her village with flesh hanging off her body. Another is a photo of the piles of bodies from the My Lai massacre, where US troops executed 504 civilians in a small village. Then, there is the photograph of the silent scream of a woman student leaning over the body of her dead friend at Kent State University, whose only crime was protesting the bombing of Cambodia in 1970. Finally, there is the memory of decorated members of Vietnam Veterans Against the War testifying at the Winter Soldier Hearings, often in tears, to atrocities in which they had participated during the war.

These pictures are heartbreaking. They expose the horrors of war. The US war against Vietnam was televised, while images of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have intentionally been hidden from us. But what was not televised was the relentless ten years (1961-1971) of spraying millions of gallons of toxic herbicides over vast areas of South Vietnam. These chemicals exposed almost five million people, mostly civilians, to deadly consequences. The toxic herbicides, most notably Agent Orange, contained dioxin, one of the most dangerous chemicals known to man. It has been recognized by the World Health Organization as a carcinogen (causes cancer) and by the American Academy of Medicine as a teratogen (causes birth defects).

From the beginning of the spraying 51 years ago, and even today, millions of Vietnamese have died from, or been completely incapacitated by, diseases which the US government recognizes are related to Agent Orange for purposes of granting compensation to Vietnam veterans in the United States. The Vietnamese, who were the intended victims of this spraying, experienced the most intense, horrible impact on human health and environmental devastation. Second and third generations of children, born to parents exposed during the war and in areas of heavy spraying hot spots, suffer unspeakable deformities that medical authorities attribute to the dioxin in Agent Orange.

The Vietnamese exposed to the chemical suffer from cancer, liver damage, pulmonary and heart diseases, defects to reproductive capacity and skin and nervous disorders. Their children and grandchildren have severe physical deformities, mental and physical disabilities, diseases and shortened life spans. The forests and jungles in large parts of southern Vietnam were devastated and denuded. Centuries-old habitat was destroyed and will not regenerate with the same diversity for hundreds of years. Animals that inhabited the forests and jungles are threatened with extinction, disrupting the communities that depended on them. The rivers and underground water in some areas have also been contaminated. Erosion and desertification will change the environment, causing dislocation of crop and animal life.

For the past 51 years, the Vietnamese people have been attempting to address this legacy of war by trying to get the United States and the chemical companies to accept responsibility for this ongoing nightmare. An unsuccessful legal action by Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange against the chemical companies in US federal court, begun in 2004, has nonetheless spawned a movement to hold the United States accountable for using such dangerous chemicals on civilian populations. The movement has resulted in pending legislation HR 2634 hot spots, lawsuit to compensate them, as the unintended victims, for their Agent-Orange-related illnesses. But the Vietnamese continue to suffer from these violations with almost no recognition, as do the offspring of Agent-Orange-exposed US veterans and Vietnamese-Americans.

What is the difference between super powers like the United States violating the laws of war with impunity and the reports of killing of Syrian civilians by both sides in the current civil war? Does the United States have any credibility to demand governments and non-state actors end the killings of civilians, when through wars and drones and its refusal to acknowledge responsibility for the use of Agent Orange, the United States has and is engaging in the very conduct it publicly deplores?

In 1945, at the founding conference of the United Nations, the countries of the world determined:

to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind and

to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small and

to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained and

to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom.

If we are to avoid sinking once again into the scourge of war, we must reaffirm the principles of the charter and establish conditions under which countries take actions that promote rather than undermine justice and respect for our international legal obligations. The alternative is the law of the jungle, where only might makes right. It is time that right makes might.

August 10 marks 51 years since the beginning of the spraying of Agent Orange in Vietnam. In commemoration, the Vietnam Agent Orange Relief and Responsibility Campaign is urging an observation of  51 seconds of silence at 12 noon, to think about the horrors of wars which have occurred. No one wants to see future images of naked children running from napalm; or young soldiers wiping out the population of an entire village; or other atrocities associated with war, poverty and violence around the world. In the United States, you can sign an orange post card to the US Congress asking it to pass HR 2634, the Victims of Agent Orange Relief Act of 2001.

Monsanto’s Involvement With Agent Orange – 40 Years After the Vietnam Conflict



Tuesday, May 29, 2012

By By Investigative Journalist ~ Theodora Filiss
The US celebrated Memorial Day on Monday, May 28. Originally called Decoration Day, it is a day of remembrance for those who have died in their nation’s service.

“If we open a quarrel between the past and the present, we shall find that we have lost the future.” Winston Churchill (1874 – 1965)

What about the men and women who survived? The Vietnam Veterans who share in the pain and suffering caused by the shameful neglect and harassment by the same people whose lives they fought to protect? One of the most disturbing and damaging legacies of the Vietnam war is Agent Orange. Nearly 40 years later, questions remain.
The US military used Agent Orange from 1961 to 1971 to defoliate dense vegetation in the Vietnamese jungles to reduce the chances of an ambush. Seven major chemical companies were contracted under the Defense Production Act to obtain Agent Orange and other herbicides for use by US and allied troops in Vietnam.
Agent Orange was by far the most widely used of the so-called “Rainbow Herbicides” employed in the Herbicidal Warfare program of the Vietnam War. Dow Chemical and Monsanto were the two largest producers of Agent Orange for the US military. According to Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 4.8 million Vietnamese people were exposed to Agent Orange, resulting in 400,000 deaths and disabilities, and 500,000 children born with birth defects.
Today Monsanto’s website boasts: “Monsanto is a relatively new company. While we share the name and history of a company that was founded in 1901, the Monsanto of today is focused on agriculture and supporting farmers around the world in their mission to produce more while conserving more. We’re an agricultural company.”
In the past two decades, Monsanto’s “agricultural” GMO monopoly has grown so powerful that they control the genetics of nearly 90% of five major commodity crops including corn, soybeans, cotton, canola and sugar beets. Monsanto is now primarily a seed and agricultural products company.
Monsanto is responsible for more than 50 United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Superfund sites – attempts to clean up Monsanto Chemical’s formerly uncontrolled hazardous waste sites.

Monsanto’s legacy includes, not only the production of Agent Orange, but DDT, PCBs, and Dioxin. Now massive aerial spraying of Roundup in Colombia is being used by the US and the Colombian government as a counter-insurgency tactic, contaminating food crops and poisoning villagers.

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