One day, while walking in front of Madison Square Garden, I saw a gentleman wearing a t-shirt promoting “green” technology. I smiled and was about to say something while reading the shirt when I saw the name Monsanto on it.
Apparently, this t-shirt promoting awareness of the environment was given out as part of a public relations scheme by the corporation that is annually voted “The World’s Most Evil Corporation.” This “honor” is due to the realization by a growing number of people that Monsanto’s corporate agenda is contributing to desertification of cropland, poisoning of air and water and a significant rise in debilitating illnesses in their obsession with obtaining control of the global food supply.
And environmental terrorism is not the only evil being perpetrated by these manipulative executives. Even setting aside the damage to the planet, anyone who pays attention would have to be outraged at the level of evil in their political dealings. Many companies are horribly manipulative in our legislative process and have destroyed any remnant of democracy in the U.S. (as well as most of the planet). Many companies have used immoral and illegal business techniques to create (or attempt to create) monopolies or cartels in their respective industries. And many companies have ignored environmental regulations that they weren’t able to eliminate legislatively while leaving harmful – and often deadly – toxic waste in their wake which has caused avoidable disease and death.
Well, Monsanto has done ALL of these things… and more. They have infiltrated government agencies in many countries, purchased elections to corrupt legislative processes, manipulated and suppressed scientific data, purchased
favorable disingenuous coverage in corporate media, pressured and/or consumed smaller competition through a dizzying campaign of mergers and acquisitions and circumvented environmental, electoral and financial regulations. All of this for wealth and control. The following is their long history of evil…
THE EARLY YEARS
Monsanto was founded in 1901 by John Francis Queeny. Little is known about this shady figure other than the fact that he grew up in Chicago, Illinois in the late 19th century.
As a member of the Knights of Malta, he connected with some nefarious characters, Amadeo Gianinni and J.P. Morgan among them. Gianinni was a California produce dealer who started the Bank of Italy in San Francisco in 1904. This bank would eventually merge with the predatory firm known as Bank of America. And, virtually everyone knows about the evil machinations of J.P. Morgan who used everyone and everything he could get his hands on in his maniacal quest to become the wealthiest person on the planet.
After dropping out of school, Queeny worked for a pharmaceutical firm by the name of Meyer Brothers Drug Company. He purchased a chemical company in 1899 which happened to burn to the ground on the first day he owned it. From the ashes, he acquired funding and started the chemical firm that would eventually be known as Monsanto. He named the company after his wife, Olga Mendez Monsanto, who was born into a wealthy Spanish family that made a fortune in banking, sugar and fur dealing. (Apparently, their parasitic behavior didn’t start with the creation of the chemical business).
Their first product was saccharin, a chemical sweetener sold to Coca Cola. Due to studies showing it to be toxic, the U.S. government took Monsanto to court in 1917 to prevent further sales of the dangerous substance. However, in a typical incidence of corporate-purchased “justice”, Monsanto won the court case. Numerous studies done worldwide have since linked saccharin to an increase in cancer and diabetes. (Despite this, corporate media continue a decades-long attack on truth and human health by printing false information insisting it is safe).
The company expanded into industrial chemicals (to take advantage of a cut in European imports during WWI) as well as drugs, vanillin, caffeine and rubber. They became the world’s largest producer of aspirin after their sudden acquisition of the patent from Bayer, a company from the defeated nation of Germany.
They continued to expand through the middle of the twentieth century by making acquisitions of smaller companies, but it was one particular product that was to have an enormous impact on the bottom line and legacy of Monsanto.
And, eventually, on the health of the entire planet.
UNINTENTIONAL CHEMICAL WARFARE
It was a substance extracted from coal tar called phenol. (The process for obtaining it was eventually changed to a distillation of petroleum). Also known as carbolic acid, this chemical led to the manufacturing of polychlorinated biphenyls and polycarbonates, two compounds hailed as “wonder chemicals” with “limitless applications in industry.”
These compounds have allowed for the manufacturing of many products we depend on and, while this provides corporate cheerleaders with a barrage of propaganda for explaining how wonderful companies like Monsanto can be, the full story of corporate secrets and manipulation of information is the epitome of malevolence.
Polycarbonates would eventually become the basis for the manufacturing of electronic components, construction materials, aircraft parts, automotive parts, glass lenses, smartphones, compact discs, data storage discs, DVDs, bullet-resistant glass, plastic containers and, as a resin, the “protective” lining of metal food and beverage containers.
Monsanto became the largest supplier in the world of polychlorinated biphenyls, commonly referred to as PCBs. Uses included coolants and insulating fluids for electrical equipment, plasticizers in paints and cement, adhesives, inks, flame retardants, cutting and lubricating oils, fluorescent lighting, surgical implants, waterproofing compounds, sealants and even “carbonless copy paper”, the wondrous invention that revolutionized the practice of copying documents in offices around the world.
However, after a half century of production of PCBs and polycarbonates by the chemical industry evidence of damage to the environment and, consequently, to human and animal life began to accumulate.
Research has shown that a chemical used to produce polycarbonates, BPA, can leach into foods and beverages from the containers used to store them. This has been shown to affect various functions in animals. Links have been made to many forms of cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, neural disruption, behavioral difficulties, metabolic syndrome, obesity and disturbances in the reproductive system. At least one study showed that it mimics estrogen, causing infertility in male mice.
Numerous studies have linked the production of PCBs to endocrine disruption. The endocrine system is made of glands that control the secretion of hormones in mammals regulating various functions at a cellular level. Disruption of this vital system has been shown in a multitude of tests to cause a variety of cancers and many other debilitating disorders affecting the development of organs, immune systems, reproductive systems and nervous systems. Also, they bio-accumulate and so are passed on to following generations. Not surprisingly, traces of PCBs have been found in breast milk.
Some of the specific health hazards associated with PCBs are birth defects, cancerous tumors, learning disabilities, disruption of cognitive functions in the brain, bodily deformations (including missing limbs), kidney failure, hypothyroidism, respiratory illnesses, polyneuropathy and sexual formation problems.
While it is true that this information comes from studies done on animals, the unfortunate tendency of corporations to bypass necessary regulation has afforded ample evidence of a severely deleterious effect on the human body from the introduction of these chemical compounds into the global food supply.
Or, “business as usual” in the glorious world of commerce.
And, they are present in the blood and tissue of virtually every person and animal on the planet.
And that, as horrible and frightening as it may be, is only part of the sordid tale of destruction wrought by Monsanto and their competitors in the obsessive world of corporate control.
In 1935 the Swiss agrochemical firm J.R. Geigy AG directed a research chemist, Paul Herman Muller, to find a chemical agent that could be used as an effective insecticide. Despite various attempts, Muller had trouble until he came across a compound that had initially been synthesized years earlier by a Viennese pharmacologist, but its effectiveness as an insecticide hadn’t been discovered. The compound was dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane. The world knows it as DDT.
It was so effective in treating malaria and typhus in the 1940s, it was used worldwide. Monsanto started manufacturing DDT in 1944 and (along with J.R. Geigy and DuPont Chemical Company) sold it to the U.S. Army as an insecticide.
While praised for their many uses in the corporate world, a darker aspect of the overuse of these toxic chemicals came to light in the early 1960s.
The potentially disastrous effects of DDT use was brought to the public by U.S. biologist Rachel Carson. She wrote a book “Silent Spring” in 1962 which discussed the catastrophic impact indiscriminate spraying of DDT was having on the environment. In the book, she questioned the wisdom of introducing such a large amount of a chemical compound into the environment without sufficient information regarding the impact on plant and animal life. She claimed a link between the use of DDT and cancer, and particularly, its calamitous effect on bird populations.
This book was important in the building of the environmental movement in the 1960s. Eventually, the awareness brought about by Silent Spring led to DDT being banned in the U.S. in 1972.
However, the response from Monsanto was retaliation. They orchestrated a media attack and even went as far as financing the publication of a book called “The Desolate Year” which gave a nightmarish depiction of a future without DDT. Crops ravaged by insects causing wordwide famine was intended to scare the public into demanding DDT be kept legal. Silent Spring was highly praised and sold millions. Fortunately, Monsanto’s pathetic piece of propaganda didn’t.
THE BUSINESS OF WAR & INTENTIONAL CHEMICAL WARFARE
Plastics and insecticides are not the only deadly products manufactured by Monsanto during that time. While virtually everyone knows about the Manhattan Project, the U.S. effort to produce an atomic weapon, not many people know about an aspect of that monumental task that was undertaken by Monsanto.
Brigadier Gen. Leslie Groves, chief administrator of the Manhattan Project, appointed Monsanto research director Charles A. Thomas to separate and purify Polonium (Po-210) to be used as a catalyst for the atomic bomb. Monsanto was also assigned the task of assembling triggers for the most devastating weapon ever used by humankind. This work was done at their Dayton, Ohio plant between 1943 and 1945 and was known as the Dayton Project. The site was so heavily contaminated with toxic compounds it was considered useless to decontaminate. It was destroyed and buried.
Had Monsanto stopped producing and spreading deadly toxins at this time, their legacy as one of the most destructive corporations on the planet would already have been firmly established. However, they (and other chemical firms such as Dow and DuPont) developed other insidious chemical agents that would wreak havoc on human, animal and plant health with horribly disastrous results. One was 2,4,5 -Trichlorophenoxyacetic acid.
More commonly referred to as Agent Orange, it contains the most toxic of all dioxins or dioxin-related compounds – TCDD. This deadly contaminant is listed by the U.S. National Toxicology Program and the International Agency for the Research on Cancer as a known human carcinogen.
Research by botanist Arthur Galston led to the invention of Agent Orange, but it was apparently designed by Monsanto. It was first used by the British Army against innocent Malaysian villagers in the 1950s.
Not to be outdone, the U.S. Army used it as a defoliant for approximately ten years during the Vietnam War. It was one of the compounds in their Herbicidal Warfare program, particularly as part of Operation Ranch Hand. (These sinister weapons were also referred to as “rainbow herbicides” because they came in containers of various colors).
Agent Orange was used to destroy approximately 5 million acres of cropland in Southeast Asia. Five million acres. Rivers and underground streams have been severely contaminated. The nutritional content in soil has been degraded. Desertification of crops and constant erosion will change the natural habitat of this area permanently. This has resulted in the extinction of wildlife that was part of a way of life for centuries and will probably not come back with the same diversity for centuries to come.
The half life of dioxin in sediment can be more than a century.
Twenty million gallons were used in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos during that time. Estimates of how much of South Vietnam’s forests were destroyed simply in the effort to deprive the Vietcong of cover and food go as high as 12% – and the South Vietnamese were allies of the U.S. military!
The two largest producers of Agent Orange were Monsanto and Dow Chemical, but it is known that Monsanto’s version contained a higher level of dioxin causing them to be named the key defendant in a lawsuit brought by U.S. Vietnam War veterans.
It’s been reported that over 5 million Vietnamese have been contaminated with Agent Orange resulting in as many as 1,000,000 deaths and severe illnesses. Documented are illnesses such as a variety of cancers, heart disease, pulmonary disease, liver damage, kidney damage, nervous system disorders, reproductive defects, skin disorders and others. There are also reports of over 500,000 birth defects and it has persisted for generations.
To this day, Monsanto refuses to do a proper cleanup of the site in West Virginia where Agent Orange was made or to admit ANY responsibility for the horrible damage caused by this insidious weapon in Southeast Asia. And no executive from Monsanto or any other chemical warfare profiteer has ever gone to trial for war crimes despite the fact that internal memos show that Monsanto executives knew the level of destruction wrought by the use of Agent Orange long before it was made public.
Due to several industrial accidents involving TCDD, a report was made public about the dangerously high level of toxicity in 1957.
Talk about crimes against humanity…
Soon after the use of Agent Orange ended; production, use and importing of PCBs was banned in Japan, the first country to do so. Canada and the U.S. banned production and use in the late 1970s and many other countries followed suit after that.
However, “some manufacturing processes may inadvertently generate PCBs”, according to the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality. Dangerous, as well, is the fact that PCBs already in the environment will continue to cause sickness for years to come. Incineration of waste containing PCBs can release byproducts such as dioxin and hydrochloric acid into the air and evaporation of PCB-contaminated bodies of water can also release PCBs back into the environment.
Polycarbonates are another problem to tackle. Over 3 billion tons are produced annually. They are still used to manufacture reusable bottles and, in resin form, inside canned foods and beverages. Traces of BPA are still consistently found in the urine of a high percentage of people tested.
rBGH MILK, CANCER, ANIMAL ABUSE & CENSORSHIP
In their experiment to manipulate bodily functions for the purpose of profit, Monsanto extracted the gene that creates growth hormones in cows in order to produce more milk. Normally, growth is regulated by the natural secretion of growth hormones by the pituitary gland. It is part of a well-tuned system critical to good health.
The pituitary gland is the control center of the endocrine system. It senses what the body needs and sends signals to various organs and glands to maintain proper balance. The growth hormone controls growth, metabolism and body composition. Monsanto inserted that growth hormone gene into E. coli bacteria to produce recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) and marketed it to dairy farmers as Posilac.
The effect this has had on cows in monstrous. The use of rBGH and a diet of genetically modified corn has caused an increase in potentially fatal liver abscesses (according to the Journal of Animal Science), chronic digestive pain due to increased stomach acid and weight gain so excessive it causes breathing problems (due to pressure on the lungs) and difficulties for the cows to carry their weight. They are barely able to move and are often tortured to get them onto transportation to their final destination.
It has also resulted in a higher incidence of infections requiring the use of antibiotics in feed so that cows can survive long enough to make it to the slaughterhouses.
This, in turn, has caused a myriad of other problems which compound each other. The antibiotics infect the meat and milk in cows which find their way into the human body. This causes an increase in our resistance to them which, in turn, creates a need to produce stronger drugs when they are actually needed.
Thanks to Monsanto, your milk may be on drugs…
But that is the least frightening result of this disastrous experiment in human chemistry. Links have been made between drinking rBGH-treated milk and cancer. A study was published in the January 1996 issue of the International Journal of Health Services which stated that milk from cows injected with rBGH increased the risk of various forms of cancer, specifically colon and breast cancer. Even studies done by Monsanto showed levels of toxicity dangerous to human health – including a definite link to cancer. Of course, these findings were not included in Monsanto’s report to the FDA. They also used their economic power to dissuade the FOX television network from airing a story about this serious health issue in Florida. Add censorship to the growing list of evils done by this vile corporation. (See “The Day The Truth Died” on this blog for that insidious story)
GMO TERMINATOR SEEDS, ROUNDUP & MONOPOLY
Farmers have been saving their best seeds to plant the following season for 10,000 years. Monsanto has used technology to invent a monstrous aberration of nature, something that has changed not only millennia of agricultural practices, but continues the legacy created by their earlier work with PCBs, polycarbonates, DDT, TCDD and rBGH – to change the chemical makeup of human beings, animals and plant life throughout the planet.
By patenting their Roundup-ready seeds and aggressively crushing competition, they are attempting to corner the seed market (90% of the U.S. soybean market already).
To attain this virtual monopoly, they’ve employed a team of investigators (ex-military & ex-law enforcement) that go undercover throughout the country to gather information on farmers. They use techniques such as videotaping, photographing, infiltrating community meetings and bullying farmers to inform on other farmers who might be using GMO seeds. They are their very own FBI (MBI?), but with more secrecy. These corporate spies even pose as land surveyors or county officials to pressure people into signing documents allowing them access to private records. Farmers use terms like “seed police”, “Gestapo” and “mafia” to describe the relentless intimidation tactics used by these modern day brownshirts.
Monsanto will sue farmers who happen to have GMO seeds blown onto their land by wind or deposited by birds, as if they are responsible for the forces of nature. And facts have very little to do with Monsanto’s stance on this issue. Whether a farmer is guilty or not, the purpose of the lawsuits is to intimidate and financially bleed small farmers dry.
And, to make sure everyone obeys.
There have been hundreds of lawsuits brought by Monsanto against individual farmers who don’t have the resources to win in court. With typical corporate “justice”, farmers are considered guilty and must prove their innocence against Monsanto.
GOING GLOBAL W/ GMO SEEDS, TOXIC PESTICIDES & DISEASE
In 1996, Monsanto started selling their GMO seeds and Roundup herbicide to farmers in Argentina promising an increase in crop yields. While GMO soybean production has increased, so has the average size of a farm, cancer rates, birth defects, respiratory illnesses, spinal defects, kidney failure, hypothyroidism…
The Minister of Public Health in the province of Chaco wants an independent commission appointed to “investigate cases of cancer and the incidents of children born with disabilities.” Birth defects quadrupled in Chaco in the first decade after Monsanto’s incursion into the region. And, a survey of 65,000 people around the country found that cancer rates in farming communities are now two to four times higher than the national average.
Dr. Andres Carrasco, of Buenos Aires, published a study in 2010 showing that the key ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup pesticide causes birth defects in animal embryos.
Of course, Monsanto PR people went on the offensive to refute the evidence that glyphosate can have detrimental effects by stating: “Embryos are not the best way to test the impact on human health.” Another said, the overwhelming abundance of evidence has been “refuted by a lot of other scientists”, but didn’t mention specifics.
Apparently, to the Argentinian politicians purchased by Monsanto, the increase in disease just isn’t as important as the increase in profits.
Meanwhile, Monsanto has introduced BT cotton in India (and other countries). This is a genetically modified product in which the gene coding of a naturally occurring bacterium, bacillus thuringiensis, has been inserted into cotton seeds allowing the cotton to produce the chemical as an insecticide.
In typical fashion, Monsanto was only concerned with profits so they didn’t care about the practice of child labor in India. They also started their GMO field tests illegally in 1995. The Environmental Protection Act required approval by the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee under the auspices of the Ministry of Environment before GMO trials could begin. Monsanto was sued by the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology in India’s Supreme Court and was forced to wait until 2002 to start commercial sales of BT cotton seeds.
Despite the protests of thousands of people concerned with the adverse health effects of genetically modified crops, Monsanto was successful in marketing their seeds. They used Indian TV celebrities to promote this “new” technology with promises of bigger crop yields. However, in their zeal to push it, they failed to mention that genetically engineered seeds need more water than natural seeds, therefore requiring irrigation. Most areas in India have insufficient irrigation and this led to failed crops and ruined lives. Monsanto’s disregard for farmers contributed toward economic disaster in a region of the world already suffering from economic difficulties.
On top of the economic problems, there are accounts of farmers experiencing itchiness and rashes from touching BT cotton. And there are documented instances of buffalo, goats and sheep grazing on fields after a harvest of GM crops and dying. These were contributing factors to an epidemic of suicides among farmers in India. The estimates go as high as 300,000 HUMAN DEATHS since the late 1990s with the vast majority attributed to difficulties with GMO crops.
Concern in India over GMO crops didn’t end there, however. The Supreme Court appointed a Parliamentary Committee to publish a report on the future of transgenic crops in India. In the report, a panel of technical experts recommended a ten year moratorium on field trials of all GMO foods and termination of ongoing trials. They also requested safety dossiers of all GMO crops approved for trials and those in process to be reviewed by bio-safety experts. The panel cited “several cases of ignoring problematic aspects of safety data.”
Despite this, it appears that corporate interests will win over the health of the planet once again. Monsanto lobbyists have their wallets open and powerful people in the Modi government are listening.
While there are alternatives to these deadly chemicals, business executives care about nothing more than corporate profits. People need to take a stand and make our voices heard on issues that are so vitally important. And, as we all know, the only voice heard in the word of business (which includes government these days) is the voice of the almighty dollar. We need to make well-informed choices with our purchases and get the message to these people that their profits are not as important as the health of the entire planet.
For a century, Monsanto has shown a disregard not only for the well-being of their customers and the mechanisms of democracy, but for life itself. Seeds are the beginning of life and no one should be able to control something so integral to the survival of not only humanity, but of all life on Earth. What Monsanto has done is unnatural. They have initiated a sinister plan to control the global food supply. They have done so by controlling seeds, farming techniques, governmental policy and people. And, not only are their actions unnatural, the most basic object of their manipulation is, in itself, a lie. Genetically modified seeds. Seeds of deception.