Monday 22nd of July 2019

the dirtiest of laundry ...

the dirtiest of laundry ...

The case against Monsanto is the gift that keeps on giving.

Previously in these pages I discussed how the trial of Monsanto currently taking place in the California Northern District Court - technically known as "Multidistrict Litigation," with the formal title of "In re: Roundup Products Liability Litigation (MDL No. 2741)" - is airing some of the agrichemical behemoth's dirtiest laundry. In my article "Monsatan On Trial For Roundup Cancer," I revealed how dozens of lawsuits filed against Monsanto for its role in causing the non-Hodgkin lymphoma of thousands of people across the US had been rolled into one dramatic court case, and how discovery from that case had yielded the remarkable deathbed testimony of EPA whistleblower Jess Rowland.

Then new documents emerged from the case confirming what many had long suspected: Monsanto has an entire internal corporate program (appropriately entitled "Let Nothing Go") employing an army of internet trolls who spam the company's propaganda on every social media post, forum and online comment board where its products and practices are being discussed.

Just this week, one of the law firms working on the trial released an equally explosive collection of "Monsanto's Secret Documents," proving another long-suspected claim against the world's most evil company: That it has in fact ghostwritten many of the key articles defending its products in the mainstream press—articles that were supposedly written by "independent" journalists. When the embarrassing details of the story came to light, including a suggested "draft" of an article written by Monsanto for Forbes "journalist" Henry Miller in 2015 that was exactly identical to the article that appeared under his name, Forbes pulled the piece from its website and ended Miller's employment. In a different leaked email exchange, former Monsanto consultant John Acquavella complained to a Monsanto executive, "I can’t be part of deceptive authorship on a presentation or publication," adding, "We call that ghost writing and it is unethical."

But if all that weren't bad enough, the latest documents to emerge from the case also detail exactly how Monsanto attempted to smear the research of Gilles-Éric Séralini, the French scientist who published a groundbreaking study showing an increase in tumors among rats fed genetically modified corn and Monsanto's RoundUp herbicide.

The Séralini affair, as it has come to be known, is something that long-time Corbett Reporteers will be familiar with by now. For those who haven't seen my COUGHProjectCensoredAwardWinningCOUGH video on the subject.

In a nutshell, a team of researchers led by Dr. Gilles-Eric Séralini of the University of Caen published a study called "Long term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize," in the Journal of Food and Chemical Toxicology in 2012. The study involved Séralini's team following 200 rats through a two-year feeding study. They divided the rats into 10 groups of 20 each (10 male rats and 10 female rats). Rats in three of the groups were fed Monsanto’s patented NK603 GMO corn alone. Rats in another three groups were fed the corn treated with Roundup herbicide. Rats in three other groups were fed Roundup-treated water but no GMO corn. And rats in the tenth group, a control group, were fed neither GMO corn nor Roundup herbicide. The team’s results indicated that the rats fed the Roundup or the GMO corn, either separately or combined, were more likely to experience a range of ill health effects than the non-GMO control group.

So far, so straightforward. But then the Monsanto PR machine™ kicked into action. Suddenly, the study was being pilloried as "unscientific" from all quarters. This is not to say that it had failed to apply the usual scientific standards and practices. Rather, it was "unscientific" because it had (correctly) applied the very standards and practices of all previous toxicity studies on glyphosate. The problem, according to the studies vocal critics, was that the Séralini’s team had observed the rats for their full two-year average lifespan, while previous industry-sponsored feeding studies had observed the rats for only three months. Tellingly, Séralini's team found that most of the adverse health effects documented in the study did not begin developing until the fourth month of the experiment.

Condemnations of the study, which had been carried out in near-total secrecy to avoid industry pressure, were swift in coming. For example, the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) - the very same agency that in 2009 had recommended NK603 Roundup-tolerant maize for regulatory approval in the EU without any independent testing - issued a blistering 22-point press release defending its own assessment of the GM corn's safety. The EFSA concluded that Séralini's work "does not meet acceptable scientific standards and there is no need to re-examine previous safety evaluations of genetically modified maize NK603." What the press release neglected to mention was that the EFSA had not examined the safety of Monsanto's corn in the first place. That is, it had conducted no animal tests itself, instead relying on "information supplied by the applicant" (i.e., Monsanto).

Among the flurry of denunciations that poured in were numerous letters to the editor calling on the Journal of Food and Chemical Toxicology to repudiate the controversial paper. There was even an online petition calling on Séralini to voluntarily withdraw it. The editor, seemingly bowing to the whirlwind of pressure, made the unprecedented decision to retract the study.

"Unprecedented" because the move went against the journal’s own express principles and guidelines.

As I pointed out at the time:

The editor of the journal, Dr. A. Wallace Hayes, himself admits that the paper meets none of the journal's own criteria for retraction. In his own statement on the retraction, he admits that he 'found no evidence of fraud or intentional misrepresentation of the data.' Yet still, the paper is being retracted because 'the results presented (while not incorrect) are inconclusive,' apparently a new standard for article retraction that seems to apply especially to articles critical of the GMO industry in general and Monsanto products in particular."

What was known at the time was that, shortly after the Séralini paper was published, the Journal of Food and Chemical Toxicology created a brand new position specifically to edit biotechnology-related papers. The person chosen to fill this position, Richard E. Goodman of the University of Nebraska, just happened to be (who would have guessed it?) a former Monsanto employee.

In short, it was obvious that Monsanto had had undue influence over the journal and its ultimate retraction of the paper. Then along came another document leak, which served to show just how much influence it had.

Remember that flurry of angry letters demanding the journal pull the paper? Well, reveals Monsanto scientist David Salmitras boasting that he personally orchestrated that campaign on Monsanto's behalf.

And how about the lopsided, Monsanto-friendly coverage of the controversy that appeared in the popular press? Internal emails demonstrate that Eric Sachs, another Monsanto employee, had pressured Bruce Chassy, an "independent" professor of food safety, to join the campaign, and Chassy had capitulated by co-authoring a Forbes article parroting the Monsanto viewpoint.

Wait, it gets even better. Chassy's co-author on that Forbes article? None other than the aforementioned discredited (and unemployed) Monsanto ghostwriter extraordinaire, Henry Miller. (Like all of Miller's other articles, that one has now been memory-holed by Forbes.)

Another email exposes Monsanto employee Daniel Goldstein's private admission to a colleague that he was "uncomfortable even letting shareholders know" that the company was aware of the letters to the editor before they had been published. Had he shared that information, he knew it would prove that Monsanto was orchestrating the letter-writing campaign. As Goldstein put it, "[O]therwise[,] how do we have knowledge of it?"

But the most explosive revelation from the released court documents concerns A. Wallace Hayes, the journal editor who oversaw the paper's retraction. Specifically, among the documents is a letter detailing a consulting agreement that Hayes entered into with Monsanto in August of 2012, just weeks before the Séralini paper was published and the retraction campaign began.

That Hayes didn't acknowledge this relationship with Monsanto, let alone recuse himself, during the time that the Séralini paper was being reviewed by the very journal Hayes was editing is utterly outrageous. Hayes defended himself by telling The New York Times that the consulting agreement had expired at the time the paper was retracted, but, as GMWatch points out, "since it took the journal over a year to retract the study after the months-long second review, which Hayes oversaw, it’s clear that he had an undisclosed conflict of interest from the time he entered into the contract with Monsanto and during the review process."

In sum, the Séralini affair is a case study in how Monsanto squashes any hint of independent scientific inquiry into its products: First, it identifies a perceived problem. Then it brings its incredible corporate resources to bear, organizing and mounting a response through seemingly "independent" third-party proxies. In the process, it buys off key personnel in organizations that pose a potential threat. And it makes sure the rules for publishing inconvenient findings, already ridiculously bent in its favor, are completely broken. As we can see, in the end Monsanto always achieves its goal.

..Or does it? There is a strangely positive "ever after" to this story. The Séralini team ultimately won their battle against Monsanto’s smear attempts. First in 2014 when they had their study republished in another journal; then in 2015, when. Then in 2015, Séralini won two separate court cases defending his work. And finally in 2016, when a new investigation by Le Monde confirmed that Richard E. Goodman, the former Monsanto employee who was parachuted in to fill the specially-created biotechnology editor post, was in fact still on Monsanto's payroll and receiving talking points directly from Monsanto at the time he was supposedly acting as an independent arbitrator of the Séralini paper. And now, with this latest release of court documents, the story of Monsanto's carefully orchestrated smear campaign against Séralini is confirmed once again in black and white.

It seems there really is something to the old adage that “the truth will out.” The only question left is: Will the truth win its day in court?

Court Documents Reveal the Inner Workings of a Monsanto Smear Campaign — Steemit

 

fighting for the opportunity to sell you poisons...

The weedkiller glyphosate, produced by the agricultural biotechnology giant Monsanto, is a dangerous chemical that causes a range of diseases in humans and should be banned, Professor Stephanie Seneff told Radio Sputnik.

Monsanto has stepped up attacks onthe World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). In 2015, the agency published a report which stated that the Monsanto product glyphosate is "probably carcinogenic to humans."

 

Monsanto is now seeking an external probe into the workings of the IARC and its leadership. It claims that the IARC overlooked a study that suggested the herbicide was safe.

Professor Stephanie Seneff, a senior research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who has carried out an extensive research on the subject, told Radio Sputnik that the study in question is unreliable and should not be used to debunk the IARC finding.

"They claimed that there was a study that was overlooked and they should have paid attention to it. Of course, this study had Monsantofunding, it was incomplete, it had not yet been published and the IARC does not look at any studies that are incomplete and unpublished."

"Glyphosate is the most important toxic chemical in our environment today," which is used extensively and carelessly by people who have been persuaded that the chemical is safe due to Monsanto's campaign, Seneff said.

read more:

https://sputniknews.com/environment/201708311056971737-Glyphosate-monsan...

this poison comes from AMVAC Chemical Corporation...

 

The US Air Force is spraying 6 million acres in Texas with potentially harmful insecticides, as the state tries to rid itself of swarms of mosquitoes nesting in flooded areas after Hurricane Harvey.

The work began this past weekend with the military using low-flying C-130 cargo planes to douse three counties with Naled, an organophosphate (OP) insecticide, according to Reuters.

“Due to the large amount of standing, polluted water, populations of pest insects that can transmit diseases are increasing significantly,” Captain Jeff Kelly, Air Force spokesman said in a statement. “This poses a health risk to rescue workers and residents of Houston.”

Post-Harvey aerial mosquito spraying over 6,000 acres of greater Houston set for Thursday nighthttps://t.co/RNthGfR49c

— Todd Ackerman (@ChronMed) September 14, 2017

It’s intended that the spraying will prevent mosquito-borne diseases and prevent emergency response slowdowns by workers inundated by biting insects.

Hurricane Harvey, which began as a Category 4 storm, dumped more than 40 inches (1,000 mm) of rain on parts of Texas over the course of four days. The resulting floods affected hundreds of thousands of homes, displacing more than 30,000 people and prompting more than 17,000 rescues.

Naled, a neurotoxin sold under the brand name Dibrom, works by killing an enzyme in insects and leads to overstimulating the nervous system, causing nausea, dizziness and confusion and at high exposure, respiratory paralysis and death.

 

Naled has been widely used in the US since 1950, but it was prohibited for use by by the European Union in 2012 over concerns it might affect human health.

“The scenarios evaluated in the human health risk assessment as well as in the environmental risk assessment showed a potential and unacceptable risk,” the EU wrote about its decision.

The UN classifies the insecticide as a 6.1 inhalation hazard.

However, the USCenters for Disease Control and Prevention and the US Environmental Protection Agency support the use of the insecticide and say that small amounts don't expose people enough to pose a health concern. The US Air Force agrees.

“The system disperses droplets small enough to land on a mosquito’s wing, using less than one ounce of naled per acre. That’s less than one shot glass for an area the size of a football field,” an Air Force spokesperson said.

Naled is used elsewhere in the US, with health departments spraying about one million pounds on 16 million acres each year – especially after disasters like hurricanes and flooding –  to curb mosquitos. About 70 percent is used for pest control, while around 30 percent is used in agriculture for cotton production in California and Louisiana, on alfalfa in Idaho and Oregon, and on grapes in California.

read more:

https://www.rt.com/usa/403377-air-force-sprays-harvey-chemicals/

-----------------

One major problem with such poison is developing resistance from both the disease and the human resistance to disease.

Here is the interesting Zika story:

Only one case of locally transmitted Zika virus has been documented in the United States this year, a reflection of the fact that cases have plummeted in Latin America and the Caribbean. Experts say the cause of the drop has nothing to do with efforts to control the mosquitoes that spread the disease or the impact of climate on their populations. Rather, the rapid spread of the virus through the Americas—which had its first reported case in Brazil in April 2015—left large swaths of the population immune. This so-called "herd immunity" has made it increasingly difficult for the Zika virus to find susceptible people, breaking the cycle of transmission between humans and mosquitoes. The drop in cases has not lessened the push to develop a vaccine against Zika, which caused widespread alarm after thousands of babies in Brazil were born with brain deformities that studies have shown are linked to the mothers being infected by the virus while they were pregnant. But with transmission in the region becoming scarce, it does complicate efforts of clinical trials that hope to show lower rates of transmission and disease in vaccinated people. One such trial is underway right now.

Read more:

http://science.sciencemag.org/content/357/6352/631

 

As weeds develop resistance to "Roundup", one needs to develop stronger poisons and more "patented" crop resistant to the new poisons... That is the vicious circle that feeds (profits) Monsanto and other poison makers...

 

 

squaring up with roundup...

Most of our cereal crops, the soybeans, the corn, are all predicated now on the world’s most widely used chemical which is glyphosate [Roundup],” Massy says. “There is mounting evidence that it is one of the most destructive chemicals ever to get into the system. Its main effect is on the human gut and our entire immune system.

“When you look at the As – autism, ADHD, all the other auto-immune diseases – their take off is a 95% correlation to these chemicals being introduced. The evidence is that it affects the gut and the immune system, though it is not the sole factor, and it is a complex thing. But it is that gut that drives our whole immune system, it is our second brain.”

read more:

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/sep/23/farmer-wants-a-revol...

 

Buy certified organic or grow your own as much as possible...

not done the necessary testing...

Some companies' reputations are so poor that the public already has low expectations when it comes to their ethics and business practices. That doesn't make it any less shocking when the accusations against them are confirmed in black and white.

Agricultural chemicals giant Monsanto is under fire because the company's herbicide, Roundup (active ingredient: glyphosate), is suspected of being carcinogenic. Permission to sell the chemical in the European Union expires on December 15 with member states set to decide on Wednesday whether to renew it for another 10 years. And now, the longstanding dispute about glyphosate has been brought to a head by the release of explosive documents. 

Monsanto's strategies for whitewashing glyphosate have been revealed in internal e-mails, presentations and memos. Even worse, these "Monsanto Papers" suggest that the company doesn't even seem to know whether Roundup is harmless to people's health.

"You cannot say that Roundup is not a carcinogen," Monsanto toxicologist Donna Farmer wrote in one of the emails. "We have not done the necessary testing on the formulation to make that statement."


read more:

http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/monsanto-papers-reveal-company...

 

Read from top... See also:

http://www.pollinis.org/en/internet-actions/

cash for crap...

Monsanto is offering cash incentives to US farmers who use a weed killer that is facing heavy restrictions. Critics say the perk program is meant to increase sales of a product that is believed to harm crops.

The American agrochemical and biotech corporation is offering cash back to US farmers who use XtendiMax, Monsanto’s controversial herbicide, while growing soybeans engineered to resist the weed killer.

The promotional campaign promises $6 per acre in cash to farmers who lather their Xtend soybeans in XtendiMax and VaporGrip, a herbicide based on a chemical known as dicamba. One acre of crops typically needs about $11 worth of XtendiMax.

Farmers and agricultural experts say the weed killer is ineffective and unsafe, contributing to a US agricultural crisis this year. When sprayed, the herbicide is known to drift away – often contaminating different crops unable to withstand the chemical. In August, farmers began posting photographs of fields of beans, peach orchards and vegetable gardens withering away. Millions of acres of damaged crops have been blamed on XtendiMax and other dicamba-based weed killers.

Farmers have submitted more than 2,700 reports to state agricultural agencies claiming dicamba spraying has destroyed 3.6 million acres of soybeans, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The herbicide is also blamed for destroying other crops, such as cantaloupe and pumpkins. The cash-back offer comes as federal and state regulators are requiring training and restrictions for farmers who are planning to use dicamba-based herbicides in 2018.

Read more:

https://www.rt.com/usa/412761-monsanto-cash-perks-farmers/