Scientist Speaks Out Against Monsanto For Really Good Reason

Monsanto, now owned by Bayer AG, and its glyphosate-based pesticide known as RoundUp, have been the subject of extensive litigation, including 3 recent victories against the corporation. As part of the legal proceedings, the company’s own emails, reports and practices have been brought into evidence. The findings in these documents has left many appalled at the extent to which Monsanto targeted scientists and the media. One of the scientists who was subjected to the company’s criticism of the World Health Organization’s findings finally spoke out, likening the company’s scientific disinformation campaign to tobacco industry propaganda.

Dr. Jonathan M. Stamet, MD, MS, Dean and Professor at the Colorado School of Public Health and a participant in the World Health Organization’s committee scientific literature review that took a year and involved examination of around 1000 scientific studies before concluding that glyphosate is a “probable carcinogen” compared Monsanto’s disinformation and discreditation campaign to the propaganda used by the tobacco industry in a piece he wrote for the July edition of the American Journal of Public Health.

He stated: “Aggressive actions have been taken by Monsanto (now owned by Bayer), the manufacturer of glyphosate, around the 2015 IARC classification of glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans.” The Monsanto strategy parallels those used by the tobacco industry and others, but the glyphosate story is notable for its intensity, its reach to the working group members, and the immediacy and scope of litigation in the United States related to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

In an orchestrated strategy, the full gamut of approaches to contaminating the scientific literature can be found: ghost-written papers, unrevealed connections to Monsanto, and review of messaging by Monsanto. This strategy is not new, and can be traced back to how the tobacco industry manufactured doubt after smoking was first linked to lung cancer in the 1950s.”

Monsanto even reportedly targeted scientists, attempted to “poison the scientific well,” and to “destroy the United Nations’ cancer agency by any means possible” according to award-winning investigative reporting at Le Monde.

According to Carey Gillam, research director for US Right to Know, contributor for The Guardian and author of White Wash: The Story of a Weed Killer, Cancer, and the Corruption of Science, stated in an article she wrote that “Through three civil trials, the public release of internal corporate communications has revealed conduct that all three juries have found so unethical as to warrant punishing punitive damage awards.

During the last three lawsuits against Monsanto in which the plaintiffs all asserted that their cancers were caused by the corporation’s glyphosate-based pesticide, Monsanto’s own emails and documents revealed some telling information. The company has been linked to ghostwriting scientific studies and information, cozy relationships with regulators, and even a “reputation management” consultant posing as a BBC journalist during one of the cancer trials against the company as a means to sway journalistic favor toward Monsanto.

In Gillam’s article, she shares the following: “Lawyer Tim Litzenburg, who represents several plaintiffs suing Monsanto over claims Roundup causes cancer, told me that he has traced what he calls a “dark money project” by Monsanto aimed at winning favorable public opinion. The project includes planting helpful news articles in traditional news outlets; discrediting and harassing journalists who refused to parrot the company’s propaganda; and secretly funding front groups to amplify pro-Monsanto messaging across social media platforms.

“We now know they had pet journalists who pushed Monsanto propaganda under the guise of ‘objective reporting,’” Litzenburg, a partner with the firm Kincheloe, Litzenburg & Pendleton, told me. “At the same time, the chemical company sought to amass dossiers to discredit those journalists who were brave enough to speak out against them.”

Gillam recounts her own experiences as a career journalist who spent 17 years covering Monsanto for the news agency Reuters: “In 2014, an organization called Academics Review published two scathing articles about my work at Reuters writing about Monsanto’s genetically engineered crops and its Roundup herbicide business.” The company complained that she should not be including the views of critics of Monsanto.

She continues to explain that internal documents at Monsanto recently revealed that Academics Review “was and is anything but independent. The organization was the brainchild of Monsanto, designed as a vehicle for responding to ‘scientific concerns and allegations’ while ‘keeping Monsanto in the background so as not to harm the credibility of the information’ as one November 2010 email from Monsanto executive Eric Sachs stated. According to a March 11, 2010 email chain, Academics Review was established with the help of a former director of corporate communications at Monsanto who set up his own public relations shop and a former vice president of a biotech industry trade association of which Monsanto was a member.”

The company’s own emails were released showing Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officials may have colluded with Monsanto to help slow the release of the dangers of the pesticide from the public, as well as feeding the company consistent updates. A Monsanto report indicated that a domestic policy advisor at the White House said: “We have Monsanto’s back on pesticides regulation. We are prepared to go toe-to-toe on any disputes they may have with, for example, the EU. Monsanto need not fear any additional regulation from this administration.”

As Dr. Stamets aptly concluded in his journal article, “At a moment when evidence-based actions related to the environment are under threat, the widening of the attack to the scientific review processes and the reviewers needs to be called out.” I agree—science needs to remain unbiased and those scientists who dare to declare that a chemical is a probable carcinogen need to be safe from attacks of any kind. To that I would add that any type of interference with journalistic integrity also needs to be called out.

 

Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM shares her food growing, cooking, preserving, and other food self-sufficiency adventures at FoodHouseProject.com. She is the publisher of the free e-newsletter World’s Healthiest News and an international best-selling and 20-time published book author whose works include her newest book: FOOD FIX: The Most Powerful Healing Foods and How to Use Them to Overcome Disease. Follow her work.

 

51 comments

Lesa D
Lesa D2 days ago

thank you Michelle...

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Marija Mohoric
Marija M3 days ago

tks for sharing

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Leo C
Leo Custer4 days ago

Thank you for sharing!

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Sherry Kohn
Sherry Kohn4 days ago

Noted

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Barbara S
Barbara S4 days ago

thanks for posting

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Chad Anderson
Chad Anderson4 days ago

Nice.

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Michael F
Michael F4 days ago

Thank You for Sharing This !!!

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Melanie St. Germaine
Melanie S4 days ago

Bayer/Monsanto are killing everything and making people sick and make more money of drugs to treat people that are sick - its disgusting!

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Joan E R
Joan E R4 days ago

Sad! Can we just stop with the poison!!

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Ruth S
Ruth S5 days ago

Thanks.

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