Just-Released Docs Show Monsanto “Executives Colluding With Corrupted EPA Officials to Manipulate Scientific Data”

Lambert here: Reminds me of this scene from Michael Clayton, a movie worth watching. The sound isn’t perfect, but the message is clear enough:

By Carey Gillam, research director at U.S. Right to Know, a nonprofit organization that investigates the risks associated with the corporate food system. Originally published at Alternet.

Four months after the publication of a batch of internal Monsanto Co. documents stirred international controversy, a new trove of company records was released early Tuesday, providing fresh fuel for a heated global debate over whether or not the agricultural chemical giant suppressed information about the potential dangers of its Roundup herbicide and relied on U.S. regulators for help.

More than 75 documents, including intriguing text messages and discussions about payments to scientists, were posted for public viewing early Tuesday morning by attorneys who are suing Monsanto on behalf of people alleging Roundup caused them or their family members to become ill with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a type of blood cancer. The attorneys posted the documents, which total more than 700 pages, on the website for the law firm Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman, one of many firms representing thousands of plaintiffs who are pursuing claims against Monsanto. More than 100 of those lawsuits have been consolidated in multidistrict litigation in federal court in San Francisco, while other similar lawsuits are pending in state courts in Missouri, Delaware, Arizona and elsewhere. The documents, which were obtained through court-ordered discovery in the litigation, are also available as part of a long list of Roundup court case documents compiled by the consumer group I work for, U.S. Right to Know.

It was important to release the documents now because they not only pertain to the ongoing litigation, but also to larger issues of public health and safety, while shedding light on corporate influence over regulatory bodies, according to Baum Hedlund attorneys Brent Wisner and Pedram Esfandiary.

“This is a look behind the curtain,” said Wisner. “These show that Monsanto has deliberately been stopping studies that look bad for them, ghostwriting literature and engaging in a whole host of corporate malfeasance. They [Monsanto] have been telling everybody that these products are safe because regulators have said they are safe, but it turns out that Monsanto has been in bed with U.S. regulators while misleading European regulators.”

Esfandiary said public dissemination of the documents is important because regulatory agencies cannot properly protect public and environmental health without having accurate, comprehensive and impartial scientific data, and the documents show that has not been the case with Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide and the active ingredient glyphosate.

When reached for comment, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., one of the plaintiffs’ lawyers said, “This trove marks a turning point in Monsanto’s corporate life. They show Monsanto executives colluding with corrupted EPA officials to manipulate and bury scientific data to kill studies when preliminary data threatened Monsanto’s commercial ambitions, bribing scientists and ghostwriting their publications, and purchasing peer review to conceal information about Roundup’s carcinogenicity, its toxicity, its rapid absorption by the human body, and its horrendous risks to public health and the environment.”

“We can now prove that all Monsanto’s claims about glyphosate’s safety were myths concocted by amoral propaganda and lobbying teams,” Kennedy continued. “Monsanto has been spinning its lethal yarn to everybody for years and suborning various perjuries from regulators and scientists who have all been lying in concert to American farmers, landscapers and consumers. It’s shocking no matter how jaded you are! These new revelations are commiserate with the documents that brought down big tobacco.”

Several of the documents discuss a lack of robust testing of formulated Roundup products. In one email, Monsanto scientist Donna Farmer writes “you cannot say that Roundup is not a carcinogen … we have not done the necessary testing on the formulation to make that statement. The testing on the formulations are not anywhere near the level of the active ingredient.”

The release of the documents Tuesday came without the blessing of Judge Vince Chhabria, who is overseeing the multidistrict litigation moving its way through the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. In March, Chhabria did agree to unseal several other discovery documents—over Monsanto’s objections—and those documents prompted a wave of outrage for what they revealed: questionable research practices by Monsanto, cozy ties to a top official within the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and indications that Monsanto may have engaged in “ghostwriting,” of research studies that appeared to be independent of the company.

The revelations within those documents prompted an investigation by the EPA’s Office of Inspector General into possible Monsanto-EPA collusion, and roiled Europe where regulators now are trying to decide whether or not to reauthorize glyphosate, which is the most widely used herbicide in the world and is found in numerous products in addition to Roundup.

The lawyers said they are sending copies of the documents to European authorities, to the EPA’s OIG and to the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), which has been sued by Monsanto for moving to list glyphosate as a known carcinogen

Monsanto has fought to keep most of the documents it turned over in discovery sealed, complaining to Judge Chhabria that in several court filings plaintiffs’ attorneys presented discovery materials out of context and tried to exploit the information to influence public opinion. Chhabria has both chided Monsanto for trying to improperly seal certain documents and warned plaintiffs’ attorneys against unfairly publicizing certain documents. It is unclear how Judge Chhabria will react, if at all, to the law firm’s release of these more than 75 documents.

Baum Hedlund attorneys said they notified Monsanto on June 30 of their intent to unveil the 75+ documents and gave Monsanto the legally required 30-day window to formally object. That period expired Monday, clearing the way for them to make the release early Tuesday, said Wisner.

Concerns about the safety of glyphosate and Roundup have been growing for years amid mounting research showing links to cancer or other diseases. But the lawsuits only began to accumulate after the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in 2015 classified glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen. The plaintiffs in the lawsuits allege that the combination of glyphosate with certain surfactants used in Monsanto-branded Roundup products is even more toxic than glyphosate alone, and Monsanto has sought to cover up that information.

Monsanto has publicly denied that there are cancer connections to glyphosate or Roundup and said 40 years of research and scrutiny by regulatory agencies around the world confirm its safety.

Monsanto has made billions of dollars a year for decades from its glyphosate-based herbicides, and they are the linchpin to billions of dollars more it makes each year from the genetically engineered glyphosate-tolerant crops it markets. The company is currently moving toward a planned merger with Bayer AG.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.

58 comments

  1. oaf

    “planned merger”
    …Monsters of the World, unite!
    They have had free use of us as guinea pigs/lab rats all this time. Our discoveries are still ahead, and personal benefits???

    Reply
    1. JTMcPhee

      Speaking of mergers, how about Dow and DuPont? Now there’s a pair of aces for ya…

      For those seeking hints on investment opportunities, here’s a link to a Zacks piece, https://www.zacks.com/stock/news/254246/130-billion-dowdupont-merger-finally-gains-eu-approval, and a bit of text from it too:


      Concerns & Other Massive Mergers

      Friends of the Earth Europe, a lobbying group, say that the DuPont and Dow merger could lead to the three new companies controlling 70% of the world’s agrichemicals and over 60% of commercial seeds.”This decision to allow Dow Chemicals and DuPont to form the world’s biggest agribusiness company will give giant corporations an even tighter toxic grip on our food and countryside. For the public and nature such mergers are marriages made in hell,” Adrian Bebb of Friends of the Earth Europe said in an interview.The DuPont and Dow merger is the first of three major mergers that will reshape the chemical and agricultural industry.The EU is nearing its deadline to approve China National Chemical Corp.’s $43 billion bid to acquire Switzerland-based pesticide and seed maker Syngenta AG (SYT – Free Report) .

      German-based chemical giant Bayer AG announced its planned $57 billion acquisition of U.S.-based seed maker powerhouse Monsanto Company (MON – Free Report) . The deal is expected to begin its formal EU approval process in the second quarter of 2017. Bayer and Monsanto could face a similar hard-line stance to divest and sell assets.

      Reply
  2. Sam F

    It is astounding that the US Congress is so utterly corrupt as to fail to ensure investigation of such health risks. That the people are so propagandized by oligarchy controlled mass media that they do not insist upon strict regulation of large businesses. Unregulated capitalism proves its inherent corruption.

    Reply
    1. Jeremy Grimm

      I think you might find a lot of libertarian types using this capture of the government regulatory agencies as an argument against government regulation of business. For neoliberals this capture illustrates how it is done. How it will be handled might tell of the next stage of neoliberal application of the government apparatus. I’m sure there will be efforts to improve over the way big Tobacco was treated.

      Is Monsanto too big to fail? What about Monsanto-Bayer? What long-term impacts will these disclosures have — if any. I live in farm country. You’ll need a heavy fence post to beat sense into some of the local farmers heads.

      Reply
      1. Vatch

        Of course libertarians will claim this shows why we should not have government regulation. What they neglect to mention is that the situation would be even worse without government regulation, because the corporations would be able to market their toxic products without any hindrance at all. The solution is to prevent regulatory capture, and to eliminate it where it exists (which is almost everywhere).

        Reply
    2. monte McKebnzie

      YES Our congress is the best Governmemt money can buy!!!

      So ? they all have the god given right to make the best deals for themselves that they can , Don’t they?

      When you get cancer will you say the same?

      Reply
  3. Rick Cass

    Maybe these two criminal corporations can combine Roundup with their pesticides that are killing all the bees. Think of the increased efficiency.

    Reply
  4. Wade Riddick

    Glyphosate, pathways to modern diseases II: Celiac sprue and gluten intolerance.
    Review article
    Samsel A, et al. Interdiscip Toxicol. 2013.

    “16 Conclusion
    Celiac disease is a complex and multifactorial condition associated with gluten intolerance and a higher risk to thyroid disease, cancer and kidney disease, and there is also an increased risk to infertility and birth defects in children born to celiac mothers. While the principal diagnostic is autoantibodies to tissue transglutaminase, celiac disease is associated with a spectrum of other pathologies such as deficiencies in iron, vitamin D3, molybdenum, selenium, and cobalamin, an overgrowth of pathogens in the gut at the expense of beneficial biota, impaired serotonin signaling, and increased synthesis of toxic metabolites like p-Cresol and indole-3-acetic acid. In this paper, we have systematically shown how all of these features of celiac disease can be explained by glyphosate’s known properties. These include (1) disrupting the shikimate pathway, (2) altering the balance between pathogens and beneficial biota in the gut, (3) chelating transition metals, as well as sulfur and selenium, and (4) inhibiting cytochrome P450 enzymes. We argue that a key system-wide pathology in celiac disease is impaired sulfate supply to the tissues, and that this is also a key component of glyphosate’s toxicity to humans.

    “The monitoring of glyphosate levels in food and in human urine and blood has been inadequate. The common practice of desiccation and/or ripening with glyphosate right before the harvest ensures that glyphosate residues are present in our food supply. It is plausible that the recent sharp increase of kidney failure in agricultural workers is tied to glyphosate exposure. We urge governments globally to reexamine their policy towards glyphosate and to introduce new legislation that would restrict its usage.”

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3945755/

    Don’t get science from a newspaper or ad. Go straight to the chemistry itself.

    Reply
    1. Quanka

      great link, Wade. When are people going to wake up about Glysophate?? Monsanto’s own scientists agree that you can’t say Roundup doesn’t cause cancer. Case closed.

      It reminds me of Palm Oil. I started my own “no Palm oil” push 2 years ago and I still unwittingly buy products with Palm Oil in them. See this link here for the hundreds of different industry names Palm Oil goes under on food labels. http://www.palmoilinvestigations.org/names-for-palm-oil.html

      Palm Oil, like Glysophate, is found in literally everything. The human population – the U.S. one anyway – is taking on an enormous collective dose of these products. And the body is breaking down as result.

      Reply
    1. JTMcPhee

      When I worked at the US EPA as an enforcement attorney, I helped start up what for a time became an active criminal enforcement program that actually used to put corporate bad actors, even senior management, in jail for environmental crimes. That threat of jail time, under sentencing guidelines that actually showed some sharp teeth and voiced a general preference against “dumping externalities” by “enhanced penalties,” actually made some C-suite-ers sit up and take notice — at least until they corporately worked out how to hamstring the enforcers.

      Any more, of course, little people fill out the self-glowing reports on the outputs of the rump criminal enforcement program. So sad. So inevitable. And expecting the vast corrupt “establishment” to do anything else is pretty futile. Too many Quislings among us mopes, and too many of us either happy to go along with (see “cops”, and “Department of Justice”, e.g.) or very too distracted by trying to earn enough to cover food and shelter (forget about medical care) or reasonably frightened into silence (the fate of Occupy?).

      Reply
  5. Enquiring Mind

    Will this be the jailing crime?
    People at Monsanto and their support networks at the regulators should arrange their affairs.
    Thanks for the Michael Clayton bit. Nature imitates art.

    Reply
  6. mpalomar

    agri industry has been a disaster for food, the environment, the land (top soil erosion) water resources and our health. Implemented by corporate connivance corrupting and directing local and national government regulatory and policy decision and implementation against the interests of small family farms. It is another instance of the hash the mythos of the infallible free market has made of the planet.

    Profit driven societal policy direction and outcomes are rapidly approaching catastrophic endings on a number of fronts and still the propaganda about the natural and supportive relation between capitalism and democracy persists in cultural, academic and establishment institutions. Despite socialism’s highlighted and spotlighted failures and setbacks which include the slide into totalitarian states (also associated with capitalism) and the ability to deliver a sufficient bounty of consumer goods (likely a good thing given the advanced state of our throwaway, high octane consumer society) and the general disinclination to entertain and study its successes, one wonders whether and when the dream like spell cast by the high and low priests of capitalism can ever be broken.

    It does seem to be at least shaken somewhat as we approach the precipice.

    Reply
    1. LyonNightroad

      I often wonder if modern intensive agriculture significantly increase the carrying capacity of the earth compared to other healthier, more sustainable agricultural practices.

      If so, will we cross (or have we already crossed) a population threshold where it becomes impossible to change course without a significant reduction in fertility at best or a significant increase in mortality at worst?

      Reply
      1. mpalomar

        Maybe gm designer plants for a fast changing climate will save humanity and the infrastructure for another 7 billion can be manufactured out of star dust. The current agri industry is a disaster and if it has temporarily increased the agricultural based carrying capacity of the earth beyond what organic smart farming could accomplish, which is certainly moot, distribution has always been the problem. Irrigation/aquifer collapse, topsoil decimation, pollution run off, antibiotic resistance, animal cruelty and the myriad of other problems too numerous to list including your concerns regarding Malthusian limitations make whatever gains may have accrued from industrial practices appear as pyrrhic victories.

        The rural population exodus from the farm to urban industrial was a major demographic transformation for the the 20th C. US (and for the world – 21rst C.) a reverse migration may be necessary for humans given the outcome of reduced human work participation in computer/robotics populated production lines and the need for farm laborers.

        I can envision (in some pretty wild dreaming) a garden planet with abundant, well paid, rural jobs on artisanal farms using organic techniques that eschew monoculture, the overuse of chemicals and fossil fuels, building organic soil through composting, raising soil moisture retention etc. Food would likely be more expensive and probably much better.

        http://rodaleinstitute.org/

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K5QYZ-LRXW4

        Reply
        1. LyonNightroad

          If it’s any consolation, I sometimes dream an even wilder dream where mankind only lives off the output of ‘unimproved land’ i.e. no agriculture. In regards to sustenance, the outputs in this scenario are stupendous relative to the labor inputs because labor is limited to foraging. I suspect it would be a very high quality life but for many fewer than exist today. The majority of mankind would live in those areas of the earth with high natural abundance. There would also be many areas of the earth with few humans due to lower abundance.

          Regardless, I find either to be a nice dream.

          Reply
          1. JTMcPhee

            That distribution of population is already there and “advancing.” Historically, there were people who lived in what to the uninitiated would seem like totally barren terrain, like the “bushmen” of the Kalahari Desert and the “aborigines” on Australia. Those folks, like rain forest peoples, had highly developed and “appropriate” technologies. I think the “aborigines” might be the only ones who retain the cultural strength to stay the course, though all I know is what I read on the subject. Too bad the wastelands those folks have learned to live in will become physically uninhabitable due to ambient temperatures that will cook them in their skins, thanks to SUVs and private jets and cow f@rts and such… But maybe the Afghan tribesmen will learn to find new bugs and plants to glean and all that, and other peoples less acclimated to a much gentler climate… Not that, on the actuarial numbers, I’ll be around to watch any of it.

            Reply
  7. Arizona Slim

    So, RFK Junior is one of the plaintiffs’ attorneys? That doesn’t bode well for Monsanto. If he’s anything like his dad, he is one tenacious lawyer.

    Reply
    1. thump

      I lost a lot of respect for RFK, Jr., years ago when I heard him on the radio talking about hydrogen as a fuel. He was decrying the GW Bush administration’s plans to make H2 from oil and natural gas, saying that we should just use the hydrogen plentifully available in water, making it sound like Bush and Cheney were only trying to help out their friends in industry instead of taking the easier and non-polluting route. For anyone unclear on this, hydrogen is not a naturally available fuel like fossil fuels; it is a storage mechanism. You have to make hydrogen, with the inevitable losses meaning there is less energy available from the produced hydrogen than went into making it.

      Reply
      1. Synoia

        Hydrogen will never be a fuel. It’s too difficult to handle, hard to liquifty,and is the only inflammable gas which heats on expanding at STP.

        It’s use by the Bush administration was a “bright shiny object.”

        Reply
  8. Stupendous Man - Defender of Liberty, Foe of Tyranny

    That was a good mid-movie scene from “Michael Clayton.” Still I liked the scene at the end more. Search “does it look like i’m negotiating” for the ending scene.

    The strategies, and tactics, being employed by Monsanto here were exhaustively discussed in the 2002 Rampton, and Stauber, book “Trust Us We’re Experts: How Industry Manipulates Science and Gambles with Your Future.”

    I wait with bated breath to see how Judge Chhabria will handle this public release of documents.

    Reply
  9. agkaiser

    Corporate greed is the greatest threat to survival the human race has ever faced. It may eliminate us from the planet’s gene pool before global warming really heats up. Maybe God is on Monsanto’s board and acting to preserve the best of His creation.

    Reply
  10. Ned

    Time for active boycotts of stores that sell this carcinogen and the promotion of alternate stores that do not.

    A local beloved local nursery was taken over by a small chain of nurseries, (Armstrong). They had a huge biocide display. They refused to discuss the toxicity of Roundup and continued to sell it after printouts of the toxicity of the chemicals were delivered to management and the employees.

    Everyone we know boycotted the place.
    And now after less than two years the property is for lease.
    Good riddance.

    Print out the Monsanto article(s) and deliver and discuss them with the management of small local stores that make purchasing discussions locally.

    Boycotts do work, especially in competitive commercial situations where there is more than one store in an area. Don’t forget Yelp and other customer reviews to praise or damn businesses.

    Reply
  11. Vatch

    Here’s a report on glyphosate with some disturbing information:

    https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.fooddemocracynow.org/images/FDN_Glyphosate_FoodTesting_Report_p2016.pdf

    “Not only do high levels of glyphosate residues show up in obvious GMO products, but they are also present in foods that are not genetically engineered. Glyphosate residues are now found in food crops, such as wheat, oats and barley, where glyphosate is used as a pre-harvest drying agent.”

    Glyphosate isn’t just used as a herbicide, it’s also used prior to harvest as a drying agent.

    Here’s an article with some advice on avoiding glyphosate in food. I do some of these things, but it can be very inconvenient. Maybe my desire for convenience will give me cancer some day.

    http://www.wikihow.com/Avoid-Glyphosate-Residue

    And here’s a reader-friendly list of some products with glyphosate reside on them:

    http://www.naturalnews.com/2017-03-06-brand-name-processed-foods-found-laced-with-glyphosate-weed-killer.html#

    We’re lucky that we have Scott Pruitt in charge at the EPA, because he’ll work tirelessly to protect our health (sarcasm).

    Reply
    1. Jeremy Grimm

      Thanks for the links! One question — quinoa was listed as a food to avoid. I thought the growers would be more concerned about any kind of chemical sprays than that. I had read they were appalled by Monsanto’s attempt to breed quinoa without its natural insect repellent/insecticide.

      I haven’t seen them on the market anywhere here but a web search turned up a lot of interesting Japanese and Chinese ultrasonic produce washers for home use. Is anyone selling them in the US?

      Also — I recall a recent comment noting how roundup turns up in a lot of the horse and cattle manure home organic gardeners might use to enrich their soils. This stuff is everywhere. Some terrorist should tap into the water lines feeding the Monsanto executive mansions and put in a steady dose of Roundup. Turnabout should be fair play.

      Reply
      1. Vatch

        I don’t know enough to answer your question about quinoa. It’s possible that different companies have different practices. Maybe someone else can provide more information about quinoa, as well as the ultrasonic washing systems that you mentioned.

        Reply
  12. Carey

    It’s hard not to conclude that the poisoning of the populace by the few is intentional.

    See the recently released ‘Poison Papers’.

    Reply
  13. Louis Fyne

    not holding my breath for the left-wing anti-monsanto folks to link up with the right-wing anti-Monsanto folks

    Reply
  14. Thuto

    Bayer + Monsanto = The proverbial “marriage made in heaven”. Corrupt and captured scientists and regulators will be the concubines that prostitute themselves to perpetuate the myth that this marriage of “benevolent” behemoths is beneficial to society at large. In reality though Monsanto will, through poisoning the food supply, make millions of people ill and deliver a steady stream of patients (read customers) for Bayer’s pharmaceutical division to make whole with their medicines. Once consummated, Monsanto will be a demand generation machine par excellence for Bayer’s consumer pharmaceutical products, what’s there not to like if you’re a Monsanto/Bayer stockholder. For the rest of us though, it’s a marriage made in hell…

    Reply
    1. JTMcPhee

      /would that be “vertical integration,” or since it results in corpses and bedridden folks, “horizontal?”

      Reply
    2. Thuto

      And if Monsanto, with the criminal complicity of captured academia and regulators, can hoodwink the public in countries you’d expect to have strong regulatory safeguards, imagine the havoc they wreak in smaller developing countries where the “attracting foreign direct investment is good for the economy” is accepted as gospel. I should know, I comment from South Africa and over 70% of the maize/corn grown in my country is GMO (with Monsanto having a significant share of the seed market) and government regulators crumble in the face of these behemoths and their paid-for “independent research” by scientists who are presented to the public as speaking ex-cathedra when making pronouncements about the safety of these products…

      Reply
      1. Thuto

        Correction for above comment: “Attracting foreign direct investment is good for the economy” mantra is accepted as gospel…

        Reply
  15. Carey

    Thuto at 12:25 pm, that sounds about right to me.

    Learning that Monsanto was encouraging farmers to use Roundup willy-nilly as a dessicant was the tipping
    point for me.

    Reply
  16. JTMcPhee

    Nothing new here. When I worked for the US EPA in the early ’80s, the Reaganauts took over. One bit of their corruption was allowing Dow Chemical to re-write a report I and helped write, on the massive contamination by dioxins and other carcinogens that were emitted and discharged from Dow’s Midland, MI plant into the Tittibawasee and Saginaw rivers and eventually into Saginaw Bay. That contamination of soils and sediments is still threatening and affecting the health of people in the area. Dow was invited to “edit” the report, but a draft with the actual data was leaked to a couple of newspapers that actually were staffed by reporters who compared the draft and the shrunken, gutted re-write and reported on what Dow had done via cozying up to Reagan’s appointees.

    I, and others more substantively, got to testify before nationally televised congressional actual investigative hearings, featuring Carl Levin of Michigan as an actual active Democrat committee chair. There’s vanishingly little reference to that episode in searchable places like Google and DDG. Here’s one link that mentions it in passing: http://www.trwnews.net/Documents/News/2008/tpl050508.htm. And there’s more, in a book titled “A Season Of Spoils: “The Story Of The Reagan Administration’s Attack On The Environment,” https://www.amazon.com/dp/0394721462/?tag=mh0b-20&hvadid=78271503684865&hvqmt=e&hvbmt=be&hvdev=t&ref=pd_sl_5oxkm3d0o6_e Another element was the firing of civil servants and the blacklisting of scientists and investigators who did not meet the Reaganaut standards of evilness and guile. There was a Jared Kushner-type “operative,” Louis Cordia, who developed the “Green Book” of unacceptably honorable agency employees and resources.’

    The congressional inquiries eventually resulted in a couple of mid levels losing their jobs, and the hue and cry nationally led to the prosecution and jailing of just ONE — the unfortunately named Rita Lavelle, who for a time was head of the federal Superfund cleanup program.

    The book has a lot of nice detail from the inside, on the particular incident with Dow (just one of many, just for that one corporate entity), but also on the whole corrupt (NC definition) assault on human health and the environment by these people. All of which was guided in significant part by a volume vacuously titled “Mandate For Leadership: Policy Management In A conservative Admiknistration,” https://www.amazon.com/Mandate-Leadership-Management-Conservative-Administration/dp/0891950281/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1502040743&sr=1-2&keywords=Mandate+for+leadership, developed and published by the Heritage Foundation (see Joseph and Adolph Coors) to show the incoming rulers exactly how to hamstring any bit of general-welfare operations still extant in “our” government. The Rs gutted the EPA regional libraries, getting rid of all the publicly available reports and data and other information on how bad our courporate owners are, and filling an entire shelf with copies of “Mandate for Leadership,” which was required reading for senior executives or any staffer who wanted to float his or her boat on the incoming tide…

    Too bad the Left and “Dems” and all those folks don’t begin to understand (or actually give a toot about, or are actively participating in the looting) how to organize like the Coors and Kochs to force “policy” down the throats of the rest of us…

    Reply
    1. cnchal

      > . . . how to organize like the Coors and Kochs to force “policy” down the throats of the rest of us…

      They have a 46 year head start. From the Powell Memo:

      In all fairness, it must be recognized that businessmen have not been trained or equipped to conduct guerrilla warfare with those who propagandize against the system, seeking insidiously and constantly to sabotage it. The traditional role of business executives has been to manage, to produce, to sell, to create jobs, to make profits, to improve the standard of living, to be community leaders, to serve on charitable and educational boards, and generally to be good citizens. They have performed these tasks very well indeed.
      . . . . .
      Responsibility of Business Executives

      What specifically should be done? The first essential — a prerequisite to any effective action — is for businessmen to confront this problem as a primary responsibility of corporate management.

      The overriding first need is for businessmen to recognize that the ultimate issue may be survival — survival of what we call the free enterprise system, and all that this means for the strength and prosperity of America and the freedom of our people.

      The day is long past when the chief executive officer of a major corporation discharges his responsibility by maintaining a satisfactory growth of profits, with due regard to the corporation’s public and social responsibilities. If our system is to survive, top management must be equally concerned with protecting and preserving the system itself. This involves far more than an increased emphasis on “public relations” or “governmental affairs” — two areas in which corporations long have invested substantial sums.

      Reply
  17. Peedee Wyre

    From the folks who brought you Agent Orange. What could possibly go wrong?
    Signed, a Vietnam Veteran with Follicular Lymphoma (a phenotype of non-Hodgkins Lymphoma), designated 100% Totally Disabled by the V.A. for presumed evidence of exposure to Agent Orange while serving in the Mekong Delta in 1968-69, currently receiving chemotherapy (62 infusions since early 2011) at Normal V.A. facikities.

    Reply
    1. Synoia

      Nah, that was Dioxin, not glyphosate….:-) Glyposate is so good (for us)….

      My sympathies. Please have your family checked, Dioxin is a reputed to be mutagen, and conditions appear to skip generations.

      Reply
  18. Peedee Wyre

    *NorCal V.A. facilities*
    -minor nitpicky point: in RFK Jr’s quote, it should read: “commensurate,” not ‘commiserate.’

    Reply
  19. Francois

    At this time, do color me totally unimpressed.

    I’ve seen too many of these propaganda wars to jump to ANY firm conclusions right now. The inexcusable about face, denial and outright systematic lying of Greenpeace about Bt corn comes to mind.

    I shall wait for a proper assessment of these documents by experts scientists that are NOT related either to Monsanto Or the lawyers involved.

    There are billions at stake here; not only in this lawsuit but the whole organic industry fear-mongering machine really needs a resounding victory against Monsanto to keep their propaganda going strong.

    Reply
    1. JTMcPhee

      Francois, qu veut dire “Vichy”?

      Yaas, let us impeach all with possible bad acts by some. Papering over mountains of proof of truly bad acts by money-driven looters. https://www.corporatecrimereporter.com/top100.html A nice way to sow “fear, uncertainty and doubt.” To take advantage of the credulity and decency of the many, who just have a horrible time believing that other humans could be so murderous and venal…

      And will you volunteer yourself to be the arbiter of what constitutes a “proper assessment”? But then we, each of us, individualized and atomized by generations of being sautéed or poached in sauce du Bernays, will have to make our own tepid tremulous individual judgments on all this, won’t we?

      And so many of us will “reserve judgment” or just let the next wave of Bernays roll over us, uncertain, because “there are billions at stake?” Yasss, billions in income and profit and shed externalities, for the people and their more driven organizations (that we mopes call “corporations,” for want of a more universal and descriptive term).

      Reply
      1. jabawocky

        Or you could jump on any bandwagon that comes along without a full appreciation of the facts, just because it fits with your worldview. Some of the ‘evidence’ linked to on this thread would not impress many scientists. Even the links to peer-reviewed papers link to something in an obscure slovak journal published by a computer scientist, not a toxicologist.

        Reply
        1. JTMcPhee

          It’s all about the burden of proof, isn’t it? To whom would you careful people assign that burden? Or would you acknowledge the immunity of corporate interests to that silly “rule of law” notion? And of course there’s the demise of the “precautionary principle,” http://sehn.org/precautionary-principle/, which long since was largely rendered “no longer operative” by the effects of money-amassing and corporate influence-gathering… <opes would hold that sellers of chemicals ought to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that said products are safe and effective. But no, it's left to plaintiffs' lawyers to case-by-case, tease out the ugly truths and disrobe the shining lies that "folks" like Dow and Monsanto and Merck etc raise up…

          But by all means, let us not jump on any bandwagons, unless they might get us closer to the centers of wealth and power… speaking of worldviews… Kind of hard to get a "full appreciation of the facts" when the looters control so much of the bandwidth, and so many voices, real and artificial, speak so loudly the words they want to hear…

          Reply
  20. VietnamVet

    If one is living in the belly of the beast one tends not to want to observe the digestive process. Regulatory capture is a real thing; especially, if the office is funded primarily by industry not taxpayers. But, the primary change this century is the lack of jail time for CEOs. Corporate Criminals are going wild. They even restarted the Cold War with Russia for profit. We are about to find out what happens when there is no government by and for the people. Since the elite will hoard everything until their last penny, the peaceful restoration of the rule of law is unlikely; even if, it is to the benefit of the rich to keep some wealth rather than lose it all. The future will be unpleasant.

    Reply
    1. JBird

      VietnamVet, this quote of Upton Sinclair comes to mind,

      “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!”

      People tend to justify their wealth, but I just wonder if is no longer the unconscious self delusions that we all have, but instead, willful stupidity, or arrogance.

      I mean it is one thing to wrongly believe that we live in a meritocracy. Brains and hard work do count for something especially in getting an education even though having the social and economic capital needed for getting it counts just as much. How though does the 0.01% believe that they deserve, and can keep, an every larger amount both in absolute numbers, and as a percentage, of the wealth? At some point, say after the first billion, you can’t spend the money fast enough to actually decrease your wealth and you are not doing anything, but breathing, to earn it. It’s just simple math, and all that wealth just becomes numbers on a screen, or a ledger. How many humongous estates, ocean-liner sized yachts, or gold flavored cheeseburgers can you buy?

      For years, I have been reading about the increasing corruption, and always foolishly assume that somehow the Big Boys and Girls, the Serious People, would come along and put a stop to the increase. Kinda like what many people hoped with President Trump.

      You’d think I would have learned by now, especially with the recent elections, and the American Circus staring Ringmaster Trump, and featuring Elephant tricks and the Democratic Klown Kar; so what’s a little mass poisoning? Compared to everything else, it’s nothing really.

      Reply
      1. JTMcPhee

        Humans are largely ruled by their appetites, and too much, for too many of us, as far as I have been able to determine, is never enough. Freud has been dissed and debunked by so many other purveyors of “naming rights” for bits of human behavior and intent, but he named one thing he called “the pleasure principle:” two links to illustrate the notion — first, a pop-psych dissertation on the subject, https://www.verywell.com/what-is-the-pleasure-principle-2795472, and then Janet Jackson providing the visuals and audio-oh-oh, https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Q-gu1KETjVY

        And one more riff on the notion: http://www.allmusic.com/album/the-pleasure-principle-mw0000599295

        And of course there are all kinds of feedback loops where pleasure drives overlap and reinforce — the guy who designs the Superyacht or the grounds layout of the 13th “mansion,” the people who “service” the looters’ private jets, the credentialed snakes who “make it all nice and legal-like,” the Star Troopers who provide “security” to the “disrupters and innovators” or just old-line looters like the Kochs and Coors and those sheets who end up running all those little lootable nations “over there” and “down there.”

        There’s this gulf between what words let us think about how the world is, and how it (and we humans within it, in our “political economies”) actually are…

        Reply
  21. Scott

    I am recommending Uruguay on two counts. One it was right horrible gone all that way of Banana republics & now it is as old hippies would have had the US turn out to have become by now.
    You know how many billions of words have been written about pot?
    Listened to Sessions on the subject.
    So my point is that Uruguay is a good escape destination for youth who may not want to stick it out. People like myself are trapped, for various reasons.
    Further though in consideration of how bad it was in Uruguay before it was changed into a Parliamentary Democracy with fine separation of church & state, legal pot, and a first rate world class port. Plus at least 95 percent of Uruguay’s energy comes from energy capture & renewables.
    Those from the US who move to Uruguay can be of great service there helping to protect it from US Foreign policy.
    I do not know all there is to know about Uruguay, but I began to look into some of it when I heard they kicked the TPP salesmen out.
    P.S. There is no personhood for corporations. There is no law giving corporations personhood. There really is no such law. There is a heading in an argument for the treatment of railroads as persons, but the case was not won on that heading. Most persons deep in Rail roading issues are aware of this, and I was told by one I was not the first to bring it up.

    Reply
  22. ckimball

    I awakened this morning with the decision that I would make copies of this article available to
    our customers, a gift shop hand out if they will. It feels like a smoking gun that anyone
    can see has finally been presented to us. I wonder what kind of diet Ms. Farmer is feeding her family.
    I also wonder how her name could possibly be Farmer.
    I wish the wealth of Global Monsanto to be the source of good medical coverage for the people of the world as well as the research to restore balance to the environment of all life they have so callously
    meddled with for their own power and enrichment. Certainly this corporation is a candidate to be tried
    for crimes against all life. (Because of Francois’ post I googled Greenpeace and bt corn and came
    up with the lengthy ” Unhealthy Fixation” by James Slaton. It is loaded with examples of GM benefits
    along with a recommendation by Bill Clinton.
    ‘ In 1999, Potrykus and his colleagues achieved their first breakthrough. By transferring genes from daffodils and bacteria, they created the world’s first beta carotene rice. The yellow grains became known as “Golden Rice.” President Clinton celebrated the achievement and urged GMO skeptics to do the same. He acknowledged that genetic engineering “tends to be treated as an issue of the interest of the agribusiness companies, and earning big profits, against food safety.” But in the case of vitamin A deficiency, the greater risk to health lay in doing nothing. “If we could get more of this Golden Rice … out to the develop[ing] world,” said Clinton, “it could save 40,000 lives a day.’ Folksy big businessman.

    Reply
  23. Knute Rife

    You mean agribusiness doesn’t have our best interests at heart? But the USDA has been telling us for 70 years that it did, through both Republican and Democratic administrations.

    Reply

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