In a case that could halt the development of GM crops around the world, and thus the push by a few global corporations to gain control of the food supply, a court San Francisco this week awarded $289 million in damages to a former school groundskeeper, Dewayne Johnson, whose lawyers claimed Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller gave him terminal cancer. The award consists of $40 million in compensatory damages and $250 million in punitive damages.
Johnson’s trial was fast-tracked due to the severe state of his non-Hodgkins lymphoma, a cancer of the lymph system he says was triggered by Roundup and Ranger Pro, a similar glyphosate based herbicide that he was a=obliged by his job to use up to 30 times per year. His doctors didn’t think he’d live to live to see the verdict.
Johnson told the court that he had been involved in two accidents during his work in which he was soaked with the herbicide. The first of these occurred in 2012. Two years later, the 46-year-old father of two was diagnosed with lymphoma – which has since covered as much as 80% of his body in lesions.
Monsanto says it will appeal the verdict.
“Today’s decision does not change the fact that more than 800 scientific studies and reviews — and conclusions by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. National Institutes of Health and regulatory authorities around the world — support the fact that glyphosate does not cause cancer, and did not cause Mr. Johnson’s cancer,” Monsanto Vice President Scott Partridge said in a statement.
Monsanto is now a subsidiary of Germany’s Bayer AG, which closed on its $66 billion purchase of the agrochemical company in June.
On Tuesday, Johnson’s attorney Brent Wisner urged jurors to hold Monsanto liable and slap them with a verdict that would “actually change the world” – after arguing that Monsanto knew about glyphosate’s risks of cancer, but decided to ignore and bury the information.
According to a report in The Guardian, Johnson’s lawsuit against is the first such case against Monsanto to complete the full trial process over allegations that the chemical sold under the Roundup brand is linked to cancer. Thousands have made similar legal claims across the United States. Many of these are still tied up in the labyrinthine procedures of the American justice system and many other complainants have either run out of money or simply given up.
The Johnson case focused on the chemical glyphosate, the world’s most widely used herbicide, which Monsanto began marketing as Roundup in 1974. The company began by presenting it as a “technological breakthrough” that could kill almost every weed without harming humans or the environment. –SHTFplan.com
In September, 2017 the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) concluded that glyphosates were not likely carcinogenic to humans, based on a decades-long study. In 2015, the World Health Organization (WHO)’s cancer arm issued an opposite statement – warning that glyphosate was “probably carcinogenic to humans.”
Johnson’s case is not part of the consolidated proceedings in Missouri, Delaware or California state court, where some 2,000 similar cases are pending. It’s also separate from a federal multidistrict litigation waiting to be heard by US District Judge Vance Chabria of San Francisco – who allowed hundreds of Roundup lawsuits to proceed to trial after ruling that there was sufficient evidence for a jury to hear the cases despite calling a plaintiff’s expert opinions “shaky.”
Documents released in August of 2017 led to questions over Monsanto’s efforts to influence the news media and scientific research and revealed internal debate over the safety of its highest-profile product, the weed killer Roundup.
As the New York Times commented last year, leaked internal emails, among other things, reveal ethical objections from former employees to “ghost writing” research studies that were pawned off as ‘independent’ analyses.
These documents detail the meaures to which the Monsanto was willing to resport in order to protect its image. Documents show that Henry I. Miller, an academic and a vocal proponent of genetically modified crops, asked Monsanto to draft an article for him that largely mirrored one that appeared under his name on Forbes’s website in 2015. Mr. Miller could not be reached for comment.
A similar issue appeared in academic research. A biologist involved in writing research funded by Monsanto, John Acquavella, a former Monsanto employee, appeared to express discomfort with the process, writing in a 2015 email to a Monsanto executive, “I can’t be part of deceptive authorship on a presentation or publication.” He also said of the way the company was trying to present the authorship: “We call that ghost writing and it is unethical.”
The newly disclosed emails also reveal internal discussions which cast some doubt over whether internal scientists actually believed in the company’s external messaging that Roundup was, in fact, safe. In the bigger picture these documents will throw into doubt legal judgements in many other cases, as they strongly suggest Monsanto have misled the courts in their evidence.
With little notice, more than two dozen state U.S. legislatures have passed corporate – friendly “seed-preemption laws” designed to block counties and cities from adopting their own rules on the use of seeds, including bans on GMOs. Opponents say that there’s nothing more fundamental than a seed, and that now, in many parts of the country, decisions about what can be grown have been taken out of local control and put solely in the hands of the state.
Critics of the GM seed lobby say this move has come as a result of unethical activity by lobbyists employed by a monopolistic cartel of biotech giants whose influence over agricultural policy in the US government is definitely not in the public interest
“This bill should be viewed for what it is — a gag order on public debate,” Kristina Hubbard, director of advocacy and communications at the Organic Seed Alliance, a national advocacy group, and a resident of Montana said. Montana, along with Texas, Oregon, Californisa and Colorado and many other states passed a seed-preemption bill this year, thus removing from voters the right to decide what kind of food will be sold in shops they use, and handing it to politicians and indirectly to the corporate lobbyists who bribe them.
“This thinly disguised attack on local democracy can be easily traced to out-of-state, corporate interests that want to quash local autonomy,” Hubbard added
Seed-preemption laws are part of a legislative campaign by industrial agriculture (Big Food), including ag-gag laws passed in several states that legally prohibit outsiders from photographing farms, and “right-to-farm” laws that make it easier to snuff out complaints about animal welfare, and of course the usual demands from corporate business, unthinkingly backed by the university brainfucked humandroids who call themselves the left. The seed laws, critics say, are a related thrust meant to protect the interests of agro-chemical companies, by banning laws which require foods containing material from GM crops to be clearly labelled, so depriving consumers of a choice about whether they eat this shite or not.
Foods containing GM matter are currently banned in the European Union, and though the EU bureaucracy and some national governments have tried to overturn this, strength of public opinion has blocked any change. Politicians, academics and media luvvies have as usual described the mass opposition as being due to the “scientific ignorance of the masses,” who believe eating GM foods will lead to babies being born with two heads. It is such hubris that has led the complete breakdown of trust between the general population and the establishment. Few people believe eating GM food will be harmful in the short term, but having already seen the effects in increased costs and reduced quality of modern intensive farming techniques, they are very suspicious of any move to hand control of the food supply to global corporations. The derailment of Barack Obama’s two “free trade” policies, TPP and TTIP
Some politicians in the U.S.A. and European Union have even talked of banning the planting of natural seed and only allowing food crops to be grown from GM seed. This would of course hand control of the food supply for humans and animals to a small group of corporate giants whose track records on ethical issues are very dubious. but it gets worse.
Nearly every seed-preemption law so far enacted in the USA borrows language from a 2013 model bill drafted by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). The council is “a pay-to-play operation where corporations buy a seat and a vote on ‘task forces’ to advance their legislative wish lists,” essentially “voting as equals” with state legislators on bills, according to The Center for Media and Democracy. ALEC’s corporate members include the Koch brothers as well as some of the largest seed-chemical companies — Monsanto, Bayer, and DuPont — which want to make sure GMO bans, like those enacted in Jackson County, Oregon, and Boulder County, Colorado, don’t become a trend.
In Oregon, the bill blocking anti – GM laws was greenlighted in 2014 after Monsanto and Syngenta spent nearly $500,000 fighting a GMO ban in Jackson County. Monsanto, Dow AgroSciences, and Syngenta spent more than $6.9 million opposing anti-GMO rules in three Hawaiian counties, and thousands more in campaign donations. (These companies are also involved in mergers that, if approved, would create three seed-agrochemical giants.) Now ask yourselves this question: ‘If GM biotech produce was so good, why would the corporations that profit from it have to work so hard to overcome opposition?’
With public opinion and a significant (but ignored by mainstream media strongly opposed to the introduction of Genetically Modified foods one would think that politicians, having lost the trust of voters, might hold back on this one. But no, as usual they are sidelining the public interest and ignoring public opinion in order to push the interests of the corporate cronies.
The Environment Secretary in the UK Coalition Government, Elizabeth Truss has argued that genetically modified (GM) food should be grown in Britain because it is more ‘eco-friendly’. She adds that steps should be taken to speed up this development. Her statements come as little surprise to many because Truss’s predecessor, Owen Paterson, was also a staunch supporter of GM technology.
As public awareness increases of the way the secret trade deals that even our elected representatives are not allowed to know the terms of, the Trans Atlantic Trade And Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the Trans Pacofic Partnership will increase American global hegemony …
Corporate monopoly men and control freak politicians, aided by their Dr. Death scientists are determined to force genetically modified (GM) foods on an very sceptical public. If there was any truth in the claims that GM crops can feed the world and are safe, the public would not be sceptical, but the genetically engineered organisms now being developed are modified to be resistant to highly toxic chemicals to which humans and animals have no resistance.
The GMO battle goes on, one one side the corporate funded, government backed, global government supporting science lobby, on the other the part of the biological research community that still believes in hostesty, integrity and objectivity. This article reports a conference at which independent scientists (i.e. those not funded by biotech corporations) expose the lies and corruption behind claims that GM crops are safe. Say no to GMO.
Little Nicky is sceptical about many things, it’s in my job description. Incidentally, for the benefit of those over qualified, under educated idiots who think I’m right wing extremist, it is a basic tenet of Liberal philosophy that we all have a duty to question that which is presented as an established truth.
The financial markets seem to be getting more volatile, with share prices and currency values fluctuating wildly on the slightest indication of good or bad news. what you have to remember of course is that the more the markets fluctuate, the more our pensions and insurances get hit and the more profit those whose business depends on betting on or against shares, commodities and derivatives will make.
Genetically Modified (GM) organisms? The science is setttled right, the only way to feed the world’s growing population is to accept GM foods and hand control of the human food chain to some of the nastiest, most fascistic corporate busineses on earth, right? Well fortunately it is not as clear cut as that, independent research shows GM crops do not give increased yields and do pose very significant risks for humans, wildlife and the environment.
In the first part of Black Hat Biotech I reported on how a single corporation are close to establishing a monopoly as supplier of seed for the world’s staple food crops. Now we look at how that same corporation either by buying political influence or other, less ethical means (if you know what I mean) has come close to buying the co operation of the U S government in placing itself beyond the reach of the law. A clause in a new bill now going through congress that would have given Monsanto immunity from prosecutions related to problems caused by its genetically engineered products almost slipped through under the radar. Fortunately it was spotted by activists and is now being challenged.
Barack Obama, President of the United States of America, the land of the free, defends corporate fascism, even when it threatens the future of western civilisation. Vladimir Putin, President of Russia, a nation with a long history of authoritarianism and tyranny, stands up for human rights and putting protection of the environment ahead of corporate power and profit. What’s going on?
More evidence that Gemetically Modified organisms are totally unsuitable to be part of the human or animal food chain. When will the message sink in that our politicians and “experts” who advise them just steal our tax money on behalf of fascist corporations like Monsanto.
The now notorious Monsanto Protection Act, recently passed by the US Congress, which gives biotech corporations, particularly Monsanto immunity from criminal or civil prosecution should harm to humans or the environment arise from …
Speed Up Introduction Of GM Crops Says Increasingly Stalinist Coalition GovernmentThe coalition is selling us out to the global government Nazis and the corporate fascists. This time is is over the introduction of GM crops which will not feed the world but will create a much greater environmental hazard than carbon dioxide. But GM crops were never about feeding the world, that are about power and control. A global tyranny is on the way if we do not start to resist now.