This video says about itself:
This video from the USA says about itself:
PCB Lawsuit Against Monsanto – Gomez Ecolawyers
30 November 2015
An explanation of our PCB lawsuit against Monsanto.
By Genevieve Leigh in the USA:
West Coast US cities sue Monsanto over toxic chemicals
3 February 2016
Last week, Seattle, Washington became the latest addition to the list of cities filing lawsuits against multinational corporation Monsanto, joining San Diego, San Jose, Oakland and Berkeley in California, along with Spokane, Washington. These efforts, led by San Diego-based law firm Gomez Trial Attorneys, aim to extract tens of millions of dollars from the agrochemical company for knowingly promoting the severely hazardous line of polychlorinated biphenyls, more commonly known as PCBs.
The Seattle lawsuit holds the corporation responsible for PCB contamination that finds its way into the city’s stormwater that flows into the Lower Duwamish River, designated a federal Superfund site because of its high levels of pollution and the high cost of cleanup.
These lawsuits are based on a precedent set last year in a California case against lead paint manufacturers in which the prosecution, after a 12-year legal battle, won a $1.15 billion judgment using a new application of California’s “public nuisance” law. Under the ruling, liability was imposed against the defendant companies because they had actively sold and promoted lead paint with actual or constructive knowledge about its health hazards. Through this same framework it has become possible to build a case against Monsanto for actions taken over 50 years ago.
In previous legal suits, (namely in Alabama, where the company had a chemical production plant), evidence was produced from internal Monsanto reports dating to the 1960s and 1970s. The reports confirmed the company’s knowledge that PCBs were causing health problems in its workforce and becoming an environmental contaminant. The company, however, continued to produce the profitable compounds.
Monsanto has faced numerous attacks over the past few decades for its alleged disregard for society and the environment. The company, along with Dow Chemical, was known for its production of Agent Orange during the Vietnam war as well as its role in the development of nuclear weapons under the Manhattan Project.
In an effort to create a better public image and avoid liabilities from its industrial chemical business, Monsanto spun off its industrial chemical and fiber divisions into a company called Solutia in 1997. For their part, officials from Monsanto claim that the company has been exclusively focused on agriculture over the past decade and has no responsibility in the current lawsuit for the chemicals produced and sold by the company that was initially formed in 1901.
Manufacturing of PCBs began in 1929. The chemicals were largely produced in the post-war period as wartime chemical companies refocused their attention on domestic uses. In the next four decades, close to 600,000 tons of the toxins were produced in the United States almost exclusively by Monsanto, until their ultimate prohibition by US Congress in 1979. Production of PCBs continued by other companies in various parts of the world until the 1990s. These chemicals were used in hundreds of industrial and commercial applications, including transformers, paints, caulk, flame retardants and pesticides, just to name a few.
As a result of their tendency to spread quickly and easily through air, water, river sediments, and animal ingestion, the contaminants have been found in virtually every corner of the world, including the Arctic, where the polar bear population was affected.
In areas with high concentrations of PCBs, which include but are not limited to the major cities involved in the lawsuits, overwhelming populations of fish, birds and mammals were found to have levels of “chronic toxicity.” This condition has resulted in developmental complications, reproductive failure and mass death rates, causing major disruptions in many ecosystems, most notably in San Francisco Bay.
The unique set of properties of PCBs, namely their non-flammability, chemical and thermal stability and high boiling point, means they do not readily break down once released into the environment. These chemicals tend to build up in animal fat, with increasing density going up the food chain, often ending in human consumption. The Environmental Protection Agency has acknowledged that ingestion of products with high levels of PCBs, in addition to causing cancer, also have been proven to cause neurological disorders, and toxic effects on the human immune system, reproductive system, nervous system and endocrine system.
It should be noted however that the lawsuits will not demand any reparations for the people affected by these toxins, but instead will be limited to monetary compensation exclusively for local governments to use in a limited cleanup of environmental damage.
This video from the USA says about itself:
27 August 2010
Gates Foundation Criticized for Increasing Monsanto Investment
And the charity of billionaire Microsoft founder Bill Gates and his wife Melinda is under criticism following the disclosure it’s substantially increased its holdings in the agribusiness giant Monsanto to over $23 million. Critics say the investment in Monsanto contradicts the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation‘s stated commitment to helping farmers and sustainable development in Africa. In 2007, the Gates Foundation said it would review its holdings after a lengthy exposé in the Los Angeles Times revealed it had invested nearly $9 billion in companies whose practices run counter to the foundation’s charitable goals.
By Nick Dearden in Britain:
How the Gates foundation buys its critics’ silence
Monday 25th January 2016
by Nick Dearden
IN A plutocracy, it’s no surprise that the world’s richest man is one of the most influential voices on the future of global agriculture and healthcare. What’s surprising is how little that influence is questioned.
But if you’re Bill Gates, you can afford to put most potential opponents on the payroll too. Bill Gates’s charitable foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is the 12th biggest contributor to aid in the world, spending more than Canada, Belgium, Denmark or Italy.
No donor contributes more aid to healthcare, while only four countries give more aid to agriculture. No wonder Gates has a loud voice. Shouldn’t we celebrate his largesse, especially given rich countries’ governments are failing to redistribute the world’s wealth in a more radical fashion? Leaving aside whether it’s right for one person to have such wealth and power, the problem is that Gates’s solutions are not neutral.
In fact, as we’ve laid out in our new report Gated Development, they’re deeply political. They put big business interests right at the heart of “solving” poverty in the world.
As such, they actually risk exacerbating some of the world’s most pressing problems. Take agriculture. Gates is a major fan of high technology solutions. His foundation is the biggest funder of research into genetic modification in the world.
Initiatives that Gates funds push intensive farming methods involving plenty of chemicals and privatisation of seed distribution. Time and again, these “solutions” have proved disastrous for small farmers, allowing big players to effectively control the whole food system.
They also ramp up global carbon emissions and fuel global warming. But they are exactly what big business wants. In fact, Gates’s aid sometimes looks designed to help agribusiness develop new markets — like a project with agrogiant Cargill which helped it develop soya “value chains” in Africa.
It’s not a conspiracy, it’s simply how Gates, like so many of his fellow plutocrats, believes the world works. Big business invents useful stuff and drives growth. Let’s help them and everyone will be better off. In health, Gates’s schemes follow the same path, developing private “solutions” which marginalise public-sector healthcare.
Gates works with big pharma, for instance supporting Glaxo Smith Klein to develop an Ebola vaccine. Of course, a new vaccine might be very useful, just as a new farming method might. But when those developments also help secure corporate control over the world’s resources, they are at the same time reinforcing the structures that create poverty and inequality in the first place.
They sweep real solutions — challenging the power of corporations and creating more democratic solutions — under the carpet. Development is no longer about those with too little taking power over their lives. It is a question of reining in those who already have too much power.
So why so much silence, even acquiescence, from that part of society which “advocates” for “the poor,” such as international charities? Well, many seem to have made their peace with Gates’s vision of the future, themselves seeing big business as essential “partners” in improving the lives of the poor and fixating on technologies rather than questioning power. Surely the funds of the Gates Foundation must help their conversion?
Senior members of staff in large development charities regularly say (off the record) that their organisations have become unable to criticise the likes of Gates. For instance, Save the Children UK has received $35 million since 2010, with Save the Children globally receiving much more than that.
Meanwhile Bond, the umbrella group for development charities which should be the political mouthpiece for the sector, has received $4.7m since 2010. However well that money may be spent, it is difficult to imagine it has no influence on the willingness of such organisations to speak out and challenge the paradigm which Gates represents.
In other words, Gates has been a key part, as has Britain’s Conservative government, of redefining “development” as “capitalism.” He also seems to have converted many of those who should otherwise criticise him.
The ultimate power of the superwealthy in our world derives not simply from making something happen — from supporting this initiative rather than that one — but in changing our very language and the way people see the world.
The real power of the world’s richest man lies in his ability to co-opt and marginalise any accountability.
You can play the video game Save us Bill Gates! at www.globaljustice. org.uk/infographics/saveusbillgates.
A version of this article was first published by Global Justice Now. Read the report Gated Development — is the Gates Foundation always a force for good? here.
‘Justice, Not Charity’: The Poverty of Bill Gates’ Philanthropy: here.
This video from the USA says about itself:
The Spirit Level [aka The Divide] Documentary Trailer
By Kate Clark in Britain:
Documenting inconvenient truths
Tuesday 16th June 2015
KATE CLARK reports on some new films which illuminate topics that the powers-that-be would prefer us not to know about
SINCE the 1980s, the rich have become ever richer and they are giving a lot of money to right-wing political parties to ensure the system continues.
Greed has been made into a virtue and if a bank fails the state will bail it out — with our money.
Inspired by the book The Spirit Level by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, it depicts people living under guard in gated communities to avoid crime but who have to work every hour God sends and who are unable to be ill even for one day if they’re to meet their mortgage repayments.
A brilliant film and of particular interest to anyone concerned with inequality.
This video is called Tonje Hessen Schei ‘Drone’ trailer.
Drone by Norwegian film-maker Tonje Hessen Schei shines a light on the little-known human impact of US killer drones over Pakistan’s tribal areas.
Reprieve’s Clive Stafford Smith had the idea of putting enlarged photos of child drone-strike victims on the flat roofs of Waziristan’s village huts to try to make US drone operators, sitting in darkened booths 7,500 miles away, think about who they are killing when they “point and click” the button to release the drone’s missile.
Brandon Bryant, a young drone operator now suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, chillingly tells how his superior shouted: “Splash!” after Bryant had pressed the button killing a group of villagers. The others in the booth all laughed.
The film shows how video games are being used as recruiting tools for those who are “murderers for the state,” as one former operator puts it.
But US Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson questions the so-called war on terrorism when he asks: “How are we winning, if every time we kill four terrorists, we create 10?”
It’s a chilling but hugely important film and one’s faith in humanity is only restored by the courage of people like the young Bryant, organisations such as Reprieve and the Pakistani lawyer who is bringing victims’ cases to the High Court in an effort to get drone strikes stopped.
Sunu is a masterpiece by Mexico’s Sofia Marquez. Beautifully filmed, with huge empathy for the small and medium farmers she shows working their maize fields, it reveals the strong resistance to US transnational giant Monsanto’s genetically modified (GM) seed programme being foisted on them.
Mexico’s indigenous farmers produce 65 different kinds of maize and they are scornful of the poor-quality GM yellow corn the US produces.
“We want them to respect our maize!” one farmer says, pointing out that their problem is not seeds but the Mexican government’s lack of support for small farmers.
USA: Feds used Monsanto-funded studies to decide Monsanto’s weed killer is safe: here.
This 2013 video is about Monsanto.
By Colin Todhunter in Britain:
US agribusiness and its plans for Ukraine‘s farms
Monday 13th April 2015
SMALL family and peasant farms produce most of the world’s food.
They form the bedrock of global food production. Yet they are being squeezed onto less than a quarter of the planet’s farmland.
The world is fast losing farms and farmers through the concentration of land into the hands of rich and powerful land speculators and agribusiness corporations.
By definition, peasant agriculture prioritises food production for local and national markets as well as for farmers’ own families.
Big agritech corporations on the other hand take over scarce fertile land and prioritise commodities or export crops for profit and foreign markets that tend to cater for the needs of the urban affluent.
This process displaces farmers from their land and brings about food insecurity, poverty and hunger.
Big agribusiness with its industrial model of globalised agriculture claims to be addressing global hunger and food shortages — but it is doing nothing of the sort.
There is enough evidence to show that its activities actually lead to hunger and poverty, something that the likes of GMO-agribusiness-neoliberal apologists might like to consider when they propagandise about choice, democracy and hunger — issues that they seem unable to grasp, at least beyond a self-serving superficial level.
Across the world, small farmers are being criminalised, taken to court and even made to disappear when it comes to the struggle for land.
They are constantly exposed to systematic expulsion from their land by foreign corporations.
The Oakland Institute has stated that now a new generation of institutional investors, including hedge funds, private equity and pension funds, is eager to capitalise on global farmland as a new and highly desirable asset class.
Financial returns are what matter to these entities, not ensuring food security.
Consider Ukraine, for example. Small farmers operate 16 per cent of agricultural land, but provide 55 per cent of agricultural output, including 97 per cent of potatoes, 97 per cent of honey, 88 per cent of vegetables, 83 per cent of fruits and berries and 80 per cent of milk. It is clear that Ukraine’s small farms are delivering impressive outputs.
However, the US-backed toppling of that country’s government last year seems likely to change this, with the installed puppet regime handing over agriculture to US agribusiness.
Current “aid” packages are contingent on the plundering of the economy under the guise of “austerity” reforms and will have a devastating impact on Ukrainians’ standard of living and increase poverty in the country.
Reforms mandated by a €1 billion (£720 million) EU-backed loan include agricultural deregulation that is intended to benefit foreign agribusiness corporations.
Natural resource and land policy shifts are meant to facilitate the foreign corporate takeover of enormous tracts of land. Moreover, the EU Association Agreement includes a clause requiring both parties to co-operate to extend the use of biotechnology, including GMOs.
The country is the world’s third-largest exporter of corn and fifth-largest exporter of wheat.
In recent years, foreign corporations have acquired more than 1.6 million hectares of Ukrainian land.
Western agribusiness has been coveting Ukraine’s agriculture sector for quite some time, long before the coup. It after all contains one third of all arable land in Europe.
Even in the mid-90s, the Ukrainian-Americans at the helm of the US-Ukraine Business Council were encouraging the foreign control of Ukrainian agriculture.
In November 2013, the Ukrainian Agrarian Confederation drafted a legal amendment that would benefit global agribusiness producers by allowing the widespread use of genetically modified seeds.
According to the Oriental Review website, “within two to three years, as the relevant provisions of the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU go into effect, Monsanto’s lobbying efforts will transform the Ukrainian market into an oligopoly consisting of American corporations.”
What is happening amounts to little more than the start of the US colonisation of Ukraine’s seed and agriculture sector. This corporate power grab will be assisted by local banks.
We need look no further than to Ukraine’s immediate neighbour Poland to see the devastating impact on farmers that Western agribusiness concerns are having there. Land grabs by foreign capital and the threat to traditional (often organic) agriculture have sparked mass protests as big agribusiness seeks to monopolise the food supply from field to plate. The writing is on the wall for Ukraine.
The situation is not unique to Poland, though.
The impact of policies that favour big agribusiness and foreign capital are causing hardship, harming health and destroying traditional agriculture across the world, from India and Argentina to Brazil and Mexico and beyond.
In an article by Christina Sarich posted on Natural Society, Hilary Martin, a farmer from Vermont in the US, encapsulates the situation by saying: “We are here at the (US-Canadian) border to demonstrate the global solidarity of farmers in the face of globalisation.
“The corporate takeover of agriculture has impoverished farmers, starved communities and force-fed us genetically engineered crops, only to line the pockets of a handful of multinational corporations like Monsanto at the expense of farmers who are struggling for land and livelihood around the world.”
The US has since 1945 used agriculture as a tool with which to control countries.
And today what is happening in Ukraine is part of the wider US geopolitical plan to drive a wedge between Ukraine and Russia and to subjugate the country.
While the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is intended to integrate the wider EU region with the US economy — again “subjugate” may be a more apt word — by introducing GMOs into Ukraine and striving to eventually incorporate the country into the EU, the hope is that under the banner of “free trade” Monsanto’s aim of getting this technology into the EU and onto the plates of Europeans will become that much easier.
THE FATHER of Richard Sakwa, professor of Russian and European politics at the University of Kent and an associate fellow at Chatham House, left Poland in the face of Soviet occupation in 1939 and enlisted in the British army. Such a familial and academic background makes this impressively researched study of the current conflict in Ukraine all the more remarkable. Sakwa allocates the main responsibility for it to the West, particularly to what he describes as the “war party” in the US and their allies in the EU: here.
This video says about itself:
Andres Carrasco – Results of a Case Study of Glyphosate/Roundup
2 July 2012
The Carrasco laboratory investigates glyphosate/Roundup herbicide and birth defects
Carrasco’s findings gave scientific credibility to reports of people in Argentina who claimed escalating rates of birth defects and cancers after the introduction of genetically modified soy, which is engineered to tolerate being sprayed with huge amounts of glyphosate.
In June 2011, Earth Open Source published a report by a group of international scientists, “Roundup and birth defects: Is the public being kept in the dark?” which examined the original approval documents for glyphosate and found that industry’s own studies from as long ago as the 1980s-1990s (including some commissioned by Monsanto) showed that glyphosate causes birth defects in laboratory animals, specifically rabbits and rats.
From Associated Press today:
Argentine scientist who challenged Monsanto dies
12 minutes ago by Michael Warren
Dr. Andres Carrasco, an Argentine neuroscientist who challenged pesticide regulators to re-examine one of the world’s most widely used weed killers, has died. He was 67.
Argentina’s national science council announced Carrasco’s death on Saturday. He had been in declining health.
Carrasco, a molecular biologist at the University of Buenos Aires and past-president of Argentina’s CONICET science council, was a widely published expert in embryonic development whose work focused on how neurotransmitters affect genetic expression in vertebrates. But none of his research generated as much controversy as his 2010 study on glyphosate, which became a major public relations challenge for the St. Louis, Missouri-based Monsanto Company.
Glyphosate is the key ingredient in Monsanto‘s Roundup brand of pesticides, which have combined with genetically modified “Roundup-Ready” plants to dramatically increase the spread of industrial agriculture around the world. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other regulators have labeled it reasonably safe to use if applied properly. But few countries enforce pesticide rules as rigorously as the United States, and farming’s spread has increasingly exposed people to glyphosate and other chemicals.
Carrasco, principal investigator at his university’s Cellular Biology and Neuroscience Institute, told The Associated Press in a 2013 interview that he had heard reports of increasing birth defects in farming communities after genetically modified crops were approved for use in Argentina, and so decided to test the impact of glyphosate on frog and chicken embryos in his laboratory.
His team’s study, published in the peer-reviewed Chemical Research in Toxicology journal, found that injecting very low doses of glyphosate into embryos can change levels of retinoic acid, causing the same sort of spinal defects that doctors are increasingly registering in communities where farm chemicals are ubiquitous. Retinoic acid, a form of vitamin A, is fundamental for keeping cancers in check and triggering genetic expression, the process by which embryonic cells develop into organs and limbs.
“If it’s possible to reproduce this in a laboratory, surely what is happening in the field is much worse,” Carrasco told the AP. “And if it’s much worse, and we suspect that it is, what we have to do is put this under a magnifying glass.”
ARGENTINIAN molecular biologist Andres Carrasco, whose work on the pesticide glyphosate became a major headache for biotechnology conglomerate Monsanto, died this weekend aged 67: here.
Monsanto’s New ‘Herbicide-Resistant’ GMO Crop Slammed by Food Experts: here.
A new report demolishes the claims for genetically modified crops, writes Colin Todhunter: here.
India: Murky dealings between ‘reformer’ Modi and Monsanto will hand food security over to big capital, writes Colin Todhunter: here.
This video from the USA says about itself:
Dr. Stephanie Seneff presentation on harmful effects of glyphosate
24 October 2013
In her presentation entitled “Roundup: The Elephant in the Room,” Dr. Seneff outlines adverse health and environmental effects caused by chemicals that are being applied directly to foods we eat.
Translated from the Party for the Animals in the Netherlands:
Pesticides to be removed from shelves of garden centers
Thursday, March 6, 2014 13:01
From the end of 2015 on, the dangerous pesticide glyphosate may no longer be sold to individuals. Glyphosate is a component of RoundUp, which is also sold to individuals as weed control. The Dutch House of Representatives today voted for a motion by Esther Ouwehand [Party for the Animals MP], which prohibits the sale of glyphosate to individuals.
Glyphosate has increasingly been linked to health problems such as infertility, birth defects, damage to the nervous system, Parkinson’s disease and various forms of cancer. Besides the health risks for humans the use of chemical pesticides also leads to loss of biodiversity and increasingly difficulties in purifying drinking water.
In 2011, the House called for a total ban on the use of glyphosate for non-agriculture purposes. Because municipalities also use the poison in their weed control and even for individuals the pesticide is for sale everywhere. Contrary to the wishes of Parliament, however, the government made all kinds of exceptions to the requested prohibition. So people were allowed to use glyphosate weed killers in their gardens, but not on their terraces. Unclear, uncontrollable and irresponsible, given all the risks to health and the environment .
Now that the motion of the Party for the Animals has been voted for, the government should get pesticides with glyphosate, including the best-selling RoundUp, off the shelves.
Chile against Monsanto: here.