The first batch of Monsanto Papers were published in early 2017. The dossier contained hundreds of internal emails of Monsanto, as well as its correspondence with US Federal Agencies, the content of which revealed the magnitude of collusion between Monsanto and the EPA in order to undermine the investigation of the potential hazard of Glyphosate for human beings.
The dossier revealed that Monsanto had been ghost writing some studies fraudulently attributed to apparently “independent academics” presented as ‘independent studies’. The documents also show how Monsanto put pressure on the US government with the aim of delaying the product’s safety assessments.
Following the publication of the Papers, cases against Monsanto relating to the correlation between the use of glyphosate based herbicide RoundUp and the development of non-Hodgkin’s non-human lymphoma increased exponentially. It was estimated that, as by March 2017, a total of more than 700 cases had been opened by state and federal courts.
By the end of July 2017, new documents, released by the firm Baum Hedlund Aristei Goldman, indicated that “the documents 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”. The documents show how Monsanto hid information about the dangers and toxicity of Roundup and prove how science has been manipulated, and how supported U.S. regulators were corrupted, undermining health and environmental rights.
In addition to Monsanto attacking independent science, the network of scientists showed that Monsato developed a secret army of soldiers that it deployed whenever it needed in order to convince regulators, scientific journals, or the press that Monsanto’s position is the valid one and that other views and concerns are not.
Attacks against IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer)
The attacks against IARC were exposed by Le Monde in its investigation “Monsanto papers: the war on science by the pesticides giant”, where it has been defined as one of the most brutal and offensive campaign conducted against IARC by a corporation. The journalists Stéphane Foucart and Stéphane Horel: “for the past two years a raging fire has targeted the institution (...) the credibility and integrity of (the Director’s) work is being challenged, his experts are denigrated and harassed by lawyers and his finances weakened. For nearly half a century IARC has been charged, under the auspices of the World Health Organization (WHO), to draw up an inventory of carcinogens. But now the venerable agency is beginning to waver under the assault.” The agency’s director stated “it’s linked to classifications, where there’s a very strong commercial interest”
Attack against Séralini
The editor of the scientific journal Food and Chemical Toxicology Journal was targeted when it published Seralini’s long term study showing high toxicity even in small doses. Under intense pressure the Editor retracted the study. Following concerted opposition by independent scientists and civil society, It was later republished.
On 27 November 2017, the EU Appeal Committee - consisting of experts from the EU member states and the European Commission - has approved the renewal of glyphosate license for 5 years, with representatives of 18 out of 28 EU member states voting in favour. A major role was played by Germany which backed the re-approval, while in previous votes it had always abstained. This represents a major setback for the future of food and agriculture, as well as for the health of the planet and people. Most importantly, it raises vital questions on the state of democracy in Europe, considering the overwhelming stand expressed by civil society against toxic agriculture, with more than 1.3 million people petitioning this year the ECI to ban glyphosate and the fact that, on 24 October, the European Parliament had adopted a non-binding text calling for the phase-out of glyphosate in the coming years, with a complete ban by 2022. Discussions have anyway brought out more light on concerns about loopholes, conflicts of interest, corporate interference and pressure, as well as giving a very clear picture of corporate strategic efforts to control, manipulate, and deceive, which characterised the risk assessment analysis that led to the 18 months exemption of glyphosate.
In August 2018, Monsanto has been held liable for causing cancer through the use of its glyphosate-based weedkiller Roundup and ordered to pay $289 million of damages to the plaintiff Dewayne Lee Johnson in the first landmark case, settled in California in mid August 2018. The jury also found that Monsanto “acted with malice or oppression. For the first time part ofthe revelations contained in the Monsanto Papers were shown to a jury, which were able, among other things to also see that, “at least starting 20 years ago, Monsanto has known that their product can cause cancer, and has gone out of its way to ignore it and/or fight any science that suggests a link”, as declared to Democracy Now by Brent Wisner, the lead trial counsel for Dewayne Lee Johnson in his lawsuit against Monsanto.
See the following links for further details:
By Ruchi Shroff, Navdanya International - Common Dreams, 30 August 2018
Corporate Europe Observatory, 1 March 2018
U.S. Right to Know
Baum Hedlund Aristei Goldman - Lawfirm
English version of Part 2 of Le Monde investigation - Environmental Health News, 21 November 2017
English version of Part 1 of Le Monde investigation - Environmental Health News, 20 November 2017
By Philip Bethge – Spiegel Online, 24 October 2017
By Steve Holt - Civil Eats, 10 October 2017
By Carey Gillam – US Right to Know, 1 August 2017
Sustainable Pulse, 1 August 2017
GM Watch, 19 June 2017
Par Stéphane Foucart et Stéphane Horel – Le Monde, 2 juin 2017
Par Stéphane Foucart et Stéphane Horel – Le Monde, 1 juin 2017
By Lorraine Chow – Ecowatch, 22 March 2017
By Danny Hakim – The New York Times, 14 March 2017
By Eric Lipton – New York Times, 5 September 2015
20 March 2015