Beast of the Month - May 1999
Monsanto, Korporate Chemical Giant
John Lydon (aka Johnny Rotten) of The Sex Pistols, "Anarchy in the UK"
Sometimes, evil is obvious and in your face: take, for example, the NATO bombings of Kosovo, or the school massacre at Littleton, Colorado. At other times, however, evil is secretive and hidden, and when that happens, it often hides in the most unlikely place: out in the open. This is the most popular place to hide for huge multi-national korporations such as Monsanto, The Konformist Beast of the Month, the U.S.-based chemical behemoth whose products are loved and consumed regularly by Americans, despite the fact that even a marginal inspection of their history would reveal a shocking pattern of deceit and contempt for its customers.
For those of you who are unaware, Monsanto is best known for introducing the sugar substitute aspartame, which they sell under the brand names of NutraSweet and Equal. Contrary to what the name "NutraSweet" implies, however, aspartame is not nutritious, and is quite unhealthy, having earned the nickname "NutraPoison" from critics. As reported in Alex Constantine's now-classic underground conspiracy expose Psychic Dictatorship in the USA (in the aptly-titled chapter devoted to Monsanto and NutraSweet "The Swirl and the Swastika"), as well as the work of noted Monsanto critic Betty Martini of Mission Possible, aspartame has been documented to cause headaches, numbness, fatigue, blurred vision and blindness, heart palpitations, brain lesions and tumors, memory loss, dizziness, muscle spasms, irritability, anxiety attacks, vertigo, seizures, rashes, tachycardia, tinnitus, joint pain, nausea, mood alterations and depression, hearing loss, slurred speech, loss of taste, and insomnia, as well as erode intelligence and short-term memory. It also helps trigger multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, chronic fatigue syndrome, Epstein Barr, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, diabetes, mental retardation, lymphoma, and birth defects. No real surprise here: originally, aspartame was categorized as a biochemical warfare weapon by the Pentagon in a list submitted to Congress. In 1969, Dr. Harry Waisman studied the effects of aspartame on primates, and seven infant monkeys were fed the chemical in milk. One died after 300 days, 5 others had Grand Mal seizures. These findings were deleted from the report to the FDA. MIT researchers surveyed 80 people who suffered brain seizures after eating or drinking products with Aspartame, and the Community Nutrition Institute states: "These 80 cases meets the FDA's own definition of an imminent hazard to the public health, which requires the FDA to expeditiously remove a product from the market."
Despite this, NutraSweet was in over 9,000 foods by 1997 and on nearly every restaurant table. The irony is that the two things aspartame is most often marketed for, diabetes and weight loss, it has been shown to not be beneficial for. According to Dr. H. J. Roberts, after summarizing 58 diabetic aspartame reactors, "I now advise ALL patients with diabetes and hypoglycemia to avoid Aspartame products." Further, aspartame triggers a craving for carbohydrates, hardly the reaction wanted for those trying to lose pounds. The FDA has received more than 10,000 consumer complaints over aspartame, approximately 80% of all complaints about food additives since being introduced to the market. If the FDA was an honest organization, NutraSweet would not have ever been approved: fortunately for Monsanto, that isn't the case. Former FDA Commissioner Arthur Hayes overruled his own board of inquiry to approve aspartame (claiming, falsely, that criticism was "anecdotal") then went to work for a public relations firm retained by G.D. Searle (the company which introduced the product that was acquired by Monsanto in 1985.) Federal attorney Sam Skinner was assigned to prosecute Searle for fraudulent tests in their application, but switched sides and went to work for Searle's lawyers instead.
Thanks to the compromised nature of the FDA, Monsanto has received a yearly multi-billion dollar license to kill through aspartame, one that it defends relentlessly. They have waged a campaign against stevia, the natural zero-calorie herbal sweetener that is up to 300 times sweeter than sugar, using the FDA - supposedly its "watchdog" - as an attack dog instead. Claiming that stevia has not been proven to be safe as a sweetener (something that aspartame has been certifiably shown not to be), the FDA, under intense pressure and backing by Monsanto, banned it in 1991, then later lifted the ban after receiving numerous complaints from outraged consumers. Still, stevia is only available as a food supplement, and manufacturers can't add it to foods or drinks. In the enforcement of this ban, the FDA has threatened to burn cookbooks using stevia as a sweetener, a threat they wisely didn't follow through on when it was disclosed by a stevia distributor affected by this abuse of power. Currently, Monsanto is in the process of approving Neotame, the next generation NutraPoison: expect more of the same.
Of course, aspartame is just one product of destruction in the arsenal of Monsanto. Among the others: BGH (the dangerous growth hormone given to cows to increase milk production); Simplesse (an artificial butter fat); the artificial grass Astroturf; garden herbicides Roundup and Dimension; agricultural chemicals Lasso, Harness Plus, Far Go, Machete, Bronco, Bullet, Freedom, Landmaster BW, Ram Rod, Accord, Lariat, and Rodeo; all garden products made by Ortho and GreenSweep; and genetically modified plants, including corn, potatoes and soybeans.
It is especially due to the genetically modified crops (labeled "genetically engineered" to benignly describe the modification by korporate news organs) that they has been targeted by The Great Boycott, an organization boycotting the eight of the top producers of toxic herbicides and genetically modified food. These two commercial operations are highly related, as most of the "Frankenstein Foods" are specifically being genetically modified to withstand more toxic spray, which then enters the human food chain. Along with Monsanto, the companies targeted by The Great Boycott (founded by the highly esteemed investigative journalist Jon Rappoport, and whose current chairman is some guy named Robert Sterling) are Dow, Dupont, Ciba-Geigy, Bayer, Imperial Chemical Industries, Rhone Poulenc and Hoechst. In recent months, the issue of genetically modified food has become a larger controversy worldwide. In the UK, there has been a serious debate on this issue, as (ironically enough) aristocrat Prince Charles has strongly attacked the dangers of GM foods, while supposed "liberal" Prime Minister Tony Blair (bowing to the money that backs him) has defended the practice. In India, the opposition has been even stronger, as activists have torched fields suspected of harboring GM plants in protest.
Still, none of this tells just how big of a covert menace Monsanto is to the world. Here's a clue: the top 3 most censored stories of 1998 (according to Project Censored) all are linked heavily to the chemical giant.
The number three story is tied most directly: Monsanto's attempt to introduce what is known as "The Terminator Seed," or genetically modified seeds that will produce only infertile seeds at the end of the farming cycle. The purpose of this is to force farmers (many already living in impoverished conditions) to purchase new seeds from Monsanto each year. What is worse, considering how seeds travel courtesy of winds, those who don't even buy such seeds will likely be effected, and see their crops dwindle thanks to this "scientific advancement" that benefits nobody but large seed companies such as Monsanto. In any case, the Terminator Seed is a serious threat to worldwide food production if approved, especially in the most impoverished countries where farmers can afford yearly seed purchases the least.
The number two story, meanwhile, is how leaders in cancer treatment and information are the same chemical companies that also produce the carcinogenic products that cause it. One such product is Monsanto's Bovine Growth Hormone (BGH) in milk. A study of U.S. women published May 9, 1998 in the LANCET links insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) with breast cancer, a 7-fold increased risk of breast cancer among pre-menopausal women younger than age 51 with the highest levels of IGF-1 in their blood. Despite this evidence, widespread usage of BGH continues, with much support from the USDA and little criticism from the korporate media. Perhaps the case of Steve Wilson and Jane Akre explains the silence: the award-winning reporters were hired by a Fox affiliate in Tampa to produce a series on BGH in Florida milk. Among the report's stunning facts: BGH wasn't properly tested before the FDA allowed it on the market, evidence dairy herds grew sick soon after treatment, lack of testing for excessive antibiotics, and Canadian government officials claiming Monsanto tried to bribe them for approval in Canada. After more than a year's work on the series, Fox executives (most notably the former GOP operative Roger Ailes) canceled it the last moment, receiving letters from Monsanto lawyers saying Monsanto would suffer "enormous damage" and warning of "dire consequences" for Fox if the series aired. Fox lawyers tried to water down the series, and when Wilson and Akre refused, Fox threatened them with dismissal if they didn't broadcast false and misleading material, promising to replace them with reporters who would, actions which violated the station's license from the Federal Communications Commission. (There is a pending lawsuit over Fox's treatment of Wilson and Akre.)
The number one story, meanwhile, may be the most damaging of the bunch: the Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI), which threaten national sovereignty by giving corporations near equal rights to nations. The MAI would have devastating effects on all nations' legal, environmental and cultural sovereignty. It will force countries to relax or nullify human, environmental and labor protection to attract investment and trade, and necessary measures such as food subsidies, control of land speculation, agrarian reform and health and environmental standards could be challenged as "illegal" under the MAI. This same illegality is extended to community control of forests, local bans on use of pesticides, clean air standards, limits on mineral, gas and oil extraction, and bans on toxic dumping. According to human rights activist Sheila Goldner (the woman who alerted Project Censored of this story in the first place), one of the biggest beneficiaries of the MAI would be Monsanto itself, who would use its newly gained sovereign power to force countries to buy its Frankenfoods.
For now, both MAI and the Terminator Seed appear to be on the backburner, but like Arnold as the original Terminator, Monsanto has a nasty habit of coming back again and again. In a sane world, BGH wouldn't be in milk and NutraPoison wouldn't be in practically everything else. This should leave an uneasy lack of confidence about what may happen. So, whether Monsanto is poisoning people with a dangerous sugar substitute, plotting to destroy world food production for personal profit, contaminating the USA's milk supply with a carcinogen, or even become a sovereign power through international law agreements, Monsanto has proven itself to be one of the few truly threatening korporate leviathans as we approach the new millennium.
In any case, we salute Monsanto as Beast of the Month. Congratulations, and keep up the great work, dudes!!!
Come join us and give the multinational corporations a message.
MAI TRADE AGREEMENT Sources:
IN THESE TIMES, "Building the Global Economy," January 11, 1998, by Joel Bleifuss
DEMOCRATIC LEFT, "MAI Ties," Spring 1998, by Bill Dixon
TRIBUNE DES DRIOTS HUMAINS, "Human Rights or Corporate Rights?" April 1998, Volume 5, No.s 1-2, "Giving The World Away" by Elaine Weinreb, Vol 27, No 11 'ECONEWS' December 1997
CHEMICAL CORPORATIONS PROFIT OFF BREAST CANCER Sources:
RACHEL'S ENVIRONMENT AND HEALTH WEEKLY, "The Truth About Breast
Cancer," Dec. 4, 1997, by Peter Montague
THE GREEN GUIDE, "Profiting Off Breast Cancer" Oct. 1998, by Allison Sloan and Tracy Baxter.
TERMINATOR SEED Sources:
MOJO WIRE Title: "A Seedy Business," http://www.motherjones.com/news-Wire/broydo.html Date: April 7, 1998, by Leora Broydo
THIRD WORLD RESURGENCE #92, "New Patent Aims to Prevent Farmers From Saving Seed," by Chakravarthi Raghavan
EARTH ISLAND JOURNAL Title: "Terminator Seeds Threaten an End to Farming," Fall 1998, by Hope Shand and Pat Mooney
THE ECOLOGIST, "Monsanto: A Checkered History" and "Revolving Doors: Monsanto and the Regulators," Sept./Oct. 1998, Vol. 28, No. 5, by Brian Tokar
"The Swirl and the Swastika"
From Psychic Dictatorship in the U.S.A.
Alex Constantine, Feral House
MILK: THE DEADLY POISON
"Free Press My Ass"
"The Poisoning of America: Nutrasweet"
"The Nefarious FDA Strikes Again"
Julian Whitaker, MD
Health & Healing Newsletter
Relevant Websites About Genetic Engineering:
Post Office Box 24825
Los Angeles, California 90024-0825
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