Science is Indeed For Sale- Story of a Monsanto Purchase

A few months ago, in preparation for a talk on GMO’s, I came across some information clarifying how the research and educational systems are literally up for sale. People (or corporations) can buy seats on research boards for an average of $20k. Likewise, they can sponsor professorships for a larger sum, usually in the few hundreds of thousands. So, University level science has become incredibly corrupt. The stories of scientists who have been blackballed by the controllers of research are striking, and actually quite sad. The article below covers an aspect of this issue. For those who still think that GMO’s are either needed or safe, they need to be intellectually honest and research the funding and control behind the studies that report that GMO’s -of any variety- are safe.

The source for the article is linked in the headline:

The Inside Story of How a University Professor Quietly Collaborated With Monsanto

Carey Gillam, AlterNet | Fe

Former University of Illinois food science professor Bruce Chassy is known for his academic gravitas. Now retired nearly four years, Chassy still writes and speaks often about food safety issues, identifying himself with the full weight of the decades of experience earned at the public university and as a researcher at the National Institutes of Health. Chassy tells audiences that before he retired in 2012, he worked “full time” doing research and teaching.

Many consumer and environmental groups want to see more restrictions and regulation on GMO crops. Photo credit: Stephen Melkisethian / Shutterstock

Many consumer and environmental groups want to see more restrictions and regulation on GMO crops. Photo credit: Stephen Melkisethian / Shutterstock

What Chassy doesn’t talk much about is the other work he did while at the University of Illinois—promoting the interests of Monsanto Co., which has been trying to overcome mounting public concerns about the genetically engineered (GMO) crops and chemicals the company sells. He also doesn’t talk much about the hundreds of thousands of dollars Monsanto donated to the university as Chassy was helping promote GMOs or Monsanto’s secretive role in helping Chassy set up a nonprofit group and website to criticize individuals and organizations who raise questions about GMOs.

But emails released through Freedom of Information Act requests show that Chassy was an active member of a group of U.S. academics who have been quietly collaborating with Monsanto on strategies aimed at not just promoting biotech crop products, but also rolling back regulation of these products and fending off industry critics. The emails show money flowing into the university from Monsanto as Chassy collaborated on multiple projects with Monsanto to counter public concerns about genetically modified crops (GMOs)—all while representing himself as an independent academic for a public institution.

A New York Times article by Eric Lipton published last September laid bare the campaign crafted by Monsanto and other industry players to use the credibility of prominent academics to push the industry’s political agenda. That New York Times article focused primarily on University of Florida academic Kevin Folta, chairman of the university’s Horticultural Sciences Department and Folta’s work on behalf of Monsanto. But an examination of recently released email exchanges between Monsanto and Chassy show new depths to the industry efforts.

The collaborations come at a critical juncture in the U.S. regarding GMO public policy. Mandatory GMO labeling is set to take effect in Vermont on July 1; Congress is wrestling over a federal labeling law for GMOs; and several other states are seeking their own answers to rising consumer demand for transparency about this topic.

Many consumer and environmental groups want to see more restrictions and regulation on GMO crops and the glyphosate herbicide many know as Roundup, which is used on GMOs. But the companies that market the crops and chemicals argue their products are safe and there should be less regulation, not more. Monsanto’s roughly $15 billion in annual revenue comes almost exclusively from GMO crop technology and related chemicals.

Amid the furor, the revelations about corporate collaboration with public university scientists to promote GMOs have sparked a new debate about a lack of transparency in the relationships between academics and industry.

Chassy has said he did nothing unethical or improper in his work supporting Monsanto and the biotech crop industry. “As a public-sector research scientist, it was expected … that I collaborate with and solicit the engagement of those working in my field of expertise,” Chassy said.

Still, what you find when reading through the email chains is an arrangement that allowed industry players to cloak pro-GMO messaging within a veil of independent expertise and little, if any, public disclosure of the behind-the-scenes connections.

Critical Collaborations 

  • In a November 2010 email, Monsanto chief of global scientific affairs Eric Sachs tells Chassy that Monsanto has just sent a “gift of $10,000” to the university “so the funds should be there.” He then tells Chassy he is working on a plan for Monsanto and others in the agribusiness industry to support an “academics review” website that Chassy can use to counter concerns and allegations raised by critics of GMOs. “From my perspective the problem is one of expert engagement and that could be solved by paying experts to provide responses,” Sachs wrote. “The key will be keeping Monsanto in the background so as not to harm the credibility of the information.”

  • In a separate 2010 exchange, Jay Byrne, president of the v-Fluence public relations firm and former head of corporate communications for Monsanto, tells Chassy he is trying to move the Academics Review project forward. He suggests “we work on the money (for all of us).” Byrne says that he has a list of GMO critics for Academics Review to target. He tells Chassy that the topic areas “mean money for a range of well-heeled corporations.”

  • In 2011, several emails show Chassy and Monsanto chief of global scientific affairs Eric Sachs, along with others, discussing ways to lobby the Environmental Protection Agency against expanded regulation of biotech crops.

  • In one email exchange from September 2011, Chassy suggests how the biotech crop industry might “spin” a government study that found significant levels of the chemical glyphosate, the key ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide, in air and water samples.

  • In emails from 2012, Chassy and Monsanto’s Sachs and Monsanto’s John Swarthout, who leads the company’s “scientific outreach and issues management,” discuss an upcoming presentation Chassy is preparing to make in China. They discuss Monsanto’s review of and changes to, the presentation. Monsanto’s Sachs instructs Swarthout to send slide decks to Chassy as material for his presentation.

  • In April 2012, Monsanto toxicologist Bruce Hammond asks in an email if short videos can be created about the “safety of GM crops.” Chassy says that he is applying for funding from the State Department and “also seeking other sources of support” and can use university equipment to make the videos. Chassy asks Monsanto’s Hammond for a list of videos that “you think would be helpful.” Chassy tells Hammond that Byrne’s group v-fluence has helped create and edit the video scenarios.

  • In separate emails, Monsanto’s Sachs tells Chassy that Monsanto is shooting its own videos,” but says, “Obviously, independent content from the University of Illinois and supported by U.S. government agencies is the preferred approach.” Sachs tells Chassy that Monsanto is happy to help “provide guidance or approaches for additional videos.”

 

Emails About Money 

The emails also discuss money.

  • In an October 2010 email, Chassy tells colleagues at the university that Monsanto has told him it is going to make a “substantial contribution” to his biotech account at the university.

  • In an October 2011 exchange, Chassy asked Sachs about a contribution for the university foundation biotech fund. The Monsanto executive responded that he would “make a gift to the foundation right away” if it had not already been made. Chassy instructs Monsanto to mail the check to the head of the university’s department of food science and to enclose a letter saying the check is “an unrestricted grant … in support of the biotechnology outreach and education activities of Professor Bruce M. Chassy.”

  • And in April and May of 2012 Chassy asks Monsanto directly about an expected “deposit.” In one, on May 31, 2012, as he was preparing to begin his retirement on June 30, Chassy wrote Monsanto’s Sachs again asking “is there any way to find out if a check was issued to University of Illinois for me? I don’t see it in my account yet …”

  • Also in May 2012, Monsanto made a $250,000 grant to the university to help set up an agricultural communications endowed chair. That donation was just a drop in the bucket of the donations from Monsanto—at least $1.9 million in the last five years, according to the university—for agriculture-related projects.

Continued Close Ties 

The close ties between Monsanto and Chassy continued past Chassy’s retirement in June 2012 from the university. Through 2013 and 2014 Chassy frequently appeared as an “independent expert” on the GMO Answers website, a pro-GMO site funded by Monsanto and other agribusiness giants. In that role, he answered questions and concerns about GMOs.

Chassy also has continued to operate Academics Review, publishing critical articles about individuals and organizations, including the World Health Organization’s cancer experts, that report information unfavorable for the GMO crop industry. (I was the subject of at least two such attacks in 2014. Chassy objected to my presentation of both sides of the GMO safety debate in one Reuters article and objected to a second Reuters article that detailed the findings of a USDA report that found both benefits but also concerns associated with GMOs.)

When asked about its interactions with Chassy, Monsanto has said that there is nothing improper with its “engagements” with “public sector experts” and that such collaborations help educate the public on important topics. The university also has said it sees nothing wrong with the relations. A university spokeswoman said Chassy has “strong scientific credibility.” She also said that Monsanto has given the university at least $1.9 million in the last five years.

But others familiar with the issues say the lack of transparency is a problem.

“These revelations regarding the connections are very important,” George Kimbrell, senior attorney with the Center for Food Safety, said. “The basic disclosure that some academics and other ‘neutral’ commentators in the public sphere are actually paid operatives/working directly with the chemical industry rightly alarms the public, as they are being misled.”

Revelations similar to these involving University of Florida Professor Kevin Folta’s connections to Monsanto did spark a public backlash after emails showed Folta received an unrestricted $25,000 grant and told Monsanto he would “write whatever you like.” Folta said in a Jan. 18 blog that he no longer works with Monsanto because of the heated backlash.

Both Chassy and Folta have repeatedly written or been quoted in news articles that failed to disclose their connections to Monsanto and the GMO industry. In a recent example, Chassy has co-authored a series of articles that argue GMO labeling is a “disaster in waiting,” again with no disclosure of his collaboration with GMO developer Monsanto. His co-author is Jon Entine, founder of the PR firm ESG MediaMetrics, whose clients have included Monsanto, a connection Entine does not include in the article.

The revelations in the emails about Chassy, Folta and other assorted academics leave many questions about who to trust and how to trust information critical to understanding our evolving food system. With food labeling issues at the forefront of debate, it’s time for more transparency.

LaVoy Finicum Shot With Hands In The Air- Video Proof

The following video is just over 12 minutes from the 26 minutes of FBI footage just realeased. The voice over is from the young lady named Victoria Sharp that was in the vehicle with Ammon and Ryan Bundy, LaVoy Finicum, Ryan Payne, who was arrested at the first stop in the footage, Shawna Cox and (it seems) Brian Cavalier were also arrested at the scene of the shooting. Evidently, Victoria Sharp was not arrested, but that can’t be solidly confirmed at this time. Here’s the video…My sympathy and regards to his family and loved ones.

Virginia Passes No Feds Involved Hemp Bill

This weekend, at the rescheduled OSLU Seminar, I will be talking about hemp and it’s positive benefits for mankind and nature. I’ll be speaking at 1PM on Sunday in West Plains, Missouri. (next post will be the updated schedule of the event)…The article below is about a positive step for state’s rights, but I don’t (honestly) think it goes far enough.However, riddle me this… My burning question is: “If the State governments have to do whatever the Feds tell them to do, then why do waste so much money on even having “State” governments?”

RICHMOND, Va. (Jan. 26, 2016) – Today, the Virginia House of Delegates passed a bill to authorize the farming, and production of industrial hemp in the state for commercial purposes, setting the foundation for further action. The vote was 98-0.

Introduced by Del. Brenda Pogge (R-Norge), House Bill 699 (HB699) would amend current state law on hemp and create a framework so that hemp businesses/processors and hemp farmers can proceed with business plans.

As noted in the impact statement from the Department of Planning and Budget, the bill would also require the Board of Agriculture and Consumer Services to “adopt regulations as necessary to license persons to grow and process industrial hemp for any purpose.” [emphasis added]

Under the Code of Virginia, § 3.2-4113 – as passed into law in 2015 – authorizes the state to issue licenses to farm and produce hemp for research purposes only under the Federal Farm Bill of 2014. If passed into law, HB699 would broaden the scope of hemp in the state to include the commercial “manufacture of industrial hemp products.” The bill would require creation of a  licensure and renewal, including the establishment of any fees not to exceed $250, to allow a person to grow industrial hemp in the Commonwealth for any lawful purpose.

If passed, the new law would read, in part:

No person licensed pursuant to § 3.2-4115 or 3.2-4117 shall be prosecuted under § 18.2-247, 18.2-248, 18.2-248.01, 18.2-248.1, 18.2-250, or18.2-250.1 for the possession, cultivation or manufacture of industrial hemp plant material and seeds or industrial hemp products.

HB699 would take a first step toward establishing an independent hemp policy in Virginia and would create a foundation for future action.

Virginia Industrial Hemp Coalition founder and executive director Jason Amatucci called it a historic bill.

“This will make Virginia one of the leaders in being ‘Open for Hemp Business’ very soon. It will take 3-5 years to get the hemp industry really up and going and this is yet another great step.”

FEDERAL FARM BILL

Early in 2014, President Barack Obama signed a new farm bill into law, which included a provision allowing a handful of states to begin limited research programs growing hemp. The “hemp amendment”

…allows State Agriculture Departments, colleges and universities to grow hemp, defined as the non-drug oil-seed and fiber varieties of Cannabis, for academic or agricultural research purposes, but it applies only to states where industrial hemp farming is already legal under state law.

Current federal law authorizes the farming of hemp – by research institutions only, for research only. Farming for commercial purposes by individuals and businesses remains prohibited. HB699 sets a stage that could eventually lead development of a hemp industry despite federal prohibition.

OTHER STATES

Passage of HB699 would take a small set toward setting the stage to nullify the federal hemp ban in practice. Virginia would join with other states – including Colorado, Oregon, South Carolina, Connecticut, Maine, North Dakota and Vermont – that have simply ignored federal prohibition and legalized industrial hemp production within their state borders.

Farmers in SE Colorado started harvesting the plant in 2013, and farmers in Vermont began harvesting in 2014, effectively nullifying federal restrictions on such agricultural activities. On Feb. 2 of last year, the Oregon hemp industry officially opened for business and one week later, the first license went to a small non-profit group. As more people engage in hemp production and the market grows within these states, more people will become emboldened creating an exponential wave, ultimately nullifying the federal ban in effect.

HUGE MARKET FOR HEMP

According to a 2005 Congressional Research Service report, the U.S. is the only developed nation that hasn’t developed an industrial hemp crop for economic purposes.

Experts suggest that the U.S. market for hemp is around $600 million per year. They count as many as 25,000 uses for industrial hemp, including food, cosmetics, plastics and bio-fuel. The U.S. is currently the world’s #1 importer of hemp fiber for various products, with China and Canada acting as the top two exporters in the world.

During World War II, the United States military relied heavily on hemp products, which resulted in the famous campaign and government-produced film, “Hemp for Victory!”.

HB699 represents an essential first step toward hemp freedom in the state of Virginia.

WHAT’S NEXT

HB699 now moves to the Senate, where it will first be assigned to a committee for further consideration.

If you live in Virginia: For action steps to help get this bill passed click HERE.

For other states: Take action to push back against hemp prohibition HERE.

Massive Vaccine Cover Up- Important article

New evidence shows that members of a global vaccine committee may have been involved in a massive cover-up regarding the safety of the HPV vaccine. State-based action alerts!

Earlier this month, Cornell-trained clinical pathologist Sin Hang Lee, MD, sent an open letter to the director general of the World Health Organization, Dr. Margaret Chan, alleging that members of the Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety (GACVS) are guilty of gross misconduct and criminal malfeasance in their efforts to mislead the global public on the safety of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine.

The controversy revolves around Dr. Lee’s study finding that Gardasil (Merck’s HPV vaccine) contains HPV L1 gene DNA fragments. In a separate case study, Dr. Lee found HPV-16 L1 DNA fragments in post-mortem blood samples of a teenager who died six months after receiving three Gardasil injections. Dr. Lee hypothesizes that the HPV L1 gene DNA fragments bind to aluminum adjuvants in the vaccine and are carried through the blood stream by macrophages to the brain, causing the adverse effects many experience after receiving HPV shots. Based on this evidence, Dr. Lee called for further study of the HPV vaccines.

One would think the scientific community would take heed—especially scientists on the GACVS, who are responsible for advising the world on vaccine safety. Aluminum in vaccines is a serious issue that we’ve addressed at length in previous coverage. There are studies that have linked aluminum to all kinds of negative health effects ranging from autism to Alzheimer’s disease. Other researchers have noted that, despite eighty years of use, the safety of aluminum adjuvants rests largely on assumptions rather than experimental evidence.

Monsanto Being Sued Again

The following article is rather lengthy, but I think it’s important for people to get a better historical concept of Monsanto and the effects on humanity of their chemical contributions: (Linked in the title below)

Seattle seeks millions from Monsanto to clean up PCBs from Duwamish

The city of Seattle is suing to make Monsanto pay for cleanup of toxic PCBs from the city’s drainage system and the Duwamish River.

Monsanto was the sole producer of PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) for commercial use in the U.S. from 1935 to 1977, and continued to profit from their sale for years even as its officials knew the chemicals were polluting the environment, causing harm to people and wildlife, said Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes.

“When the profit motive overtakes concern for the environment, this is the kind of disaster that happens,” Holmes said Tuesday. “I’m proud to hold Monsanto accountable.”

Seattle is the sixth major city in the West to seek cleanup damages from the company, joining San Jose, Oakland, Berkeley, San Diego and Spokane, which Holmes said gave him the idea to file the federal lawsuit.

The amount of damages requested isn’t specified and would be determined in the course of the lawsuit, said Laura Wishik, section director for environmental protection in the Seattle City Attorney’s Office….(rest here)

 

Another Flat Out Lie? Maybe?

Alright, folks. This is a weird one, and I’m sharing it because I think it’s something that needs to be examined and cussed and discussed by people in general. Hopefully in an intelligent and civilized fashion.

A few months back, a friend that I greatly respect, asked me to check out the “Flat Earth Theory”. Really just as a matter of curiosity. I attempted to download a video on it, but the computer froze and it didn’t work, so I promptly forgot about it. Then a few weeks back, another good friend brought this up again. I thought that in about 10 minutes I could disprove the whole thing so I began to dig into it.

To cut a long story short, I can’t debunk this. I still have some questions that aren’t yet answered- if this is true- but I found it to be extremely thought provoking and thought I would share the major brain melt with others. I’m really hung up on sunrise and sunset myself. I can’t prove or disprove the flat earth theory, and I was terribly sure that it would be an easy thing to dismiss…I was wrong. Flat wrong…Here’s a 2 hour video that brings the issue into pretty clear focus.

Feel free to discuss, but I am NOT going to allow rude, mean, or vicious comments to remain. Be civil, and treat others as you would want to be treated yourself.

For your consideration, here’s a really deep rabbit hole:

Mother Earth News Editor to Keynote Small Farm Conference in West Plains

Oscar “Hank” Will, III, Editorial Director of Mother Earth News and Grit magazines will be the keynote speaker at the Bringing Back The American  Small Farm conference January 28 and 29 at the West Plains Civic Center according to Patrice Jennings of the  Ozark Farmers Co-op, the local non-profit organization organizing the event.
“Hank’s topic is Small Farm, Real Income. He has years of experience in helping small farmers to increase income through specialty agriculture, changing methods, improved marketing and finding the right crops, and we are fortunate to have him for his expertise.” Jennings said.
“The purpose of the conference is to help small farmers and those using the land by  sharing instruction on how to contribute to your regional food supply using land resources available whether it is a backyard garden area or 100 acres” Jennings said.
“Topics will include Conventional Farming, Organic Farming, Urban Farming, No Till Farming,  Soils/Irrigation, Livestock/Small Ruminants, Poultry, Beekeeping, High-Tunnels, Aquaponics, Hydroponics, Social Media Marketing, Agri-Marketing and Greenhouse Production,” Jennings said.
Early registration is available by calling 417-274-4235. More information is available at www.ozarkfarmers.com.

Previous Older Entries

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 94 other followers