21st Century Wire says…
A series of emails that have come to light through a freedom of information request have uncovered Monsanto’s corporate collusion with academia.
Watch a video of this report here:
Eric Sachs, head of Monsanto’s scientific outreach, wrote to eight scientists at various universities and wanted them to write articles that sought to influence ‘public policy, GM crop regulation and consumer acceptance’.
Five of the eight academics agreed and their work appeared on the Genetic Literacy Project’s website in a series called ‘GMO – Beyond the Science’.
Sachs suggested a topic to each of the scientists and then said, in a recently disclosed email: “I need to step aside so I don’t compromise the project … I am keenly aware that your independence and reputations must be protected.“
After that, the project was handled by CMA Consulting, a PR company that was paid for by Monsanto.
Washington-based lobbyist at the Environmental Working Group and executive director of ‘Just Label It’ Scott Faber said: “It says something that Monsanto can’t defend the safety of their own products, that they have to resort to hiring a PR consultant and get academics to spin the science.”
Charla Lord, a Monsanto spokesperson, said in an email: “Our goal is to elevate the public dialog and public policy discussion from its over-emphasis on perceived risks toward a broader understanding of the societal benefits of GM crops and needed improvement in policies,“
“There is a lot of misinformation generated by groups who are opposed to agriculture and biotechnology.”
Kenyans look on at their new GMO crops. (Photo Credit: Dave Hoisington)
Peter W.B. Phillips, a professor at the University of Saskatchewan, and David Shaw, chief research officer at Mississippi State University, who were two of the academics involved did not comment on the situation.
Calestous Juma, of the prestigious Harvard John F. Kennedy School of Government was also caught up in the scandal, writing an paper entitled: ‘Global Risks of Rejecting Agricultural Biotechnology‘. Juma said, “It’s part of my mission as a public scholar to share knowledge.”
It is apparently not part of Juma’s mission to reveal who initiated the search for that ‘knowledge’, which calls into questions just how ‘public’ Juma’s work really is.
Professor at Cornell University, Anthony Shelton, who also wrote an article, said “I strongly support openness and transparency.” Why he does not apparently include such values in his work is a mystery.
Interestingly, Folta received a $25,000 donation from Monsanto to the science communication program he runs. He says he was never given the cash personally and that the cash was donated to charity after its origins were exposed.
Why donate the cash unless it was dirty money or could damage reputations? Moreover, if the money is dirty, or could be construed as such, why accept it in the first place?
Ultimately, no matter how much they would like to portray it as an untouchable pinnacle of knowledge, the world of science is absolutely not free from manipulation and is just as vulnerable to bribery and collusion as any other sector.
When reading any piece of information, no matter how factual it claims to be, always question its origin, why it was written, and who it was written for.
READ MORE ON MONSANTO: 21st Century Wire GMO Files