Monsanto causes 150,000 Indian Farmers to kill themselves

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Offline Dig

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Monsanto causes 150,000 Indian Farmers to kill themselves
« on: August 15, 2010, 10:25:21 pm »
Bollywood Superstar Aamir Khan Shines the Spotlight on What's Caused an Estimated 150,000 Farmer Suicides in India
An interview with Khan's about his new film, "Peepli Live," which explores the deadly consequences of India's shift to a neo-liberal economic model.
http://www.alternet.org/world/147825/bollywood_superstar_aamir_khan_shines_the_spotlight_on_what%27s_caused_an_estimated_150%2C000_farmer_suicides_in_india/
August 11, 2010  |   

A tangible consequence of India's shift to a neo-liberal economic model has been the flood of suicides among farmers. The vast majority of the world's second most populated country still farms for a living, but are caught between deep debt and the erratic nature of seasonal change. Lured by the promise of greater production, farmers are pressured into mortgaging their farms to purchase genetically modified seeds, pesticides, and fertilizer from American companies like Monsanto. Since GM seeds are patented by Monsanto, their repeated use each year requires constant licensing fees that keep farmers impoverished. One bad yield due to drought or other reasons, plunges farmers so deep into debt that they resort to suicide. One study estimates that 150,000 farmers have killed themselves in the past ten years.
All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately

Viper

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Re: Monsanto causes 150,000 Indian Farmers to kill themselves
« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2010, 10:28:20 pm »
To me it's very hard to grasp this fact of mass suicides among farmers in India, but their religion teaches re-incarnation, so perhaps that lends a hand too, i just find this hard to comprehend is all.

Offline Dig

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Re: Monsanto causes 150,000 Indian Farmers to kill themselves
« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2010, 10:31:30 pm »
To me it's very hard to grasp this fact of mass suicides among farmers in India, but their religion teaches re-incarnation, so perhaps that lends a hand too, i just find this hard to comprehend is all.

If you were ever a farmer and had to work with Monsanto...you would understand.

Ask any American farmer...it has nothing to do with any of the 50 religions that the Indian people practice which includes Christianity, Islam, and Judaism.
All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately

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Re: Monsanto causes 150,000 Indian Farmers to kill themselves
« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2010, 11:03:33 pm »
Monsanto's global pollution legacy
http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Monsanto


In the Washington Post article (Jan 1, 2002) "Monsanto Hid Decades Of Pollution PCBs Drenched Ala. Town, But No One Was Ever Told" a grim story of Monsanto's treacherous behavior in Anniston Alabama was revealed. It is summed up in this chilling paragraph: "They also know that for nearly 40 years, while producing the now-banned industrial coolants known as PCBs at a local factory, Monsanto Co. routinely discharged toxic waste into a west Anniston creek and dumped millions of pounds of PCBs into oozing open-pit landfills. And thousands of pages of Monsanto documents -- many emblazoned with warnings such as "CONFIDENTIAL: Read and Destroy" -- show that for decades, the corporate giant concealed what it did and what it knew." [2] [3] For more see Monsanto's Global Pollution Legacy.

Monsanto, Agent Orange, dioxins and Plan Columbia

The following is excerpted from The Legacy of Agent Orange.

Agent Orange was manufactured by Monsanto, Dow Chemicals (manufacturers of napalm), Uniroyal, Hercules, Diamond Shamrock, Thompson Chemical and TH Agriculture. Monsanto [was] the main supplier. The Agent Orange produced by Monsanto had dioxin levels many times higher than that produced by Dow Chemicals, the other major supplier of Agent Orange to Vietnam.... Monsanto's involvement with the production of dioxin contaminated 2,4,5-T dates back to the late 1940s. 'Almost immediately workers started getting sick with skin rashes, inexplicable pains in the limbs, joints and other parts of the body, weakness, irritability, nervousness and loss of libido,' to quote Peter Sills, author of a forthcoming book on dioxins. Internal Monsanto memos show that Monsanto knew of the problems but once again a cover-up was the order of the day.... Operation Hades, later changed to Operation Ranch Hand, sprayed 6 million acres of forest in Vietnam, 19 million gallons of defoliant. The intention was to turn Vietnam into desert, to cause such destruction that Vietnam would never recover.... The most gruesome legacy caused by spraying Vietnam with dioxin contaminated Agent Orange was that born by the Vietnamese themselves. In a locked room of Tu Du Obstetrical and Gynaecological Hospital in Saigon are rows of formaldehyde-filled jars containing deformed foetuses, a grotesque illustration of Man's inhumanity to Man. The level of poverty in Vietnam prevents the preservation of further examples. Many of the living have fared little better, limb deformities, cancers. Says this CorpWatch article, "The Vietnamese government estimates that three million Vietnamese were exposed to these chemicals during the war, and that at least 800,000 suffer serious health problems today as a result". For more see Monsanto, Agent Orange, Dioxins and Plan Columbia

The Roundup Ready controversy

(Note: In addition to the issues raised on this page, there are a host of other concerns with genetic modification. Furthermore, the issues and statistics in the fast-paced biotech world are ever in flux. The reader is encouraged to visit the other websites below for more and up-to-date info.)

Monsanto is considered the Mother of agricultural biotech (1). Their "Roundup Ready" crops have been genetically engineered to allow direct application of the Monsanto herbicide glyphosate allowing farmers to drench both their crops and crop land with the herbicide so as to be able to kill nearby weeds without killing the crops. "RR soybeans are heavily herbicide dependent" [4][5] says Charles M. Benbrook, an expert in the field [6]. For more see Monsanto and the Roundup Ready Controversy.

Terminator technology

Monsanto came under heavy public fire with the development of their "Terminator Technology", a.k.a. "suicide seeds", known technically as V-GURTs (varietal Genetic Use Restriction Technologies) in which the seeds resulting from the first year's planting would be sterile thereby forcing farmers around the world in the Roundup Ready System to buy their seed from them every year rather than saving their best seed for the next years planting, a traditional and economical practice [7]. Seed saving has had the benefit of allowing farmers to continually improve the quality of their crops through careful artificial selection.

Fears were also expressed that Monsanto's terminator genes could spread to wild plants. According to the UN Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, "Cross-fertilising V-GURT containing crops may cause considerable effects in neighbouring crop stands and wild relatives.... The fact that in North America, where large stands of GMO varieties are now grown contamination of non-GMO varieties by GMO germplasm has been observed ... suggests that this scenario is a realistic probability" [8]. For more see Monsanto and Terminator Technology.

The campaign to undermine organic agriculture

Monsanto partially funds the anti-organic Center for Global Food Issues, a project of the right-wing Hudson Institute. It is run by Dennis Avery [9][10] and his son Alex Avery. Here find the latest on Hudson's anti-environmental and pro-biotech spinmeister Michael Fumento, and his secretly taking money (at least $60,000) from Monsanto. See also [11].

In 1998 Dennis wrote an article that began "'According to recent data compiled by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), people who eat organic and natural foods are eight times as likely as the rest of the population to be attacked by a deadly new strain of E. coli bacteria (0157:H7)'.

However, according to Robert Tauxe, M.D., chief of the food borne and diarrheal diseases branch of the CDC, there is no such data on organic food production in existence at their centers and he says Avery's claims are 'absolutely not true.'" [12]. Following in his father's steps Alex distorted a study from the Journal of Food Protection that showed that organic food does not contain more pathogens than conventionally grown, contrary to Avery's claims. For more see Monsanto and the Campaign to Undermine Organics.

Genetic pollution or 'How to succeed without really trying'

Organic farms are increasingly finding that via cross-pollination their pure food has been contaminated with GM DNA thus ruining their businesses [13] [14]. "In 2002, Ontario farmer Alex Nurnberg had tests conducted on his 100-ton harvest of organic corn. Twenty tons were found to be contaminated by GMOs, which Nurnberg believes were blown by the wind from the corn on a neighboring farm. 'I was not ready for it. I feel such a wrath about it,' says Nurnberg" [15]. For more see Monsanto, Genetic Pollution and Monopolism.

G.M. trees, grasses and wheat

Food crops are not the only area Monsanto and others have hoped to cash in on with their technology, also with frightening consequences, a range of genetically engineered "designer" trees and forests are also high on their list.

From trees modified to withstand Monsanto's Roundup to trees designed with a reduced lignin content (it's lignin that gives trees their strength and rigidity) to appeal to the paper making and construction industry to "terminator trees" which don't produce seeds. This has met with fierce resistance from activists and scientists alike, but again, to no avail [16] [17] [18] [19]. Already there has been a contamination issue with the GE papaya tree, the world's first commercially planted genetically engineered tree, which enraged local farmers in Hawaii [20]. For more see Monsanto and GM Trees And Grasses.

Monsanto made news in 2004 when it decided to withdraw its GM wheat from the market due to worldwide opposition. [21] Environmental risks of GM wheat. Update: Monsanto has apparently changed its mind and again is attempting to commence cultivation of GM wheat. "'We’re encouraged,' says Monsanto’s Trish Jordan. 'There may be some opportunity for us to re-enter the wheat space'" [22]. This has created a furor with wheat growers, see Definitive Global Rejection of Genetically Engineered Wheat.

The Indian suicides

Farmers in India are finding that the "biotechnology revolution" is having a devastating effect on their crop lands and personal debt levels. "In 1998, the World Bank's structural adjustment policies forced India to open up its seed sector to global corporations like Cargill, Monsanto, and Syngenta. The global corporations changed the input economy overnight. Farm saved seeds were replaced by corporate seeds which needed fertilizers and pesticides and could not be saved" Says Vandana Shiva, leader of the movement to oust Monsanto from India. For more see Monsanto in India.

Mexican maize mischief

Dr Ignacio Chapela, Associate Professor at UC Berkeley and graduate student David Quist were the target of attack by Monsanto after publishing a paper in the science journal Nature telling of contamination of indiginous Mexican maize (corn) with GMOs. The lead-up to the incident, however, is downright spooky (1). Still, Chapela was determined to publish what they found. So Monsanto employed the services of a firm called Bivings Group which used a phony e-mail campaign to persuade the prestigious science journal Nature to retract the paper, the first time in the publicationīs 133 year history that it had ever retracted a paper [23] [24] For more see Monsanto's Mexican Maize Mischief

Global bully

Monsanto has sued many a farmer when their GM crops have turned up on the farmer's fields even though the farmers say they never planted them (examples)[25] [26] [27]. For an alarming expose of Monsanto's legal battles with American farmers see the report Monsanto vs. U.S. Farmers. For more see Goliath and David: Monsanto's Legal Battles against Farmers.

Labeling issues, revolving doors, rBGH and bribery

An issue of growing concern is the Campaign to Label Genetically Engineered Foods [28]. Many have questioned why it is that while consumers in Europe have the right to know through labeling which foods contain GM ingredients and thus to make an informed choice consumers in the United States, purportedly the bastion of freedom, democracy and the "free market" in the world are denied this same right. Polls indicate that the great majority of Americans who are aware of the issue want labels [29]. Attempts to accomplish some kind of labeling have repeatedly been rebuffed due to tremendous opposition from biotech, which fear loss of sales if people know [30][31]. In 2002 Oregon tried and failed to pass just such a labeling initiative (Measure 27). The campaign cited big money and misinformation propagated by biotech as contributing to the defeat [32]. For more see Labeling Issues, Revolving Doors, rBGH, Bribery and Monsanto.

Monsanto and animal testing

According to Monsanto "we run our products through stringent tests to verify their quality and safety.... In some cases, animal testing may be necessary" [33], though they add "all tests are conducted in a humane manner in accordance with all applicable laws". One such lab is the notorious Huntingdon Life Sciences [34] (HLS) "a true one-stop-shop to its customers" [35], "HLS will test anything for anybody" says Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC)[36]. They list Monsanto as among HLS's customers [37]. For more see Monsanto and Animal Testing.

Monsanto and the world food crisis

Monsanto, ever on the lookout for a new financial opportunity, especially one which, on the surface at least, appears to be benevolent found one in biofuels. The growing of corn, in Monsanto's case, genetically engineered corn, for the production of ethanol purportedly to reduce the use of fossil fuels [38][39][40][41]. Unfortunately though, as is often the case with Monsanto, this silver lining has a rather large and ominous cloud, and in the massive diversion of land once used to grow food to growing crops for the fueling of automobiles yet another crisis has ensued. In early 2010, Monsanto, along with other biotech companies and philanthropists, became involved in an ongoing project designed to develop new African drought-tolerant maize varieties. While the new seeds promise increased yields during drought years, the project (specifically Monsanto's involvement) is not without controversy. For more see Monsanto and the World Food Crisis.

Monsanto and GM foods: health risks

Courtesy of Jeffrey M. Smith

Rhetoric from the United States government since the early 1990s proclaims that genetically modified (GM) foods are no different from their natural counterparts that have existed for centuries. But this is a political, not a scientific assertion. Numerous scientists at the FDA consistently described these newly introduced gene-spliced foods as cause for concern. In addition to their potential to produce hard-to-detect allergies and nutritional problems, the scientists said that “The possibility of unexpected, accidental changes in genetically engineered plants” might produce “unexpected high concentrations of plant toxicants.”1 GM crops, they said, might have “Increased levels of known naturally occurring toxins, . . . appearance of new, not previously identified” toxins, and an increased tendency to gather “toxic substances from the environment” such as “pesticides or heavy metals.” They recommended testing every GM food “before it enters the marketplace.”2 But the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was under orders from the first Bush White House to promote the biotechnology industry, and the political appointee in charge of agency policy was the former attorney for biotech giant Monsanto—and later became their vice president. The FDA policy ignored the scientists’ warnings and allowed GM food crops onto the market without any required safety studies. For more, see Monsanto and GM Foods: Health Risks

Monsanto and Fox: Partners in censorship

By all accounts, Jane Akre and Steve Wilson are tough, bulldog reporters--the sort of journalists you'd expect to make some enemies along the way.

That, according to Florida TV station WTVT, was why it hired the husband-and-wife team with much fanfare in November 1996 to head the station's "news investigative unit." Now, in the wake of their firing barely a year later, the Fox network affiliate is accusing them of theft for daring to independently publish the script of the story that they were never allowed to air. For more see Monsanto and Fox: Partners in Censorship.

History

The Monsanto company was created in 1901 by John Francis Queeny (photo). Named after his wife, Olga Mendez Monsanto, the name Monsanto has since, for many around the world, come to symbolize the greed, arrogance, scandal and hardball business practices of many multinational corporations. A couple of historical factoids not generally known: Monsanto was heavily involved during WWII in the creation of the first nuclear bomb for the Manhattan Project via its facilities in Dayton Ohio and called the Dayton Project headed by Charlie Thomas, Director of Monsanto's Central Research Department (and later Monsanto President) [42] [43] and it operated a nuclear facility for the federal government in Miamisburg, also in Ohio, called the Mound Project until the 80s. Also "In 1967, Monsanto entered into a joint venture with IG Farben" "It is the German chemical firm that was the financial core of the Hitler regime, and was the main supplier of Zyklon-B to the German government during the extermination phase of the Holocaust" [44][45]; IG Farben was not dissolved until 2003 [46]. For a short Monsanto history see [47] and [48].

Monsanto was the creator of several attractions in Disney's Tommorrowland [49]. Often they revolved around the the virtues of chemicals and plastics. Their "House of the Future" was constructed entirely of plastic, but biodegradable it was not. "After attracting a total of 20 million visitors from 1957 to 1967, Disney finally tore the house down, but discovered it would not go down without a fight. According to Monsanto Magazine, wrecking balls literally bounced off the glass-fiber, reinforced polyester material. Torches, jackhammers, chain saws and shovels did not work. Finally, choker cables were used to squeeze off parts of the house bit by bit to be trucked away" [50]. However another of their synthetic inventions, Astroturf (fake grass), survives.

Political contributions

Monsanto gave $106,500 to federal candidates in the 05/06 election cycle through its political action committee (PAC) - 32% to Democrats, 68% to Republicans. [1]

In the 07/08 election cycle, Monsanto gave $186,250 to federal candidates - 42% to Democrats, 58% to Republicans. [2]

Thus far in the 09/10 election cycle, Monsanto has given $109,000 to federal candidates - 44% to Democrats, 56% to Republicans.[3]

Lobbying

The company spent $3,640,000 for lobbying in 2006. $680,000 was to outside lobbying firms with the remainder being spent using in-house lobbyists.[4]

The company spent $4,520,000 for lobbying in 2007 [5]; $8,831,120 in 2008 [6]; and $6,164,000 in 2009.[7]

Personnel

Key executives and 2006 pay: [8]
Hugh Grant, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President, $3,050,000
Terrell K. Crews, Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President, $1,110,00
Robert Fraley, Chief Technology Officer and Executive Vice President, $1,170,000
Carl M. Casale, Executive Vice President of North America Commercial, $1,090,000
Charles W. Burson, Counsel to the Chief Executive Officer and Special Assistant, $945,000

Selected board members: [9]
Frank V. AtLee III, Retired President of the former American Cyanamid Company
C. Steven McMillan, Retired Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Sara Lee Corporation
Robert J. Stevens, Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer of Lockheed Martin Corporation

Monsanto subsidiaries
Asgrow Agronomics
DEKALB Genetics Corporation
All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately

Offline ekimdrachir

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Re: Monsanto causes 150,000 Indian Farmers to kill themselves
« Reply #4 on: August 16, 2010, 02:47:11 am »
Monsanto only spreads love and kindness, those farmers must have had preexisting conditions.

Offline MrSwe

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Re: Monsanto causes 150,000 Indian Farmers to kill themselves
« Reply #5 on: August 16, 2010, 07:49:08 am »
Death to Monsanto!

Offline chris jones

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Re: Monsanto causes 150,000 Indian Farmers to kill themselves
« Reply #6 on: August 16, 2010, 08:47:00 am »
To me it's very hard to grasp this fact of mass suicides among farmers in India, but their religion teaches re-incarnation, so perhaps that lends a hand too, i just find this hard to comprehend is all.
Hi Viper.
Haiti recieved a gift from Monsanto, tons upon tons of Monsanto seeds.
Its evident they were knowlegable as to the the results of using these, why, they burned them.

Monsanto is a lethal weapon of the elites.

Offline Dig

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Re: Monsanto causes 150,000 Indian Farmers to kill themselves
« Reply #7 on: August 16, 2010, 09:04:21 am »
All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately

Offline Dig

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All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately