Leaked Emails Expose Monsanto Conspiracy Using “Independent” Professors to Promote GMOs
ByOn October 6, 2015
The Monsanto Company has long maintained that its genetically engineered seeds and crops are necessary for “feeding the world” among other supposed benefits, even though the United Nations and many other bodies have vehemently disagreed with that notion.
While others have picked holes in Monsanto’s stated goals (along with questioning the safety of GMOs themselves), Monsanto has refused to budge.
Instead of answering these and other questions, they have continued to work behind the scenes to drum up support for the controversial crops, which have recently been banned (in terms of cultivation) by over 15 nations in Europe.
Aside from lobbying and gaining top posts in the United States government, Monsanto has also given countless millions of dollars to universities across the country for research, a practice that oftentimes puts colleges on the side of GMOs when they would otherwise look at things with a more critical eye.
And according to recent leaked emails, they’ve also been active in recruiting so-called “independent” professors to their side as well.
Leaked Emails Confirm Monsanto Connection
A major article published recently in the New York Times by Eric Lipton shed light on improper relationships between scientists and GMO industry players, the result of Freedom of Information Act requests. The article also showed a connection between the Organic Valley company and a former Washington State professor.
But according to this recent article by Mother Jones, the article left out key emails between Monsanto reps and college professors that paint a far different picture of just how deep the rabbit hole goes.
Many of the emails show a clear conflict of interest between supposed “independent” professors and Monsanto, but were left out of the Times piece.
These emails show just how much the Times underplayed the extent to which Monsanto, other Biotech companies, and their trade and PR groups went to promote GMOs through professors, as the Mother Jones piece argued.
The following information was gleaned from the FOIA-requested documents by Mother Jones showing a cozy relationship between Monsanto reps, affiliates and a large group of prominent professors:
In an August 2013 email to nine prominent academics, Monsanto’s strategic engagement lead Eric Sachs broached a plan: that the group would pen “short policy briefs on important topics in the agricultural biotechnology arena,” chosen “because of their influence on public policy, GM crop regulation, and consumer acceptance.”
Sachs assured the professors that the project would be handled discreetly.
“I understand and appreciate that you need me to be completely transparent and I am keenly aware that your independence and reputations must be protected,” he wrote. Two outside entities—an industry-funded group called the American Council on Science and Health and a PR outfit called CMA—would “manage the process of producing the policy briefs,” “coordinate website posting and promotion,” and “merchandize” the briefs by helping turn them into “op-eds, blog postings, speaking engagements, events, webinars, etc.” This third-party management is “an important element,” the Monsanto exec added, “because Monsanto wants the authors to communicate freely without involvement by Monsanto.”
This collaboration and other similar efforts would eventually lead to op-eds published in major media outlets like the Boston Globe, New York Times, pro-GMO policy papers, and articles published on the pro-GMO Genetic Literacy Project’s website by professors.
For more on the FOIA request’s revelations and to see more emails, check out the Mother Jones article by clicking here.
Nick Meyer writes for March Against Monsanto and AltHealthWorks.com.