Monsanto, a Lobbyist, a White House Senior Policy Analyst, & some emails.
On the 27th of last month I shared a post here with you FireDogs primarily derived from a June 24th article by Jill Ettinger in Organic Authority; the main gist of which was the following absurd policy decision :
The Obama administration has approved the strategic planting of genetically engineered seeds on more than 50 National Wildlife Refuges in the Midwest as part of region-wide habitat restoration efforts.
On the face of it, such a policy is stupid. The reasons given at the time, habitat restoration and providing food for wildlife, left a lot of us just shaking our heads.
Some comments from that day :
liberaldem What part of Wildlife refuge does this administration not understand?
Kathryn in MA this makes me sick.
Clearly, planting genetically engineered crops that are having serious new problems come to light every few weeks, in more than 50 wildlife refuges, and then beginning to overfly them to spray Monsanto’s “Round-up” herbicide…….killing off a large portion of the natural flora surrounding the GE crops……..not to mention fouling the streams and rivers when the rains come……..makes no sense at all. None.
Well, we think we now know the rationale behind this policy decision. And using the word rationale is a stretch. A long one. Even in Bizzaro world it would be difficult to construct a logic that works for this policy. That is to say……whenever anybody does anything this stupid……invariably, somebody chimes in with…….What were they thinking? Well, here is what they are thinking, so hold on tight, this will require that you pay attention, and I will try and tell you the very very very stupid story about Monsanto, the lobbyist, the Senior White House Policy Analyst, and the emails.
This past Monday, July 25th, Mike Ludwig, a reporter for Truthout broke this story, but other than several quotes, Mike didn’t provide any sources or links. FireDogs tend to like links and sources and such, so I contacted PEER (Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility) Executive Director Jeff Ruch and requested access to the emails. Jeff sent me PEER’s latest press release with several links attached at the bottom. Links to the emails (between a Biotech lobbyist Adrianne Massey and Senior White House Policy Analyst Peter J. Schmeissner), FIA (Freedom of Information Act requests), and copies of the current law suits filed in this case, as well as a list detailing the composition of a new “working group” called the White House Agricultural Biotechnology Group.
In January of this year PEER was able to obtain some emails that seemed to show that some rather high level collusion was taking place in order to accomplish two things. First to enable a new Obama Administration policy to go forward whereby over 50 MidWest wildlife refuges would be planted with Monsanto genetically engineered crops, having just lost a law suit brought by PEER among others protecting NorthEastern refuges from such contamination, it would be necessary to establish a legal defense against future such law suits ( here are the emails that deal with preparing to defend against future law suits, between a lobbyist and a Senior White House Analyst). Secondly, these machinations were being undertaken to provide a Public Relations whitewash to Monsanto’s GMO crops. In other words…….see, look……these crops are so safe that we are planting them in our wildlife refuges, and when their safety was challenged in our courts, their safety was confirmed, because they prevailed. This PR whitewash is necessary because most of the Eurozone countries want nothing to do with U.S. GMO crops, and since so much of what we now grow are genetically modified organisms, and unlabeled as well, which they also seem to have a problem with……well Monsanto is just having a difficult time increasing their profits in that part of the world.
From the Truthout article :
The White House is engaging in a joint effort with Monsanto … and as we understand it, it’s part of a White House pledge to double exports,” said PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch.
From the PEER press release :
Washington, DC — In an effort to boost exports, the Obama White House has entered into a joint venture with the agricultural biotechnology industry to remove barriers to the spread of genetically engineered (GE) crops, even on national wildlife refuges, according to documents posted today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). Today, PEER sued the White House Trade Representative, Office of Management & Budget (OMB) and the State Department to force release of documents detailing their partnership with industry.
And further from the PEER release :
Recent successful lawsuits brought by PEER with the Center for Food Safety have underlined the incompatibility of GE crops with refuge habitats, which has strengthened objections from GE-averse nations. The Biotechnology Industry Association (BIO), whose most prominent member is Monsanto, the world’s biggest source of GE crops, approached the Obama White House for assistance. In late 2010, the White House formed an interagency “Agriculture Biotech Working Group” consisting of more than 35 officials from ten agencies to promote GE agriculture. This Working Group includes officials from the White House and its OMB, Office of Science & Technology Policy (OSTP), Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) and the Trade Rep. It also has officials from State, Justice, Agriculture, EPA and FDA.
A central task of this Working Group is to legally insulate GE crops on refuges from further litigation. Initially, it tried to pressure the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, which operates the National Wildlife Refuge System, to rescind its Ecological Integrity Policy, which forbids GE planting unless found to be essential to accomplishing a refuge purpose. Working with BIO, these officials then helped prepare environmental assessments to start paving a legal path for GE plantings on 75 refuges in 30 states.
“With all the environmental challenges facing this country, why is the White House priority putting wildlife refuges under the thumb of Monsanto?” asked PEER Staff Counsel Kathryn Douglass, who filed today’s Freedom of Information Act suits. “It is frankly depressing that the top White House official for ecosystem recovery is hustling genetically altered soybeans on slivers of land set aside for wildlife.”
Again from Mike Ludwig’s article :
The US has had trouble in recent years exporting GE crops to Europe, where many consumers are skeptical about GE foods and some countries mandate that foods containing GE ingredient must be labeled. Now that more than 90 percent of corn and soy grown in America is GE, the government has a vested interest in promoting the acceptance of GE crops in other countries.”These plans are based on the curious notion that wildlife benefit from having the small slivers of habitat set aside for them covered by genetically engineered soybeans,” Ruch said of the program in an earlier release. “To boost US exports, the Obama administration is forcing wildlife refuges into political prostitution.”
And again from the PEER press release :
Perhaps more telling are decisions to withhold records showing –
- The depth of collusion with industry. OSTP, for example, is withholding key portions of its correspondence with a BIO lobbyist on the grounds that it reveals proprietary information;
- What other actions the White House is pursuing to promote GE crops; and
- Other unannounced industry partnerships the White House has spawned
All of what is being descibed above is just so corrupt, so twisted, so unethical, so immoral, so beyond greed, just so wrong. How did we allow ourselves to get here to inhabit this circumstance? These things are being done to others around the world in our name, and to us as well. Keeping in mind that the actions by government officials herein detailed, are for the most part, being perpetrated by people who do not hold elective office and are not beholden to campaign contributors, yet they are behaving as if they were employees of Monsanto. Dishonest, conniving, unscrupulous employees. And the well known phenomena of the “revolving door” employment policies in our government doesn’t seem to suffice as an explanation; but I can’t for the life of me come up with a better one.
You can look at the law suits now filed by PEER seeking relief in the Freedom of Information Act requests right here, and if you wish to read Mike Ludwig’s complete article in Truthout it is here, and the PEER press release can be read here.
Lastly as an aside :
I had previously promised you fellow FireDogs that I was going to submit questions from you to Dr. Don Huber of Purdue University in a follow up interview to a couple of my previous posts in this GMO series. Dr. Huber now has 16 compound questions in his possession. The last 6 were fairly political, and a couple touched on professional ethics. He has at this time decided not to keep his word to me, so I am unable to keep my word to you. I am sorry. He pled time constraints, but I’m not buyin’ that, and I don’t wish to speculate as to what might cause a man to break his word. So….there you have it.
*(all Bold above added by me)*