Monsanto Machinations Open European Lands to Glyphosate Poisoning
It's a colossal corruption scandal, which the European Union prefers be hushed up. Probably, for corruption reasons as well.
On Monday, an EU ad hoc appeal committee voted to extend the license allowing farmers to use a fertilizer called glyphosate. The current license expires on December 15.
Glyphosate is a common defoliant to eliminate weeds. It's produced by the giant transnational corporation Monsanto. Monsanto has a bad reputation. It was this company that produced the military defoliant chemical Agent Orange, used by the Americans during the Vietnam War to find Vietcong guerrillas hiding in the jungle. It was this company that produced the currently prohibited agricultural poison DDT. Some want glyphosate to be banned, too, since it is practically not excreted from the human body, but is accumulated, and, according to a timid assessment by the World Health Organization, is "a possible carcinogen," that is, causes cancer.
The forces of glyphosate's supporters and opponents, however, are not equal. In Europe alone, Monsanto spends about 1.5 billion euros a year on its lobbying projects. This is an open figure. Certainly, there is also a classified one.
In the US, the list of official lobbyists of the powerful company includes prominent senators and statespeople. Even Hillary Clinton doesn't hide that she is connected with Monsanto and promotes the corporation's interests.
Bill Gates invested tens of millions of dollars in Monsanto. He's notorious for his obsession with reducing the world's population. Take, for instance, his project to use ultrasound to stop the production of sperm in male testicles.
However, let's return to the vote in the European Commission to extend the license for glyphosate on the continent. According to the rules, a decision is passed if at least 16 EU countries with a total population of 65% of the entire EU population — the so-called demographic majority- votes for it. Let's count. 18 countries voted "for". Here everything is okay. Bulgaria, Germany, Poland, Romania, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Ireland, Spain, Hungary, Netherlands, Slovenia, Slovakia, Finland, Sweden and the UK. Portugal abstained. But, according to the rules, abstainers are coupled with those who are "for".
So, the total population of these 19 countries is just slightly more than 65% of the total population of the European Union. To be more precise, it's 65.71%. Everything seems transparent. But there's one little thing. No demographic majority would have been achieved without Germany. Germany was represented by a man with a very honest face, the Minister of Agriculture, Christian Schmidt. But until recently Germany has always been against glyphosate. And this is how Schmidt should vote. But Schmidt voted for glyphosate. Has Germany changed its stance at the last second? No. It's simply because Schmidt personally decided so.
Chancellor Merkel was quietly enraged by this. The vote was not in accordance with the instructions of the federal government, and such behavior on the part of Minister Schmidt does not comply with the norms.
Chancellor Merkel: "That's all, she scolded him. Now journalists in Berlin are talking about Schmidt's dismissal, but they are journalists. No one is really going to dismiss Schmidt".
Resignation is impossible now, as all ministers are currently acting, and there is no new government coalition in Germany so far. A scandal has already broken out, and then there's some Schmidt on top of it. But this is how things are done in Europe.
OK, he did so, and Europe will be etched for another five years. OK, they hushed it up for clarity. Anastasia Popova is reporting from Europe about how things are done over there. Theo, 10, is fond of reading books about knights, where good conquers evil.
For him, the same battle was a two-year debate to ban glyphosate in Europe, a poison for plants, which made him disabled while he was still in the womb.
Sabine Grattalou, Theo's mother: "When I used this product in the stables, I was 3 weeks pregnant. It was the very beginning of pregnancy, I did not know about it yet. But embryos' organs are being formed during this period, esophagus and trachea”.
They were told that glyphosate is safe and fully dissolves in the soil. These commercials were broadcast on all French TV channels. It predetermined the choice of the parents. When the boy was born, he could not speak at all before the age of 3. To date, he has undergone 52 operations. But the doctors could restore neither his health nor his voice.
Theo Grattalou: "Do not believe the commercials because Monsanto has made a false video claiming that it is a bio-product, that it decomposes, that it is safe for human health. At first, I was surprised at the vote, and then I became angry. Especially, because of Germany. The Minister of Agriculture made a personal decision which concerns the entire country".
Christian Schmidt surprised everyone when he broke ranks with Angela Merkel and the federal government, saying "yes" to the license. His vote allowed it to clear the threshold of 65%.
He faces early retirement at home for his actions. The chancellor herself criticizes him publicly, but there is an interesting nuance. Last year, the German enterprise Bayer decided to buy Monsanto for $66 billion.
Marie-Monique Robin, journalist: "Their goal is to control the world's entire food chain from the farmer's field to the consumer's table. Should this deal be approved by the EU, we'll get an industrial monster, they will control everything: seeds, fertilizers, pesticides, but also all medicines that will treat people, sick from these chemicals".
The journalist says that the US is experiencing a surge in intestinal diseases, autism, diabetes, and cancer. The molecules of glyphosate are the reason for it.
A similar situation exists in Argentina and Sri Lanka.
Film frames: “In Denmark, pigs that ate soy with the weedkiller became infertile or they had miscarriages. Piglets were born with deformities. This piglet was born yesterday, with deformities. He has exencephaly. There's no upper part. There's no skull, the brain is exposed. Fortunately, he was born dead. With the increased level of glyphosate, there have been more piglets like this”.
Two French farmers filed a lawsuit against Monsanto. One of them has already won the trial. Both have cancer, caused by glyphosate fumes.
It's a rather minor trouble for a company whose profits last year amounted to $ 13.5 billion. A suspended license in the EU would be far more painful. However, Monsanto not only invests in paid research, but also lashes out on the lobby.
In Brussels alone, they spend about half a million euros per year on this. Despite the petition and the appeals of the European Parliament, 8 countries voted to allow glyphosate, one country abstained, only 9 voted against it, including France.
Macron promises to find alternatives to Roundup within 3 years, but, economically, the French farmers are not ready yet to give it up right away.
Henri Jasse, farmer: "We mainly use this product after harvesting to cleanse the land. Sometimes before sowing, when we prepare the ground and burn the weeds. We spray it, and in 5-6 days we can sow".
It's cheap and quick, which is often the determining factor for farmers. Not everybody can afford another way of farming by alternating crops and growing bio.
Henri Jasse, farmer: "If you use a lot of Roundup and glyphosate, it'll affect the plants. It won't remain in the soil, but it will backfire on us through the food we eat. But people still keep using it. It's just practical. It's like McDonald's, we know that it's harmful, but we still go there”.
Founded more than a hundred years ago in the USA, Monsanto produced Agent Orange which Americans used in the Vietnam War to burn all the plants, which resulted in 3 million people affected by dioxin and crippled children. Monsanto developed DDT, dubbed chemical AIDS. It's genetically modified seeds that change the biochemistry of the body. They are still banned in the EU, but it is already possible to buy GMOs for animal feed. It is produced in North, South America, Asia, and Africa. There are Monsanto offices in 66 countries around the world.
A whole plant for the production of GMO seeds has been built in Pochuyki, Ukraine.
A Ukrainian farmer: “It's not very good for me, soon I'll have to sell my house and flee. The youth voted for this plant to produce seeds and poisons, maybe they were bribed?”
The Kiev government also plans to sell 10.5 million hectares of land to foreign companies, which is 1/9 of Europe's arable land. It is possible that a lion's share will go to Monsanto. It already chose 10 fields for genetic testing on plants. It's planning to seize control of the whole market. Ukraine ranks third in the world for the export of corn, and fifth for the export of wheat. The association agreement with the EU will allow it to eventually introduce these products to the European market.
Anastasia Popova, Ilya Bernadsky, Irina Kudesova for Vesti Weekly from Belgium and France.