Le Monde, Wednesday 12 March 2008
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The charge sheet is horrifying, inexorable and convincing. The multinational firm Monsanto, which sells 90 percent of genetically modified organisms (GMO), massively lies to many people and even the whole planet with great success - the power that money and the - apparently unlimited - support of the United States government bestows. You already know all that if you watched Marie-Monique Robin's extraordinary documentary, "Le Monde selon Monsanto" ["The World According to Monsanto"], March 11 on the Arte channel.
The case is conducted as a personal investigation, and the director has herself filmed as she plays her computer keys to research, most often through Google, the information accessible to everyone, as long as one is willing to try to separate the wheat from the chaff in the mass of available documents. And there's an abundance of chaff, given how the company has proliferated effective advertising (intended for farmers in every country and in every language) and dubious scientific studies over the years. "On its Internet site, Monsanto presents itself as an agricultural company the mission of which is to help small farmers produce healthier food, while reducing agriculture's impact on the environment," the director explains. Neither assertion is true. Some of these foodstuffs are dangerous and their effect on nature is catastrophic in the long term. Founded in 1901 in Saint Louis (Missouri), the firm is a dangerous recidivist. It began as an industrial company manufacturing chemical products.
It has, notably, concocted impressive quantities of dioxin, the hyper-concentrated poison contained in the Agent Orange American airplanes dispersed over forests to destroy vegetation during the Vietnam War. Its consequences are still being felt today, with the births of deformed children and after-effects on a goodly number of American war veterans exposed to this frightening product. Is that nightmare in the process of resuming under a new form right under our eyes? There's this hormone injected into milk cows to increase their yield that invariably transforms them into Frankenstein animals.
We are now very familiar with - because José Bové has so often "prematurely" reaped it - the surprising corn that yields a bigger ear than the others. At the moment, no one knows whether it also has death-dealing properties. But we are certain that it is in the process of eliminating, little by little, all other corn species, even from the plant's original birthplace, Mexico.
Obviously, we should have liked to have Monsanto's response to these accusations. The firm declined that offer. That's too bad.
Translation: Truthout French language editor Leslie Thatcher.