In between hours of watching embarrassingly bad TV – you know, the show where someone’s torch gets snuffed out and the one where some douchebag hands out roses to a bevy of
fame-seeking whores lovely ladies – I also manage to squeeze in some quality programing [including pretty much everything HBO] and, on occasion, an insightful and/or important documentary.
This week I watched The World According to Monsanto.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news y’all, but… holy shit.
We are fucked.
From the opening minutes it’s clear that this company, with the former tagline of, “Monsanto: Where creative chemistry works wonders for you.” is more than just the purveyor of nasty genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
It is a special kind of evil. The kind whose black heart is only surpassed by its inexplicable and formidable power.
Founded in 1901 as a chemical company, this organization has faced trial after trial and controversy after controversy due to the toxicity of its products. And yet, against all logic, thrives today.
Notable products Monsanto has delivered to the world:
- Agent Orange (used as a chemical weapon in the Vietnam war)
- polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)
- bovine growth hormone
Today the company has reinvented itself as a “life sciences” company; one focused on “sustainable development”.
More like sustainable profit, not to mention world dominance, based on what I saw in this documentary. And no, I’m not exaggerating.
In March 2008, French journalist Marie-Monique Robin released the results of three years of her research into Monsanto, and soon after a video documentary, Le Monde selon Monsanto (The World According to Monsanto), was released on DVD.
You can find the full length video on YouTube, but because I know you guys aren’t big on clicking links, and because I really want you to shit your pants the way I did, all you have to do is click the play button below.
Don’t forget to grab your GMO’d popcorn and butter-flavoured topping.
The film reports many controversies surrounding the use and promotion of genetically modified seeds and PCBs. At one point internal company documents reveal that Monsanto not only knew about the “systematic toxic effects” of PCBs for decades, but they instructed their salespeople to stay silent because, “we can’t afford to lose one dollar of business.”
Chills, chills, chills.
As if that weren’t enough, the documentary explores claims that Monsanto has colluded with governments, used bribes and bullying pressure tactics, and has suppressed and manipulated scientific data to further its cause.
Want more more chills? How about this quote, from Jeremy Rifkin, in which he describes the power Monsanto wields as it relates to the US government (among others):
“I have never seen a situation where one company could have so much overwhelming influence at the highest levels of regulatory decision-making as Monsanto with its GM food policy in the government.”
In addition to the nasty business of creating products that are very, very bad for us and our environment, this film exposes Monsanto’s move to global dominance as the owner of patented GMO seeds, and the only purveyor of the herbacides that allow those seeds to grow.
Here’s what Greenpeace had to say about Monsanto:
Over the last decade, Monsanto aggressively bought up over 50 seed companies around the globe. Seeds are the source of all food. Whoever owns the seeds, owns the food. The process of genetic engineering allows companies, such as Monsanto, to claim patent rights over seeds. Ninety percent of all GE seeds planted in the world are patented by Monsanto and hence controlled by them.
Patents on seeds give companies like Monsanto unprecedented power. Monsanto prohibits farmers saving patented GE seeds from one crop to replant the next season, an age-old practice. To ensure that farmers do not reuse seeds, Monsanto created its own ‘gene police’, and encourages farmers to turn in their neighbors.
Even farmers that do not use GE seeds are not safe. According to an investigative report by the Centre for Food Safety (CFS) farmers have even been sued for patent infringement after their field was contaminated by pollen or seed from someone else’s GE crop.
There were several quotes that raised goosebumps, but perhaps none more than this one by quantum physicist and environmental activist, Vandana Shiva:
“Once they have established the norm: that seed can be owned as property, royalties can be collected. We will depend on them for every seed we grow of every crop we grow. If they control seed, they control food, they know it — it’s strategic. It’s more powerful than bombs. It’s more powerful than guns. This is the best way to control the populations of the world.”
Are you scared? Good, you should be.
How are our governments allowing this to happen? How are we allowing this to happen?