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One Week, Two Bad Appointments, Monsanto Throws Party

by: Jill Richardson

Fri Sep 25, 2009 at 10:36:09 AM PDT

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The champagne corks will be popping at Monsanto this weekend. They have a lot to celebrate. Roger Beachy, long time head of the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, will now head up the USDA's brand new National Institute of Food and Agriculture, an agency for agricultural research that was established by the 2008 farm bill. The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center is essentially the non-profit arm of Monsanto (their headquarters are across the street from one another). The Danforth Center has also received donations from the Gates Foundation.

Translation: Monsanto's guy will have a lot of influence over where the USDA's hundreds of millions of dollars in research grants go. Beachy says he will not make decisions on who gets grants or how they get awarded, but no doubt his interests and views on biotechnology and other technologies will influence all aspects of the agency's functions - including who gets the grants. While he will no longer be president of the Danforth Center, he will remain on it board of trustees as the vice chairman.

This appointment is the second win for biotech industry interests this week, the first being the nomination of Islam A. Siddiqui as U.S. Chief Agricultural Negotiator in the office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR). Siddiqui is currently Vice President for Science and Regulatory Affairs (translation: LOBBYIST) at CropLife America (a pesticide/biotech industry lobby group). It should be noted that the USTR, Ron Kirk, is no saint himself. Until his appointment, he was on the board of directors of Dean Foods.

Jill Richardson :: One Week, Two Bad Appointments, Monsanto Throws Party
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I'm pissed. (0.00 / 0)
This blog probably will surpass 1000 registered users by the end of October. Many of these users visit and read here, but do not comment. Many more people read but are not registered users. I wonder what these readers think about Jill's posts like this one. Is she using guilt by association to unfairly tar appointees who might shed their unsavory pasts? Is Jill a conspiracy theory nut? Is she needlessly concerned?


These two appointees join a two-decade string of executive branch appointments, who have been mandated to promote genetically modified agriculture and suppress, distort, and subvert any information that might inhibit or impede that mission. A mission and a mandate of the U.S. Chief Agricultural Negotiator is the promotion of GMO plant foods, and animals that have been raised on GMO crops. Beachy falls right in line.

Beachy said he was encouraged by the current administration's commitment to biotechnology. "The president's not flinching from this advanced technology," he said.

Under Beachy's leadership the not-for-profit center, founded in 1999 on land donated from Monsanto, has attracted more than $75 million in research grants and grown an endowment of nearly $100 million, with support from Monsanto, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the federal government, among others.

I would be pleased if a substantial portion of the new institute's money were used to hire forensic librarians, who would exhume and publicize all the archived research that proves that GMO has food safety issues that should concern us all. This won't happen. Do you ever wonder why there is such a difference between the attitudes of Americans and Europeans about GMO? I think it is because they have a lot more information than we are allowed to have. They have the truth on their side. We have the FDA, the USDA, and Beachy.

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