How It Came To Be So… A Brief and Cheery History of Monsanto.
“The Company” was started in 1901 by a Mr. John Francis Queeny, in St. Louis Missouri, once a great hub, if not the hub of industry for the United States as it essentially connected the East and West. I learned this when I rode through it on my bicycle.
For me the sugar company roots of her, Mrs. Queeny’s, maiden name MONSANTO, father in Puerto Rico seem to be a key component of the Monsanto corporations success with their first notable business boom, Saccharin, which was then sold to Coca-Cola. Saccharin as you may or may not know is an artificial sweetener that has a most dubious history and appears to only have made it through the FDA with much pressure from Monsanto itself and the odd fact that many personnel from Monsanto end up in the US government in strategic roles, strategic to its own ends of course, and vice versa, many US Government personnel will end up in Monsanto or its subsidiary companies once they decide to put their public servant (HA!), lives to a close or at the very least in a few cases, a brief hiatus…
With the success of Saccharin now under Monsanto’s belt, the movement went towards other food related additives and compounds, such as Vanillin, which is used as flavoring in foods. This is a cash “crop” so to speak, as demand for vanilla far outpaces the ability of vanilla beans to supply, further in the 70’s more than half the worlds vanillin was used in the production of fine chemicals, these are very complex, single, and pure chemicals used in production of most all chemical compounds; from pharmaceuticals to agrochemicals.
This new endeavor was accompanied by Aspirin, which goes without saying the enormous demand that follows that pill, Salicyclic Acid (active ingredient in Aspirin and in anti-acne treatments, like Oxy, who knew!) and rubber processing chemicals.
We now see Monsanto’s first international corroboration in the form of a partnership with Graesser’s Chemical Works in Wales, England.
The year is now 1920 and the company is now beginning to produce Sulfuric acid, which is a principal substance in the chemical industry, uses range from domestic drain cleaners, mineral processing, oil refining, fertilizer manufacturing, wastewater processing, chemical synthesis and lead-acid batteries. The company also now starts producing PCB’s, or by their true name, PolyChlorinated Biphenal’s. PCB’s most commonly used in coolant systems, from your cars AC to temperature regulation of high power electricity devices such as transformers and also in commonplace items like wallpaper and household paints, adhesives and many others due to their fire retardant capabilities. PCB’s would later be considered by some, the most toxic substance created by man.
Worldwide the production has thought to be completely ended as of 2000, due to all countries uniformly outlawing them.
The environmental damage done due to dumping legal and illegal is beyond estimate, and the cost of properly destroying the chemicals is so high and complex that it is not used and the entire situation has essentially been swept under the rug so to speak. You can still see completely sealed off buildings which are contaminated with PCB’s in the U.S. which will remain that way until they fall down of their own accord. They aren’t torn down as there is no safe place to put the scraps, that’s how toxic this stuff is… Wow.
It is interesting to note the highest concentrations of airborne PCB contaminants is found in City Centers and gradually reduces as one moves away from the center. Some places where there was a large amount of dumping, in the U.S. – Indiana, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Massachusetts and the Great Lakes will be polluted for many years to come, well into your children’s children lives if not farther. The site in Wales England where Monsanto created this product continues to leak into groundwater supplies to this very day.
Now the year is 1940-ish and we see Monsanto getting involved in some very interesting work indeed.
An executive for Monsanto, a Mr. Charles Allen Thomas who was married to a Mrs. Margaret Talbott, obtained the use of their families Runnymede Playhouse on the Talbott estate, in order to extract and refine the polonium to be used in the neutron triggering devices that cause detonation. The Playhouse was not able to return to its former use as a community playhouse with indoor squash, tennis courts and ballroom as it was simply too radioactive and later had to be buried in Tennessee, some distance from its original location in Dayton, Ohio. This was the Dayton project.
The Mound Laboratory was part of the Dayton Works, the program to develop Nuclear Weapons in accordance with the Manhattan Project, which was the overall program controlled by the United States Army in partnership with Canada and the United Kingdom. This site and the project itself was managed by the Monsanto corporation.
At the same time we are building nuclear weapons, Monsanto begins the manufacture of DDT or as it is truly known DichloroDiphenylTrichloroethane. First synthesized in 1874, its insecticide properties were later discovered in 1939 and it was used with great success in treating outbreaks of Malaria and Typhus in the second half of WWII. In 1944 Monsanto along with 15 other companies [most of which were or would be connected to Monsanto] begin its production, ultimately allowing in 1948 for Swiss Scientists Paul Herman Muller to receive the Nobel prize for discovering its efficacy against bugs. In 1962 a book by Rachel Carson named Silent Spring was published about the negative effects of indiscriminate spraying of poisons, focused on DDT, and this is generally considered the birth of the Environmental Movement.
It was then banned in the USA in 1972 after a long list of law suits, counter suits, and a general public distrust of industry. Even with the ban in ’72, as late as 1995 over 300 tons were distributed to foreign markets. Distributed from the U.S.
The ban became global with the Stockholm Convention in 2004 for agricultural use and is now only permittable for vector controls and of course it is still used illegally. The U.S. Ban is considered by scientists as the main reason the U.S. Bald Eagle, the irony, made a return from the brink of extinction. Apparently DDT weakens egg shells to the point of killing he yet unborn baby chics.
Skipping ahead to 1954 we see a partnership with the German company Bayer in order to create a sub company – Mobay, to market polyurethanes in the US. It can only be assumed that Bayers initial attempts at marketing were thwarted by the companies in-depth involvement with WWII and their use of Slave Labor in concentration camps and that they were one of the primary manufacturers of the infamous, Zyklon B, the gas used to kill concentration camp inmates – en masse.
Further, it should be documented that the executive of Bayer at that time of the war, Fritz Tee Meer was imprisoned during the Nuremburg War Crimes Tribunal for 7 years, after which he was re-instated as head of the supervisory board of Bayer in 1956. This was of course during the time that Monsanto was working with them to sell plastics to all of your parents and grandparents, many of whom died fighting those men.
Further, it should be known that the trajectory and overall business model of Bayer and Monsanto are essentially the same. Consisting of an Umbrella corporation which directly controls the actions of a myriad of subsidiary holdings around the world, including but not limited too – pharmaceuticals, chemicals, weapons, agricultural, technological and of course, ones that we will never know of.
As an aside, it is interesting to note that Bayer was the company who discovered and marketed Heroin – diacetylmorphine, and was sold under their label as a cough treatment up until WWI.
The joint company created by Monsanto and Bayer, Mobay was almost sued in the 1990’s by the US Gov’t as they refused to sell a chemical which is crucial in the development of Sarin Gas, an extremely lethal nerve agent that has many similarities to convention insecticide. The true depth of this one fact may leave those of you who delve deeply equal parts shocked, relieved and perhaps filled with a little [or a lot of] WTF…?
There were many more “first’s”, from pharmaceuticals, to LED’s, the technology that would make the proliferation of digital clocks and watches possible, to Astro-Turf, one of my personal most despised inventions by man, fake grass .
The next paragraph will be the crux of what brings us to where we are today, it is one of the single most important applications of knowledge and business principle by Monsanto. What is it…?
One of the most important firsts for Monsanto was the application of its pharmaceutical business model to Agriculture. Not exactly what Hippocrates [considered globally as the originator of medicine] was thinking when he said, “Let food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food.”.
In 1985 Monsanto picked up the G.D. Searle Company for 2.7 BILLION in CASH. In Cash… This was then spun off into the Nutrasweet company, foremost maker of Aspartame. We now have two of the world’s most controversial sweeteners owned by the same company. Both sweeteners are in never ending review for their carcinogenic properties and the highly sketchy way that they were both allowed into the mainstream by the FDA which, coincidentally has been chaired at numerous times by former Monsanto employees and government officials who later become Monsanto employees.
In 1994 Monsanto made available to the world rBGH – which stands for Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone. This allows, in relation to their other invention rBST – Recombinant Bovine Somatotropin, for the increased “yield” of milk from an individual cow by mimicking the naturally occurring hormones resultant from pregnancy . This was then marketed under the name Posilac and was later sold to Eli Lilly (2008), for cash and “additional consideration”.
The hormone rBGH in the cow, drastically increases mastitis, an extremely painful infection of the udder, which for many of you is no big deal, HOWEVER, this leads to exponential increases of antibiotics and pus in the milk you drink. In fact 70% of all antibiotic use in the U.S.A. is for livestock, which is why we now have ever increasing amounts of superbugs.
Further, rBGH is currently outlawed in most countries around the world, including Canada which is usually lockstep with USA FDA regulations.
In 1996 we see the purchase of Agracetus and Dekalb, Dekalb being the premier producer of corn seed and genetically engineered corn seed as of their joint venture with Pfizer pharmaceuticals in 1982, resulting in Dekalb –Pfizer genetics which was later changed to Dekalb Corp in 1985 and the seed business was Dekalb Genetics and was a standalone company by 1988. Agracetus was the company that had pioneered genetically modified cotton of which Monsanto had licensed the tech since 1991, and the company that created the Flavr Savr tomato.
By the year 2000, Monsanto had separated itself into two separate companies, both named Monsanto and both having the same corporate offices. One is responsible for all lawsuits resulting from the myriad chemical catastrophes, the other is solely responsible for advanced genetic research in the agricultural field. It also helps to protect stock prices and as time goes by, the New Monsanto can further separate itself from the Old Monsanto, thereby hiding its past. We all know about hiding of ones past.
In 2007 in order to purchase one of the largest genetic cotton suppliers, it had to divest itself of its other cotton holdings, the largest of which was sold to BAYER, whom we know they worked extensively with since WWII. It is during this same time that Monsanto let go of it’s genetic program dealing with swine and sold its Newsham Genetics which remixes pigs.
Oh, you may not have known, it isn’t just vegetables, it is BEEF and PORK as well… Vegans AND meat eaters are up the creek.
As of 2008 with the purchase of de Ruiter Seeds, Monsanto became the largest seed holder in the world. It is also very interesting to note that ALL of the world’s leading conventional seed suppliers are now owned by pharmaceutical companies. It is also important to note that as of this time, Monsanto is now 100 percent in the Agricultural business. All other business, according to the public eye, have been sold off. Monsanto only does Agriculture. It is also interesting to note that all sell offs, except for one of their smaller cotton companies, have been sold to friends of Monsanto, long term partners, which begs the question, have they been sold off or has the Monsanto family grown new branches on an infinitely confusing family tree…
At this point, Monsanto is now working very closely with Pfizer, Eli Lilly, Bayer, Pharmacia Upjohn and BASF. If you know anything about this, you would do well to be very wary of a web made of these companies.