It is hardly surprising that the first thing Bayer did after completing their takeover of Monsanto earlier this month was to announce that they were dropping the Monsanto name, merging the two companies’ agrichemical divisions under the Bayer Crop Science name. After all, as everyone knows, Monsanto is one of the most hated corporations in the world. But Bayer itself has an equally atrocious history of death and destruction. Together they are a match made in hell.
WERNER BAUMANN: Hello. Today I’m happy to announce that this Thursday Bayer will complete the acquisition of Monsanto. This is good news for several reasons…
If you had told someone two decades ago that by 2018 the company that commercialized chemical warfare and the company that commercialized Agent Orange were going to team up to control a quarter of the world’s food supply, chances are you would have been labeled a loony.
Unless your name was Robert B. Shapiro. He was CEO of Monsanto from 1995 to 2000, and in 1999 he told Business Week that the company’s goal was to wed “three of the largest industries in the world—agriculture, food and health—that now operate as separate businesses. But there are a set of changes that will lead to their integration.”
With this month’s announcement that Bayer has completed its $63 billion acquisition of Monsanto, it is hard to deny that Shapiro’s vision has been realized. Too bad for all of us that vision is a nightmare.
Because, contrary to the feel-good corporate propaganda being churned out by the company’s PR department—propaganda that would have you believe that this merger will be good for the environment, for farmers, for ending global hunger, and, incidentally, for lining the pockets of shareholders—these two corporate giants are in fact committed to the consolidation and transformation of the world’s food supply in the hands of the genetic engineers.
Monsanto and Bayer are a match made in hell. This is The Corbett Report.
It is hardly surprising that the first thing Bayer did after completing their takeover of Monsanto earlier this month was to announce that they were dropping the Monsanto name, merging the two companies’ agrichemical divisions under the “Bayer Crop Science” name. After all, as everyone knows, Monsanto is one of the most hated corporations in the world.
HOST: In the film Food Evolution, Neil Degrasse Tyson notes that Monsanto is one of the most hated companies in the world. Why do people have such strong feelings toward Monsanto?
SOURCE: Why is Monsanto Hated?
MARINA PORTNAYA: The worldwide March Against Monsanto has drawn hundreds out onto the streets here in New York City, with people seizing the opportunity to voice their concerns and opposition to GMO foods.
LUKE RUDKOWSKI: Why are you here?
PROTESTER: I am here because I have a loathing hatred for the company Monsanto, which a lot of people don’t know that Monsanto is actually just a chemical company and they have no business basically dictating our food supply.
ANCHOR: New at noon: The City of Seattle is suing biotech giant Monsanto to make it pay for removing cancer-causing chemicals in the water. The city says the company knowingly dumped the compounds in the city’s drainage system and the Duwamish River for years. Seattle needs to build a storm water treatment plant to clean the system that will cost about 27 million dollars. Six other major municipalities sued Monsanto as well.
MIKE PAPANTONIO: Environmental lawyers have begun filing lawsuits against Monsanto for cancer deaths related to their product Roundup. What these lawsuits are showing is an effort—both on the part of Monsanto and the US government—to minimize the message about the dangers of Roundup in relationship to human cancer.
BILL MOYERS: Now your bullseye is on Monsanto. Why is Monsanto so crucial to this fight over seeds?
VANDANA SHIVA: Monsanto is crucial to this fight because they are the biggest seed company now. Monsanto is privatizing the seed. They control 95% of the cotton in India, 90% of the soy in this country. They’ve taken over most of the seed companies in the world.
This hatred of Monsanto is not unreasonable. It is, after all, difficult to think of a company that has ruined the lives of more people around the world, either directly through its coercive and litigious practices against small farmers the world over, or indirectly through the pollution of the food supply with their genetically modified crops.
Many are familiar with the company’s sordid past, including its role in the development of Agent Orange and its contribution to the epidemic of farmer suicides in India. But in recent years Monsanto has gained special notoriety for its attempts to push the boundaries of patent law in a self-admitted effort to gain a monopoly over the world’s food supply.
Even worse, Monsanto has, thanks to a revolving door with the highest levels of the US government, been not just evil, but extraordinarily effective in spreading its evil seed around the world. That revolving door has seen literally dozens of top Monsanto executives drift in and out of the US government agencies that, laughably, are said to “regulate” the agrichemical business, including Dennis DeConcini, the former US Senator who now acts as legislative consultant for Monsanto; Mickey Kantor, the Commerce Secretary under President Clinton who also served on Monsanto’s board of directors; Michael Taylor, Obama’s Deputy FDA Commissioner who had previously served as Monsanto’s Vice-President for Public Policy; Linda Fisher, who was appointed Deputy Administrator of the EPA in 2001 fresh off a five-year stint as Monsanto’s Vice- President of Government and Public Affairs; and US Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who served as a corporate lawyer for Monsanto in the 1970s.
These officials have helped smooth the way for Monsanto to achieve a number of key corporate objectives, including the passage of the infamous “Monsanto Protection Act” in 2013.
TABETHA WALLACE: First off, President Barack Obama recently signed into law what many are
calling the “Monsanto Protection Act.” Monsanto, the world’s leading producer of genetically modified food, will benefit greatly from the bill, since the legislation gives companies dealing in modified organisms and genetically engineered seeds immunity from federal courts. (Nothing creepy about that.) The bill states that even if future research shows that GMOs or GE seeds cause significant health problems, cancer, etc, anything, that the federal courts no longer have any power to stop their spread, use, or sale.
Interesting to note the bill carrying the Monsanto rider has virtually nothing to do with food, agriculture, or consumer health. It was inserted into a spending bill through lobbying efforts and the good work of freshman Senator Roy Blunt.
TYREL VENTURA: Well, congratulations Mr. Blunt!
WALLACE: Well done!
VENTURA: Very good.
WALLACE: Maybe write him a letter.
VENTURA: I love Mr. Blunt because Monsanto’s such a wonderfully healthy, nutritious company.
WALLACE: Really looking out. It’s amazing. And the Center for Responsive Politics notes that Senator Blunt received $64,250 from Monsanto for his campaign committee between 2008 and—
VENTURA: Nothing to do with him making a protection bill or anything like that. That was just purely good citizenry at work.
WALLACE: Of course. Mr. Blunt has been the largest Republican recipient of Monsanto funding as of late.
VENTURA: Oh, lovely. So basically Mr. Blunt gave him an out clause. We don’t know what these GMO seeds and all that crazy shit that they do does. Sorry for the sailor talk. But you know we don’t know what these cats do. They basically are poisoning the plants to kill bugs and—
WALLACE: Their pesticides are actually killing the bee population. There’s research to prove it, and now because of this law technically we can’t do anything.
VENTURA: Yeah, we can’t go back as citizens. The government can’t go back and sue them or hold them accountable for any of the actions that they’ve done. This is beautiful. This is wonderful politics as usual. You know, the old pay-to-play kind of technique of “we’ll give you X amount of dollars, get you elected, and then help us out here.”
But, ironically, of all the corporations in the world, Bayer is one of the few that could compete with Monsanto for its position as the world’s most evil company.
MIKE PAPANTONIO: There are two huge issues with this Bayer Monsanto merger.
The first is, that it’s going to raise food prices all across the United States and even
beyond our borders. Farmers have already experienced a 300% price increase in recent years, on everything from seeds to fertilizer, all of which are controlled by Monsanto. And every forecaster is predicting that these prices are going to climb even higher because of this merger. So we’re going to have this massive price hike at a time when 14 million Americans have already been unable to provide food for their families, and then we’re going to have this ethical problem that’s plagued both of these corporations for decades.
Let’s start with Monsanto.This is a company that produced Agent Orange, which resulted in one of the largest human-induced health epidemics in modern history. They made dioxin, they created and distributed PCBs across the planet, and now, pending litigation against them for Roundup is right there. Looking at their rap sheet would scare the heck out of anybody with a brain. They’re in the business … Actually, really, when you drill down to it, it looks more like a cancer business than anything. They’ve been hit for false advertising and bribing public officials.
Then, move to Bayer. We’ve got Bayer and we’ve got Monsanto. Move to Bayer. This is a company that’s joined at the hip with the Nazis, during World War II. They produced a clotting agent for hemophiliacs, in the 1980s, called Factor VIII. This blood-clotting agent was tainted with HIV, and then, after the government told them they couldn’t sell it here, they shipped it all over the world, infecting people all over the world. That’s just part of the Bayer story. Right now, they’re facing lawsuits over products like Yaz, Xarelto, Essure, Cipro. In fact, the company, in 2014 annual report, listed 32 different liability lawsuits that the company’s now facing.
So now you have the worst of the worst joining with the worst of the worst, and we have this
magnificent experience of greed with these two huge corporations. This is a merger of evil, probably second only to the kind of merger that we’d see with DuPont and Dow Chemical. It’s an ugly story.
Again, the media is missing the point. They’re not looking at all behind what these people are … They’re people. These corporations are regarded as people. If these are people on a witness stand, it’s going to be a very ugly cross examination. These are people who should probably be in prison, rather than engaging in mergers.
Although less well-known by the general public, Bayer’s shameful history is, like Monsanto’s, a case study in corporate psychopathy.
Founded in 1863 by Friedrich Bayer and Johann Friedrich Weskott, it wasn’t until 1899 that the company trademarked its most well-known product: aspirin. Less well-remembered is the fact that Bayer was the first company to trademark heroin, which they marketed as a “non-addictive” alternative to morphine and a “cough suppressant.”
But it was under the stewardship of Carl Duisberg at the turn of the 20th century that the company began to develop its psychopathic character. In 1914 the German Ministry of War appointed Duisberg as one of the co-directors of a commission into the use of dangerous byproducts from the chemical industry. Unsurprisingly, Duisberg and his fellow directors jumped at the opportunity to turn their waste into profit by recommending the development of chlorine gas for use on the battlefield, a direct contravention of the Hague Convention Respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land, which Germany had signed just seven years earlier.
Bayer, under Duisberg’s command, did not just participate in the development and use of poison gas in warfare; they spearheaded it. Duisberg personally oversaw the earliest tests of poison gas and bragged about its lethal capabilities: “The enemy won’t even know when an area has been sprayed with it and will remain quietly in place until the consequences occur.” Setting up a School for Chemical Warfare at Bayer headquarters in Leverkusen, Duisberg also oversaw the development of phosgene and mustard gas, which he urged the German government to use: “This phosgene is the meanest weapon I know. I strongly recommend that we not let the opportunity of this war pass without also testing gas grenades.”
On April 22, 1915, Duisberg got his wish. On that day 170 tons of chlorine gas was used against French troops at Ypres, Belgium, killing 1,000 and injuring a further 4,000. Attacks on the British followed days later. In all, some 60,000 people died as the result of the chemical warfare perfected by Bayer and urged on by Duisberg, one of the great, largely-forgotten atrocities of the First World War.
Most galling of all, Duisberg was not ashamed of his accomplishments. On the contrary, he was immensely proud of them. He even commissioned famed artist Otto Bollhagen to paint the scene of the earliest poison gas test at Cologne. Duisberg so enjoyed the finished resultthat he had it hung in his breakfast room at Bayer headquarters in Leverkusen.
Later, Duisberg—inspired by a tour of Rockefeller’s Standard Oil in the US—wedded Bayer to the IG Farben chemical cartel. As I explained in “How Big Oil Conquered the World,” IG Farben was a key player in the burgeoning oiligarchy of the early 20th century, boasting key oiligarchs like Royal Dutch Shell’s Prince Bernhard and Standard Oil’s Walter Teagle on the boards of its various branches. Bayer’s Duisberg served as the head of its supervisory board.
Joining Duisberg on the board was Fritz ter Meer, who oversaw the construction of the IG Farben factory at Auschwitz, which ran on slave labor and participated in human experimentation. After the war, ter Meer was sentenced to seven years in prison for his participation in looting and enslavement of the camp prisoners, but was released in 1950 for “good behaviour,” and, in 1956 became chairman of Bayer AG, newly resurrected from the ashes of IG Farben.
But this legacy of death is not some ancient relic of Bayer’s distant past. Decade after decade, the company continues to be involved in scandal after scandal, involving wanton environmental destruction, injury, and even mass murder.
A large-scale study on neonicotinoid pesticides is adding to the growing body of evidence that these agricultural chemicals are indeed harming bee populations (to say the very least). Carried out at 33 sites in the United Kingdom, Germany and Hungary, the study found that exposure to neonicotinoids “left honeybee hives less likely to survive over winter, while bumblebees and solitary bees produced fewer queens.”
FARRON COUSINS: Mirena is a chemical-coated soft plastic IUD that proved to be a huge moneymaker for Bayer. But part of the reason that this particular contraceptive was so profitable was because Bayer was deliberately overstating the benefits of their device and not disclosing some of the rare but dangerous side effects.
For example, in April of 2009 the FDA had to issue a warning letter to Bayer HealthCare because its website for Mirena made a number of claims that were simply untrue or unproven. Bayer was so busy making claims that the IUD was a perfect solution for busy moms and would increase women’s sex lives while making them look and feel great that it forgot to mention that the device is recommended for women who have already had at least one child. The company also declined to state that the Mirena IUD increases the risk of ectopic pregnancies, which is when a fertilized egg attaches to an area other than the uterus.
ANA KASPARIAN: So the CEO was actually speaking to Bloomberg Businessweek, and he is trying to appeal the Indian court’s decision to allow this patent for another company. He said the following: “We did not develop this medicine for Indians. We developed it for Western patients who can afford it.”
CENK UYGUR: Uhhhh. Uhhhh. Look at that face. That’s the kind of face that would say a thing like that. Doesn’t he look so smiley? “Oh, please. We didn’t develop this for Indians! We developed it for Westerners who are rich!”
MIKE PAPANTONIO: In the 1980s Bayer Corporation produced a medicine that was supposed to improve the lives of hemophiliacs. Bayer didn’t tell those hemophiliacs that their product was infected with HIV. Because of that, entire families of hemophiliacs died with AIDS as the virus spread within households.
When Bayer was ordered to stop selling their drug in America, they dumped their AIDS-laden product in Asia and killed Asian families. No one with Bayer management was arrested. No one who made these psychopathic-quality decisions went to prison. They claimed the protection of their status as a corporation. That corporate status gave management the ability to kill people for profit and not go to prison.
Indeed, it is not difficult to see why these two companies—each one a titan of its respective industry, each one guilty of the most atrocious crimes against humanity and the destruction of the environment—would feel an affinity for each other. But why merge? What does a pharmaceutical giant have to gain from buying out and merging with an agrichemical giant, especially one that carries as much baggage as Monsanto?
If the connection between these corporate behemoths seems tenuous, then perhaps the key to understanding it is presented in that 1995 quote from former Monsanto CEO Robert Shapiro: “We’re talking about three of the largest industries in the world—agriculture, food and health—that now operate as separate businesses. But there are a set of changes that will lead to their integration.”
Integration of agriculture, food and “health” is the goal, and once that goal is reached the entire life support system of the human population, including all of our food and “medicine,” will be in the hands of a few mega-corporations. Indeed, the history of the production of food and pharmaceuticals has always followed the same trajectory: away from natural, abundant, locally-produced organic materials and toward artificial, scarce, factory-produced synthetic alternatives.
Control of the global food supply is, needless to say, along with control of money and oil, one of the pillars upon which the globalist oligarchs seek to construct their system of total control. Although there is no proof whatsoever that he said it, the dubious quote sometimes attributed to Henry Kissinger is nonetheless quite true: “Who controls the food supply controls the people; who controls the energy can control whole continents; who controls money can control the world.”
The process of consolidating these industries is of course nothing new. In fact, it started long ago. As I explained in “How Big Oil Conquered the World,” even the current agrichemical industry has to be seen in its historical context as a fusion of the petrochemical fertilizer giants (Dupont, Dow, Hercules Powder and other businesses in the Standard Oil orbit) with the “ABCD” seed cartel of Archer Daniels Midland, Bunge, Cargill and Louis Dreyfus. These previously separate fields were gradually consolidated under the flag of “agribusiness,” itself developed at Harvard Business School in the 1950s with the help of research conducted by Wassily Leontief for the Rockefeller Foundation.
And as I also explained in “How Big Oil Conquered the World,” Big Pharma, too, was a creation of the same drive toward consolidation, and spearheaded by the same people. From the Carnegie and Rockefeller-funded institutionalization of the medical profession to Standard Oil’s role in supplying the petrochemicals for the burgeoning pharmaceutical industry to the role of Rockefeller Institute researchers like Cornelius Rhoads, who developed chemotherapy from the mustard gas pioneered by Bayer, the overlap of the oligarchical interests in cementing global control has been abundantly clear.
Then, with the advancement of GMO technology in the 1980s and 1990s (again, with considerable help from the Rockefellers and other oiligarchical interests), new opportunities for consolidation presented themselves. Seeds used to be sold by seed companies, and fertilizers and herbicides used to be sold by chemical companies. But then the GMO “revolution” came along and all of these companies spun off “biotech” branches to genetically engineer seeds. That, in turn, opened up opportunities to create GMO seed strains that are tailored to work with patented herbicides and fertilizers. The combination of GMO seeds and specially tailored agrichemicals has been especially lucrative for Monsanto, which was the first to capitalize on those synergies when it won regulatory approval for its first Roundup Ready soybeans in 1994. Roundup, aka glyphosate, has gone on to become the most-used agricultural chemical in the history of the world.
Monsanto and Bayer—not to mention their cohorts in the agrichemical, pharmaceutical, and euphemistically-named “life sciences” industries—are ultimately seeking the same thing: complete control over the population, from the genetic engineering of its food supply to the control of its “medicines” and chemicals. It is a race toward complete centralization, and with this acquisition, Bayer and Monsanto are getting a head start.
Particularly frightening, then (though hardly surprising), that this latest round of consolidation is being spearheaded by two corporations as thoroughly deplorable as Bayer and Monsanto.
Bayer: One of the pieces of I.G. Farben’s grim (and oiligarchical) legacy; supplier of chemicals for the poison gas attacks of WWI; knowing seller of HIV-contaminated vaccines; mass murderer of bees; seller of tainted GMO crops.
Are you feeling safe, knowing that a quarter of the world’s food supply will soon be in their combined hands?
If not, then all of the efforts that have been made in recent years to “March Against Monsanto” must be translated into a “Boycott Against Bayer” and all of their friends in the burgeoning biotech/big agra/seed cartel GMO franken-industry. It is only by increasing our support for locally sourced, organic, heirloom seed-grown produce that we can hope to supplant this new mega-giant and consign it to the dustbin of history where it belongs.