Monsanto’s cancer cover-up: ‘Decades of deceptive tactics to make billions of dollars’

Monsanto has been using different tactics to suppress vital information for people who are being exposed to Roundup to decide if they want to use it or not, says Carey Gillam, investigative journalist and author.

The story with the agricultural giant’s Roundup weed killer began in the 1980s when tests on its primary ingredient, glyphosate, began to show cellular changes in laboratory animals that should have been considered early signals that the product could cause cancer. In 1995, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) determined that this compound needed to be classified as a carcinogen.

However, six years later the EPA changed that classification and said it was wrong to designate it as a possible carcinogen, adding that the public had nothing to worry about.

Moreover, the laboratory data from the 1980s that the EPA used to classify glyphosate as carcinogenic suddenly became unavailable to the public, as Monsanto argued that all the early testing results for this chemical fell under the protection of the trade secret rule.

RT America’s Mike Papantonio discussed the issue with Carey Gillam, investigative journalist and author. 

RT: Carey, you wrote a book called ‘Whitewash: The Story of a Weed Killer, Cancer, and the Corruption of Science.’ Monsanto apparently viciously worked to cover up the fact that their weed killer could cause cancer. After so many studies, what is your opinion on the fact that the company is doing everything they can to try to deny the truth?

Carey Gillam: The cancer question is definitely a big one with this chemical. It is the most widely-used agrochemical in the world. It is in our water, food, our own bodies… The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) looked at decades of epidemiology and toxicology research and said this looks like a probable human carcinogen with strong ties to Non-Hodgkin lymphoma specifically. Monsanto says all of that research is wrong, this international agency is wrong and that this product is among the safest in the world, among the safest for people to use.

RT: In the 1980s we were told by the EPA that Roundup causes cancer, then in the 1990s they said it didn’t. And in between you have doctors and scientist after scientist saying that it does cause cancer. What is this back and forth all about?

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Farmer inspects damaged soybean crop following Monsanto dicamba spraying © Karen Pulfer Focht

CG: Yes, our own EPA toxicologist back in the 1980s looked at a mice study that Monsanto had submitted to it. And these mice were showing these very rare and odd tumors – the mice that received glyphosate. Toxicologist for the EPA said at that time: “Wow, this looks like this stuff could cause cancer.” And they were very concerned about it, and they wanted to raid it that way. And Monsanto pushed back. This was in the 1980s – Monsanto pushed back very hard and ultimately convinced the EPA to discount what its own toxicologists were telling it, and to declare it to a safe product. This is what you’ve seen over the decades – in the 1980s, in the 1990s again and again. Scientists warn about the findings of glyphosate on laboratory animals. And epidemiology and human studies have exposure. People have been raising their arms trying to wave a red flag about this chemical for years in many countries, many scientists around the world. And every time Monsanto has said they are wrong. And sought to discredit the scientists, and to discredit the research that is sought to raise an alarm bell around this chemical. And they are still doing it. This has created a debate around the world – not only in the US, but in Europe and in many other countries – about how safe or not safe this really is.

RT: According to your book, firstly, there’s been a cover-up. Secondly, there’s been an attempt by  Monsanto to try to push back on science and create their own science to make it look like Roundup is perfectly safe. The third and very troubling thing is that seems like there is no help from the EPA in telling the truth. What’s your take on that? Is it right, or is it an overstatement?

CG: This has been the way that I’ve described this to people. I was asked to come to Europe and to speak to parliament about this. It is really decades of deception, and that is what it boils down to. It seems like a pretty strong thing to say, but it is decades of deceptive tactics by this giant chemical company to make billions of dollars – to deflect, to harass, to discredit, to suppress any information that would be useful to consumers and useful to these people, who are being exposed to this chemical to decide if they want to use it or not, to decide if they want their children playing in the yard that they sprayed with Roundup. People haven’t had that choice, because any information about risk has been hidden, while the company has been trumpeted and pumped out information about reward. In doing so they’ve employed multiple strategies; they have ghost-written certain scientific papers; they’ve tried out surrogates – both within the EPA and the universities around the country –  to try to control the public narrative and try to control what the public knows about this and what public doesn’t.

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‘US Stinger or Soviet Strela’: Heat-seeking missile that downed Su-25 jet probed by Moscow

A Russian Su-25 warplane was likely shot down by a heat-seeking missile, senior official Vladimir Shamanov said. As Syrian forces try to reach the crash site, Moscow has launched a probe into the origins of the fatal weapon.

The existing evidence clearly indicates that the Russian Su-25 plane, shot down over Syria on Saturday, was hit by a heat-seeking missile, the head of the Russian lower house Defense Committee and former chief of airborne troops said. The exact type of a man-portable air-defense (MANPAD) system used, however, could be only determined upon examining the remains of the plane, which crashed in militants-controlled area.

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A still from a video uploaded to the YouTube channel

“It’s impossible to determine which MANPAD it was until the crash site is secured – an old ‘Strela’, a newer ‘Igla’, or an American ‘Stinger’,” Shamanov told reporters on Monday. “It’s only clear, looking at the trajectory of the plane’s fall, that its right engine was burning. It means that a heat-seeking missile hit the engine.”

The Syrian military has been trying to reach the crash site, according to Shamanov.

“Syrian special forces are trying to get there for the third day straight. Regular Syrian troops are also conducting their operation in the area,” the official said. Russia, meanwhile, has launched its own investigation into the incident.

The Su-25 was downed over a territory in Syria’s Idlib governorate, controlled by the terrorist group Tahrir al-Sham, previously known as Al-Nusra Front, according to Russia’s Defense Ministry. The pilot, Major Roman Filipov, managed to eject safely, but landed in the terrorist-controlled territory. The pilot engaged in a gun battle with the militants and detonated a grenade when surrounded.

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IOC president lauds 2 Koreas for sending ‘powerful message of peace’

International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach has hailed attempts from North and South Korea to ease tensions between the two states, calling their endeavors a “powerful message of peace” to the world.

The Olympic spirit has brought two sides together that for too long were divided by mistrust and animosity. The Olympic spirit has brought real hope for a brighter future for everyone on the Korean Peninsula,” Bach said at the opening of the IOC’s 132nd Session in Gangneung, the South Korean city that will host sledding and skating events at the PyeongChang 2018 Olympics.

This initiative gives all parties the chance to reflect on what the future could look like, if we were all guided by this Olympic spirit. But Korea’s journey does not end here. The political tensions will not disappear overnight. Sport cannot create peace, but the Olympic Games can open the way with powerful symbols,” he added.

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IOC President Thomas Bach poses with the National Olympic Committee (NOC) of the Republic of Korea (ROK), the NOC of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) in Lausanne, Switzerland, January 20, 2018. © Pierre Albouy

Delegations of the two neighboring countries will march together at the PyeongChang 2018 opening ceremony under the Korean Unification Flag. The states were also allowed by the IOC to form a unified ice hockey team, whose warm-up match attracted a good deal of interest. The IOC has approved 22 North Korean athletes’ competing at the 2018 PyeongChang Games, despite the fact that the overwhelming majority of them didn’t meet Olympic qualifying standards. The decision to grant a wild card to North Korean participants sparked concerns over the athletes’ eligibility to perform at the upcoming games, after it was reported that all but one North Korean Olympian had missed doping checks over the past four months. Just one ice-hockey player reportedly had a doping test during the period between September and December, with no tests being conducted in skiing and skating – events in which North Korea will compete at PyeongChang.

It’s difficult to access North Korea. We’ve partnered with China in the past to help with development, but any time and any athlete that is not subject to testing is absolutely not ideal,” Rob Koehler, deputy director of WADA told iNews.

Everything, when it comes to North Korea, is something that happened last minute. They are not overly known for their winter sports but all their athletes should be subject to testing, and if they’re not, they should be targeted,” he added.

READ MORE: ‘Losing credibility’: IOC head wants ‘reform’ of CAS after favorable decision for Russian athletes

The IOC’s decision to invite North Korean athletes was made regardless of their poorly-checked doping history. However, the body’s stance on alleged Russian doping appeared to be much tougher, as on Monday the IOC denied access to the games to the Russian athletes who had been cleared of doping charges by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

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US threatens to ditch oil imports from Venezuela

Washington may increase political pressure on the Venezuelan government by imposing a ban on oil imports from the country. The US market is a crucial outlet for the cash-strapped South American country.

“Obviously sanctioning the oil, or in effect prohibiting the oil to be sold in the United States… is something we continue to consider,” US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said during his visit to Argentina on Sunday.

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Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro © Carlos Garcia Rawlins

Venezuelan crude output has been falling fast since 2014, but was still around 1.7 million barrels per day in December. The country sold more than a third of its oil produce to the United States, 600,000 bpd, according to data from the US Energy Information Agency.

Venezuela’s crude oil exports to the US last year were the lowest since 1991, according to Thomson Reuters data, as sales were hurt by sanctions on the OPEC member.

“One of the aspects of considering sanctioning oil is what effect would it have on the Venezuelan people? Is it a step that might bring this to an end more rapidly?” Tillerson said at a news conference in Buenos Aires.

Sanctions by Washington have so far been imposed against individual members of President Nicholas Maduro’s government, in addition to a ban on buying new Venezuelan debt.

Venezuela has announced the issuance of an oil-backed cryptocurrency, petro. Analysts have noted that this is a way of bypassing US sanctions and is similar to an ordinary bond. Washington has already warned investors against buying the cryptocurrency.

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Russian expert proposes nationwide voluntary ‘space fund’ for moon exploration

A former senior executive of Russia’s United Rocket and Space Corporation has proposed to introduce a voluntary payment that would allow a fully independent national moon program as well as a new orbital research station.

The author of the proposal, Valentin Uvarov, is now an independent expert in the sphere of space research, but in 2014-2016 was head of the Directorate of Manned Space Complexes at the United Rocket and Space Corporation. In 2016-2017, Uvarov headed the Department of Commercial Projects in Manned Space Research at the same corporation.

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In his open letter, published by the Izvestia daily, Uvarov wrote that according to his calculations the implementation of both the moon program and the new orbiting research station would cost the Russian budget about $ 38 billion or 2.13 trillion rubles. He then proposes to split to overall sum into 100 million parts (a very rough estimation of economically active people in the Russian Federation) and then introduce a schedule of equal monthly payments over the 15-year period. The result is a relatively modest 120 rubles per person per month or about $ 2.15.

The expert argues that while small, the new “space fund” could provoke a negative reaction from citizens if it were imposed upon them. However, he theorizes that if the contribution into the national space program is made on a strictly voluntary basis the project could boost national morale and unity.

According to Uvarov’s preliminary proposal, the Russian authorities must set up a separate foundation for collecting donations for the national space program. All money transfers within the fund must be completely transparent and the overall sum collected must be published on the internet in real time.

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© Leonhard Foeger

Another proposed incentive for donors is to make the delivery of a hard drive with names of all people who contributed to the program to the moon a priority task for the future Russian expedition. In addition, these names should be put on a special website affiliated with the program.

In October 2017, the Russian producer of space carrier-rockets, Energia, presented a plan for a moon exploration program, which includes building a lunar base between 2040 and 2050. The site for the future base will be chosen before 2030, the program reads, after which preparations will begin in earnest, including the creation of the main modules of the station and a radiation shelter. After 2050, the moon will be used for deep space exploration as a base capable of supporting missions to other planets.

The Russian space agency Roscosmos has already opened the application process for selecting the future crew of the moon mission.

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Tories launch bid to ‘protect free speech’ after ‘left-wing thugs’ brawl with Jacob Rees-Mogg

The Tories say they will send more MPs to universities to “protect free speech” after Jacob Rees-Mogg was greeted with violence at a campus on Friday. But were “left-wing thugs” really to blame for the fracas?

Rees-Mogg was mobbed by a group of angry protesters as he showed up for a debate hosted by the University of the West of England in Bristol. Video footage appeared of the Tory backbencher – currently ahead of Brexit secretary David Davis as the favorite to succeed Theresa May as Tory leader – trying to break up the scuffle between protesters and his supporters.

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© Luis Diaz Devesa / Getty Images

The whole incident was over within minutes after a woman was allegedly pushed in the face by a mysterious white-shirted man, and a smartphone was cracked. Rees-Mogg then carried on with his speech. Since then, however, there’s been a media furor and many have taken to Twitter to argue over who was really to blame.

The participants’ backgrounds have been exposed. Nude pictures of one of the “anti-fascist” protesters involved were unearthed and published in the national press, while photographs of his alleged adversary in a Nazi SS uniform have surfaced in left-wing media.

Tory party chairman Brandon Lewis blamed Momentum, the youth organization supporting Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, for the brawl.

“Momentum-supporting thugs broke into a university event and tried to silence Conservatives,” Lewis said, according to the Telegraph.

“Wearing balaclavas, they tried through violence and intimidation to stop the ideas that they disagreed with from being heard. Help us back free speech by signing our petition today. Momentum, the left-wing campaign group, was set up after Mr Corbyn’s initial victory as Labour leader to keep the spirit and politics of his campaign alive,” he added.

“Young people have a right to hear all sides of the political debate. So we’ll protect free speech by stepping up our speaker program – making sure Conservative voices are heard in universities across the country.”

However, in what is likely to come as a blow to Lewis and the right-wing media which has pinned the blame on Momentum for Friday’s scuffle, newly released footage suggests the altercation only became physical when a Rees-Mogg supporter and Bristol-based martial arts instructor lunged out in defense of the MP. The mysterious man is said to be named Paul Townsley, but has been dubbed #WhiteShirtMan on social media.

He is believed to be the same person dressed in a Nazi SS uniform in controversial pictures received by Jewish Voices and left-wing media outlet the Skwawkbox. The identity of the photographer is unknown, but the shot of a trophy in one of the images suggests it was taken at a party for Townsley’s martial arts schools.

Rees-Mogg has insisted he does not know the man involved.

Another man involved in the altercation has been identified as left-wing activist Joshua Connor, who reportedly intervened to stop his girlfriend from being hit by the Conservative supporter.

Girlfriend Andreea Dumitrache, 25, believed to be a Romanian student, said: “The member of the audience in the white shirt started getting violent towards the people being disruptive.

“I was standing in front of him when he punched me. No student was violent here. He was clearly a supporter but it didn’t look like it was someone from Mogg’s team,” she said, according to the Express.

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Trump calls 'little' Adam Schiff a 'leaker and liar'

Donald Trump launched an explosive tweet aimed at Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee.

Schiff responded by telling Trump to do executive duties rather than tweeting.

Labeling him “Little Adam Schiff,” Trump accused the Democrat of being one of the “biggest liars and leakers in Washington.”

Schiff was deeply critical of the publication of the ‘Nunes memo,’ which was released on Friday, arguing that it cherry-picked details from classified documents to undermine the FBI. The memo revealed that the origin of the warrant to spy on Trump adviser, Carter Page, was a dossier funded by Hillary Clinton’s campaign through the Democratic National Committee.

The so-called Steele dossier “formed an essential part” of the FISA probable cause order obtained by the FBI from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) on October 21, 2016. The warrant was extended three times, also on the basis of the dossier that former FBI head James Comey called “salacious and unverified.”

Schiff fought back on Twitter:

Democrats are seeking the release of a second document to counter the Republican ‘Nunes memo.’

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Daredevil’s spine-chilling tightrope stunt above violent waves hits dramatic snag (VIDEO)

Heartstopping, newly-released drone footage shows the moment a daredevil slackliner lost his footing on a highwire suspended above jagged rocks and crashing waves, at an infamous Portuguese surfing spot.

A group of highliners, known as Western Riders, connected a wire between two cliffs in Nazaré, Portugal – the location of the biggest wave ever surfed, according to the Guinness World Records. 

Brazilian highliner Emerson Machado pulled off the elaborate stunt as monster waves crashed beneath him.

Drone footage filmed by Máquina Voadora shows Machado stumble and lose his footing as massive waves engulf him. After a brief struggle the daredevil regains his place, however, and continues walking across the rope.

Despite the danger that comes with the stunt, Machado insists he is not crazy; “It’s calculated risk, we are not crazy like it may seems at first sight, in reality everything was planned to the very minor details.”

Dozens of walks were carried out by the group between the cliff of Praia do Norte and Pedra do Guilhim rock before this particular hair-raising crossing was made during a big swell on December 30.

“No-one was ever injured during that time, it’s relatively safe when performed by an experienced crew, working together with planning and caution,” Machado said.

Highlining – a form of extreme tightrope walking involves balancing on a rope that’s suspended above the ground or the sea and anchored between two points.

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Beijing says US surplus dumping is hurting Chinese farmers

US President Donald Trump is not the only one unhappy about US-China trade. A Beijing investigation into US agricultural exports to China has found that America is dumping its produce.

Chinese authorities announced Sunday they would check US subsidies on the export of sorghum, a crop used to feed livestock and make a liquor known as maotai that is very popular with Chinese drinkers.

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© Siphiwe Sibeko

According to China’s Commerce Ministry, a preliminary investigation revealed “extensive dumping” of sorghum, causing “material injury” to Chinese farmers.

“The surging amount of imports from the US since 2013 has dragged down market prices, damaging China’s grain sorghum sector,” Wang Hejun, the head of the ministry’s trade remedy and investigation bureau, said in a separate statement, as quoted by Bloomberg.

Chinese officials insist the investigation will benefit the trade balance between the world’s two biggest economies. Less than two weeks ago, President Trump imposed new tariffs on imports of solar panels and washing machines from China; Beijing called it a “misuse” of trade measures. Trump has also been considering new tariffs on imported steel and aluminum.

“I hereby just want to stress that it is merely a normal individual case of trade remedy investigation,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said on Monday.

Beijing has said it could raise import duties if it finds the United States acted improperly.

Geng added that despite the investigation, China wants good trade relations with the US.

“We are willing to deepen reciprocal cooperation with the United States and continue benefiting the two peoples. We hope the United States will go along with China to make concrete efforts to this end.”

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Fly the flag’: MP proposes plan for popular support of Russian Olympic athletes

An MP known for his staunch pro-Christian position is proposing an official show of popular support for Russian Olympic athletes, flying national flags on all residential buildings in the country during the Winter Olympics.

I propose that our National Olympic Committee issues an address to the people and asks them to fly the Russian tricolor on their homes for the period of the 2018 Winter Olympics as a sign of support and solidarity with our athletes,” Vitaly Milonov (United Russia) said in a recent interview with RIA Novosti.

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President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Thomas Bach © Fabrice Coffrini

They have banned our athletes from competing under our flag and forbid them to bear any signs of their nation on their clothing. But regardless of all that they still remain Russian athletes who are defending our country’s honor. We must support them regardless of any resistance offered by our enemies, both open and hidden,” Milonov told reporters.

No one can forbid us to love our athletes and sympathize with them. They must know that people still support them at home and wait for their return. The flag is a symbol of our solidarity with them,” he concluded.

The official letter with the proposal was sent to the Russian National Olympic Committee on Monday.

In early December, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) suspended the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) from the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics after studying the results of two separate investigations of alleged Russian doping – one concerning individual athletes, the other institutional violations.

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 © Karsten Koch / Global Look Press

The committee still allowed “clean” Russian athletes to compete in the 2018 games, but under condition that they do so under a neutral flag and do not publicly display any signs or symbols associated with Russia. Competing as neutrals without a national team means that athletes will not take part in the opening ceremony, and their country’s anthem will not be played if they win any medals.

On February 1 the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) cleared 28 Russian athletes and coaches of doping charges and ordered to lift the lifetime ban on their participation in the games. However, the International Olympic Committee still refused to invite Russian athletes to the 2018 Winter Olympics. 

In explanations over this step the IOC said it had considered “additional elements and/or evidence” that were unavailable to other instances, but refuse to reveal the full reasoning for the decision.

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