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Wikileaks Reveals Monsanto's Close Relationship with the US Government

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Politics and Democracy page, Genetic Engineering page, Millions Against Monsanto page.

In cables released by Wikileaks this past August, 2011, US diplomats asked the State Department for funding to send biotechnology experts to "target countries" for discussions with high-profile politicians and agricultural officials.

The "target countries" include African, Asian and South American countries where genetically modified (GM) agriculture has yet to gain a foothold. Even some European countries have been targeted, such as France, since it has been slow to adopt GM foods. Summarizing a French documentary, "The World According to Monsanto," a 2008 cable reads:

"Jeffrey Smith, Director, Institute for Responsible Technology, who is interviewed says that a number of Bush Administration officers were close to Monsanto, either having obtained campaign contributions from the company or having worked directly for it: John Ashcroft, Secretary of Justice, received contributions from Monsanto when he was reelected, as did Tommy Thompson, Secretary of Health; Ann Veneman, Secretary of Agriculture, was director of Calgene which belonged to Monsanto; and Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense, was CEO of Searle, a Monsanto subsidiary; and Justice Clarence Thomas was a former lawyer for Monsanto."

Embassy diplomats requested Washington provide "talking points" so officers could respond to the documentary on an "if asked" basis and emphasize "the positive role ag biotech can play in meeting world food needs."

The close relationship between the US government and Monsanto has unfortunately continued into the Obama administration. President Obama nominated the former pro-biotech governor of Iowa, Tom Vilsack, as USDA Secretary; he nominated Michael Taylor, former Monsanto Vice President, as the FDA Deputy Commissioner for Foods; and he nominated Solicitor General Elena Kagan, who took Monsanto's side against organic farmers in the Roundup Ready alfalfa case, to the Supreme Court.