Monsanto operated a “fusion center” to monitor and discredit journalists and activists and targeted a reporter who wrote a critical book on the company, documents reveal.
The agrochemical corporation also investigated the singer Neil Young and wrote an internal memo on his social media activity and music, according to a report in The Guardian. (https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/aug/07/monsanto-fusion-center-journalists-roundup-neil-young)
The records reviewed by the Guardian show Monsanto adopted a multi-pronged strategy to target Carey Gillam, a Reuters journalist who investigated the company’s weedkiller and its links to cancer. Monsanto, now owned by the German pharmaceutical corporation Bayer, also monitored a not-for-profit food research organization through its “intelligence fusion center”, a term that the FBI and other law enforcement agencies use for operations focused on surveillance and terrorism.
The documents, mostly from 2015 to 2017, were disclosed as part of an ongoing court battle on the health hazards of the company’s Roundup weedkiller.
The internal communications add fuel to the ongoing claims in court that Monsanto has “bullied” critics and scientists and worked to conceal the dangers of glyphosate, the world’s most widely used herbicide. In the last year, two U.S. juries have ruled that Monsanto was liable for plaintiffs’ non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), a blood cancer, and ordered the corporation to pay significant sums to cancer patients. Bayer has continued to assert that glyphosate is safe.
Gillam, author of the 2017 book, “Whitewash: The Story of a Weed Killer, Cancer, and the Corruption of Science,” said the records were “just one more example of how the company works behind the scenes to try to manipulate what the public knows about its products and practices.”