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Monsanto Begins Smear Campaign on Huber

NOTE: This is the second in a two-part series centered around our conversations with Howard Vlieger in the past two weeks, including additional information that has come to light about Monsanto, the manufacturer of Roundup, in the past 48 hours.

Bio-Chem Giant Openly Lies About Scientific Studies Concerning Roundup

AND SO IT BEGINS. Just as Col. Don Huber, among the most trusted military leaders and scientists in the nation, warns us of a potentially lethal soil pathogen related to the weed killer known as Roundup, the effort to discredit him has predictably been launched.

With Reuters and other major news organizations finally pushing forward on our Feb. 16 story about Huber’s letter to the USDA that warned of spontaneous miscarriage possibly linked to Roundup, the manufacturer Monsanto has posted a rebuttal on its website: “In a January 17, 2011 letter to the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, retired Purdue University professor Don Huber proclaims discovery of a plant pathogen ‘…that appears to significantly impact the health of plants, animals, and probably human beings.’ The letter also alleges this pathogen is more prevalent on herbicide-tolerant genetically modified (GM) crops. No data was provided nor cited, and no collaborators were identified . . . ”

In the next paragraph, Monsanto follows up by acknowledging what a pesky thorn Huber has been, ever since they hired him to research their genetically modified products more than two decades ago.

“Huber has previously made allegations related to micronutrient uptake and diseases in connection with GM crops and glyphosate products,” said the statement. “Independent field studies and lab tests by multiple U.S. universities and by Monsanto prior to, and in response to, these allegations do not corroborate his claims.”

MONSANTO’S BIG LIE
Then Monsanto drops what might appear to be an innocuous disclaimer: “Monsanto is not aware of any reliable studies that demonstrate Roundup Ready crops are more susceptible to certain diseases or that the application of glyphosate to Roundup Ready crops increases a plant’s susceptibility to diseases.”

If you listen closely, you can hear scores of scientists laughing aloud at that one. The key word therein, of course, is “reliable.” By whose definition would dozens, if not hundreds, of studies be considered reliable? By Monsanto’s definition, if the St. Louis conglomerate did not conduct or commission the study, it must not be reliable.

With that statement, Monsanto is clearly flat-out lying, according to numerous sources, many who do not want their names mentioned for fear of retribution. One scientist who would go on the record was, however, direct.

“The statement in Monsanto’s letter of response is disingenuous,” said Dr. James E. Rahe, Professor Emeritus, Department of Biological Sciences, Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, B.C. “The published research from my lab done during the 1980s and 1990s showed that glyphosate (Roundup) causes increased susceptibility of dicot species to infection by root rot fungi such as pythium and fusarium.”

Rahe is retired now to life as a row-crop farmer and has less at stake than his younger counterparts who still toil in laboratories that depend, largely, on funding from Monsanto and its brethren to conduct their work. He said he is inclined to accept Huber’s letter and inherent warnings to the USDA.

“On reading the letter, my impression is that it was sent in good faith,” said Rahe, who said he still uses Roundup on a limited basis on his farm. “The claims made in Huber’s letter concerning a novel ‘micro-fungal-like organism’ appear to be based on a substantial amount of unpublished research by several individuals in distinct scientific disciplines. If so, and now that ‘the cat is out of the bag,’ it will be interesting to see what information appears in the domain of the scientific community in the near future with regard to the nature of this organism and its relationship to certain plant diseases and animal reproductive failure.”

THE FEAR FACTOR
We have spoken at length with Howard Vlieger, the president of Verity Farms, who has been following the debate about genetically modified crops for years. He said he is aware of the names of the scientists who discovered the pathogen referenced in Huber’s letter — but says those names must be protected for now.

“If you’re a practicing researcher dependent on a certain level of funding, it can be very, very damaging to come forward with any information that is considered detrimental to the GM industry,” said Vlieger. “It can literally ruin careers.”

Making research involving genetically modified crops even more difficult is Monsanto’s overt squelching of any research by independent labs. The company won’t make seeds available and will take scientists to court for attempting to take any independent research public. Farmers, by contract, are not allowed to share even a handful of seed with a lab.

“Agritech companies have given themselves veto power over the work of independent researchers . . . Only studies that the seed companies have approved ever see the light of a peer-reviewed journal,” said an article in the August 2009 issue of Scientific American.

Biologist Arpad Pusztai had published more than 300 articles and a dozen books when he accidentally discovered that genetically modified crops are dangerous. When he came forward with his findings prior to the study being officially published, Pusztai was fired on the spot. His research team was dismantled, his recommendations were never implemented.

“He was absolutely devastated by the onslaught. They (Monsanto) absolutely annihilated his career,” said Vlieger.

Huber knew full well that that the release of his letter to the press would bring swift rebuke from Monsanto. Even at Purdue University, where he is professor emeritus, six of his former colleagues overtly distanced themselves from his latest action — just as many others have stood by him. More than 800 scientists have signed on to an open letter expressing their concerns about genetically modified crops.

“I understand that I am breaking scientific protocol by stepping outside the bounds of waiting for the peer-reviewed research,” he told me during a phone call on Jan. 30. “In the case of this pathogen, our government cannot afford to wait around for protocol. This is potentially so serious that every minute counts. The risk of waiting to speak out outweighs the risk of the harm to my reputation.”

About The Author

Paul Tukey

An international leader of the green movement, Mr. Tukey is a journalist, author, filmmaker, TV host, activist and award-winning public speaker, who is widely recognized as North America's leading advocate for landscape sustainability and toxic pesticide reduction strategies.

Number of Entries : 1024
  • tony

    I know you and Huber don’t really care about scientific method but people need to be able to reproduce scientific data to be real and his work is off the deep end. Pusztai was discredited by the Royal Society in the UK and lost his job because he is not a scientist with any credibility. Any one supporting Huber is not basing it on science but on a belief system that is independent of relevant data. he said it – he step out of peer review process (because he knew it would not be considered valid – trust me that will be the final verdict) he doesn’t show any data – any evidence that the “agent” is a pathogen> if you know any biology you would know that most living organisms are full of microbes that are not pathogens. To show something is a pathogen you need to show Koch’s postulates (trust me my Ph.D. is in plant pathology and microbiology) -look it up. Huber will be completely discredited by his own peers – Purdue will have to rid themselves of him because he will bring discredit to the university. I would agree that any looney is entitled to warn the government and press about what they are worried about – that’s freedom of speech but the government and probably not the press will take time to check things out – again a wise thing to do but a scientists who can’t follow scientific process and show data that others can review is strongly suspect

    • Robert Strossi

      Tony,

      I think that to say that a scientist of the caliber of Don Huber does not care about scientific process is ridiculous. His academic standing could simply not have been achieved without careful attention to scientific process. To claim that Huber will be discredited by his peers, is an ignorant and foolish thing to say, as the future is yet to unfold. That is unless you are one of his peer reviewers, in which case you forgot to include your abstract and data set.

      There are many doctorates in the world, some are trustworthy, some are not. The fact that Huber was so concerned with his initial findings that he informed the appropriate government agency does not speak to mongering so much as fearful protestation. His credentials are noteworthy, what are yours? As of this time I certainly can not trust you although I am not closed to the notion.

      Robert

  • Anonymous

    Anyone who is arguing with Don Huber on glyphosate and its side effects is blinded from the facts for one reason or another. Whether they are influenced by research dollars flowing into their respective work environments or universities of they have NOT done a good job of studying all of the published scientific studies documenting the truth and immense damage from glyphosate. It is important to first look at the source of the research that each person is quoting. Is the research from an unbiased credible 3rd party setting or is the research from industry funded sources who would not tell the truth because of their fear of loosing their funding so they won’t tell the truth regardless of how despicable and damaging the outcome of the research turns out to be. There is an expression for this and I believe it is “they have sold their souls”.

    Use the research that was submitted to the EU on the Monsanto 810 & 863. The industry conducted this research and tried to gain access to the EU market with these GM varieties containing these traits. When the courts in France forced the industry to turn over the research results the results were analyzed and the industry’s own results proved how damaging the GM grain was to mammals.
    Anonymous (by necessity)

  • Paul Tukey

    This link was provided today by a retired scientist: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2672.2010.04864.x/pdf. If you skip to the conclusion of this peer-reviewed paper — which Monsanto claims does not exist — you’ll see a very clear result that Roundup has a highly negative impact on plant health and crop yield.
    PT

  • Nancy Armstrong

    Monsanto claims no “credible” source can point to how dangerous Roundup is? That really is the biggest published lie you can imagine.

    Here are just a few examples, all tied to peer-reviewed literature:

    The so-called inert ingredients in Roundup kill human cells, particularly embryonic, placental and umbilical cord cells. Cell damage and death was found even at the residual levels to be expected in food and feed derived from Roundup-treated crops.

    Roundup was found to prevent the action of androgens, the masculinizing hormones, at very low levels up to 800 times less than Roundup residues authorized in some GMOs for animal feed in the United States. The action and formation of estrogens were disrupted. DNA damage was also found in human cells around this level.

    Glyphosate is toxic to human placental cells in concentrations lower than those found with agricultural use and this effect increases in the presence of so-called inert Roundup ingredients.

    In a study of farming families in Ontario, Canada, high levels of premature births and miscarriages were observed in female members of families that used pesticides, including glyphosate and 2,4-D (one of the herbicides to which farmers are resorting to manage glyphosate-resistant weeds).

    Tests on human embryonic and placental cells show that Roundup exposure may affect human reproduction and fetal development. Chemical mixtures in formulations appear to be underestimated regarding their toxic or hormonal impact.

    Glyphosate inhibits an important process called RNA transcription in animals, at a concentration well below the level recommended for commercial spray application.

    Roundup residues interfere with multiple metabolic pathways at low concentrations.

    Glyphosate and 2,4-D affected the levels and functioning of enzymes of the liver and intestines of rats.

    Rats orally treated with glyphosate produced foetuses with skeletal abnormalities.

    Glyphosate application to RR soy has been linked to higher incidence of fusarium, a fungus that causes wilt disease in soy plants and that is harmful to humans and livestock.

    Glyphosate application causes problems in soybean root development and nitrogen fixation and reduces yield in drought conditions.

    Extended use of glyphosate can significantly increase the severity of various plant diseases, impair plant defense to pathogens and diseases, and immobilize soil and plant nutrients rendering them unavailable for plant use. Reduced growth, impaired defenses, impaired uptake and translocation of nutrients, and altered physiology of plants by glyphosate can affect susceptibility or tolerance to various diseases. Glyphosate makes soil nutrients unavailable for plant uptake.

    Glyphosate’s toxicity to beneficial soil organisms reduces the availability of nutrients that are critical for a plant’s physiological defense to disease.

    Glyphosate stimulates the growth of fungi and enhances the virulence of pathogens such as Fusarium, which “can have serious consequences for sustainable production of a wide range of susceptible crops” and lead to “the functional loss of genetic resistance”.

    Glyphosate applications (ranging from 18 to 36 months prior to planting) were the most important agronomic factor in development of diseases, primarily Fusarium head blight, in wheat and barley crops.

    Glyphosate is extremely lethal to amphibians. A study based in a natural setting found its application caused a 70 percent decline in amphibian biodiversity and an 86 percent decline in the total mass of tadpoles. Two species of tadpoles were nearly eliminated. The study also found that, contrary to common belief, the presence of soil does not mitigate the chemical’s effects.

    Glyphosate can stimulate growth and development in a type of aquatic snail that is an intermediate host of sheep liver fluke. The study concluded that low levels of glyphosate could promote increased liver fluke infections in mammals.

    A three-year study of clearcuts in the US, planted with spruce seedlings and sprayed with glyphosate at a rate of 1.7 kg a.i./ha found that total bird densities decreased by 36 percent.

    Several studies have shown that glyphosate is toxic to earthworms.

    Is that enough evidence for you?
    N. Armstrong.

  • Paul Tukey

    Dr. Guri Johal, who conducted research that clearly showed Roundup’s detrimental effects in the soil, contacted us today to discuss the latest allegations from his partner, Don Huber. Although he said he was not prepared to comment specifically about he soil pathogen in question, he did defend the study he published with Huber: http://www.organicconsumers.org/documents/huber-glyphosates-2009.pdf.

    “Everything that has been said in the article that I wrote with Don Huber is true and based on scientific facts and findings,” said Johal.

    Paul Tukey

  • danny

    unbelievable how spineless so many “scientists” are, using semantics to justify what in reality is cowardliness. Roll back the clock to the early 90s, the studies amounted to bad science, but the FDA waved Monsanto through, it was all about the Benjamins, but I suppose without empirical evidence of corruption, the “scientists” won’t budge, nah, these are good guys right? Monsanto, Du Pont, Syngenta, they care about the planet, and feeding people, nothing to do with market economics, nothing at all, good science comes before capital gain, right? sure f**kin thing assholes, wake up people.

  • http://www.vanmeterproduction.com BillyHewitt

    In
    1995 President Bill Clinton appointed Monsanto attorney Michael Taylor as FDA
    chief and this Monsanto employee approved and registered GE (genetically
    engineered) Corn with Bt toxins embedded in genes of GE Corn with NO SAFETY
    TESTING. These Bt toxins embedded in Corn genes (cry1AB and cry1AC) accelerated
    the autism epidemic with birth year 1995 and poisoned every American that ate
    GM corn.

    Reference
    EPA study by Dr Theresa A Deisher Ph.D. that identified the autism epidemic
    change point of 1995 as the autism epidemic increase of 17 AD (autism disorder)
    with 95%CI per 10,000 population.

    Reference
    the Canadian study of 2011 in Sherbrooke University Hospital of Quebec, Canada
    that detected Bt toxins cry1AB and cry1AC in the blood of 93% of pregnant women
    and their unborn babies.

    Every
    woman had eaten Monsanto GM Bt Corn because the government and Monsanto had
    testified to HHS and Congress that Bt toxins would be expelled by the digestive
    system and never be found in the blood. Bt toxins cry1AB and cry1AC cause
    cancer, crohn’s IBD, Colitis, and autism.

  • http://www.vanmeterproduction.com BillyHewitt

    In
    1995 President Bill Clinton appointed Monsanto attorney Michael Taylor as FDA
    chief and this Monsanto employee approved and registered GE (genetically
    engineered) Corn with Bt toxins embedded in genes of GE Corn with NO SAFETY
    TESTING. These Bt toxins embedded in Corn genes (cry1AB and cry1AC) accelerated
    the autism epidemic with birth year 1995 and poisoned every American that ate
    GM corn.

    Reference
    EPA study by Dr Theresa A Deisher Ph.D. that identified the autism epidemic
    change point of 1995 as the autism epidemic increase of 17 AD (autism disorder)
    with 95%CI per 10,000 population.

    Reference
    the Canadian study of 2011 in Sherbrooke University Hospital of Quebec, Canada
    that detected Bt toxins cry1AB and cry1AC in the blood of 93% of pregnant women
    and their unborn babies.

    Every
    woman had eaten Monsanto GM Bt Corn because the government and Monsanto had
    testified to HHS and Congress that Bt toxins would be expelled by the digestive
    system and never be found in the blood. Bt toxins cry1AB and cry1AC cause
    cancer, crohn’s IBD, Colitis, and autism.

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