11 January 2012

Wikileaks: U.S. Diplomats work for Monsanto

Quick little article that you may have missed last week:

Wikileaks information shows the US threatening trade wars with the EU, and especially Spain and France, and pressuring the Vatican, over a rejection of a genetically modified corn strain.

In response to moves by France to ban a Monsanto GM corn variety in late 2007, the ambassador, Craig Stapleton, a friend and business partner of former US president George Bush, asked Washington to penalise the EU and particularly countries which did not support the use of GM crops.

"Country team Paris recommends that we calibrate a target retaliation list that causes some pain across the EU since this is a collective responsibility, but that also focuses in part on the worst culprits.

"The list should be measured rather than vicious and must be sustainable over the long term, since we should not expect an early victory. Moving to retaliation will make clear that the current path has real costs to EU interests and could help strengthen European pro-biotech voices," said Stapleton, who with Bush co-owned the Dallas/Fort Worth-based Texas Rangers baseball team in the 1990s.

Right. We're supposed to "cause some pain" and "make clear that the current path has real costs to EU interests" because... uh... they don't like Monsanto's corn.

More than don't like. They don't think it's safe. So the clear and straightforward Monsanto response, as per everything Adam Smith wrote about the operations of the free market: spend millions of dollars lobbying the US government to put pressure on the governments that don't think your product is safe.

Back to the Guardian article:

In addition, the cables show US diplomats working directly for GM companies such as Monsanto. "In response to recent urgent requests by [Spanish rural affairs ministry] state secretary Josep Puxeu and Monsanto, post requests renewed US government support of Spain's science-based agricultural biotechnology position through high-level US government intervention."

It also emerges that Spain and the US have worked closely together to persuade the EU not to strengthen biotechnology laws. In one cable, the embassy in Madrid writes: "If Spain falls, the rest of Europe will follow."

Brilliant. Don't say anything, folks. Just close your mouth and chew.

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