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Dow Chemical, Monsanto and Canned Death. Asesinos multinacionales S.A.

Dow Chemical, Monsanto and Canned Death. Asesinos multinacionales S.A.


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By Carlos Machado

The arrival of the industrial revolution undoubtedly brought great progress and many benefits to humanity. But this, in parallel, began in a short time to suffer from the systems implemented by the industry to achieve these advances, which, from being initially designed for man, have come to be transformed into their destruction.


The arrival of the industrial revolution undoubtedly brought great progress and many benefits to humanity. But this, in parallel, began in a short time to suffer from the systems implemented by the industry to achieve these advances, which, from being initially designed for man, have come to be transformed into their destruction. In fact, to become benefits only for multinationals, which actually despise humanity and only contemplate their own progress, continually creating new forms of destruction, while hiding data, lying, bribing and attacking those who seek to denounce them. We will try to reflect how these multinational terror companies have accumulated disasters and damage on the planet, and also who they are.

We will begin by remembering that it was recently 22 years since one of the greatest of these disasters occurred. On the night of December 2-3, 1984, 30 to 40 tons of lethal gases were leaked from the Union Carbide Corporation's pesticide factory in the city of Bhopal, India. Those gases, which escaped from some of the tanks during a routine maintenance operation, contained methyl isocyanate and hydrogen cyanide, among other highly toxic substances. That night, six of the measures put in place to prevent a gas leak did not work, were disconnected or were inadequate, in addition to the alarm siren not working either. The gases, which quickly spread through the city, burned people's eyes and airways, got into their bloodstream, and damaged all of their body systems. Many died in their beds, others stumbled out of their homes, blind and drowning, to die in the street, and others died on reaching a hospital. Those gases immediately killed 8,000 people and poisoned another 20,000, beginning a tragedy that has not yet come to an end. Since then, and according to estimates by organizations of survivors, 10 to 15 people per month continue to die as a result of diseases related to exposure to those toxic gases. Currently, the more than 150,000 survivors of the catastrophe are chronically ill who must continue to receive medical treatment, and approximately 500,000 of those who were exposed in other ways to gases have toxic substances in their bloodstream, while all of them plus the children of the Affected people live facing the consequences of this legacy, including cancer, neurological problems, chaotic menstrual cycles, mental illnesses and damage to the musculoskeletal, reproductive and immune systems. 22 years after that disaster, the company responsible for it and its former executives, who fled India leaving the factory abandoned, continue to evade justice.

In 1999, Union Carbide merged with the multinational Dow Chemical, buying the latter for about $ 9.5 billion, thus becoming the largest chemical company in the world. But Dow Chemical had bought not only Union Carbide's assets, but also its obligations. However, he refused to accept moral responsibility for Union Carbide's operations in Bhopal. While the legal battle continues trying to prove that responsibility in the US courts, the people of Bhopal continue to suffer, as said, the consequences and aftermath of that catastrophe and, still, exposure to toxic substances in the abandoned industrial facilities.


Union Carbide had been asked to compensate those affected by Bhopal, but after five years of fighting in court, the Indian government, out of weakness or corruption, accepted an out-of-court settlement for only $ 470 million, which was signed in February 1989. That was it. According to Dow Chemical itself, both companies have annual revenues of more than 25,000 million dollars. The average compensation for personal injuries was between 370 and 533 dollars per person, just the money necessary to cover medical expenses for five years, despite the fact that thousands of those affected and their children will remain ill and will not be able to work for all that remains. of life. Since that catastrophe, more than 140 civil cases have been initiated in US federal courts on behalf of victims and survivors, in an attempt to obtain appropriate compensation for them. All those cases are still pending.

Dow Chemical and Agent Orange

The Dow Chemical curriculum abounds with many other iniquities besides Bhopal's, but we will refer to the most prominent and those that best reflect its "spirit of progress."

In 1964, and anticipating the assignments that the US government would shortly after, Dow Chemical hired a dermatologist from the University of Pennsylvania to do something that had nothing to envy one of Adolf Hitler's favorites, Dr. Josef. Mengele, and catch up with him. The dermatologist conducted dioxin trials using seventy inmates from the Holmesburg prison in Philadelphia, the results of which would be used shortly and on a large scale against the Vietnamese civilian population. Dioxins are the most harmful substances known. In addition to being carcinogenic, they are five million times more toxic than cyanide. In 1971, the chemical company returned to inmate trials to test a toxic pesticide on the human body. The result, considered "satisfactory", served him to achieve a new nerve agent, Chlorpyrifos, a product that replaced DDT when it was banned in 1972, but just as or more harmful. Obviously, it was never known what happened to all the inmates used for the experiments.

Between 1970 and 1971, the Dow Chemical plant in Midland, Michigan, dumped more than 17 billion liters of wastewater into the Brazos River and the Gulf of Mexico. In 1980, a group of researchers discovered that 25 workers at the company's factory in Freeport, Texas, had brain tumors, 24 of which were fatal. However, the manufacturing and handling of highly hazardous products by workers never stopped.

The latest feat has been the subject of Nicaraguan newspapers for some time, since thousands of farmers there are contaminated by the pesticide Nemagón, a product that eliminates pests but also human beings. Among banana workers alone, the pesticide killed 849 of them in recent years, and Dow Chemical, one of the strongholds in the manufacture of pesticides and lethal substances, is among the companies sued by Nicaraguan farmers.

But perhaps the emerald that stands out in Dow Chemical's crown has been until now, at least until he invents something worse, Agent Orange.

This other creation of the chemical company is a mixture of two herbicides: 2,4-D and 2,4,5-T, and was used as a defoliator in forests and rice fields by the US Army in the Vietnam War. . Due to issues inherent to the military haste to put it into practice in that war, it was produced with poor purification, presenting high contents of a carcinogenic dioxin: tetrachlorodibenzodioxin, a poison whose use affected more than three million Vietnamese and even many US soldiers who Of course, they were not properly informed about what they were throwing from the planes and what those below were getting. Something common in the emperors of the North, if we remember that not even the crew of the "Enola Gay", the plane that dropped the first atomic bomb on the civilian population in Hiroshima -with the consequences that survivors and their progeny still suffer today-, knew the power of what they carried. A product, this lethal dioxin, which also left sequelae in those affected on both sides in Vietnam, since they and their descendants continue to suffer from serious health problems, including genetic malformations.

A group of Vietnamese brought a lawsuit in the United States against the big companies that manufacture Agent Orange. While they are still awaiting the result of their lawsuits, at least a group of more than ninety United States war veterans had some luck in their ailments: in 1984 they obtained the sum of 180 million dollars in damages to health due to the adverse effects of exposure to that herbicide. For their part, the representatives of the predatory companies use two words casually well known in Argentina, especially in the last years of its recent history: "due obedience." For them simply "Government orders were followed."

Like Dow Chemical, the Monsanto company also supplied the US military with its own version of Agent Orange, but this version contained much higher concentrations of dioxin than its competitor in the civil-military business then represented by the Vietnam War. In any case, both companies and other minor but no less dangerous ones have always coexisted perfectly in this circus of horrors made up of the North American military-industrial complex.

Monsanto: from saccharin to Vietnam

The Monsanto chemical company was founded in 1901 in the American city of Saint Louis, Missouri, by John Francis Queeny, a veteran of the pharmaceutical industry who invested his own capital and gave the new company the maiden name of his wife, the Spanish Olga Monsanto. Shortly after entering the scene, Monsanto launched the artificial sweetener "Sacarina", although in reality its founder had brought some background of that product from Germany, since he had worked for the Merck firm. It also became one of the main caffeine suppliers for Coca-Cola. In the 1920s it expanded its business into industrial chemistry, for example producing sulfuric acid, and by the 1940s it was already a leader in the manufacture of plastics, including polystyrene and synthetic fibers. Since then, Monsanto has established itself as one of the ten largest American chemical companies.


Soon after, and like its multinational competitors - Dow Chemical is a clear example of this - Monsanto did not escape the saga of disasters that characterize them. In 1947, a French freighter carrying ammonium nitrate fertilizers exploded on a dock just 80 meters from the company's plastics factory in Galveston, Texas, killing more than 500 people. This factory produced styrene and polystyrene plastics, today important components of food packaging, bottles of mineralized and carbonated waters and many other consumer products, in addition to being found in building windows, wallpapers, pipes, cables, credit cards and even in some medical instruments. In the 1980s, the EPA - an acronym for the Environmental Protection Agency, an agency of the US government - classified polystyrene as the fifth chemical product whose production generates the most hazardous waste. Its production spreads dioxins through the air, and its incineration pollutes in other ways. But Monsanto also began spreading another lethal monstrosity around the world: PCB.

In 1929 Monsanto bought the chemical company Swann, which had begun to develop the polychlorinated biphenyl commonly called PCB (for Polychlorinated Biphenyl, its English name). The product was widely praised for being non-flammable and highly chemically stable, and was immediately used in the electrical equipment industry, which adopted it as a refrigerant for its new generation of transformers. By the 1960s, Monsanto's PCBs were used as lubricants, hydraulic fluids, liquid sealants, and waterproof protections, among other applications. But research from those years began to show the high toxicity of the product: Swedish scientists who had studied the biological effects of DDT had found significant concentrations of PCBs in the blood, hair and fatty tissue of wild animals, and investigations over the years' The 1960s and 1970s revealed that PCBs and other organochlorines were potent carcinogens, and also linked them to a wide range of immune, reproductive, and growth disorders. PCBs can enter the human body through skin contact, inhalation of vapors, or ingestion of food containing residues of the compound. This poison was banned in the United States and Europe as of 1976, after some accidents occurred, being replaced by safer alternative products such as silicone oils or certain types of mineral oil, or “dry” transformers were used. or air-cooled. In any event, the destructive and toxic effects of PCB persist throughout the world.

In one of the many “garbage countries” such as Argentina - despite the fact that the electricity companies promised to replace transformers with PCBs after it became clear that the death of several people with different types of cancer was caused by living in the vicinity of them- there are still many medium and low voltage transformers containing PCB refrigerant oil. In several cases it was discovered that this lubricant leaks due to lack of maintenance - plus the usual abundance of laziness of the municipal governments on duty - and the release of this additive contaminates the soil, the water tables and the water. This occurs not only in a neighborhood but in a wide area, since one of the characteristics of PCB, in addition to its resistance to breakdown or chemical and biological degradation through natural processes, plus its tendency to accumulate and remain in living organisms, is that it spreads very easily. It is estimated that a well-maintained transformer operating without excess load can have a useful life of forty to sixty years. Subsequently, these artifacts are considered hazardous waste. The main risk occurs if transformers explode or catch fire. In this case, the PCB is transformed into a dioxin, and we have already seen the consequences that these have, in case the PCB generates few.

The facility for PCBs to spread rapidly through land, water and air has led to high concentrations of the toxicant being detected in the Arctic, and by extension in the aquatic food chain: Arctic hake, for example, contains concentrations of PCBs 48 million times higher than those of the waters in which it is found, and predatory mammals, such as polar bears, can have concentrations of PCBs in their tissues fifty times greater. Consequently, the Eskimo inhabitants of the Arctic, the indigenous “Inuit”, are not at all exempt from the action of this poison. Today this product is included in the so-called “dirty dozen”, a list of the twelve most dangerous pollutants on the planet. It is also considered a "persistent organic pollutant", which is to say that it remains in the environment for long periods. The effects of PCBs are estimated to last until after 2025. Meanwhile, Monsanto's enthusiasm for creating new scourges for humanity did not stop there.

Monsanto's relationship with dioxins began with the manufacture of the herbicide 2,4,5-T, which began in the late 1940s. On this Peter Sills, author of a book on dioxins, explains: “ Almost immediately, the factory workers began to fall ill, with eczema on the skin, unexplained pain in the legs, joints and other parts of the body, weakness, irritability, nervousness and loss of libido. Internal memoranda show that the company knew these men were as sick as they claimed, but kept the evidence well hidden. " An explosion at Monsanto's herbicide factory in West Virginia in 1949 drew increased attention to these complaints. The pollutant that generated these conditions was not identified as dioxin until 1957, but the Chemical Corps of the United States Army - when not - immediately became interested in this substance, thinking about a possible agent for chemical warfare. It was even revealed, thanks to the Freedom of Information Act, that as early as 1952 there were some 600 pages of exchange of reports and correspondence between Monsanto and that military unit on the subject of this herbicide by-product. The launch of Agent Orange was near, so that the American forces in Vietnam could amuse themselves by spewing this poison, transforming forests and rice fields into wastelands, and by extension ruining other organic lives, even that of man.

Welcome, biotechnology

At the beginning of the 1990s, Monsanto was one of four chemical companies that were about to bring to the market a synthetic bovine growth hormone, produced in bacteria genetically modified to produce bovine proteins. Another of the companies was American Cyanamid, later owned by American Home Products, which in turn was later merged with Monsanto. Likewise, an aggressive promotion of Monsanto began to impose its biotechnology products, such as, for example, in addition to bovine hormone, transgenic soybeans and corn and its insect-resistant varieties of cotton. In fact a paradox since, while they are effectively resistant to some variety of insects, they are not resistant to others, so pesticides must continue to be used, obviously manufactured by Monsanto, whose consequences for human life we ​​already know. Many observers see this action as the continuation of many decades of ethically questionable practices, and as the aforementioned Peter Sills says: “Corporations have personalities, and Monsanto is one of the most evil. From its herbicides to Santophen disinfectant and bovine growth hormone, it seems that it does everything possible to harm its own workers and children. "

Monsanto had been trying, for 14 years before launching its hormone, the approval for it by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA-Food and Drugs Agency), a body of the United States government, an attempt that was marked by several controversies, including versions about an alleged concerted effort to suppress information about the negative effects of the hormone. Even an FDA veterinarian, Richard Burroughs, was fired after accusing both Monsanto and the government agency of suppressing and manipulating data to hide the effects of injections of the hormone on dairy cow health. In 1990, when FDA approval seemed imminent, a University of Vermont veterinary pathologist showed two state legislators previously suppressed data documenting significant increases in infection rates in cows that had been injected. with Monsanto's then-experimental hormone, as well as an unusual number of serious birth defects in calves treated with that product. Furthermore, an independent review of these data by a group representing regional farms documented additional health problems in cows associated with the hormone, including high rates of hoof and foot injuries, metabolic and reproductive difficulties, and uterine infections. . In turn, the Congressional Budget Office (GAO-General Accounting Office) attempted an investigation into the case but was unable to obtain the necessary files from Monsanto to continue it, particularly regarding suspected teratogenic and embryotoxic effects. GAO auditors concluded that cows injected with Posilac - the hormone's trade name - had a third higher rate of mastitis (udder infection) than untreated cows, and recommended further research on higher levels. risk in milk produced using the hormone. Investigations that of course never materialized again.

Finally, Monsanto's hormone was approved by the FDA for commercial sale in 1994. The following year, the Wisconsin Farmers Union published a study of their experiences with the hormone, the results of which exceeded previously detected health problems. There were reports of spontaneous deaths of cows treated with the hormone, high incidence of udder infections, severe metabolic difficulties and reproductive problems. Many experienced farmers who had tried Posilac suddenly had to replace large parts of their herds, but instead of examining the causes of farmers' complaints about the hormone, Monsanto went on the offensive, threatening to litigate against them. small dairy companies that advertise their products as "hormone free." The point is, the evidence for the damaging effects of this product on the health of both cows and people continued to accumulate. At the same time, Monsanto's vile relationship was also emerging - always obviously after the achievement of its benefit - with certain officials at various levels of government.

The uncomfortable truth

Some time ago, the British newspaper "The Independent" reported on a study that Monsanto had kept secret, which showed that a group of rats fed with transgenic corn from that multinational had undergone changes in internal organs and in the blood. The information had wide repercussion in the main press media in Europe and many in the rest of the world. In Mexico, however, the news was ignored by the authorities and scarcely spread by the media. Of course, the Mexican Ministry of Health approved for human consumption, starting in 2003, that transgenic corn - which Monsanto diligently took care of distributing throughout the country, incidentally exercising the authority that gives it ownership of its patent to collect the onerous royalties that farmers must pay for the seed - and then, in a country that is the center of origin of corn and its population consumes it in a massive way, this issue has not been relevant. Perhaps because there are too many rats or too many Monsanto friends there. Or what is the same, a mixture of both things at the same time. In fact, according to many, former President Vicente Fox, before assuming high public office, had served as an executive of a Monsanto subsidiary.

And we must return to a place in the world mentioned at the beginning of the note, India, with another tragic aspect. According to data recognized by the Indian Ministry of Agriculture itself, between 1993 and 2003 there were 100,000 peasant suicides, and between 2003 and October 2006 there were 16,000 peasant suicides each year. In total, between 1993 and 2006 there were around 150,000 peasant suicides, an average of thirty a day for 13 years. And under what conditions can such a suicide rate occur among rural producers? For some it is simply due to issues of debt, but in the eyes of impartial observers, the real reason lies in the imposition of totally inappropriate agricultural technology, both economically and environmentally. An example that illustrates this question well is that of Anil Khondwa Shinde, a small farmer from the Vidarba district, Maharashtra state, in the central-western sector of India, who recently committed suicide - coincidences sometimes do not exist - by ingesting a powerful pesticide, dying in a few minutes at 31 years of age. The disproportion between production costs and sales price did not allow it to pay the credit extended by the input suppliers. Shinde had decided to plant “Bt” cotton, a transgenic produced by Monsanto that supposedly reduces the need for pesticides and increases the profitability of the producer. The reality of this story is that Monsanto cotton offers some protection against the so-called "fruit worm" but not against other pests that affect this crop. Thus, farmers like Shinde turned to this cotton from Monsanto seeking to reduce the cost of pesticides but were unpleasantly surprised, since they were forced to continue applying these inputs, and worse still, the debt trap came upon them a lot faster since Monsanto's cottonseed is much more expensive. This is how hundreds of Indian farmers who planted transgenic cotton decided to seek a way out of suicide in the face of a desperate economic situation that worsens year after year.


Also in India - which for terror transnationals seems an ideal deposit of poisons and various garbage, like Latin American and African countries - the presence of a series of pesticides in the soft drinks marketed by Coca was discovered a few months ago. Cola and Pepsico. A committee of the Indian Parliament confirmed that both companies sold contaminated beverages, including the well-known Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Fanta, Sprite, Pepsi, Pepsi Diet and Mirinda orange and lemon, endangering the health of consumers. According to the British newspaper "The Guardian", the drinks managed to contain an amount of pesticides more than thirty times higher than that established by European regulations on the matter. All the drinks had, among other pesticides, the presence of DDT, whose function is to kill mosquito pests but which has been banned for quite some time in the United States and Europe, and which can cause cancer to significant damage to the system immune system of humans. In fact, in India - whose weak and corrupt government does not seem to be affected by tragedies such as the one in Bhopal - various pesticides continue to be used that have already been banned, as mentioned, in several other countries. In any case, it was the Indian people, through strong campaigns against the aforementioned soft drink companies, who managed to stop the consumption and marketing of these soft drinks in at least several states of the country, as well as in schools and in building cafeterias. public. Sanjay Nuripam, a member of one of the organizations that made up the joint parliamentary committee, in statements to "The Guardian" : “You can't find cola with pesticides in the United States. Why do they force us to drink it ourselves? For clarity, add water. But of course, without pesticides.

If something characterizes Monsanto, like other multinationals that do their business at the expense of human lives, it is their ability to try to minimize their actions through advertising campaigns that wash their image, including the payment to various louts who through messages through On the Internet or on their own blogs, they disqualify any criticism or negative report towards the multinational, while praising the "benefits" of its products. In Great Britain, for example, it invested a million pounds sterling in a marketing campaign sponsoring an exhibition on biodiversity with the most advanced technology, and in the American Museum of Natural History, in New York, in addition to many other similar spaces, it is trying to appear as a conscientious and progressive company. Another measure it adopts is to attract high-level politicians to collaborate with its business management. Examples? In May 1997 Mickey Cantor, Bill Clinton's 1992 election campaign advisor and United States Trade Representative during his first term, was appointed to the Monsanto Board of Directors. For her part, Marcia Hale, formerly a personal assistant to the same president, later worked as Public Relations for Monsanto in Great Britain. In addition, he has directly bribed and bought several officials from the government FDA, the Food and Drug Administration, and placed his own elements in positions of that agency, apart from having achieved at the time the protection of the Reagan administration to elude situations that compromised her. With which it has been shown that the FDA, which supposedly should ensure the health of its citizens, is in fact an organization that offers its armor in defense of the interests of multinationals. And as if this were not enough, the company tries everything to intimidate the critics who denounce it and to suppress negative judgments in the media. Monsanto has, in this sense, with more than eighty employees and an annual budget of about ten million dollars with the exclusive task of investigating and persecuting both wayward farmers and non-complacent journalists.

Conclusion (for now)

Cuando se habla de la administración Bush como representante del complejo militar-industrial norteamericano se tiende a pensar, exclusivamente, en los altos mandos del Pentágono, el ministerio de Defensa y los altos círculos financieros de Wall Street, vinculados mediante múltiples lazos con los grandes monopolios de la fabricación de armamentos: Boeing, Northrop Grumman, Lockheed, General Dynamics, MacDonnell, etc. Sin embargo existe otro sector de la producción, la industria química, farmacéutica y biotecnológica que, si bien menos visible, también ocupa una posición central en el amplio entramado de intereses políticos, económicos y militares de ese llamado complejo militar-industrial. No sólo una parte considerable de sus investigaciones y su producción está destinada a satisfacer las letales demandas del Pentágono en cuanto a la fabricación y almacenamiento de armas biológicas o químicas, sino que en gran medida sus beneficios dependen directamente de una contraprestación: la capacidad del poder militar estadounidense para imponer los intereses políticos y económicos del país, y por lógica consecuencia los suyos, en todo el mundo.

Aunque operando casi siempre en un segundo plano, las grandes multinacionales de la industria química y farmacéutica norteamericana son los otros “señores de la guerra”. Una guerra que, de no despertarse las conciencias en los gobiernos de los países que son utilizados como cobayos y vaciaderos de desperdicios mortales para adoptar de una vez decisiones políticas que se correspondan únicamente con los intereses de sus poblaciones, estará perdida para siempre.

* Carlos Machado


Video: The Science Inside Rigid Polyurethane Foam (June 2022).


Comments:

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  2. Namo

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