Thursday, 18 October 2012

History of Monsanto- a little light reading while we wait....

As I can't talk about just about anything at the moment, I'm going to post a bit of light reading.  If you don't know the long history of Monsanto, I highly suggest taking some time to read this. And if you think you do know the history of Monsanto, I highly suggest taking the time to read this anyway, I know that I learned several things that I didn't know before. 

Know thy enemy.

Documentary Movies About Monsanto

The World According to MonsantoSweet Misery A Poisoned WorldThe Future of Food

Dark History of the Evil Monsanto Corporation

Monsanto is the world's leading producer of the herbicide "Roundup", as well as producing 90% of the world's genetically modified (GMO) seeds.

Over Monsanto's 110-year history (1901-2012), Monsanto Co (MON.N), the world's largest seed company, has evolved from primarily an industrial chemical concern into a pure agricultural products company. MON profited $2 billion dollars in 2009, but their record profits fell to only $1 billion in 2010 after activists exposed Monsanto for doing terribly evil acts like suing good farmers and feeding uranium to pregnant women. Below is a timeline of Monsanto's dark history.

Monsanto, best know today for its agricultural biotechnology GMO products, has a long and dirty history of polluting this country and others with some of the most toxic compounds known to humankind. From PCBs to Agent Orange to Roundup, we have many reasons to question the motives of this evil corporation that claims to be working to reduce environmental destruction and feed the world with its genetically engineered GMO food crops. Monsanto has been repeatedly fined and ruled against for, among many things: mislabeling containers of Roundup, failing to report health data to EPA, plus chemical spills and improper chemical deposition.

The name Monsanto has since, for many around the world, come to symbolize the greed, arrogance, scandal and hardball business practices of many multinational corporations. A couple of historical factoids not generally known: Monsanto was heavily involved during WWII in the creation of the first nuclear bomb for the Manhattan Project via its facilities in Dayton Ohio and called the Dayton Project headed by Charlie Thomas, Director of Monsanto's Central Research Department (and later Monsanto President) and it operated a nuclear facility for the federal government in Miamisburg, also in Ohio, called the Mound Project until the 80s.

Monsanto Company History Overview

Monsanto is a US based agricultural and pharmaceutical monopoly, Monsanto Company is a producer of herbicides, prescription pharmaceutical drugs, and genetically engineered (GMO) seeds. The global Monsanto corporation has operated sales offices, manufacturing plants, and research facilities in more than 100 countries. Monsanto has the largest share of the global GMO crops market. In 2001 its crops accounted for 91% of the total area of GMO crops planted worldwide. Based on 2001 figures Monsanto was the second biggest seed company in the world, and the third biggest agrochemical company.

Historically Monsanto has been involved with the production of PCBs, DDT, dioxins and the defoliant / chemical weapon ‘Agent Orange' (sprayed on American troops and Vietnamese civilians during the Vietnam War). Originally a chemical company, Until the late 1990s Monsanto was a much larger ‘lifesciences' company whose business covered chemicals, polymers, food additives and pharmaceuticals, as well as agricultural products.

All of these other chemical business areas have now been demerged or sold off. Monsanto sold its chemical business in 1997 to build a presence in biotechnology, developing NON-ORGANIC GMO soybeans and corn (classified as a pesticide and banned in the EU) to resist the poisonous affects of its Roundup herbicide. Monsanto's key business areas are now agrochemicals, seeds and traits (including GMO crops), Monsanto also produced NutraSweet, a GMO sugar substitute. Monsanto recently sold it's GMO bovine growth hormones monopoly to Eli Lilly, and sold it's aspartame business to Pfizer.

Monsanto's business is currently run in two parts: Agricultural Productivity, and Seeds and Genomics. The Agricultural Productivity segment includes Roundup herbicide and other agri-chemicals, and the Animal Agriculture business. The Seeds and Genomics segment consists of seed companies and related biotechnology traits, and a technology platform based on plant genomics. In reality of course these two segments are inseparable, since the agri-chemicals are becoming increasingly dependent on the seeds segment for sales.

Monsanto's Early 20th-Century Origins

Monsanto traces its roots to John Francisco Queeny, a purchaser for a wholesale drug house at the turn of the century, who formed the Monsanto Chemical Works in St. Louis, Missouri, in order to produce the artificial sweetener saccharin for Coca-Cola.

John Francis Queeny (August 17, 1859 - March 19, 1933) started work at age 12 for a wholesale drug company, Tolman and King. He attended school for 6 years until the Great Chicago Fire forced him, at the age of 12, to look for full-time employment, which he found with Tolman and King for $2.50 per week.

In 1891, he moved to St. Louis to work for Meyer Brothers Drug Company. John was inducted into the Knights of Malta order. His first business, a sulfur refinery in East St.Louis, was destroyed by fire on its first day of operation in 1899. The process of refining beet sugar in 1900, led to Monsanto Corporation's first artificial sweetener, the following year. Butter substitute, MSG and partially hydrogenated vegetable shortening were all soon to follow.

John Francis Queeny married Olga Mendez Monsanto with whom he had two children, one of whom was Edgar Monsanto Queeny, who would later serve as Chairman. n 1901, John then established his own chemical company to produce the sweetener, saccharin, which was only available in Germany at that time. He named the company Monsanto after his wife´s maiden name, Olga Monsanto Queeny.

Queeny was a member of the Missouri Historical Society and was a director of the Lafayette-South Side Bank and Trust Company. "He was also known for his many philanthropic endeavors." [Final Resting Place, p. 83, The St. Louis Portrait, p. 221]

Knight of Malta John F. Queeny: Founder of Monsanto

According to the Count in Venice, John Francis Queeny (founder of The Monsanto Company) was a Knight of Malta. Irish-American ROMAN Catholic Queeny (1859-1933) founded Monsanto in 1901 within the Jesuit stronghold of St. Lewis - hosting the Black Pope’s Saint Louis University since 1818.

This is the same year J. P. Morgan, Papal Knight of the Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus, founded U.S. Steel Corporation and in 1911 would appoint Knight of Malta John A. Farrell as its president. Interesting: Queeny, Morgan and Farrell were all wicked, pope-serving, White Gentiles - not a Jew in the mix!

Robert B. Shapiro was Monsanto’s CEO from 1995 to 2000. The devil’s Great Conspiracy for world government must always appear to be led by Jews, never by the Pope of Rome using select, Masonic "Court Jews" as his underlings!

Once the manufacturer of the now outlawed DDT and Agent Orange during Francis Cardinal Spellman’s CIA-directed Vietnam War, the company also developed and now markets bovine growth hormone, further poisoning the food chain here in America. It is most intriguing that Europe - the pope’s Revived Holy Roman Empire deceptively called "The European Union" - refuses to purchase beef produced in the United States!

Upon purchasing G. D. Searle and Company in 1985, Monsanto, via its NutraSweet Company, is the manufacturer of Aspartame, the notorious neuro-toxin sold to the public as an artificial sweetener. Aspartame is the "artificial sweetener" in the soft drink "Diet Pepsi," Pepisico once employing JFK assassin / FBI liaison to the Warren Commission and Knight of Malta Cartha D. DeLoach.

Monsanto also has strong ties to The Walt Disney Company, with financial backing from the Order’s Bank of America founded in Jesuit-ruled San Francisco by Italian-American ROMAN Catholic Knight of Malta Amadeo Giannini in 1904. Disney owns ABC Television Network and its Director Emeritus is Roy Disney (brother of the late Walt Disney) who was inducted into the Knights of St. Gregory during the same ceremony with Fox Network owner Rupert Murdoch. ABC and Fox are both controlled by Rome through brother Knights of the Order of St. Gregory!

World War I: Petrochemicals

While prior to World War I America relied heavily on foreign supplies of chemicals, the increasing likelihood of U.S. intervention meant that the country would soon need its own domestic producer of chemicals. Looking back on the significance of the war for Monsanto, Queeny's son Edgar remarked, "There was no choice other than to improvise, to invent and to find new ways of doing all the old things. The old dependence on Europe [Hitler's IG Farben in Nazi Germany] was, almost overnight, a thing of the past." Among other problems, Monsanto researchers discovered that pages describing German chemical processes had been ripped out of library books. Monsanto developed several pharmaceutical products, including phenol as an antiseptic, in addition to acetylsalicyclic acid, or aspirin.

Under Edgar Queeny's direction Monsanto, now the Monsanto Chemical Company, began to substantially expand and enter into an era of prolonged growth. Acquisitions expanded Monsanto's product line to include the new field of petrochemical plastics and the manufacture of phosphorus.

Postwar Expansion & New Leadership

Largely unknown by the public, Monsanto experienced difficulties in attempting to market consumer goods. However, attempts to refine a low-quality detergent led to developments in grass fertilizer, an important consumer product since the postwar housing boom had created a strong market of homeowners eager to perfect their lawns.

Under Hanley, Monsanto more than doubled its sales and earnings between 1972 and 1983. Toward the end of his tenure, Hanley put into effect a promise he had made to himself and to Monsanto when he accepted the position of president, namely, that his successor would be chosen from Monsanto's ranks. Hanley and his staff chose approximately 20 young executives as potential company leaders and began preparing them for the head position at Monsanto. Among them was Richard J. Mahoney. When Hanley joined Monsanto, Mahoney was a young sales director in agricultural products. In 1983 Hanley turned the leadership of the company over to Mahoney. Wall Street immediately approved this decision with an increase in Monsanto's share prices.

1976, Monsanto announced plans to phase out
production of polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB).

In 1979 a lawsuit was filed against Monsanto and other manufacturers of agent orange, a defoliant used during the Vietnam War. Agent orange contained a highly-toxic chemical known as dioxin, and the suit claimed that hundreds of veterans had suffered permanent damage because of the chemical. In 1984 Monsanto and seven other manufacturers agreed to a $180 million settlement just before the trial began. With the announcement of a settlement Monsanto's share price, depressed because of the uncertainty over the outcome of the trial, rose substantially.

Also in 1984, Monsanto lost a $10 million antitrust suit to Spray-Rite, a former distributor of Monsanto agricultural herbicides. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the suit and award, finding that Monsanto had acted to fix retail prices with other herbicide manufacturers.

In August 1985, Monsanto purchased G. D. Searle, the "NutraSweet" firm. NutraSweet, an artificial sweetener, had generated $700 million in sales that year, and Searle could offer Monsanto an experienced marketing and a sales staff as well as real profit potential - not to mention the fact that Searle's CEO Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was well-connected among a cabal of corrupt politicians in Washington DC. Since the late 1970s the company had sold nearly 60 low-margin businesses and, with two important agriculture product patents expiring in 1988, a major new cash source was more than welcome. What Monsanto didn't count on, however, was the controversy surrounding Searle's intrauterine birth control device called the Copper-7.

Soon after the acquisition, disclosures about hundreds of lawsuits over Searle's IUD surfaced and turned Monsanto's takeover into a public relations disaster. The disclosures, which inevitably led to comparisons with those about A. H. Robins, the Dalkan Shield manufacturer that eventually declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy, raised questions as to how carefully Monsanto management had considered the acquisition. In early 1986 Searle discontinued IUD sales in the United States. By 1988 Monsanto's new subsidiary faced an estimated 500 lawsuits against the Copper-7 IUD. As the parent company, Monsanto was well insulated from its subsidiary's liabilities by the legal "corporate veil".

Toward the end of the 1980s, Monsanto faced continued challenges from a variety of sources, including government and public concern over hazardous wastes, fuel and feedstock costs, and import competition. At the end of the 99th Congress, then President Ronald Reagan signed a $8.5 billion, five-year cleanup superfund reauthorization act. Built into the financing was a surcharge on the chemical industry created through the tax reform bill. Biotechnology regulations were just being formulated, and Monsanto, which already had types of genetically engineered bacteria ready for testing, was poised to be an active participant in the GMO biotech field.

In keeping with its strategy to become a leader in the health field, Monsanto and the Washington University Medical School entered into a five-year research contract in 1984. Two-thirds of the research was to be directed into areas with obviously commercial applications, while one-third of the research was to be devoted to theoretical work. One particularly promising discovery involved the application of the bovine growth factor, MARKETED as a way to greatly increase milk production.

In the burgeoning low-calorie sweetener market, challengers to NutraSweet were putting pressure on Monsanto. Pfizer Inc., a pharmaceutical company, was preparing to market its product, called alitame, which it claimed was far sweeter than NutraSweet and better suited for baking.

In an interview with Business Week, senior vice-president for research and development Howard Schneiderman commented, "To maintain our markets - and not become another steel industry - we must spend on research and development." Monsanto, which has committed 8% of its operating budget to research and development, far above the industry average, hoped to emerge in the 1990s as one of the leaders in the fields of biotechnology and pharmaceuticals that are only now emerging from their nascent stage.

By the end of the 1980s, Monsanto had restructured itself and become a producer of specialty chemicals, with a focus on biotechnology products. Monsanto enjoyed consecutive record years in 1988 and 1989 - sales were $8.3 billion and $8.7 billion, respectively. In 1988 the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Cytotec, a drug that prevents gastric ulcers in high-risk cases. Sales of Cytotec in the United States reached $39 million in 1989.

The Monsanto Chemical Co. unit prospered with products like Saflex, a type of nylon carpet fiber. The NutraSweet Company held its own in 1989, contributing $180 million in earnings, with growth in the carbonated beverage segment (which Monsanto originated from since 1901 seed money from Coca-Cola to produce carcinogenic Saccharin). Almost 500 new products containing NutraSweet were introduced in 1989, for a total of 3,000 products.

Monsanto continued to invest heavily in research and development, with 7% of sales allotted for R&D. The investment began to pay off when the research and development department developed an all-natural fat substitute called Simplesse. The FDA declared in early 1990 that the Simplesse product was "generally recognized as safe" (GRAS) for use in frozen desserts. That year, the NutraSweet Company introduced Simple Pleasures frozen dairy dessert. Monsanto hoped to see Simplesse used eventually in salad dressings, yogurt, and mayonnaise.

Despite these successes, Monsanto remained frustrated by delays in obtaining FDA approval for bovine somatotropin (BST), a hormore chemical MARKETED to increase milk production in cows that causes mastitis (pus milk). Opponents to BST said it would upset the balance of supply and demand for milk, but Monsanto countered that BST would provide high-quality food supplies to consumers worldwide.

The final year of the 1980s also marked Monsanto's listing for the first time on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. Monsanto officials expected the listing to improve opportunities for licensing and joint venture agreements.

Monsanto's Early 1990s Transitional Period

Monsanto had expected to celebrate 1990 as its 5th consecutive year of increased earnings, but numerous factors - the increased price of OIL due to the Persian Gulf War, a recession in key industries in the United States, and droughts in California and Europe — prevented Monsanto from achieving this goal. Net income was $546 million, a dramatic drop from the record of $679 the previous year. Nonetheless, subsidiary Searle, which had experienced considerable public relations scandals and headaches in the 1980s, had a record financial year in 1990. The subsidiary had established itself in the global pharmaceutical market and was beginning to emerge as an industry leader. The Monsanto Chemical Co., meanwhile, was a $4 billion business that made up the largest percentage of Monsanto's sales.

Monsanto continued to work at upholding hypocritical "The Monsanto Pledge", a 1988 declaration to reduce emissions of toxic substances. By its own estimates, Monsanto devoted $285 million annually to environmental expenditures. Furthermore, Monsanto and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) agreed to a cleanup program at Monsanto's detergent and phosphate plant in Richmond County, Georgia.

Monsanto restructured during the early 1990s to help cut losses during a difficult economic time. Net income in 1991 was only $296 million, $250 million less than the previous year. Despite this showing, 1991 was a good year for some of Monsanto's newest products. Bovine somatotropin finally gained FDA approval and was sold in Mexico and Brazil, and Monsanto received the go-ahead to use the fat substitute, Simplesse, in a full range of food products, including yogurt, cheese and cheese spreads, and other low-fat spreads. In addition, the herbicide Dimension was approved in 1991, and scientists at Monsanto controversially tested genetically engineered (GE or GMO) plants in field trials.

Furthermore, Monsanto expanded internationally, opening an office in Shanghai and a plant in Beijing, China. Monsanto also hoped to expand in Thailand, and entered into a joint venture in Japan with Mitsubishi Chemical Co.

Monsanto's sales in 1992 hit $7.8 million. However, as net income dropped 130% from 1991 due to several one-time aftertax charges, Monsanto prepared itself for challenging times. The patent on NutraSweet brand sweetener expired in 1992, and in preparation for increased competition, Monsanto launched new products, such as the NutraSweet Spoonful, which came in tabletop serving jars, like sugar. Monsanto also devoted ongoing research and development to Sweetener 2000, a high-intensity product.

In 1992, Monsanto denied that it planned to sell G. D. Searle and Co., pointing out that Searle was a profitable subsidiary that launched many new products. However, to decrease losses, Monsanto did sell Fisher Controls International Inc., a subsidiary that manufactures process control equipment. Profits from the sale were used to buy the Ortho lawn-and-garden business from Chevron Chemical Co.

Monsanto Reinvents Itself in the 1990s

Monsanto expected to see growth in its agricultural, chemical, and biotechnological divisions. In 1993, Monsanto and NTGargiulo joined forces to produce a (GMO) genetically altered tomato. As the decade progressed, biotechnology played an increasingly important role, eventually emerging as the focal point of Monsanto's operations. The foray into biotechnology, begun in the mid-1980s with a $150-million investment in a genetic engineering lab in Chesterfield, Missouri, had been faithfully supported by further investments in the ensuing years. Monsanto's efforts finally yielded tangible success in 1993, when BST was approved for commercial sale after a frustratingly slow FDA approval process. In the coming years, the development of further biotech products moved to the forefront of Monsanto's activities, ushering in a period of profound change. Fittingly, the sweeping, strategic alterations to Monsanto's focus were preceded by a change in leadership, making the last decade of the 20th century one of the most dynamic eras in Monsanto's history.

Toward the end of 1994, Mahoney announced his retirement, effective the following year in March 1995. As part of the same announcement, Mahoney revealed that Robert B. Shapiro, Monsanto's president and chief operating officer, would be elected by Monsanto's board of directors as his successor. Shapiro, who had joined Searle in 1979 before being named executive vice-president of Monsanto in 1990, did not waver from exerting his influence over the company he now found himself presiding over. At the time of his promotion, Shapiro inherited a company that ranked as the largest domestic ACRYLIC manufacturer in the world, generating $3 billion of its $7.9 billion in total revenues from chemical-related sales. This dominant side of Monsanto's business, representing the foundation upon which it had been built, was eliminated under Shapiro's stewardship, replaced by a resolute commitment to biotech.

Between the mid-1980s and the mid-1990s, Monsanto had spent approximately $1 billion on developing its biotech business. Although biotech was regarded as a commercially unproven market by some industry analysts, Shapiro pressed forward with the research and development of biotech products, and by the beginning of 1996 he was ready to launch Monsanto's first biotech product line. Monsanto began marketing herbicide-tolerant GMO soybeans, genetically engineered to resist Monsanto's PATENTED Roundup herbicide, and insect-resistant GMO BT cotton, beginning with 2,000,000 acres of both crops. By the fall of 1996, there were early indications that the first harvests of genetically engineered crops were performing better than expected (yet WORSE results than traditional and organic crops). News of the encouraging results prompted Shapiro to make a startling announcement in October 1996, when he revealed that Monsanto was considering divesting its chemical business as part of a major reorganization into a life-sciences company.

By the end of 1996, when Shapiro announced he would spin-off the chemical operations as a separate company, Monsanto faced a future without its core business, a $3 billion contributor to Monsanto's annual revenue volume. Without the chemical operations, Monsanto would be reduced to an approximately $5-billion company deriving half its sales from agricultural products and the rest from pharmaceuticals and food ingredients, but Shapiro did not intend to leave it as such. He foresaw an aggressive push into biotech products, a move that industry pundits generally perceived as astute. "It would be a gamble if they didn't do it," commented one analyst in reference to the proposed divestiture. "Monsanto is trying to transform itself into a high-growth agricultural and life sciences company. Low-growth cyclical chemical operations do not fit that bill." Spurring Shapiro toward this sweeping reinvention of Monsanto were enticing forecasts for the market growth of plant biotech products. A $450 million business in 1995, the market for plant biotech products was expected to reach $2 billion by 2000 and $6 billion by 2005. Shapiro wanted to dominate this fast-growing market as it matured by shaping Monsanto into what he described as the main provider of "Agricultural Biotechnology".

As preparations were underway for the spin-off of Monsanto's chemical operations into a new, publicly owned company named Solutia Inc., Shapiro was busy filling the void created by the departure of Monsanto's core business. A flurry of acquisitions completed between 1995-1997 greatly increased Monsanto's presence in life sciences, quickly compensating for the revenue lost from the spin-off of Solutia. Among the largest acquisitions were Calgene, Inc., a leader in plant biotech, which was acquired in a two-part transaction in 1995 and 1997, and a 40% interest in Dekalb Genetics Corp., the second-largest seed-corn company in the United States. In 1998, Monsanto acquired the rest of DeKalb, paying $2.3 billion for the Illinois-based company.

By the end of the 1990s, Monsanto bore only partial resemblance to the Monsanto company that entered the decade. The acquisition campaign that added dozens of biotechnology companies to its portfolio had created a new, dominant force in the promising life sciences field, placing Monsanto in a position to reap massive rewards in the years ahead. For example, a rootworm-resistant strain under development had the potential to save $1 billion worth of damages to corn crops per year. Monsanto's pharmaceutical business also faced a promising future, highlighted by the introduction of a new arthritis medication named Celebrex in 1999. During its first year, Celebrex registered a record number of prescriptions. As Monsanto entered the 21st century, however, there were two uncertainties that loomed as potentially serious obstacles blocking its future success. The acquisition campaign of the mid- and late-1990s had greatly increased Monsanto's debt, forcing Monsanto to desperately search for cash. Secondly, there was growing opposition to genetically altered crops at the decade's conclusion, prompting the United Kingdom to ban the yields from GMO crops for a year. A great part of Monsanto's future success depended on the resolution of these two issues.

Monsanto's Financial History
& Corporate Instability

Monsanto had a difficult time during 2002. Its share price had been steadily falling and, in spite of an upturn in sales in the fourth quarter, total sales for 2002 were only $4,673m, compared to $5,462m for 2001. The primary causes, according to the company, were lower volumes of RoundUp sales in the U.S. due to drought, lower prices for RoundUp due to it going off-patent and facing increased competition from competitors, and lower sales of RoundUp and seeds in Latin America.

Events in Argentina also affected the company in other ways: Monsanto's Argentine unit lost $154 million in the 2002 fiscal year, due to the collapse of the Argentine economy and a deepening recession which forced the government to default on most of its public debt, and devalue the peso in January 2002. The government also converted what was a dollar economy into a peso economy and, as a result, Monsanto received devalued pesos for products it had sold in dollars, slashing its sales income.

In December 2002, CEO Hendrik Verfaillie resigned after he and the board agreed that his performance had been disappointing and the company had faced extensive criticism for failing to deal more honestly and effectively with its difficulties. 'This is a company that has been optimistic on the borderline of lying,' said Sergey Vasnetsov, senior analyst with Lehman Brothers in New York. 'Monsanto has been feeding us these fantasies for two years, and when we saw they weren't real,' its stock price fell.

In 2009, Monsanto profited about $2 billion. After much controversy... in 2010, Monsanto profits dove 50% to about $1 billion. GMO crops are massively failing, some even seedless at harvest time. Subsidized crops are LOSING MONEY annually. The USDA is calling it a "yield-drag" but we all know the GMOs do NOT outperform organic crops... unless you're an accountant for Monsanto.

No matter what weaknesses Monsanto has, it is worth bearing in mind the following: Global sales of Roundup herbicide exceed those of the next 6 leading herbicides combined. Monsanto holds the #1 or #2 position in key corn and soybean markets in North America, Latin America, and Asia. Monsanto also holds a leading position in the European wheat market. Monsanto is the world leader in biotechnology crops. Seeds with Monsanto traits accounted for more than 90% of the acres planted worldwide with herbicide-tolerant or insect-resistant traits in 2001.

click here to see Monsanto's History TIMELINE

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.