Former Presidential Candidate Calls Out Monsanto for Attack on Freedom of Information Act


When it comes to politicians, most of the most well known ones are already bought and paid for by Monsanto and Big Agribusiness, including Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush, and even Barack Obama, who promised GMO labeling and then proceeded to appoint pro-Monsanto people to key government posts.

One longtime politician, consumer advocate, and former Time Man of the Year Ralph Nader is anything but, however. Nader, who last ran as an independent for president in 2008, has long kept an eye on Monsanto and the health and environmental problems posed by GMOs.

Nader, who has is an outspoken critic of abuses of corporate power, is a strong advocate of honest journalism for holding companies like Monsanto accountable by exposing things they don’t want the public to know. Now he’s standing up for what he calls “one of the finest laws our Congress has ever passed,” one that’s being attacked by pro-Monsanto interests.

Freedom of Information Act Outs Monsanto

Recently it was discovered that Monsanto has actually been leaning on “independent” scientists to promote GMOs, penning articles and op-eds without disclosing their connection. This was discovered through the Freedom of Information Act, which will celebrate its 50th anniversary next year. Nader called it “one of the finest laws our Congress has ever passed” in this recent op-ed.

From the article:

The FOIA was championed by Congressman John E. Moss (D-CA), who strove to “guarantee the right of every citizen to know the facts of his government.” Moss, with whom I worked closely as an outside citizen advocate, said that “without the fullest possible access to government information, it is impossible to gain the knowledge necessary to discharge the responsibilities of citizenship.”

All fifty states have adopted FOIA statutes.

The FOIA is a powerful tool for journalists in an era where corporations like Monsanto seek to control the flow of information, and the narrative, through lobbying and infiltrating the media as they did through these supposedly independent professors, whose work was published in several major newspapers and media outlets.

Nader continues:

As the FOIA approaches its 50th year, it faces a disturbing backlash from scientists tied to the agrichemical company Monsanto and its allies. Here are some examples.

On March 9, three former presidents of the American Association for the Advancement of Science—all with ties to Monsanto or the biotech industry—wrote in the pages of the Guardian to criticize the use of the state FOIA laws to investigate taxpayer-funded scientists who vocally defend Monsanto, the agri-chemical industry, their pesticides andgenetically engineered food. They called the FOIAs an “organized attack on science.”

The super-secretive Monsanto has stated, regarding the FOIAs, that “agenda-driven groups often take individual documents or quotes out of context in an attempt to distort the facts, advance their agenda and stop legitimate research.”

Nader isn’t buying this attack on the FOIA, as you might imagine. He believes that Americans have the right to know the truth and that truth is especially hard to come by when it comes to Monsanto and its army of biased “scientists,” hence the important of FOIA requests and our need to protect them. 

One thing is clear; food safety, public health, the commercialization of public universities, corporate control of science and the research produced by taxpayer-funded scientists to promote commercial products are all appropriate subjects for FOIA requests.

You can find the full editorial from Nader, including more on the Monsanto scandal and his take on health risks, by clicking on this link.

This story was originally published on March Against Monsanto.

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