SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Newly-released documents, dubbed the Monsanto Papers, give the public a behind the scenes look into how far Monsanto will go to control public perception, news media and scientific research into the key ingredient in its Roundup product, glyphosate.
The documents, which include internal emails and memos, reveals among other things, how Henry I. Miller, a Robert Wesson Fellow in Scientific Philosophy and Public Policy at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, allowed Monsanto to ghostwrite an editorial he published in Forbes.com and claimed as his own in 2015.
The 2015 editorial attacked the decision by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, a branch of the World Health Organization, to classify glyphosate as a probable carcinogen.
For two years, Miller was believed to be the writer of those words. But now, emails between Miller and Monsanto employees show the company wrote the piece and Miller added a couple of words to it prior to publication.
In a statement provided by Monsanto, Scott Partridge the company’s vice president of global strategy, said, “That was a collaborative effort, a function of the outrage we were hearing from many people on the attacks on glyphosate. This is not a scientific, peer-reviewed journal. It’s an op-ed we collaborated with him on.”
Forbes has taken down the post, but a .pdf version of the majority of the article is below. Forbes said they have terminated their relationship with Miller, but have not said whether they are reviewing his previous work for the publication.
Emails shows Monsanto asking Miller if he’d be willing to write about the International Agency for Research on Cancer, a component of the UN’s World Health Organization and its analysis of glyphosate.
Miller says, “I would be if I could start from a high-quality draft. I’m absolutely inundated with projects right now.”
Within days Monsanto provided Miller with a draft, see below, which is almost identical to the one published in Forbes.
Miller did not respond to a CBS San Francisco request for comment.
The Hoover Institution lists its mission as — among other objectives — to “limit government intrusion into the lives of individuals.”
Miller has been an outspoken critic of regulations that aim to protect the public from harmful, or potentially harmful, chemicals such as DDT, BPA and glyphosate.
The Hoover Institution did not respond to CBS San Francisco’s request for comment and have not said whether they will be taking any action following the revelation.
The Monsanto Papers are unsealed documents released by a law firm involved in litigation against Monsanto.
The law firm said the documents were obtained during the discovery phase of a multi-jurisdictional litigation pending in federal court in San Francisco. The case has called into question the popular weedkiller’s safety and the company’s practices.
The attorneys who are challenging Monsanto said the documents have been unsealed because Monsanto missed a deadline to file a motion to keep the documents sealed.
“…since Monsanto did not file any motion seeking continued protection of the documents, it waived confidentiality over them,” said attorneys from Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman.
Monsanto maintains that the release of these documents violates a standing confidentiality order and said they filed a legal motion asking for the documents to be removed.
“What you’re seeing are some cherry-picked things that can be made to look bad. But the substance and the science are not affected by this,” said Scott Partridge, Monsanto’s vice president of global strategy.
Last month, California classified glyphosate as a carcinogen. Monsanto has vowed to fight that decision.
By Hannah Albarazi – Follow her on Twitter: @hannahalbarazi.