Monsanto, the leading global producer of genetically engineered seeds and crops, has been found guilty of bribing government officials in Indonesia. The Justice Department has fined Monsanto $1.5 million for bribing the Indonesian Ministry of Environment to allow the company to ignore required environmental impact studies before proceeding to plant genetically modified crops.
Meanwhile, in the U.S., bribery seems hardly necessary for the Gene Giant, given that the Bush administration and regulatory agencies are stacked with former Monsanto employees and pro-biotech bureaucrats.
Monsanto strengthened its grip on U.S. policymaking last week when one of its former lobbyists, Martha Scott, was appointed as Staff Director of the Senate Agriculture Committee. Other Monsanto boosters in the Washington power elite include former Secretary of Agriculture Anne Veneman (formerly head of the Monsanto subsidiary Calgene), Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld (formerly CEO of a Monsanto pharmaceutical subsidiary, Searle) and Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas (formerly a Monsanto lawyer).
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