Monsanto’s history in the food and pesticide business has become well documented. The Big Agricultural giant has found themselves in many a headline from the production of synthetic marijuana patents to Indian farmers committing mass suicide, to the run of the mill lawsuit over cross pollination of crops. In short, Monsanto is on every turn in the agricultural world; yet in another terrifying turn they’ve now been linked to the use of White Phosphorus on Palestinians in Gaza 2008 and 2009.
Palestinian civilians and medics run to safety during an Israeli strike over a UN school in Beit Lahia, northern Gaza Strip early on January 17, 2009. AFP PHOTO / MOHAMMED ABED ALTERNATIVE CROP (Photo credit should read MOHAMMED ABED/AFP/Getty Images)
This isn’t Monsanto’s first time being associated with chemical weapons. Agent Orange use in the Vietnam War brought Monsanto’s name up, and since, the company has fought hard to disassociate themselves from their past history. Now, heavily redacted U.S. Army documents have surfaced naming Monsanto as the single main supplier of White Phosphorus. Equally frightening is the plea for government to show Monsanto their support in supplying and producing this chemical because of the reduction of risk to the “war fighter in times of national emergency.”
Yes, you just read that right. According to the documents, Monsanto’s use of White Phosphorus is particularly prevalent in Gaza, providing a reported 180,000 pounds of White Phosphorus. The website Current Events Inquiry recently published documentation linking them to densely populated civilian areas that had been attacked. For the site hosting the documents, click here to read more.
According to the redacted documents, White Phosphorus is deadly enough to warrant storage in “underwater storage tanks at PBA in Pine Bluff, Arkansas.” In another article, a retired Brigadier General in the Egyptian Army and an expert in military affairs told of the horrific effects of White Phosphorus.
Safwat Al-Zayat said of its use, “In the event that an area is contaminated with white phosphorus, it is deposited in the soil or the bottom of rivers and seas, or even on fish. When the human body is exposed to white phosphorus, it burns the skin and flesh; only the bones remain,” going on to say it is a banned weapon used by Israel.
Israel’s use of the deadly substance in civilian areas is in contrivance with international human rights and constitutes a war crime. A 71-page report by Human Rights Watch non-profit outlines the consequences after providing witness accounts.
“…Human Rights Watch researchers in Gaza immediately after hostilities ended found spent shells, canister liners, and dozens of burnt felt wedges containing white phosphorus on city streets, apartment roofs, residential courtyards, and at a United Nations school. The report also presents ballistics evidence, photographs, and satellite imagery, as well as documents from the Israeli military and government.”
With the evidence presented (and more), Monsanto stands beside Israel with their crimes against humanity; yet the U.S. military are content for the production of White Phosphorus to continue.
March Against Monsanto 2016, May 21st. Where: Everywhere.
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