According to reports, Monsanto has served the civic campaigning group Avaaz with a 168-page subpoena that demands all of its internal correspondences concerning glyphosate – more than a decade's worth – be turned over to the New York Supreme Court.
The subpoena, which "commands" Avaaz to do this, is part of a witch hunt by Monsanto to silence its opposition using expensive litigation and scare tactics. In this case, Monsanto wants Avaaz to stop campaigning against glyphosate, including its 2017 effort to block the European Union from re-issuing a 15-year license for the use of glyphosate in Europe.
Other Avaaz campaigns against glyphosate include another effort that same year to stop the building of a Monsanto-owned GM seed factory in Argentina, as well as an ongoing campaign to stop Monsanto from achieving its goal of establishing a so-called "mega-merger" with fellow GMO and chemical giant Bayer.
Avaaz founder Ricken Patel admits that the request is massive, considering that Avaaz staffers have spent a considerable amount of time and resources working towards a ban on glyphosate. On the group's website, Patel noted that the subpoena demands include "pretty much every single private email, document, note, chat or anything else that any Avaaz staffer has ever written or done on our campaigns to ban Monsanto's key herbicide, glyphosate."
What's perhaps more disturbing is the scope of the details that Monsanto is requesting. Per the sweeping language contained in the subpoena, Monsanto is essentially demanding that Avaaz procure the private details of its employees, including contact information and other personal details.
Why Monsanto wants all of this has yet to be determined. But recognizing the aggressive ways in which the mega-corporation has bullied farmers, non-profit groups, and many others in the past, there's no telling what it might have in store for Avaaz.
Even members of the public could be at risk, as internal company documents also include the names and email addresses of people who have signed Avaaz petitions calling for a ban on Monsanto products. One such petition seeking a moratorium on the use of glyphosate reportedly garnered more than two millions signatures – and Monsanto is basically demanding to have access to the identities of these signers.
The subpoena from Monsanto comes in response to a sweeping class-action lawsuit against the company in which plaintiffs from all across the country are suing on behalf of themselves or their loved ones, whom they claim developed non-Hodgkin lymphoma as a result of exposure to Roundup, the brand-named Monsanto herbicide that contains glyphosate.
Monsanto is apparently retaliating against those who helped fuel this class-action lawsuit, of which Avaaz is named among the culprits.
"This is big," Avaaz states in one of its latest petitions. "[Monsanto's] a $50 billion mega-corporation, infamous for legal strong-arm tactics like this. They have unlimited resources. If they get their hands on all our private information, there's no telling what they'll use it for."
Avaaz's Deputy Director, Emma Ruby-Sachs, says that not only is the demand heinous in intent, but it also violates the First Amendment rights of the group and its employees.
"There are millions of people around the world who have a deep and genuine concern that Monsanto's glyphosate is making us and our environment sick," she says. "That is the sole reason our members have called on governments to regulate it based on independent science. We're not going to let this legal attack slow down that essential work one bit."
See the Monsanto Mafia website for more coverage of Monsanto's evil tactics.
Sources for this article include: