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Monsanto-Listen

Open Letter

To the management board and relevant parties of the BAYER corporation

Recent media reports have revealed that the agro-corporation MONSANTO hired public relations firm FleishmanHillard to draw up a list of critics of MONSANTO products such as glyphosate, and to monitor and also, if deemed necessary by the company, influence them. The German business daily Handelsblatt reported that almost 300 names of politicians, journalists and environmentalists were on this list. As MONSANTO is now a subsidiary of BAYER, it is the one that is responsible for a clarification.

The Coordination against Bayer Dangers (CBG) and its main activists have been critics of BAYER since 1978, as well as MONSANTO in all the cases where the two cooperated. They revealed scandals and asked democratic civil society and politicians around the world to put a stop to the activities of the two corporations that were endangering human life and the environment. Amongst other things the CBG has been actively engaged around the world in debates and arguments about glyphosate for more than 10 years. Therefore, the CBG assumes that it has also come under the surveillance of MONSANTO which is now a subsidiary of BAYER.

Since BAYER itself has worked together with the spying and intimidation agency FleishmanHillard for years, the question arises whether BAYER has created its own such lists or is using the same or similar methods.

We therefore demand to know if the Coordination against Bayer Dangers (CBG) and any associated organisations or members or activists of CBG or associated organisations around the world (including the USA!) are held on surveillance lists by BAYER or MONSANTO.

We also want a guarantee that the measures taken by MONSANTO and/or BAYER will not lead to (further) disadvantages for organisations or persons possibly under surveillance. We reserve the right to publish any communications about this topic and to look into legal action.

According to this BAYER internet page the law firm Sidley Austin was retained by BAYER to analyse the lists which “primarily include journalists, politicians and other interest groups”. Furthermore, the law firm was going to contact the people on the lists by early June in a in a manner “consistent with applicable data protection laws”. This is no longer the case. Now it says: “We expect that people will start to be notified in the near future .” BAYER has given no reason for the change, which is why CBG wants an explanation.

Given BAYER’s promise to completely and transparently clarify these incidents and accusations we have the following questions:

1. Is the Coordination against Bayer Dangers (CBG) on the list compiled by FleishmanHillard on behalf of MONSANTO?

1.1 Which other PR agencies have BAYER and MONSANTO worked with? Is the cooperation ongoing until today? What was the purpose of the cooperation?

1.2 Are there other lists and/or documents in existence which were either compiled by or on behalf of MONSANTO and/or BAYER for the purpose of surveillance, monitoring, spying, isolating or similar or which BAYER and/or MONSANTO had or have access to? Can the CBG be found on these lists and/or documents?

1.3 Which measures devised by the agency FleishmanHillard have BAYER and/or MONSANTO used against the Coordination against Bayer Dangers (CBG)?

1.4 Which measures beyond the ones used against the Coordination against Bayer Dangers (CBG) has FleishmanHillard considered and/or planned?

1.5 Which measures have BAYER/MONSANTO directly or third parties instructed by or operating on behalf of them used against the Coordination against Bayer Dangers (CBG)? Who were these third parties?

1.6 Which measures beyond the ones used against the Coordination against Bayer Dangers (CBG) have BAYER/MONSANTO or third parties employed by them considered?

2. What information about the Coordination is included on the list which FleishmanHillard compiled on behalf of MONSANTO?

2.1 What information about the Coordination is included on possible other surveillance lists which MONSANTO and/or BAYER had or have access to?

3. Which persons are associated or connected with the Coordination by FleishmanHillard as part of the MONSANTO surveillance?

3.1 Which persons are associated or connected with the Coordination by BAYER?

4. What information about these people is on the list compiled by FleishmanHillard on behalf of MONSANTO?

4.1 What information about these people is included on possible other surveillance lists which MONSANTO and/or BAYER had or have access to?

5. Which organisations, institutions or similar bodies persons are associated or connected with the Coordination by FleishmanHillard as part of the MONSANTO surveillance?

5.1 Which organisations, institutions or similar bodies persons are associated or connected with the Coordination by BAYER?

6. What information about these organisations, institutions or similar bodies is on the list compiled by FleishmanHillard on behalf of MONSANTO?

6.1 What information about these organisations, institutions or similar bodies is included on possible other surveillance lists which MONSANTO and/or BAYER had or have access to?

One aim of this surveillance campaign assigned to FleishmanHillard was to influence the decision by the EU to renew the licence for glyphosate. The web portal Politico wrote: “It was Fleishman’s multinational campaign supplying MONSANTO and well meaning governments with the arguments they needed to reign in those fighting for a ban.”

A clarification of the surveillance activities also includes publication of the materials used in the context of the renewed licencing of glyphosate. We have the following questions:

1. Which activities to influence the then agriculture minster Christian Schmidt and/or his staff members are noted in the records of FleishmanHillard?

2. Which results of the political influencing are documented in the records of FleishmanHillard?

Düsseldorf, 3 June 2019

Coordination against Bayer Dangers (CBG)
Board
Uwe Friedrich/Brigitte Hincha/Axel Köhler-Schnura/Jan Pehrke