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CounterPunch: Environmentalists Owe an Enormous Debt to Julian Assange

CounterPunch: Environmentalists Owe an Enormous Debt to Julian Assange

On August 23, 2023, Mitchel Cohen’s article “Environmentalists Owe an Enormous Debt to Julian Assange” appeared on CounterPunch’s Website.

Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks and a political prisoner, has made significant contributions to global environmental activism. Beyond revealing war-related recordings,  Assange’s leaks showcase collusion between Monsanto and U.S. officials to undermine regulations and promote GMOs worldwide. His publication of secret trade agreements exposed U.S. pressure on countries to adopt Monsanto’s patented seeds and pesticides. Assange’s sacrifices highlight the need for ecological movements to address capitalism’s destructive impact and his efforts deserve recognition and support for justice.

Note: Mitchel Cohen is Coordinator of the No Spray Coalition in New York City. He can be reached at: mi**********@mi********.com.

The article in its entirety can be read on CounterPunch’s Website.

The following are summaries and excerpts from the article:

  • A slew of cables Assange published reveal the joint strategic planning of Monsanto and the U.S. government.
  •  They showed U.S. officials applying financial, diplomatic, and frequently military pressure on behalf of Monsanto and other biotech corporations.
  • The cables revealed massive U.S. government attempts on behalf of Monsanto to coerce governments to allow foreign corporate land ownership, and with it genetically engineered agriculture throughout the world, and to squelch opposition to GMOs, breaking down existing laws prohibiting the genetic engineering of agriculture.


  • In a 2007 cable marked “confidential,” Craig Stapleton, then U.S. Ambassador to France, advised the U.S. to prepare for economic war with countries unwilling to introduce Monsanto’s GM corn seeds. He called for retaliation, to “make clear that the current path has real costs to EU interests and could help strengthen European pro-biotech voices. In fact, the pro-biotech side in France [has] told us retaliation is the only way to begin to turn this issue in France.”


  • Hillary Clinton’s State Department, intervened at Monsanto’s request “to undermine legislation that might restrict sales of genetically engineered seeds.” The New York Daily News reported that State Department officials under Hillary Clinton were actively using taxpayer money to promote Monsanto’s controversial GMO seeds around the world.


  • U.S. officials also recommended pro-biotech and bio-agriculture DVDs be sent to every high school in Hong Kong.


  • WikiLeaks “acquired” and published a searchable database and unabridged text of the secret 2015 TransPacific Partnership, Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership and Trade in Services Agreement. By publishing the secret text of the agreement, Assange exposed the U.S. government’s pressure on other countries to purchase and plant Monsanto’s patented genetically engineered seeds, which required the concomitant purchase of Monsanto’s patented pesticides, in order for the crops to grow.

 NOTE: The article in its entirety can be read on CounterPunch’s Website.

ADDITIONAL NOTE: The article included the following: “Many thanks to Patricia Dahl, an organizer with Stand with Assange NY, for outlining some of the secret involvements of the U.S. government with Monsanto and other corporate polluters that were first brought to light by Julian Assange and WikiLeaks. See Michael Ratner, Moving the Bar: My Life as a Radical Lawyer (New York: OR Books: 2021), for an extensive first-hand review of Assange’s legal case by his chief attorney, before he died of cancer in 2016.”

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