Conspiracy of Silence by Eric Francis - Introduction


Conspiracy of Silence

For more than 50 years, three of America's largest corporations have known that PCBs are deadly. But they were too busy making money to tell you.

Copyright ©1998, all rights reserved.

Photo above shows hazardous materials workers filling 500 barrels with contaminated water, ice and sand after water mains were allowed to freeze and burst in the PCB and dioxin-tainted Parker Theater, State University of New York at New Paltz, January 1992. Photo by Student Leader News Service.

Introduction, written December 1998

Link to Main Article

As the Monsanto corporation moves with single-minded determination into dominating the field of genetic engineering, it seemed like an appropriate time to make this information available to the public again. As Peter Montague of Environmental Research Foundation, The New York Times and others have documented, Monsanto's genetic engineering program turns the planet into a vast, uncontrolled biology laboratory, as redesigned, cut-and-pasted and patched-together forms of life are allowed to proliferate into the wild.

Just what is Monsanto, and what is its history? The following article, reprinted here from the Sept./Oct. 1994 issue of Sierra magazine, tells the story of this corporation's past violations of the public trust through the much of the 20th century. It's a history the company deserves to live with, and that you are entitled to know.

Briefly, the story behind the story is this: In December 1991, I was editing a statewide news service for campus newspapers in the State University of New York (SUNY). The organization was based in New Paltz, New York. On the morning of Dec. 29, 1991 at 6:35 am EST, the town fire alarm sounded, and then sounded a second time. When I came into my office later that Sunday morning, I learned that an electrical malfunction had seriously damaged the campus power system, and that numerous transformers containing PCBs, or polychlorinated biphenyls, had burned and exploded in student dormitories, a theatre, classrooms and a science building. Tests came back positive for PCBs -- patented, deadly Monsanto-manufactured chemicals which were found at levels exceeding the state's "safe" limit by up to 1 million-fold -- as well as for dioxins, super-toxic chemical by-products created when PCBs decompose, burn or explode.

That day, I began a kind of Shamanic quest that has not yet ended. My every personal resource was called into action. I began a spiritual quest for the material truth, justice and maturity unlike anything any new age book had prepared me for.

Had I known what was to follow, I almost surely would have given up immediately. Students were moved back into their contaminated rooms less than a month after the disaster, and as state officials immediately drew the wagons into a circle and went into cover-up mode, I embarked on the story with no clue what I was getting myself into. For the next three years, I and a small group of friends worked at investigating and reporting what had occurred, documenting grossly irresponsible conduct of health officials and fueling community struggle that, in the end, resulted in a more than $50 million, though largely inadequate, cleanup of the campus.

In the process of doing this earlier work, most of which was limited to research and publishing in my region of New York State, I began to acquire documents revealing a much larger problem: That the PCB manufactures, including GE, Monsanto and Westinghouse and others, had been fully aware of the safety risks associated with their products, and had engaged in a more than half-century-long project of deceiving the public, the media, the government and the scientific/medical establishment. The result has been a world-wide contamination problem which extends to every continent and every cell of every living thing on the planet. In scientific terms, PCBs and dioxins are "ubiquitous." They are everywhere, slowly working their way into the permanent biochemistry of life.

Several of the original internal corporate documents, acquired as part of the public record through the United States federal court system, will eventually be linked from the text. More press coverage from the local New Paltz area, additional documents and photographs and additional chapters in the story about the deception of these major corporations, will follow in the coming months -- please check back.

For additional resources on PCBs, dioxins and other chlorinated toxins, search the extensive, free-to-the-public RACHEL database at Environmental Research Foundation. If anything like this has happened in your community, please contact me directly. The unedited original text of the Sierra article follows.

This report is organized here in four additional links; this scroll contains the introduction; Conspiracy of Silence, the main article, follows next.

The third link GE's Warm, Caring Impression is a sidebar about General Electric's deception of its employees; the fourth Where There's Smoke is a sidebar about a plan by Westinghouse to destroy the evidence of its wrongdoing; the final Response includes published comments from "environmental" officials at General Electric and Monsanto, and my reply.

Though I recognize that this information is scary, and, in fact, an understatement of the real situation, it is in reality a small problem compared to the now-unfolding genetic engineering saga. I represent this story only to provide additional information and evidence that we as individuals and our communities need to guard the sanctity of life, and refuse to allow genetic engineering.

Main Article:

Conspiracy of Silence by Eric Francis


GE's Warm Caring Impression

Where There's Smoke


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