US Embassy Pressures Thailand Over Monsanto Poison Ban

By Joseph Thomas

Under Thailand’s new government, efforts to ban toxic pesticides and herbicides including those made by US agricultural giant Monsanto were first accelerated, and have now finally succeeded.

Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister and Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul bluntly stated that “the US was worried only about trade. The Thai government was concerned about the health of Thai consumers,” in response to complaints from the US embassy over the ban, Bangkok Post would report in its article, “Govt rejects US opposition to farm chemicals ban.”

The article also reported that:

In particular, the United States is opposing the ban on glyphosate, an informed source said, citing a copy of a US embassy letter sent to the prime minister and seven other cabinet ministers requesting a delay in imposition of the ban, and a review.

A copy of a document from the US Department of Agriculture supporting the US assertion that a ban on glyphosate will affect Thai imports of US soybeans and US wheat was enclosed with the letter.

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The article would also note:

The [Thai] government has rejected US opposition to its decision to ban use of three toxic farm chemicals, the herbicides paraquat and glyphosate and the pesticide chlorpyrifos.

The current government’s refusal to bend to US demands has received wide praise from both the public and organisations such as the Biothai Foundation involved in pushing for the ban, Thai PBS would report in their article, “PM praised for not responding to US appeal to postpone the ban on glyphosate.”

The ban will go into effect on December 1 of this year.

Who Does the US Embassy Serve?

Contrary to what many believe, US embassies around the globe do not represent the American people, but rather the small handful of corporate-financier interests that own a vast, disproportionate majority of America’s wealth.

The US embassy in Bangkok demonstrates this by peddling poisons facing backlash even back home, while contesting decisions made by Thailand’s sovereign government and attempting to place pressure on Thailand to reverse decisions made about its own internal affairs.

Complaints passed by the US embassy to the Thai government were written by US Under-Secretary of Agriculture for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Ted McKinney.

Thai PBS would reveal in its article that:

Delving into McKinney’s background, Biothai said the US official had spent about 19 years working for Dow Agro-Sciences, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Dow Chemical Company, which specializes in not only farm chemicals, but also seeds and biotechnology solutions.

Biothai said McKinney’s letter was an attempt to protect the interests of US chemical companies and not the interests of the American people or Thai farmers and consumers.

Of course, Biothai is correct. McKinney’s letter, McKinney himself along with the US embassy, protect and serve the interests of large US companies and not the interests of the American people or the Thai people the US embassy is supposed to be building constructive relationships with.

The US embassy in Bangkok not only serves as a conduit for imposing the interests of these large companies onto Thailand, but also cultivates opposition figures in Thailand to serve US interests over those of the Thai nation and the Thai people themselves.

US-funded “Public Advocates” Silent Over Publicly Popular Ban

As the embassy bemoans Thai policies protecting public health from US-manufactured agricultural poisons, supposed “pro-democracy” groups and fronts posing as “nongovernmental organisations” (NGOs) claiming to represent public interests eagerly take US government money and coordinate with the embassy to advance US interests inside Thailand, while in no way actually upholding genuine public interests.

Such groups include Prachatai, iLaw, Thai Netizens, Issan Record, Thai Lawyers for Human Rights, the Cross Cultural Foundation and many others who have all been relatively silent over the agricultural chemical ban issue despite its relevance to public interests.

This is especially so regarding the US government-funded front “ENLAWTHAI” which claims to fight specifically for environmental issues in Thailand but appears to have no articles at all, past or present, regarding the growing backlash against foreign-manufactured pesticides and herbicides. The front instead spends most of its time impeding local industry and development under the guise of “environmental” concerns.

Because the Thai government’s recent move to ban big-agricultural poisons is so popular with the public and legitimate local NGOs, US-funded fronts are unlikely to directly oppose the ban.

Instead, they will continue their efforts to undermine the current Thai government through political means under the guise of defending “human rights” and advancing “democracy” while promoting and protecting opposition figures likely to reverse the ban if able to one day take power.

Thailand’s opposition led by abusive billionaires Thaksin Shinawatra who already has a long track record of serving US interests and Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit who has vowed to reverse Thai-Chinese relations in favour of deals with the US and Europe, would be perfect candidates for reversing this landmark agricultural chemical ban. Unsurprisingly the above mentioned US-funded groups are strong supporters of both opposition leaders.

For now, Thailand’s bold decision to ban dangerous big-agricultural chemicals despite US pressure not to, not only bodes well for the environment and public health in Thailand, it is also yet another indicator of waning American influence over Asia as nations in the region continue to develop, assert themselves and their interests regionally and escape out from under the long shadow US primacy in the region has cast for over a century.

Joseph Thomas is chief editor of Thailand-based geopolitical journal, The New Atlas and contributor to the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”, where this article first appeared.

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