Obama Gives Key Agriculture Post to Monsanto Man

Islam A. SiddiquiGary Ruskin for the Centre for Research on Globalization:

Today, President Obama announced that he will recess appoint Islam A. Siddiqui to the position of Chief Agricultural Negotiator, Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.

Siddiqui is a pesticide lobbyist and Vice President for Science and Regulatory Affairs at CropLife America, an agribusiness lobbying group that represents Monsanto.

Following is a letter sent by 98 organizations to U.S. Senators in opposition to Siddiqui’s appointment, and a fact sheet about him.

Dear Senator:

The following 98 organizations are writing you to express our opposition to the nomination of Islam Siddiqui as Chief Agriculture Negotiator at the office of the United States Trade Representative. Our organizations— representing family farmers, farmworkers, fishers and sustainable agriculture, environmental, consumer, anti-hunger and other advocacy groups—urge you to reject Dr. Siddiqui’s appointment when it comes up for a floor vote, despite the Senate Finance Committee’s favorable report of his nomination on December 23, 2009.

Siddiqui’s record at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and his role as a former registered lobbyist for CropLife America (whose members include Monsanto, Syngenta, DuPont and Dow), has revealed him to consistently favor agribusinesses’ interests over the interests of consumers, the environment and public health (see attached fact sheet). We believe Siddiqui’s nomination severely weakens the Obama Administration’s credibility in promoting healthier and more sustainable local food systems here at home. His appointment would also send an unfortunate signal to the rest of the world that the United States plans to continue down the failed path of high-input and energy-intensive industrial agriculture by promoting toxic pesticides, inappropriate seed biotechnologies and unfair trade agreements on nations that do not want and can least afford them.

The United States urgently needs a trade negotiator who understands that current trade agreements work neither for farmers nor the world’s hungry. With farmers here and abroad struggling to respond to water scarcity and increasingly volatile growing conditions, we need a resilient and restorative model of agriculture that adapts to and mitigates climate change and that moves us towards energy-efficient farming.

The most comprehensive analysis of global agriculture to date, the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) states unequivocally that “business as usual is not an option.” We need a new, sustainable model of biodiverse, ecologically-based agriculture that regenerates soil health, sequesters carbon, feeds communities, protects farmworkers and puts profits back in the hands of family farmers and rural communities. Siddiqui’s track record shows that he favors none of these solutions.

We call on the Senate to reject Islam Siddiqui’s nomination and reorient trade policy to serve the interests of family farmers, farmworkers, consumers and the planet.

Sincerely,

[List of 98 organizations below.]

Siddiqui and CropLife: Statements and Positions

Islam Siddiqui was nominated by US President Barack Obama to the position of Chief Agricultural Negotiator at the office of the US Trade Representative. He is currently Vice President of Science and Regulatory Affairs at CropLife America. CropLife is an agricultural industry trade group that lobbies on behalf of Monsanto, DuPont, Syngenta and other pesticide and agricultural biotech corporations…

[continues at the Centre for Research on Globalization]

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  • marklar

    Now we can ALL party like Indian farmers. A round or round-up for everyone on me.

    • 5by5

      Next up, terminator seeds, followed shortly by the extinction of Man.

  • Rich

    Really, is there any hope for Human Kind? I think we are doomed.

  • kenmartinez

    WHY AM I NOT SURPRISED

    • oman28

      You're not surprised because deep down you know that the two party system is a sham.
      Democrat. Republican. Two tails of the same beast.

  • 5by5

    You know, a douche move like this, is what makes all that hyperbolic Republican blithering about how Obama's a Socialist, particularly laugh-worthy. I mean come on, Obama's such a corporate hack when push comes to shove, you rightwingers should LOVE him (you know, if you could see past your own racism).

    So sick of the corporatists, man….

    Just once, when I vote for a Democrat, I'd like him to actually BE a Liberal. Kucinich may look like a Hobbit, but at least I'd know he wouldn't hire some poison-merchant like this dork from Monsanto.

    Obama's like Clinton – essentially a moderate Republican – but Republicans don't recognize him as such because their party has moved so far to the right, that they're on the other side of Attila the Hun.

    • E.B. Wolf

      First: Why do you need to insult Attila like that?

      Second: Obama promised change on Capitol Hill and he delivered. The seating chart is definitely different.

      • 5by5

        A thousand pardons. I meant no insult to Huns. :-)

        • E.B. Wolf

          After all, Attila at least grabbed a sword and put his own neck on the line when he took his people to war.

          Makes me wonder how long Cheney, Rumsfeld, and the gang would have lasted under his command?

  • Lisa

    I am so angry. I don't know what else to do. I could just spit round up ready seeds! I AM LIVID!

  • wayneburchwell

    This appointment is worse than the fox guarding the hen house. It is more like the Big Bad Wolf babysitting Little Red Ridinghood

  • wontgetfooledagain

    Obama is the biggest disappointment I have ever seen. Hope and Change? Nope. More of the same. We should of kept Bush, at least then I wouldn't feel so $*&#ing duped.

  • http://imtl.com/ Claude Gelinas

    Thanks for publishing this letter which tells things as they are.

    The merefact that Islam Siddiqui was nominated by Obama to the position of Chief Agricultural Negotiator at the office of the US Trade Representative is living proof that the current administration favors the lobbies and not the People.

    Siddiqui has no legitimity to work in the government.

  • jedd

    crazy, corrpution of the highest order … the monsanto tentacles grow… and grow.

  • jedd

    crazy, corrpution of the highest order … the monsanto tentacles grow… and grow.