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January 31st, 2012

‘SourceWatch’ Exposed: Website Backed by Organic Food Industry Scrambles to Take down Court Documents after Being Caught in the Act

As briefly reported here late last week, WikiLeaks wannbe “SourceWatch.org” had recently begun posting previously unsealed, proprietary documents provided during discovery by Syngenta, the defendant in a long-running, if meritless, class action in Madison County, Illinois.  But now, caught in the act by Judicial Hellholes reporters, SourceWatch operatives are scrambling to pull down those documents, particularly the ones that suggest a direct link between the website and the plaintiffs’ attorneys.

Not only is SourceWatch feverishly pulling down documents it had posted earlier, it’s erasing online records of those deletions, presumably in hopes of covering its tracks.  So much for all that “transparency” that SourceWatch’s sponsor, the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD), hypocritically insists is always in short supply when it comes to all those big, bad corporations that just happen to employ tens of millions of Americans.  

SourceWatch’s nascent document-dump webpage, “Atrazine Exposed,” funded in large part by the organic farming industry, is perhaps designed to undermine Syngenta — the manufacturer of atrazine, a safe and widely used weed killer — in the eyes of future jurors, or otherwise to help pressure the chemical company into a costly settlement with the plaintiffs.  

In any case, CMD and SourceWatch routinely rant and rave about corporations’ efforts to influence politics, public policy and the law, but apparently they have no qualms about trying to do so themselves.  A victory for the plaintiffs in the atrazine class action, slowly playing out in longstanding judicial hellhole Madison County since 2004, will make conventional farming more costly and thus could make organic farming marginally more competitive.  So who’s trying to exercise influence now?

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