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February 2nd, 2012

Organics Industry Advocate Issues ‘Non-Denial Denial’ about Its Efforts to Influence Justice in Madison County

In a Madison & St. Clair Record story posted yesterday, the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) issued a non-denial denial of assertions made by Judicial Hellholes reporters in recent days (see here and here), namely that the CMD’s WikiLeaks-wannabe website, SourceWatch.org, had posted and then scrambled to take down a deposition transcript and previously unsealed but not yet public court documents connected to a major class action playing out in Madison County, Illinois. 

Court records make clear that as of Tuesday, January 31, no one from the public had yet laid eyes on the defendant’s proprietary and once confidential documents now on file in the case.  This, along with certain telltale notations and a lack of court stamps on the document copies posted earlier by SourceWatch, and the fact that the deposition transcript has not been unsealed, suggest a strong likelihood that the website’s source for these documents is a member of the plaintiffs’ legal team.  (The document postings on SourceWatch began back on Jan. 9.) 

Subsequent deletions of these postings began abruptly once Judicial Hellholes reporters first exposed SourceWatch’s connections to the organic food industry and its motivation to undermine defendant Syngenta’s exhaustively tested and widely used weed killer, atrazine.  And screen-captures of SourceWatch’s original postings and user logs render the CMD’s denials both incredible and futile.

Those who’ve been following this atrazine lawsuit since its initial filing in Madison County way back in 2004 know that the plaintiffs haven’t been eager to get to the merits of their case.  Whether or not they’re per se stalling in hopes of reaching a lucrative settlement before trial, they’re nonetheless confronted by the stubborn scientific findings of the  Environmental Protection Agency “that there is a reasonable certainty that no harm will result to the general U.S. population, infants, children, or other major identifiable subgroups of consumers from aggregate exposure . . . to cumulative residues of atrazine.”

Thus it’s easy to understand why plaintiffs’ attorneys, like good magicians, sought last year to distract the court yet again from the merits of their case with a demand for the defendant to release a memo prepared for it by a Chicago-area public relations firm.  Feigning shock and outrage at the notion that Syngenta would consult public relations experts when faced with major litigation – as though both plaintiffs and defendants haven’t been engaging in comparable public relations forever – plaintiffs presumably could not have foreseen the irony in today’s mounting evidence.  Apparently working with SourceWatch, the CMD and their organics industry funders, they now seem to have no qualms about manipulating public opinion and subverting civil justice. The only remaining question is: What will the presiding judge do about it?

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