White Phosphorous War Crimes Connect Israel To Monsanto

Although Monsanto was once the exclusive U.S.-based provider of white phosphorous to the U.S. government, Israel Chemicals, Ltd. has started supplying the deadly munition as well.

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** FILE ** EDS NOTE GRAPHIC CONTENT ** In this Sunday, Jan. 11, 2009, file photo shows Palestinian Akram Abu Roka is treated for burns at Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip. Human Rights Watch issued a report Wednesday, March 25 2009 that Israel fired white phosphorous shells indiscriminately over densely populated Gaza, and that this is evidence of war crimes. (AP Photo/Eyad Baba, File)

** FILE ** EDS NOTE GRAPHIC CONTENT ** In this Sunday, Jan. 11, 2009, file photo shows Palestinian Akram Abu Roka is treated for burns at Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip. Human Rights Watch issued a report Wednesday, March 25 2009 that Israel fired white phosphorous shells indiscriminately over densely populated Gaza, and that this is evidence of war crimes. (AP Photo/Eyad Baba, File)

FILE - In this March 20, 2013 file photo, President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu huddle during their joint news conference in Jerusalem, Israel. This was never happy-ever-after waiting to happen. When Obama and Netanyahu took office early in 2009, there were plenty of reasons to expect their relationship would be difficult. The cerebral president and the brash prime minister have stark differences in personality, politics and world views. Still, few could have predicted the downward spiral of finger-pointing, backbiting, lecturing and outright name-calling that has occurred. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)White phosphorous is created from phosphorous through industrial processes — it is not a naturally occurring substance. Exposure can cause severe and often fatal burns, or other complications such as organ failure, with even survivors suffering from long-term health effects.

In addition to its use in weapons, white phosphorous is also used to create phosphoric acid, a key ingredient in some fertilizers, which likely explains why Monsanto would manufacture the substance.

At one point, Monsanto was the only U.S.-based firm manufacturing the substance. This, of course, caught the military’s attention.

According to heavily redacted government documents revealed by the blog Current Events Inquiry, the U.S. government saw Monsanto as a key supplier, fearing that global politics might interfere with the ability to import the substance from China or India, where most white phosphorous is manufactured due to flimsy environmental protections and oversight. The documents, originally posted on the U.S. Federal Business Opportunities website, state that because of this key role, Monsanto could require special government protections “in the event of a national emergency.”

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