SlimeGate 2/7: Predatorts 2.1/4.1: The Big Lie on Glyphosate

This is a follow-up to an article I had written more than three years ago. My analysis had left many questions unanswered. Why were all of the lawsuits against Bayer-Monsanto when glyphosate was off patent and sold by many companies? Why were the cases only focusing on glyphosate when Roundup adjuvants like POEA were known to have higher risks? Was Timothy Litzenburg removed from the Johnson legal team before the end of the trial, as claimed by US Right to Know? Why then, on the day of the verdict, was Litzenburg standing right next to DeWayne “Lee” Johnson? Was he suffering from drug abuse, as claimed by his former employer? Was Litzenburg’s position (that the real threat to human health was POEA and not glyphosate) considered a major threat to the Glyphosate Plaintiff Steering Committee which had invested so much on focusing jury attention solely on glyphosate and Monsanto? Was keeping him quiet the motive behind those who got Litzenburg arrested and imprisoned?

Three years later, I was on my way to the European Parliament where I would have Chris Portier, Carey Gillam and DeWayne “Lee” Johnson in the same room, and would only have one question that I could potentially ask. For me, finding clarity on these unsolved issues was the most important point. Why? Because it shows to what extent the Glyphosate Plaintiff Steering Committee had orchestrated their Predatort Playbook. It was not about protecting public health; it was not about justice for victims; it was not about the truth.

SlimeGate has shown how a group of clever, but morally challenged, tort law operatives could mastermind a corporate raid and deftly fill their pockets on a fabricated gameplan with total disregard for the consequences to consumers, the environment, food-chain innovations or public trust in science and regulators. It was all about the money and Tim Litzenburg (who also was filling his pockets) stood as a threat to their gameplan by recognising that glyphosate was not the real problem at all.

The Backstory

The case of Johnson v Monsanto was the first glyphosate trial and it returned a 289 million USD verdict in 2018 in favour of the plaintiff, DeWayne “Lee” Johnson. Tim Litzenburg was the lead lawyer on the Johnson team and had developed a close, trusted relationship with the plaintiff. Shortly after the victory, Litzenburg left his firm, The Miller Firm LLC with suits and counter-suits between the parties (eventually settled out of court). Tim then set up his own firm to concentrate on Roundup tort cases and by October 2019 had accumulated thousands of plaintiffs, enough to try to extort 200 million USD from a POEA manufacturer. If they did not pay, he would unleash a “parade of horribles” upon them. In December, 2019 he was charged with extortion and in 2020 sentenced to 24 months in prison.

This is all we know for certain. If anyone would like to know how a single person like Litzenburg can amass thousands of prepped cancer cases in half a year, see my analysis of the tort victim exchange where misery merchants trade plaintiffs like commodities.

But there is so much that we don’t know. While there are more than 60 years of research data on glyphosate in the environment, there is very little on polyethoxylated tallow amine (POEA), an animal-fat-based surfactant added to certain formulations of Roundup to ensure that the herbicide sticks on the leaves. Although POEA is available for use with organic pesticides, it is far more toxic than glyphosate. POEA was banned by the European Union in 2016. Monsanto removed it from their European formulations in 2001.

Carey Gillam was working with Timothy Litzenburg on his research that showed that POEA was the real health risk (and not glyphosate). One evening, Carey was trolling several industry scientists telling them that the Big Lie was indeed a Big Joke. Were the 100,000 plus cases against Bayer actually about POEA as the source of the cancers? So why have we been wasting our time talking about glyphosate for the last eight years then?

There are also questions about why the law firms turned so harshly on Litzenburg. Since most US tort lawyers use extortion as a key settlement tool, it seemed odd that Tim was singled out. It was even more surprising that the US tort law community was coming down hard on him in public (when they normally don’t eat their young and have publicly tolerated some of the nastiest, greediest slimeballs to have ever pretended to inhabit human skin). So it would not surprise me if leaders on the Glyphosate Plaintiff Steering Committee (a collective of the initial case law firms who get 6% of all glyphosate pay-outs) had set up the sting operation to stop Litzenburg from draining their honeypot with a series of unrelated lawsuits.

Six months after the Johnson verdict, the Miller Firm provided the tort law industry’s unofficial communications unit, US Right to Know, with information to try to discredit and slander Litzenburg’s reputation.

Claims of Litzenburg’s drug abuse, unprofessionalism, incompetence and laziness were serious accusations (and charges very rarely made public within the secretive tort law profession). US Right to Know, the Predatort’s poodle, did what they were told to do without any ethical reflection (although Carey Gillam chose not to use her name given her close working relationship with Litzenburg). And what about the claims that Litzenburg was removed from the legal team before the case had closed? Why then did the Johnson Team photo, taken on the day of the verdict, show Tim Litzenburg occupying the primary position next to DeWayne “Lee” Johnson, with Wunderkind Wisner having his arm around him? This was enough to raise Mongerish curiosities.

Team Johnson on the day of the verdict with Timothy Litzenburg on Johnson’s right. Somebody was lying.

There were a lot of lies going on, I suspect to try to cover up an internal threat. Litzenburg’s dash-for-cash behaviour was indeed lamentable, but it is no different from the tactics tort lawyers use on the daily (including cocaine use). If anything, he recognised that the entire glyphosate house of cards had no merit and sought a more realistic potential source of these cancers. That Tim had to spend two years in prison for not keeping to the Big Lie (that the cancers were caused by glyphosate alone) gives you an idea of how ruthless these bastards are (Bayer never stood a chance).

Three years later, I finally had the microphone and the open ends of this sorry affair were still bothering me.

Slime Rises to the Top

Johnson came to Brussels to be on a panel during a StopGlyphosateWeek event in the European Parliament on 11 April 2023, hosted by the European Green Party to promote a report they commissioned from PAN-Europe (as predicted by the Risk-Monger). At the end of the session during the Q&A I was given the floor. My questions were about Litzenburg and POEA.

Was Timothy Litzenburg your lawyer throughout the entire case? Lee: Yes.
Did he ever show signs of suffering from the effects of drugs? Lee: No.
How do you feel about how Tim was treated? Lee: Really terrible. He had become a good friend of mine and did not deserve any of this.
Were you aware of his views on the risk of POEA? Lee: Yes and both are really bad (Johnson then went into a long answer explaining how he was the one who had to mix the two substances …?).

It is clear then that either the Miller Firm or US Right to Know had made false claims. Also from Johnson’s answer on adjuvants like POEA, it was evident that he had been coached (that it is an issue that his lawyers feel quite protective about). The lawyers on the Glyphosate Plaintiff Steering Committee were trying to publicly discredit Litzenburg in order to keep him quiet. They needed to stop him from disrupting the strategy developed in 2014 of having a clear story that glyphosate is the main cause of these cancers. Litzenburg was a threat to the Glyphosate Gameplan that could not passively be ignored.

Reality was catching up with the Predatorts’ strategy. Their IARC link to glyphosate as a carcinogen was incredibly weak and not supported by the scientific community (or any other regulatory agency). People were beginning to see how lawyers were paying off scientists to get IARC to deliver data designed for the courtroom. With the POEA argument leaking out, the reality is that it these cancer cases were not about glyphosate at all. Time to change reality. Let’s send Carey and Chris back to Brussels (like the good ole days).


Well-fed Green activists with no concern for food waste

Pesticide Action Network had created an entire week of lobbying actions against a valuable agricultural tool, flying in activists from North America, producing reports and screening films. It’s absolutely stunning to see so many scientists getting funding to try to prove a meaningless correlation between glyphosate and XYZ (with a next generation of post-docs now needing to be fed). So many activists using this fabricated uncertainty to put forward their idealistic food chain alternatives (with no understanding of the consequences for global food security). So many political actors using this simple off-patent herbicide as a means to dismantle capitalism.

So much has been wasted on this meaningless campaign initiated by US tort law firms with the sheer objective of their personal enrichment. So much wasted opportunity to develop important agricultural technologies. I looked at all of the wasted (organic) food from this well-funded activist lobbying campaign as a symbol of a wasted decade. So many people in the room who know so little but speak so much were wasting everyone’s time. The Big Lie looked pretty shoddy but I know enough about Goebbelian activist strategies to understand this did not matter.

I left the event feeling quite sad. Sad that for the last eight years the entire StopGlyphosate campaign has been built on the Big Lie (that it was all about glyphosate). I felt sad for Lee, how he has been exploited by people happy to stand beside him when the cameras are on and how strongly he still felt for his friend who had been sold down the river three years ago by these same “friends”. I was thinking of how Litzenburg had to go to prison for two years while those who had put him there continued with the Big Lie. Sad for Carey Gillam and Chris Portier who had travelled so far to be able to speak about themselves in the European Parliament and were mostly ignored by Green Party heavyweights gearing up for next year’s election (they were pushed to a few minutes at the end of the event after the interpreters had packed up, the room was half empty and they were forced to speak from their chairs – see cover image).

How do these people feel about themselves at the end of the day when they turn out the lights? Are they so committed to fighting some fabricated “evil incarnate” that they have no problem justifying their own unethical behaviour? Are they so obsessed with winning that the consequences (to farmers, consumers, scientists, the environment…) no longer matter? And even though they know it is not at all about glyphosate, why do they keep fighting until everything is destroyed? Are the vast sums of money going into their pockets more valuable than their integrity? Can they still look at people without seeing dollar signs?

I had a lot to be sad about but I was also relieved that I was not like them (although bemused that they might be feeling the same about me).

6 Comments Add yours

  1. Scotty Perey says:

    Thanks once again David! I can’t help but imagine this all being rendered into a Netflix series someday 😛 But that’s just me…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Mayuri says:

    Thank you for your writing- I’ve learnt a ton about the tactics used by these tort lawyers from your blog. I wish DeWayne “Lee” Johnson could read this blog; it would be interesting to hear how he responds. I also read your blog about the “Into the Slime” documentary and it sucks that only one side of the story is presented to such a vast audience. It would be so cool if there was a film maker out there who made an actual balanced documentary with “The Risk Monger” in it.


    1. RiskMonger says:

      I was wondering about that. Johnson is a very kind, trusting person. At what point will he suddenly see that these little trips they are taking him on are costing others a lot, and at what point will he make the connection that they are coming out of his settlement. I don’t think he will realise yet how much they are using him. When I asked him how he felt about Tim Litzenburg and what the other lawyers did to him, his emotion was real.


      1. Mayuri says:

        Thank you for your reply! I wonder if a ‘tipping point’ will ever be reached by Johnson.


      2. RiskMonger says:

        Eventually he will receive some compensation but normally the plaintiffs have to sign a non-disclosure contract with their lawyers where they are not allowed to publicly reveal how much they received. One case where several plaintiffs broke that deal was with the atrazine settlement with Syngenta. The lawyer, Stephen Tillery, only paid 0.005% of the $105 million settlement and that rightly pissed off enough of them to speak out.


  3. Mayuri Muralitharan says:

    Interesting; there’s a part of me that definitely wants Johnson to be paid enough and compensated since he has been exploited by the lawyers in a sense and it would be way better to see the money go to him than the lawyers, but at the same time, it would so great to hear him speak up, unfiltered, with no constraints.

    Liked by 1 person

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