Terminator Seeds 2: Control and Decline of Organic Seeds
“Rockefeller Foundation funding was the Gene Revolution’s catalyst in 1985 with big aims – to learn if GMO plants were commercially feasible and if so spread them everywhere. It was the “new eugenics” and the culmination of earlier research from the 1930s. It was also based on the idea that human problems can be “solved by genetic and chemical manipulations….as the ultimate means of social control and social engineering.”
Food is Power
By Stephen Lendman
Rockefeller Foundation funding was the Gene Revolution’s catalyst in 1985 with big aims – to learn if GMO plants were commercially feasible and if so spread them everywhere. It was the “new eugenics” and the culmination of earlier research from the 1930s. It was also based on the idea that human problems can be “solved by genetic and chemical manipulations….as the ultimate means of social control and social engineering.” Foundation scientists sought ways to do it by reducing infinite life complexities to “simple, deterministic and predictive models” under their diabolical scheme – mapping gene structures to “correct social and moral problems including crime, poverty, hunger and political instability.” With the development of essential genetic engineering techniques in 1973, they were on their way.
They’re based on what’s called recombitant DNA (rDNA), and it works by genetically introducing foreign DNA into plants to create genetically modified organisms, but not without risks. London Institute of Science in Society chief biologist, Dr. Mae-Wan Ho, explained the dangers because the process is imprecise. “It is uncontrollable and unreliable, and typically ends up damaging and scrambling the host genome, with entirely unpredictable consequences” that might unleash a deadly unrecallable “Andromeda Strain.” Research continued anyway amidst lies that risks were minimal and a promised future lay ahead. All that mattered were huge potential profits and geopolitical gain so let the good times roll and the chips fall where they may.
One project was to map the rice genome. It launched a 17 year effort to spread GMO rice around the world with Rockefeller Foundation money behind it. It spent millions funding 46 worldwide science labs. It also financed the training of hundreds of graduate students and developed an “elite fraternity” of top scientific researchers at Foundation-backed research institutes. It was a diabolical scheme aiming big – to control the staple food for 2.4 billion people and in the process destroy the biological diversity of over 140,000 developed varieties that can withstand droughts, pests and grow in every imaginable climate.
Asia was the prime target, and Engdahl explained the sinister tale of a Philippines-based Foundation-funded institute (IRRI). It had a gene bank with “every significant rice variety known” that comprised one-fifth of them all. IRRI let agribusiness giants illegally use the seeds for exclusive patented genetic modification so they could introduce them in markets and dominate them by requiring farmers be licensed and forced to pay annual royalty fees.
By 2000, a successful “Golden Rice” was developed that was beta-carotene (Vitamin A) enriched. It was marketed on the fraudulent claim that a daily bowl could prevent blindness and other Vitamin A deficiencies. It was a scam as other products are far better sources of this nutrient and to get enough of it from any type rice requires eating an impossible nine kilograms daily (about 20 pounds). Nonetheless, gene revolution backers were ready for their next move: “the consolidation of global control over humankind’s food supply” with a new tool to do it – the WTO. Corporate giants wrote its rules favoring them at the expense of developing nations shut out.
Unleashing GMO Seeds – A Revolution in World Food Production Begins
Argentina became the first “guinea pig” nation in a reckless experiment with untested and potentially hazardous new foods. No matter, potential profits are enormous so concerns for public safety and human health are ignored. Let the revolution begin in real time. See link below for a closer review of local info
By the end of the 1980s, a global network of genetically-trained molecular biologists were ready to kick it off, Argentina was their first test laboratory, and it was hailed as a “Second Green Revolution.” Look what followed. From 1996 to 2004, worldwide GMO crop planting expanded to 167 million acres, a 40-fold increase using 25% of total worldwide arable land. An astonishing two-thirds of the acreage (106 million acres) was in the US. By 2004, Argentina was in second place with 34 million acres while production is expanding in Brazil, China, Canada, South Africa, Indonesia, India, the Philippines, Colombia, Honduras, Spain and Eastern Europe (Poland, Romania and Bulgaria). The revolution was on a roll and looks unstoppable.
Argentina was an easy mark when Carlos Menem became President. He’s a corporatist’s dream, a willing Washington Consensus subject, and he even let David Rockefeller’s New York and Washington friends draft his economic program with Chicago School dogma at its heart – privatizations, deregulation, local markets open to imports, and cuts in already reduced social services.
By the mid-1990s, Menem was “revolutioniz(ing) Argentina’s traditional productive agriculture” to one based on monoculture for global export. He took office in July, 1989. By 1991, Argentina was already a “secret experimental laboratory for developing genetically engineered crops” with its people unknowing human guinea pigs. In effect, the country’s agriculture was handed to Monsanto, Dow, DuPont and other GMO giants to exploit for profit with untested and potentially hazardous new products. Things would never be the same again.
In 1995, Monsanto introduced Roundup Ready (RR) soybeans with its special gene gun-inserted bacterium that allows the plant to survive being sprayed by the glyphosate herbicide, Roundup. GMO soybeans are thus protected from the same product used in Colombia to eradicate drugs that also harms legal crops and humans at the same time.
Foreign investors have large land holdings in Argentina, the late 1990s – early 2000s economic crisis made vast more amounts available, and bankrupted farmers had to give it up for pennies on the dollar. Corporate predators and Latifundista landholders took full advantage, but look what for.
After Monsanto’s Roundup Ready soybeans were licensed in 1996, “a once-productive national family farm-based agriculture system (was turned into) a neo-feudal state system dominated by a handful of powerful, wealthy” owners to exploit for profit. Menem went along. In less than a decade, he allowed the nation’s corn, wheat and cattle diversity to be replaced by corporate-controlled monoculture. It was a Faustian sellout, and it helped Monsanto’s stock price hit an all-time high near year end 2007.
Earlier decades of diversity and crop rotation preserved the country’s soil quality. That changed after soybean monoculture moved in with its heavy dependence on chemical fertilizers. Traditional Argentine crops vanished, and cattle were forced into cramped feedlots the way they are in the US. Engdahl quoted a leading country agro-ecologist predicting these practices will destroy the land in 50 years if they continue. Nothing suggests a stoppage, and by 2004, nearly half the nation’s crop land was for soybeans and over 90% of it solely for Monsanto’s Roundup Ready brand. Engdahl put it this way: “Argentina had become the world’s largest uncontrolled experimental laboratory for GMO” and its people unwitting lab rats.
Mechanized GMO soybean monoculture took over, the country’s dairy farms were reduced by half, and “hundreds of thousands of workers (were forced) off the land” into poverty. Monsanto was on a roll and used various exploitive schemes. Included were ploys to ignore Argentine law against collecting royalty payments. Smuggling Roundup soybean seeds illegally into Brazil, Paraguay, Bolivia and Uruguay also went on sub rosa. In addition, the company got Menem to allow it to collect “extended royalties” in 1999 even though Argentine law prohibited the practice.
Monsanto then pressured the government to recognize its “technology license fee.” A Technology Compensation Fund was established and managed by the Ministry of Agriculture. It forced farmers to pay a near-1% fee on GMO soybean sales. Monsanto and other GMO seed suppliers got the funds. By 2005, Brazil’s government relented. It legalized GMO seeds for the first time, and by 2006, the US, Argentina and Brazil accounted for over 81% of world soybean production. It “ensure(s) that practically every animal in the world fed soymeal (is) eating genetically engineered soybeans.” It also means everyone eating these animals does the same thing unwittingly.
Argentina experienced more fallout as well that threatens to spread. Its soybean monoculture affects the countryside hugely. Traditional farmers close to soybean ones are seriously harmed by aerial Roundup spraying. Their crops are destroyed as that’s how this herbicide works. It kills all plants without gene-modified resistance. It also kills animals with farmers reporting their chickens died and horses were gravely harmed. Humans are affected as well and show violent symptoms of nausea, diarrhea, vomiting and herbicide-inflicted skin lesions. Other reports claimed further fallout – animals born with severe organ deformities, deformed bananas and sweet potatoes, and lakes filled with dead fish. In addition, rural families said their children developed “grotesque blotches on their bodies.”
Forest lands were also damaged as vast acreage was cleared for soybean planting. Their loss “created an explosion of medical problems because Roundup is toxic, kills every non-GMO plant that grows and, it harms animals and humans as well that come in contact with it.
As for higher promised yields, results showed reduced harvests of between 5% and 15% compared with traditional soybean crops plus “vicious new weeds” that need up to triple the amount of spraying to destroy. By the time farmers learn this, it’s too late. By 2004, GMO soybean plantings spread across the country, they cost more to produce and yield less, and Engdahl summarized farmers’ plight: “A more perfect scheme of human bondage would be hard to imagine,” and it was even worse than that. Argentina was the first test case “in a global plan that was decades in the making and absolutely shocking and awesome in its scope.”
Iraq Gets American Seeds of Democracy
Democracy for Iraq meant erasing the “cradle of civilization” for unfettered free market capitalism. Iraq was conquered for its oil but also to make the country a giant free trade paradise. The scheme was diabolical, elaborate and ugly – blitzkrieg “shock and awe,” elaborate PsyOps, fear as a weapon, repressive occupation, mass detention and torture, and the fastest, most sweeping country remake in history. It happened in weeks, Iraq no longer exists, the country is a wasteland, its people are devastated, and a blank slate was created for unrestrained corporate pillage on a near- unimaginable scale.
Part of the scheme was for GMO agribusiness giants to have free reign over that part of the economy – to radically transform Iraq’s food production system into a model for GMO seeds and plants. One hundred swiftly implemented Bremer laws mandated it, but Iraqis had no say about them as the country is now governed out of Washington and its branch office inside the heavily-fortified Green Zone in the largest US embassy in the world by far.
Bremer laws imposed the harshest ever Chicago School-style “shock therapy” of the kind that devastated countries around the world since first introduced in Chile under Pinochet in 1973. The formula was familiar – mass firings of state employees in the hundreds of thousands; unrestricted imports with no tariffs, duties, inspections or taxes; deregulation; and the largest state liquidation sale and privatization plan since the Soviet Union collapsed.
Corporate taxes were lowered as well from 40% to a flat 15%, and foreign investors could own 100% of Iraqi assets other than oil. They could also repatriate all their profits, had no obligation to reinvest in the country and wouldn’t be taxed. They were further given 40 year leases, and the only Saddam era laws remaining were those restricting trade unions and collective bargaining. Foreign transnationals, mainly US ones, swooped in and devoured everything. Iraqis couldn’t compete, and the occupation laws assured it.
The recent Food Labeling Act passed by the corrupt Congress allows further relaxation of labeling requirements on what is in your food, essentially letting the corporate food conglomerates to poison you at will!
GMOs (genetically modified organisms), rather than feeding the world as Bill Clinton — responsible for the FDA approval of these poisonous products — would have us believe are cash cows for Monsanto, ADM, DuPont and Dow, et al, and a way for the New World Order (NWO) to control the world’s food supply. As an example, Paul Bremer, former Viceroy of Iraq and Medal of Freedom recipient, issued 100 orders before fleeing the country. Order 81 specifically dealt with prohibiting the saving of seeds as they have in Mesopotamia (Iraq) — the cradle of civilization and agriculture — for thousands of years and required that they instead buy and use GMO seeds from Monsanto, DuPont and Dow.
William Engdahl’s articles on this subject are a must read: “Iraq and Washington’s ‘seeds of democracy’” and “WTO, GMO and Total Spectrum Dominance.”
Bremer’s illegal orders also call for the privatization of all Iraq’s state owned industries and services with multinational (American) corporations getting them for pittance. This is predatory globalization. Have you ever heard these 100 orders discussed in the corporate media? Of course not.
What will Iraq look like if the new “government” succumbs to US dictates and Bremer’s Orders? “A small sampling of the most important orders demonstrates the economic imprint left by the Bush administration: Order No. 39 allows for: (1) privatization of Iraq’s 200 state-owned enterprises; (2) 100 percent foreign ownership of Iraqi businesses; (3) ‘national treatment’ — which means no preferences for local over foreign businesses; (4) Unrestricted, tax-free remittance of all profits and other funds; and (5) 40-year ownership licenses,” wrote Antonia Juhasz, a project director at the International Forum on Globalization in San Francisco (LA Times, August 5, 2004).
Consider Bremer Order 81. It covered patents, their duration and stated: “Farmers shall be prohibited from re-using seeds of protected varieties or any variety” the edict covered. It gave plant varieties patent holders absolute rights over farmers’ using their seeds for 20 years.
They’d be genetically engineered, owned by transnationals, and Iraqi farmers using them had to sign an agreement stipulating they’ll pay a “technology fee” as well as an annual license fee.
Plant Variety Protection (PVP) was the core of this order. It made seed saving and reuse illegal. Even using “similar” seeds could result in severe fines and imprisonment. GMO seeds got protection to displace 10,000 years of developed plant varieties being sacrificed.
Iraq’s fertile valley between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers is ideal for crop planting. Since 8000 BC, farmers used it to develop “rich seeds of almost every variety of wheat used in the world today.” They were erased through a GMO modernization and industrialization scheme so agribusiness can get a foothold in the region and supply the world market. While Iraqis suffer and starve, GMO giants run the country’s agriculture for export. Iraqi farmers are now agribusiness serfs and are forced to grow products foreign to the native diet like wheat designed for pasta.
Bremer laws mandated it and are inviolable under Article 26 of the US-drafted constitution. It states that the Iraqi government is powerless to change laws a foreign occupier made. To assure it, US-sympathizers are in every ministry with those most trusted in key ones. Engdahl sums up the damage to agriculture: “The forced transformation of Iraq’s food production into patented GMO crops is one of the clearest examples of (how) Monsanto and other GMO giants are forcing (these) crops onto an unwilling or unknowing world population.” They’re infesting the planet with them one country at a time so it’s futile trying to undo the damage they cause.
Stephen Lendman is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization.
He lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also visit his blog site at www.sjlendman.blogspot.com
**NOTE to Readers: I first cross posted this on Ireport on March 23, 2009
To view comments and some of the debates over this go to:
Report Part I at: http://www.ireport.com/docs/DOC-233664
Report Part II at: http://www.ireport.com/docs/DOC-234112
View Part III at: http://www.ireport.com/docs/DOC-234051
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