[back] GM foods
Seeds of Destruction, The Hidden Agenda of Genetic
Review of F. William Engdahl's Book by Stephen Lendman
Global Research, January 2 2008
Today, we're all lab rats in an uncontrolled, unregulated mass human experiment the results of which are unknown. Once GM seeds are introduced to an area, the genie is out of the bottle for keeps.
Reviewing F. William Engdahl's 'Seeds of Destruction' - by Stephen Lendman (Part I)
Bill Engdahl is a leading researcher, economist and analyst of the New World Order who's written on issues of energy, politics and economics for over 30 years. He contributes regularly to publications like Japan's Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Foresight magazine, Grant's Investor.com, European Banker and Business Banker International. He's also a frequent speaker at geopolitical, economic and energy related international conferences and is a distinguished Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization where he's a regular contributor.
Engdahl also wrote two important books - 'A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order' in 2004. It's an essential history of geopolitics and the importance of oil. Engdahl explains that America's post-WW II dominance rests on two pillars and one commodity - unchallengeable military power and the dollar as the world's reserve currency combined with the quest to control global oil and other energy resources.
Engdahl's newest book is just out from Global Research: 'Seeds of Destruction: The Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation' and subject of this review. It's the diabolical story of how Washington and four Anglo-American agribusiness giants plan world domination by patenting life forms to gain worldwide control of our food supply and why that prospect is chilling. The book's compelling contents are reviewed below in-depth so readers will know the type future Henry Kissinger had in mind in 1970 when he said: 'Control oil and you control nations; control food and you control the people.'
Remember also, this cabal is one of many interconnected ones with fearsome power and ruthless intent to use it - Big Banks controlling the Federal Reserve and our money, Big Oil our world energy resources, Big Media our information, Big Pharma our health, Big Technology our state-of-the-art everything and watching us, Big Defense our wars, Big Pentagon waging them, and other corporate predators exploiting our lives for profit. Engdahl's book focuses brilliantly on one of them. To fully cover its vital contents, this review will be in three parts for more detail and to make it easily digestible.
Part I of 'Seeds of Destruction'
In 2003, Jeffrey Smith's 'Seeds of Deception' was published. It exposed the dangers of untested and unregulated genetically engineered foods most people eat every day with no knowledge of the potential health risks. Efforts to inform the public have been quashed, reliable science has been buried, and consider what happened to two distinguished scientists.
One was Ignatio Chapela, a microbial ecologist at the University of California, Berkeley. In September, 2001, he was invited to a carefully staged meeting with Fernando Ortiz Monasterio, Mexico's Director of the Commission of Biosafety in Mexico City. The experience left Chapela shaken and angry as he explained. Monasterio attacked him for over an hour. 'First he trashed me. He let me know how damaging to the country and how problematic my information was to be.'
Chapela referred to what he and a UC Berkeley graduate student, David Quist, discovered in 2000 about genetically engineered contamination of Mexican corn in violation of a government ban on these crops in 1998. Corn is sacred in Mexico, the country is home to hundreds of indigenous varieties that crossbreed naturally, and GM contamination is permanent and unthinkable - but it happened by design.
Chapela and Quist tested corn varieties in more than a dozen state of Oaxaca communities and discovered 6% of the plants contaminated with GM corn. Oaxaca is in the country's far South so Chapela knew if contamination spread there, it was widespread throughout Mexico. It's unavoidable because NAFTA allows imported US corn with 30% of it at the time genetically modified. Now it's heading for nearly double that amount, and if not contained, it soon could be all of it.
The prestigious journal Nature agreed to publish Chapela's findings, Monasterio wanted them quashed, but Chapela refused to comply. As a result, he was intimidated not to do it and threatened with being held responsible for all damages to Mexican agriculture and its economy.
He went ahead, nonetheless, and when his article appeared in the publication on November 29, 2001 the smear campaign against him began and intensified. It was later learned that Monsanto was behind it, and the Washington-based Bivings Group PR firm was hired to discredit his findings and get them retracted.
It worked because the campaign didn't focus on Chapela's contamination discovery, but on a second research conclusion even more serious. He learned the contaminated GM corn had as many as eight fragments of the CaMV promoter that creates an unstable 'hotspot.' It can cause plant genes to fragment, scatter throughout the plant's genome, and, if proved conclusively, would wreck efforts to introduce GM crops in the country. Without further evidence, there was still room for doubt if the second finding was valid, however, and the anti-Chapela campaign hammered him on it.
Because of the pressure, Nature took an unprecedented action in its 133 year history. It upheld Chapela's central finding but retracted the other one. That was all it took, and the major media pounced on it. They denounced Chapela's incompetence and tried to discredit everything he learned including his verified findings. They weren't reported, his vilification was highlighted, and Monsanto and the Mexican government scored a big victory.
Ironically, on April 18, 2002, two weeks after Nature's partial retraction, the Mexican government announced there was massive genetic contamination of traditional corn varieties in Oaxaca and the neighboring state of Puebla. It was horrifying as up to 95% of tested crops were genetically polluted and 'at a speed never before predicted.' The news made headlines in Europe and Mexico. It was ignored in the US and Canada.
The fallout for Chapela was UC Berkeley denied him tenure in 2003 because of his article and for criticizing university ties to the biotech industry. He then filed suit in April, 2004 asking remuneration for lost wages, earnings and benefits, compensatory damages for humiliation, mental anguish, emotional distress and coverage of attorney fees and costs for his action. He won in May, 2005 but not in court when the university reversed its decision, granted him tenure and agreed to include retroactive pay back to 2003. The damage, however, was done and is an example of what's at stake when anyone dares challenge a powerful company like Monsanto.
The other man attacked was the world's leading lectins and plant genetic modification expert, UK-based Arpad Pusztai. He was vilified and fired from his research position at Scotland's Rowett Research Institute for publishing industry-unfriendly data he was commissioned to produce on the safety of GMO foods.
His Rowett Research study was the first ever independent one conducted on them anywhere. He undertook it believing in their promise but became alarmed by his findings. The Clinton and Blair governments were determined to suppress them because Washington was spending billions promoting GMO crops and a future biotech revolution. It wasn't about to let even the world's foremost expert in the field derail the effort. His results were startling and consider the implications for humans eating genetically engineered foods.
Rats fed GMO potatoes had smaller livers, hearts, testicles and brains, damaged immune systems, and showed structural changes in their white blood cells making them more vulnerable to infection and disease compared to other rats fed non-GMO potatoes. It got worse. Thymus and spleen damage showed up; enlarged tissues, including the pancreas and intestines; and there were cases of liver atrophy as well as significant proliferation of stomach and intestines cells that could be a sign of greater future risk of cancer. Equally alarming - this all happened after 10 days of testing, and the changes persisted after 110 days that's the human equivalent of 10 years.
GM foods today saturate our diet. Over 80% of all supermarket processed foods contain them. Others include grains like rice, corn and wheat; legumes like soybeans and soy products; vegetable oils; soft drinks; salad dressings; vegetables and fruits; dairy products including eggs; meat and other animal products; and even infant formula plus a vast array of hidden additives and ingredients in processed foods (like in tomato sauce, ice cream and peanut butter). They're unrevealed to consumers because labeling is prohibited yet the more of them we eat, the greater the potential threat to our health.
Today, we're all lab rats in an uncontrolled, unregulated mass human experiment the results of which are unknown. The risks from it are beyond measure, it will take many years to learn them, and when they're finally revealed it will be too late to reverse the damage if it's proved GM products harm human health as independent experts strongly believe. Once GM seeds are introduced to an area, the genie is out of the bottle for keeps.
Despite the enormous risks, however, Washington and growing numbers of governments around the world in parts of Europe, Asia, Latin America and Africa now allow these products to be grown in their soil or imported. They're produced and sold to consumers because agribusiness giants like Monsanto, DuPont, Dow AgriSciences and Cargill have enormous clout to demand it and a potent partner supporting them - the US government and its agencies, including the Departments of Agriculture and State, FDA, EPA and even the defense establishment. World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) patent rules also back them along with industry-friendly WTO rulings like the February 7, 2006 one.
It favored a US challenge against European GMO regulatory policies in spite of strong consumer sentiment against these foods and ingredients on the continent. It also violated the Biosafety Protocol that should let nations regulate these products in the public interest, but it doesn't because WTO trade rules sabotaged it. Nonetheless, anti-GMO activism persists, consumers still have a say, and there are hundreds of GMO-free zones around the world, including in the US. That and more is needed to take on the agribusiness giants that so far have everything going their way.
In 'Seeds of Deception,' Jeffrey Smith did a masterful job explaining the dangers of GM foods and ingredients. Engdahl explains them as well but goes much further brilliantly in his blockbuster book on this topic. It's the story of a powerful family and a 'small socio-political American elite (that) seeks to establish control over the very basis of human survival' - future life through the food we eat. The book's introduction says it 'reads (like) a crime story.' It's also a nightmare but one that's very real and threatening.
This review covers the book in-depth because of its importance. It's an extraordinary work that 'reveals a diabolical World of profit-driven political intrigue (and) government corruption and coercion' that's part of a decades-long global scheme for total world dominance. The book deserves vast exposure and must be read in full for the whole disturbing story. It's hoped the material below will encourage readers to do it in their own self-interest and to marshal mass consumer actions to place food safety above corporate profits.
Engdahl's book supplies the ammunition to do it and is also a sequel to his earlier one on war, oil politics and The New World Order and follows naturally from it. It covers the roots of the strategy to control 'global food security' that goes back to the 1930s and the plans of a handful of American families to preserve their wealth and power. But it centers on one in particular that above the others 'came to symbolize the hubris and arrogance of the emerging American century' that blossomed post-WW II. Its patriarch began in oil and then dominated it in his powerful Oil Trust. It was only the beginning as the family expanded into 'education of youth, medicine and psychology,' US foreign policy, and 'the very science of life itself, biology, and its applications' in plants and agriculture.
The family's name is Rockefeller. The patriarch was John D., and four powerful later-generation brothers followed him - David, Nelson, Laurance, and John D. III. Engdahl says the GMO story covers 'the evolution of power in the hands of an elite (led by this family), determined (above all) to bring the entire world under their sway.' They and other elites already control most of it, including the nation's energy, the US Federal Reserve, and other key world central banks. Today, three brothers are gone, David alone remains, and he's still a force at age 92 although he no longer runs the family bank, JP Morgan Chase. He's active in family enterprises, however, including the Rockefeller Foundation to be discussed in Part II of this review.
This is the third and final part of William Engdahl's powerfully important book about four Anglo-American agribusiness giants and their aim to control world food supply, make it all genetically engineered, and use it as a geopolitical weapon. The story is chilling and needs to be read in full to learn the type future they plan for us. Parts I and II were published and are available on this web site. Part III follows below.
Food is Power
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.
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.
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.
Planting the "Garden of Earthly Delights"
On January 1, 1995, the WTO was officially established with powers to enforce its corporate-written laws on member states. US agribusiness was already dominant, but it now had a new unelected supranational body to advance its private agenda on a global scale. WTO is a "policeman" for global free trade and "a (predatory) battering ram for the trillion dollar annual world agribusiness" part of it for its giants. Its rules are written with teeth for "punitive leverage" to levy heavy financial and other penalties on rule violators. Under them, agriculture is a priority because American companies are dominant.
Cargill wrote the rules that Engdahl calls the "Cargill Plan." They:
-- ban all government farm programs and price supports worldwide (but wink and nod at massive US subsidies);
-- prohibit countries from imposing import controls to defend their own agricultural production;
-- ban agricultural export controls even in times of famine so Cargill can dominate world export grain trade; and
-- forbid countries from restricting trade through food safety laws called trade barriers; this demand also opens world markets to unrestricted GMO food imports with no need to prove their safety.
The International Food and Agricultural Trade Policy Council lobby (IPC) worked with Cargill and US agribusiness to advance this agenda. Four so-called Group of Four QUAD countries took the lead - the US, Canada, Japan and EU. Meeting in secret, they set policy for all 134 WTO members that for agriculture was drafted by US agribusiness giants like Cargill, Monsanto, ADM and DuPont along with EU giants, Nestle and Unilever. They were designed to erase national laws and safeguards in favor of unrestricted free markets favoring Global North countries.
Through patents, GMO giants control staple crop seeds and need WTO leverage to force them on a skeptical world. It's done through WTO's Agreement on Agriculture (AoA) along with its Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). Until the advent of agribusiness, food production and its markets were local. That's now changed with corporate giants in control and able to set prices by manipulating supply.
AoA rules were established to help. They also enforce agribusiness' highest priority - "a free and integrated global market for its products." Included are GMO ones the senior Bush administration ruled are "substantially equivalent" to ordinary seeds and crops and need no government regulation.
That provision is written into WTO rules under its "Sanitary and Phytosanitary Agreement (SPS). It states that national laws banning GMO products are "unfair trade practices" even when they endanger human health. Other WTO rules (called "Technical Barriers to Trade") are in place as well. They prohibit GMO labeling so consumers don't know what they're eating and can't avoid these potentially hazardous foods.
The 1996 Biosafety Protocol was drafted to solve this problem, and it should be in place for that purpose. Developing country demands, however, were "ambushed by the powerful organized government and agribusiness lobby." It sabotaged talks and insisted biosafety measures be subordinate to WTO trade rules favoring developed states. As a result, talks collapsed, safety concerns are ignored, and the path was cleared for the unrestricted spread of GMO seeds worldwide.
Under WTO's TRIPS rules, all member states must pass patent-protecting intellectual property laws that make knowledge property. That, in turn, "open(s) the floodgates" nearly everywhere for the proliferation of GMO seeds and foods, even in violation of national food safety laws.
GMO giants have powerful friends in government backing their agenda. George Bush is one of them, and in 2003 he made the proliferation of GMO seeds his top priority after the Iraq war. With that support, GMO companies are pushing things to the limit with a brazen example Engdahl gave involving the Texas biotech company, RiceTec.
It schemed to patent Basmati rice, the dietary staple across Asia for thousands of years. With IRRI collusion, the company stole the seeds, patented them under Rockefeller Foundation-crafted rules, and the 2001 Supreme Court decision in Ag Supply v. Pioneer Hi-Bred made it possible. It "enshrined the principle of allowing patents on plant forms and other forms of life in (this) groundbreaking case." Under the ruling, GMO plant breeds can be patented, and US government agencies are complicit in helping agribusiness giants ensure nothing stops them from doing it.
As a result, the GMO monoculture onslaught threatens plant species diversity everywhere. With full Washington and WTO backing, major biotech companies are patenting every plant imaginable in GMO form. By the beginning of the new millennium, Engdahl referred to a "Gene Revolution (as a) monsoon force in world agriculture" with four dominant companies controlling GMOs and related agrichemical markets" - Monsanto, DuPont, Dow Agrisciences and Syngenta in Switzerland from the merger of the agriculture divisions of Novartis and AstraZeneca.
The "world's number one" is Monsanto. The company was discussed in Part I of this review, and Engdahl quoted its chairman saying his goal is a global fusion of "three of the largest industries in the world - agriculture, food and health - that now operate (separately, but) changes....will lead to their integration." That was over seven years ago. Now it's happening.
Engdahl covered pertinent information on the industry that might otherwise have gone unnoticed - that the three US GMO giants have a long sordid association with the Pentagon supplying massively destructive chemicals like Agent Orange, napalm and others. They now want to be trusted with the most important things we ingest - our food and drugs in the face of strong evidence their GMO varieties harm human health and their history of public safety concern is atrocious.
Like it or not, they're advancing their agenda, and a 2004 Rockefeller Foundation report shows it. GM crop production achieved nine consecutive double digit year increases since 1996. More than eight million farmers in 17 countries now plant them, over 90% in developing nations. Far and away, the US is the world's leader "with aggressive Government promotion, absence of labeling, and the domination of US farm production." Here, "genetically engineered crops (have) essentially taken over the American food chain." In 2004, over 85% of soybeans were genetically modified, 45% of corn, and since animal feed is mainly from these crops "the entire meat production of the nation (and exports) has been fed on genetically modified animal feed." What animals eat, so do humans.
It gets even worse. Wind and air proliferate GM seeds to adjacent fields, including organic ones that are now to some degree contaminated. Engdahl explained that "after just six years, an estimated 67% of all US farm acreage has been (irremedially) contaminated with genetically engineered seeds. The genie was out of the bottle" as nothing known to science can reverse this condition.
It renders the notion of pure organic impossible except from perhaps very isolated farms that comprise a small percent of the industry. Even so, organic crops are safer than chemically-treated ones and hugely preferable to any that are genetically modified. That said, as the Gene Revolution advances worldwide, the future of organic farming is imperiled to the horror of people like this writer dependent on them.
Consider further the way GMO giants gain market share with government and WTO backing. It's also helped by imposing rigid licensing and technology agreements on farmers who must pay annual fees. They're binding and enforced through Technology Use Agreements farmers have to sign, and by so doing, entrap themselves in a "new form of serfdom." Each year, they must buy new seeds, and they're forbidden to reuse any from previous years as was customary before GMO introductions. Failure to observe the agreements can result in severe legal damages or even imprisonment and possible loss of their land.
Complicit government agencies and clever marketing schemes aid the "Gene Revolution" through "lies and damn lies" that GMO crops have higher yields and can solve world hunger problems. The evidence proves otherwise. In addition, resistant "superweeds" develop over time, crop yields drop, farmers must use greater amounts of herbicides, they're locked into high user fees, and they end up losing money. Bottom line - the case for "genetically engineered seeds for agriculture had been based on a citadel of scientific fraud and corporate lies." This information is hidden from the public, and it's too late once unwary farmers learn they've been had.
Besides that, Russian science showed GMOs harm unborn babies as over half the rat offsring fed a genetically modified soybean diet died in their first three weeks of life - six times the normal rate. Evidence was growing on GMO dangers, and the industry was alarmed. In 1999, it "required an extraordinary intervention by its patron saint, the Rockefeller Foundation," to pull its fat out of the fire.
Population Control - Terminators, Traitors, Spermicidal Corn
Crucial to its strategy, GMO giants needed a "new technology which would allow them to sell seed that would not reproduce." They developed one called GURTs (Genetic Use Restriction Technologies) that became known as "Terminator" seeds. The process is patented, it applies to all plant and seed species, and replanting them doesn't work. They won't grow. It's the industry's solution to controlling world food production and assuring themselves big profits as a result. What a discovery. Terminator corn, soybean and other seeds have been "genetically modified to 'commit suicide' after one harvest season" by a toxin-producing inbuilt gene.
A closely related technology is called T-GURT seeds, or second generation Terminators, nicknamed "Traitor." The technology relies on controlling both plant fertility and its genetic characteristics with "an inducible gene promoter" called a "gene switch." GMO pest and disease-resistant crops only work by using a specific chemical compound companies like Monsanto make. Farmers buying seeds illegally won't get the compound to "turn on" the resistant gene. Traitor technology thus creates a captive new market for the GMO giants, and Traitor is cheaper to produce than Terminator seeds.
Combined, these two technologies give agribusiness giants unprecedented powers. "For the first time in history, it (lets) three or four private multinational seed companies....dictate terms to world farmers for their seed." It's a biological warfare tool almost "too good to believe" in the face of open citizen opposition the industry and US Department of Agriculture (USDA) aim to quash.
Engdahl quoted USDA spokesman Willard Phelps from a June, 1998 interview saying the agency wanted Terminator technology to be "widely licensed and made expeditiously available to many seed companies." Hidden was the reason why - to introduce these seeds to the developing world as the prime Rockefeller Foundation strategy. Engdahl called it a "Trojan Horse for Western GMO seed giants to get control over Third World food supplies in areas with weak or non-existent patent laws." It became an urgent Foundation priority to spread the seeds worldwide to irreversibly capture world markets. USDA fully backed the scheme.
That kind of muscle (along with WTO rules) is overwhelming. It's the tactic used when the US departments of state and agriculture coordinate famine relief using genetically engineered US surplus commodities. Farmers getting GMO seeds aren't told what they are, they plant them unwittingly for the next harvest, get hooked, and the proliferation isn't restricted to Africa. Through coercion, bribery and other illegal tactics, the industry's goal is to introduce them everywhere but especially in highly indebted developing states. In the case of Poland, it was in a country with some of the richest European soil that's now spoiled by genetic contamination.
Consider how the scheme ties in with Rockefeller Foundation population control strategy. In 2001, it was aided when the privately-owned biotech company, Epicyte, announced it successfully developed the "ultimate GMO crop" - contraceptive corn. It was called a solution to world "over-population," but news about it vanished after Biolex acquired the company.
One way or other, the Rockefeller Foundation aims to reduce population through human reproduction by spreading GMO seeds. It's doing it cooperatively with the UN World Health Organization (WHO) by quietly funding its "reproductive health" program through the use of an innovative tetanus vaccine. Combined with hCG natural hormones, it's an abortion agent preventing pregnancies, but women getting it aren't told. Neither is anything said about the Pentagon viewing population reduction as a sophisticated form of "biological warfare" (to) solve world hunger."
Avian Flu Panic and GMO Chickens
In 2005, George Bush duped the public into believing a so-called Avian (bird flu) epidemic threatened a pandemic if not addressed. The solution as always is turn to the private sector and reward his friends. In this case, he asked Congress to appropriate an emergency $1 billion taxpayer dollars for a drug Tamiflu. Unmentioned was a key fact. It was developed and patented by Gilead Science and, that prior to becoming Defense Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld was its chairman and still a major stockholder.
The scare combined with government funding and a rising stock price stood to make him a fortune just as Dick Cheney profited as Vice-President from his Halliburton ties. Engdahl asked: "Was the avian flu scare another Pentagon hoax" with an unknown aim? Based on known and suppressed past government actions, "a supposedly deadly" new flu strain "had to be treated with more than a little suspicion."
It was being used to advance global agribusiness and poultry factory farm interests "along the model of Arkansas-based Tyson Foods." Consider the facts. Factory farms are breeding grounds for potential disease proliferation because of their cramped, overcrowded conditions, but this was never mentioned as a threat. Instead, small family-run free-ranging chicken farmers were cited as culprits, especially in Asia, when, in fact, that notion is at least very unlikely.
Small farms like these are the safest, but an industry-government propaganda campaign claimed otherwise. The scheme is clear. Five multinational giants dominate US chicken meat production and processing - Tyson (the largest), Gold Kist, Pilgrim's Pride, ConAgra Poultry and Perdue Farms. They produce chicken meat under "atrocious health and safety conditions." According to the GAO, these plants had "one of the highest rates of injury and illness of any industry."
Cited was exposure to "dangerous chemicals, blood, fecal matter, exacerbated by poor ventilation and often extreme temperatures....(In addition, chickens are tightly cramped and) prevented from moving or getting any exercise on factory farms (so they can) grow....much larger (and faster) than ever before." Growth boosters are also used, they create health problems, and growing numbers of animal experts believe these farms, not small Asian ones, are the real source of dangerous new diseases like avian flu. That information is suppressed in the mainstream so the public is duped.
It's so chicken processing giants can globalize world production with the avian flu scare "gift from heaven" to help them. If small Asian chicken farmers can be squeezed out, Tyson and the others can access the huge Asian poultry market. That's their aim and removing competition their method with help from friends in high places.
Creating the first GMO animal population is also part of the scheme with the prospect of transforming world chickens into GMO birds. Engdahl put it this way: "By 2006, riding the fear of an avian flu human epidemic, the GMO or Gene Revolution players were clearly aiming to conquer the world's most important source of meat protein, poultry." But another scheme to dominate world food production also lay ahead. "Terminator was about to come into the control of the world's largest GMO agribusiness seed giant."
Genetic Armageddon: Terminator and Patents on Pigs
In 2007, Monsanto acquired Delta & Pine Land (D&PL)to complete its aborted 1999 takeover attempt. D&PL had global Terminator patent rights and successfully extended them on GURTs. The deal made Monsanto "the overwhelming monopolist of agricultural seeds of nearly every variety" that includes fruits and vegetables from the company's acquisition of Seminis a year earlier. With that company, Monsanto is now first in vegetables and fruits, second in agronomic crops, and the world's third largest agrochemical company. With D&PL, the company has absolute control over the majority of plant agricultural seeds as well. In addition, they're getting into the genetic engineering and patenting of animal seeds.
In 2005, Monsanto applied to the WTO for international patent rights for its claimed genetic engineering of a means to identify pig genes derived from patented male swine semen. The company also wants patents and the right to collect license fees for particular farm animals and livestock herds. If granted, "Any pigs that would be produced using this reproductive technique would be covered by these patents." Several techniques are being used and patented as fast as GMO lawyers can submit applications to lock up animal life as intellectual property.
Companies like Monsanto and Cargill have invested huge amounts to genetically modify animals for profit. They thus want patent and licensing rights to the results even though this represents a controversial goal to patent life itself. A 1980 Supreme Court decision in Diamond v. Chakrabarty, however, gave them an opening by ruling "anything under the sun that is made by man" is patentable. It paved the way for a landmark patent of the "Harvard mouse" that was genetically engineered to be susceptible to cancer.
Engdahl explained how four agribusiness giants used "stealth, system, and a well-supported campaign of lies and distortion" to progress toward Henry Kissinger's ultimate goal - controlling oil to control nations and food to control people. The pursuit of both are ongoing with little public knowledge of how far advanced things are and how reckless the scheme is - to genetically engineer all plants and life forms and to control world population by culling its "unwanted" parts.
A September, 2006 WTO tribunal ruled for the US and against the EU. In so doing, it threatens to open this important agricultural region to the "forced introduction (of) genetically-manipulated plants and food products." It recommended the WTO Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) require the EU to conform with its obligations under WTO's SPS Agreement that lets agribusiness ignore national laws and rights to protect public health and safety. Failure to comply can cost EU countries hundreds of millions of dollars in annual fines, so this issue is crucial to both sides.
At the time of Engdahl's writing, it was unclear if the "GMO juggernaut would be stopped globally." It's still uncertain, but as of December, only nine biotech products are authorized for sale in the EU. So far, most US corn exports are blocked and trade in other products is hindered in spite of dozens of applications pending in the pipeline with their fate undecided.
Several EU countries, including France, Germany, Austria and Denmark, even ban some EU-approved biotech products to further cloud the outlook. Polls show why with European public opinion strongly opposed to GMO foods and ingredients with hostility levels in France as high as 89% and 79% wanting governments to ban them. This shows European consumers are far ahead of Americans and much better protected (so far) by their overall exclusion as well as having labeling requirements for those allowed to be sold. That provision is crucial as it empowers consumers to use or avoid eating these foods. If enough people abstain, food outlets won't carry them.
Engdahl ends on a high note by observing how vulnerable GMO giants are to criticism. Thrusting untested products down consumer throats is "grounds for organizing a global ban or moratorium on them" if enough vocal opposition can be marshaled. Throughout his book, he sounds the alarm with reams of carefully documented facts on the industry, its products and goals. Converting world agriculture to GMOs, allowing agribusiness free reign over them, and combining that scheme with a diabolical population culling agenda adds up to solving world hunger through genocide and endangering the rest of us in the process.
So far, Washington and the industry are on a roll toward controlling oil and food. Hundreds of millions around the world stand opposed, but it's unclear if that's enough. Engdahl's book is a wake-up call for every friend of the earth to understand issues this crucial can't be left in the hands of unscrupulous business giants and their supportive friends in high places everywhere. The book has reams of ammunition against them. It needs to be thoroughly read and used. The stakes are much too high - human health and safety must never be compromised for profit.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also visit his blog site at http://sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to The Steve Lendman News and Information Hour on http://TheMicroEffect.com Mondays at noon US Central time.