Unleashing GMO Seeds
excerpted from the book
Seeds of Destruction
The Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation
by F. William Engdahl
Global Research, 2007
The Rockefellers' Green Revolution began in Mexico and was spread
across Latin America during the 1950's and 1960's. Shortly thereafter,
backed by John D. Rockefeller's networks across Asia, it was introduced
in India and elsewhere in Asia. The "revolution" was
a veiled effort to gain control over food production in key target
countries of the developing world, promoted in the name of free
enterprise market efficiency against alleged "communist inefficiency."
Catherine Bertini, Executive Director, United Nations World Food
Program, former US Assistant Secretary of Agriculture
Food is power! We use it to change behavior.
Some may call that bribery. We do not apologize.
From 1932 to 1957, the Rockefeller Foundation had handed out an
impressive $90 million in grants to support the creation of the
new field of molecular biology. Molecular biology and the attendant
work with genes was a Rockefeller Foundation creation in every
sense of the word.
Borrowing generously from their work in
race eugenics, the [Rockefeller] foundation scientists developed
the idea of molecular biology from the fundamental assumption
that almost all human problems could be "solved" by
genetic and chemical manipulation.
... The people in and around the Rockefeller
institutions saw it as the ultimate means of social control and
social engineering, eugenics.
With an elaborate international structure for proliferating the
seeds of the gene revolution ... and the direct funding of the
Rockefeller Foundation, agribusiness and the backers of the gene
revolution were ready for the next giant step: the consolidation
of global control over humankind's food supply.
Unleashing GMO Seeds
By the end of the 1980's, a global network of genetically-trained
molecular biologists had developed. A mammoth Rockefeller GMO
project was launched.
... In a short space of just eight years,
worldwide acreage planted with GMO crops grew to 167 million acres
by 2004, an increase of some 40-fold. That acreage represented
an impressive 25% of total land under agricultural cultivation
in the world, suggesting GMO crops were well on the way to fully
dominating world crop production, at least in basic crops, within
a decade or even less.
Over two-thirds of that acreage, or 106
million acres, was planted by the world's leading GMO advocate,
the United States.
... By 2004, Argentina was second after
the United States in size of acreage planted with GMO crops, with
34 million acres of planting. Far smaller but fast-expanding GMO
countries included Brazil, which in early 2005 repealed a law
banning planting GMO crops. They argued the crops had already
proliferated so widely it was not possible to control the spread.
Canada, South Africa and China all had significant GMO crop programs
in place by then.
In October 1976, Argentine Foreign Minister, Admiral Cesar Guzzetti
met with Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and Vice President
Nelson Rockefeller in Washington. The meeting was to discuss the
military junta's proposal for massive repression of opposition
in the country. According to declassified US State Department
documents released only years later, Kissinger and Rockefeller
not only indicated their approval, but Rockefeller even suggested
specific key individuals in Argentina to be targeted for elimination.
At least 15,000 intellectuals, labor leaders and opposition figures
disappeared in the so-called "dirty war."
In the 1970s, before the debt crisis, soybean was not even a factor
in the national agriculture economy, with only 9,500 hectares
of soybean plantations. In those years, a typical family farm
produced a variety of vegetable crops, grains, raised chickens
and perhaps a few cows for milk, cheese and meat.
By 2000, after four years of adopting
Monsanto soybeans and mass production techniques, over 10 million
GMO soy hectares had been planted. By 2004, the area had expanded
to more than 14 million hectares. Large agribusiness combines
had managed to clear forests, as well as traditional lands occupied
by the indigenous people to create more land for soy cultivation.
Argentine agricultural diversity, with
its fields of corn, wheat, and cattle, was rapidly being turned
into monoculture, just as Egyptian farming was taken over and
ruined by cotton in the 1880's.
For more than a century, Argentine farm
land, especially the legendary pampas, had been filled with wide
fields of corn and wheat amid green pastures grazed by herds of
cattle. Farmers rotated between crops and cattle to preserve soil
quality. With the introduction of soybean monoculture, the soil,
leeched of its vital nutrients, required even more chemical fertilizers-not
less, as Monsanto had promised. The large beef and dairy herds
which had roamed freely for decades on the grasslands of Argentina
were now forced into cramped US-style mass cattle feedlots to
make way for the more lucrative soybean. Fields of traditional
cereals, lentils, peas and green beans had already almost vanished.
A leading Argentine agro-ecologist, Walter
Pengue, a specialist in the impact of GMO soybeans, predicted
that, "If we continue in this path, perhaps within 50 years
the land will not produce anything at all".
By 2004, 48% of all agricultural land
in the country was dedicated to soybean crops, and between 90%
and 97% of these were Monsanto GMO Roundup Ready soybeans. Argentina
had become the world's largest uncontrolled experimental laboratory
Between 1988 and 2003, Argentine dairy
farms had been reduced by half. For the first time, milk had to
be imported from Uruguay at costs far higher than domestic prices.
As mechanized soybean monoculture forced hundreds of thousands
of workers off the land, poverty and malnutrition soared.
In the more tranquil era of the 1970's,
before the New York banks stepped in, Argentina enjoyed one of
the highest living standards in Latin America. The percentage
of its population officially below the poverty line was 5% in
1970. By 1998, that figure had escalated to 30% of the total population.
And by 2002, to 51%. By 2003, malnutrition rose to levels estimated
at between 11% and 17% of the total population of 37 million.
Amid the drastic national economic crisis
arising from the state's defaulting on its debt, Argentines found
they were no longer able to rely on small plots of land for their
survival. The land had been overrun by mass GMO soybean acreages
and blocked to even ordinary survival crops.
Under the support of foreign investors
and agribusiness giants like Monsanto and Cargill, large Argentine
landowners moved systematically to seize land from helpless peasants,
most often with backing from the state. By law, peasants had rights
over lands of which they had the uncontested use for 20 years
or more. That traditional right was trampled by the powerful new
interests behind agribusiness. In the vast region of Santiago
del Estero in the north, large feudal landowners began an operation
of mass deforestation to make way for wholesale GMO soybean crops.
Peasant communities were suddenly told
that their land belonged to someone else. Typically, if they refused
to leave willingly, armed groups would steal their cattle, burn
their crops and threaten them with more violence. The lure of
huge profits from GMO soybean exports was the driving force behind
the violent upheaval surrounding traditional farming across the
As farming families were made destitute
and pushed off their lands, they fled to new shanty towns on the
edges of the larger cities, turning to social disorder, crime
and suicide, while disease became rampant amid the impossible
overcrowding. Within several years, more than 200,000 peasants
and small farmers were driven off their lands to make way for
the large agribusiness soybean planters.
Collection of a royalty or "technology license fee"
was at the heart of the Monsanto marketing scheme. Farmers in
the USA and elsewhere had to sign a binding contract with Monsanto
agreeing to not re-use saved seeds and to pay new royalties to
Monsanto each year--a system which can be seen as a new form of
By early 2005, the Brazilian government of President Lula da Silva
had thrown in the towel, and passed a law making planting of GMO
seeds in Brazil legal for the first time, claiming that the use
of GMO seeds had spread so widely as to be uncontrollable anyway.
By 2006, together with the United States, where GMO Monsanto soybeans
dominated, Argentina and Brazil accounted for more than 81% of
world soybean production, thereby ensuring that practically every
animal in the world fed soymeal was eating genetically engineered
soybeans. Similarly, this would imply that every McDonald's hamburger
mixed with soymeal would be genetically engineered, and most processed
foods, whether they realized or not.
The impact of mass soybean monoculture [in Argentina] was horrendous.
Traditional farming communities close to the huge soybean plantations
were seriously affected by the aerial spraying of Monsanto Roundup
herbicides. In Loma Senes, peasants growing mixed vegetables for
their own consumption found all their crops destroyed by spraying,
as Roundup kills all plants other than specially gene-modified
"herbicide-resistant" Monsanto beans.
A study conducted in 2003 showed that
the spraying had not only destroyed the nearby peasants' crops:
their chickens had died and other animals, especially horses,
were adversely affected.
... On average, the Roundup soybean crops
gave between 5% to 15% lower yields than traditional soybean crops.
Also, far from needing less herbicide, farmers found vicious new
weeds which needed up to three times as much spraying as before.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) statistics
from 1997 showed that expanded plantings of Roundup Ready soybeans
resulted in a 72% increase in the use of glyphosate.
... By 2004, GMO soybean had spread across
the entire country [Argentina], and the seeds all depended on
Monsanto Roundup pesticide. A more perfect scheme of human bondage
would be hard to imagine.
The US occupation [of Iraq] was instrumental in bringing the agricultural
system of an entire country under the domain of GMO agribusiness.
The US occupation administration simply made Iraqi farmers an
offer they could not refuse: "Take our GM seeds or die?
... To facilitate the introduction of
patent-protected GM seeds fro( foreign seed giants, the Iraq Agriculture
Ministry distributed these GM seeds at "subsidized prices?'
Once farmers started using the GM seeds, under the new Plant Patent
Protection rules of Order 81, they would be forced to buy new
seeds each year from the company. Under the banner of bringing
a "free-market" into the country, Iraqi farmers were
becoming enslaved to foreign seed multinationals.
... The forced transformation of Iraq's
food production into patented GMO crops is one of the clearest
examples of the manner in which Monsanto and other GMO giants
are forcing GMO crops onto an unwilling or unknowing world population.
The project of making GMO crops the dominant basic crops on the
world agricultural market was the creation of a new enforcement
institution which would stand above national governments. That
new institution, which opened its doors in 1995 was to be called
the World Trade Organization (WTO).
In September 1986, two years after the
Rockefeller Foundation had launched its genetic engineering rice
project, US agribusiness threw its now considerable weight behind
a radical new international trade regime, the GATT Uruguay Round.
... After three decades of systematic
destruction of barriers to monopoly and vertical integration,
of eradication of health regulations and safety standards within
the United States agricultural sector, the emerging corporate
colossus of agribusiness next moved to flex its muscle by demanding
the creation of a new supranational, non-elected body to enforce
its private agenda of concentration on a global scale.
The WTO headquarters were established
in Geneva, Switzerland, a nominally neutral, scenic, and peaceful
location. Behind this façade, however, the WTO was anything
but peaceful or neutral. The WTO had been created as a policeman,
a global free trade enforcer, and, among its major aims, a battering
ram for the trillion dollar annual world agribusiness trade, with
the agenda to advance the interests of private agribusiness companies.
For that reason, the WTO was designed as a supranational entity,
to be above the laws of nations, answerable to no public body
beyond its own walls.
GATT agreements had no enforceable sanctions
or penalties for violating agreed trade rules. In contrast, the
new WTO did have such punitive leverage. It had the power to levy
heavy financial penalties or other sanctions on member countries
in violation of their rules. The WTO had emerged as a new weapon
which could force open various national barriers and which could
thereby enhance the proliferation of the soon-to-be commercialized
genetically modified crops.
Cargill was one of the main drivers of the US Business Roundtable
a powerful lobby made up of the largest US corporate executives.
The Business Roundtable formed an alliance for GATT in 1994 to
lobby the US Congress to accept its agriculture agenda-which it
did almost without question.
The Congressional decision to back the
GATT and the creation of the new WTO was made easier by the fact
that Cargill and their Business Roundtable friends poured millions
of dollars in campaign contributions to support key members of
the US Congress.
WTO rules were to be dominated by a Group of Four, the so-called
QUAD countries-the USA, Canada, Japan and the EU. They could meet
behind closed doors and decide policy for all 134 nations. Within
the QUAD, the US-led agribusiness giants controlled major policy.
In effect it was a consensus, but a consensus of private agribusiness,
that determined WTO policy.
The WTO Agreement on Agriculture, which
was written by Cargill, ADM, DuPont, Nestlé, Unilever,
Monsanto and other agribusiness corporations, was explicitly designed
to allow the destruction of national laws and safeguards against
the powerful pricing power of the agribusiness giants.
... Monsanto, DuPont, Dow Chemical and
other agricultural chemical giants had transformed themselves
into controllers of patented genetically-modified seeds for the
world's major staple crops. The time was ripe to establish a police
agency which could force the new GMO crops on a skeptical world.
The WTO Agreement on Agriculture was to be the vehicle for that,
along with the WTO rules enforcing Trade Related Intellectual
Property Rights (TRIPS).
... The WTO marked a step for the globalization
of world agriculture, under terms defined by US agribusiness.
WTO rules would open the legal and political path to the creation
of a global "market" in food commodities similar to
that created by the oil cartel under the Rockefeller Standard
Oil group a century before. Never before the advent of agribusiness
had agriculture crops been viewed as a pure commodity with a global
market price. Crops had always been local along with their markets,
the basis of human existence and of national economic security.
... Backed by the police powers of the
WTO and the muscle of the US State Department, the gene multinationals-Monsanto,
Syngenta and others-soon began testing the limits of how far they
could impose the patenting of plants and other life forms on other
A Texas biotechnology company, RiceTec,
decided it would take out a patent on Basmati rice, the variety
which has been the dietary staple in large parts of India, Pakistan,
and Asia for thousands of years. In 1998, RiceTec took a patent
on its genetically modified Basmati rice, and thanks to US laws
forbidding the labelling of genetic foods RiceTec was able to
sell it legally by labelling it as ordinary Basmati rice. RiceTec,
it turned out, had gotten a hold of the precious Basmati seed,
which had been put in trust by dubious means at the Rockefeller
Foundation's International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines.
The IRRI had made a "safety"
duplicate of the invaluable collection of rice seeds collected
in the Philippines and stored it in a seed bank at Fort Collins,
Colorado, making highly dubious the claim by IRRI that the seeds
would be stored as a secure seed resource for the region's rice
farmers. IRRI had convinced rice farmers that giving their invaluable
seed varieties to the IRRI was for their own security.
In Colorado, far from the Philippines,
the IRRI gave the valuable seeds to RiceTec scientists, who then
... In December 2001, the US Supreme Court
enshrined the principle of allowing patents on plant forms and
other forms of life in a groundbreaking case entitled J.E.M. Ag
Supply vs. Pioneer Hi-Bred.
... To the surprise of most legal experts,
the Court ruled GMO plant breeds could be patented.
From that point onwards, the genetic agribusiness
cartel had the backing of the highest court in the United States.
This could now be used as a battering ram to force other, less
powerful countries to respect US GMO seed patents.
Monsanto, Syngenta, DuPont and the other major holders of patents
on genetically modified plants claimed that genetically engineered
rice, corn, soybeans and other crops would solve the problem of
world hunger and lead to greater food security. In fact, their
aggressive patenting of plant varieties led to restricted research,
reduced genetic plant diversity, and concentrated ownership of
seeds which had been for thousands of years the heritage of mankind.
This process enormously increased the risk for entire plant species
to be devastated due to the new monocultures.
With the full backing of the powerful WTO, and the USA and UK
governments, the major international biotech companies consolidated
their grip, using genetically modified patents on every plant
imaginable. The Gene Revolution was a monsoon force in world agriculture
by the end of the 1990's.
By 2004, four global private companies
dominated the market for genetically modified seeds and their
related agrichemicals. The world's number one GMO company was
the Monsanto Corporation of St. Louis, Missouri, the leading provider
of genetically modified seeds and the world's largest producer
of the chemical herbicide, glyphosate, which it called its Roundup
group of herbicides. Beginning in the 1990's, Monsanto spent some
$8 billion buying up seed companies to complement its role as
one of the world's leading herbicide producers.
The strategy defined in an interview in
the April 12, 1999 Business Week of Monsanto CEO, Robert B. Shapiro,
was to create a global fusion of "three of the largest industries
in the world-agriculture, food and health-that now operate as
The second member of the GMO global quartet to emerge in the late
1990's was DuPont Corporation's Pioneer Hi-Bred International,
Inc., of Johnstown, Iowa. Pioneer Hi-Bred billed itself as "the
world's leading developer and supplier of advanced plant genetics
to farmers worldwide," and was active in 70 countries.
Based in Indianapolis, Indiana, the third GMO giant was Dow AgroSciences,
a $3.4 billion seed and agrochemicals conglomerate active in 66
countries. Dow AgroSciences was formed in 1997 when Dow Chemical
bought drug-maker Eli Lilly's stake in Dow Elanco. The parent
company had grown to be Dow Chemical, the world's second largest
chemical company overall, with annual revenues of $24 billion
and operations in 168 countries."
Like its GMO agribusiness allies, Monsanto
and DuPont, Dow had a disreputable history concerning environmental
and public health issues. Dow's factories at its global headquarters
in Midland, MI, contaminated the entire region, including the
Tittabawassee River floodplains, with stratospheric levels of
dioxin. Tests done by the Michigan Department of Environmental
Quality found that 29 of 34 soil samples taken in Midland had
dioxin levels higher than state cleanup standards." Some
samples had concentrations of dioxin nearly 100 times higher than
cleanup standards. The state warned residents of Midland to "avoid
allowing children to play in soils. Wash hands and any other exposed
body surfaces after any soil contact. Do not eat unwashed foods
from your garden. Do not engage in any other activities that may
introduce soil into the mouth ..."
Dioxin is among the most toxic compounds
ever studied. It is harmful to life in miniscule amounts and has
been linked by experts to endometriosis, immune system impairment,
diabetes, neurotoxicity, birth defects, decreased fertility, testicular
atrophy, reproductive dysfunction, and cancer. Dioxin can affect
insulin, thyroid and steroid hormones, threatening the development
of all human newborns, according to one scientific report.
The fourth horseman of the GMO battalion was Syngenta of Basel,
Switzerland, which grew from the 2000 merger of the agriculture
divisions of Novartis and AstraZeneca into a $6.8 billion agriculture
and chemicals company. It claimed in 2005 to be the world's largest
agrochemical corporation and third largest seed company. Though
it was Swiss-based, Syngenta was in many respects a British-controlled
company whose chairman and many directors came from the British
AstraZeneca side. Syngenta, which deliberately cultivated a low
profile to avoid the controversies plaguing its US rivals, was
the world's second biggest agrochemicals producer and third biggest
By the middle of the 1990s, with the backing of the WTO and Washington--Monsanto,
Dow, Dupont, Syngenta, and a small handful of others-turned their
patented seed loose on the world.
... Following the United States as world
GMO crop leader, Argentina, Canada and Brazil were by far the
largest genetically engineered food producers worldwide.
... GMO soybeans made up 56% of all soy
beans planted in the world; GMO corn made up 14% of all corn,
GMO cotton was 28% of world cotton harvest, and GMO canola, a
form of rapeseed oil totalled 19% all world rapeseed harvest.
Canola oil, toxic in the human diet was developed as a genetically
modified product in Canada, where in a burst of marketing patriotism,
it was labelled Canadian oil or Canola.
In 2004, more than 85% of all us soybeans planted were genetically
modified crops, and most were from Monsanto. 45% of all US corn
harvested was GMO corn. Corn and soybeans constituted the most
important animal feed in US agriculture, which meant that nearly
the entire meat production of the nation as well as its meat exports
had been fed on genetically modified animal feed. Few Americans
had a clue as to what they were eating. No one bothered to tell
them, least of all the Government agencies entrusted with a mandate
to protect citizens' health and welfare.
The spread of large fields dedicated to
planting GMO crops led to contamination of adjacent organic crops
to the point that after. just six years, an estimated 67% of all
US farm acreage had been contaminated with genetically engineered
The genie was out of the bottle.
As independent seed suppliers were rapidly being swallowed up
by Monsanto, DuPont, Dow, Syngenta, Cargill or other large agribusiness
firms, farmers increasingly were trapped into dependency on Monsanto
or the other GMO seed suppliers. American farmers were among the
first to experience this new form of serfdom.
With the 2001 US Supreme Court ruling,
GMO firms like Monsanto could intimidate US farmers into becoming
"seed serfs' The Monsanto penalty for not paying the fees
was severe punitive legal damages in a court trial. Monsanto also
made certain it would have a friendly court hearing. It had written
into its master contract the provision that any litigation against
the company be heard in St. Louis, where jurors knew that Monsanto
was a major local employer.
Monsanto and the other GMO seed companies
demanded that farmers pay each year for new seeds. The farmers
were forbidden to re-use seeds from the previous years. Monsanto
went so far as to hire private Pinkerton detectives to spy on
farmers to see if they were reusing their old seeds.
The Rockefeller Foundation had carefully prepared the media marketing
and propaganda case for the proliferation of genetically crops.
One of its main arguments was to claim that global population
growth in the coming decades, in the face of gradual exhaustion
of the world's best soils from over-cultivation, required a dramatic
new approach to feeding the planet.
... This carefully formulated pitch for
GMO crops was picked up by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization,
World Bank, IMF and the leading advocates of genetically modified
seeds, especially the seed conglomerates themselves, to justify
their cause. If you opposed the spread of GMO seeds, you defacto
supported genocide against the world's poor. At least that was
the not-so-subtle message of the GMO lobby.
Monsanto and the biotech seed giants argued that higher yields
more than compensated for their added cost. Higher yields were
supposedly a prime benefit of planting the GMO seeds. However,
the "Seeds of Doubt" research study concluded that Monsanto
Roundup Ready soybeans and Roundup Ready rapeseed produced on
average lower yields than non-GMO varieties, and although genetically
engineered Bt corn produced a small yield increase overall, it
was not enough over the whole period to cover the higher production
Further contradicting the claims that
GMO crops required significantly less chemical fertilizer-an argument
used to win over ecological opponents-the study in fact found
that Roundup Ready soybeans, corn, and rapeseed had "mostly
resulted in an increase in agrochemical use' meaning more tons
of pesticide and herbicide per acre than with ordinary varieties
of the same crops.
Numerous studies confirmed that GMO crops required not less but
typically more chemical herbicides and pesticides after one or
two seasons than non-GMO crops. Even the US Department of Agriculture
admitted the advertised claims of GMO did not bear relation to
... Farmers across the United States,
where GMO crops had been planted for a number of years, discovered
that, unexpectedly, herbicide-tolerant weeds had emerged requiring
added use of other herbicides in addition to the GMO-specific
brands such as Monsanto's Roundup Ready. In the case of GMO corn,
the weed plague had necessitated the use of the chemical herbicide
atrazine, one of the most toxic herbicides that exist, as a supplement
to control weeds.