Creating Agribusiness,

Unleashing GMO Seeds

excerpted from the book

Seeds of Destruction

The Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation

by F. William Engdahl

Global Research, 2007


Creating Agribusiness

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 for GMO.

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 country.

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 serfdom.

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 countries.

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 patented it.

... 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 separate businesses.

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 seed producer.

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 seeds.

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 costs."

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 reality.

... 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.

Seeds Of Destruction

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