Ukraine: War Over Agribusiness, Land, GMOs?

(Source: http://www.oaklandinstitute.org / Cross-posted on February 16, 2015 / Comment: Anybody seen this absolutely relevant information reported on American mainstream media? More than 5,400 Ukrainians have perished. More than one million Ukrainians have become internally displaced or refugees)

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The New Conquistadors — Part 2: Ukraine

February 10, 2015
Source:
The Barricade

How International Corporations Are Taking Over Ukraine’s Agriculture

Context.

Ukraine has become a nation synonymous with the daily headlines. From the trail of western intervention and subversion that lead to a violent coup in 2013. To the devastating civil war that has torn the nation apart. These stories, as crucial as they are to investigate, have provided the perfect cover for international corporations to exploit Ukraine’s resources .

This exploitation accelerated when Ukraine declared its independence in 1992. From this period onward, Ukraine has experienced the colonization of its vastly important agricultural sector. International agribusiness and biotechnology firms have steadily been reforming Ukraine’s agricultural laws in order to eventually allow for an explosion in the production of genetically modified organisms.

Loopholes.

Recent efforts to speed up this annexation of Ukrainian agriculture have been documented by the Oakland Institute. Their fact-sheet on the Corporate Takeover of Ukrainian Agriculture shows how the law firm Frishberg and Partners found loopholes in a moratorium on Ukrainian agricultural land sales. The law firm suggested a two-pronged approach to circumventing this moratorium, which remains in force until January 1, 2016.

The first step is to lease Ukrainian land instead of purchasing it, a practive that basically provides ownership when combined with legal purchases of industrial spaces alongside the same land.

The second step to bypassing the moratorium is to buy large amounts of shares in leading Ukrainian agribusinesses and then change these companies from the inside out. This is a strategy that international agribusiness giants such as Cargill, Monsanto and Dupont have employed. In 2014 Cargill bought a five percent share in UkrLandFarming, the largest land ‘bank’ in Ukraine.

These loopholes are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the multinational effort to subdue and mold a potentially lucrative agriculture market for maximum profit. While Ukraine currently enforces a ban on GMO products, it has become apparent that this is a temporary state of affairs. The stage was set for the impending removal of this ban when Ukraine and the EU signed an association agreement in 2014.

Clause 404.

Of particular interest in this association agreement is clause 404 which promotes “ the use of biotechnologies” in Ukrainian agriculture. Furthermore the clause states that Ukraine needs to facilitate “conditions for investment” as well as opening Ukraine’s agriculture to a “framework of international organisations”.

It becomes clear from requirements such as those listed in the association agreement that Ukraine is not being set up for economic prosperity and independence, but rather for multinational exploitation.

While these developments, it could be argued, are open to interpretation, as indeed multinational corporations would prefer Ukrainian farmers and the civilian population to believe. The links between government organisations and agribusiness corporations are clearer in their impications.

US-Ukraine Business Council.

The entry point into these connections can be found on the board of members of the US-Ukraine business council (USUBC). On the board of directors is plethora of multinational US business giants. Of particular interest to this report are the agribusiness board members. These include Monsanto, Cargill, Dupont and a less prominent organisation known as the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications(ISAAA). These organisations are at the forefront of introducing GMO products into a agricultural sector that they increasingly control. Also on the board of directors and working alongside with these corporations is the ubiquitous USaid, under the banner of the agroinvest program.

These companies and organisations have made their way into several key areas of Ukrainian agriculture, piecing together a multifaceted plan which will ultimately culminate in the implementation and monopoly of GMO products in Ukraine.

Business and Legislation.

MonstantoCargill and Dupont have all already invested hundreds of millions of dollars into the construction of seed processing plants in Ukraine. These companies have over the last twenty years established strong business foundation in within the country. These foundations have been laid so deep that international agribusiness companies can be found on the board of members of the national Ukrainian Seed Association. This association, which includes Monstanto and Dupont, aims to implement “new technologies” and “the best new varieties and hybrids in Ukraine”.

The Ukrainian Seed Association also seeks to “take active part in the development of legislation of Ukraine concerning the improvement of seed market”. What this shows is that multinational agribusiness giants have the ability to not only introduce their technologies into Ukraine, but actively seek to change Ukrainian legislation to benefit their implementation.

A likely result of this practice is evident in the 2012 repeal of compulsory GMO labelling in Ukraine. This was done only two years after the law was put into place. Coincidentally, Monsanto doubled its presence in Ukraine during the same year as the repeal.

The US Government’s Role in GMO colonialism.

Within this increasingly layered picture of corporate intervention into Ukraine’s agriculture can be found the key player in Ukraine’s current state of affairs. The US government, while telling the world it is simply brokering a transition in Ukraine, is in fact playing a central role shaping the nation’s economy. The aforementioned ISAAA which claims to be “a small, responsive, non-bureaucratic, international network”, is in fact sponsored directly by the US state department, department of Agriculture and USaid.The ISAAA is instrumental in organising the dissemination of biotechnology into “developing countries through public-private partnerships”.

Through the sponsoring of the ISAAA which sits on the US-Ukraine business council, and works to introduce GMO’s into Ukraine, the US government is directly facilitating the corporate takeover of Ukraine’s agriculture.

Ramifications.

The concerted campaign of these corporations, with the help of USaid and even direct US government assistance, is already paying dividends for the future profits of these companies. The Ukrainian Minister of Agricultural Policy and Food, Mykola Prysyazhnyuk, announced in 2013 that GMO feed trials for livestock had begun. The IMF loaned Ukraine 17 billion dollars, but with one of the terms being that Ukraine needs toeventually open itself to biotechnology and GMO products.

Ukraine is renown for its ‘black soil’, which is extremely fertile and high yielding. It has long been used by local farmers to supply much of Europe and the world with corn and wheat. For the immensely wealthy international corporations this is the chance to make more money, and with the current situation in Ukraine, it will be relatively easy to do so.

Once the biotechnology and GMO laws are altered it will be too late for small farms and businesses to compete on a local scale, let alone an international one.

While the tragedy of the potential ruination of Ukraine’s unique soils and environment is enough to warrant alarm. It is the fact that the benefits of this corporate invasion will only be shared by the companies themselves and the few oligarchs whose land they have purchased. Ukraine as a whole will receive little to no benefit in the long term. For a country ruined by a war with no end in sight as well as decades of corruption, this spells disaster on a grand scale.

Ukraine is in dire need of less foreign-led ‘rebuilding’. The idea that Ukraine needed to choose an US-EU led intervention, is what has led to much of the chaos. On top of the conflict this has caused, it has led the way for companies like Monsanto, Dupont and Cargill to take  full advantage of this instability.

Unless more light is shed on the domination of struggling nations by international corporations, this trend will continue. The eventual costs of biotechnology and the potential health detriments will lead to Ukraine remaining unable to recover. It will instead continue to be used as a colonial business outpost for the many companies and governments seeking to exploit its natural resources.

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John Perkins Update.

Posted on December 21, 2014

by Jerry Alatalo

mountain1(Cross-posted from johnperkins.org – An article written by John Perkins)

Year in Review: Latin America in 2014

By John Perkins

I just returned from a magical trip with a special group of people to amazing Peru. Our group experienced sacred sites and ceremonies with the Q’ero and other Quechua elders and shamans. Now I look forward to facilitating another group as we visit the sacred sites and great Mayan teachers of Guatemala beginning very soon, January 16 (to join visit: http://www.johnperkins.org/a-journey-to-the-lands-of-the-maya-guatemala/).

This year much of my time and energy has been spent in Latin America. I have talked about events in various countries and ways in which people are waking up. With the closing of the year, let’s look at some of these stories and see how they have developed.

Chevron and Big Oil

Big Oil (Chevron, Shell, BP, etc) have long been seen as an enemy of the Amazon, as purveyors of contamination, poverty, and disease. (Blog Post: “Big Oil, Romania, and the Amazon”.) Oil is a tool for bringing a country into economic submission, as I learned during my time as Chief Economist at a major international consulting firm (“economic hit man.”) Ecuador is not the only country to have issues with Big Oil; dependence on fossil fuels has led countries all over the world to economic disaster and civil unrest.

There has often been violence between the multinational companies and the indigenous people who have had their lives brutally impacted by the oil industry. Just in the last few weeks, a brave Ecuadorian Shuar leader, José Isidro Tendetza Antún, was found dead, tortured, and buried in suspicious circumstances mere days before he was scheduled to travel to Lima, Peru for climate talks. He had been a leader in the struggle to rein in mining and oil companies that threaten so much of his native Ecuador.

Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa has sometimes been praised and sometimes castigated for his stance on the Amazon rainforest, most recently exploiting the natural resources of the region by signing permits for oil drilling in one of the most bio diverse regions on the planet. On the other hand, he has also made statements opposing Chevron in the nearly twenty year saga of Ecuadorian villagers against the oil giant over the clean-up of contaminated areas.

Though the Ecuadorian villagers have won against Chevron with the help of a legal team lead by Steven Donziger and Pablo Fajardo, the Big Oil company is refusing to keep its promise to abide by the judgment of Ecuador’s courts. In typical Corporatocracy fashion, Chevron is not under the regulation of a single government and therefore refuses to respect any. Its executives are threatening not only the lives of the indigenous people of the Amazon, but people all over the world, from Canada to Romania to Myanmar to India. Other governments in those regions continue to do business with Chevron, despite clear evidence that the environment and the people suffer greatly.

Monsanto and “Free-Trade”

Another multinational corporation that is threatening the health of the land and the people of Latin America and most of the rest of the world is Monsanto. (Blog Post: “A Latin American Awakening and Monsanto”.) In Latin American countries, free-trade agreements have paved the way for the Corporatocracy to gain control and have sent thousands of children across the border into the US in desperation.

Throughout history since the Industrial Revolution, the move to take agriculture away from small farmers and give the power and profits to big companies has resulted in poverty and destruction. Not only do these agreements render it impossible for small farmers to make a living from their seeds and produce, but they have also introduced incredibly dangerous chemicals and pesticides into once-pristine environments.

Earlier this year we saw some Latin American governments seek to stand firm for the interests of their people against major privatization of agriculture. The fight is far from over. Groups of citizens have organized to demand that their rights, interests, and cultural values be protected by their leaders and that the corporations abide by new standards and laws.

Awakening

However, as powerful as these big corporations are, the people who are waking up are more powerful. There is much that we can learn from our southern neighbors in how to harness our power to make our leaders work for change. (Blog Post: “Lessons on Capitalism from an Unlikely Source”.)

One striking example of leaders listening to their people is the 20 x 20 Initiative: 8 Latin American nations joining forces to fight global warming. Argentina, Colombia, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico and Peru are coming together for this agreement to protect forests and fertile land.

We can do our part to help and support this awakening by calling and emailing our leaders and elected officials and demanding that they work against free-trade agreements such as CAFTA-DR and the proposed TPP. We can vote with our dollars by buying local and small-farm-grown produce and products instead of shopping at big box stores and retailers. Our market power can be made even stronger by sending emails to the Big Business executives telling them we will boycott their companies until they too support local businesses and farmers and provide their employees with higher wages, health care, and retirement pensions. We can join or organize consumer movements to strengthen our messages.

Let’s make 2015 the year we focus our intentions and our dreams on changing the world for a better future through taking positive actions and by educating those around us.

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(Thank you to breakingtheset at YouTube)

Genetically Modified Organisms Must No Longer Exist.

Posted on May 24, 2014

by Jerry Alatalo

“Whoever could make two ears of corn, or two blades of grass, to grow upon a spot of ground where only one grew before, would deserve more of mankind, and do more essential service to his country, than the whole race of politicians put together.”

– JONATHAN SWIFT (1667-1745) Irish writer

oneness3-1After hearing a person who had called in to a radio talk show mention the documentary “Seeds of Death” about genetically modified organisms (GMO), the 2012 film was easily found on YouTube so, as millions of men and women around the world participate in “March Against Monsanto” protests against GMOs today, it has been reposted here. The film was created by Gary Null Productions and comes here from his YouTube channel.

Gary Null has written a number of books on naturopathic medicine, those that were bought by me some years ago are no longer in my possession, and I can’t remember who they were given or loaned to without return. So, because of an appreciation for Gary Null and naturopathic healing methods, it was a pleasant  surprise to find him behind “Seeds of Death.” Since the film was originally posted on YouTube on May 24, 2013, it has received more than 970,000 views.

Perhaps some readers share the habit of reading comments after reading articles or viewing video, so let me describe what was observed in the comments after viewing “Seeds of Death”. In the year since the film was first posted, there have been 7,186 comments. Because the film has a very powerful – and very disturbing – message about the dangers and health risks associated with GMOs, there was a good chance that so-called “shills” would be showing up in the comments.

I originally viewed a reposted video of the documentary at another YouTube channel that wasn’t Gary Null’s. Because this channel’s post had 5,000 or so views, there weren’t a lot of comments to read. Upon further searching I found the Gary Null version with its 970,000 views, decided there would be a lot more comments there, and went to that comments section. There were some heavy duty battles going on in those comments between pro-GMO and anti-GMO men and women, and then the thought came to mind to zero in on one of the pro-GMO commenters.

There was one commenter that, after finding “No recent activity”/nothing at his (or her) YouTube homepage, seemed to stand out as a good choice for a “shill” experiment. This person went by the name of “dsndicsma”, he or she (male from some of the language used by this person) was pro-GMO, so I went through all 7,186 comments to record how many this person made. What seemed odd is that this anti-GMO commenter on Gary Null’s documentary (highly critical of GMOs) has made around 640-650 comments – intermittently and consistently over a time frame beginning 8 months ago and ending yesterday.

The logical response one would expect from a person who, after viewing a documentary on any subject and strongly disagreeing with the film’s assertions, would be perhaps one or two or three critical comments depending on whether or not their original comment was replied to. This male commenter would logically, because he believes the film’s message is bullcrap or such, state his case/negative review clearly, then leave what he perceived as a type of  lying, unscientific, manipulative, etc. film – never to return.

But “dsndicsma” did return – again and again and again – close to 650 times over an eight month time period.

As it turns out, this man’s extent of commentary on what could be considered a “viral” anti-GMO documentary with over 970,000 views – “Seeds of Death” – represents 9.1% of all the comments. Although I didn’t read every last word of every last comment made by what seems to be a person who meets the description of “shill”, his input was mostly argumentative, intentionally offensive, and never offering any allowance that the other commenters may have made one or more valid points or expressed legitimate concerns about GMOs. He never conveyed any philosophical or spiritual concepts or reasoning with regard to GMO benefits for the starving and food-deprived men, women, and children of the Earth. He never discussed any of the moral and ethical dimensions of the pro-GMO/anti-GMO debate, even after hundreds of comments and months of involvement underneath the film “Seeds of Death” – this man’s  debating style never deviated or elevated., and remained at a low philosophical level.

Now, let yourself imagine that you just viewed a documentary that you strongly disagreed with. Let us say the film was about a new scientific discovery in the arena of renewable energy, you had researched the people in the film before, and you knew for a fact that what the film was saying lacked any credibility. Now, ask yourself this question: Would you devote a significant amount of time over a period of 8 months – including 650 suggestions/comments – to debating what you already knew was an incredulous/not-believable proposal?

Why would this man waste his time and energy on debate of an idea/message he “knows” will become debunked?

Before conducting this “shill” experiment I was 95% certain that “Seeds of Death” would be the subject of a post here on “March Against Monsanto” day. After seeing how this shill operated, that percentage went from 95 to 100% certainty. Besides being familiar with Gary Null through his books on naturopathics, others in the film who I’m to various extents familiar with and respect are Shiv Chopra, Jeffrey Smith (instrumental in a later equally powerful GMO film “Genetic Roulette” – which was broadcast on Free Speech TV), Vandana Shiva, Percy Schmeiser, Bruce Lipton, and Ralph Nader. In all honesty, I admit no knowledge of the remaining men and women who appear, but sense their genuineness for the most part.

Former Ohio Congressman and presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich is seen addressing the United States Congress on GMO labeling during the documentary.

Quite simply, “Seeds of Death” is a documentary that comes out of the gates swinging like boxer Mike Tyson in his prime. After the first direct connections with GMO-fact punches, the viewer becomes like Tyson’s unfortunate opponent but, compared to the actual first-round Tyson knockout victims who mercifully are spared from receiving further pummeling, must remain conscious for the remainder of the film – the distance – while being on the receiving end of ever-more-powerful hammering of their psyche-worldview regarding food production on Earth.

During the film one feels the most extreme and intense variety of emotions such as rage, concern, sadness, frustration and – as difficult as can be for one who claims to advocate for forgiveness – vengeance. For reasons which have yet to become fully understood and specified, of all the major issues humanity has to deal with – war, greed, poverty, starvation, environmental pollution, etc. – genetically modified organisms, namely GMO food-crops is the issue that pushes me to want to lash out and physically hurt those who are responsible for loosing this hideous technology and world disaster. There is a difference between the useless emotion anger and righteous indignation. With GMOs, righteous indignation becomes experienced in an intensity like no other issue.

War, monetary reform, and GMOs are the three most urgent issues in need of attention on Earth. Many nations have banned GMO cultivation, some have criminalized GMOs, while people in America – notably Vermont, Oregon and Hawaii – have begun to push back against this, what can be described as, technology from hell. American farmers have suffered deepening financial losses from the world’s growing rejection of US-grown GMO crops. Reports have been published that the Chinese people no longer accept shipments of wheat, corn, soy etc. with any trace of GMO in them.

GMO labeling now is not enough. A worldwide ban must become the only objective.

It is understandable and appreciated that men and women are working to pass labeling of GMO laws. However, consider an analogy. Imagine a violent criminal who, instead of being locked up behind bars, is given a sentence that requires him to wear clothing that identifies him as a violent offender. That violent criminal is GMOs, and simply labeling them does not prevent further violence to humans, animals, and all life forms. To ban GMOs is to lock up the violent offender, leaving that offender no possibility of harming one more innocent human being or living thing.

A label allows the violent offender to remain in the community, commit more violent crimes, and the community is the Earth.

My sincerest apology for bringing this devastatingly disturbing film to your attention. A gauntlet is a double row of men beating a person passing between them, and this documentary literally beats the viewer to a pulp. For those who are aware of the dangers of GMOs, this film will be nothing but a repeat of an experience that results in the most extreme feelings of anger or righteous indignation. For those new to the genetically modified organism issue, as well as those familiar with this most urgent issue, I pray you can find the highest wisdom and reason when considering potential actions.

Forsaking the option of sharing any message or points touched on during “Seeds of Death” – the film speaks loudly and powerfully by itself – there is only one thing to be said with regard to this technology as it relates to the health and well-being of this and future generations. For what it’s worth, without any scientific training in genetic engineering or related fields, but with a moderate amount of research and awareness on this issue, the following statement is made with the greatest concern and compassion for my fellow brothers and sisters, all life forms, and all things in the creation.

Genetically modified organisms are an immense, untenable, life-threatening error which can only become corrected when no longer existing on this Earth.

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(Thank you to Gary Null at YouTube)

Saturday October 12: Worldwide “March Against Monsanto”

English: Monsanto pesticide to be sprayed on f...
English: Monsanto pesticide to be sprayed on food crops. Français : Remplissage d’un épandeur (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Posted from www.march-against-monsanto.com

Press Release: October 12, 2013 Worldwide “March Against Monsanto”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: March Against Monsanto https://www.facebook.com/MarchAgainstMonstanto

October 12, 2013 ‘March Against Monsanto’ planned for over 50 countries
SEATTLE, WA. (October 12, 2013) – On Oct. 12, millions of activists from around the world will once again March Against Monsanto, calling for the permanent boycott of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) and other harmful agro-chemicals. Currently, marches will occur on six continents, in 52 countries,with events in over 400 cities. In the US, solidarity marches are slated to occur in 47 states.  A comprehensive list of marches can be accessed at http://www.march-against-monsanto.com.
Tami Monroe Canal, founder of March Against Monsanto (MAM), was inspired to start the movement to protect her two daughters. “Monsanto’s predatory business and corporate agricultural practices threatens their generation’s health, fertility and longevity. MAM supports a sustainable food production system. We must act now to stop GMOs and harmful pesticides.”
GMOs are not adequately monitored to ensure public safety. Long term, independent, peer reviewed studies were not conducted before GMOs were introduced for human or animal consumption. In the USA, the revolving door between Monsanto employees, government positions, and regulatory authorities has led to key Monsanto figures occupying positions of power at the FDA and EPA. Monsanto has spent hundreds of millions of dollars to obstruct all labeling attempts; they also suppress any research containing results not in their favor. The scientifically established health risks include, but are not limited to: organ damage, sterility, infant mortality, birth defects, auto-immune conditions, allergies and increased cancer risks. GMOs have been partially banned by Austria, Bulgaria, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Japan, Luxembourg, Madeira, New Zealand, Peru, South America, Russia, France, Switzerland and Costa Rico, and are currently labelled in 62 countries. Despite this, factory farm animals throughout the world are still fed GMOs.
Roberta Gogos, organizer for Athens, Greece, addressed the importance of the marches in austerity-impacted Europe. “Monsanto is working very hard to overturn EU regulation on obligatory labeling where enforcement is already lax. Greece is in a precarious position right now, and Greece’s farmers are positioned to follow the same perilous fate as farmers in countries such as Colombia and Mexico.”
Josh Castro, organizer for Quito, Ecuador’s march observes, “Ecuador is such a beautiful place, with the richest biodiversity in the world. We will not allow this Garden of Eden to be compromised by the destructive practices of multinational corporations like Monsanto. Biotechnology is not the solution to world hunger. Agroecology is. Monsanto’s harmful practices are causing soil infertility, mono-cropping, loss of biodiversity, habitat destruction, and contributing to beehive collapse. GMO crops cross pollenate with traditional crops, risking peasant farmers’ livelihood.”
In India, more than 250,000 farmers have committed suicide after Monsanto’s Bt cotton seeds did not perform as promised.  Farmers, left in desperate poverty, are opting to free their families of debt by drinking Monsanto pesticide, thereby ending their lives. Many farmers in other countries are also stripped of their livelihood as a result of false promises, seed patenting and meticulous legal action on the part of Monsanto and other big-ag interests. In many parts of Africa, farmers and their communities are left to choose between starving or eating GMOs.
An “Open Letter from World Scientists to All Governments Concerning Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs),” http://www.i-sis.org.uk/list.php, signed by 828 scientists from 84 countries, detailed concern regarding GMOs coupled with a call for immediate 5 year suspension of GMO crops in order to conduct “a comprehensive public enquiry of agriculture and food security for all.”
Supporting links:
Total Disinformation Awareness: Monsanto Suppresses Research On GMO Crops
Anniversary of a Whistleblowing Hero
GMO Scandal: The Long Term Effects of Genetically Modified Food on Humans
Data Pool of MAM:
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