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After Iraq's military defeat, Monsanto swept in to seize control of all agriculture


(NaturalNews) There is little that agribusiness giant Monsanto won't do to make a buck and to spread it's genetically modified, unclean seeds and food around the world, even if it means taking advantage of a country that has been decimated by war.

As reported recently by Mint Press News, with the assistance of the U.S. government, Iraq's seed and agriculture industry was decimated by Monsanto and other U.S. corporations. In May 2003, after the second Iraq war officially ended, American diplomat Paul Bremer was appointed to head up an occupational authority, which was essentially the controlling arm of Iraq. During his tenure he issued 100 orders that established a rebuilding strategy, which included Order 81 titled, "Patent, Industrial Design, Undisclosed Information, Integrated Circuits and Plant Variety Law." To view it, click here.

Physician and environmental activist Dr. Dahlia Wasfi gave an explanation of how devastating this order was in a 2008 presentation.

"Before 2003 they had a well-functioning, centrally-controlled seed industry that had developed over the years a rich seed variety for almost [every] variation of wheat in the world today," she said, as cited by Mintpress News.

Order and agriculture policies led to starvation

Wasfi further noted that Iraqi farmers were able to achieve that success by adhering to ancient traditions of saving, replanting and sharing seeks from earlier harvests. As historians have noted, modern agriculture stems from these seed techniques that originated around 5,000 B.C.E., in a region of the Middle East that includes Iraq.

However, by 2005, Iraq was only able to provide about 4 percent of all its seeds, said Wasfi, because under Order 81, "Iraqi farmers are not allowed to save seeds, they are not allowed to share seeds, no sharing, and they are not allowed to replant harvested seeds."

The war, along with previous years of sanctions against the government of Saddam Hussein, were also key factors in decimating Iraq's domestic seed industry.

In her presentation Wasfi said Monsanto marketed seeds to Iraqi farmers that contained "terminator genes," which effectively prevent seeds from being planted for future crops. Though Monsanto owns the technological patent for such seeds, it has not used it and has instead opted to charge royalties when Monsanto genetic materials are found in crops.

In addition, Wasfi explained that the order paved the way for other international agricultural corporations like Cargill Inc. and Dow Chemical to exploit Iraqi farmers. These companies gain profits from GMO seeds and special cancer-causing herbicides like Monsanto's Roundup, which are typically used together.

Mint Press News noted that the Bush administration appointed Daniel Amstutz, a former Cargill VP, to head up efforts in Iraq to make its agriculture industry more amenable to Wall Street.

"They need a place, a laboratory if you will. To try out their new toys," Wasfi said.

'Sick and wrong'

It should be noted that at the time, Iraqis were facing unprecedented starvation. UN human rights officials noted that in 2005 about a quarter of Iraq's children did not regularly receive enough food, and nearly 8 percent faced acute malnutrition.

"Order 81 allowed for Monsanto to promote the benefits of its seeds to a suffering population without warning farmers of the potential financial risks," Mint Press News reported.

Wasfi further noted that even Monsanto's choice of seeds made the food crisis in Iraq worse.

"They gave farmers six types of wheat to grow, only six," she said. "Three of them are for wheat for pasta. Iraqis don't eat pasta."

That meant a population undergoing a food crisis, with some of its citizens starving to death, were given seeds to make half of their production only for exports, the activist noted. "Who is going to make money off of that? Not Iraqis," she said of a process she further described as "sick and wrong."






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