International Forecaster Weekly

The Business of Biotech

The supposed miracles of this revolution have been greatly oversold.... The end result of the Green Revolution was to create indebted, captive markets for American-dominated petrochemical-dependent agribusiness.

James Corbett | August 15, 2015

The Scottish government just banned the cultivation of GM crops. "Scientists," we are told by the corporate presstitutes (who apparently believe that "scientists" are a homogenous class who speak with one unified voice), are concerned this ban may harm Scotland. Cookie-cutter journalism of this sort makes the issue into something cut-and-dry. It's "science" vs. "ludditism" with nothing in between. And you're not a crazy science denier, are you?

    The problem with this argument should be obvious to anyone actually acquainted with the literature on the subject. The plain truth is that the science, despite the reassurances of those whose paycheck depends on them saying otherwise, is not on the side of GM proponents. For every industry-funded, self-reported "study" on GM food safety there is an independent study showing clear risks from GM crops and their associated products. For every industry assertion that GM crops are necessary to feed the world's growing population, there is a study showing that GM crops actually produce lower yields and require more fertilizers. For every grandstanding lobbyist's declaration that glyphosate is as safe as mother's milk (just don't ask him to drink it!), there is an official confirmation of its carcinogenicity.

    Indeed, as viewers of The Corbett Report will know, the reassuring rhetoric that the biotech industry sells the public about the safety of their products are not just lies, they are easily demonstrable lies.

    This leads to an obvious question: how can the science on this subject become so distorted?     How can the plain and obvious truths about the dangers of genetically modified crops (and even GM wildlife) become so turned around that the public actually believe that "science" has "proven" the safety and efficacy of these products?

    The full answer to that question involves so many twists and turns, so many characters, so many intrigues and conspiracies, so many whistleblowing scientists and biotech counter-attacks, so many alarming studies and biotech counter-smears, so many government revolving doors for biotech employees and so many government rulings and regulatory frameworks that benefit the biotech giants, so many biotech industry self reported "safety" studies, so many biotech bribes and threats, and so many crusading activists going against the tide that they could fill an entire book...and they have. It's called "Seeds of Destruction: The Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation" by F. William Engdahl, and if you haven't read it yet, you should.

    But since we don't have a full book to develop the theme here, let's just track the one thing that makes it all possible: money. There's the corporate advertising that determines the corporate media's editorial policy. There's the research grants that determine what science gets funding and what doesn't. And there's a multi-billion dollar industry whose very future depends on people (and governments) buying what they're selling. So let's look at the money trail of the biotech business and see where it leads, shall we?

    In order to understand the story of the so-called "Gene Revolution" and the advent of the modern biotech seed giants, we have to understand the true history of the "Green Revolution." The sanitized version of this story (the history written by the winners) is that the Green Revolution of the 1950s and 1960s -- an explosion in crop production facilitated by new agricultural technologies -- grew primarily from the pioneering research of Norman Borlaug, an American scientist who began experimenting with disease resistant, high-yield varieties of wheat in Mexico in the 1940s. This research, combined with an increased use of mechanized tools in industrial farming practices, is often credited with "saving a billion lives" and Borlaug is sometimes sited as some sort of scientific saint for his work. A marginal note in this story is usually given to the role of philanthropic organizations like the Ford Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation in footing the bill for this research and establishing the institutions (like the "International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center") that made it possible, all for the loftiest of goals, of course.

    The real story is more nuanced and tells an altogether different narrative. In this story the rabidly eugenicist Rockefeller dynasty, led at the time by third generation patriarch John D. Rockefeller III and his openly eugenicist Population Council , brought about the Green Revolution to fulfill two of their family's goals at the same time: global expansion of the market for their petrochemical monopoly, and consolidation of control over the food supply itself in the hands of a few well-connected families. From this perspective, the project was a runaway success. By the 1970s the Rockefeller Standard Oil network and its cronies in the nitrogen fertilizer industry (DuPont, Dow Chemical, Hercules Powder, etc.) had broken into markets around the world. These markets had been conveniently forced open for this oligopoly by the US government itself under President Johnson's "Food for Peace" program, which handed over the reins of US food aid to CIA front USAID and mandated the use of Rockefeller cartel petrochemical-dependent agricultural technologies (fertilizers, tractors, irrigation, etc.) by aid recipients.     This also gave rise to a cartel of grain companies (the "ABCD" companies of Archer Daniels Midand, Bunge, Cargill and Louis Dreyfus) and the other agribusiness giants that continue to dominate global food trade to this very day.

    The supposed miracles of this revolution have been greatly oversold. As Engdahl notes in his work, the Green Revolution tended to exacerbate the disparity between rich feudal landowners and poor farming peasants in countries like India. The "miracle" narrative also neglects how the expensive farming technologies behind this "revolution" was funded on the back of loans from the IMF and the World Bank handled by the Rockefeller's own Chase Bank and backed by US government guarantees.     The end result of the Green Revolution was to create indebted, captive markets for American-dominated petrochemical-dependent agribusiness.

    This is the historical soil from which the modern GMO seed cartel grew. This cartel, including Dow AgroSciences, DuPont Biotechnology, Bayer CropScience, Syngenta Biotechnology, and, of course, Monsanto, have relied on similar cutthroat practices as their Green Revolution forebears to secure an almost unimaginable share of the global food supply. Lowlights of this story include the complete agribusiness neocolonization of Argentina, where Monsanto ran an elaborate "bait-and-switch" to get the country hooked on its technology before demanding royalties on the crops that were by then already growing, and where DuPont magnanimously began a "Protein for Life" programme to foist their GM soybeans on the country's poor.

    Another horrific example of the operations of this cartel is exemplified in the aftermath of the illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003. Under the occupation government, "Administrator" Paul Bremer III enacted a series of 100 new "orders" designed to open up the country to foreign "investment." These orders included changes to the tax code, easing of restrictions on contracts and leases for foreign corporations and banks, the lifting of restrictions on foreign ownership of the country's natural resources and a series of other rules designed to benefit foreign (mostly American) banks and corporations descending on the newly "liberated" country. But the most incredible of these changes was Order 81, a wholesale change to the country's patent laws. It contained a provision for "plant variety protection" that allowed companies holding seed patents to sue farmers who were found to be saving, reusing or planting seeds without the explicit approval of the patent holder. The country was effectively taken over, not by the American military, but by international conglomerates including, of course, the seed cartel.

    The convergance of corporate, "philanthropic" and governmental (and inter-governmental) interest in promoting GM crops around the world can be seen in the bewildering array of research institutes, industry associations, and "consultative groups" like the Rockefeller-funded International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), the Rockefeller founded International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA), the Rockefeller/Ford created Consultative Group of International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) and dozens of other bland, benign-sounding organizations for the creation and promotion of GM crops around the world. Through the combined efforts of public and private interests in funding and promoting this research, GM technology is advanced and then literally sold around the world by the GM seed cartel. One sign, if any were needed, that the ultimate aim of this seed cartel may not be benign is the so-called "Doomsday Seed Vault" in the Arctic Svalbard archipelago. Co-founded by the aforementioned Rockefeller/Ford CGIAR and funded by the "Global Crop Diversity Trust" with Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation backing, the vault contains more than 860,000 samples of seeds from all over the world, with the capacity to contain as many as 4.5 million. It is embedded in the Arctic permafrost of a sandstone mountain and its stated purpose is "to store duplicates (backups) of seed samples from the world’s crop collections" as "the ultimate insurance policy for the world’s food supply."

    So who is the "Global Crop Diversity Trust" which oversees the project? Describing itself as an "established independent organization under international law" the Trust "was founded in 2004 in Rome, Italy by the Food and Agriculture Organization and Bioversity International on behalf of the CGIAR international agricultural research consortium. The Crop Trust concluded a Headquarters Agreement with the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany in December 2012 and transferred its headquarters to its permanent location in Bonn in 2013." The GCDT was chaired until 2012 by Margaret Catley-Carlson, a former President of (you guessed it) the J.D. Rockefeller III founded Population Council (aka American Eugenics Society). No matter where you turn in this field, you always end up back at the doorstep of the same elite eugenics-obsessed families and the corporate oligopoly they helped to bring into existence.

    So what on earth are they preparing for with the seed vault? Why does humanity need a "back up" of millions of seed varieties that have presumably been around (for the most part) throughout the majority of human history? Where are these seed varieties going and what kind of environmental catastrophe could possible contaminate the gene pool to the point where we would need to repopulate the earth with heirloom, non-GMO seeds...oh, wait, I think I just answered my own question.

    Is your head spinning yet? If so, then I suppose I've done my job in dipping your toe into the raging torrent of information surrounding the long history of the development and expansion of the international biotech business. And if we have only tangentially touched on the ultimate question here (namely, "why are they doing this?"), then let's put it in the simplest terms possible. A (likely spurious) quote often attributed to Henry Kissinger is quite revealing, regardless of whether or not it was actually uttered by mini-Rockefeller (aka Kissinger):     "Control oil and you control nations; control food and you control the people."

Indeed. To control the world's food supply is the ultimate form of control over humanity itself. And through the gradual oligopolization of the food supply by a small, interconnected group of (mostly American) agribusiness giants in cooperation with governmental and "philanthropic" organizations is one of the most blatant and disturbing ploys for global domination ever seen on the planet.

    With all of that in mind, the question becomes: what on earth can we possibly do about this? It's time to turn back to the Scottish example.

    Is a blanket governmental ban going to be the solution (or even a solution) to this crisis? Given that the world is increasingly embedded in a web of international agreements and organizations like the World Trade Organization and the Food and Agriculture Organization that are themselves tied in to the biotech agenda through groups like CGIAR, it seems unlikely that individual nation-states will be able to turn back the onslaught of the multi-billion dollar, multi-decade world domination agenda of the agribusiness giants for very long.

    More fundamentally than that, the answer to bad science is no more the banning of that science than the answer to bad speech is the banning of that speech. Giving governments the power to ban or "allow" this or that field of research is to give to arbitrary and illegitimate state gangster monopolies the power over the future direction of society. The ban hammer may strike in the direction we want (banning GM crops, for instance) just as easily as it can swing in a direction we don't want (implementing Agenda 21 policies in the name of "sustainability," for instance). Of all the tools wielded by government, the power to ban entire industries and fields of research may be the most dangerous.

    So is there an answer? What can be done to stop the GMO takeover of the planet? Thankfully, this is not a rhetorical question. The answer is not an easy one to implement by any means, but it has been demonstrated in the past, and it can be applied again in the future.
    In 1994, Monsanto's "Posilac" was approved for use in the dairy industry by the FDA. Posilac was Monsanto's genetically engineered bovine growth hormone, which was injected into dairy cows. The milk from Posilac-treated cows was sold unlabeled despite being chemically, nutritionally and pharmacologically different from non-treated milk. The milk contained pus and antibiotics from the mastitis caused by the hormone, and had as much as 10 times the levels of IGF-1 (Insulin-like Growth Factor) as regular milk.

    The approval process for Posilac had gone ahead despite multiple FDA scientists warning that data was being manipulated, suppressed and tampered with by those involved in the approval itself. Those whistleblowers were forced out of the agency and their testimony disregarded. In a case made famous by the 2003 documentary, The Corporation, two Fox News reporters who put together an expose on the scandal had their story suppressed and were fired after Monsanto put pressure on the network.

    By 2004, however, public pressure had forced FDA inspectors to admit the contamination in the rBGH milk, and Monsanto was forced to reduce the Posilac supply by 50%. But consumers did not stop there. Over the following years a grassroots consumer campaign emerged to demand rBGH-free milk. And they continued to demand it and demand it and demand it...until they got it. By 2010, two-thirds of the Top 100 producers had switched to rBGH-free dairy production. rBGH-free milk was proudly labeled as such and major retailers began taking rBGH milk off their shelves due to overwhelming consumer demand. Today rBGH milk, once nearly ubiquitous across America, is a rarity on the store shelves.

    This change did not come about through sweeping government bans. It did not come about through violence or coercion. It came about when consumers educated themselves about the problem, put pressure on the producers to address the problem, and continued that pressure until their demands were met. Don't blink or you'll miss it; this is the way a free market is supposed to function.

    The overall problem of GMO foods will not be addressed as easily or as straight-forwardly as it was in the rBGH example, but the idea is there. To the extent that it is in our power as consumers to refuse to buy products that we are uncomfortable with, there is really no one else to blame for the fact that these GMO foods are so prevalent on the market today. To the extent that it is not possible to know which ingredients in a processed, pre-packaged, ready-to-eat TV dinner source from GM crops, it is our responsibility (if we truly care about the issue) not to buy those products. There is no other solution from the consumer level.

    Thankfully, there are technologies coming online that will make this type of coordinated consumer action even easier than it was even a decade ago. The Buycott App, for instance, allows users to sort out products from companies that support a given campaigns' initiatives and those who don't. By simply scanning a bar code you can find out, for example, if the product is manufactured by a company that has lobbied against GMO labeling. If you would prefer to assign a different target to your campaign, you can start your own and create your own database of companies to greenlist or blacklist, and others can participate in the campaign if they see fit.

    Other options include the Non-GMO Shopping Guide, which, as the name might suggest, allows you to identify verified, non-GMO products in a wide range of categories to take the guesswork out of your shopping trip.

    And there's also the no-tech solution of guerrilla gardening, from growing your own food to participating in a community garden to sourcing organic food from local producers directly via the farmer's market.

    If all of this sounds like a lot of work, it is. If it sounds like the switch to 100% non-GMO foods will be a gradual process of weaning yourself off of certain products and sourcing appropriate alternatives, it will. If it sounds like there's no one to blame at the end of the day for not starting to take these steps, there isn't.

    In the end, we can't directly determine what's happening in our neighbor's house (let alone what's happening in other countries or other continents), but the buck stops where it has always stopped: at our own kitchen table. We still have the freedom to choose (for the most part) what we put in our mouth and what we don't. And unless we start taking that freedom seriously as the responsibility that it is, there will be no end to the GMO agenda.