U.S. Diplomacy: Retaliation and Pain for Countries that Reject GMO’s*
By Arjun Walia
Studies that link Genetically Modified (GM) food to multiple human health ailments are not the only thing that has millions of people questioning the production of GM food. The fact that previously classified secret government documents show how the Bush administration developed ways to retaliate against countries that were refusing to use GM seeds is another. If documents regarding our food are required to be concealed from the public domain, something is not right, and it’s great to have an organization like WikiLeaks shed some light into the world that’s been hidden from us for so many years.
The cables reveal that the State Department was lobbying all over the world for Monsanto, and other major biotech corporations. They reveal that American diplomats requested funding to send lobbyists for the biotech industry to meet with politicians and agricultural officials in “target countries.” These included countries in Africa, Latin America and some European countries.
A non-profit consumer protection group called Food & Water Watch published a report showing the details of the partnership between the federal government and a number of biotech companies who have pushed their GMO products on multiple countries for a number of years.
“The United States has aggressively pursued foreign policies in food and agriculture that benefit the largest seed companies. The U.S. State department has launched a concerted strategy to promote agricultural biotechnology, often over the opposition of the public and government, to the near exclusion of other more sustainable, more appropriate agricultural policy alternatives. The U.S. State department has also lobbied foreign governments to adopt pro-agricultural biotechnology politics and laws, operated a rigorous public relations campaign to improve the image of biotechnology and challenged common sense biotechnology safeguards and rules – even including opposing laws requiring the labeling of genetically engineered (GE) foods.” (source)
HERE is one cable (out of many) from Morocco.
HERE Is a 2008 cable that summarizes a French documentary called “The World According to Monsanto which attacks the U.S. biotech industry and the fact that Monsanto and the U.S. Government constantly swap employees and positions, below is a excerpt from the cable:
Corporations Dictate Government Policy
“The film argues that Monsanto exerted undue influence on the USG. Former Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman is interviewed saying he had felt that he was under pressure and that more tests should have been conducted on biotech products before they were approved. Jeffrey Smith, Director, Institute for Responsible Technology, who is interviewed says that a number of Bush Administration officers were close to Monsanto, either having obtained campaign contributions from the company or having worked directly for it: John Ashcroft, Secretary of Justice, received contributions from Monsanto when he was re-elected, as did Tommy Thompson, Secretary of Health; Ann Veneman, Secretary of Agriculture, was director of Calgene which belonged to Monsanto; and Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense, was CEO of Searle, a Monsanto subsidiary; and Justice Clarence Thomas was a former lawyer for Monsanto.”
This is one example (out of many) that clearly show how giant corporations pretty much dictate government policy. When it comes to these food corporations, they are responsible for forcing independent agriculturists to go out of business, controlling the world’s seed supply and forcing farmers to become dependent on their seed. Monsanto and corporations like them have created this seed, and have prevented farmers from seed saving and sharing, which results in a dependence on Monsanto’s patented GMO seeds.
“The state department sent annual cables to ‘encourage the use of agricultural biotechnology,’ encouraging every diplomatic post worldwide to ‘pursue an active biotech agenda’ that promotes agricultural biotechnology, encourages the export of biotech crops and foods and advocated for pro-biotech policies and laws.” (source)
“The US Department of State is selling seeds instead of democracy. This report provides a chilling snapshot of how a handful of giant biotechnology companies are unduly influencing US foreign policy and undermining our diplomatic efforts to promote security, international development and transparency worldwide. This report is a call to action for Americans because public policy should not be for sale to the highest bidder.” – Wenonah Hauter, Food & Water Watch Executive (source)
One of the most revealing cables is from 2007, with regards to French efforts to ban a Monsanto GM corn variety.HERE is a cable that shows Craig Stapleton, former ambassador to France under the Bush administration, asking Washington to punish the EU countries that did not support the use of GM crops:
“Country team Paris recommends that we calibrate a target retaliation list that causes some pain across the EU since this is a collective responsibility, but that also focuses in part on the worst culprits. Moving to retaliation will make clear that the current path has real costs to EU interests and could help strengthen European pro-biotech voices.” (see source in above paragraph)
The U.S. government was not only working for the biotech industry, they were also threatening other governments who did not comply. Think about that for a moment. Over the years the United States government and Monsanto have collectively pushed their GMO agenda upon the rest of the world. Why? Do you really think it is to help feed the world? This could easily be done if we came together and pooled our resources. The entire planet could easily be fed organic food, and it could be done for free.
The World’s Resistance to GMOs
The past two years alone has seen millions of people from across the globe gather to show their opposition towards Monsanto and similar corporations. The “March Against Monsanto” is clear evidence of this. The people of the world are starting to see through the veil that’s been blinding the masses for years, and our food industry is one small, but large and important area where the veil is being lifted.
Activism and awareness has contributed to the banning of GMO products and the pesticides that go with them in multiple countries across the planet, it’s time for North America to follow suit.