Archive | December 16, 2016

Iraq’s Agricultural Industry was Pillaged, Its Farmers Devastated, But It’s Still Free of GMO Seeds*

Iraq’s Agricultural Industry was Pillaged, Its Farmers Devastated, But It’s Still Free of GMO Seeds*

By Dr. Dahlia Wasfi

When a video clip of a 2008 presentation on Iraq’s seed industry went viral earlier this year, Dr. Dahlia Wasfi was inundated with questions and concerns from thoughtful viewers. Here, she provides clarifications and updates on the situation in Iraq.

An Iraqi corn broker walks through his supply while preparing it to be shipped to retail markets Monday, Jan. 5, 2004 in a village north of Baghdad. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)


I delivered a presentation about Iraq at the Green Festival in Chicago in May 2008.

In that presentation, “Ain’t Nothin’ Green About the Green Zone: The Impact of War and Occupation on Iraqi Farmers,” I discussed the history of farming in ancient Mesopotamia and the harm wrought upon modern-day Iraq’s agricultural system by the 1991 Gulf War and economic sanctions imposed from 1990 to 2003. I also covered the devastating effects of the illegal 2003 “shock and awe” invasion of Iraq by the United States on Iraq’s traditional farming methods and the environment.

I was very fortunate that the talk was filmed by independent videographer Jeffrey Keating.

Eight years later, in May of this year, a 4-minute excerpt from this talk was posted on Facebook by the group Our Amazing World. The clip focused on the planned corporatization of Iraq’s seed industry by U.S. administrators in Iraq via Order 81, issued by Paul Bremer, the American diplomat appointed to head the Coalition Provisional Authority in the wake of the 2003 invasion.

The video went viral, and many thoughtful viewers have raised questions and concerns about the information I presented.

In this piece, I offer clarification on the issues, as well as an important and encouraging update on the status of Iraq’s seed industry from Iraqi agriculture expert Dr. Nakd Altameemi.

‘Terminator seeds’

A U.S. Army soldier walks passed a seed vendor in Sadr City in Baghdad, Iraq, July 28, 2005. (AP Photo/Jacob Silberberg)


In my presentation, I stated that the agribusiness giant Monsanto has “terminator seeds,” and Western corporations “need a place, a laboratory, if you will, to try out their new toys,” including genetically modified seeds and associated pesticides.

So-called “terminator seeds” are genetically modified seeds whose second generation of crops yield seeds that do not germinate (“sterile seeds”). In June 2007, the U.S. Justice Department approved Monsanto’s acquisition of Delta & Pine Land, the U.S. company which patented the first terminator seed technology.

In 2008, when I gave the talk, many environmentalists and human rights activists were particularly concerned about Monsanto’s potential use of terminator technology. For example, the Institute of Near Eastern and African Studies, an educational and cultural organization, established April 26 as International Seed Day around this time, marking the date that Order 81 was signed by Bremer in 2004.

The annual event continues as a way to advocate for “patent-free seeds, organic food and farmers’ rights,” with past events including volunteer phone campaigns to educate

“Iraqi farmers, farm owners, agriculture experts and women in Iraq … about terminator seeds, Order 81 and seed keeping and resistance.”

The educators at INEAS feared for the vulnerability of Iraq’s agricultural system after 2003, just as I did. My concern stemmed from the bombing of Baghdad, the looting of government buildings, the loss of Iraq’s seed bank, and Bremer’s 100 Orders. But I also worried that the United States’ policy of “de-Baathification,” in which Baath Party members were ousted from public office in Iraq, had eliminated all experienced Iraqi administrators from the country’s agriculture ministry. If that were the case, then Iraqi farmers, isolated from the world after nearly 13 years of economic sanctions, could have been vulnerable to exploitation by the U.S.-led occupation and Western corporations.

On the matter of terminator seeds in Iraq, some viewers presented me with the counter-argument of Monsanto’s position, as stated on its website:

“Monsanto has never commercialized a biotech trait that resulted in sterile—or ‘Terminator’—seeds.”

True, Monsanto did make this commitment in 1999, eight years prior to its acquisition of D&PL. Yet, even if the company had not sold terminator seeds in Iraq, that didn’t preclude their possible use in field trials or other experiments in that country. In November of 2004, USAID boasted of the work of its Agriculture Reconstruction and Development Program in Iraq to change traditional farming methods:

“The MOA [Ministry of Agriculture] and ARDI hosted a field day in southern Iraq to discuss with farmers a package of new varieties of rice, fertilizers, and herbicides and their advantages over traditional growing practices.”

And in 2005, historian, economic researcher, and freelance journalist F. William Engdahl reported the establishment of “wheat extension demonstration sites” in northern Iraq:

“As soon as Order 81 had been issued, USAID began delivering thousands of tons of U.S.-origin ‘high-quality, certified wheat seed’ for subsidized, initially near cost-free distribution through the Agriculture Ministry, to desperate Iraqi farmers. The USAID refused to allow independent scientists to determine whether the seed was GMO seed or not. …

Under the USAID program, the State Department, working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) set up 56 ‘wheat extension demonstration sites’ in northern Iraq, ‘introducing and demonstrating the value of improved wheat seeds.’ The project was run for the U.S. Government by Texas A&M University’s International Agriculture Office.

This $107 million USAID agriculture reconstruction project had as goal the doubling the production of 30,000 Iraqi farms within the first year. The idea was to convince sceptical Iraqi farmers that only with new U.S. ‘wonder seeds’ could they get large harvest yields. Desperation and a promise of huge gains would be used to trap Iraqi farmers into dependence on foreign seed multinationals.”

Engdahl also noted a December 2004 interview in which Iraq’s U.S.-educated interim agriculture minister, Sawsan Ali Magid al-Sharifi, stated,

“We need Iraqi farmers to be competitive, so we decided to subsidise inputs like pesticides, fertilisers, improved seeds and so on.”

The great concern is the possibility that these “improved seeds” were unregulated, genetically modified seeds that would ultimately have patent restrictions under Order 81, and the new pesticides could harm the environment.

Here in the United States, illegal GMO wheat plants from Monsanto have been found growing in three different states in the past three years, most recently in Washington state in July. Field trials were conducted with the unapproved plants in the Pacific Northwest 15 years ago. It’s not yet clear how the plants got to Washington. If this type of contamination can occur within the regulated U.S. agricultural system, even if only by natural forces, then it was reasonable then — and reasonable still — to be concerned about the impact of corporate and U.S. government conduct in occupied Iraq, which was plagued with extensive corruption, lack of security, lack of oversight, and lack of accountability.

 No saving, sharing or replanting of harvested seeds

Umm Akeel harvests rice on a small farm near Najaf, 160 kilometers (100 miles) south of Baghdad, Iraq on Sunday, Aug. 19, 2007. . (AP Photo/ Alaa al-Marjani)


I misunderstood Order 81’s prohibition of seed saving and sharing to apply to all seeds, including those from farmers’ traditional, natural stocks. However, this prohibition applies specifically to those seed varieties patented by breeders (primarily corporations), not traditional seeds. I apologize for the confusion.

But while it is an important distinction to make, Iraq’s traditional seed stocks were severely limited at the time that Order 81 was passed in April of 2004. As I mention in the video clip of my 2008 presentation, the Iraqi seed bank was destroyed by the 2003 U.S. invasion and subsequent looting.  Furthermore, in 2005, Iraq could “only cover four per cent of the national demand for quality seeds from its own resources,” according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. The desperate state of Iraqi agriculture left farmers vulnerable to corporate seed marketing.

And while whatever traditional seeds available could be used initially, the patenting framework of Order 81 made them susceptible to restricted use in the future. If Monsanto or another genetically modified seed manufacturer patented a trait carried by plants of traditional seeds, those seeds that had been passed down (for free) for generations could then be prohibited from use as a patent violation. The precedent for such “biopiracy” has already been set. As Jeremy Smith reported in The Ecologist in February of 2005:

“A few years back a corporation called SunGene patented a sunflower variety with a very high oleic acid content. It didn’t just patent the genetic structure though, it patented the characteristic. Subsequently SunGene notified other sunflower breeders that should they develop a variety high in oleic acid with [sic] would be considered an infringement of the patent.”

Under Order 81, Iraqi farmers who chose to plant traditional seeds could be sued by a seed company if their crops became contaminated by a patented variety of plant. Similar lawsuits have been filed by Monsanto against American farmers, and farmers who try to save money by saving patented seeds for replanting (the traditional method) have been slapped with major lawsuits as well.

Grave concern for the livelihood of Iraqi farmers under Order 81 is also rooted in the devastating impact of Monsanto’s genetically modified cotton seed industry on the small farmers of India.

From 2003 to 2016: An update on the state of Iraq’s seeds

From left, farmers Mehdi Jassim, Jassim Omran and Hassan Hassin work in a farm field at dawn in Baghdad, Iraq. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)


The material presented in my original 2008 talk, along with the discussion above, offers insight into the U.S. government’s agenda for the corporatization of Iraqi agriculture post-invasion. My presentation was based on information available in the press at the time, which painted a worrisome picture of the future of traditional family multi-crop farming system and seed industry in the Fertile Crescent.

What was unknown, however, was the extent to which these U.S. plans — and Order 81 — were implemented in Iraq. In June of this year, I was fortunate to hear from Dr. Nakd Altameemi, who had first-hand knowledge of Iraqi agriculture and seed law both before and after the 2003 U.S. invasion.

His emails contained quite a surprise: He wrote that Order 81 has not been implemented, and genetically modified seeds remain prohibited in Iraq.

Dr. Altameemi was born and raised in Iraq. He graduated from Baghdad University’s College of Agriculture in 1976, and earned his PhD in seed technology in the United Kingdom in 1985. He began his professional career at Iraq’s ministry of agriculture, serving in multiple roles over the years, including director general of the State Board for Seed Testing and Certification. Today, he lives outside of Iraq, and I corresponded with him via email on the state of Iraqi agriculture.

According to Dr. Altameemi, prior to 2003, Iraq’s seed industry was strictly regulated by legislation dating as far back as 1938 (a law concerning the purity of field crops) and through a 1991 law mandating testing and registration of seed varieties. The statutes include a prohibition on the use of genetically modified seeds in Iraq. Dr. Altameemi and other experts on the agricultural council worked hard to maintain the integrity of Iraq’s seed program and seed industry through years of war and economic sanctions. But the 2003 U.S. invasion and subsequent looting brought unprecedented destruction to modern Iraqi agriculture and modern Iraq.

In addition to loss of the country’s seed bank, the agriculture ministry’s seed laboratories and Iraq’s National Herbarium were ransackedall while U.S. forces protected Iraq’s oil ministry and oil fields. Soon after, U.S. administrators dissolved the agricultural council and appointed new advisors who were unfamiliar with Iraq’s farming systems and incompetent. The seed program collapsed. The one hopeful note was that Dr. Altameemi and three colleagues were kept on staff at the ministry.

Over the next three years, they worked hard to rehabilitate the seed bank and rebuild the collapsed seed program in accordance with Iraq’s established (pre-invasion) regulations. Their efforts were supported by the U.N. FAO. Dr. Altameemi said he recognized the dangers of Order 81 when it was passed in 2004. According to him, the pre-invasion ban on GMOs was maintained despite the order, and since 2003, multiple seed imports have been rejected for not meeting Iraq’s strict seed standards.

I asked Dr. Altameemi about the “high-quality, certified wheat seed” imported by USAID following the signing of Order 81. According to his information, in 2004, U.S. administrators imported 4,000-5,000 metric tons of non-GMO wheat seeds, which were recorded on Iraq’s national registry. They were distributed to farmers, cost-free.

I also asked him about the nature of subsidized “improved seeds” referenced by Sawsan Ali Magid al-Sharifi, the agriculture minister, in her 2004 interview with IRIN. Dr. Altameemi noted that the term “improved seed” identifies those high-quality seeds for crop varieties already on Iraq’s national registry and released for cultivation. No genetically modified variety was on the national registry in 2004, because GMOs were prohibited then (as now).

Tragically, in 2006, as was the case for thousands of Iraqi academics and health professionals after the invasion, Dr. Altameemi’s life was threatened. That year, he and his family were forced to leave Iraq, becoming refugees. From Jordan, he continued to serve as an expert consultant to Iraq’s agriculture ministry through the FAO, advocating for updated legislation to govern the seed industry for post-invasion conditions. By 2009, a new national seed policy was developed in coordination with the FAO, and in 2012, Iraq’s parliament passed Law No. 50 (also developed in conjunction with the FAO) to expand regulation of the seed industry.

Law No. 50 of 2012 on Seeds and Seed Tubers mandated the following: establishment of the National Council for Seeds in the agriculture ministry to oversee Iraq’s seed industry; analysis of seeds according to international standards, as set by the International Seed Testing Association; and identification of genetically modified seeds, along with the nature of their modification. According to Dr. Altameemi, Law No. 50 permits all national and international seed companies registered with the Iraqi government to participate in the local market.

Currently, seed products from multiple American, European, Middle Eastern (including Iraq), and Asian seed companies are marketed in Iraq. Seed trade monopolies are prohibited, and Syngenta, Bayer, DuPont and Monsanto all have products on the Iraqi market.

Dr. Altameemi also reports that Law No. 15 of 2013 cancelled Order 81 Articles 51-79 concerning plant variety registration and release. Unfortunately, I have been unable to locate an English version of the law for further details. An Arabic version can be accessed via the Iraqi Local Governance Law Library.

To Dr. Altameemi’s knowledge, no genetically modified seed varieties are currently used in Iraq, as they remain prohibited. Iraq is not a member of the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants, the mission of which “to provide and promote an effective system of plant variety protection, with the aim of encouraging the development of new varieties of plants, for the benefit of society.” An Iraqi seed laboratory has been established to test for GMOs. Any new seed variety must be tested in Iraq for at least two seasons before it can be approved for inclusion the national seed registry and released on the market. Farmers are still free to use and share their own traditional seeds.

Still, Dr. Altameemi remains gravely concerned for the future of Iraqi agriculture and its implications for the Iraqi people.

Over the next decade, he predicts that water shortages will result in a significant drop in agricultural production, increasing Iraq’s current levels of food insecurity (largely due to displacement) while the population continues to grow. The looming crisis threatens even greater morbidity and mortality for a populace already suffering from continued war, trauma, instability, and compromised infrastructure. He raised this issue with the ministry of agriculture and a member of parliament earlier this year and is still awaiting a response.

The International Monsanto Tribunal convenes in The Hague

Judges, witnesses and experts gather for the first session of the People’s Assembly, the hearings of the Monsanto Tribunal at the Hague in the Netherlands. (Photo: Monsanto Tribunal – Follow/flickr/cc)


Because of my talk on the impact of occupation on the Iraqi people and Iraq’s environment, some have referred to me with the honorable title of “environmentalist.” But I am not an expert in the field.

In October, however, the experts did convene.

Doctors, lawyers, professors, farmers, community leaders, and activists gathered in The Hague, Netherlands, for the International Monsanto Tribunal and a People’s Assembly. On its website, the tribunal describes itself as “an international civil society initiative to hold Monsanto accountable for human rights violations, for crimes against humanity, and for ecocide.” The legal opinion of the tribunal is expected to be handed down by the end of this month.

Video and interviews with contributors can be found on the Tribunal’s Facebook page.


Related Topics:

Monsanto Was Put on Trial for Ecocide at the Hague*

Colonialism in Disguise: Farmers Sued for Reusing Monsanto Seeds*

Mother Ashkenazi, Father Muslim – Dahlia Wasfi Argues Against Illegal Occupation

What You Aren’t Being Told About The Iraqi ISIS Offensive*

160 Global Groups Call for Moratorium on New Genetic Extinction Technology at U.N. Convention*

Largest-Ever GMO Crops Study Shows Massive Environmental Damage in U.S.*

White House Resorts to Blackmail Over GMOs in NWOs TTIP Trade Negotiations*

The GMO Agenda is Planned Sterilization of Humanity*

Canada’s New Food Labels won’t Include GMO Info.*

Sowing Seeds of Health, Hope and Humanity*

Iowans Make U-Turn against Trump in Dakota Access Pipeline Fight*

Iowans Make U-Turn against Trump in Dakota Access Pipeline Fight*

Besides suing to prevent the pipeline from deteriorating their land, Iowa farmers are challenging eminent domain law at-large to protect all lands from for-profit seizure

Dakota Access pipeline protesters march from the Polk County Courthouse to a public meeting space to hold a rally Dec. 15, 2016 in Des Moines, Iowa. The protests came after a judge heard arguments in a lawsuit filed by several Iowa landowners who challenge forceful taking of their land for the pipeline and challenge the state’s permit process. (AP Photo/David Pitt)

Iowans who voted for Donald Trump will soon be fighting against him, as anti-establishment Iowans come to see his “true colours” on property rights, climate change and native sovereignty, environmentalist Ed Fallon, who has been leading the fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline in Iowa, told teleSUR.

Trump’s Cabinet appointments so far represent “the antithesis” of what a coalition of anti-pipeline activists have been rallying for, Fallon said after a march and rally on Thursday brought in over 200 protesters.

“The amount of heat generated at this very cold rally was amazing,” he said, pointing out the weather was at 7 degrees Fahrenheit.

Fallon’s group, Bold Iowa, joined a coalition to show their opposition to the pipeline company’s seizure of rancher and farmer land at a court hearing in Polk County. The case has 14 plaintiffs, including landowners and environmentalists like the local chapter of the Sierra Club, and could be “historically significant” to eminent domain law across the state, said Fallon. The judge has a month to reach a decision.

Besides suing to prevent the pipeline from deteriorating their land, the farmers are challenging eminent domain law at-large to protect all lands from for-profit seizure, arguing against the claim that the pipeline is a public utility.

The pipeline, whose construction is near completed, runs through North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa and Illinois and would transport over half a million barrels of crude oil a day.

The Army Corps of Engineers denied easements earlier this month that would allow the company, Energy Transfer Partners, to drill below Lake Oahe, where thousands of Native Americans and allies from around the world camp to resist environmental and cultural damage. A more comprehensive Environmental Impact Assessment will be conducted in North Dakota, but not in Iowa — though Fallon pointed out that the Missouri River does not end at the state border.

Native Americans have participated in the actions in Iowa, but it has mostly been led by landowners who felt coerced into settling for easements and insist that having oil run through their land, to be refined in Texas and shipped back to Iowa for possible consumption, is not a public service. Many also expect the oil to be shipped overseas and not even be sold in-state.

Many of them voted for Trump, said Fallon, but he expects them to be disenchanted soon, if not already, considering his nominee for energy secretary is on the board of Energy Transfer PartnersIowa, a major battleground state, favoured Trump by a 10-point margin, and the counties in which the pipeline runs voted for Trump far above the state average, some voting up to 70 percent red.

I think it gets worse before it gets better,” said Fallon, adding that he saw “a lot of new faces” at the courthouse and in the streets and expects to see more incited by Trump’s “cavalier attitude” against land and water rights.


Related Topics:

Pipeline Shut Down In North Dakota after Leaking into Little Mississippi River*

Oil Company States They Will Defy Army Corps Order in Standing Rock*

Trump to Privatize Native Land*

Gov’t Cancels Oil and Gas Leases On Native Land in Montana, Stays Silent On Dakota Access*

U.K. Financiers Bankrolling Dakota Access Pipeline Builder*

DAPL’s Energy Transfer Partners Restructures to Avoid Junk Rating*

Lakota Sioux “water protectors” Inspire the Nation*

CIA Covert Operations in Tibet*

CIA Covert Operations in Tibet*


The Dalai Lama dedicated a new Tibetan Buddhist gompa (temple) in the Tibetan refugee school center in Mussorie, 125 miles north of New Delhi on April 23, 1964

The publication of the U.S.’ secret intelligence documents on the CIA covert operations in Tibet back in 1998 came like a clap of thunder in a clear sky. The declassified memoranda shed light on Washington’s interference on China’s domestic affairs since the later 1950s and the Dalai Lama’s cooperation with the CIA.

The controversy sparked recently by U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s tough remarks regarding the “One China” policy and the rumours of his potential meeting with the 14th Dalai Lama has turned the spotlight on the U.S.-China relationship.

However, Trump’s move has come as no surprise given Washington’s long record of covert activities aimed against Beijing. In the end of the 1990s the U.S. State Department declassified and published a set of documents on Washington’s foreign policy toward Tibet — the People’s Republic of China’s autonomous region. Among diplomatic correspondence and reports a curious document was discovered — a secret memorandum written by the U.S. State Department on January 9, 1964 and intended for the Special Activities Division (SAD), CIA.

The document in question contained political and practical recommendations for the support of Tibetan separatists and the Dalai Lama — the region’s political and spiritual leader.

Speaking to Sputnik Chinese, Russian historian and publicist Dmitry Verkhoturov shed light on the forgotten story of the CIA’s interference in China’s domestic affairs back in the 1960s.

Verkhoturov calls attention to the fact that although the memorandum looks like a pretty standard document, the draft budget for the financial support of Tibetan separatists for FY 1964, attached to the memorandum, deserves special attention.

According to the attachment, total budgetary requirements amounted to $1,735,000. Of these, a large sum of money was intended for training and support of Tibetan fighters: “support of 2,100 Tibetan guerrillas based in Nepal-$ 500,000”; “expenses of covert training site in [Camp Hale] Colorado-$ 400,000”; “black [illegal] air transportation of Tibetan trainees from Colorado to India-$ 185,000.”

At the same time, the draft budget read that the U.S. State Department allocated $180,000 as a subsidy to the 14th Dalai Lama, who lived in exile in India following the Tibetan Uprising of 1959.

The publication of the declassified historical documents prompted a great deal of confusion among the Dalai Lama’s supporters, discouraged by the fact that their spiritual leader took money from the CIA.

“For much of the 1960s, the CIA provided the Tibetan exile movement with $1.7 million a year for operations against China, including an annual subsidy of $180,000 for the Dalai Lama, according to newly released U.S. intelligence documents,” Los Angeles Times reported on September 15, 1998.

“The documents, published last month by the State Department, illustrate the historical background of the situation in Tibet today, in which China continues to accuse the Dalai Lama of being an agent of foreign forces seeking to separate Tibet from China,” the media outlet added.

To “dispel” the Dalai Lama supporters’ doubts, the representatives of the Tibetan leader claimed in an interview with The New York Times on October 2, 1998 that


“the subsidy earmarked for the Dalai Lama was spent on setting up offices in Geneva and New York and on international lobbying.”

However, the devil is in the detail.

Verkhoturov emphasizes that the denial was intended for those unfamiliar with the documents and facts. The documents say that in 1963 the CIA allocated considerable funds for the Dalai Lama’s entourage in Dharamsala, India, where his residence was located. There were no offices at Geneva and New York at the time. Furthermore, soon the role of the CIA in the 1959 Tibetan Uprising and the formation of the government in exile also surfaced. The U.S. government viewed Tibet as a potential bulwark against China since 1949, when Chinese Communist leader Mao Zedong declared the creation of the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

According to Memorandum for the 303 Committee (1968), the so-called CIA Tibetan program was partially initiated in 1956


“with the cognizance of the Committee, is based on U.S. Government commitments made to the Dalai Lama in 1951 and 1956.”

“The program consists of political action, propaganda, paramilitary and intelligence operations, appropriately coordinated with and supported by [less than 1 line of source text not declassified],” the document read.

The declassified memorandum stated that in September 1958 the 303 Committee approved the “CIA covert support to Tibetan resistance” — just a year before the all-out uprising in the region erupted.

According to the publicist, the Dalai Lama’s exile opened the door to the CIA’s covert program aimed at recruiting and training the Tibetan leader’s followers and supporters in reconnaissance operations, sabotage, guerilla tactics, data encoding and radio operator skills. According to some estimates, about 170-240 Tibetans had undergone this special training.

The Memorandum for the Special Group (1964) reveals that the CIA planned to create a spy network in Tibet, including “approximately 20 singleton resident agents… two road watch teams in Tibet to report possible Chinese Communist build-ups, and six border watch communications teams.”

Verkhoturov believes that this spy activity could have targeted China’s nuclear program and the country’s first nuclear tests on October 16, 1964.

However, China’s Cultural Revolution — a sociopolitical movement that took place in the People’s Republic of China from 1966 until 1976 — dealt a heavy blow to the Tibetan spy network and eventually brought an end to the espionage activity in the region. As a result, the budget of the CIA’s Tibetan program decreased to $1,165,000 in 1968. According to Jonathan Mirsky, a historian of China, the CIA program finally ended with President Richard Nixon’s visit to China in 1972. Still, in the early 1970s the CIA continued to allocate funds directly to the Dalai Lama, however, the amount of these subsidies remains shrouded in secrecy.

“In 1999, I asked the Dalai Lama if the CIA operation had been harmful for Tibet,” Mirsky wrote in 2013,

‘Yes, that is true,’ he replied.

The intervention was harmful, he suggested, because it was primarily aimed at serving American interests rather than helping the Tibetans in any lasting way. ‘Once the American policy toward China changed, they stopped their help,’ he told me,

‘Otherwise our struggle could have gone on’.”


Related Topics:

The Truth about Dalai Lama

U.S. Provoking War in South China Sea*

As Rothschilds Did to China, the CIA is Drug Running in the Philippines*

How the CIA Used LSD to Destroy the New Left*

CIA “Journalist” Spy with Al-Qaeda Arrested In Turkey*

U.S. Officials Blow the Whistle on Secret CIA, MOSSAD Operation in Syria*

CIA Plot to Exterminate Haitian Population Exposed*

Top German Journalist “We All Lie For the CIA”*

10 Examples of the CIA Using Secret Armies to Overthrow Foreign Governments*

CIA Helicopters Ferrying ISIS Fighters into Afghanistan*

CIA Agent: They gave us Millions to Dismember Yugoslavia*

Russia Tells the World about the NWO/CIA/MOSSAD/M16 Plan for Massacre in Paris*

Retired CIA Agent Framed for Exposing U.S. Running Opium Trade*

This Food Delivery Startup is Feeding Hungry Children 5 Meals at a Time*

This Food Delivery Startup is Feeding Hungry Children 5 Meals at a Time*

‘Tis the season for giving back. Delivery startup Sharebite, already known for donating one meal to hungry children with every order placed on its platform, is kicking it up a notch.

This month, co-founders Mohsin Memon and Ahsen Saber launched a “million meal mission.” The goal, they say, is to donate five meals for every one order that is placed on the Sharebite app. That means all of you Seamless and Grubhub users who don’t feel like running out for lunch during your work day can do some good if you switch over to Sharebite.

If 1,000 orders are made per day, Sharebite can share one million meals with kids in need. That’s not a far-fetched goal, Memon says, considering N.Y.C. typically sees 300,000 delivery/take-out orders per day.

I followed up with Memon, a former banker with Bank of America Merrill Lynch, since the mission kicked off to learn more about the Sharebite business model and what inspired him to start the company in the first place.

How has Sharebite grown since it launched last year?

Last year, we did a pilot launch — a feasibility run. We received a very strong response so we scaled it up.

After launching the app last year, we decided to invest in a web transactional platform. We also added another thousand restaurants, doubling it in New York City to over 2,000 restaurants. We’re still in our infancy, but growing very quickly since we rolled out the website.

We also have our “million meal challenge” kicking off for the holidays. Originally, we donated on a one-to-one model. We actually donate at least one meal through CityHarvest. Now, we thought let’s make more of an impact and donate five meals for every meal ordered. That’s our mission for 2017. The holidays seemed like a good time to do it.

What’s the cost structure like?

The restaurants pay 10 to 15 percent in commission. We’re giving it back through our fees from the restaurants. CityHarvest gets 23 cents to cover the cost of one meal. In this case, five children are being fed with $1.15 from us. So while you eat, you can “take out” hunger. You can order from 2,000 local restaurants, either pickup or delivery, and be a part of the community experience. Our users post pictures, rate dishes, and receive referrals from friends and neighbours. You also see what’s trending around you. We’re enhancing the ordering experience, but with a social mission.

Where are the meals going?

Throughout New York City. We work with CityHarvest, which has a huge logistics network. They work with food banks throughout New York. All the kids being fed are right here. That’s one of the things we wanted to focus on. We were taken back when we learned that one out of four kids faces hunger in New York City. It’s the richest, wealthiest city in the world, and it seems strange that this issue is right here in our backyard. That’s why our focus is here rather than elsewhere.

How does the service differ from other meal delivery startups?

As meal providers, we’re focused just on the restaurant industry. We’re the only socially driven food delivery platform. Our goal is to feed a million children, expand our user base and, unlike the competition, we don’t spend much on marketing. We’re getting a lot of new users through word of mouth, either in friend or work circles. The company really registers with New Yorkers, especially millennials.

What inspired you to start the company?

Through a private equity firm I was working with, I ended up working with Icon Parking, the largest parking business in New York City. Before 2008, there was more demand than supply. But after the financial downturn in 2008, things changed and the parking industry needed to enter the tech space with mobile apps. I helped Icon make that happen. Tech can make a big impact on a sector that traditionally doesn’t rely on tech. The same goes for the restaurant sector.

I came about Sharebite accidentally. I volunteered for CityHarvest and I became aware of the hunger issue and thought, “How do I make an impact here?”

I also read a book by Toms Shoes founder Blake Mycoskie called “Start Something That Matters.” He talks about finding a social cause and creating a sustainable solution to that problem through a noble business model. I looked at the restaurant space and realized there’s an opportunity here. So Sharebite combines my desire to work on child hunger as well as working in the food sector. I was motivated by Blake and what he did with Toms.


Related Topics:

New York Food Banks Running out of Food*

The U.S. No Longer Has Any Strategic Grain Reserves*

One-Third of U.S. Children Live In Poverty*

School Kitchen Manager Fired for Feeding Hungry Students Free*

Elderly Man Called 911 Because He Was Hungry, but These Cops More than Helped…

As Poverty Continues to Rise in the U.S. so do Tent Cities*

29 Year Old Woman Uses Coupons to Feed Thousands*

‘The Helping Lunchbox’ has helped feed over 200 homeless citizens in the New Orleans

Homeless People Plant a Rooftop Organic Garden and Feed an Entire Shelter*

In 10 Months, This Cafe Has Fed 10,000 People with 20 Tons of Unwanted Food*

California Bill of Rights for Children Claim New Powers over Your Kids*


SB-18 Bill of Rights for Children and Youth in California…

This bill would declare the intent of the Legislature to expand and codify the Bill of Rights for Children and Youth of California to establish a comprehensive framework that governs the rights of all children and youth in California, outlines the research-based essential needs of California’s children, and establishes standards relating to the health, safety, well-being, early childhood and educational opportunities, and familial supports necessary for all children to succeed.

(1) The right to parents, guardians, or caregivers who act in their best interest.

 (2) The right to form healthy attachments with adults responsible for their care and well-being.

(3) The right to live in a safe and healthy environment.

(4) The right to social and emotional well-being.

(5) The right to opportunities to attain optimal cognitive, physical, and social development.

(6) The right to appropriate, quality education and life skills leading to self-sufficiency in adulthood.

(7) The right to appropriate, quality health care.

U.N. Declaration of Rights of a Child (10 principles)…

Principle 9
The child shall be protected against all forms of neglect, cruelty and exploitation. He shall not be the subject of traffic, in any form. The child shall not be admitted to employment before an appropriate minimum age; he shall in no case be caused or permitted to engage in any occupation or employment which would prejudice his health or education, or interfere with his physical, mental or moral development.

Principle 10
The child shall be protected from practices which may foster racial, religious and any other form of discrimination. He shall be brought up in a spirit of understanding, tolerance, friendship among peoples, peace and universal brotherhood, and in full consciousness that his energy and talents should be devoted to the service of his fellow men.

Comment: Sounds good doesn’t it? So what’s the problem?  Read it again with the mind of the State…

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