Sunday, January 23, 2005

Freedom --for Corporations, Not People

Bush used the word "freedom"

27 times in his Inaugural Address.

What he failed to make clear is that his freedom applies only to corporations. The Enrons, Halliburtons, Bechtel's, Monsanto's are free to make outrageous profits, while the poor are free to starve.

But the law in its majesty forbids the rich, as well as the poor, from sleeping under bridges.

When Jerry Bremer, the pro consul, arrived in Iraq he had his "to do" list. He was assigned to privatize everything, dismantle all state ownership of businesses, cut the tax on corporations, end tariffs, allow foreign investors to buy Iraqi businesses, allow all profits to be taken out of the country, and require Iraqi farmers to buy seed from big American corporations, forbiding them to save seed from last year's crops.

Freedom in America means that coal companies, oil companies, gas companies and chemical companies are to be free from safety regulation, workers are to be free from unions, working people are to be free from health insurance, and the Arctic Refuge is to be freed from its burden of oil resources.

Freedom for Americans will truly mean "Nothing Left to Lose".

USA mandates Iraq must open to GM seed multis

by F. William Engdahl

Iraq as not only lost its political sovereignty to foreign occupiers. It has lost its very sovereign right to produce and grow its own essential food crops. Just before arranging the so-called "transfer of authority" in June 2004, US Coalition Provisional Administrator, Paul Bremer III, imposed a list of 100 laws on Iraq which insure that the US dictates every feature of Iraq economic life according to Washington free market wishes. This includes governing of an Iraqi central bank, an essential aspect of national sovereignty. It includes rules on Iraqi trade unions. And most significantly, it mandates the future rules of Iraqi agriculture production to conform to the wishes of Monsanto, Syngenta, Dow Chemical and other US-tied agri-business giants that are aggressively pushing for control of world food production through Gentically-Modified (GM) seeds and plants.

Bremer imposed Order 81 on "Patent, Industrial Design, Undisclosed Information, Integrated Circuits and Plant Variety." This Order 81 or law, has the status of binding law. The US puppet regime of the hand-picked former CIA asset, Allawi, has made no outcry against this or any other of the 100 laws. What does Order 81 do?

For generations and generations, farmers in Iraq as in most of the world have run an informal, unregulated seed supply system in which they experiment and breed the optimal seeds for essential food crops. Farmers traditionally save a portion of their seeds for the next plantings. Now, that will be forbidden. Monsanto and other foreign corporations now hold an Intellectual Property Right (IPR) which gives them an exclusive monopoly on all GM altered seeds and "similar" plant varieties. Iraqi farmers now not only have to cope with Allied bombing of their fields and streams. They have to pay foreign corporations for the right to plant what they have planted for hundreds of years.

Order 81 is a cleverly written law, with the deceptive title, "protection of new varieties of plants," or PVP. PVP is an Intellectual Property Right such as Washington and other major G7 countries got into the WTO rules, even though Iraq is not a WTO member. The Iraqi PVP law gives Monsanto and other international seed giants patent rights over plant seeds which they claim to have "discovered." The patent, under procedures of GM bio-engineering, is typically for a tiny alteration of the DNA or gene sequence of a given existing seed or plant such as soybean, cotton, rice or potato. Of course to do that alteration, Monsanto and others take the product of Iraqi farmers' own successful breeding and development, and, of course, without paying. There is strong suspicion that Monsanto and the other giant GM firms have secretly tapped the seed bank of Iraq, held in trust for farmers during the recent years by the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) in their center in Syria. CGIAR was established with funds from the Rockefeller Foundation and World Bank to spread use of GM seeds across the developing sector countries.


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