Friday, January 4, 2008

Fateful War and Peace Studies

Engdahl reviewed how American elites in the late 1930s began planning an American century in the post-war world - a "Pax Americana" to succeed the fading British Empire. The New York Council of Foreign Relations War and Peace Studies Group led the effort, and Rockefeller Foundation money financed it. As Engdahl put it: they'd be paid back later "thousands-fold." First though, America had to achieve world dominance militarily and economically.

The US business establishment envisioned a "Grand Area" to encompass most of the world outside the communist bloc. To exploit it, they hid their imperial designs beneath a "liberal and benevolent garb" by defining themselves as "selfless advocates of freedom for colonial peoples (and) the enemy of imperialism." They would also "champion world peace through multinational control." Sound familiar?

Like today, it was just subterfuge for their real aims that were pursued under the banner of the United Nations, the new Bretton Woods framework, the IMF, World Bank and the GATT. They were established for one purpose - to integrate the developing world into the US-dominated Global North so its wealth could be transfered to powerful business interests, mostly in the US. The Rockefeller family led the effort, the four brothers were involved, and Nelson and David were the prime movers.

While JD III was plotting depopulation and racial purity schemes, Nelson worked "the other side of the a forward-looking international businessman" in the 1950s and 1960s. While preaching greater efficiency and production in targeted countries, he schemed, in fact, to open world markets for unrestricted US grain imports. It became the "Green Revolution."

Nelson concentrated on Latin America. During WW II, he coordinated US intelligence and covert operations there, and those efforts laid the groundwork for family interests post-war. They were tied to the region's military because friendly strongmen are the type leaders we prefer to guarantee a favorable business climate.

From the 1930s, Nelson Rockefeller had significant Latin American interests, especially in areas of oil and banking. In the early 1940s, he sought new opportunities and along with Laurance bought vast amounts of cheap, high-quality farmland so the family could get into agriculture. It wasn't for family farming, however. The Rockefellers wants global monopolies, and their scheme was to do in agriculture what the family patriarch did in oil along with using food and agricultural technology as Cold War weapons.

By 1954, PL 480, or "Food for Peace," established surplus food as a US foreign policy tool, and Nelson used his considerable influence on the State Department because every post-war Department Secretary, from 1952 through 1979, had ties to the family through its Foundation: namely, John Foster Dulles, Dean Rusk, Henry Kissinger and Cyrus Vance.

These men supported Rockefeller views on private business and knew the family saw agriculture the way it sees oil - commodities to be "traded, controlled, (and) made scarce or plentiful" to suit the foreign policy goals of dominant corporations controlling their trade.

The family got into agriculture in 1947 when Nelson founded the International Basic Economy Corporation (IBEC). Through it, he introduced "mass-scale agribusiness in countries where US dollars could buy huge influence in the 1950s and 1960s." Nelson then allied with grain-trading giant Cargill in Brazil where they began developing hybrid corn seed varieties with big plans for them. They would make the country "the world's third largest producer of (these) crop(s) after the US and China." It was part of Rockefeller's "Green Revolution" that by the late 1950s "was rapidly becoming a strategic US economic strategy alongside oil and military hardware."

Latin America was the beginning of a food production revolution with big aims - to control the "basic necessities of the majority of the world's population." As agribusiness in the 1990s, it was "the perfect partner for the introduction....of genetically engineered food crops or GMO plants." This marriage masqueraded as "free market efficiency, modernization (and) feeding a malnourished world." In fact, it was nothing of the sort. It cleverly hid "the boldest coup over the destiny of entire nations ever attempted."

Creating Agribusiness - Rockefeller and Harvard Invent USA "Agribusiness"

The "Green Revolution began in Mexico and spread across Latin America during the 1950s and 1960s." It was then introduced in Asia, especially in India. It was at a time we claimed our aim was to help the world through free market efficiency. It was all one way, from them to us so corporate investors could profit. It gave US chemical giants and major grain traders new markets for their products. Agribusiness was going global, and Rockefeller interests were in the vanguard helping industry globalization take shape.

Nelson worked with his brother, JD III, who set up his own Agriculture Development Council in 1953. They shared a common goal - "cartelization of world agriculture and food supplies under their corporate hegemony." At its heart, it aimed to introduce modern agriculture techniques to increase crop yields under the false claim of wanting to reduce hunger. The same seduction was later used to promote the Gene Revolution with Rockefeller interests and the same agribusiness giants backing it.

In the 1960s, Lyndon Johnson also used food as a weapon. He wanted recipient nations to agree to administration and Rockfeller preconditions that population control and opening their markets to US industry was part of the deal. It also involved training developing world agriculture scientists and agronomists in the latest production concepts so they could apply them at home. This "carefully constructed network later proved crucial" to the Rockefeller strategy to "spread the use of genetically-engineered crops around the world," helped along with USAID funding and CIA mischief.

"Green Revolution" tactics were painful and took a devastating toll on peasant farmers. They destroyed their livelihoods and forced them into shantytown slums that now surround large Third World cities. There they provide cheap exploitable labor from people desperate to survive and easy prey for any way to do it.

The "Revolution" also harmed the land. Monoculture displaces diversity, soil fertility and crop yields decrease over time, and indiscriminate use of chemical pesticides causes serious later health problems. Engdahl quoted an analyst calling the "Green Revolution" a "chemical revolution" developing states couldn't afford. That began the process of debt enslavement from IMF, World Bank and private bank loans. Large landowners can afford the latter. Small farmers can't and often, as a result, are bankrupted. That, of course, is the whole idea.

The "Green Revolution" was based on the "proliferation of new hybrid seeds in developing markets" that characteristically lack reproductive capacity. Declining yields meant farmers had to buy seeds every year from large multinational producers that control their parental seed lines in house. A handful of company giants held patents on them and used them to lay the groundwork for the later GMO revolution. Their scheme was soon evident. Tradition farming had to give way to High Yield Varieties (HYV) of hybrid wheat, corn and rice with major chemical inputs.

Initially, growth rates were impressive but not for long. In countries like India, agricultural output slowed and fell. They were losers so agribusiness giants could exploit large new markets for their chemicals, machinery and other product inputs. It was the beginning of "agribusiness," and it went hand-in-hand with the "Green Revolution" strategy that would later embrace plant genetic alterations.

Two Harvard Business School professors were involved early on - John Davis and Ray Goldberg. They teamed with Russian economist, Wassily Leontief, got Rockefeller and Ford Foundation funding, and initiated a four-decade revolution to dominate the food industry. It was based on "vertical integration" of the kind Congress outlawed when giant conglomerates or trusts like Standard Oil used them to monopolize entire sectors of key industries and crush competition.

It was revived under Trilateralist President Jimmy Carter disguised as "deregulation" to dismantle "decades of carefully, food safety and consumer protection laws." They would now give way under a new wave of industry-friendly vertical integration. Supported by a public campaign, it claimed that government was the problem, it encroached too much on our lives, and it had to be rolled back for greater personal "freedom."

Early in the 1970s, agribusiness producers controlled US food supplies. They'd now go global on a scale without precedent. The goal - "staggering profits" by "restructur(ing) the way Americans grew food to feed themselves and the world." Ronald Reagan continued Carter's policy and let the top four or five monopoly players control it. It led to an unprecedented "concentration and transformation of American agriculture" with independent family farmers driven off their land through forced sales and bankruptcies so "more efficient" agribusiness giants could move in with "Factory Farms." Remaining small producers became virtual serfs as "contract farmers." America's landscape was changing with people trampled on for profits.

Engdahl explained a gradual process of "wholesale merger(s) and consolidation....of American food production....into giant corporate global concentrations" with familiar names - Cargill, Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), Smithfield Foods and ConAgra. As they grew bigger, so did their bottom lines with annual equity returns rising from 13% in 1993 to 23% in 1999. Hundreds of thousands of small farmers lost out for it as their numbers dropped by 300,000 from 1979 to 1998 alone. It was even worse for hog farmers with a drop from 600,000 to 157,000 so 3% of producers could control 50% of the market.

The social costs were staggering and continue to be as "entire rural communities collapsed and rural towns became ghost towns." Consider the consequences:

-- by 2004, the four largest beef packers controlled 84% of steer and heifer slaughter - Tyson, Cargill, Swift and National Beef Packing;

-- four giants controlled 64% of hog production - Smithfield Foods, Tyson, Swift and Hormel;

-- three companies controlled 71% of soybean crushing - Cargill, ADM and Bunge;

-- three giants controlled 63% of all flour milling, and five companies controlled 90% of global grain trade;

-- four other companies controlled 89% of the breakfast cereal market - Kellogg, General Mills, Kraft Foods and Quaker Oats;

-- in 1998, Cargill acquired Continental Grain to control 40% of national grain elevator capacity;

-- four large agro-chemical/seed giants controlled over 75% of the nation's seed corn sales and 60% of it for soybeans while also having the largest share of the agricultural chemical market - Monsanto, Novartis, Dow Chemical and DuPont; six companies controlled three-fourths of the global pesticides market;

-- Monsanto and DuPont controlled 60% of the US corn and soybean seed market - all of it patented GMO seeds; and

-- 10 large food retailers controlled $649 billion in global sales in 2002, and the top 30 food retailers account for one-third of global grocery sales.

At the dawn of a new century, family farming was decimated by corporate agribusiness' vertically integrated powers that surpassed their earlier 1920s heyday dominance. The industry was now the second most profitable national one after pharmaceuticals with domestic annual sales exceeding $400 billion. The next aim was merging Big Pharma with Big food producing giants, and the Pentagon's National Defense University took note in a 2003-issued paper - "Agribusiness (now) is to the United States what oil is to the Middle East." It's now considered a "strategic weapon in the arsenal of the world's only superpower," but at a huge cost to consumers everywhere.

Engdahl reviewed the "revolution" in animal factory production that EarthSave International founder and Baskin-Robbins heir, John Robbins, covered honestly, thoroughly and compassionately in two explosive books on the subject - "Diet for A New America" in 1987 and "The Food Revolution" in 2001. They were both stinging indictments of corporate-produced foods - horrifying animal cruelty, unsafe foods, unsanitary conditions, rampant use of anti-biotics humans then ingest, massive environmental pollution, and new unknown dangers from genetic engineering - all allowed by supposed government watchdog regulatory agencies that ignore public health concerns.

Agribusiness was on a roll, government supports it with tens of billions in annual subsidies, and the 1996 Farm Bill suspended the Secretary of Agriculture's power to balance supply and demand so henceforth unrestricted production is allowed. Food producing giants took full advantage to control market forces. They crushed family farmers by over-producing and forcing down prices. They also pressured land values as small operators failed. It created opportunities for land acquisition on the cheap for greater concentration and dominance.

Next came integrating the Gene Revolution into agribusiness the way Harvard's Ray Goldberg saw it coming. Entire new sectors were to be created from genetic engineering. It would include GMO drugs from GMO plants in a new "argi-ceutical system." Goldberg predicted a "genetic revolution (through) an industrial convergence of food, health, medicine, fiber and energy businesses" - in a totally unregulated marketplace. Unmentioned was a threatening consumer nightmare hidden from view.

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