On August 8, 2005 Reuters reported that the Iraqi seed supply is at risk. Below is an excerpt from the Reuters report.
"… The war in Iraq destroyed the country’s seed industry, putting the country’s domestic food supply at risk, the United Nations food agency said on Monday as it appealed for aid to rebuild farming.
The Food and Agriculture Organisation said it needed $5.4 million to help the agriculture ministry rebuild a seed industry destroyed by the fighting and looting.
"Iraq had a relatively stable and functioning public-sector-controlled seed industry before the war in 2003. After the war, research and seed production facilities have greatly deteriorated," FAO said in a statement.
Iraq can now cover only 4 percent of its demand for quality seeds from its own resources….
If no immediate action is taken, serious seed shortages can be expected in the near future, threatening the country’s food security…."
How convenient…perfect timing. What a break for U.S. corporations, such as Monsanto. First outlaw the seeds and then destroy them, or did it happen the other way around. Were the seeds destroyed first and then outlawed? This news story has thus far received very little attention.
The news story about the Iraqi Orders has been virtually ignored by the U.S. press. Order 81 is just one of 100 Orders that have been imposed on the people of Iraq by the U.S. government. These orders are sometimes referred to as the Bremmer Orders. No one in the U.S. or Iraq was ever allowed to cast a vote in the ballot box for any of these Orders. This says a lot about the kind of democracy that the U.S. is imposing on the people of Iraq.
The important information about Iraqi Order 81 is that it was designed to have a major impact on the way farming is done in Iraq. This order prohibits Iraqi farmers from using the methods of agriculture that they have used for centuries. The practice of saving seeds from one year to the next is now illegal in Iraq. Order 81 wages war on Iraqi farmers. They have lost the freedom to choose their own methods of agriculture. The legalese in which the orders are written creates confusion about their exact meaning, but the desired result is obvious. Order 81 prohibits the farmers from using their own seeds, on their own farms, to grow their own crops.
Prior to the U.S. invasion, agriculture in Iraq was flourishing. The Fertile Crescent had developed a system of farming that was the envy of the world. Now, under Occupation, centuries of progress have been destroyed, almost overnight.
The food chain has been under worldwide assault by U.S. corporations for some time now. The Master Race of corporations has seized control of the very essence of life itself. We are now in the age of Genetically Modified Doomsday Seeds. The USDA was complicit in the development of these bastard seeds.
This is not a new phenomenon. It has been a gradual takeover. Remember Percy Schmeiser, the Canadian farmer, who was sued by Monsanto? Not enough people stood up for Percey, so then they came for other farmers. In fact, Monsanto has sued so many farmers that a national hotline (1-888-FARMHLP) has now been set up to assist them.
Is it possible that Iraqi farmers think back fondly to the good old days before the Occupation and before Order 81? Even Saddam Hussein allowed them to save seeds for the next year’s crop. Is the Pentagon a worse master than Saddam?
Farmers and consumers around the world need to stand in solidarity with the farmers and consumers in Iraq. There is no one who contributes more to society than the farmer. At the top of that hierarchy is the organic farmer. Doctors, lawyers, plumbers, and factory workers make important contributions to society, but none would survive without the farmer.
Why did the U.S. destroy the seeds? Did the Pentagon mistake the seeds for bombs and WMD’s? Think of that as a headline for tomorrow’s paper, "CIA confuses pomegranate seeds with WMD’s." This sounds like a comedy "headline" from the Leno show. If the survival of thousands of people was not an issue, we could all laugh at the absurdity of this saga. The propagandists will try to convince the world that the destruction of the Iraqi seeds was just a mistake, an accident of war…collateral damage. Iraqi Order 81 proves otherwise. Iraqi Order 81 is proof that the U.S. had a strategic plan which would insure that U.S. corporations would not have to compete with the Iraqi farmers. U.S. corporations don’t like competition. The idea of free markets is just a myth. The Predatory Capitalism of the U.S. could not survive without the threat of the military behind it.
Can it be denied that U.S. corporations are seeking total control of the food supply of the planet? After all of the seeds that are owned by farmers are destroyed, it will be necessary for the farmers to purchase them. Those most likely to profiteer are U.S. seed companies. General Smedley Butler was right. War is still a racket.
Imagine what would happen if there was a successful worldwide movement of resistance, an international Save the Seed Campaign. A source in Australia reports that a seed bank has been set up there. Every other nation must heed this warning and set up secure seed banks. It is not known what the U.S. government will do to eliminate this competition to U.S. seed corporations. Will the countries that institute seed banks be on a Pentagon hit list? Another possibility will be a covert CIA operation.
The U.S. policy of using food as a weapon of war shows a depraved, mind numbing level of cruelty. This has been referred to as the Ultimate War Crime. It is one of the most serious Crimes Against Humanity of our generation.
There is a hidden tragedy in this seed destruction policy of the U.S. The U.S. has not only endangered the entire population of Iraq but it has also shot each of its own citizens in the foot. Maybe it has rendered a fatal shot to our children and future generations. No one will ever know if any of the seeds, that have been destroyed during our war and occupation, would have produced plants that could have been used to prevent or cure disease. The seeds that have been lost can never be replaced.
Someday, in the distant future, maybe we will become more civilized. Then we will have monuments to honor farmers. We will have parades in celebration of farm workers. The era of glorification of war will just be a fading memory.