Wednesday, October 22, 2008

FORCING TERMINATOR SEEDS ON IRAQ

Andrew Bosworth, Uruknet - One would think that Iraqi farmers, now prospering under "freedom" and "democracy," would be able to plant the seeds of their choosing, but that choice, under little-known Order 81, would be illegal.

Most people have never heard of the infamous "100 Orders," but they help explain why the majority of Iraqis remain opposed to foreign occupation. The 100 Orders allow multinational corporations to basically privatize an entire nation, and this degree of foreign and private control has not been witnessed since the days of the British East India Company and its extraterritoriality treaties.

A few examples of the 100 Orders are illuminating:

Order 39 allows for the tax-free remittance of all corporate profits. Order 17 grants foreign contractors, including private security firms, immunity from Iraq's laws. Orders 57 and 77 ensure the implementation of the orders by placing U.S.-appointed auditors and inspector general in every government ministry, with five-year terms and with sweeping authority over contracts, programs, employees and regulations.

Order 81: Under this mandate, Iraq's commercial farmers must now buy "registered seeds." These are normally imported by Monsanto, Cargill and the World Wide Wheat Company. Unfortunately, these registered seeds are "terminator" seeds, meaning "sterile." Imagine if all human men were infertile, and in order to reproduce women needed to buy sperm cells at a sperm bank. In agricultural terms, terminator seeds represent the same kind of sterility. . .

What makes this Order 81 even more outrageous is that Iraqi farmers have been saving wheat and barley seeds since at least 4000 BC, when irrigated agriculture first emerged, and probably even to about 8000 BC, when wheat was first domesticated. Mesopotamia's farmers have now been trumped by white-smocked, corporate bio-engineers from Florida who strive to replace hundreds of natural varieties with a handful of genetically scrambled hybrids. . .

Order 81 comes with the Orwellian title of "Plant Variety Protection." Any self-respecting scientist knows, however, that imposing biological standardization accomplishes the exact opposite: It reduces biodiversity and threatens species. So Order 81 comes with an Orwellian title and consists of Orwellian provisions. . .

Just in case Iraqi farmer can't read, Order 81 enforces the new monopoly on seeds with the jackboot. Order 81 makes this clear in its own text, buried at the bottom of the document, as is most screw-you fine print:

"The court may order the confiscation of the infringing variety as well as the materials and tools substantially used in the infringement of the protected variety. The court may also decide to destroy the infringing variety as well as the materials and tools or to dispose of them in any noncommercial purpose."

Order 81 is about power and profit, but it disguises itself as humanitarian legislation.

Andrew Bosworth, Ph.D. is an assistant professor of Government at the University of Texas at Brownsville.

1 Comments:

At December 2, 2008 4:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

there are lots of hue & cry about so called terminator seeds. in simple terms it is a hybrid seed which is newly named to create fear amoung people. hybrid can be defined as a combination of two or more different things, aimed at achieving a particular objective or goal.In Indian culture the marriage between close relatives was not permitted. the scientific reasons for it was that inbreeding would lead to genetic defects. the same holds true for traditional seed where resowing the same seed again & again would lead to decrease in productivity. The second issue is GM seeds which i believe are better than the pesticides & chemicals we are using as plant protection measures. The same genetic modification are used to cure the genetic defects in human beings. So why not plants? Our bodies are intelligent enough to identify whats good & whats bad for it....
we need to focus on other burning issues like pesticide usage, imbalanced fertilizer usage which would directly impact human & crop health. when there are lot more issues to tackle our focus is on seeds which in last >50yrs have not lead to any problem......

 

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