According to a recent press release issued by the Rural Advancement Foundation International (RAFI), a new technology has been developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture that could potentially sterilize the seed produced by all crops, preventing the seed from being replanted. Dubbed by RAFI as "the Terminator" and others as "the neutron bomb of agriculture," this new technology has profound implications for agriculture. Moreover, it is directed at the world's poorest farmers.
Edward Hammond, Program Officer at RAFI-USA in Pittsboro, North Carolina told The WINDS that the new technology is far more advanced than the standard plant hybridization that has been practiced for years. "Hybridization is when two varieties are crossed to produce a plant with certain desirable characteristics," he explained. These improved varieties have offered some advantages to farmers such as increased yield and vigor. The commercially bred hybrids do not produce offspring that is of the same quality of the first generation, forcing the farmer to buy commercial seed every year. "In some cases [hybridization is] simply a control method," said Mr. Hammond, "but theoretically and sometimes in practice it's used to create varieties with characteristics that are advantageous" to the farmer.
However, the new Terminator technology is an unabashed "control method", offering no advantageous characteristics to the farmer while threatening the survival of non-hybridized crops. "This technology is aimed solely at the purpose of preventing the germination of anything that is grown in the farmer's field. There's no agronomic benefit [in exchange] for the technology," Mr. Hammond said.
The new Terminator technology was developed by the U. S. Department of Agriculture in partnership with Delta & Pine Land Company, a large commercial seed breeder, who announced on March 3rd that it had been awarded a patent on the technology. At present only cotton and tobacco seeds have been proven to respond to the new technique, but the firm plans to have the Terminator ready for a much broader range of crops shortly after the year 2000.
Hybrid plant varieties are genetically manipulated to produce inferior second generation seed, while the Terminator "switches on and then off" the plant's reproductive processes. Rice, wheat, sorghum and soybeans are primary targets for the Terminator because they are not readily hybridized. Because of this, they are largely ignored by large agribusiness breeders. With the advent of this new technology, breeders will soon produce patented versions of previously "open-pollinated" crops -- varieties that Third World farmers have been breeding, saving and replanting themselves for thousands of years.
"The sole purpose of [the Terminator] is to sterilize seed," concluded Mr. Hammond of RAFI-USA. "We find it particularly bothersome and disturbing that it was the U.S. Department of Agriculture that developed the technology." Also troubling is the statement by USDA spokesman Willard Phelps who said that "Second and Third World" markets were primary targets for the Terminator. Why did the USDA collude to develop a genetic process to sterilize seed bound for the hunger plagued Third World?
The most obvious answer is agronomics. Investment money will flow where a profit can be made. If Third World staple crops such as rice and wheat can be locked up with the Terminator, investors will pour money into commercially bred seed that farmers will have to buy year after year. Because Third World staple crops could not be "controlled" until now, agribusiness breeders were not interested in developing seed for those markets.
It is maintained by the Terminator's proponents that farmers will still have a choice between hybridized or open-pollinated varieties. While this is true, farmers still need the help of publicly funded research to breed new open pollinated varieties that are able to resist the ever evolving natural adversaries of drought, pest and plague. In the U.S. and abroad it is universities and extension programs that help fill the need and, more than ever, they are vulnerable to the "greed gene." "There will be enormous pressure on public breeders to adopt [the Terminator] to feed cash-starved ... research departments with corporate dollars," says Hope Shand of RAFI-USA. Because the Terminator has a multi-billion dollar agribusiness on its side, we may safely concur that the alternatives will be bribed or forced out of the picture.
It is not merely economic factors that threaten the poor farmers of the world, but it is the nature of the Terminator gene itself. Camila Montecinos, an agronomist with the Chilean organization CET stated, "We've talked to a number of crop geneticists who have studied the [Terminator] patent. They're telling us that it's likely that pollen from crops carrying the Terminator trait will infect the fields of farmers who either reject or can't afford the technology. Their crop won't be affected that season but when the farmers reach into their bins to sow seed the following season they could discover - too late - that some of their seed is sterile. This could lead to very high yield losses. If the technology is transmitted through recessive genes, we could see several years of irregular harvests and a general - even dramatic - decline in food security for the poorest farm communities."
Half the world's farmers are too poor to buy commercial seed every year. This percentage feeds 20% of the world's population. That's 100 million in Latin America, 300 million in Africa, and 1 billion in Asia. Not only would half the world's farms face extinction -- so would 1.4 billion people who are directly fed by them. In light of the human cost, the Terminator was appropriately named.
The vast and complex topics of agriculture, corporate law, trade and patents on plant varieties defy a brief explanation, but it is sufficient to point out that a general trend and consistent policy may be seen in these and other domains.
On the purely economic level, globalization is occurring as local economies are swallowed up by huge trading blocks such as NAFTA and APEC. In these agreements there are volumes of fine print that regulate the minutest details of commercial activity, including agriculture. Poor but independent farmers that feed their neighbors are being forced out by larger plantations that buy commercial seed, fertilizer and other chemicals, borrow money and sell their products on the global market -- in a word, these are integrated producers for the globalist system.
By virtue of their sheer economic power, agribusiness giants such as Monsanto have sharply tilted the economic playing field in their favor. Localized farmers in the Third World are just another field of conquest for these corporate marauders. Farmers who can't or won't participate will be forced out of farming by a number of introduced factors including the Terminator. This is why the USDA was targeting "Second and Third World" markets when it helped develop the Terminator. Agriculture, like all aspects of economic life, is being collectivized through the ubiquitous forces of economic globalization, ostensibly a "free market" movement but essentially a centrally planned economic system controlled from the top.
While economics provide the footing for globalization, it is not the end itself. The end is control. To properly understand the means one must first understand the end. A farmer who doesn't borrow money and plants his own seed is difficult to control because he can feed himself and his neighbors. He doesn't have to depend on a banker or a politician in a distant city. Joseph Stalin understood this principle and that's why he killed a million Ukrainian peasants through his policies of forced collectivization.
While farmers in America today are little more than tenants serving corporate and banking interests, the rural Third World farmer has remained relatively out of the loop -- until now. In order for global control to be consolidated, so must the global food supply. "Food is power. We use it to change behavior. Some may call that bribery. We do not apologize," exclaimed Catherine Bertini, Executive Director of the World Food Program at the Beijing Woman's Conference (Sept. 1995). Control the food and you control the people.
President Clinton's recent trip to the African continent marks the beginning of a concerted effort to bring Africa fully "on-line" with the global system. "To fulfill the vast promise of a new era, Africa must face these challenges," exhorted the president at his first stop in Ghana. "We must build classrooms and companies, increase the food supply and save the environment and prevent disease before deadly epidemics break out. The United States is ready to help you."
The U.S. is ready to help, all right. So were the representatives of multi-national corporations who comprised a major part of Clinton's 700-member delegation. Classrooms need to be built to indoctrinate children with globalist ideas and train them for a life of production. Modern farming methods must be introduced so that multi-national corporations can profit off of food production and control its distribution. Environmental regulations will force rural populations off the land and into "sustainable cities" where they will be converted into units of production, taxed, regulated, and generally supervised in every way. Of course, American doctors will assist in the elimination of African scourges such as malaria and newborn babies. Africa, "the United States is ready to help you."
The United States is ready to help rid the earth of the last remnants of self-sufficiency and independence and to usher in a new millennium of the global "planned society." "Planned society" has a nice ring, kind of like "family planning," but, in reality, it is an age of slavery, coercion, fear and death. Those who doubt this should consider how the most essential commodity, food, is no longer produced locally in amounts sufficient for local needs, but is always at the other end of a sophisticated transport, distribution and marketing system. Food is power, and the world's population must be fully dependent on this system in order for world government to be fully implemented.
Fabian Socialist Bertrand Russell described how food would be used to control population in his 1953 book, The Impact of Science on Society. He wrote, "A scientific world society can not be stable unless there is a world government.... This authority should deal out the world's food to the various nations in proportion to their population at the time of the establishment of the authority. If any nation subsequently increased its population, it should not on that account receive any more food." To use food as a coercive tool, one must collectivize agriculture. Remember the U.N. Security Council's catch phrase, "oil for food."
Another Fabian Socialist by the name of H. G. Wells proposed a world socialist organization called World Encyclopedia which essentially described the centralized system of global control being implemented today. In a November 20, 1936 address he stated that this encyclopedic organization "would play the role of an undogmatic Bible to a world culture....It would hold the world together mentally.... Ultimately, if our dream is realized, it must exert a very great influence upon everyone who controls administrations, makes wars, directs mass behavior, feeds, moves, starves and kills populations....You see how such an Encyclopedic organization could spread like a nervous network, a system of mental control about the globe."
This global "central nervous system" envisioned by Wells is now a reality and directing policy on all levels. Nationally and internationally, in government chambers and corporate board rooms, decision makers are carrying out the agenda of international socialism. Those who would have power must implement this agenda. Those who would eat must obey.
"And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth." Revelation 6:8.
Terminating Food Security? RAFI News Release 20 March, 1998.
Biotech Activists Oppose the "Terminator Technology" RAFI News Release 13 March, 1998.
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