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Monsanto's Land Grab in Ukraine

by Stephen Lendman Friday, Feb. 06, 2015 at 12:14 PM
lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net

Ukraine

Monsanto's Land Grab in Ukraine

by Stephen Lendman

Long considered Europe's "bread basket," Ukraine's agricultural potential is huge. It's rich dark soil is highly valued. Ideal for growing grain.

Farmland producing it matches Texas in size. Amounts to about one-third of Europe's arable land.

Ukraine exports include wheat, corn, barley, vegetables, sugar beets, sunflower seeds, meat and milk.

About one-fourth of Ukrainian workers are in agriculture or forestry related areas. Monsanto and other agribusiness giants intend exploiting Ukraine's agricultural potential.

In 2014, the Oakland Institute published a report titled "Walking on the West Side: The World Bank and the IMF in the Ukraine Conflict," saying:

"Whereas Ukraine does not allow the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in agriculture, Article 404 of the EU agreement, which relates to agriculture, includes a clause that has generally gone unnoticed: it indicates, among other things, that both parties will cooperate to extend the use of biotechnologies."

"There is no doubt that this provision meets the expectations of the agribusiness industry."

"As observed by Michael Cox, research director at the investment bank Piper Jaffray, 'Ukraine and, to a wider extent, Eastern Europe, are among the most promising growth markets for farm-equipment giant Deere, as well as seed producers Monsanto and DuPont."

Earlier Ukrainian law prohibited private sector farmland ownership. No longer. Private investors can buy it beginning in January 2016. More on this below.

IMF loan stipulations require permitting GMO production. Biowarfare is transforming millions pristine acres into poisoned wasteland. Ecogenocide for profit. Monsanto's dirty hands are hugely involved.

In May 2014, The New York Times explained what was coming. Saying Ukraine's agricultural success is crucial for its economy and ability to "reduc(e) its dependence on Russia."

"Western interests are pressing for change…As part of (an IMF loan agreement), the country's government must push through business reforms that" let agribusiness and other corporate sectors operate freely.

"Big multinationals" want to exploit Ukraine's potential. Especially Europe's richest farmland. Fascist run Ukraine is now ground zero for mass proliferation of harmful-to-health GMO crops in Europe.

On January 13, the European Parliament passed legislation granting member states the right to permit or prohibit GMO crops.

Nine EU countries currently ban them. Monsanto's MON810 maize is the only GMO crop some European countries permit.

New legislation potentially opens things to greater GMO European production. According to UK-based Soil Association policy director Peter Melchett:

"The rights of farmers who do not wish to grow GMO crops, particularly in England are under threat by this proposal."

"Indeed, the entire organic sector, growing rapidly in Europe and which may double by 2020, is in danger - as are the rights of anyone who wants to buy GMO free foods."

Greens Party food safety spokesman Bart Staes said the new law "risks finally opening the door for genetically modified organisms to be grown across Europe."

"Despite a majority of EU member states and citizens being consistently opposed to GMOs, the real purpose of this new scheme is to make it easier to wave through EU authorizations of GMO crops."

"Countries opposed to GMOs are given the carrot of being able to opt-out of these authorizations but the scheme approved today fails to give them a legally-watertight basis for doing so. This is a false solution."

Agribusiness giants like Monsanto may now apply more pressure than ever on EU countries to permit GMO production.

Friends of the Earth said the new law lets them have "first say in the decision-making process."

Countries henceforth against GMO production may not ban them based on environmental concerns.

Only on environmental policy objectives, town and country planning, land use, socio-economic impacts, prohibiting GMOs in the presence of other crops, agricultural policy objectives or public policy.

Greenpeace said excluding environmental concerns could have "serious consequences." According to its EU agriculture policy director Marco Contiero:

"This new law is supposed to give countries some legal muscle to prevent GMO crops from being grown on their territory."

"But it has some major flaws. It grants biotech companies the power to negotiate with elected governments and excludes the strongest legal argument to ban GMO crop - evidence of environmental harm."

Obama maintains strong ties to agribusiness giants like Monsanto. So do Bush and Clinton families. They oppose labeling.

Reportedly they eat organic foods whenever possible. Uncaring about mass marketing of harmful-to-human health GMOs.

On February 6, Sputnik News headlined "German Lawmakers Claim Ukraine Conflict Covers Up Massive Cropland Seizures."

Saying it's a "smokescreen" to let World Bank/European Bank for Reconstruction and Development financed agribusiness steal Ukraine's highly valued farmland.

German left faction parliamentarian Birgit Bock-Luna said Ukraine's conflict "is used to cover up a sale of farmlands in the interest of major corporations."

A temporary ban prohibits it until January 2016. Monsanto, German and other agribusiness giants are circumventing the law.

Seizing land through leasing schemes. Generously financed by international money lenders, Millions of Ukrainian acres are being opened to GMO production.

"Lawmakers say they have reason to believe that the German government has been involved in funding farmland grabs in Ukraine through its ministries, providing assistance to joint EU and German agricultural projects with Kiev," Sputnik News reported.

"The Ukraine Investment Climate Advisory Services Project, Germany's agricultural center Deutsche Agrarzentrum (DAZ), and the German Advisory Group on Economic Reforms in Ukraine are some of the projects that helped to negotiate land grabs with Ukrainian government officials, lawmakers said."

Kiev putschists are handing over Ukraine's rich farmland to agribusiness in return for IMF loans.

The Oakland Institute's report said Yanukovych's pre-coup government began implementing "pro-business reforms" through the Ukraine Investment Advisory Services Project.

As well as by "streamlining trade and property transfer procedures…" Putschist takeover accelerated IMF/World Bank mandated structural adjustments.

Foreign investment followed. Agribusiness and other Western corporate interests are grabbing all they can.

At the expense of Ukraine's economy and welfare of its people. Business giants "failed to demonstrate how (their) programs will improve the lives of Ukrainians and build a sustainable economic future."

Free-wheeling plunder accomplishes the opposite. Ukraine is being systematically raped.

Its resources stolen. Its people exploited. Its economy deteriorating toward collapse.

While US supported war against its own citizens rages. Irresponsibly blamed on Russia.

During a Wednesday Kiev press conference with illegitimate fascist prime minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Kerry repeated one Big Lie after another about conditions in Ukraine and Russia.

Claiming "remarkable democratic successes, even in the face of…incredible obstacles."

Accused Donbas freedom fighters of Kiev-committed high crimes against peace.

"Let there be no doubt about who is blocking the prospect of peace here," Kerry blustered. Outrageously blaming Russia and rebels for naked Kiev aggression.

"Russian weapons and fighters" are involved, he said. Despite no corroborating evidence whatever, Kerry claimed "no question about tanks flowing, rocket systems being transported,  convoys of goods carrying both people, weapons, and other instruments of battle."

On the one hand, Washington's Ukrainian proxy war is murdering thousands of Donbas residents.

Irresponsibly challenging Russia at the same time. Positioning thousands of NATO forces near its border. Risking East/West confrontation.

On the other, Monsanto and other Western corporate predators are raping Ukraine. It's a central European laboratory for plunder.

Poisoned with GMO crops. While its economy deteriorates toward collapse. On Thursday alone, its hryvnia currency lost 30% of its value.

Analysts called what happened stunning. Forbes said its economy "reached a breaking point."

Its Donbas war is "put(ting) increasingly unbearable pressure on an economy" struggling to keep from collapsing altogether.

"Things can't go on this way for much longer before something snaps," said Forbes. Without multi-billions of dollars in aid, "there won't be a Ukrainian economy left" before long.

Maybe no Europe if Washington's rage for war isn't stopped. On Friday, Munich's 51st three-day Security Conference began.

Hundreds of politicians, diplomats, military officials, business executives, geopolitical experts, and various other public figures began discussing conflict resolution options while US manipulated war on Donbas escalates.

Twenty heads of state are attending. So are 60 foreign ministers. According to conference director Wolfgang Ischinger:

"The more serious the crisis, the more important the security conference will be for those diplomats who need to find solutions to conflicts."

"The crisis in Ukraine, the continuing conflicts and processes of disintegration in the Middle East as well as new terrorist phenomena like the so-called 'Islamic State' have shown clearly that the basic rules of the international system are in question."

Poroshenko is attending. So is Sergey Lavrov. Joe Biden and John Kerry head a US delegation.

According to Munich's Suddeutsche Zeitung, they're expected to urge tougher anti-Russian measures.

"(I)ncreas(ing) the price for (nonexistent) Russia(n) aggressive behavior." Adding Europe's security is at stake. Ignoring Washington's full responsibility.

On Saturday, Biden, Lavrov and Merkel will address conference participants. Expect Ukrainian crisis conditions to be highlighted.

Lavrov is expected to meet Kerry and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg separately.

A panel discussion will address "The World in 2015: Collapsing Order, Reluctant Guardians?" Based on a report prepared for the conference.

Given Washington's rage for war, Europe's security is more jeopardized than any time since summer 1914 and 1939. Don't expect Munich discussions to change things.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.

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