How George Bush and the Rockefeller Foundation Poisoned Our Food Supply

What could explain the extraordinary backing of no fewer than four US Presidents for the GMO agrichemical industry?

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David Rockefeller, George H. W. Bush during George C. Marshall Foundation Honors George H. W. Bush at Cipriani in New York, New York, United States.

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Early GMO Research

The issue of biotechnology and genetic-modification of plants and other life forms first emerged from research labs in the United States in the late 1970’s. During the 1980’s the Reagan Administration acted in key areas of economic policy in ways which echoed the radical policies of the President’s close ally, British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher. There was a special relationship between the two, as both were deeply committed advocates of radical free market policies and less government involvement, combining to give the private sector free reign. 

In one domain, however, that of the emerging field of genetic engineering which developed, some years before, out of DNA (Deoxyribonucleic Acid) and RNA (Ribonucleic Acid) research, Reagan’s Administration was determined to take a back seat to no-one in seeing to it that America was Number One. 

A curious aspect of the regulatory history of GMO foods and genetically-engineered products in the United States, was that, beginning in the Reagan era, the government showed extreme partisanship in favour of the biotech agribusiness industry. The very US Government agencies entrusted with the mandate to safeguard the health and safety of the overall population were becoming dangerously biased.

Some years before the first commercial GMO product hit the market in the US, the Reagan Administration had been moving quietly to open its doors wide to Monsanto and other private companies which were developing gene-manipulated products. The key actor within the Reagan Administration on decisions pertaining to the new field of genetically modified products was former head of the CIA, Vice President George Herbert Walker Bush—who would himself soon be President, and father of the later President, George W. Bush. 

By the early 1980’s, numerous agribusiness corporations were in a gold rush frenzy to develop GMO plants, livestock and GMO-based animal drugs. There was no regulatory system in place to control the development, risks and sale of the products. The agribusiness companies wanted to keep it that way. 

The Reagan-Bush Administration was partly driven by an ideological agenda of imposing across-the-board deregulation, reducing Government supervision in every facet of daily life. Food safety was no exception. Rather to the contrary, and even if that meant the general population could become guinea pigs for entirely untested new health risks. 

The Fraud of “Substantial Equivalence”

In 1986, Vice President Bush hosted a group of executives from a giant chemical company, Monsanto Corporation, of St. Louis, Missouri, for a special White House strategy meeting. The purpose of the unpublicized meeting, according to former US Department of Agriculture official, Claire Hope Cummings, was to discuss the “deregulation” of the emerging biotech industry. Monsanto had had a long history of involvement with the US Government and even with Bush’s CIA. It had developed the deadly herbicide, Agent Orange, for defoliation of jungle areas in Vietnam during the 1960’s. It also had a long record of fraud, cover-up and bribery. 

When he finally became President in 1988, Bush and his Vice President Dan Quayle moved swiftly to implement an agenda giving unregulated free-rein to Monsanto and other major GMO companies. Bush decided it was time to make public the regulatory framework which he had negotiated a few years earlier behind-closed-doors. 

Vice President Quayle, as head of Bush’s Council on Competitiveness, announced that “biotech products will receive the same oversight as other products,” and “not be hampered by unnecessary regulation.” On May 26, 1992, the Vice President, Dan Quayle, proclaimed the Bush administration’s new policy on bioengineered food. 

“The reforms we announce today will speed up and simplify the process of bringing better agricultural products, developed through biotech, to consumers, food processors and farmers,” Mr. Quayle told executives and reporters. “We will ensure that biotech products will receive the same oversight as other products, instead of being hampered by unnecessary regulation.” Pandora’s Box had been opened by the Bush-Quayle Administration.

Indeed, not one single new regulatory law governing biotech or GMO products was passed, then or later, despite repeated efforts by concerned Congressmen that such laws were urgently needed to regulate unknown risks and possible health dangers from the genetic engineering of foods. 

The framework that Bush put in place was simple. In line with the expressed wishes of the biotech industry, the US Government would regard genetic engineering of plants and foods or animals as merely a simple extension of traditional animal or plant breeding. 

Further clearing the path for Monsanto and company, the Bush Administration decided that traditional agencies, such as the US Department of Agriculture, the EPA, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), were competent to evaluate the risks of GMO products. They determined that no special agency was needed to oversee the revolutionary new field. Furthermore, the responsibilities for the four different agencies were kept intentionally vague. 

That vagueness ensured overlap and regulatory confusion, allowing Monsanto and the other GMO operators maximum leeway to introduce their new genetically engineered crops. Yet, to the outside world, it appeared that the new GMO products were being carefully screened. The general public naturally assumed that the Food and Drug Administration or the National Institutes of Health were concerned about their well-being. 

Despite serious warnings from research scientists about the dangers of recombinant DNA research and biotechnology work with viruses, the US Government opted for a system in which the industry and private scientific laboratories would “voluntarily” police itself in the new field of genetically engineered plants and animals. 

There were repeated warnings from senior US government scientists of the potential dangers to the Bush-Quayle “no regulation” decision. Dr. Louis J. Pribyl, of the Food & Drug Administration was one of 17 government scientists working on a policy for genetically engineered food at the time. Pribyl knew from studies that toxins could be unintentionally created when new genes were introduced into a plant’s cells. Pribyl wrote a heated warning memo to the FDA Chief Scientist declaring, “This is the industry’s pet idea, namely that there are no unintended effects…But time and time again, there is no data to back up their contention.”

Other Government scientists concluded there was “ample scientific Justification” to require tests and a government review of each genetically engineered food before it was sold. “The possibility of unexpected, accidental changes in genetically engineered plants justifies a limited traditional toxicological study,” they declared. Their voices went unheeded by the Bush Administration. They had cut their deal with Monsanto and the emerging biotech agribusiness industry. 

At that early stage, few paid any attention to the enormous implications of genetic engineering on such a mass scale, outside a small circle of scientists being financed by the largesse of a handful of foundations. And no foundation was more important in the financing of this emerging sector of biotechnology than the Rockefeller Foundation in New York. 

By 1992, President George H.W. Bush was ready to open the Pandora’s Box of GMO. In an Executive Order, the President made the ruling that GMO plants and foods were “substantially equivalent” to ordinary plants of the same variety, such as ordinary corn, soybeans, rice or cotton.  

The doctrine of “substantial equivalence” was the lynchpin of the whole GMO revolution. It meant that a GMO crop could be considered to be the same as a conventional crop, merely because GMO corn looked like ordinary corn or GMO rice or soybeans, and even tasted more or less like conventional corn, and because in its chemical composition and nutritional value, it was “substantially” the same as the natural plant. 

That determination that GMO plants were to be treated as “substantially equivalent” ignored the qualitative internal alteration required to genetically engineer the particular crop. As serious scientists pointed out, the very concept of “substantial equivalence” was itself pseudo-scientific. The doctrine of “substantial equivalence” had been created primarily to provide an excuse for not requiring biochemical or toxological tests.

Because of the Bush Administration’s “substantial equivalence” ruling, no special regulatory measures would be required for genetically engineered varieties. 

Substantial equivalence was a phrase which delighted the agribusiness companies. That wasn’t surprising, for Monsanto and the others had created it. Its premise was deceitful, as Bush’s science advisers well knew. 

Genetic modification of a plant or organism involved taking foreign genes and adding them to a plant such as cotton or soybeans to alter their genetic makeup in ways not possible through ordinary plant reproduction. Often the introduction was made by a gene “cannon” literally blasting a plant with a foreign bacteria or DNA segment to alter its genetic character. In agricultural varieties, hybridization and selective breeding had resulted in crops adapted to specific production conditions and regional demands.

Genetic engineering differed from traditional methods of plant and animal breeding in very important respects. Genes from one organism could be extracted and recombined with those of another (using recombinant DNA, or rDNA, technology) without either organism having to be of the same species. Second, removing the requirement for species reproductive compatibility, new genetic combinations could be produced in a highly accelerated way. The fateful Pandora’s Box had indeed been opened. The fictional horrors of the “Andromeda Strain,” the unleashing of a biological catastrophe, was no longer the stuff only of science fiction. The danger was real, and no one seemed to pay a mind. 

Genetic engineering introduced a foreign organism into a plant in a process that was imprecise and unpredictable. The engineered products were no more “substantially equivalent” to the original than a tiny car hiding a Ferrari engine would be to a Fiat. 

Ironically, however, while companies such as Monsanto argued for “substantial equivalence,” they also claimed patent rights for their genetically modified plants on the argument that their genetic engineering had created substantially new plants whose uniqueness had to be protected by exclusive patent protection. They saw no problem in having their cake and eating it too. 

With the Bush Administration 1992 ruling, that was to be upheld by every successive Administration, the US Government treated GMO or bio-engineered foods as “natural food additives,” therefore not subjecting them to any special testing. If it wasn’t necessary to test normal corn to see if it was healthy to eat, so went the argument, why should anyone have to bother to test the “substantially equivalent” GMO corn, soybean, or GMO milk hormones produced by Monsanto and the other agribusiness companies? 

In most cases, the Government regulatory agencies simply took the data provided to them by the GMO companies themselves in order to judge that a new product was fine. The US Government agencies never ruled against the gene giants. 

“Nature’s Most Perfect Food…”

The first mass-marketed GMO food was milk containing a recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone, known as rBGH. This was a genetic manipulation patented by Monsanto. The FDA declared the genetically-engineered milk safe for human consumption before crucial information on how the GMO milk might affect human health was available, diligently holding up to the doctrine of substantial equivalence. 

The rBGH hormone constituted a huge temptation for struggling dairy farmers. Monsanto claimed that if injected regularly with rBGH, which it sold under the trade name, Posilac, cows would typically produce up to thirty percent more milk. For the struggling farmer, a thirty percent jump in output per cow was astonishing and virtually irresistible. Monsanto advertised that farmers should “leave no cow untreated.” One state agriculture commissioner termed rBGH “crack for cows” because of its extraordinary stimulating effects on milk output.

Monsanto’s new Posilac rBGH hormone not only stimulated the cow to produce more milk. In the process it stimulated production of another hormone, IGF-1, which regulated the cow’s metabolism, in effect, stimulating the cel division within the animal and hindering cell death. This is where problems began to appear. 

Various independent scientists spoke out, warning that Monsanto’s rBGH hormone increased the levels of insulin-like growth factors, and had a possible link to cancer. One of the most vocal scientists on the matter was Dr. Samuel Epstein, from the University of Illinois’s School of Public Health. Epstein, a recognized authority on carcinogens, warned of a growing body of scientific evidence that the Insulin-like Growth Factor, IGF1, was linked to the creation of human cancers, cancers which might not appear for years after initial exposure. 

Not surprisingly, hormone stimulation that got cows to pump 30% more milk had other effects. Farmers began to report their cows burned out by as much as two years sooner, and that many cows had serious hoof or udder infections as a by-product of the rBGH hormone treatment, meaning that some of them could not walk. In turn, the cows had to be injected with more antibiotics to treat those effects. 

The FDA countered the growing criticism by using data provided by Monsanto, which, not surprisingly, severely criticized the independent scientists. With Monsanto’s chief rBGH scientist, Dr. Robert Collier, with tongue firmly in cheek, retorted that, “In fact the FDA has commented several times on this issue…They have publicly restated human safety confidence…this is not something knowledgeable people have concerns about.”  That was hardly reassuring for anyone aware of the relationship between Monsanto and the FDA leadership.

In 1991, a scientist at the University of Vermont, leaked to the press that there was evidence of severe health problems affecting rBGH-treated cows, including mastitis, an inflammation of the udder, and deformed births. Monsanto had spent more than half a million dollars to fund the University of Vermont test trials of rBGH. The chief scientist of the project, in direct opposition to his alarmed researcher, had made numerous public statements asserting that rBGH cows had no abnormal levels of health problems compared with regular cows. The unexpected leak from the upstart whistleblower was embarrassing for both Monsanto and the University receiving Monsanto research dollars, to say the least.

The US General Accounting Office, an investigative arm of the US Congress, was called in to investigate the allegations. Both the University of Vermont and Monsanto refused to cooperate with the GAO, which was finally forced to give up the investigation with no result. Only years later did the University finally release the data, which indeed showed the negative health effects of rBGH. By then, however, it was too late. 

In 1991, the Food and Drug Administration created the new position of Deputy Commissioner for Policy to oversee agency policy on GMO foods. The agency named Michael R. Taylor to be its first head. Taylor came to the job as a Washington lawyer. But not just any old garden variety of Washington lawyers. As a food and drug law specialist with the Washington power firm, King & Spalding, Taylor had previously successfully represented Monsanto and other biotech companies in regulatory cases. 

Monsanto’s chief scientist, Margaret Miller, also assumed a top post in the FDA as Deputy Director of Human Food Safety at the beginning of the 1990’s. In this position, Dr. Miller, without an explanation, raised the FDA standard by 100 times for the permissible level of antibiotics that farmers could put into milk. She single-handedly cleared the way for a booming business for Monsanto’s rBGH hormone. A cozy club was emerging between private biotech companies and the government agencies that should be regulating them. It was a club more than a little fraught with potential conflict of interest. 

As one of its top officials, Taylor helped the FDA draw up guidelines to decide whether GMO foods should be labeled. His decision was not to label GMO foods. 

At the same time, again under Taylor’s guiding hand, the FDA ruled that risk-assessment data, such as data on birth defects in cattle or even possible symptoms in humans arising from consumption of GMO foods, could be withheld from the public as “confidential business information.” 

Were it to leak out that Monsanto, Dow or other biotech companies were creating grotesque deformities in animals fed GMO foods, it might be negative for the stock price of the company, and that would damage the full flowering of private enterprise. 

This, at least, seemed the logic behind the perverse kind of “Shareholder value ueber Alles.” As FDA Biotechnology Coordinator James Maryansky remarked, “The FDA would not require things to be on the label just because a consumer might want to know them.”

A lawyer for Monsanto, Michael R. Taylor, had been placed in charge of GMO food policy within the government’s principal food safety body. As a suitable postscript, honoring the adage, “we take care of our friends,” Monsanto rewarded the diligent public servant by appointing Michael Taylor to be Vice President of Monsanto for Public Policy after he left the FDA.

FDA and Monsanto Milk the Public

By 1994, after a suitable amount of time had elapsed, the FDA approved the sale of rBGH milk to the public. Under the FDA rules, of course, it was unlabeled, so the consumer could avoid undue anxiety about giving himself or his children exposure to cancerous agents or other surprises. He would never know. When Monsanto’s Posilac caused leukemia and tumors in rats, the US Pure Food and Drug Act was rewritten to allow a product that caused cancer in laboratory animals to be marketed for human consumption without a warning label. It was as simple as that.

Though Monsanto claimed that its rBGH was one of the most thoroughly examined drugs in US history, BGH was never tested in the long-term for (chronic) human health effects. A generally accepted principle in science holds that two years of testing is the minimal time for long-term health studies. rBGH was tested for only 90 days on 30 rats. The short-term rat study was submitted by Monanto to the FDA but was never published. The FDA refused to allow anyone outside the administration to review the raw data from this study, saying that publication would “irreparably harm” Monsanto. Monsanto has continued to refuse to allow open scientific peer review of the 90 day study. This linchpin study of cancer and BGH has never been subjected to scrutiny by the scientific community.

Not content to feed GMO milk exclusively to its own unwary population, the US Government exerted strong pressure on Mexico and Canada also to approve rBGH, as part of an effort to expand Monsanto’s rBGH market globally. 

However, the FDA-Monsanto campaign got a nasty setback in in January 1999, when the Canadian counterpart to the FDA, Health Canada, broke ranks with the US and issued a formal “notice of non-compliance” disapproving future Canadian sales of rBGH, sometimes also called rBST or recombinant Bovine Somatotropin. 

The action followed strong pressure from the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association and the Royal College of Physicians, who presented evidence of the adverse effects of rBGH milk, including evidence of lameness and reproductive problems. Monsanto had been very eager to break into the Canadian market with its rBGH, even to the point, according to a Canadian CBC television report, that a Monsanto official tried to bribe a Canadian health official sitting on the Government review committee with an offer of $1-2 million, to secure rBGH approval in Canada without further studies. The insulted official reportedly asked, “Is that a bribe?” and the meeting ended.

Moreover, a special European Commission independent committee of recognized experts concluded that rBGH, as reported in Canadian findings, not only posed the above-named dangers, but also major risks especially of breast and prostate cancer in humans. 

In August 1999, the United Nations Food Safety Agency, the Codex Alimentarius Commission, ruled unanimously in favor of a 1993 European Union moratorium on the introduction of Monsanto’s rBGH milk. Monsanto’s rBGH was thus banned from the EU.

This setback was not to daunt the persistent bureaucrats at the FDA, or their friends at Monsanto. Since GMO labeling had been forbidden by the FDA, Americans were blissfully unaware of the dangers of drinking the milk they were encouraged to consume for better health. “Nature’s most perfect food” was the dairy industry’s slogan for milk. With regard to reporting the UN decision and the negative Canadian conclusions, the US media were respectfully quiet. Americans were simply told that the EU was trying to hurt American cattle farmers by refusing imports of hormone-fed US beef. 

One concerned FDA scientist who refused to sit by idly was FDA Veterinarian Dr. Richard Burroughs, who was responsible, from 1979 until 1989, for reviewing animal drugs such as rBGH. From 1985 until the year he was fired, Burroughs headed the FDA’s review of Monsanto’s rBGH, thus being directly involved in the evaluation process for almost five years. Burroughs wrote the original protocols for animal safety studies and reviewed the data submitted by rBGH developers from their own safety studies.

In a 1991 article in Eating Well magazine, Burroughs described a change in the FDA beginning in the mid-1980s. Burroughs was faced with corporate representatives who wanted the FDA to ease strict safety testing protocols. He reported seeing corporations dropping off sick cows from rBGH test trials and then manipulating data in such ways as to make health and safety problems “disappear.”

Burroughs challenged the agency’s lenience and its changing role from guardian of public health to protector of corporate profits. He criticized the FDA and its handling of rBGH in statements to Congressional investigators, in testimonies to state legislatures, and in declarations to the press. Within the FDA, he rejected a number of corporate-sponsored safety studies, calling them insufficient. Finally, in November 1989, he was fired for “incompetence.”

The FDA failed to act on the evidence that rBGH was not safe. In fact, the agency promoted the Monsanto Corporation’s product before and after the drug’s approval. Dr. Michael Hansen of Consumers Union noted that the FDA acted as an rBGH advocate by issuing news releases promoting rBGH, making public statements praising the drug, and writing promotional pieces about rBGH in the agency’s publication, FDA Consumer.

In April 1998, two enterprising award-winning television journalists at Fox TV, an influential US network owned by Rupert Murdoch, put together the remarkable story of the rBGH scandal including its serious health effects. Upon pressure by Monsanto, Fox killed the story and fired Jane Akre and her husband Steve. In an August 2000 Florida state court trial, the two won a jury award of $425,000 damages and the Court found that Fox “acted intentionally and deliberately to falsify or distort the plaintiffs’ news reporting on rBGH.”

With their ample financial resources, Fox Television and Monsanto took the case to a higher court on appeal and got the decision reversed on a legal technicality. The FDA kept silent. Monsanto continued to market rBGH milk unabated. As one former US Department of Agriculture official stated, the guiding regulatory percent for genetically modified foods was, “don’t tell, don’t ask,” which meant, “If the industry does not tell government what it knows about its GMOs, the government does not ask.” That was little reassurance for the health and safety concerns of the population. Few ever realized it however, as on the surface it appeared that the FDA and other relevant agencies were guarding their health interests in the new area of GMO foods. 

In January 2004, after FDA inspectors broke their silence by declaring finding unacceptable levels of contamination in rBGH, Monsanto finally announced it would reduce the supply of Posilac by 50%. Many thought Monsanto would quietly discontinue production of the dangerous hormone. Not easily deterred by anything, least of all evidence of danger to human health, Monsanto announced a year later that they planned to increase the supply of Posilac again, initially to 70% of its peak level. They had come under enormous pressure not only from citizens concerned about health consequences, but also from farmers who realized that the 30% rise in national milk output from dairy herds had only served to create an even larger glut of unsold milk in a nation already in surplus, and provoked collapsing milk prices.

By then, however, Monsanto had moved on to corner the global market in seeds for the most important staples in the human and animal diets.

Monsanto’s Cozy Government Relations

The relation between the US Government and giant GMO seed producers such as Monsanto, DuPont or Dow AgriSciences was not accidental. The Government encouraged development of unregulated GMO crops as a strategic priority, as noted, since the early years of the Reagan Presidency, long before it was at all clear whether such engineering of nature was at all desirable. It was one thing for a government to support long-term laboratory research through science grants. It was quite another thing to open the market’s floodgates to untested, risky new procedures which had the potential to affect the basic food supply of the country and of the entire planet. 

Washington was becoming infamous for what some called “revolving door government.” The latter referred to the common practice of major corporations to hire senior Government officials directly from Government service into top corporate posts where their Government influence and connections would benefit the company. Similarly, the practice worked in reverse, where top corporate persons got picked for prime Government jobs where they could promote the corporation’s private agenda inside the Government. 

Few companies were more masterful at this game of the revolving door than Monsanto. That corporation was a major contributor to both Republican and Democratic national candidates. During the controversy over the labeling of Monsanto’s rBGH milk, the 12 members of the Dairy Subcommittee of the House Agricultural committee were no strangers to Monsanto’s campaign largesse. They had won a total of $711,000 in Monsanto campaign finance. It is not possible to prove that this fact influenced the Committee’s decision. However, it evidently did not hurt Monsanto’s case. The Committee killed the proposed labeling law. 

Monsanto had a special skill in placing its key people in relevant Government posts. George W. Bush’s Agriculture Secretary, Ann Veneman, came to Washington in 2001 from a job as director of Calgene, a biotech company which became a Monsanto subsidiary. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld had been CEO of Monsanto subsidiary G.D. Searle, producer of GMO-based artificial sweetener and carcinogen, Aspartame. Rumsfeld had also been Chairman of California biotech company Gilead Sciences, which held the patent on Tamiflu.

Former US Trade Representative and lawyer to Bill Clinton, Mickey Kantor, left Government to take a seat on the Board of Monsanto. Monsanto also had on its board William D. Ruckelshaus, former head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under Presidents Nixon and Reagan. Michael A. Friedman, M.D, senior vice-president of clinical affairs for Monsanto’s pharmaceutical division G.D. Searle, was once acting director of the FDA. Marcia Hale, Monsanto’s director of U.K. government affairs, was formerly an assistant to President Clinton for intergovernmental affairs. Linda J. Fisher, Monsanto vice president of public affairs, was once administrator of EPA’s Office of Prevention, Pesticides, and Toxic Substances. Monsanto legal adviser, Jack Watson, was chief of White House staff in the Carter Administration.

This pattern of revolving door conflicts of interest between top officials of Government agencies responsible for food policy and their corporate sponsors, such as Monsanto, Dow, DuPont and the other agribusiness and biotech players, had been in place at least since the time of the Reagan Administration. 

Unmistakable was the conclusion that the US Government was an essential catalyst for the “gene revolution” of GMO-altered food crops and their proliferation worldwide. In this they acted in concert with the corporate giant agrichemical firms such as Monsanto, Dow and DuPont, as if public and private interests were the same. 

What could explain the extraordinary backing of no fewer than four US Presidents for the GMO agrichemical industry? What could explain why Bill Clinton put the very authority of his office on the line to demand that the British Prime Minister silence a critic of the genetic manipulation of plants? 

What could explain the extraordinary ability of firms such as Monsanto to get their way among Government officials regardless of overwhelming evidence of potential health damage to the population? What could cause four Presidents to expose the health of their nation and the entire world to untold risks, against the warnings of countless scientists and even government officials responsible for public health regulation? 

The answer to those questions was there for anyone willing to look. But it was an answer so shocking that few dared to examine it. A press conference in late 1999 gave a hint as to the powerful interests standing behind public players. On October 4, 1999, Gordon Conway, the President of an influential private tax-exempt foundation based in New York, applauded the announcement by Monsanto that it agreed not to “commercialize” its controversial “terminator” seed genetics. 

The organization was the Rockefeller Foundation. It was no coincidence that the Rockefeller Foundation and Monsanto were talking about a global strategy for the genetic engineering of plants. The genetic revolution had been a Rockefeller Foundation project from the very beginning. Not only, as Conway reminded in his public remarks, had the Rockefeller Foundation spent more than $100 million for the advance of the GMO revolution. That project was part of a global strategy that had been in development for decades. 

At the 1999 press conference, Conway declared, “The Rockefeller Foundation supports the Monsanto Company’s decision not to commercialize sterile seed technologies, such as the one dubbed “the Terminator.” He added, “We welcome this move as a first step toward ensuring that the fruits of plant biotechnology are made available to poor farmers in the developing world.”

Conway had gone to Monsanto some months before to warn the senior executives that they risked jeopardizing the entire GMO revolution and that a tactical retreat was needed to keep the broad project on track.

Terminator seeds had been designed to prevent germination of harvested grain as seed, and had engendered strong opposition in many quarters. This technology would block farmers in developing from saving their own seed for re-sowing.

The involvement of the Rockefeller Foundation in Monsanto’s corporate policy was not by chance. It was part of a far more ambitious plan rooted in the crisis of the post-war dollar order which began in the era of the Vietnam War. The GMO project required above all science which was willing to subordinate itself abjectly to the service of select agribusiness patrons. A research project in Scotland was to provide the occasion to send a strong signal to biologists around the world what happens when results turn out against the wishes of Monsanto and other GMO producers.

F. William Engdahl

F. William Engdahl is an award-winning geopolitical analyst, strategic risk consultant, author, professor and lecturer.
He has been researching and writing about the world political scene for more than thirty years. His various books on geopolitics—the interaction between international power politics, economics and geography—have been translated into 14 foreign languages from Chinese to French, from German to Japanese.

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