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Wikileaks Reveals Intel Efforts to Make Africa Safe for Monsanto

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Wikileaks: State Dept. wants intel on African acceptance of GMOs
By Tom Laskawy
Grist Magazine, Nov 29, 2010

The Wikileaks release of U.S. State Department classified diplomatic cables may be problematic, but it has been quite a trove of information on the workings of our diplomatic corps. For the most part, the dump has confirmed things that we already knew about U.S. policy — and that seems to be the case regarding the one mention of agricultural policy in these thousands of emails and documents (no doubt there are more) to which I was alerted.

Buried deep in a document that outlines priorities for intelligence gathering in the African “Great Lakes” countries of Burundi, the Republic of Congo, and Rwanda is a list (for the most part, very reasonable) of what the State Department would like to know about the region’s agricultural policy. Things like government policies on food security and food safety top the list, for example, along with information on the impact of rising food prices in these countries. Agricultural yield statistics, infrastructure improvements, data on deforestation and desertification, water issues, and invasive species are included as priorities for “reporting” as well.

But also getting its own line item on the intel priority list is this:

Government acceptance of genetically modified food and propagation of genetically modified crops.


Tom Philpott has reported on the State Department’s biotech-loving science adviser Nina Federoff and her industry ties — and certainly USDA Chief  Tom Vilsack believes that genetically modified foods are an answer to world hunger. So this revelation hardly counts as a surprise. But it’s still a shame to see that our spymasters are actively engaged in efforts to make the world safe for Monsanto. Aren’t there better things for them to do?

Tom Laskawy is a writer and a media & technology consultant who thinks that wrecking the planet is a bad idea. He twitters and blogs here and at Beyond Green about food policy, alternative energy, climate science and politics as well as the multiple and various effects of living on a warming planet.

For related articles and more information please visit Organic Consumers Association‘s Resource Center on Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, our Millions Against Monsanto Campaign, and our page on Politics and Democracy.


4 Responses

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  1. Wikileaks Reveals Intel Efforts to Make Africa Safe for Monsanto…

    Here at World Spinner we are debating the same thing……

    World Spinner

    December 3, 2010 at 7:36 pm

  2. our spymasters are actively engaged in efforts to make the world safe for Monsanto. Aren’t there better things for them to do?

    One would think so, but apparently not. Whether it was making Iran safe for Big Oil, or Guatemala safe for United Fruit, Chile safe for ITT and Anaconda, or Nicaraugua safe from…something, this seems to be what they do.

    Found your site today, quite by accident. Liking what I see so far.


    December 6, 2010 at 2:50 pm

  3. This is a very nice post. Well done my friend.


    December 8, 2010 at 11:50 am

  4. At the moment Monsanto is bitching about a proposed Free Trade Agreement with New Zealand – they want open access. We (hopefully – but who would know), don’t.

    Noel Ferguson

    December 20, 2010 at 4:59 pm

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