Hijacking the World’s Food Supply. A F. William Engdahl interview

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Hijacking the World’s Food Supply. A  F. William  Engdahl interview Powered By Docstoc

               The Seed Barons
             How Big Ag, Big Oil & Big Government
             Are Hijacking the World’s Food Supply
                 F. William Engdahl is an American based in Germany who is now doing some of the most aggres-
              sive writing and reporting on genetically modified food. As he explains in the conversation that fol-
              lows, he came to the topic after many years of delving into the history, science and politics of energy,
              specifically multinational oil companies. His 2004 book, A Century of War: Anglo-American
              Politics and the New World Order, was a bestseller, and Engdahl contributes articles to Asia
              Times,, Asia Inc.,,, Japan’s Nihon Keizai
              Shimbun and Foresight magazine, among others. Engdahl’s energy expertise turns out be ideal
              preparation for the biotech wars, another realm governed by huge, shadowy transnational entities
              with the power to affect millions of lives. Working at a distance from the American activist/liberal
              community, Engdahl speaks with a refreshing lack of received opinion. He does not, for example,
              subscribe to the global warming consensus; a topic we elected to take up at another time, the better
              to concentrate on genetic engineering and the price of oil.

F. William                 ACRES U.S.A. What is your background,
                           and how did it lead you to where you are
                                                                                 the British oil-fired naval fleet — the Royal
                                                                                 Navy, which was a project instituted by
Engdahl                    today?                                                Winston Churchill when he was First Lord
                                                                                 of the Admiralty. A Century of War traced
                           F. WILLIAM ENGDAHL. I’ve been work-                   what I call a thin red line that connects
                           ing as an economic researcher, historian              some of the major events in the history of
                           and freelance journalist for some 35 years,           the last hundred or more years, right down
                           initially in New York, then in Europe for a           to the present, including the United States
                           good part of the last five years or so. Back          and Iraq and the threats against Iran, the
                           in the 1970s when the United States was               tensions between China and the United
                           going through the so-called energy crisis             States over Sudan, Darfur, and so forth. The
                           with the first oil shock in 1973-74 and then          control of oil became a centerpiece of U.S.
                           the second one in the end of the 1970s, I got         power projection in the world, especially
                           interested in the power of Big Oil and began          after World War II. There’s a quote from
                           doing research on the networks of influence           Henry Kissinger in the mid-1970s — he
                           around the Seven Sisters oil companies.               said if you control oil you are able to control
                           I got quite involved with that and went               whole nations, and if you control food you
                           rather often to Texas, and was invited by             are able to control the people.
                           independent oil associations throughout the
                           Southwest because of my writings about the            ACRES U.S.A. How did you cross over into
                           issues affecting independent oil versus the           the biotech issue?
                           multinational companies. That led me into
                           an approach to understanding these prob-              ENGDAHL. Around the mid-1980s my jour-
                           lems through history. I was asked back in             nalistic assignments brought me to the whole
                           the early 1990s by a small German publisher           question of the Global Agreement on Tariffs
                           if I would consider writing a book on the             and Trade. I spent a lot of time going back
                           history of oil. This was actually during the          and forth to Brussels, where the European
                           first Iraq war, in 1991. I blocked out some           farm organizations are headquartered and
                           time and began researching a book that later          also the European Economic Community, as
                           became A Century of War. I ended up going             it was called in the 1980s, now the European
                           way back into the 1880s and the origin of             Union. As I had done with oil, I investigated

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how the grain markets worked. I found,             ACRES U.S.A. Where do we stand now                      acquire a small, relatively unknown com-
quite to my surprise and fascination, that         with Monsanto and DuPont’s efforts to                   pany in Mississippi, Delta & Pine Land.
the international grain market and the             control the global market? Where did                    Along with D&PL, they acquired world-
agricultural policies in Brussels, suppos-         your book end up, and what’s happened                   wide patent rights to something that’s
edly an autonomous entity represent-               since you finished work on it?                          called in the popular press “Terminator
ing the interests of European farmers                                                                      technology,” which, crudely put, causes a
and consumers, were controlled by the              ENGDAHL. I would say the most dra-                      suicide in the seed of a plant containing
same people who controlled U.S. foreign            matic event since then is the recent                    this technology within one harvest year.
policy. And that was the so-called grain           opening of what the BBC called the                      You have one harvest and then the plant
cartel, the four or five largest companies         Doomsday Seed Vault in Spitsbergen,                     is unable to reproduce, so farmers can’t
— Cargill, Archer Daniels Midland (in              almost to the Arctic Circle, in a chunk                 save seeds for the next harvest as they’ve
those days you had Continental Grain)              of rock that’s claimed by the Norwegian                 done for thousands of years, meaning
— and they had enormous lobbying                   government. They have created a global                  that farmers who lock into these patent-
influence in Brussels to dictate crucial           seed bank which is to have samples                      ed corn or soybean or other Monsanto
farm policies that were favorable to their         of every seed variety on the face of                    seeds will be permanently indentured to
interests. I had been looking at the ques-         the earth stored away in a vault deep                   the company and have to pay license fees
tion of the GATT Uruguay Round and                 inside this mountain that is supposed to                to get new seeds and plant anything.
the emergence of agribusiness. About
five or six years ago I began going back
to that work I’d done in the 1980s. I
began looking into the whole question                  “The curious thing about this seed vault is that it
of genetically modified organisms and
the patenting of plants. Without really            is being sponsored by what I call the gene giants or
having gone into the biology and the
background of it at that point, what               the four horsemen of apocalypse, these corporations
alarmed me in a gut way was the fact that
the decisive patents — a monopoly over             that are promoting the patenting of life forms
crucial feed grains, soybeans, corn and so
forth — were at that time held by three
or four global multinational corpora-
                                                   through GMOs, and I suspect that cannot be an
tions — Monsanto, DuPont, Dow, and
the fourth would probably be Syngenta
                                                   innocent venture.”
of Basel, Switzerland, which is really a
merger of Swiss, Swedish and ultimately
British biochemical entities. Those three          be invulnerable or impenetrable to any                  ACRES U.S.A. But Monsanto has said
or four corporations, as I saw the trends          kind of catastrophe, including nuclear                  they won’t use that technology, haven’t
five or six years ago, were in a position          attack. The curious thing about this seed               they?
to literally patent and potentially control        vault is that it is being sponsored by what
the seedstock of the entire human race             I call the gene giants or the four horse-               ENGDAHL. Monsanto was very decep-
within a decade or so at the rate they             men of apocalypse, these corporations                   tive in claiming they would not commer-
were going. Three of the four companies            that are promoting the patenting of life                cialize Terminator technology. Delta &
that could amass such power, DuPont,               forms through GMOs, and I suspect that                  Pine Land held the patent to Terminator,
Dow Chemical and Monsanto, had atro-               cannot be an innocent venture. We have                  but what’s even more alarming is the
cious histories concerning public safety           seed banks that preserve seed varieties in              co-patent holder for the technology
going back to Vietnam War — Agent                  situ in crucial places around the world.                was none other than the United States
Orange and dioxin contamination of                 We used to have one in Abu Ghraib in                    Department of Agriculture — the U.S.
their own employees in documented                  Iraq, but after the U.S. occupation it                  government! And while Monsanto held
cases over decades, for example, and the           simply disappeared. Nobody in Iraq was                  this pious press conference in an earlier
hiding of those facts. The fact that they          able to trace what happened to it. It was               attempt to acquire D&PL in 1999 and
had such influence on U.S. policy con-             probably bombed into extinction. But                    announced they were not going to com-
cerning genetic manipulation of plants             there are those seed banks in crucial                   mercialize Terminator, the Department
was really an alarm signal that motivated          places. There’s one in Syria for wheat                  of Agriculture defiantly said, “Well, we’re
me to begin the research that emerged              varieties that are essential to the world,              going ahead with our research and going
in my book Seeds of Destruction: The               and there are seed banks for corn or                    to work with Delta & Pine Land full
Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation,             maize varieties in Mexico in the Oaxaca                 steam ahead,” which they did. That leads
which was recently been released by                area. As the book was being finished                    one to question what the motives of
Global Research in Canada and is avail-            and put into print in 2006, I updated it                the U.S. government have been, at least
able in the United States as well.                 with the dramatic move by Monsanto to                   in the period since 2000 up until the

                                              Reprinted from                  June 2008 • Vol. 38, No. 6

present, because the USDA is still actively        them with some bacillus or some fungus                  ment and went right into the Board of
engaged in research projects supporting            or lord knows what, and changed the                     Directors of Monsanto.
Terminator.                                        DNA of the plant in question. Therefore
                                                   they’re claiming their gene cannons had                 ACRES U.S.A. Did their major accom-
ACRES U.S.A. And what are the                      made the resulting product unique, and                  plishment during this administration
motives?                                           at the same time they’re saying that it’s               consist of reinforcing the status quo of
                                                   not unique, it’s just like other corn or                no regulation, heading it off?
ENGDAHL. Some people, myself includ-               soybeans or whatever. Within this con-
ed, think that there’s a much more sinis-          tradiction, there is a very, very, very ugly            ENGDAHL. Well, there is no regulation.
ter agenda to this genetically modified            history of Monsanto and government                      What’s more, the present administra-
expansion of seeds around the world.               in collusion to simply have no effective                tion has gone out of its way to push
Going back to the Kissinger statement              regulation or oversight to this day of                  GMO on countries — Iraq, for example.
from the 1970s, it means the ability to            what goes into the human food chain in                  Monsanto wrote what is called Order
control vital elements of the human food           terms of genetically modified products.                 81 when Paul Bremer was what some
chain. Soybeans are essential to feed-                                                                     people called the proconsul in Baghdad
                                                                                                           after 2003. The U.S. government gener-
                                                                                                           ously gave the Iraqis a hundred orders
   “It’s against the law to label your food product as                                                     and they were orders — this is what
                                                                                                           you’ll do. Order 81, in violation of the
containing GMOs, so most Americans have no idea                                                            Iraqi constitution, insisted that patented
                                                                                                           plants be recognized under Iraqi law and
that about 60 or 70 percent of their daily diet is                                                         that if someone decided to get a hold of
                                                                                                           Monsanto GMO seeds and plant them,
genetically modified.”                                                                                     he could be forced to pay license fees to
                                                                                                           Monsanto. The recognition under Iraqi
                                                                                                           law of genetically modified seeds was
stock these days for mainstream cattle             ACRES U.S.A. Has the Bush era given                     brought in by the United States back in
and most animal husbandry, corn as                 biotech corporations the window they                    2004.
well, rice — there are several strains of          needed to disarm regulatory authority?
rice that have been genetically modified                                                                   ACRES U.S.A. What does the creation
and patented, and of course rice is the            ENGDAHL. There virtually are no con-                    of this Arctic seed vault tell us about the
feedstock for about 40 percent of the              trols. There have been since 1992 no                    geopolitical ambitions of the major grain
world’s population, mainly in Asia. The            government controls, not from the Food                  companies, the major food powers?
move to control these essential seeds that         and Drug Administration, not from the
are vital to the food chain is something           USDA. None of the government agencies                   ENGDAHL. I think the Doomsday Vault
in itself, but then if you combine it with         that ought to be monitoring these things                is a useful way to focus people’s attention
the fact that the U.S. government, since           and conducting completely independent                   on what’s going on with these things.
1992 when George H.W. Bush met with                tests are doing so. Monsanto sends its                  To spend millions of dollars on such a
Monsanto in a private meeting in the               top people in to become the key point                   remote and ostensibly useless project
White House and afterwards signed a                person in the FDA or relevant agen-                     really brings into question what the Bill
directive saying that genetically modi-            cies and then they go back out of the                   Gates Foundation is doing together with
fied plants are substantially equivalent           government service after they’ve done                   the Rockefeller Foundation, together
to standard plants. This was the infa-             what Monsanto would like to have them                   with the Norwegian government and
mous substantial equivalence doctrine,             do and go right back into Monsanto.                     Syngenta Foundation and Monsanto up
that GMOs were substantially equivalent            Mickey Kantor, Bill Clinton’s U.S. Trade                in the Arctic Circle? What are they sav-
to normal corn or soybeans or cotton,              Representative, did many, many nice                     ing these seeds for? Some people think
therefore we need no special govern-               favors for Monsanto in terms of global                  they’re storing them away either to allow
ment safety oversight or independent               trade negotiations, and then left govern-               the GMO companies to get their hands
testing of genetically modified plants.
To my mind this was one of the most
lunatic and dangerous steps by any gov-               “They’re claiming their gene cannons made the
ernment official perhaps in the entire
history of the United States. If you think        resulting product unique, and at the same time
about it for a minute, at the same time
Monsanto, et al., were claiming that their        they’re saying that it’s not unique, it’s just like other
patented corn or patented soybeans or
their rBGH hormone for milk produc-
tion were unique because they had shot
                                                  corn or soybeans or whatever.”

                                              Reprinted from                  June 2008 • Vol. 38, No. 6

on the seed heritage of mankind, which             ACRES U.S.A. Then multinationals                        ENGDAHL. It’s a mixed picture in
now under present strictures is supposed           based in a fading superpower would still                Europe. The climate in Europe among
to be strictly forbidden, and to begin pat-        be able to wield enormous power over                    the public is very adamantly against
enting them, patenting different strains           the global food supply and thus be able                 GMOs, the laws in places like Germany
of Basmati rice and corn that is uniquely          to affect the behavior of unruly nations?               and elsewhere — in Austria, there’s a
grown in Mexico and so forth, so that                                                                      national law that forbids planting of
they really have a lock on the food sup-           ENGDAHL. I’ve written two books now                     GMOs, point stop. In Switzerland there’s
ply. One can only speculate at this point,         of what I plan as a trilogy. I’m working on             a five-year moratorium, point stop, no
but the Rockefeller Foundation created             the third. The third part of the Kissinger              GMOs. Farmers I know were instrumen-
the genetic revolution and funded it with          code was if you control money, you con-                 tal in that. In Greece, the same thing. It’s
over $100 million going way back to the            trol the whole world. And the control of                banned. In Poland the parliament there
1970s, and the Rockefeller Foundation              the seed supply in crucial food elements                has tried to get very strong restrictions
has a pretty clear track record in terms of        is an unbelievably powerful weapon.                     on GMOs because they’re worried about
population control, in terms of eugenics,          Let’s say China is beginning to develop                 small farmers being destroyed by agri-
which is really about culling the human            a little independence and is not simply                 business conglomerates coming in and
herd and selecting out undesirables such           bowing to every request of George Bush                  just wiping them out. In Germany there’s
as racial minorities or whatnot, and cre-          and Dick Cheney, or whoever might                       a huge grassroots farmer and consumer
ating, well, in Germany in the 1930s the           be in Washington, and tries to assert a                 movement against GMOs. In Germany
Rockefeller Foundation financed what
was called the creation of the master
race, and that’s no exaggeration. I docu-              “There is a very, very, very ugly history of
ment this shocking story in some detail
in Seeds of Destruction.                           Monsanto and a government in collusion to simply
ACRES U.S.A. Surely they’ve renounced
that in the years since then. It’s Corporate
                                                   have no effective government regulation or over-
Public Relations 101: distance self from
Nazi past.
                                                   sight to this day of what goes into the human food
ENGDAHL. They haven’t, that’s the                  chain in terms of genetically modified products.”
interesting thing. They’ve just tried to
ignore it. The Rockefeller family was
very active in the American Eugenic                little bit of its own interest in Asia. The             you have a lot of natural foods and plac-
Society, and eugenics was the program              United States can say, “We’re cutting off               es where pesticides and chemicals are
that Hitler’s Nazi doctors enforced, and           your seed supply, you’ll no longer be                   not used and it’s very strictly regulated.
ultimately it led to the gas ovens. When           able to cultivate rice after one harvest                It’s not just a label that’s put on. They
all this came out in the Nuremberg tri-            season unless you do exactly what we                    are very, very strongly against GMOs
als, they decided to change the name of            say. We’re cutting off your oil supplies to             and have more or less kept the liability
the American Eugenics Society, and they            Iran and Sudan and other countries in                   on the farmer who plants the GMO, not
said quite defiantly that the new name             Africa because we don’t like what you’re                on the farmer whose field happens to
of eugenics is genetics. The funding of            doing or you’re not investing enough in                 get contaminated by seed being carried
biology centers around the world and               U.S. government debt or bailing out the                 through wind-borne transfer. Right now
research that led to the creation of GMOs          housing debacle of the New York banks.”                 the present government in Germany,
was directly a project from the begin-             I mean, it could be anything. It just gives             led by Angela Merkel, is going out of its
ning of the Rockefeller Foundation. One            an unbelievable amount of power to                      way to mend fences with Washington,
doesn’t need to be a genius to figure out          whoever controls it. These three or four                D.C., but they’re mending fences with
that if the same people are so intently            companies are tightly, tightly interlinked              the wrong Washington, because they’re
funding eugenics and forced steriliza-             with the Pentagon-military-industrial                   more or less in lockstep with everything
tion of what they call “inferior peoples,”         complex. That’s really what should ring                 the Bush-Cheney administration wants
and they suddenly start funding geneti-            alarm bells among people.                               them to do, including support for the
cally engineered seeds, maybe the two                                                                      introduction of widespread GMO plant-
fit together, and maybe there’s a plan to          ACRES U.S.A. Genetic modification of                    ing. In France, for example, just a month
control the seed supply of whole ethnic            food encountered some roadblocks and                    ago you had the government scientific
groups or populations around the world.            reversals in the last few years, espe-                  body upholding a ban on Monsanto
That would be an ultimate geopolitical             cially in the European Union. You live                  MON 810, which is genetically modified
weapon, as I document in the book. And             in Germany — have GMOs met their                        corn, pending several-years-long inde-
it’s certainly not beyond imagination,             Waterloo on the continent?                              pendent testing of it. Indications are
unfortunately.                                                                                             that it is unstable and not at all healthy

                                               Reprinted from                 June 2008 • Vol. 38, No. 6

and safe the way Monsanto claims. So               bean producers in places such as Brazil               export country. We’re talking about a
there is a very lively debate going on in          where the crop hasn’t yet been totally                huge amount of acreage, and most of
Europe. I would say that breaking down             contaminated. They’re importing it and                it is growing corn that is to be burned.
the European resistance to GMOs is now             certifying that it’s GMO-free and having              When that caught on, the United States
the number one priority of Monsanto,               independent tests run on the soy seed.                encouraged Brazil and the European
and they’re exerting huge lobbying                                                                       Union to do similar things and con-
pressure in Brussels, which is easier to           ACRES U.S.A. How would you rate the                   vinced them that this was the solution
influence because they’ve been doing               success of the popular resistance to the              to the dependency on foreign imported
it for decades. In Europe you still have           global GMO agenda?                                    oil and high oil prices. The situation is
national laws that say you must iden-                                                                    such that the price of grain is now being
tify if your food product contains more            ENGDAHL. The success has been quite                   determined by the price of petroleum,
than 1 percent of genetically modified             strong. The Merkel government hasn’t                  and both are going through the roof.
                                                                                                         The doubly dangerous thing is that this
                                                                                                         is occurring in the context of a series
   “While Monsanto held this pious press conference                                                      of world harvests that have lowered the
                                                                                                         grain carryover stocks, as the FAO calls
announcing they were not going to commercialize                                                          them, the reserve against drought and
                                                                                                         famine and whatever. Those stocks are
Terminator, the Department of Agriculture defiantly                                                      now at their lowest since the early 1970s
                                                                                                         when there was a world grain shortage
said, ‘Well, we’re going ahead with our research and                                                     and a huge spike up in the price of grains
                                                                                                         at the same time as the oil shocks of the
going to work with Delta & Pine Land full steam                                                          1970s — the current level is the lowest, I
                                                                                                         think, since 1972.
ahead.’”                                                                                                 ACRES U.S.A. How did this happen?

ingredients. In the United States since            been able to push the Washington agen-                ENGDAHL. The carryover reserve stocks
the 1990s it’s been just the opposite.             da on GMO after two and a half years,                 are being depleted partly because of con-
It’s the most absurd thing. It’s against           and they’re trying at every turn. One                 scious government policies in the United
the law to label your food product as              of the ways they’re trying to do it now               States and the European Union, and who
containing GMOs, so most Americans                 is through this really lunatic policy of              does that benefit? The argument is that
have no idea that about 60 or 70 percent           supporting ethanol or biofuels as a sub-              the stocks are controlled by Cargill and
of their daily diet, whether it’s a bowl of        stitute for gasoline for transportation               ADM, so we don’t need taxpayer money
Kellogg’s cornflakes or corn on the cob at         the same way that the Bush administra-                funding expensive public stocks. Well, no
KFC or a McDonald’s cheeseburger that              tion has suddenly discovered its green                sooner did the governments eliminate a
has at least one-third allowable soybeans          credentials by supporting biofuels in                 large share of these reserve stocks than
— that all of it is genetically modified.          the United States with heavy govern-                  along comes the Bush administration
And there are correlations of outbreaks            ment subsidies. Of course the big grain               and makes a huge push with biofuels,
of allergy epidemics in the United States          giants such as Archer Daniels Midland                 and the acreage devoted to this in the
with a possible link to the steady diet of         and the big oil companies just love this              United States just explodes. There have
GMO food products in the American                  because it’s not doing anything to solve              been studies at Berkeley which estimate
food chain now.                                    any environmental problems. What it is                that if we were to dedicate all American
                                                   doing is providing a huge upward spike                corn and soybean production acreage
ACRES U.S.A. When you walk into the                in the price of basic foods throughout                to biofuels, we would meet something
supermarket in Frankfurt, you actu-                the world now, taking land out of agri-               like 12 percent of total gasoline needs. In
ally have products on the shelf that are           cultural cultivation and turning it into              Iowa and South Dakota, I think some-
labeled as containing GMOs?                        fuel farms, if you will.                              thing like half the corn crop went to
                                                                                                         ethanol refineries last year. Not only
ENGDAHL. Yes. It’s very small print, of            ACRES U.S.A. What is the central flaw or              that, but of course farmers are attracted
course, but it’s there. By law it has to be        fallacy in the biofuel agenda?                        to this because they see a light at the end
there if it’s over 1 percent. Now the way                                                                of the tunnel after years of depressed
that Monsanto and company have kind                ENGDAHL. The fallacy is that the                      income for corn, so they’re abandoning
of gotten around this is they lobbied              amount of corn land in the United                     their traditional agriculture rotation and
not to have meat labeled that comes                States in 2007 that was cultivated for                exclusively growing soybeans or corn.
from cattle fed GMO soy and corn, but              biofuels was equal to the total amount                This has increased soil erosion and cre-
a lot of the farmers now are beginning             of corn that went for export from the                 ated the need for more chemical pesti-
to link up to certified GMO-free soy-              United States as the world’s leading corn             cides, a whole chain of negative conse-

                                              Reprinted from                June 2008 • Vol. 38, No. 6

quences. Something like 40 percent of all      dogma by almost every geology depart-                     oil today? Well, I don’t see any signs that
herbicides used in the United States are       ment in most of the world. The problem                    Exxon-Mobile is crying on their way
now used for corn.                             is, oil is not a fossil fuel, it’s not from the           to the bank. They’re making obscene
                                               detritus of dead dinosaurs or from algae                  profits, and it’s accepted as justifiable.
ACRES U.S.A. A standard retort you             from under the ocean or bird fossils or                   Nobody’s even debating that.
hear is that in the near future we’re going    whatever fossils you want to take. It’s not
to use these weedy species that don’t          a biological product. Oil is generated                    ACRES U.S.A. Can happy American
require a lot of pesticides and fertilizer,    deep down. If you’ve ever seen a sche-                    motorists rest easy at night, then, believ-
we’ll have all these weedy plants that just    matic cutting into the core of the earth                  ing that the discovery of large amounts
grow everywhere and we grind them up           of how a volcano erupts, it’s like a huge                 of oil are going to mean that the price
and turn them into fuel. What’s wrong          seething cauldron deep down inside the                    of gas will head back downward in the
with that argument?                            earth’s mantle burning constantly. Then                   near future? That would also bring the
                                               there’s a fault or a rupture or an align-                 price of food down, and life would get a
ENGDAHL. Cellulosic ethanol. The               ment of a certain structure near the                      little easier.
European Union recently, last year in          surface of the earth, and that allows this
fact, issued a ruling that national gov-       enormous temperature and pressure to                      ENGDAHL. I wish I could be reassur-
ernments such as in Germany could              erupt to the surface, like Krakatoa or                    ing, but the price of oil is controlled by
no longer protect the domestic market          Mount Etna. Imagine that that’s how                       two elements. One, the people who con-
against the imports of cheaper Brazilian       oil is created, deep down in the earth                    trol the downstream, which are the big
sugar beets. But the point is that the         — oil is a hydrocarbon, and Russian                       three or big four oil multinationals, two
energy economics of biofuels are nega-         scientists have synthetically reproduced                  British and two American, and number
tive. There is not a net plus in this. We      oil hydrocarbons in the laboratory at a                   two, Wall Street. The derivatives market
have plenty of oil — Brazil just discov-       hundred times the atmospheric pressure                    in paper oil trading has completely revo-
ered a huge offshore field with billions       at sea level. Oil is constantly being pro-                lutionized the pricing mechanism for oil.
of barrels of oil, perhaps equivalent to       duced, at least from all indications, deep                The exporters at the source in the Middle
an Alaska or North Sea oil discovery.          down in the Earth, and rather than say-                   East aren’t the ones making $107 price
There’s no shortage of oil around the          ing it comes from dead animals that are                   per barrel. It’s Goldman Sachs, Morgan
world, so to be burning food at a time         pressed down in the earth from above,                     Stanley, and these oil-derivative trading
when much of the world lacks the basic         we should start training our geologists                   banks that have emerged which have
food supply for their family nutrition is      to look deeper at some of the fields                      such an influence on oil price. Anytime
really an oxymoron in my view.                 such as Ghawar in Saudia Arabia, some                     there’s a news report on Reuters that says
                                               of these fault structures in the Middle                   insurgents or the opposition in Basra has
ACRES U.S.A. That’s a surprising opin-         East that gave them such riches of oil.                   blown up a crucial oil export pipeline,
ion because a lot of people subscribe to       I was in Iceland a year ago giving a talk                 then these hedge funds and oil specula-
the view expressed in the movie Syriana        on my book, and the former foreign                        tors have an excuse to bid the price of
— oil is running out, or even if there’s
plenty of oil left, it’s much heavier oil
that is more expensive to take out of the          “The whole peak oil theory rests on the idea that
ground. But you’re arguing that there is
plenty of oil.                                 oil is a fossil fuel, which is accepted as religious
ENGDAHL. Yes. There’s no question.             dogma by almost every geology department in most
ACRES U.S.A. Then what is the flaw in
the peak oil argument?
                                               of the world. The problem is, oil is not a fossil fuel.”
ENGDAHL. It’s a flawed view from the           minister there told me the government                     oil up $10 a barrel in five minutes. It’s
beginning to end. I know the peak oil          had just commissioned an independent                      a very precarious thing. The oil compa-
view — I myself subscribed to it as a          geophysical survey of Iceland in terms of                 nies have shifted over the last decade to
possible explanation for the occupa-           presence of oil. He said the conclusion                   just-in-time inventory, which means that
tion of Iraq in 2003, because nothing          was that Iceland is swimming on a sea of                  they’re able to maximize the upwards
else seemed to make sense. I have since        oil, that it’s a potential North Sea. Who                 price pressures. It’s a controlled market
rejected it. I wrote a piece that was          controls the information we have on oil                   — this is not a free market! Energy is
widely debated and earned me quite a           supplies? Who got the peak oil move-                      probably the most controlled market in
bit of hostile mail, called “Confessions of    ment going? The intimate decades-long                     the world, food being second.
an Ex-Peak Oil Believer.” The whole peak       friend of Dick Cheney, Matt Simmons
oil theory rests on the idea that oil is a     from Houston, the oil banker. And who
fossil fuel, which is accepted as religious    benefits from $107 per barrel price of

                                          Reprinted from                    June 2008 • Vol. 38, No. 6

ACRES U.S.A. Then the supply of oil                That’s simply a problem that has to be                 blowing up again, and Afghanistan is
is assured for the next few decades at             solved.                                                not going well. The Russians seem to
least?                                                                                                    have more weight to throw around with
                                                   ACRES U.S.A. It’s the hope of many                     energy leverage than ever before, and so
ENGDAHL. No, people who have done                  people that if oil becomes scarce, the                 does Venezuela. OPEC doesn’t seem to
the work on this say it’s assured for cen-         high prices would motivate research                    be as effective an arbiter as it used to be,
turies ahead. I was told once by someone           and changes in living habits to move                   so what can we expect in the next few
in Washington who was connected with               away from these terrible things we do                  years?
one of the intelligence community think            to our environment. Greenhouse gases
tanks that the United States had satellite         notwithstanding, the physical and spiri-               ENGDAHL. That’s a huge question. In
reconnaissance evidence that there is              tual pollution caused by car culture in a              my humble opinion, I think we’re living
enough undeveloped oil in the unde-                places such as Houston and Los Angeles                 through one of these historical eras of a
fined border between Saudi Arabia and              and Rio de Janeiro is hard to overstate.               fundamental paradigm shift of power.
                                                                                                          We had one between the 1870s and 1914
                                                                                                          with the decline of the British Empire
   “Anytime there’s a news report on Reuters that                                                         and the emergence of two rival empires
                                                                                                          to challenge that, one was Germany, the
says insurgents or the opposition in Basra have                                                           German Reich, and the other was the
                                                                                                          United States. That took between 1914
blown up a crucial oil export pipeline, then these                                                        and 1945 before the outcome was clearly
                                                                                                          decided and the United States was the
hedge funds and oil speculators have an excuse to                                                         unquestioned dominant superpower in
                                                                                                          the world. The title of my next book
bid the price of oil up $10 a barrel in five minutes.”                                                    provisionally is The Rise and Decline of
                                                                                                          the American Century, which is the name
                                                                                                          that Henry Luce of Time magazine gave
Yemen to supply the entire planet’s needs          ENGDAHL. You mean the SUV culture?                     to the emergence of American hege-
for petroleum for the next 50 years, and           I agree with people who think SUVs are                 mony in the 1940s. This sub-prime crisis
this was 10 years ago. So the oil is there.        a little bit over the top. I think you can             is really a fundamental crisis of the U.S.
The Russian geophysicists know how to              transport your family and buy groceries                banking and financial system, regret-
find it. They found oil in Siberia back            and do most of the things people need                  tably and tragically, because there’s no
during the Cold War when they had no               to do with cars that are of a modest size              need for it. Unless really, really dramatic
possibility of relying on imported oil             and fuel efficient. There are known cases              change comes from Congress and from
from the Middle East because NATO was              where inventors have developed engines                 a new President, which I’m skeptical
blocking it. The Russians developed deep           that can get 100, 200, 300 miles to a gal-             about at this point, I think the United
oil geophysics and they found supplies in          lon, but those inventors had their patents             States is going straight in the direction of
offshore Vietnam during the Cold War               bought up by General Motors or one of                  the Great Depression of the 1930s. You
and they’ve located reserves throughout            the other big companies.                               have waves of home foreclosure sweep-
Russia. Russia is the second biggest oil                                                                  ing the country, you have suburban areas
producer in the world behind Saudi                 ACRES U.S.A. People dismiss those sto-                 being turned into ghetto gang war lands,
Arabia today.                                      ries as urban legends.                                 abandoned houses, people are terrified
                                                                                                          about what is happening to their once-
ACRES U.S.A. Leaving aside global                  ENGDAHL. No legend, no legend at all!                  beautiful neighborhoods in the space
warming for another day, one conse-                I’ve met people over the years who have                of two or three years, and that trend is
quence of the oil habit is its direct              invented some of these things. They’re                 going to grow exponentially because
impact on the physical environment.                small, creative, usually a few people                  the way these home mortgages were
There’s a mass of plastic waste swirling           or one-man enterprises, and they get                   structured and fraudulently pushed on
around in the Pacific right now that’s             bought up and their invention is pulled                people. It was financial fraud on a huge
almost twice the size of Texas. The world          off the market. The Arabian rights to my               scale. I’ve written a series on this called
is choking on this stuff.                          book A Century of War were bought up                   The Financial Tsunami, and if people
                                                   by a prominent Saudi publishing house                  are interested, they can look it up on
ENGDAHL. That’s an ecological ques-                and it was pulled off the market, so                   the Web. The man who single-handedly
tion that requires management by gov-              there’s no Arabian edition.                            pushed this at every juncture, the securi-
ernment agencies. We have to fuel our                                                                     tization of mortgages and the expansion
economies with an effective fuel that is           ACRES U.S.A. It seems to be a really                   of that practice, was Alan Greenspan, the
affordable and can be made better, but             eventful time we’re living through right               former chairman of the Federal Reserve,
I’m not an advocate of filling the Earth           now, as we speak in late March 2008.                   right up until the day he retired. Now
with plastic grocery bags by any means.            The dollar is falling, Iraq seems to be                of course he’s written his memoirs and

                                              Reprinted from                 June 2008 • Vol. 38, No. 6

is claiming that he didn’t “get it” until           of the rest of the world that the United                  For more information on William Engdahl,
2005-2006. Well, I maintain he did get it,          States is in a terminal decline and they’d             including samples of his writings, visit www.
                                                                                                  His latest book,
because he created the securitization of            best get as far away from it as they can               Seeds of Destruction (ISBN 0-97371-472-7), is
the new finance revolution, as he called            without having their country bombed                    now available at select bookstores.
it in speech after speech.                          to smithereens in revenge. I think we’re
                                                    going to see a number of poles in the
ACRES U.S.A. Is there a way out of this             world. We’ll see an Asian one with China
mess?                                               playing a very important role, we’ll per-
                                                    haps see a central European one with
ENGDAHL. That will depend on how                    Russia playing a very important role, not
the government reacts and how the vot-              an aggressive one in terms of military
ers make the government react, because              power but a defensive one. I think it’s
after all there is a little bit of influence        up for grabs which way the European                         Acres U.S.A. is the national journal of
that voters have every four years at elec-          Union — Germany, France, England, the                    sustainable agriculture, standing virtually
tion time. This is a crucial year to call           rest of Europe — will go in relation to                  alone with a real track record — over 35
politicians and elected representatives to          these. Until now they tend to hold onto                    years of continuous publication. Eash
task to make some real change. So far the           their Atlantic partner across the water,                  issue is packed full of information eco-
debate that I’ve seen has been pathetic.            but that is becoming very tenuous as the                   consultants regularly charge top dollar
                                                                                                               for. You’ll be kept up-to-date on all of
None of the candidates are even begin-              dollar goes down and the Euro goes up.                   the news that affects agriculture — regu-
ning to address what is the most serious            It’s really a profound change. This is no                  lations, discoveries, research updates,
financial and economic crisis the nation            business-as-usual, three-or-four-month                     organic certification issues, and more.
has faced since the Great Depression of             recession that the United States is look-
the 1930s. That’s going to have an effect           ing at. We’re talking about a four, five,                          To subscribe, call
on the ability of the Pentagon for power
projection around the world. The idea of
                                                    six-year economic depression. And we
                                                    have a President who seems to be intent
                                                                                                              (toll-free in the U.S. & Canada)
this sole superpower, I think, is going to          on becoming the heir to Herbert Hoover,
be seen in a few years as a bad joke. Most          who during the 1929-1931 period kept                      512-892-4400 / fax 512-892-4448
of the world already sees it that way.              making speech after speech about how                      P.O. Box 91299 / Austin, TX 78709
Because the media is so closed to tell-             we’ve turned the corner and the worst is               
ing them what really is going on outside            behind us and just have faith in America.                      Or subscribe online at:
their shores, most Americans are com-               You read the speeches of President Bush               
pletely in the dark about the realities.            and you’re reading the Herbert Hoover
But there is a profound sense in most               of 2008.

                                               Reprinted from                 June 2008 • Vol. 38, No. 6

Description: Why prices go up and big corp. is adding deadly toxins in our food supply. +++ De ce preturile la alimente cresc si motivele aditivilor toxici din alimentatia publicá. (Ungaria, spre exemplu, e expulzat anul acesta corporatia Monsanto, dar din pácate, guvernul si administratia republicaná din România sunt cretinizate, vândute liftelor si corupte dincolo de orice criticá, deci poftá buná si ne vedem în cimitir... )