ngin - Norfolk Genetic Information Network

4 April 2003


Remember the infamous Reuters headline, 'Eat GM or starve, America tells Africa', and how Andrew Natsios of USAID told us the U.S. couldn't help hungry southern African countries who wanted non-GM grain because, however desperate the situation, the U.S. wasn't allowed to untie its aid - it could only provide US grain?

Well now Mr Natsios is happily standing on his head... see final item

*GM Aid and War
*No GM Foods Please! - editorial from the Ghambia
*Andrew Natsios of USAID stands on his head


GM Aid and War

From: Gaia
Thursday, April 03, 2003 5:52 PM

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Last  year the US made donations of Genetically Modified corn as food aid to countries that had not approved the entry of GE across their borders.  In doing so they stirred international controversy and outrage.  In spite of this,  they attempt to do so even now, in India and the Gambia .   There is further suspicion that Monsanto will also be one of the many US corporations to benefit from the United States' war on Iraq, and Genetically Modified food aid will be distributed as a humanitarian gesture.

As was feared by many opponents to the war on Iraq, the real intentions of the US "liberators" have not taken long to appear.  Already, major construction and port management contacts have been handed to US corporations, instead of Iraqi companies.  Even British officials have hinted at their disapproval.  This means that instead of supporting a regeneration of any local economy, profits will fly out of the country into the foreign corporations.  Some of the corporations already named have previous members among the US government.  Perhaps this is why there are suspicions about Monsanto also benefiting from this war, considering that ex-Monsanto employee Ann Venemen is Secretary for Agriculture.

In protest at War on Iraq and the exploitation of GM Food Aid, farmers' organisations in the Philippines have called for a boycott of Monsanto products, tying into the growing global boycott of US goods.

For previous mailouts detailing the politics of food aid and the problems with GM food aid in particular, please email your requests.

Best wishes,




ROME, Italy, April 3, 2003 (ENS) - The war in Iraq could be devastating for the country's rural economy with consequences on farmers' capacity to produce food, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warned today. The winter grain harvest, set to begin in a few weeks, and the spring planting could both be affected.

For full text and graphics visit:


from No GM Foods Please!

Editorial in The Independent, Gambia.  Date: 24 March, 2003

The Gambia is poised to receive several metric tons of food shipment from the United States to help avert what could well be an acute food shortage, resulting from the paucity of rain last year...

The continent of famine and drought is living up to her nickname as the world's dumping ground, where her poor and hungry people are waiting to accept anything without the will to scrutinise them.

What should make us think that The Gambia is not being treated like Zambia where several tons of wheat donated by the Americans to drought-stricken people there have been discovered as GM food and unfit for human consumption. What is queer about the American gesture is switching from cajoling to arm-twisting the Zambian government into accepting the "gift" with threats of financial aid cuts. As if a polite no-thank-you response was an irritant for the donors. Which leaves us wondering whether the real intention was humanitarian in the first place. We all know that right across the United States, vast food storage facilities are stacked with GM foods for animals and may be "sub-humans" if they accept it.

There they stay and there they rot.


Andrew Natsios of USAID stands on his head...

Remember the infamous Reuters headline of July 26, 2002, 'Eat GM or starve, America tells Africa'?
Remember how Andrew Natsios of USAID told us the U.S. couldn't help hungry southern African countries who wanted non-GM grain because, however desperate the situation, the U.S. wasn't allowed to untie its aid - it could only provide US (GM) grain?

Remember how aid organisations like ActionAid pleaded with the Americans to alter its stance?

"The UN confirms there is enough non-GM food in southern Africa and on world markets... The US should [untie its aid] and stop putting a GM gun to the head of hungry Zambians." (Food aid, The Guardian (London) October 21, 2002)

Even Pascal Lamy the EU Trade Commissioner denounced the US for using its foreign aid programme as a means to "dispose of its genetically modified crop surpluses", adding, "The simple solution is for the US to behave as a real aid donor."

Well, guess what?

"The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) announced Wednesday that it is donating an additional $200 million to the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) *to purchase regional food aid* for Iraq.

The cash contribution for 324,000 tons of regional food purchases will allow the aid to be positioned for distribution approximately two months sooner than if it were purchased inand shipped from the United States, USAID Administrator Andrew Natsios told reporters in Washington."
[emphasis added]

Of course, $200m is pretty small beer compared to the current $74.7 billion war budget being spent on destroying Iraq.


It may well be that if Saddam's regime falls there will be dancing on the streets of Basra. But then, if the Bush regime were to fall, there would be dancing on the streets the world over. - Arundhati Roy,3604,927712,00.html


from Schnews:  The Labour Party have a Freepost address, which means they have to pay the postage on anything you send them. Please don't send bricks or heavy phone directories to: The Labour Party, FREEPOST LON 10417, London, SW1P 4UT. All the local party offices also have freepost addresses that can be found on election leaflets

'Mark Seddon, a member of Labour's National Executive Committee, claimed such donations were causing Labour to lose members amid criticism from the grassroots that the party was now "in the pockets of the powerful and the rich".

He told the Today programme: "In any other country I think a government minister donating such vast amounts of money and effectively buying a political party would be seen for what it is, a form of corruption of the political process." '

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