The Seed War (Parts 1 and 2)

November 28, 2010 at 4:57 pm | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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The Seed War (Parts 1 and 2)




More recently, we had a stark case study in what happens when corporate globalization is given total power, violent and bureaucratic, to impose exactly what it wants. When the US attacked Iraq, part of its extermination campaign was against all Iraqi culture. As Naomi Klein described in Shock Doctrine and several articles, the goal was to wipe everything clean and impose a blank slate upon which corporate domination could be directly and fully encoded. One example was the assault on seeds and indigenous farming. The seed bank at Abu Ghraib, a priceless repository of thousands of years of Mesopotamian cultivation, knowledge likely to be of critical importance in the age of climate change as more arid conditions expand, was attacked and destroyed by a mob.


Iraq’s agriculture was disrupted in general, as always happens in a war. When the farmers tried to rebuild, they were confronted with a typical globalist Catch-22. The same invaders who had destroyed their agricultural heritage now offered them aid in the form of proprietary seeds. At the same moment Paul Bremer, the US equivalent of Hans Frank in the General Government administrative zone of Poland, decreed that all proprietary globalization “law” applied in the case of Iraqi agriculture. This was a direct violation of international law, but we see what kind of law of the jungle really prevails with globalization.


Bremer’s Order 81 applied all the strictures of patent domination to the farmers who were at that moment being offered the choice of accepting the proprietary seeds or facing total ruin. (All other aid was conditional on taking the patent deal. It was a textbook example of an unconscionable contract of adhesion, in other words no contract at all according to human law.) This domination includes the truly obscene notion that when through natural inertia, negligence, or deliberate release, the patented seed spreads to the fields of a farmer against his will, he’s declared objectively in violation of the patent and subject to draconian legal penalties. This obscenity has already been enshrined in Canada. So Monsanto’s agent here tried to accomplish directly, by main force, what they’re trying to accomplish more gradually and insidiously everywhere else, including at home in America.


How is it possible that if your neighbor is negligent and lets his pollen spread to your field, or if Monsanto deliberately disperses it there, or if the wind simply blows, that you become a status criminal, an IP violator? Why, on the contrary, isn’t Monsanto guilty of a tort against you, by strict liability? The answer is that it would be under any accountable, human rule of law. But the law has abdicated. This is the anti-sovereign corporate law, which is an exact inversion of human law, just as the corporations are existentially anti-human, their very existence an affront to human dignity. They’re literally satanic according to Judeo-Christian theology.


What is to be done? Since this post was about seeds, let’s consider what is to be done about seeds. One thing’s clear – we cannot rely on seed vaults like the one in Norway. Even if these weren’t vulnerable to corporate domination, the basic idea is wrongly conceived – one big fort rather than a decentralized dispersal.


What do most individual plants do? They don’t hoard their seeds at one spot in the soil. They disperse them a widely as possible by all sorts of vehicles.


So the real Seed Banks we need will have to prize resiliency and redundancy over reinforcing one site as a hard target. They must be outside of official control mechanisms. Our seed banks have to be our own stewardship and propagation of our own heirloom seeds. Here’s one innovative idea for a legal framework for the seed commons. It would apply existing cooperative licensing to enshrine a system where anyone can innovate and sell his innovation, but not control the subsequent innovations of the buyer, and so on virally.


Continue Reading The Seed War (Parts 1 and 2)…

Iraqi Farmers! Beware of Genetically Modified Food

June 3, 2010 at 9:24 am | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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This Newsletter was sent to me by the

Institute of Near Eastern & African Studies (INEAS)

P.O. Box 425125

Cambridge, MA 02142 USA

Tel: 1 (617) 86-INEAS (864-6327)





Arab Farmers! Beware of Genetically Modified Food

Please distribute the following link widely to Arab consumers, importers, agriculture experts and farmers around the Arab world:

We want to specifically bring the matter of genetically modified food in this June issue to Arabs because they are among the least groups who have awareness about the subject.

The Dilemma of Iraqi People: They Receive Help from the

Same US forces that Destroyed Their Country!

Iraqis must follow the footsteps of the Haitian farmers by burning the imported seeds, especially those coming from the USA!  The alarming situation of agriculture in Iraq and its dependency is mentioned in the link above!

International Seed Day – April 26, 2010

April 17, 2010 at 9:03 am | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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International Seed Day

April 26, 2010



An educational day to increase awareness about the patenting of life forms, bio-piracy and the danger of agricultural monocultures


 _ On this April 26 celebrate with your community, friends and family by cooking healthy organic food.


_ Bring awareness to food safety and to bills and policies that restrict farmers from saving and breeding their seeds such as bill C-51 in Canada, BRAI in India, Order 81 in Iraq and bill S-510 in the USA.


_ Write a letter to your newspaper! Call the media, scientists, activists and farmers on April 26 to express the importance of saving and protecting seeds.


_Share the majic of seeds with a child; plant a food crop with a young family or community member.


_ Endorse this special day by e-mailing your full name or organization name and website by April 20 to &

On April 26, 2004 the ability of Iraq’s farmers to continue the seed saving techniques they and their ancestors practiced ended.  The U.S. Government made the practice of saving seeds illegal.


Endorsed by


Institute of Near Eastern & African Studies (INEAS) (Cambridge, MA, USA), Navdanya (New Delhi, India), Institute of Science in Society (London, UK),  Grain International (Barcelona, Spain), The Green Party of the United States (DC, USA), Focus on the Global South (New Delhi, India), GMO Free New Mexico (New Mexico, USA), Slow Food Rio Grande (New Mexico, USA), GMO-FREE Maui (Maui, Hawaii), Iraq Solidarity Association (Stockholm, Sweden), Hawai`i Seed (Hawaii), Hawaii Farmers Union  (Hawaii)

International Seed Day on April 26, 2010

April 1, 2010 at 1:20 pm | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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International Seed Day (ISD): An International Day for Patent-Free Seeds, Organic Food and Farmers’ Rights
April 26, 2010


Organizations and activists from around the world will observe April 26 as International Seed Day (ISD) advocating for patent-free seeds, organic food and farmers’ rights. ISD will be an educational day for the public to learn about genetically modified food, its health hazardous effects and the monopoly over worldwide agriculture by major US and European agribusiness companies.

Why April 26?

Order 81 was signed on April 26, 2004 by Paul Bremer, the administrator of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) in Iraq to control Iraq’s agriculture. The Order was a declaration of war against farmers. Article 14 of this law states “Farmers shall be prohibited from re-using seeds of protected varieties,” Order 81 mends Iraq’s original law No. 65 on patents, created in 1970. The most significant part of Order 81 is the subject of ‘Plant Variety Protection’ (PVP), which ensures not the protection of biodiversity, but rather the protection of the commercial interests of USA and European major seed corporations. In order to qualify for PVP, seeds have to be ‘new, distinct, uniform and stable’. Therefore, the sort of seeds being encouraged to grow by corporations such as World Wide Wheat Company (WWWC), Monsanto and others will be those registered under PVP. International Seed Day (ISD) Library

Press Release | pdf version

Dr. Vandana Shiva to Iraqi Farmers and Women

Full text of Order 81

Detailed information on the status of agriculture in Afghanistan and Iraq

Interview with Wafaa’ Al-Natheema
(in Dutch)

Order 81 and the Plunder of Farming

Stop the Rape of Iraqi Heritage
(in Arabic)

Stop the Rape of Iraqi Heritage
(in English)

The Maui News on International Seed Day

International Seed Day & Order 81
(in Arabic)

International Seeds Day – Dental Tribune

International Seed Day
(in Swedish)

Order 81 and April 26 ISD
(in Swedish)

Third Iraqi-Turkmen Media Council Speech

Iraq and International Seed Day
(in Arabic)

The Dangerous Water Status in IRAQ
(in Arabic)

Pacifying Iraqis with Capitalism

Declaration on GMOs in Kenya

Monsanto vs. Normal Seeds

Iraq: coping with violence and striving to earn a living

March 31, 2010 at 9:08 pm | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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In a variety of different ways, the ICRC has been helping Iraqi individuals and communities to be self-sufficient economically. This is an update on ICRC activities carried out in Iraq since the beginning of the year.

30-03-2010  Operational update  

The beginning of 2010 was marred by acts of violence that claimed the lives of hundreds of civilians, mainly in Baghdad, the central governorates and Najaf. In Mosul, families fled violence and sought refuge in safer areas. Although recent violence-related displacement has been sporadic, there remain some 2.8 million internally displaced people (IDPs) in Iraq who had to leave their homes over recent years in search of safety.Many Iraqis, especially those worst affected by the effects of the conflict and the ongoing violence, such as displaced, elderly and disabled people and women heading households, continued to struggle to feed their families. Their inability to buy enough of the essential goods they require remains a major concern.

Agriculture, formerly an important part of the economy, has been declining for the past decade. Individuals who have lost agricultural machinery to damage, age or disrepair often cannot replace it owing to a lack of financial wherewithal. In addition, the water supply has been hard hit by a failure to properly maintain pumping stations and irrigation and distribution canals, by the unreliable electricity supply and by higher fuel costs. The massive increase in the price of seed and fertilizer, and cheap imports from neighbouring countries, also play a role in making farming difficult, if not impossible, in many parts of Iraq. Many farmers try to survive by cultivating smaller patches of land, but as they are forced to use low-quality supplies the result is often poor harvests. Others have migrated to cities in search of other ways of earning a living.

Continue Reading Iraq: coping with violence and striving to earn a living…


October 23, 2009 at 12:32 pm | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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Message to Iraqis, from Layla Anwar


October 23, 2009


Managed to get hold of some alternative Iraqi sat TVs namely Al-Rafidain, Ar-Rai, Al Babeliya which I have mentioned before. I made it a point to watch some of the news on these channels as they cover events that are totally blacked out in the mainstream media, including the Arabic speaking ones.

1) The Iraqi Resistance under its different factions

Several resistance activities against the Occupier namely in Kirkuk, where one US patrol came under attack. Same in Mosul. Two days ago, another US patrol under attack in El Anbar province, and in North of Baghdad. Today another US patrol came under fire in Falluja, and several mortar bombs fell on the US airbase in Nasseriya. I must add that all the above were successful operations. US commander Odierno in Baghdad admitted that there has been a upsurge of Resistance activities in the past week.

2) Elections

A deliberate stalemate provoked by the puppet government and its Shiite parties.
Several issues :

a) the debate around the open/closed list. This latter is favored by the sectarian government as it will ensure another round of victory in the upcoming elections.

b) the refusal of the Shiite parties to allow Iraqi refugees to vote, again to ensure its victory in the upcoming elections.

c) Kirkuk. Much haggling is around Kirkuk which the Kurds insist to turn into another province under the so called Kurdistan regional government. Hence the possibility of the elections being postponed and consequently the deferral of US troop withdrawal is very likely.

According to several Iraqi analysts, Iran is playing a very important role in the current election deadlock through the Shiite parties and the U.S is concerned that the initial agenda it invaded Iraq with remains as is — i.e the partition along ethnic and sectarian lines. Hence the likelihood of having the same sectarian faces re-appear in post election Iraq (if they take place at all) are a very likely happening.

3) Oil and other resources

A member of congress by the name of Paul Perkins ? (am now told the exact name is Boone Pickens) has presented a bill demanding that a share of Iraqi oil revenues be automatically allocated to the US for its “liberation effort”, to cover the costs of the war, also arguing that the death of U.S soldiers in Iraq (5’000), and the trillion of dollars spent in invading and occupying Iraq had to be reimbursed one way or another.

Kuwait is still claiming 40 billion dollars in reparations and now the US is claiming its lion share of Iraqi oil revenues for “reparations” as well, since American oil companies did not get the full desired quota in Iraq. In other words there are claims being made for an Iraqi financing of the American war industry, to cover the American bill of occupations both in Iraq and in Afghanistan.

Furthermore, apart from oil, the Anbar province, according to some analysts comprises important minerals, still unexplored, one of which is phosphate which can produce uranium and also red mercury amongst others…

Prior to the occupation, Iraq was more or less self sufficient in its industry and agriculture, today Iraq relies solely on imports of goods namely from Iran. Another example that can be taken as a measurement yardstick just to show the extent of Iraq’s economic dependency since 2003 – Iraq used to have 30 million date palms, today it imports dates from Iran and the Gulf countries !

The deliberate destruction of Iraq’s economic and industrial infrastructure is meant to keep Iraq as a satellite province, another banana or pistachio republic, another Dubai, an open arena for vulture foreign investments, in particular American and Iranian.

4) The Israeli connection

A bill of law has been passed in the Iraqi parliament authorizing companies that were previously banned due to their (direct/indirect) connection to the Zionist state to become operational again in Iraq. This is most evident in the so-called Kurdistan were several Israeli companies are operating as tourism, industrial and real estate. Israelis have already “visited” other parts of Iraq, namely in the South and some reports confirm that they have also purchased land there and in Baghdad.

Furthermore, while there is much media brouhaha around the so called US troop withdrawal, there is a total failure in mentioning the American “logistic” bases which will remain in Iraq and the largest US embassy in the world, in Baghdad.

On that subject, an article appeared in the Zionist newspaper, Yehodot Aranot,(can’t spell those bloody names correctly), stating that the U.S embassy in Baghdad is to employ 185 Israeli advisers, for its running/management of Iraq.

The Israeli model for the West Bank is much sought by the Americans i.e a military occupation with a handing out of the Civil administration functions/matters to the puppet government (as in the model of the West Bank and the PA). Coincidentally I watched Amira Hass (the Haaretz journalist) on the Riz Khan show, and she did affirm that Israeli “advisers” are much sought worldwide for “security matters”

I have the full article in Arabic, if anyone cares to translate the whole thing into English please contact me via Twitter.

5) A message to Iraqis with a conscience left.

If you have a relatively good command of the English language and no, it does not need to be perfect, I urge you to do something for your country, instead of sitting on your backsides engaging in nonsensical drivel on the Internet. There is much that needs to be done in English. I can’t do it alone anymore. Please contact me via Twitter. And thanks in advance.


Bioethanol From Dates: Iraq Approves Plan to Boost Agriculture Economy

September 16, 2009 at 11:10 pm | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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Published on September 15th, 2009 by Ceylan Oney

 Dates Iraq

[photo credit: Flickr]

Iraqi officials have endorsed a plan to convert dates into biofuel, an innovative project they hope will boost a once-thriving agriculture economy burdened by years of drought, government sanctions and war.

A United Arab Emirates-based company will produce bioethanol from the dates that farmers can no longer use because they are rotting, said Faroun Ahmed Hussein, head of Iraq’s date palm board.

The nation produces about 350,000 tons of dates annually, but consumes only about 150,000 tons.

While Iraq once was a major date exporter, farmers now feed much of the rest to animals rather than export them because of the poor quality, Hussein said. Government sanctions and war have exacerbated entrenched problems such as high soil salinity and inefficient irrigation to ravage Iraq’s farming sector, the nation’s largest employer.

“Farmers will be happy to sell their rotten dates instead of throwing them away,” Hussein said. He would not identify the company, how much bioethanol it would be able to produce, or how much it would cost.

Idle Iraqi Date Farms Show Decline of Economy

August 17, 2009 at 7:18 pm | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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Idle Iraqi Date Farms Show Decline of Economy

NY Times August 15 2009

Published: August 14, 2009
BAGHDAD — Late July and early August is date harvesting season in Iraq, when within the span of a few weeks the desert sun turns hard green spheres into tender, golden brown fruit prized for its sweetness.

Joseph Sywenkyj for The New York Times

An Iraqi worker collected dates at a Baghdad orchard on Friday. Date farming faces hard times.

In July, an Iraqi worker shook sand off dates not yet ripe for harvesting at an orchard in Baghdad. The war and other factors have depressed date production.

But here in Iraq, one of the places where agriculture was developed more than 7,000 years ago, there are increasing doubts about whether it makes much sense to grow dates — or much of anything for that matter.

As recently as the 1980s, Iraq was self-sufficient in producing wheat, rice, fruits, vegetables, and sheep and poultry products. Its industrial sector exported textiles and leather goods, including purses and shoes, as well as steel and cement. But wars, sanctions, poor management, international competition and disinvestment have left each industry a shadow of its former self.

Slowly, Iraq’s economy has become based almost entirely on imports and a single commodity.

“Ninety-five percent of the government’s revenues come from oil,” said Ghazi al-Kenan, an Iraqi economist. “And while they are trying to attract investment in the private sector, Iraq finds itself in very difficult circumstances — without sufficient electricity, machinery and a drought.”

The agricultural industry has been particularly damaged during the past few years, a situation perhaps nowhere more apparent than in the country’s once bountiful date orchards. Date palms have been left to die for lack of water, and fungi and pests have ruined thousands of tons of fruit because the country has only three crop-dusting airplanes and three qualified pilots. American military approval is still needed to fly.

Even the wealthiest and most influential date farmers are struggling. Faraoun Ahmed Hussain, the 62-year-old scion of a date-growing family who serves as the head of the government agency that oversees Iraq’s date production, said his family’s 62 acres in south Baghdad have been producing at the lowest level in memory.

“I could put more money into it, but the situation does not encourage it,” he said. “Under normal circumstances, the owner of such property would be a very wealthy man.”

Iraq, which once produced three-quarters of the world’s dates and grew 629 different varieties, is now an also-ran, falling behind Egypt, Iran and Saudi Arabia. Last year, the country produced 281,000 tons, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, about half the level of the mid-1980s.

The number of Iraq’s date palms has fallen, too, to fewer than nine million from 33 million in the 1950s, according to the government. Likewise, the number of date processing factories is down to six today, from 150 before the American-led invasion in 2003. Iraqi dates are now packaged in the United Arab Emirates — 865 miles away.

Iraqi and American officials say the declining fortunes in date production and other seasonal agricultural work have fed the insurgency with desperate, out-of-work young men.

The decline, Iraqi government officials say, has also led to both public health and environmental degradation. As growers have abandoned farms, the orchards that had once formed a lush green ring around Baghdad have shrunk, causing more frequent sandstorms in the capital this summer and higher rates of asthma and other respiratory illnesses.

Still, dates remain a staple in Iraq, valued for their ability to stay fresh without refrigeration, as a source of nutrition, and for uses as varied as making alcohol and desserts and feeding farm animals. They are also an inexpensive sugar substitute.

As the head of a partnership that includes his 12 brothers and 6 sisters, Dr. Hussain is the master of a once prosperous, now unkempt orchard on the banks of the Tigris River in the Dora neighborhood. On a blazing hot summer morning recently, he gave a tour. The story of the orchard, which his family has owned since 1910, has been one of slow decline.

Because the amount of money he receives for his crop from the Trade Ministry — the agency that buys most farm products in Iraq — is sometimes less than the cost of production, he says he no longer invests much in the farm.

Each year, even the most productive trees provide less. In normal times, each palm might produce 130 to 175 pounds of fruit a year.

Last year, each tree produced just about 30 pounds. This season, Dr. Hussain is hoping to rebound to 90 pounds per tree.

Many of the orchard’s 4,000 palms, which can live 120 years, are clearly unhealthy. A fair number have either brown fronds or a white fungus that resembles cobwebs.

Half of the orchard is irrigated by well water, the other half by the Tigris. But because of a drought, now in its second year, farmers have been ordered to limit irrigation to twice a month instead of once or twice a week.

Fruit trees — orange, grapefruit and pomegranate — planted beneath the palms, look to be nearly dying of thirst. The ground is bone dry and dusty.

Even some of the palms, which need very little water, are withering. Water salinity has also become a vexing problem.

Dr. Hussain pointed to some of the healthier palms.

“These trees are 40 years old, and I have some emotion, some love for them, because I planted them,” he said. “I’ve watched them grow.”

Even here, there are signs of Iraq’s war: Accompanying Dr. Hussain are five bodyguards, at least one of whom is armed.

And stationed at the edge of Dr. Hussain’s orchard is a 50-member Kurdish pesh merga military unit. They are protecting the home of Jalal Talabani, Iraq’s president, who is Kurdish and lives across the river from the orchard.

Continue Reading Idle Iraqi Date Farms Show Decline of Economy…

The desertification of Iraq: a terrible tragedy

June 20, 2009 at 6:02 am | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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Bloomsday Edition
June 16, 2009

Iraq‘s Looming Peril

A Plague of Snakes



Snakes are attacking people and cattle in southern Iraq as the Euphrates and Tigris rivers dry up and the reptiles lose their natural habitat among the reed beds.

“People are terrified and are leaving their homes,” says Jabar Mustafa, a medical administrator, who works in a hospital in the southern province of Dhi Qar. “We knew these snakes before, but now they are coming in huge numbers. They are attacking buffalo and cattle as well as people.” Doctors in the area say six people have been killed and 13 poisoned.

In Chabaysh, a town on the Euphrates close to the southern marshland of Hawr al-Hammar, farmers have set up an overnight operations room to prevent the snakes attacking their cattle.

“We have been surprised in recent days by the unprecedented number of snakes that have fled their habitat because of the dryness and heat,” Wissam al-Assadi, one of the town’s vets said. “We saw some on roads, near houses and cowsheds. Farmers have come to us for vaccines, but we don’t have any.”

The plague of snakes is the latest result of an unprecedented fall in the level of the water in the Euphrates and the Tigris, the two great rivers which for thousands of years have made life possible in the sun-baked plains of Mesopotamia, the very name of which means “between the rivers” in Greek. The rivers that made Iraq’s dry soil so fertile are drying up because the supply of water, which once flowed south into Iraq from Turkey, Syria and Iran, is now held back by dams and used for irrigation. On the Euphrates alone, Turkey has five large dams upriver from Iraq, and Syria has two.

The diversion of water from the rivers has already destroyed a large swathe of Iraqi agriculture and the result of Iraq being starved of water may be as great a disaster for modern Iraq as the overtaxing and collapse of Mesopotamian irrigation systems in the early Islamic period, under the Abbassids. Already the advance of the desert has led to frequent dust storms in Baghdad which close the airport. Yet this dramatic climatic change has attracted little attention outside Iraq, overshadowed by the violence following the US-led invasion in 2003 and the overthrow of Saddam Hussein.

Continue Reading The desertification of Iraq: a terrible tragedy…

International Seeds Day (ISD) April 26

April 28, 2009 at 9:16 am | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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Welcome to INEAS

INEAS is an independent, tax-exempt, educational and cultural organization with the mission to 

educate the public and inform the media on issues related to Africa and Asia 

with focus on Arab and Islamic worlds and the non-Arab Middle East.


International Seeds Day (ISD)

April 26

To learn more about ISD click here:


International Seeds Day (ISD) Library

Dr. Vandana Shiva to Iraqi Farmers and Women

Interview with Wafaa’ Al-Natheema (in Dutch)

Order 81 and the Plunder of Farming

Stop the Rape of Iraqi Heritage (in Arabic)

Stop the Rape of Iraqi Heritage (in English)

The Maui News on International Seeds Day

International Seeds Day & Order 81 (in Arabic)

International Seeds Day (ISD)

Third Iraqi-Turkmen Media Council Speech

Pacifying Iraqis with Capitalism

Declaration on GMOs in Kenya

Monsanto vs. Normal Seeds


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