Corporate States of America, or the World? And the corporate raid of the Ukraine.Did the US government, in particular, the State Dept - through funding activities of so-called "democracy" NGOs such as Freedom House and / or other "democracy" NGOs - encourage or support the Maidan revolution in Ukraine; in order to allow US corporate raiders easier access to the bounty of the Ukraine?
The Maidan revolution and pro global corporate deregulation opened up the Ukraine for: Big Agriculture (Big Ag) and various US multinationals; as well as biotechnology, GMOs, and land grabs.
Demands by the International Financial Institutions (in particular the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund) - opened the Ukraine up to corporate raiders and introduced severe austerity measures on Ukrainians.US government funded NGOs were found to be behind the Orange Revolution in the Ukraine in 2004.http://www.theguardian.com/world/2004/nov/26/ukraine.usa
Funded and organised by the US government, deploying US consultancies, pollsters, diplomats, the two big American parties and US non-government organisations, the revolution campaign was first used in Europe in Belgrade in 2000 to beat Slobodan Milosevic at the ballot box.
The Democratic party's National Democratic Institute, the Republican party's International Republican Institute, the US state department and USAid are the main agencies involved in these grassroots campaigns as well as the Freedom House NGO and billionaire George Soros's open society institute.
US pollsters and professional consultants are hired to organise focus groups and use psephological data to plot strategy.
The usually fractious oppositions have to be united behind a single candidate if there is to be any chance of unseating the regime. That leader is selected on pragmatic and objective grounds, even if he or she is anti-American.Engineering Democracy through the ballot box and civil disobedience - has matured into a US template for winning other people's elections.Big Ag, Freedom House and the State Department
In August 2011, WikiLeaks released US diplomatic cables showing that the US State Department has been lobbying worldwide for Monsanto and other biotechnology corporations like DuPont, Syngenta, Bayer and Dow.
A report showed the US State Department has "lobbied foreign governments to adopt pro-agricultural biotechnology policies and laws, operated a rigorous public relations campaign to improve the image of biotechnology, and challenged common sense biotechnology safeguards and rules - even including opposing laws requiring the labelling of genetically-engineered (GE) foods."
(You can download the full report here:Biotech Ambassadors: How the U.S. State Department Promotes the Seed Industry’s Global Agendahttp://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/reports/biotech-ambassadors/
According to consortiumnews.comCorporate interests were behind Ukraine putschhttps://consortiumnews.com/2014/03/16/corporate-interests-behind-ukraine-putsch/Wheels within wheels
Here are some of the cast of characters relevant to the Consortium News analysis.Morgan Williams
is described as at "the nexus of Big Ag's alliance with US foreign policy."[in the Ukraine]
Williams “started his work regarding Ukraine in 1992” and has since advised American agribusinesses “investing in the former Soviet Union.”
Morgan Williams is:
i. President and CEO of the US-Ukraine Business Council
ii. Director of Government Affairs at private equity firm SigmaBleyzer,
Williams has links with:
a. various agencies of the US government,
b. members of Congress,
c. congressional committees,
d. the Embassy of Ukraine to the US,
e. international financial institutions, think tanks and other organizations - on US-Ukraine business, trade, investment and economic development issues."
f. through connections - NGOs
The US Ukrainian Business Council
was founded in 1995.
It is headquartered in Washington.
The organization’s mission aims to increase U.S. trade and investments in Ukraine’s financial market.
The group also plans “to improve conditions for bilateral trade and investment.”
Monsanto and Cargill are members of the USUBC along with over a hundred invested international groups and corporations.http://guardianlv.com/2014/05/ukraine-business-council-leader-is-u-s-agricultural-industry-mvp-video/
The US-Ukraine Business Council's 16-member Executive Committee is packed with US agribusiness companies, including representatives from:
–Melissa Agustin, Director, International Government Affairs & Trade for Monsanto
–Brigitte Dias Ferreira, Counsel, International Affairs for John Deere
–Steven Nadherny, Director, Institutional Relations for agriculture equipment-maker CNH Industrial
–Jeff Rowe, Regional Director for DuPont Pioneer
– F. Steele, Director, International Affairs for Eli Lilly & Company
– Van A. Yeutter of Cargill
Despite the turmoil within Ukrainian politics after Yanukovych rejected a major trade deal with the European Union , Cargill was confident enough about the future of the Ukraine to fork over $200 million to buy a stake in Ukraine’s UkrLandFarming. According to Financial Times, UkrLandFarming is the world’s eighth-largest land cultivator and second biggest egg producer.
On Dec. 13, 2013, Cargill announced the purchase of a stake in a Black Sea port. Cargill’s port at Novorossiysk — to the east of Russia’s strategically significant and historically important Crimean naval base — gives them a major entry-point to Russian markets and adds them to the list of Big Ag companies investing in ports around the Black Sea, both in Russia and Ukraine.
So at least one member of the US-Ukraine Business Council expected things to improve.
The Ukraine Business Council's 20 'senior Advisors' include:
i. James Greene (Former Head of NATO Liason Office Ukraine);
ii. Ariel Cohen (Senior Research Fellow for The Heritage Foundation);
iii. Leonid Kozachenko (President of the Ukrainian Agrarian Confederation);
iv. six former US Ambassadors to Ukraine, and
v. the former ambassador of Ukraine to the US, Oleh Shamshur.
Shamshur is now a senior advisor to PBN Hill + Knowlton Strategies - a unit of PR giant Hill + Knowlton Strategies (H+K).
H + K is a subsidiary of the gargantuan London-based WPP Group, which owns some dozen big PR firms, including Burson-Marsteller (a long-time Monsanto advisor).
The PBN Hill + Knowlton Strategies website states that the company's CEO Myron Wasylyk is "a Board member of the US-Ukraine Business Council", and the company's Managing Director/Ukraine, Oksana Monastyrska, "leads the firm's work for Monsanto." Monastyrska also formerly worked for the World Bank's International Finance Corporation.
JP Sottile notes:
As President of the U.S.-Ukraine Business Council, Williams has access to Council cohort — David Kramer, President of Freedom House. Officially a non-governmental organization, Freedom House has allegedly been linked with overt and covert “democracy” efforts.Freedom House , the Dept of State and mass protests
Freedom House, the National Endowment for Democracy and National Democratic Institute alleged to have helped fund and support the Ukrainian “Orange Revolution” in 2004.https://www.opendemocracy.net/globalization-institutions_government/colour_revolutions_3196.jsp
Freedom House is funded directly by the U.S. Government, the National Endowment for Democracy and the U.S. Department of State.
The Financial Times has reported that Freedom House is one of several organizations selected by the State Department to receive funding for 'clandestine activities' inside Iran.
In a research study, with Ackerman acting as chief adviser, Freedom House sets out its conclusions:"Far more often than is generally understood, the change agent is broad-based, non-violent civic resistance - which employs tactics such as boycotts, mass protests, blockades, strikes and civil disobedience to de-legitimate authoritarian rulers and erode their sources of support, including the loyalty of their armed defenders."https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_House
On June 8, 2006, the vice-chairman of Freedom House's board of trustees asked the U.S. Senate to increase the share of NGO funding aimed at helping support non-violent foreign democratic activists organize for potential overthrows of their non-democratic governments.
Palmer argued in favor of shifting funding away from NGOs working in already democratic nations to fund this effort.
David Kramer is a former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs and, according to his Freedom House bio page, formerly a “Senior Fellow at the Project for the New American Century.” (PNAC)
It happens that PNAC co-founder Robert Kaganis married to Victoria Nuland, the current Assistant Secretary of State
for European and Eurasian Affairs.
Ms. Nuland spoke to the U.S.-Ukrainian Foundation last Dec. 13, extolling the virtues of the Euromaidan movement as the embodiment of “the principles and values that are the cornerstones for all free democracies.”
Nuland also told the group that the United States had invested more than $5 billion in support of Ukraine’s “European aspirations,”
presumably meaning pulling Ukraine away from Russia.
What was that $5 billion spent on?
The unanswered question remains:Did the US encourage and support the Maidan revolution?In particular, was Freedom House's presumed expertise in mass protests and civil disobedience, exploited to incite the Maidan revolution - in order to insure a pro-US pro-EU regime was installed, that would further the mega agricultural and biotechnology companies profiteering interest (in addition to corporate access to other Ukrainian resources, and closer military access to Russia)?https://consortiumnews.com/2014/03/16/corporate-interests-behind-ukraine-putsch/The impact of the IMF and World Bank on Ukrainian governance and austerity
When the post-Maidan revolution government tipped its hat at the US and EU - it invited a loan, and consequent interference in government, by the World Bank and IMF and foreign interests.
The World Bank and the IMF carry out their activities in many countries under the guise of democracy; but their focus is on easing the way for foreign multinationals to broaden profit making opportunities, with the minimum of restrictions on what they can do.
(This is also the focus of the TPPA, TISA and the rest of the alphabet suit of pro-corporate free trade agreements.)
The World Bank and IMF are focused on opening up the Ukraine to foreign investors, and easing the way for big business in the Ukraine - not on the plight of ordinary Ukrainians.
The World Bank and IMF tied the loan to changes in governance. They required deregulation (which is likely to have consequences for the agricultural industry); as well as austerity measures. These and other enforced measures are likely to have shock effects on the Ukrainian public.
Loan conditions are forcing the deeply indebted country to open up to GMO crops, and lift the ban on private sector land ownership.
A major factor in the crisis that led to deadly protests and eventually President Yanukovych’s removal from office was his rejection of an EU Association agreement that would have further opened trade and integrated Ukraine with the EU.
Instead of the EU and IMF deal, Yanukovych choose a Russian aid package worth $15 billion plus a 33% discount on Russian natural gas.
The IMF deal that Yanukovych spurned at the end of 2013 was
not the first time he had rejected loans tethered to reform
programs from international financial institutions (IFIs).
In May 2013, Monsanto announced plans to invest $140 million in a non-GMO corn seed plant in Ukraine, with Monsanto Ukraine spokesman Vitally Fechuk confirming that "We will be working with conventional seeds only" because "in Ukraine only conventional seeds are allowed for production and importation."
But by November 2013, six large Ukrainian agriculture associations had prepared draft amendments to the law, pushing for "creating, testing, transportation and use of GMOs regarding the legalization of GM seeds."
On December 13, 2013, Monsanto's Jesus Madrazo, Vice President of Corporate Engagement, told the US-Ukraine Conference in Washington, DC that the company sees "the importance of creating a favorable environment [in Ukraine] that encourages innovation and fosters the continued development of agriculture."
The relationship with International Financial Institutions changed swiftly under the pro-EU government put in place at the end of February 2014.Just a week after the instatement of the new government, the IMF rushed a mission to Kiev.
The World Bank imposed neoliberal conditions to lend money to Ukraine, asking the government to limit its own power by “removing restrictions that hinder competition and by limiting the role of state ‘control’ in economic activities.”
The agreement was tied to a $17 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The World Bank and the IMF appear to be heavily involved in
pushing through structural reforms and austerity measures
that will greatly influence the lives of all Ukrainians.
If austerity measures demanded by IMF are fully adopted, the reforms may lead to significant price increases of essential consumer goods, a 47 to 66% increase in personal income tax rates, and a 50% increase in gas bills.
The IMF austerity reforms will affect monetary and exchange rate policies, the financial sector, fiscal policies, the energy sector, governance, and the business climate.
On May 27, 2014, just a few months after the pro-US, pro-EU Maidan revolution - the New York Times observed that “Western interests are pressing for change” and that “big multinationals have expressed tentative interest in Ukrainian agriculture.”http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/28/business/ukraine-faces-hurdles-in-restoring-its-farming-legacy.html?_r=0
The Ukraine has a vast agricultural sector. Its the world’s third largest exporter of corn & fifth largest exporter of wheat. The Ukraine is often referred to as the “breadbasket of Europe.”
The presence of foreign corporations in the agricultural sector and the size of agro-holdings are both growing quickly. In recent years, more than 1.6 million hectares (ha) have been signed over to foreign companies for agricultural purposes.
The largest land deals involve:
405,000 ha to a company listed in Luxembourg,
444,800 ha to Cyprus-registered investors,
120,000 ha to a French corporation, and
250,000 ha to a Russian company.
China signed an agreement for 3 million ha of prime farmland in Eastern Ukraine in September 2013, but it is unclear if this deal will go forward with the change of government.
If it is implemented, the agreement would give China control over an area roughly the size of Belgium that accounts for 5% of all arable land in Ukraine.
The NYT article further revealed how the reforms of the Ukrainian economy and particularly of its agricultural sector that were tied to
the $17 billion IMF deal sought to “bolster the confidence of
foreign investors” by addressing the Ukrainian agricultural
sector’s “red tape and inefficiencies.”
Previously Ukraine did not allow use of GMOs. But part of the EU deal was to extend use of biotechnologies.
The Ukraine has been advised to “delete provisions regarding mandatory certification of food in the listed laws of Ukraine and Government Decree,” and to harmonize its laws with international standards around pesticides, additives, and flavoring, to avoid “unnecessary cost for businesses.”
Ukraine also had to:
1. ease property transfers for businesses by “streamlining procedures and revamping the property registration system,”
2. make paying taxes less costly by “simplifying tax returns” for companies, and
3. reduce the number of inspections at customs
The Ukraine and, to a wider extent, Eastern Europe, are among the “most promising growth markets for farm-equipment giant Deere, as well as seed producers Monsanto and DuPont.
The East-West competition over Ukraine also involves the control
of natural resources, including uranium and other minerals,
as well as geopolitical issues such as Ukraine’s membership
The World Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and the Ukrainian business community required the Ukrainian government to agree to an Anti-Corruption Initiative.But get this, what the international banks call corruption is what they call "unfair treatment of [foreign] business."It is feared that the structural adjustment program will increase foreign control of the economy as well as result in shock adverse effects on income and employment, and increase poverty and inequality.
The financial institutions demanding these reforms have failed to demonstrate how such programs will improve the lives of Ukrainians, and build a sustainable economic future for the Ukraine.http://www.oaklandinstitute.org/sites/oaklandinstitute.org/files/OurBiz_Brief_Ukraine.pdfhttp://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2526593/ukraine_opens_up_for_monsanto_land_grabs_and_gmos.htmlhttps://consortiumnews.com/2014/03/16/corporate-interests-behind-ukraine-putsch/http://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/reports/biotech-ambassadors/