Skip to content or view screen version

US prepares to invade Zimbabwe to distribute GM maize

Dan B | 08.11.2002 14:59 | Bio-technology | Globalisation

The government-owned Herald newspaper of Zimbabwe and the country's Defense Forces Commander, General Vitalis Zvinavashe, say the U.S. government is plotting to use the southern African nation's mounting food crisis as a pretext for interfering and perhaps even invading Zimbabwe.

"They are using food as a ploy to directly control NGOs distributing food and disregard the laws of Zimbabwe," General Vitalis was quoted as saying by the Herald, Wednesday.

"The United States is planning to invade Zimbabwe within the next six months on the pretext of bringing relief food aid to people who were allegedly being denied food on political grounds," the newspaper said, in a front page story.

The two responses follow unusually belligerent remarks made by U.S. principal deputy assistant secretary of state for Africa, Mark Bellamy last week, while participating in a panel discussion on "Famine and Political Violence in Matabeleland" sponsored by the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Strategic and International studies.

"We may have to be prepared to take some very intrusive, interventionist measures to ensure aid delivery to Zimbabwe," Bellamy said. "The dilemmas in the next six months may bring us face to face with Zimbabwe's sovereignty."

"No United States government official has made such a threat," the U.S. embassy in Harare said, reacting to accusations that an invasion plot is being hatched. And a State Department spokesperson in Washington, who would only agree to speak on background, told that "the concept of a U.S. invasion [of Zimbabwe] is nonsense."

Bellamy was said to be "too busy" to speak to, Thursday.

Although Bellamy's remarks were unprecedented - not even the long hostility between the United States and Sudan has been so bluntly articulated - few would see an actual U.S. invasion of Zimbabwe as likely. But some kind of direct delivery of food to Matabeleland which, some reports suggest, is being deprived of food aid as political punishment for failing to support the Mugabe government, is not inconceivable.

Relations between Washington and Harare have steadily worsened since Zimbabwe's elections in the spring of this year. "We do not see President Mugabe as the democratically legitimate leader of the country," Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Walter Kansteiner said during an August 20 briefing on the southern Africa food crisis. "The election was fraudulent and it was not free and it was not fair."

When specifically asked if he was calling for "regime change," the Secretary responded: "The political status quo is unacceptable... The question is: What are the tactics that we can use to work with those inside Zimbabwe as well as their neighbors to encourage a more democratic outcome? And so we're working with a number of folks in the region and elsewhere."

Amid accusations that Zimbabwe's government is using its control of food distribution to force drought-besieged communities to abandon support of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, Washington's Africa policymakers have reached agreement that additional pressure needs to be placed on the Mugabe government.

In August, Kansteiner said the U.S. was working with Zimbabwe's neighbors to "isolate" the Mugabe government. But South Africa and the other nations that, along with Zimbabwe, are members of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), have been unenthusiastic about this approach.

The opposition MDC, as well as non-governmental organizations engaged in relief efforts in Matabeleland, may be developing networks to channel food aid into the South where much of the opposition to government is strong. How the U.S. might involve itself with this, and whether it is wise, or might put in jeopardy groups involved in aid efforts, remains unclear.

Asked by to detail additional measures the U.S. might take, a State Department spokesperson was unwilling to specify anything other than a vague reference to "some sort of additional monitoring"..

Currently, about half of Zimbabwe's 12 million people are affected by drought and in need of food aid. At the end of April, President Mugabe declared a "state of disaster" across the country.

Dan B
- Homepage:


Hide the following 5 comments

disregarding the law? WTF????

08.11.2002 19:43

MUGABE is the one disregarding the law, stealing humanitarian relief foods and medicines and only allowing it to be distributed to his marxist cronies and there supporters. The US would be doing the world a favour to police the food shipments to ensure those in need of them... the people that want a democratic government.. actually get them. And if that requires the destruction of Mugabes and his military forces... then so be it.


to Anti_Mugabe

08.11.2002 21:04

Zimbawe is the realisation of capitalism intervention in Africa countries. People were fed up with the criminal regime that capitalism imposed to Zimbawe's people. Are you able to prove your assertions that Mugabe is dividing food with his cronies and supporters? How many are his supporters?
If you think USA is going to distribute food to the right people, that means starving people you live in a fairy world. What USA is trying is to give to the third world food that the first world (whatever that mean) don't want to consume; GM products.
Monsanto Corporation is poised to sell genetically engineered "terminator seeds" which will produce only infertile plants, preventing farmers from saving seeds and forcing them to purchase subsequent crop seed directly from Monsanto. And that in the name of democracy!


Think about it.

09.11.2002 02:41

It will make every peasand and every country a slave to Monsanto. By the way, Monsanto connections are plenty in the White House. Mugabe aside.

Spring Hope

Monsanto is a threat to everyone

09.11.2002 05:45

This deserves more attention than the kind of anti-Mugabe rhetoric one might expect from Izzy Asper. Monsanto is a dangerous corporate monster and in the case of Zimbabwe one can imagine multinational interests being served under the haze of western support of struggle for democracy in Zimbabwe -- it is not unusual....

Monsanto and NATO invading to force GM foods down folks throats will not bring democracy -- it would be another, even fouler, Rhodesia. Given the acts of Bush, such a scenario is not unreasonable -- and I recall the Taliban being given a similar kind of diplomatic warning months in advance, even as they pretty much closed down opium farming to please the master.

If you don't believe Monsanto is fascist, please read up on the case of Percy Schmeiser at The actions of Monsanto on the canadian prairies are truly those of thugs.

Think of it, Monsanto not only wants control of all seeds (their patented genetic material), including the development of its terminator crops which won't reproduce, but it is designing food crops dependent on its pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers. Just wait for the sunflowers with human genes.... and all to be controlled by corporate interest.

and support democracy in Zimbabwe, not more western corporate imperialism.

wake-up anti-Mugabe
- Homepage:

The Revolving Door

10.11.2002 02:19

Monsanto employees and government regulatory agencies
employees are the same people!

David W. Beier . . .former head of Government Affairs for
Genentech, Inc., . . .now chief domestic policy advisor to Al
Gore, Vice President of the United States.

Linda J. Fisher . . .former Assistant Administrator of the
United States Environmental Protection Agency's Office of
Pollution Prevention, Pesticides, and Toxic Substances, . . .then
became Vice President of Government and Public Affairs for
Monsanto Corporation and now (2001) is Deputy Director
of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Michael A. Friedman, M.D. . . former acting commissioner of
the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
Department of Health and Human Services . . .now senior
vice-president for clinical affairs at G. D. Searle & Co., a
pharmaceutical division of Monsanto Corporation.

L. Val Giddings . . . former biotechnology regulator and
(biosafety) negotiator at the United States Department of
Agriculture (USDA/APHIS), . . .now Vice President for Food &
Agriculture of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO).

Marcia Hale . . . former assistant to the President of the
United States and director for intergovernmental affairs, . .
.now Director of International Government Affairs for Monsanto

Michael (Mickey) Kantor. . . former Secretary of the United
States Department of Commerce and former Trade
Representative of the United States, . . .now member of the
board of directors of Monsanto Corporation.

Josh King . . . former director of production for White House
events, . . . now director of global communication in the
Washington, D.C. office of Monsanto Corporation.

Terry Medley . . . former administrator of the Animal and
Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) of the United States
Department of Agriculture, former chair and vice-chair of the
United States Department of Agriculture Biotechnology Council,
former member of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
food advisory committee, . . . and now Director of Regulatory
and External Affairs of Dupont Corporation's Agricultural

Margaret Miller . . . former chemical laboratory supervisor for
Monsanto, . . .now Deputy Director of Human Food Safety and
Consultative Services, New Animal Drug Evaluation Office,
Center for Veterinary Medicine in the United States Food and
Drug Administration (FDA).*

Michael Phillips . . . recently with the National Academy of
Science Board on Agriculture . . . now head of regulatory affairs
for the Biotechnology Industry Organization.

William D. Ruckelshaus . . . former chief administrator of the
United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), . .
.now (and for the past 12 years) a member of the board of
directors of Monsanto Corporation.

Michael Taylor . . . former legal advisor to the United States
Food and Drug Administration (FDA)'s Bureau of Medical
Devices and Bureau of Foods, later executive assistant to the
Commissioner of the FDA, . . . still later a partner at the law
firm of King & Spaulding where he supervised a nine-lawyer
group whose clients included Monsanto Agricultural Company, .
. . still later Deputy Commissioner for Policy at the United
States Food and Drug Administration, . . . and later with the
law firm of King & Spaulding. . . . now head of the
Washington, D.C. office of Monsanto Corporation.*

Lidia Watrud . . . former microbial biotechnology researcher at
Monsanto Corporation in St. Louis, Missouri, . . .now with the
United States Environmental Protection Agency Environmental
Effects Laboratory, Western Ecology Division.

Jack Watson. . .former chief of staff to the President of the
United States, Jimmy Carter, . . .now a staff lawyer with
Monsanto Corporation in Washington, D.C.

Clayton K. Yeutter . . . former Secretary of the U.S.
Department of Agriculture, former U.S. Trade Representative
(who led the U.S. team in negotiating the U.S. Canada Free
Trade Agreement and helped launch the Uruguay Round of the
GATT negotiations), now a member of the board of directors of
Mycogen Corporation, whose majority owner is Dow
AgroSciences, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Dow Chemical

Larry Zeph . . . former biologist in the Office of Prevention,
Pesticides, and Toxic Substances, U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency, . . . now Regulatory Science Manager at
Pioneer Hi-Bred International.

*Margaret Miller, Michael Taylor, and Suzanne Sechen (an FDA
"primary reviewer for all rbST and other dairy drug production applications"
) were the subjects of a U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) investigation in
1994 for their role in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's approval of
Posilac, Monsanto Corporation's formulation of recombinant bovine growth
hormone (rbST or rBGH). The GAO Office found "no conflicting financial
interests with respect to the drug's approval" and only "one minor deviation from
now superseded FDA regulations". (Quotations are from the 1994 GAO