December 21, 2010 by tristan savage
The media isn’t reporting on most of the cables, so take a look and break the information blockade yourself: http://22.214.171.124/cablegate.html
When I did, I ran into gems like this cable from 2007 requesting that the US government intervene on the Monsanto corporation’s behalf by “retaliating” against EU countries that regulate genetically-modified foods “in the common interest.” The US ambassador to France writes like one of Monsanto’s paid PR specialists: “Moving to retaliation will make clear that the current path has real costs to EU interests and could help strengthen European pro-biotech voices”
Or this one from the US Interests section in Havana in 2006, explaining that US intelligence “is always looking for human interest stories and other news that shatters the myth of Cuban medical prowess.” Spending their time trying to undermine the Cuban medical system seems like an odd priority- maybe that’s where the resources went that could have gone to providing universal health care in our own country.
But the most striking cable I ran into today was one titled “BRAZIL’S LANDLESS MOVEMENT INVADES AMERICAN-OWNED FARM“, from 2005. The cable is about MST, the landless workers’ movement in Brazil.
3% of Brazil’s population owns 2/3 of the arable land, the national constitution has provisions allowing for the expropriation of large estates that are ‘unproductive’ or don’t fulfill a “social function.” MST is perhaps the largest social movement in the Americas, composed of over a million landless workers, who have taken that national mandate for land reform and democratized it. For the last 25 years, they have taken strategic and direct action to redistribute plantation estates to landless workers who otherwise have no access to land. Over 2,000 of their occupations have been successful but many occupations are still ongoing- their websites says that 180,000 Brazilian families are still living in MST encampments waiting for their claims to be recognized by the Brazilian government. For more information, check out their website here: http://www.mstbrazil.org
The Mormon Connection
In 2005, MST occupied a property of “AgroReservas do Brazil,” a 70,000 hectare farm run by the Salt Lake City-based “Farm Management Company,” or “Ag Reserves Inc.” The company’s website features a quote from former LDS Church President Gordon B Hinckley, saying that:
Land concentration is everywhere a symptom of larger political and military structures of coercion, and Brazil is no exception. The leaked cable describes how “Military police officers have provided protection to the farm” and “the judge who wanted to negotiate with the MST has been replaced by a ‘new, more reasonable judge.'”
According to the US embassy, MST’s occupation was not related to its American owners:
“This invasion marks the first time that the MST has occupied an American farm, and while the invasion of the farm causes concern, post does not believe that the invasion was linked to the farm’s connections to the United States. Embassy Agricultural Attache believes that AgroReservas was targeted because the farm is one of the largest and most profitable farms in the state.”
But even if MST was not trying to send a message to Mormons about the irony of a thrifty, food-storing religious people funding the massive concentration of land under armed guard in a foreign land… well, the message seems clear.
There was a time when Mormon agrarian policy took the side of the landless and the poor -communal landholding, cooperative credit projects, full employment, self-sufficiency, an economy of sharing the risks and the rewards of living from the land. Those values are still with us, but the values we profess and the realities we fund couldn’t be further apart. AgReserves seems to have left the United Order far behind, and the most beautiful core truths of egalitarian Mormonism along with it.