Dateline: Global Research, April 29, 2009
IF WE ARE TO BELIEVE WHAT OUR TRUSTED INTERNATIONAL MEDIA REPORT, the world is on the brink of a global pandemic outbreak of a new deadly strain of flu, H1N1 as it has been labelled, or more popularly, Swine Flu. As the story goes, the outbreak of the deadly flu was first discovered in Mexico. According to press reports, after several days, headlines reported as many as perhaps 150 deaths in Mexico were believed caused by this virulent people-killing pig virus that has spread to humans and now is allegedly being further spread from human to human. Cases were being reported hourly from Canada to Spain and beyond. The only thing wrong with this story is that it is largely based on lies, hype and coverup of possible real causes of Mexican deaths.
One website, revealingly named Swine Flu Vaccine, reports the alarming news, ‘One out of every five residents of Mexico’s most populous city wore masks to protect themselves against the virus as Mexico City seems to be the epicenter of the outbreak. As many as 103 deaths have been attributed to the swine flu so far with many more feared to be on the horizon. The health department of Mexico said an additional 1,614 reported cases have been documented.’ We are told that the H1N1 ‘shares genetic material from human, avian and swine influenza viruses.’1
Airports around the world have installed passenger temperature scans to identify anyone with above normal body temperature as possible suspect for swine flu. Travel to Mexico has collapsed. Sales of flu vaccines, above all Tamiflu from Roche Inc., have exploded in days. People have stopped buying pork fearing certain death. The World Health Organization has declared ‘a public health emergency of international concern,’ defined by them as ‘an occurrence or imminent threat of illness or health conditions caused by bioterrorism, epidemic or pandemic disease, or highly fatal infectious agents or toxins that pose serious risk to a significant number of people.’2
What are the symptoms of this purported Swine Flu? That’s not at all clear according to virologists and public health experts. They say Swine Flu symptoms are relatively general and nonspecific. ‘So many different things can cause these symptoms. it is a dilemma,’ says one doctor interviewed by CNN. ‘There is not a perfect test right now to let a doctor know that a person has the Swine Flu.’ It has been noted that most individuals with Swine Flu had an early onset of fever. Also it was common to see dizziness, body aches and vomiting in addition to the common sneezing, headache and other cold symptoms. These are symptoms so general as to say nothing.
The US Government’s Center for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta states on its official website, ‘Swine Influenza (swine flu) is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by type A influenza viruses that causes regular outbreaks in pigs. People do not normally get swine flu, but human infections can and do happen. Swine flu viruses have been reported to spread from person-to-person, but in the past, this transmission was limited and not sustained beyond three people.’ Nonetheless they add, ‘CDC has determined that this swine influenza A (H1N1) virus is contagious and is spreading from human to human. However, at this time, it is not known how easily the virus spreads between people.’3
How many media that have grabbed on the headline ‘suspected case of Swine Flu’ in recent days bother to double check with the local health authorities to ask some basic questions? For example, the number of confirmed cases of H1N1 and their location? The number of deaths confirmed to have resulted from H1N1? Dates of both? Number of suspected cases and of suspected deaths related to the Swine Flu disease?
Some known facts
According to Biosurveillance, itself part of Veratect, a US Pentagon and Government-linked epidemic reporting center, on April 6, 2009 local health officials declared a health alert due to a respiratory disease outbreak in La Gloria, Perote Municipality, Veracruz State, Mexico.
They reported, ‘Sources characterized the event as a ‘strange’ outbreak of acute respiratory infection, which led to bronchial pneumonia in some pediatric cases. According to a local resident, symptoms included fever, severe cough, and large amounts of phlegm. Health officials recorded 400 cases that sought medical treatment in the last week in La Gloria, which has a population of 3,000; officials indicated that 60% of the town’s population (approximately 1,800 cases) has been affected. No precise timeframe was provided, but sources reported that a local official had been seeking health assistance for the town since February.’ What they later say is ‘strange’ is not the form of the illness but the time of year as most flu cases occur in Mexico in the period October to February.
The report went on to note, ‘Residents claimed that three pediatric cases, all under two years of age, died from the outbreak. However, health officials stated that there was no direct link between the pediatric deaths and the outbreak; they stated the three fatal cases were “isolated” and “not related” to each other.’
Then, most revealingly, the aspect of the story which has been largely ignored by major media, they reported, ‘Residents believed the outbreak had been caused by contamination from pig breeding farms located in the area. They believed that the farms, operated by Granjas Carroll, polluted the atmosphere and local water bodies, which in turn led to the disease outbreak. According to residents, the company denied responsibility for the outbreak and attributed the cases to “flu.” However, a municipal health official stated that preliminary investigations indicated that the disease vector was a type of fly that reproduces in pig waste and that the outbreak was linked to the pig farms.’4
If decency present, comment unnecessary.
Since the dawn of American ‘agribusiness,’ a project initiated with funding by the Rockefeller Foundation in the 1950s to turn farming into a pure profit maximization business, US pig or hog production has been transformed into a highly efficient, mass production industrialized enterprise from birth to slaughter. Pigs are caged in what are called Factory Farms, industrial concentrations which are run with the efficiency of a Dachau or Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. They are all conceived by artificial insemination and once born, are regularly injected with antibiotics, not because of illnesses which abound in the hyper-crowded growing pens, but in order to make them grow and add weight faster. Turn around time to slaughter is a profit factor of highest priority. The entire operation is vertically integrated from conception to slaughter to transport distribution to supermarket.
Granjas Carroll de Mexico (GCM) happens to be such a Factory Farm concentration facility for hogs. In 2008 they produced almost one million factory hogs, 950,000 according to their own statistics. GCM is a joint venture operation owned 50% by the world’s largest pig producing industrial company, Smithfield Foods of Virginia.5 The pigs are grown in a tiny rural area of Mexico, a member of the North American Free Trade Agreement, and primarily trucked across the border to supermarkets in the USA, under the Smithfields’ family of labels. Most American consumers have no idea where the meat was raised.
Now the story becomes interesting.
Manure Lagoons and other playing fields
The Times of London interviewed the mother of 4-year-old Edgar Hernandez of La Gloria in Veracruz, the location of the giant Smithfield Foods hog production facility. Their local reporter notes, ‘Edgar Hernández plays among the dogs and goats that roam through the streets, seemingly unaware that the swine flu he contracted a few weeks ago — the first known case — has almost brought his country to a standstill and put the rest of the world on alert. ‘I feel great,’ the five-year-old boy said. ‘But I had a headache and a sore throat and a fever for a while. I had to lay down in bed.’’
The reporters add, ‘It was confirmed on Monday (April 27 2009-w.e.) that Edgar was the first known sufferer of swine flu, a revelation that has put La Gloria and its surrounding factory pig farms and ‘manure lagoons’ at the centre of a global race to find how this new and deadly strain of swine flu emerged.’ 6
That’s quite interesting. They speak of ‘La Gloria and its surrounding factory pig farms and ‘manure lagoons.’ Presumably the manure lagoons around the LaGloria factory pig farm of Smithfield Foods are the waste dumping place for the feces and urine waste from at least 950,000 pigs a year that pass through the facility. The Smithfield’s Mexico joint venture, Norson, states that alone they slaughter 2,300 pigs daily. That’s a lot. It gives an idea of the volumes of pig waste involved in the concentration facility at La Gloria.
Significantly, according to the Times reporters, ‘residents of La Gloria have been complaining since March that the odour from Granjas Carroll’s pig waste was causing severe respiratory infections. They held a demonstration this month at which they carried signs of pigs crossed with an X and marked with the word peligro (danger).’7 There have been calls to exhume the bodies of the children who died of pneumonia so that they could be tested. The state legislature of Veracruz has demanded that Smithfield’s Granjas Carroll release documents about its waste-handling practices. Smithfield Foods reportedly declined to comment on the request, saying that it would ‘not respond to rumours.’8
A research compilation by Ed Harris reported, ‘According to residents, the company denied responsibility for the outbreak and attributed the cases to ‘flu.’ However, a municipal health official stated that preliminary investigations indicated that the disease vector was a type of fly that reproduces in pig waste and that the outbreak was linked to the pig farms.’9 That would imply that the entire Swine Flu scare might have originated from the PR spin doctors of the world’s largest industrial pig factory farm operation, Smithfield Foods.
The Vera Cruz-based newspaper La Marcha blames Smithfield’s Granjos Carroll for the outbreak, highlighting inadequate treatment of massive quantities of animal waste from hog production.10
Understandably the company is perhaps more than a bit uncomfortable with the sudden attention. The company, which supplies the McDonald’s and Subway fast-food chains, was fined $12.3 million in the United States 1997 for violating the Clean Water Act. Perhaps they are in a remote tiny Mexican rural area enjoying a relatively lax regulatory climate where they need not worry about being cited for violations of any Clean Water Act.
Pig Factory Farm Industrial Production is a classic breeder of disease and toxins but little attention is being paid to this source. The remarkably cruel conditions of their existence, and their constant manipulation to maximize “production” as if they were widgets in a real factory, collect many lives before their inevitable end at the slaughterhouse.
Factory Farms as toxic concentrations
At the very least the driving force for giant industrial agribusiness outsourcing of facilities to third world sites such as Veracruz, Mexico has more to do with further cost reduction and lack of health and safety scrutiny than it does with improving the health and safety quality of the food end product. It has been widely documented and subject of US Congressional reports that large-scale indoor animal production facilities such as that of Granjos Carroll are notorious breeding grounds for toxic pathogens.
A recent report by the US Pew Foundation in cooperation with the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health notes, ‘the method of producing food animals in the United States has changed from the extensive system of small and medium-sized farms owned by a single family to a system of large, intensive operations where the animals are housed in large numbers in enclosed structures that resemble industrial buildings more than they do a traditional barn. That change has happened primarily out of view of consumers but has come at a cost to the environment and a negative impact on public health, rural communities, and the health and well-being of the animals themselves.’ 11
The Pew study notes, ‘The diversified, independent, family-owned farms of 40 years ago that produced a variety of crops and a few animals are disappearing as an economic entity, replaced by much larger, and often highly leveraged, farm factories. The animals that many of these farms produce are owned by the meat packing companies from the time they are born or hatched right through their arrival at the processing plant and from there to market.’ 12
The study emphasizes that application of ‘untreated animal waste on cropland can contribute to excessive nutrient loading, contaminate surface waters, and stimulate bacteria and algal growth and subsequent reductions in dissolved oxygen concentrations in surface waters.’13
That is where the real investigation ought to begin, with the health and sanitary dangers of the industrial factory pig farms like the one at Perote in Veracruz. The media spread of panic-mongering reports of every person in the world who happens to contract ‘symptoms’ which vaguely resemble flu or even Swine Flu and the statements to date of authorities such as WHO or CDC are far from conducive to a rational scientific investigation..
Tamiflu and Rummy
In October 2005 the Pentagon ordered vaccination of all US military personnel worldwide against what it called Avian Flu, H5N1. Scare stories filled world media. Then, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld announced he had budgeted more than $1 billion to stockpile the vaccine Oseltamivir, sold under the name Tamiflu. President Bush called on Congress to appropriate another $2 billion for Tamiflu stocks.
What Rumsfeld neglected to report at the time was a colossal conflict of interest. Prior to coming to Washington in January 2001, Rumsfeld had been chairman of a California pharmaceutical company, Gilead Sciences. Gilead Sciences held exclusive world patent rights to Tamiflu, a drug it had developed and whose world marketing rights were sold to the Swiss pharma giant, Roche. Rumsfeld was reportedly the largest stock holder in Gilead which got 10% of every Tamiflu dose Roche sold. 14 When it leaked out, the Pentagon issued a curt statement to the effect that Secretary Rumsfeld had decided not to sell but to retain his stock in Gilead, claiming that to sell would have indicated something to hide.’ That agonizing decision won him reported added millions as the Gilead share price soared more than 700% in weeks.
Tamiflu is no mild candy to be taken lightly. It has heavy side effects. It contains matter that could have potentially deadly consequences for a person’s breathing and often reportedly leads to nausea, dizziness and other flu-like symptoms.
Since the outbreak of Swine Flu Panic (not Swine Flu but Swine Flu Panic) sales of Tamiflu, as well as any and every possible drug marketed as flu-related, have exploded. Wall Street firms have rushed to issue ‘buy’ recommendations for the company. ‘Gimme a shot Doc, I don’t care what it is…I don’t wanna die…’
Panic and fear of death was used by the Bush Administration skilfully to promote the Avian Flu fraud. With ominous echoes of the current Swine Flu scare, Avian Flu was traced back to huge chicken factory farms in Thailand and other parts of Asia whose products were shipped across the world. Instead of a serious investigation into the sanitary conditions of those chicken factory farms, the Bush Administration and WHO blamed ‘free-roaming chickens’ on small family farms, a move that had devastating economic consequences to the farmers whose chickens were being raised in the most sanitary natural conditions. Tyson Foods of Arkansas and CG Group of Thailand reportedly smiled all the way to the bank.
Now it remains to be seen if the Obama Administration will use the scare around so-called Swine Flu to repeat the same scenario, this time with ‘flying pigs’ instead of flying birds. Already Mexican authorities have reported that the number of deaths confirmed from so-called Swine Flu is 7, not the 150 or more bandied in the media, and that most other suspected cases were ordinary flu or influenza.
(To be continued)
F. William Engdahl is author of Seeds of Destruction: The Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation (Global Rersearch, 2007, see below) and A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order (Pluto Press). His new book, Full Spectrum Dominance: Totalitarian Democracy in the New World Order (Third Millennium Press) is due out end of May. He may be contacted through his website: www.engdahl.oilgeopolitics.net.
1 Health Advisory, accessed in http://www.swine-flu-vaccine.info/.
3 Centers for Disease Control, Swine Influenza and You, accessed in
4 Biosurveillance, Swine Flu in Mexico- Timeline of Events, April 24, 2009, accessed in
5 Smithfield Foods website, accessed in
9 Ed Harris, Bloggers Examine Environmental Role in Mexico Swine Flu Outbreak, April 27, 2009, accessed in
11 The Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production, Putting Meat on the Table: Industrial Farm
Animal Production in America, accessed in http://www.ncifap.org/_images/PCIFAPFin.pdf.
14 F. William Engdahl, Is Avian Flu another Pentagon Hoax?, GlobalResearch, October 30, 2005.
Our inhumanity to fellow creatures evokes some of the most despicable chapters in the annals of tyranny. What does this facility remind us of if not a Nazi installation?
(I) Democracy Now Interview April 29, 2009
The “NAFTA Flu”: Critics Say Swine Flu Has Roots in Forcing Poor Countries
to Accept Western Agribusiness
AMY GOODMAN: As fears of a possible worldwide pandemic of swine flu continue
to grow, the World Health Organization raised its threat level Tuesday, and
WHO chief Keiji Fukuda said a pandemic was a “very serious possibility” but
still not inevitable.
Mexican health authorities confirmed seven deaths but put the suspected
death toll from swine flu at 159 and said over 2,500 people have been
sickened. New cases have appeared in cities across the United States and in
Australia, Canada, Spain, Israel, Britain and New Zealand. Suspected cases
are being investigated in countries across Europe, Asia and Latin America.
With sixty-five confirmed cases in the United States, forty-five of which
are in New York, President Obama asked Congress for $1.5 billion in
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, meanwhile, is sending
a team to Mexico to investigate claims that industrial pig farms were the
source of the outbreak in humans. Several countries around the world have
banned the import of US and Mexican pork products. The pork industry has
raised concerns over the nomenclature of the influenza strain and is
lobbying to call the virus by its scientific name, H1N1.
I’m joined now via Democracy Now! video stream from Minneapolis by Robert
Wallace, who has written extensively about avian influenza. He is a visiting
professor in the Department of Geography at the University of Minnesota. He’s
author of the forthcoming book Farming Human Pathogens: Ecological
Resilience and Evolutionary Process. He blogs at
Welcome to Democracy Now!, Robert Wallace. Start off by just explaining what
is the swine flu.
ROBERT WALLACE: Well, the swine flu is a influenza. It’s influenza A H1N1.
The “H” refers to hemagglutinin molecule. That’s a molecule on the surface
of the influenza that allows the virus to key into its target cell. “N”
refers to neuraminidase. That’s the molecule also on the surface of the
influenza, but it allows the influenza, once it’s born, to key out of the
cell that it’s been replicated in. And there are sixteen different types of
H hemagglutinins and nine different types of neuraminidases. And so, they
can recombine in different combinations. We have in this case H1N1.
That was the pathogen that caused the 1918 pandemic, which killed 50 to 100
million people around the world. Since that time, descendants of that
pandemic strain have become less virulent and become seasonal influenza that
we-some of us are infected with from one winter to the next.
This H1N1-excuse me-is entirely different, in the sense of that it does have
H1, and it does have N1, but it also has genes from other organisms. So it’s
not just a human pathogen. It also contains genes from pigs, genes from
birds, as well as genes from-when I-influenza-genes from pig influenza, I
should be very clear about that, and genes from bird influenza, as well as
genes from human influenza.
And this H1N1 apparently arose in Veracruz and subsequently spread from
there. It spread to states nearby, up to Mexico City, and was able to get on
the international transportation network and make its way across the world.
AMY GOODMAN: Robert Wallace, you’ve called it the “NAFTA flu.” Why?
ROBERT WALLACE: Well, swine flu-in some ways, the pork industry is kind of
correct. “Swine flu” is a bit a misnomer, but not in the way they think.
Because of the reasons I stated, it’s actually comprised of influenzas
from-that have typically infected swine, typically infected birds and
But the problem is, is that puts the onus on the swine as being the cause
for why this kind of influenza has come about, and it’s just that is simply
not the case. The swine are not in the driver’s seat. They are not in a
position to organize themselves into what are now cities of pigs that
stretch around the world.
We really have to go back to the livestock revolution. Before World War II,
poultry and pigs were basically farmed in backyard operations across this
country. So we’re talking about poultry flocks of the size of seventy
chickens. After the World War II, all those independent farming operations
were-many of them were basically put under one roof and increasingly put
under the control of particular corporations-Holly Farms, Tyson, Perdue. And
the geography of the poultry and pork change. So, while previously pork and
poultry were grown across the country, it was now grown, or they’re now
raised within only a few southeastern states here in the United States.
After the livestock revolution, poultry and pigs were now being grown and
raised in much larger populations, so we go from seventy poultry now up to
populations of 30,000 at a time. So we have cities of pigs and poultry.
That model was subsequently spread around the world. So, starting in the
1970s, the livestock revolution was brought to East Asia. You have the CP
Group, which is now the fourth-world’s fourth-largest poultry company, in
Thailand. That company subsequently brought the livestock revolution into
China once China opened up its doors in 1980. So we have cities of poultry
and pork developing around the world.
And this phenomenon goes hand in hand with the very structural adjustment
programs that the IMF and the World Bank helped institute during this time.
So if you’re a poor country, you’re having financial difficulties, in order
to get some money to bail you out, you had to go to the International
Monetary Fund for a loan. And in return, the IMF would make demands on you
to change your economy in such a way that would allow you-will force you to
open up your economy to outside corporations, including agricultural
companies. And, of course, that would have a detrimental effect on domestic
agriculture. So, small companies within poor countries could not out-compete
large agribusinesses from the North that are subsidized by the industrial
governments. So they’re not able to compete with them, so there’s-they
either must contract their labor and land to the companies, foreign
companies that are coming into their country, or they basically retire out
of the business and sell their land to the large companies that are coming
in. So, in other words, the spread of the cities of pork and poultry go hand
in hand with this structural adjustment program.
And, of course, NAFTA is our local version of that. The North American Free
Trade Agreement was signed in 1993, instituted in 1994, and has had a
subsequent effect on how poultry and pigs are raised in Mexico. So, from
that time, the pattern I just described, the small farmers had to either
bulk up, in terms of acquiring the farms around them, acquiring the pigs
around them, or had to sell out to agribusinesses that were coming in. So
the Smithfield subsidiary that is now being accused of being the possible
plant of origin for this H1N1 is a subsidiary of an outside corporation.
AMY GOODMAN: And what do you see, Robert Wallace, finally, about the
significance of the World Health Organization saying that the global swine
flu pandemic is a very serious possibility? And what needs to be done right
ROBERT WALLACE: Well, I mean, it is a serious possibility. I mean, there is
no doubt that it can very well threaten into becoming a pandemic. It’s well
on its way. In my mind, the train has left the station. The question now is
whether or not it’s going to be dangerous to the point that it develops the
virulence of the 1918 pandemic. That is still very much an open question.
One of the things we must keep in mind is that even if it is not currently
killing a lot of people at this point-and we should be thankful that’s the
case-it could still evolve a greater virulence over time. The 1918 pandemic
was characterized by an outbreak in the spring and then subsequently
followed by a much more deadly outbreak in the following fall. So we really
have to keep an eye on how this thing evolves. And it’s very much a changing
situation, as we can see from this past week, a changing situation from day
AMY GOODMAN: Robert Wallace, I want to thank you for being with us, joining
us by Democracy Now! video stream from Minneapolis. His forthcoming book is
called Farming Human Pathogens. We’ll link to his blog at democracynow.org.
They look like concentration camps, because they are, and as usual, from these levels of inhumanity, nothing good ever comes.
Down on the Farm
Hog Farm pictures