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THE SILENCE OF THE PANDAS

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  1. WWF THE SILENCE OF THE PANDAS - A FILM BY WILFRIED HUISMANN
  2.  
  3. (DER PAKT MIT DEM PANDA: WAS UNS DER WWF VERSCHWEIGT)
  4.  
  5. --
  6.  
  7. NARRATOR: There is a tiger in town, let loose by the WWF, the world's most powerful nature conservation organisation.
  8.  
  9. 'The last 3200 tigers are facing extinction.'
  10.  
  11. NARRATOR: Such messages target the human heart.
  12. The Worldwide Fund for Nature acts to protect threatened species, the environment and the last remaining rainforests. The WWF panda is a trusted logo, helping to bring in around $600,000,000 a year.
  13.  
  14. But we discovered that behind the pretty pictures the WWF has another, ugly face. It collaborates with companies that destroy tropical rainforest and thus the habitat of tigers, and of people.
  15.  
  16. 'The WWF shares responsibility for the destruction of our rainforest.'
  17.  
  18. TITLE: THE SILENCE OF THE PANDAS - A FILM BY WILFRIED HUISMANN
  19.  
  20. NARRATOR: We set out to unearth the secrets of the WWF, a journey into the heart of the green empire. Our expedition began in India, where according to the WWF's own figures around 1400 tigers remain. We headed for the Kanha reserve. At the Singinawa Jungle Lodge we ran into a tour group on an exclusive package adventure offered by the WWF travel agency Natural Habitat. It's called 'Wild India'. Price tag: $10,000 a head.
  21. We were off on tiger safari. The tour guide promised: 'with us, you'll get to see the last living tigers.'
  22.  
  23. The men who keep tiger boulevard tidy once reigned over the forest as free indigenous Andivasi. Now they are service personnel for the tourist industry.
  24.  
  25. The breakfast assembly area. There used to be an Andivasi village here but the WWF claimed the natives disturbed the peace of the tiger habitat.
  26.  
  27. RANGER: 'There are meadows and another tiger is here.. [we] might take a chance.'
  28.  
  29. NARRATOR: Tiger alarm! The race was on for the best view. Only the first-comers stand a chance of getting a ringside seat at the tiger circus. Hundred-fifty jeeps are admitted to the rally, ploughing through the core zone of the tiger reserve, eight hours a day, every day.
  30.  
  31. RANGER: 'Just wait, wait..'
  32.  
  33. NARRATOR: Halt! The ranger discovered a tiger track. And then the tour guide heard the tiger warning call of a monkey. Suspense was mounting.
  34.  
  35. False alarm. Only tiger feed.
  36.  
  37. Mr. Rhana, the owner of the jungle lodge, is a member of the Nepalese royal family. He showed us his treasures.
  38.  
  39. NANDA SJB RANA: 'This hunt took place in Nepal in 1913. That time our family was ruling. This was a hunt arranged by my great-grandfather who was ruling at that time, for George V, who was the emperor of India. And so you can see that they shot tigers here. In this hunt there were 39. In the other hunt 120.
  40.  
  41. 'You can see how they hunted, you see this ring of elephants. It's a complete ring, a whole ring. The ring closes and the tigers are inside. When the ring gets very small the tigers come out and they shoot them, which is not very fair. It was a quite unfair sort of sport.'
  42.  
  43. --
  44.  
  45. PRINCE PHILIP, DUKE OF EDINBURGH: 'The only way you can ensure you get a reasonable wildlife hab.. what you like to call it.. population, is by making sure they're balanced. You can't just leave it to nature because we're interfering with nature all the time. And so.. you protect some things by doing away with the predators. Otherwise it won't work.'
  46.  
  47. NARRATOR: January 1961, the queen and her prince consort on big game hunt. The beaters used goats to attract the prey. The Windsor party didn't leave many tigers behind. The kill-shot had been reserved for Elisabeth II but at the last moment she deferred to her husband.
  48.  
  49. PRINCE PHILIP: 'I've never been big game hunting. No never, except on one occasion in India which was.. I've shot one tiger in my life, that's all.'
  50.  
  51. NARRATOR: A princely pratfall. The photo was published to a storm of indignation in Britain, just when Philip and his friends were inaugurating the WWF on September 11, 1961.
  52. But that's old news. So where did the tiger campaign's millions actually end up? The WWF points to investment in photo traps, set up in the jungle so that tigers can be viewed live in their habitat on the WWF website. A pr stunt that does nothing for the tigers.
  53.  
  54. --
  55.  
  56. NARRATOR: Vasudha is a wildlife photographer living alone at the edge of a tiger reserve. She believes that the WWF tiger hype does more harm than good.
  57.  
  58. VASUDHA: 'I've been living in this area for the last four years, and I've spotted the cat about seven times. That is all, a direct sighting. Without me disturbing or intruding or forceful tracking of the tiger.
  59.  
  60. 'Talking about tourism, why aren't we talking about the amount of pollution that is being send out. The amount of smoke that is going out. The amount of sound.. Animals are very sensitive. You think the tiger will be comfortable to come out in front of a jeep? That is only because you have the access of a jeep and you go inside the core area. In the name of tourism you are actually spoiling the virgin, pristine forest.'
  61.  
  62. NARRATOR: Vasudha gave up her job at HSBC Bank in London for her life here. Her jungle neighbours taught her life alongside the wild animals.
  63.  
  64. VASUDHA: 'The children walk seven kilometres through the jungle to their school, and they come back. So if that girl doesn't fear, why should I fear?'
  65.  
  66. NARRATOR: The father of ten-year old Pribi told us she had come face to face with a tiger recently while fetching water. Was she afraid? No, even though he had a huge head.
  67. A friend from Bangalore had come for a visit, Ullash Kumar, an environmental activist who opposes the WWF tiger campaign. It pulls in big money but the tigers don't benefit from any of it.
  68.  
  69. ULLASH KUMAR, ENVIRONMENTALIST: 'More and more parks are being declared because you get more and more money. Actually, there have been instances where, like […], even like Mukurti, where only one or two tigers are living.'
  70.  
  71. VASUDHA: 'It was supposed to be a tiger reserve. It's rainforest. It's a scam, a political scam.'
  72.  
  73. ULLASH KUMAR: 'People of that area will tell you that the last tiger seen was thirty, forty years back, before the tiger project was declared. When it was started in 1974 we had nearly around five thousand tigers, roughly, so if the project was successful today we should have at least ten thousand, or at least six thousand, eight thousand.'
  74.  
  75. VASUDHA: 'I know the money is coming in but it's not helping.'
  76.  
  77. ULLASH KUMAR: 'The money coming in has made the scientists and the forest department officials very rich. They have new vehicles, they are building more buildings in the name of promoting eco tourism.
  78. I'm going to see that the tribes are gone. They say the tribes are a problem for the tiger habitat but they want to bring in urban.. so-called eco tourists in the name of the tiger project.'
  79.  
  80. --
  81.  
  82. NARRATOR: Ullash Kumar discovered his own love of nature in a WWF children's group. Later, doubts arose. Why does the WWF want to drive the people out of the forests? The Andivasi live in and from the jungle habitat and also protect it. Now a million of them have been targeted for resettlement. The WWF and the government say that humans and tigers cannot coexist.
  83.  
  84. We went to see a honey-gathering tribe in the Nagarhole national park. They too are facing removal.
  85.  
  86. To break the resistance of these Andivasi people, the forestry department has prohibited them from gathering honey in the jungle. The WWF has accused them of killing tigers and selling them to Chinese business men.
  87.  
  88. MUTHAMMA, TRIBAL LEADER: 'We do not kill tigers. We worship them. Deep in the jungle, over there in a neighbouring village is a tiger temple. In addition we revere the elephant. The whole forest is sacred to us and we protect it.'
  89.  
  90. J.K. THIMMA: 'The authorities and the WWF say, take the one million rupees in compensation and clear out of here. Why? We've been living here since time in memorial in harmony with nature. If we're chased away the forest too will vanish.'
  91.  
  92. MUTHAMMA: 'Our relationship with the forest is like that of a child to its mother. The western environmental groups can't understand that.'
  93.  
  94. --
  95.  
  96. NARRATOR: We wanted to talk to the WWF about their tiger policies. WWF International h.q. in Switzerland first agreed to speak with us, but then terminated discussions with no explanation.
  97.  
  98. Onwards to Indonesia, 5,000 kilometres to the south. The island of Borneo still boasts intact mangrove forests along its coasts. The WWF raises money across the globe to save the orang utan and it does in fact act to preserve existing national parks that are home to orang utans. But this is the reality beyond the borders of the few protected parks.
  99. Rainforest is disappearing to make room for palm oil plantations for the food and biofuel industries.
  100.  
  101. Who is responsible? Here, in central Kalimantan it is the Singapore-based multinational corporation Wilmar. The WWF has a consultation contract with the corporation on sustainability. The WWF supports plant-based energy production worldwide, a monocultural model that is rapidly eliminating forests and animals and displacing traditional forest farmers.
  102.  
  103. Nordin documents environmental crime for the nature alliance Friends of the Earth (FOE).
  104.  
  105. NORDIN, FRIENDS OF THE EARTH INDONESIA: 'The WWF says palm oil can be produced sustainably.
  106.  
  107. 'Take a look around you. How can this be sustainable? Nothing else can grow here anymore. The partnership of the Wilmar Corporation with the WWF improves the company's image but not its methods. I have no evidence the WWF is corrupt but they do help the industry to extend its reach still further. They take consultancy fees to greenwash destructive production practices. They adhere to the same strategies as the corporation, which can now go ahead and annihilate the rainforests, with the blessing of the WWF.'
  108.  
  109. NARRATOR: A driving tour of a biologically dead zone. Rats are the only animals still living there. WWF functionaries have joined forces with the industry lobby to propose such plantations be recognised as 'reforestation'. If they succeed, the palm oil companies will also get emission credits as a profit bonus.
  110.  
  111. NORDIN, FRIENDS OF THE EARTH INDONESIA: 'In this area the effluent is simply fed into the ground. They are contaminating the nearby river. This is prohibited by land user regulations.'
  112.  
  113. NARRATOR: Oil palms have to grow for five years before the first oil fruit can be harvested. We got lost driving through the endless monotony of the plantations. Thanks to gps we managed to find our way out of the labyrinth.
  114.  
  115. NARRATOR: Near evening, we arrived in Sembulu, a last leftover village. The people here once lived in and from the rainforest as forest farmers. But the government has leased the land to industry. A very few have found work on the plantations, others can earn a living from fishing the lake. But runoff from the nearby oil mills is polluting the water.
  116.  
  117. The farmers have not yet conceded the fight for their land, some of them even have land deeds. But the government has leased their forest to the Wilmar Corporation nonetheless. Nordin has founded the human rights group Save Our Borneo and advices the farmers.
  118.  
  119. Nordin got an unexpected sms: 'Get out of Sembulu immediately or we'll get rid of you permanently.' It wasn't the first time the environmental activist had received a death threat. One of the farmers invited us on an excursion into his former tropical forest garden.
  120.  
  121. FARMER: 'This was my land. I had planted fruit trees amongst the trees of the forest. Here stood the big rubber trees that were my livelihood. One day, heavy machinery came and crushed everything in its path, with no clearance permit. I went to Wilmar management and objected. In vain. And I even have a deed of ownership. This is the land of my ancestors. For five years I had been fighting against the company. Once, they even sent the military to chase me off, but I keep coming back.
  122.  
  123. NARRATOR: Bakhtaran chops down the hated oil palms and risks landing in prison for doing so.
  124.  
  125. --
  126.  
  127. Like these farmers, who also fought expropriation.
  128.  
  129. FARMER 1: 'How am I supposed to feed my children? It's hopeless. Help us.'
  130.  
  131. FARMER 2: 'It sickens the soul, we're innocent.'
  132.  
  133. --
  134.  
  135. At the WWF office in the capital Jakarta we confronted Amalia Prameswari with the pictures. She is responsible for the palm oil partnership with Wilmar.
  136.  
  137. AMALIA PRAMESWARI: 'Me personally I have not heard of this of case until today. And well, it's.. it would be a disappointment of course that, say.. that Wilmar really let this… such thing happen. Well, on the other hand they also have other sustainability practices in place in other areas of Indonesia.'
  138.  
  139. --
  140.  
  141. NARRATOR: Such as here, on this plantation […] Sawit. It literally stinks to high heaven, due to untreated waste water. This plantation was in the process of being certified 'sustainable' with the seal of approval of the Round Table on Sustainable Palm Oil, an organisation that unites over 400 palm oil industry players and the WWF. With the green stamp of approval the company can cash in on European subsidies for regenerative energy. Environmental organisations, such as Greenpeace, characterise the certification system practice by the WWF and industry as 'fraudulent labelling'.
  142.  
  143. NORDIN, FRIENDS OF THE EARTH INDONESIA: 'There is no biodiversity and too many chemicals. So animals cannot live here… too many chemicals and there is no biodiversity.'
  144.  
  145. On to the next Wilmar plantation. Here, the WWF had managed to stipulate that some of the forest not to be chopped down. Eighty hectares were left intact. Eighty, from 14,500.
  146.  
  147. In the midst of the palm oil production site we found the remaining of the forest. You can walk across it in twenty minutes. This used to be a significant orang utan habitat.
  148.  
  149. NORDIN: 'According to our monitoring a few months ago we found two orang utans here. The forest is too small. Orang utans need very much forest to find food. To survive they go into the plantation and of course the company gets angry and kills them.'
  150.  
  151. NARRATOR: A token 'sustainable forest'. What compels the WWF to get into bed with agribusiness? The search for an answer took us to Geneva, Switzerland, the epicentre of global agricultural trading, an arena in which the WWF appears quite at home. The organisation offers green certificates to industry. For tropical woods, corn, soy, fish, sugar cane and palm oil. The world congress for bio-ethenol was in full swing. The WWF was the only ngo to be invited.
  152.  
  153. Dörte Bieler heads the biomass section at WWF Germany. We had to leave the hall before her speech. According to the minutes she offered the industry players support for their business. The WWF was in favour, she said, of sacrificing of even more land for bio energy production. She added: "we're different than other nature conservancy organisations. We're constructive."
  154.  
  155. WH: 'We filmed in Indonesia at a new plantation created with the approval of the WWF. It includes a high conservation value forest that's been kept intact. With orang utans. Eighty hectares on a 14,000 hectare plantation, 0,5 percent. Can you call it a success when 99,5 percent is destroyed?'
  156.  
  157. DÖRTE BIELER: 'It's a start. If the WWF hadn't collaborated the company would have converted the entire rainforest to plantation.
  158.  
  159. HUISMANN: 'Eighty hectares. That means certain death for these orang utans.'
  160.  
  161. DÖRTE BIELER: 'Absolutely certain death would be if the eighty hectares were gone too.'
  162.  
  163. WH: 'The intention may well be to enforce sustainability by engaging in close dialogue with the industry, but isn't there a danger that as a nature conservancy organisation you could fall into a trap and end up being used to greenwash so to speak this type of production?'
  164.  
  165. DB: 'The WWF has a very strict code of conduct in order to prevent just that. Our partnership contracts always state that funding has no binding implications. Both partners can terminate the relationship should they ever become dissatisfied with it.'
  166.  
  167. WH: 'And that's enough for you?'
  168.  
  169. DB: 'The fact is, we live in a world with a global economy and money plays an obvious role. There are costs involved in everything and I don't know why you want to portray that as something negative. It costs money to fly here and give a lecture for instance, but I have to be here in person to deliver our message effectively.'
  170.  
  171. WH: 'You know what I mean though, because other nature conservancy organisations reject such major donations. They say the risk of dependency is too great when you close ranks with big industry.'
  172.  
  173. DB: 'Yes, but other ngo's perhaps don't have the same impact.'
  174.  
  175. WH: 'Ok, what is your impact? Where is the success?'
  176.  
  177. DB: 'Well, for one thing, as an ngo it's nice not to be sneered at but to be accepted as a competent dialogue partner. Our work is science-based. We always do a study first before expressing an opinion and we try not to rely on emotionality. We've been able to achieve quite a bit with this science-based approach.'
  178.  
  179. WH: 'For example?'
  180.  
  181. DB: 'I couldn't come up with anything you wouldn't find fault with.'
  182.  
  183. --
  184.  
  185. NARRATOR: How is this for an example? The HSBC bank in London. It's a member of the Round Table on Sustainable Palm Oil, founded by the WWF. The world's largest bank provides financing for the palm oil industry and the WWF isn't left empty-handed. The bank has donated one hundred million dollars to a climate partnership with the WWF.
  186.  
  187. MAC CHAPIN, ANTHROPOLOGIST: 'So many of these companies are being criticised for contaminating the environment, for destroying forests, deforesting, destroying rivers.. they need some kind of cover. Companies are essentially buying the panda, just to greenwash things. By saying, oh yes we have an alliance with the WWF, so everything's fine.'
  188.  
  189. NARRATOR: Mac Chapin lives at the foot of the Rocky Mountains. An anthropologist, he has worked for over forty years with indigenous people in the rainforests. He has first-hand experience with the WWF.
  190.  
  191. MAC CHAPIN: 'The indigenous people have awful problems with the penetration of petroleum companies, mining and the biofuel plantations. They're just sweeping through those areas and a number of these companies give money to the conservation groups and so they tend to stay away from criticising them. They're working with the companies that are destroying the ecosystem. Now, to say that they are influencing them in one way or another, I just don't see it.'
  192.  
  193. --
  194.  
  195. The WWF was built on old money. Founding members included A list British aristocracy with solid family, financial and educational pedigrees. Sir Peter Scott, celebrated natural scientist, took prince Philip sailing to fill him in on the WWF project.
  196.  
  197. PRINCE PHILIP: 'Peter Scott said we're going to set this thing up and would I be president? I said I would be president of the UK thing but I wouldn't be president of the international because I happened to be president International Equestrian Federation at the time, and I said I can't do two international things at once. But I said I happened to know that prince Bernhard of The Netherlands is very interested in wild animals and conservation. He happens to be staying at the carriages so if you pop along and ask him, you may get him. This is what he did.'
  198.  
  199. NARRATOR: Prince Bernhard came on board bringing the first corporate sponsor - Shell - along with him. In 1967, thousands of seabirds perished after an oil tanker spill off the coast of France. WWF leadership prohibited any form of criticism 'that could jeopardise donations from certain branches of industry.'
  200.  
  201. Bernhard also looked after Africa, where wild game poachers were an increasing problem in the national parks. The WWF financed armed anti-poaching commandos. In Zimbabwe for example, there were dozens of dead, including innocent bystanders. In a top-secret action in 1989, the WWF deployed a mercenary unit from the security company KES Enterprises, close collaborators with apartheid South Africa's secret services. Internal documentation was leaked to the news service Africa Confidential.
  202.  
  203. STEPHEN ELLIS, FORMER PUBLISHER 'AFRICA PUBLISHER': 'It seems to have been thought up by prince Bernhard and John Hanks, who was an official of WWF. They got the idea that they would raise some money and hire some British security company, former SAS soldiers, to go to southern Africa and there they told various people they were going to find out who was poaching rhino horn.. they were going to kill them, and Bernhard gave them I think it was about 500,000 pounds, which he raised in the most extraordinary way. He sold two old master paintings from his wife's collection, his wife was of course the former queen of The Netherlands. I think these were the two paintings he sold. These were offered at Sotheby's at auction, with the proceedings going to the WWF, in other words given to charity. But it later transpired that the WWF then gave the money, or lend the money back to Bernhard - secretly- and that was the money he used to pay this British Company KES.'
  204.  
  205. NARRATOR: Prince Bernhard also established a nature trust for the WWF, the 1001 Club. Its founding members were aristocrats, captains of industry, leaders of the South African apartheid regime and the odd despotic ruler. Such as Mobutu Sese Seko, the dictator of Zaire. And Jose Martinez de Hoz, number two man in Argentina's military dictatorship. A major landowner, big game hunter and founder of the Argentine section of the WWF. As minister of the economy, Martinez de Hoz (†2013, ed.) opened the country to international agribusiness.
  206.  
  207. --
  208.  
  209. NARRATOR: Fact finding in Buenos Aires. We had a rendezvous at the Plaza San Martín with Jorge Rulli. The former resistance fighter spent five years in prison. He lost a kidney and an eye as a result of the torture he endured there.
  210.  
  211. This high rise is home to his old arch enemy Jose Martinez de Hoz. He lives there under house arrest, sentenced to crimes against humanity. Across the square is the home of Monsanto, the world's largest genetic engineering corporation.
  212.  
  213. For Jorge Rulli, it is the secret ruler of Argentina.
  214.  
  215. JORGE RULLI: 'Monsanto and the WWF are two arms of one and the same body. One arm Monsanto, has managed to establish its monocultural production model throughout Argentina. And the other arm, the WWF, is working to make this model socially acceptable. Even though it's destroying our traditional agriculture. They try to convince us GM soy is good, you can even produce it sustainably. The WWF is seeing to it that we and public opinion in Europe accept the Monsanto soy.'
  216.  
  217. NARRATOR: Just outside Buenos Aires begins Monsanto land, soy fields as far as the eye can see. Biodiesel crops for Europe and the USA. Global oil players, such as BP and Shell, and car companies like VW and Toyota all have a stake in this multi-billion sector. No more room for beans, weed or potatoes. Even the famed Argentine beef is now in short supply. Many villages have become dilapidated ghost towns.
  218.  
  219. Monsanto soy needs a lot of herbicide because the weeds become resistant within just a few years. The farmers have to pay a licence fee from Monsanto's seeds annually, and they have to buy the companion pesticide Roundup, a further development of Agent Orange, the notorious defoliant deployed by the USA in the Vietnam war.
  220.  
  221. Within a day of spraying, all plant life is snuffed out. Only the soy seedlings survive. A gene has been inserted that makes the plant resistant to the toxin. But people are not. Roundup damages human genetic material.
  222.  
  223. HECTOR LAURENCE, WWF ARGENTINA: 'Roundup. If you invite me to drink a glass of Roundup or to smell it for a couple of hours directly, I would say no, this will.. can hurt me of course. But on the other hand, like anything if you use it, the product.. and I don't have any relationship with Monsanto, I want to be very clear on that.. but if you talk about risks of technology, in terms of accidents or illnesses, we should then eliminate planes and eliminate cars…'
  224.  
  225. JORGE RULLI, GRUPO DE REFLEXION RURAL: 'Argentina is on the brink of ecological collapse and the WWF tells us everything's ok. All is well. It's a business that lives from its sponsors, In Argentina that means many major corporations, from the soy producers to the telephone companies, they all want to clear their guilty conscience, and they donate to the WWF to polish their image. The companies can rely on the WWF, it gives them room to move.'
  226.  
  227. NARRATOR: We headed north on the soy highway. One thousand kilometres and nothing but soy, all the way to the foothills of the Andes. And poison is sprayed over all of it. This area would be seeded with soy in a few days time, but the fields had already be treated with Monsanto's Roundup and already everything was already dead. Independent studies prove that Roundup is damaging to humans. Cancer rates rise where it is used and more and more infants are born with birth defects.
  228.  
  229. JORGE RULLI: 'The united soy republic of South America. That's what it says in the advertisements for big soy producers. They propagated genetically modified soy all across South America. Even if Brazil and Paraguay had prohibited gm soy by law. Monsanto just took it over the border from Argentina and spread it throughout Uruguay, Brazil, Paraguay and Bolivia. With the blessing of the Argentine government.'
  230.  
  231. NARRATOR: In 2003, WWF Argentina held a dialogue with the industry. How can the country become the leading biodiesel superpower? Absurdly, they were talking to themselves. Dr. Hector Laurence was not only the head of the WWF, but also president of the agricultural association AMIA, and director of the GMO company Morgan Seeds.
  232.  
  233. HECTOR LAURENCE: 'I'm independent, with no company affiliations at present.'
  234.  
  235. WH: 'But you were also president of Morgan Seeds.'
  236.  
  237. HL: 'Yes, of course. And also of Pioneer. That's obvious. I have an absolute clear conscience. Because I am independent I have been able to bring both sides together. With prudence, information, science and facts instead of ideology, industry and environmentalism can work together and find solutions for progress. I believe that genetic engineering and biodiversity are perfectly compatible.'
  238.  
  239. NARRATOR: The Chaco region in northern Argentina is home to one of the world's largest savannah habitats. Or at least it was. OVer half of it has already been deforested. The soy desert of South America already covers an area the size of Germany. The plan is to double it. The WWF has green-lighted the project deeming the Chaco forests 'substandard' and degraded by human exploitation. It's open season for burning and pillaging. But this area was also the habitat of jaguars. monkeys and birds. And there was a great diversity of plant life. People lived here too. Like the farming family Rojas. They have lost their land in the forest and have to make due with a much smaller compensation plot.
  240.  
  241. R1: 'Since the forest is gone, we have suffered from drought. It hardly rains at all anymore. The soy companies don't care about that. But our seeds just dry up in the fields.'
  242.  
  243. R2: 'The big producers all live in the city. They don't know the land and nature. They don't have a clue.'
  244.  
  245. The farmers here, gauchos of the forest they call themselves, work in the forest and use its resources without destroying it. Farmer Santana had lived here for fifty years. According to customary law, the land was his, but the provincial government sold it to a soy company.
  246.  
  247. FELIX SANTANA: 'People from the provincial administration came here and said: "We'll let you keep a piece of your land where you can rear your animals." But then they came with their heavy machinery and destroyed the entire forest. What can I do? Without land deeds there is no way we can fight it.'
  248.  
  249. HECTOR LAURENCE: 'You first have to determine whether the forest land really belongs to these people, or if they've simply claimed it. And then, look at the poor quality of life these people have. No drinking water, no health care services. Often no education. What they need is training and jobs and new technologies.'
  250.  
  251. An on-site inspection. The soy frontline has reached the periphery of the village. No farmers are needed there now. The rich northern hemisphere is trying to solve its energy problems with diesel made out from soy at the cost of food production in the south.
  252.  
  253. MOISES ROJAS: 'Every year they spray herbicide, from airplanes too. One of those planes flew over our house. The plants all died, and I got a skin rash.'
  254.  
  255. FRANCISCA ROJAS: 'I lost my baby. I was in the ninth month of pregnancy when they delivered the girl by cesarian. She was dead and had several deformities. Several doctors studied the case and they all came to the conclusion that the deformities were the result of the toxic spraying. The herbicide had damaged the dna. That happened to me.'
  256.  
  257. NARRATOR: According to the health authorities the rate of birth defects in the Chaco soy region has risen by 400%. To cut costs the aircraft often spray an especially dangerous cocktail: a mixture of herbicides, pesticides and fungicides. The pilots aren't allowed to fly over the villages, but there is still no escaping the toxic shower.
  258.  
  259. JULIO MOLNAR, PILOT: 'We fly at just three metres above the fields at high speeds. Just a small gust of wind and the substances spread across a large area, up to five kilometres wide.'
  260.  
  261. WH: 'Can't you prevent it from reaching the villages?'
  262.  
  263. JM: 'No, that's impossible. A year ago I flew into a power line and crashed. I had inhaled some of the poison pesticides that had seeped into the cockpit. That clouds your perception. I was no longer able to correctly judge the distance to the power lines.'
  264.  
  265. --
  266.  
  267. NARRATOR: In an unprecedented fight for land the WWF has taken Monsanto's side. At the 2010 Round Table for Responsible Soy the two made a deal. Effective immediately Monsanto's gm soy could bear the 'produced sustainably' seal. Misleading labelling: the only sustainable growth here is in Monsanto's revenues. The genetic engineering industry has the panda in its pocket but no one is supposed to notice.
  268.  
  269. WH: 'Are you for or against genetic engineering?'
  270.  
  271. DORTE BIELER, WWF INTERNATIONAL: 'That's irrelevant. I represent the WWF.'
  272.  
  273. WH: 'So of course you must have a position and I like to know what it is.'
  274.  
  275. DB: 'I'm very sorry, I don't want to be rude but I'm not authorised to express my personal opinion. I'm here as spokesperson for the WWF Germany and International. If there is no official opinion I won't express one.'
  276.  
  277. WH:'So WWF International has no opinion?'
  278.  
  279. --
  280.  
  281. NARRATOR: We decided to give WWF USA a try. Most members of the organisation know nothing of the deals made by its leadership. In many cases because they would rather not know. At the headquarters in Washington, D.C., we were able to make contact with a department head. He revealed to us that Monsanto boss Hugh Grant had been there in person in the summer of 2010 for a summit meeting. They outcome of the discussions remain secret.
  282.  
  283. WWF vice-president Jason Clay is in charge of the partnership. Surprisingly, he agreed to speak with us but WWF Germany asked him to cancel the interview. The reason: there were fears donors and trustees might pull out if Jason Clay told the truth about the Monsanto deal. Jason Clay cancelled the confirmed interview.
  284.  
  285. HOST: 'We really appreciate dr. Jason Clay..'
  286.  
  287. NARRATOR: We managed to find Jason Clay after all on the website of the Global Harvest Initiative, a corporate agriculture lobby group. Members include the agri giants Cargill, ADM, Monsanto and most recently, the WWF.
  288.  
  289. JASON CLAY, SENIOR VICE-PRESIDENT WWF: 'Thank you. We need to freeze the footprint of agriculture. And we think there are seven or eight things, and you can disagree with that and that's great, let's get the discussion started, that we need to work on to that. One is genetics. We have got to produce more with less. We need to focus not just on temperate crops, not just on annual crops but on tropical crops, on orphan crops, on crops that produce more calories per input per hectare with fewer impacts. We need to get our priorities right. We need to start focussing on the food production where it's needed, what's needed and how to move forward.
  290.  
  291. 'It takes fifteen years, at least, and maybe longer, as we go along to bring a genetically engineered product to market. If we don't start today we're already at 2025. The clock is ticking. We need to get moving, there is a sense of urgency.'
  292.  
  293. HOST: 'Alright. Well Jason, thanks, good job.'
  294.  
  295. --
  296.  
  297. NARRATOR: A clear endorsement of brave new Monsanto world. Agribusiness is busy reapportioning planet earth with the WWF right by its side. In Indonesian Papua up to nine million hectares have been earmarked for oil palm plantations, according to an agreement between the provincial government and the WWF. The WWF mapped tribal land itself and is helping to choose the sites of the plantations.
  298.  
  299. Q: 'Who does the rainforest belong to?'
  300.  
  301. RONNY, WWF PAPUA: 'Local communities. The land still belongs to the tribes.'
  302.  
  303. Q: 'Do they know that they are planning to plant nine million hectares with oil palms?
  304.  
  305. RONNY: 'We'll inform them, so that they are aware of what is being planned. Otherwise they won't give up their land, that would lead to conflicts. We have to explain it to them because they're still not open to the development. Some are worried: "Where will I live if I sell off all my land?" They also can't imagine working on a plantation. Some on the other hand think, if I sell up for one billion rupees, I'll be able to live up to fifty years on that. They have understood.'
  306.  
  307. NARRATOR: We went to visit one of the spots on the WWF map destined for one million of hectares of oil palms. It is the ancestral homeland of the Kanume tribes. They do not yet know that their time is up.
  308.  
  309. KASIMIRIS SANGARA, CHIEF OF THE KANUME: 'Surveyors came here accompanied by soldiers. But they can't take the rainforest away from us. I am in power here, and defend the forest. Soldiers have weapons but they respect me. If I want I can cast a spell on them. The gods and our ancestors live in the rainforest. It is the source of life. No one may destroy it.'
  310.  
  311. CREDITS
  312.  
  313. --
  314.  
  315. © Wilfried Huismann 2011
  316. Co-production United Docs | WDR | SWR >>
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