Blackwater, Monsanto & Oops!

SUBHEAD: Apologies to our readers for following along on this internet hysteria. Monsanto is only evil - not the devil.

By Jeremy Bloom on 16 October 2010 in Red Green and Blue -  

Image above: Illustration for the Jeremy Scahill article in the Nation.

 [IB Publishers note: We goofed badly. We posted an article (Blackwater, Monsanto & Gates) linking those three names in a marriage made in hell. The story mistakenly claimed the Monsanto had acquired Xe Services (formerly Blackwater). This misinformation was based on a misinterpretation of Jeremy Scahill's revelation that Monsanto a company named Total Intelligence (a subsidiary of Xe) to spy on ani-GMO activists and animal rights groups. That was apparently true, but did not equal purchasing the parent company. We deeply apologize in helping spread so significant an error. We do not claim to be journalists, but do seek to publish things that are true. We will try harder to make that happen.]  

How do internet lies get spread? By well-meaning people who pass things on without checking.
Monsanto is one of the worst companies in the world, so it should come as no surprise that they hired an arm of Xe (the mercenary company formerly known as Blackwater) to dig up dirt on anti-GMO activists.

Fortunately, and contrary to a number of reports circulation on the internet, the world’s biggest purveyor of genetically modified seeds that has been doing its best to destroy traditional farming from Iowa to Iraq did NOT decide it needed to purchase its own mercenary army.
Here’s what happened.

Jeremy Scahill wrote a comprehensive take-down on Xe/Blackwater, based on internal emails, in The Nation. The Nation article says:
“One of the most incendiary details in the documents is that Blackwater, through [subisidiary] Total Intelligence, sought to become the “intel arm” of Monsanto, offering to provide operatives to infiltrate activist groups organizing against the multinational biotech firm.”
That means Xe was hired by Monsanto. Not that they were bought by them. But somewhere along the line, Silvia Ribeiro, a Spanish-speaking researcher on environmental issues, read that article and misunderstood what the author meant by “become an ‘intel arm’ and took it literally.

She published a Spanish-language article in La Jornada, it got translated into English by (of all things!) Pravda online, conspiracy websites picked up on it, and well-meaning people proceeded to post the news all over the Internet (usually without indicating the source).
Did Monsanto buy Xe or its subsidiary? No.
“…According to internal Total Intelligence communications, biotech giant Monsanto… hired the firm in 2008–09.”
“Hired by” is not the same as “was bought by”.
“…Black added that Total Intelligence ‘would develop into acting as intel arm of Monsanto.”
‘Black also noted that Monsanto was concerned about animal rights activists and that they discussed how Blackwater ‘could have our person(s) actually join [activist] group(s) legally.’ Black wrote that initial payments to Total Intelligence would be paid out of Monsanto’s ‘generous protection budget’ but would eventually become a line item in the company’s annual budget. He estimated the potential payments to Total Intelligence at between $100,000 and $500,000. According to documents, Monsanto paid Total Intelligence $127,000 in 2008 and $105,000 in 2009.”
Xe is a mutli-million dollar organization. They were paid a couple of hundred thousands dollars to do some intel work (probably nasty and illegal stuff).
This is ALL OVER the Internet right now, all based on one piece of confused reporting.
What’s really going on at Monsanto? They’re having a very bad year. Check out our full report…

[Publisher's note:We posted the article below on Friday. The opening statement of the article by Silvia Ribeiro (in red) is not true.]

 By Silvia Ribeiro on 14 October 2010 in Pravda -

  A report by Jeremy Scahill in The Nation (Blackwater's Black Ops, 9/15/2010) revealed that the largest mercenary army in the world, Blackwater (now called Xe Services) clandestine intelligence services was sold to the multinational Monsanto.

 Blackwater was renamed in 2009 after becoming infamous in the world with numerous reports of abuses in Iraq, including massacres of civilians. It remains the largest private contractor of the U.S. Department of State "security services," that practices state terrorism by giving the government the opportunity to deny it. Many military and former CIA officers work for Blackwater or related companies created to divert attention from their bad reputation and make more profit selling their nefarious services-ranging from information and intelligence to infiltration, political lobbying and paramilitary training - for other governments, banks and multinational corporations.

According to Scahill, business with multinationals, like Monsanto, Chevron, and financial giants such as Barclays and Deutsche Bank, are channeled through two companies owned by Erik Prince, owner of Blackwater: Total Intelligence Solutions and Terrorism Research Center. These officers and directors share Blackwater. One of them, Cofer Black, known for his brutality as one of the directors of the CIA, was the one who made contact with Monsanto in 2008 as director of Total Intelligence, entering into the contract with the company to spy on and infiltrate organizations of animal rights activists, anti-GM and other dirty activities of the biotech giant.

Contacted by Scahill, the Monsanto executive Kevin Wilson declined to comment, but later confirmed to The Nation that they had hired Total Intelligence in 2008 and 2009, according to Monsanto only to keep track of "public disclosure" of its opponents. He also said that Total Intelligence was a "totally separate entity from Blackwater."

However, Scahill has copies of emails from Cofer Black after the meeting with Wilson for Monsanto, where he explains to other former CIA agents, using their Blackwater e-mails, that the discussion with Wilson was that Total Intelligence had become "Monsanto's intelligence arm," spying on activists and other actions, including "our people to legally integrate these groups."

Total Intelligence Monsanto paid $ 127,000 in 2008 and $ 105,000 in 2009. No wonder that a company engaged in the "science of death" as Monsanto, which has been dedicated from the outset to produce toxic poisons spilling from Agent Orange to PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls), pesticides, hormones and genetically modified seeds, is associated with another company of thugs.

Almost simultaneously with the publication of this article in The Nation, the Via Campesina reported the purchase of 500,000 shares of Monsanto, for more than $23 million by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which with this action completed the outing of the mask of "philanthropy." Another association that is not surprising.

It is a marriage between the two most brutal monopolies in the history of industrialism: Bill Gates controls more than 90 percent of the market share of proprietary computing and Monsanto about 90 percent of the global transgenic seed market and most global commercial seed. There does not exist in any other industrial sector monopolies so vast, whose very existence is a negation of the vaunted principle of "market competition" of capitalism. Both Gates and Monsanto are very aggressive in defending their ill-gotten monopolies.

Although Bill Gates might try to say that the Foundation is not linked to his business, all it proves is the opposite: most of their donations end up favoring the commercial investments of the tycoon, not really "donating" anything, but instead of paying taxes to the state coffers, he invests his profits in where it is favorable to him economically, including propaganda from their supposed good intentions. On the contrary, their "donations" finance projects as destructive as geoengineering or replacement of natural community medicines for high-tech patented medicines in the poorest areas of the world. What a coincidence, former Secretary of Health Julio Frenk and Ernesto Zedillo are advisers of the Foundation.

Like Monsanto, Gates is also engaged in trying to destroy rural farming worldwide, mainly through the "Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa" (AGRA). It works as a Trojan horse to deprive poor African farmers of their traditional seeds, replacing them with the seeds of their companies first, finally by genetically modified (GM). To this end, the Foundation hired Robert Horsch in 2006, the director of Monsanto. Now Gates, airing major profits, went straight to the source.

Blackwater, Monsanto and Gates are three sides of the same figure: the war machine on the planet and most people who inhabit it, are peasants, indigenous communities, people who want to share information and knowledge or any other who does not want to be in the aegis of profit and the destructiveness of capitalism.

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