Blue Heron in flight

Monday, October 1, 2012

Monsanto hearts Blackwater

Last week I wrote about the new peer reviewed French study on Monsanto GMO corn and its purported propensity to cause tumors in lab rats. You can link to my blogpost and the study here.

In the wake of Russia suspending GMO corn imports, Monsanto is, as would be suspected, mounting a full court press, attacking the peer reviewed study and its authors by all available means.

They have a lot of money, many friends in the administration, and things are about to get really dirty. I have already seen their heavy hand in the press and on the blogs today, their reach is certainly wide. My brother says that the supposedly "anti study" press he saw today in Canada is incredible.

Here's a puff piece from the Chicago Tribune today criticizing the study. Besides all corn causes breast cancer in rats, don't you know? The corporate shills are already out in full force, emphasizing the exact same talking points, points that don't seem to hold any water once you actually read the study itself. Like the high concentration isn't as harmful as the low, a charge not supported by the evidence.

I was doing a little research today and found this rather old (2010) news article that informs that Monsanto hired Blackwater, doing business these days as Xe or Total Intelligence, to infiltrate anti GMO groups and investigate unfriendly bloggers for at least a couple years.

Journalist Jeremy Scahill, who wrote a book on the history of Blackwater, broke the initial story in the Nation. Titled Blackwater's Black Ops, it divulged information about the unholy relationship.
"One of the most incendiary details in the documents is that Blackwater, through Total Intelligence, sought to become the "intel arm" of Monsanto, offering to provide operatives to infiltrate activist groups organizing against the multinational biotech firm.
...Blackwater had developed "a rapidly growing, worldwide network of folks that can do everything from surveillance to ground truth to disruption operations." He added, "These are all foreign nationals (except for a few cases where US persons are the conduit but no longer 'play' on the street), so deniability is built in and should be a big plus."According to internal Total Intelligence communications, biotech giant Monsanto—the world's largest supplier of genetically modified seeds—hired the firm in 2008–09. The relationship between the two companies appears to have been solidified in January 2008 when Total Intelligence chair Cofer Black traveled to Zurich to meet with Kevin Wilson, Monsanto's security manager for global issues.After the meeting in Zurich, Black sent an e-mail to other Blackwater executives, including to Prince and Prado at their Blackwater e-mail addresses. Black wrote that Wilson "understands that we can span collection from internet, to reach out, to boots on the ground on legit basis protecting the Monsanto [brand] name.... Ahead of the curve info and insight/heads up is what he is looking for." 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.This past summer Erik Prince put Blackwater up for sale and moved to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. But he doesn't seem to be leaving the shadowy world of security and intelligence. He says he moved to Abu Dhabi because of its "great proximity to potential opportunities across the entire Middle East, and great logistics," adding that it has "a friendly business climate, low to no taxes, free trade and no out of control trial lawyers or labor unions. It's pro-business and opportunity." It also has no extradition treaty with the United States.
* Might not want to buy your corn at Walmart.


Anonymous said...

Good blog from someone who knows food.
Have a good trip......

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

When I was a kid in the Panama Canal Zone i used to run with the other kids in the fog that the weekly DDT truck left behind. And it didn't do me any mardrdloc or goqoian tc t a at all!