Blackwater Served as Monsanto’s Intelligence Arm

Jeremy Scahill has a new piece on Blackwater that is fairly incendiary.

Among other things (I’ll have more to say later), he reveals that Blackwater provided Monsanto with security services in 2008-2009.

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. [my emphasis]

Click through for the denial Monsanto’s Wilson gave to Scahill: basically, he denied that Monsanto used Blackwater to target animal rights activists, but did use them for “scanning the content of activist blogs and websites.” Not to mention work in Asia and Latin America.

It’s bad enough to have PA’s contractor developing intelligence reports on anti-drilling activists to send to lobbyists. It’s yet another thing when Blackwater’s thugs are tracking those activists.

  1. brendanx says:

    It’s bad enough to have PA’s contractor developing intelligence reports on anti-drilling activists to send to lobbyists. It’s yet another thing when Blackwater’s thugs are tracking those activists

    And I’m sure there’s a tie-in with the right-wing Colombian terrorists in your previous post.

  2. bobschacht says:

    Monsanto, as a producer of genetically-altered seed, is concerned with brand integrity and control of its product. So, for example, a farmer using Monsanto seed is, IIRC, forbidden to retain a portion of the seed for next years crop, and is forbidden from retaining seeds from a Monsanto-seeded crop for planting the next year. They want you to buy ALL of your seed, every year, from Monsanto. So if you protest this restriction, then of course you are a subversive and must be ‘managed’ accordingly.

    Bob in AZ

    • PJEvans says:

      Oh, it’s worse than that.

      If you’re a farmer, and you ever used Monsanto GM seeds, or if any of your neighbors do, they assume that any seeds you save are Monsanto’s GM seeds, or that they are carrying DNA modified by Monsanto. They’ll sue you and they’ll win, because they can buy the courts. (Proof that you did? They don’t need any.)

  3. Mason says:

    O/T, but did you notice the tweet from afpakchannel?

    According to a report entitled, An Analysis of U.S. Drone Strikes in Pakistan, 2004-2010, by the Counterterrorism Strategy Initiative at the New America Foundation,

    66 drone attacks in NW Pakistan during the period 1/1/2010 to 9/15/2010, killing an estimated number somewhere between 352 to 598 people, but only 9 alleged terrorist leaders are identified as victims of the attacks. Talk about soft numbers!

    That works out to somewhere between 1.5% to 2.5% were terrorist leaders.

    I also should note that the report indicates many of the deaths were “militant deaths,” with 326 out of the estimate of 352 deaths up to 543 out of the 598 deaths reported as estimated “militant deaths.”

    The report estimates an overall percentage of terrorist/militant deaths to total deaths at 30% between 2004 to 9/15/2010.

    I suspect that, with the exception of dead pre-adolescent male children and females of any age, all of the dead were classified as militants unless otherwise identified as a terrorist leader. Therefore, the 30% number vastly overstates the percentage of what the government would call legitimate targets. Talk about being judged by the company you keep!


  4. rosalind says:

    so a private company whose only loyalty is to its profits uses employees whose only loyalty is to their paycheck to gain access to the most sensitive information on covert military actions spanning the globe plus the deepest secrets of global corporations and dumps the total intelligence into one giant database.

    that’ll end well.

    when employees of blackwater shell #26 are firing at employees of blackwater shell #36, must make for a verrry awkward christmas party.

    • emptywheel says:

      Ah, but highly lucrative. And as Scahill’s article makes clear, BW doesn’t really care because all of the active killers are now foreign nationals.

      It’s a whole new level of privatizing warfare.

  5. Jeff Kaye says:

    Fascinating story.

    One thing the now canceled TV show 24 did was promote torture as some sort of legitimate, if flawed, technique. The whole ticking time bomb thing.

    But another thing it did, in line with a whole host of spy thrillers going back some ways, is promote the idea that there are evil corporations out there, in league with rogue ex-members of the government (CIA, Special Forces), and they are building their own secret armies, spy networks, etc. While in 24, the idea was that the government itself was good, and only the corporations were evil, their outlandish portrayals of corporations with their own secret armed forces, etc., may not be very far off the mark.

    • BillE says:

      This is nothing new, it happened a lot in the USofA. Checkout how the Molly Maguires were handled in PA. The state executed people for the coal corporations. Just ask anyone who had relatives in the old unions. My family was in the big railroads and got there heads beat in by the Pinkertons.

      The only difference now is the international flavor of it although even that isn’t really new, remember Margaret Thatcher’s son using Merchs to to overthrow Equatorial Guinea?

  6. Mason says:

    Sean Connery starred in the film, The Molly McGuires. I saw it at the University of Wisconsin movie theater just after it was released and I still remember it.

    See it if you can because we’re about to face the same crap.