I have a hate/hate relationship with Monsanto, for reasons all over the place. Whether its their monopolistic practices within their seed division, to their excessive use and marketing of Recombinant bovine somatotropin (rBST), to their campaign to sue private farmers for the most ludicrous of issues, Monsanto just screams “evil” to me. If Monsanto were ever to be personified, they would be the old man who dogs instinctively growl at, and children shy away from in tears.
If you were looking for another reason to hate them, apparently now they are hiring subsidiaries of the mercenary firm Blackwater to spy on animal rights and environmental activists. Jeremy Scahill at The Nation explains:
Over the past several years, entities closely linked to the private security firm Blackwater have provided intelligence, training and security services to US and foreign governments as well as several multinational corporations…
…Blackwater also did business with a range of multinational corporations. 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..
Oh Monsanto. It’s good to see you subvert the First Amendment for your own “protection”. I have several hypothetical questions, however. Does this mean your Blackwater ops will visit any of the farmers your legally bully due to trumped up ” seed patent violations” claims? Will your Blackwater ops be responsible for covering up your “bribes” when you attempted to introduce Bovine Growth Hormone into Canada? Will your operatives be making trips to dairies who advertise on their milk cartons that that do not inject their cows with artificial bovine growth hormone?
Hmm… While you hire Blackwater to protect you from every day folk, my real question is this – Who is going to protect us from you?