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Published on October 16th, 2010 | by Jeremy Bloom

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Too Much of a Bad Thing: Monsanto Did NOT Buy Blackwater

UPDATE: Blackwater/Xe has been sold – via a shell company and a pair of private equity firms.  So… does this mean Monsanto has actually bought in to Blackwater? Read our follow-up, “Did Monstanto Finally Buy Blackwater? There’s No Way to Know”.

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).

UPDATE: Silvia Ribeiro points out that she got it right, and never claimed Monsanto purchased Blackwater/Xe outright. It was Pravda that garbled things. My apologies for that error.

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.

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About the Author

Jeremy Bloom is the Editor of RedGreenAndBlue.



38 Responses to Too Much of a Bad Thing: Monsanto Did NOT Buy Blackwater

  1. Steve Savage says:

    Jeremy,
    So is this something to be concerned about?

    • Jeremy Bloom says:

      1) It’s bad that Monsanto was spying on anti-GMO activists (and sort of, kind of denies it)
      2) If Monsanto was buying a private army, that would be something to be VERY concerned about. I, for one, was very upset when I read the headline… until I started digging into the backstory.
      3) Monsanto may be going the way of Enron and Lehman Brothers… over-reached, and screwed themselves. But I’ll be reporting more on that in the next few days….

      • shamus says:

        Monsanto is already out of control. Xe is completely rogue. No one has oversight. No person is responsible for their actions. No one gets in either company’s way and lives to tell about it. It is bad enough that either of these companies even exist let alone communicate with each other.

        The good news is the world is waking up to their BS and same mad people will make someone accountable. They are going to get beaten by their own mob.

  2. Pingback: **~possible correction~**Monsanto buys out Xe (formerly known as Blackwater) | Same As It Ever Was

  3. FatNSassy says:

    As someone who reposted a link, I resent being labeled as “a well meaning person who did not check.” When I first read it on a “conspiracy site” I checked out the original link – to Pravda. I also Googled it and some sites who I consider about as credible as MSM (which is not saying much) also linked it. The problem is there is so much misinformation out there from ALL sources, it is hard to know what to believe. Does anyone really believe for a moment the Gulf is safe? Yet MSM and the gov tell us it is. Both Monsanto and Xe are extremely underhanded and sneaky organizations. Whatever they did together is likely to be kept secret. So how could anyone really know? Look at the power Monsanto had over Fox to get Jane Akre and Steve Wilson fired. MSM reports what Monsanto wants it to.

    I also hope this rumor does not cause people to minimize the fact that two of the world’s most evil companies DID work together. Does it really matter if your assassin owned or rented his gun? It is very troubling they would even THINK about using Xe to spy on activists.

    And for all we know, perhaps the companies started this rumor themselves to minimize the contract hiring. People may start doubting anything they hear about the relationship.

    • H8dogma says:

      Excellent comment, especially the last paragraph. It was exactly what I was thinking as I was reading. Exactly what Poindexter was hired for, them fired for during the Bush administration i.e. The Department of MisInformation.

  4. Thank you, sir. I printed a retraction and reposted your excellent explanation. Feeling somewhat silly, I might add…. Pleasure to meet you, even under such circumstances… especially since it is my hope that any adversity ultimately be rendered trivial & of no lasting effect. Your article is excellently well written. Take care; be well; keep up the Great Work.

  5. Steve Savage says:

    Everyone needs to be cautious about living in an “echo chamber” where they only hear what they want to hear. That can work just as well to develop a negative mythology around Monsanto as it can to develop a negative mythology around Obama or about “death panels.”

  6. Zach says:

    excellent reporting, Jeremy. was surprised when i started seeing news that Monsanto bought Blackwater, since I had written about the story (as you linked above) before that false news broke.

    this was a great piece on how that happened — happy you spent the time to get into it.

    & good overall coverage of the real story as well :D

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  11. The difference being…. nothing.

    Maybe the board members are a little different. They are owned and operated and working for the same interests.

    Semantics about ‘ownership’ and ‘renting’ or ‘Employing’ are totally besides the point. Nice to know the mercenaries arent working only for monsanto… or maybe not. Now we know we have much to fear not only from monsantos evil global hegemonic schemes being backed with military and covert ops personell … we have to contend with other intereststed parties who want to destroy and control the world at the tip of a gun.

    hmm great…

  12. Jim Norton says:

    What would happen if people figured out who the infiltrators were and at a meeting announced they had dosed their water or coffee with a hundred hits of acid. That would make them jump.

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  24. Me says:

    Obviously agenda 21 will have to be implemented at gunpoint sooner or later

  25. MountainHome says:

    Well, they didn’t buy Blackwater for a profit so what was the reason for purchasing it? I mean the real reason?

    Thank you for getting this news out!! It is really help!

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  28. THIS IS SILVIA RIBEIRO, FALSELY ACCUSED OF “MISSUNDERSTANDING”. My article in Spanish is fully factually correct, see here: http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2010/10/09/opinion/024a1eco
    The mistake came from an unsolicited translation to English of my article that has been circulating without consulting me. It´s too typical that Jeremy Bloom assumed that a Latin American “misinterpreted” the facts, whithout checking if this was actually was the case. The original article in la Jornada NEVER said that Monsanto purchased Blackwater. It quoted Scahill´s article correctly. PLEASE CORRECT YOUR FACTS.
    Silvia Ribeiro

    • Jeremy Bloom says:

      My apologies. I have update the article to reflect this. It was, indeed, Pravda that garbled the story, not Ribeiro

  29. Clint Dolenz says:

    Thank you so much for your work. God bless you!
    -Clint from Austin, Texas

  30. real_girl says:

    With ultra private military like Academi (Blackwater, Xe), corporations, agencies and individuals are a shadow government now. They can do anything they choose. Work for anyone.

    I am looking for a connection to the aluminum, barium and strontium found in the soil that currently affects agriculture. Have you seen the documentary?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-K9rXydMmfw&feature=youtube_gdata_player

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