Monsanto, Blackwater and GM crop saboteurs
Posted on September 18, 2010 http://foodfreedom.wordpress.com/2010/09/16/monsanto-blackwater-and-gm-crop-saboteurs/
Agribusiness giant Monsanto, which genetically modifies plants to exude or tolerate pesticide or to produce non-viable seed, hired the services of the mercenary firm Blackwater to spy on activists, Jeremy Scahill reports
. A death-tech firm weds a hit squad.
This is no doubt in response to a decade of GM crop sabotage efforts around the globe. Since the publicly-announced introduction of GM crops in 1996, concerned citizens have vandalized such crops every single year somewhere on the planet. Several thousand GM plants have been partially or wholly destroyed. (See brief history below
Blackwater is most notorious for its Nisour Square Massacre in 2007
. Seventeen innocent civilians died when Blackwater goons opened fire in a busy market square. The hit team was later acquitted in a U.S. court.
Scahill reports that through its web of companies, Blackwater (now Xe Services) spied on and/or infilitrated groups opposing Monsanto in 2008 thru early 2010.
“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 [then-president Erik] Prince and [former CIA paramilitary officer Enrique] 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’….
“…Wilson confirmed he met Black in Zurich and that Monsanto hired Total Intelligence in 2008 and worked with the company until early 2010. He denied that he and Black discussed infiltrating animal rights groups, stating ‘there was no such discussion.’”
Monsanto said only publicly available information was monitored. Scahill writes of Monsanto’s security manager Kevin Wilson:
“He claimed that Total Intelligence only provided Monsanto ‘with reports about the activities of groups or individuals that could pose a risk to company personnel or operations around the world which were developed by monitoring local media reports and other publicly available information. The subject matter ranged from information regarding terrorist incidents in Asia or kidnappings in Central America to scanning the content of activist blogs and websites.’”
======================================BLACKWATERING THE CROPSNotorious agribiz giant Monsanto hired notorious ‘security’ firm Blackwaterhttp://www.grist.org/article/2010-09-15-notorious-agribiz-giant-monsanto-hired-security-firm-blackwater/
" ... Into this unsavory milieu stepped Monsanto in 2008, Scahill reports. The agribusiness giant was one of a group of transnationals -- others include Chevron, the Walt Disney Company, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, Deutsche Bank, and Barclays -- that hired a Blackwater shell company called "Total Intelligence Solutions" for overseas services.
In an email obtained by Scahill, a Blackwater operative who had talked to Monsato officials ahead of the hiring claimed that the security firm would "develop into acting as intel arm of Monsanto" -- including infiltrating activist groups working to oppose it. The operative wrote hopefully of Monsato's "generous protection budget."
A Monsanto official told Scahill that the relationship ended in early in 2010 and denied that there were ever plans to infiltrate activist groups. Instead, he said, Blackwater served Monsanto "by monitoring local media reports and other publicly available information." Scahill adds: "The subject matter ranged from information regarding terrorist incidents in Asia or kidnappings in Central America to scanning the content of activist blogs and websites."
I can confirm that Monsanto likes to keep a close eye on blogs and websites. Back in 2005, I got my break as a food-politics writer after a Monsanto lawyer slapped my blog, with its all of 30 readers, with a cease-and-desist letter
========================================The Cease and Desist Letter here:http://bittergreensgazette.blogspot.com/2005/08/bitter-greens-responds-to-monsanto.html
Dear Mr. Philpott,
I am the trademark and copyright attorney for Monsanto Company, the owner of the Roundup Ready(R) trademark. The attached link is to the Bitter Greens Journal which features the name "Roundup, ready" as the title of one of its features. Roundup Ready(R) is a well known trademark which is registered by Monsanto not only in the United States, but in many countries throughout the word [sic]. As you have pointed out in the column, Roundup Ready(R) is famous in the agricultural industry.
While you have stated in your column that you chose the name "Roundup, ready" in honor of Monsanto's famed line of seeds, we must object to this use and request that you change the name for the following reasons:
1) You are using our trademark without our consent. This use of the term could cause your readers to think that your journal is in some way sponsored by Monsanto or that Monsanto supports the positions set out in your journal.
2) You are using our trademark in an incorrect manner (with a comma and in a way that genericizes the mark). This weakens our trademark rights.
I would appreciate your confirmation that you will change the name of this column and cease using "Roundup, ready" or any form of our trademark as the name of a feature or in an incorrect manner in your journal. We appreciate your cooperation in this matter.http://bittergreensgazette.blogspot.com/
Very truly yours,
Assistant General Counsel - Trademarks
Dear Ms. Bunning-Stevens,
Although it's comical for a corporation with upwards of $5 billion in annual revenue to harass an obscure blogger who helps run a 2.5-acre farm, the tone of your letter is earnest; so I will reply earnestly.
Your arguments seem specious to me, and I therefore I must refuse to cease using "Roundup, ready" as the title for an occasional feature on my Web log.
You write that "[t]his use of the term could cause your readers to think that your journal is in some way sponsored by Monsanto or that Monsanto supports the positions set out in your journal." Yet my journal clearly presents itself as a "running critique of industrial agriculture," and from its first post on has made no secret of its distaste for Monsanto and its particular style of industrial agriculture.
I doubt you will be able to dig up a single reader who, after perusing a "Roundup, ready" post, will think to himself, "Now this fellow must be on the Monsanto dole!"
To further clarify my position on Monsanto, and to underline my institutional, financial, and ideological independence from it, I'm considering placing a new feature along the left-hand side of my blog. Titled "Bitter Greens on Monsanto," it would be a compilation of clickable headlines to the 15 or so posts that have mentioned your company. Would that go some way toward distancing our two entities?
Nor am I persuaded by the claim that my use of a comma in "Roundup, ready" somehow "weakens [Monsanto's] trademark rights." If I were in the business of genetically altering seeds so that they could withstand copious applications of herbicides, and I were marketing my product under the brand "Roundup, ready," cheekily trying to leverage Monsanto's marketing might and hoping the comma would protect me from copyright troubles, I would certainly tremble in fear on being contacted by a Monsanto attorney. And I would immediately cease and desist that dubious practice.
However, I am selling nothing. I am a polemicist employing (in the case of "Roundup, ready") satire to advance the cause of locally based, organic agriculture. If I'm able with my writing to stop a farmer from buying your product, then it will be due to the force of my arguments, not to any confusion regarding your trademark.
With all due respect, it seems to me that rather than protect your trademark from any serious threat, what you're really trying to do is intimidate a political opponent into ceasing what is surely Constitutionally protected speech. And so, as I stated above, I must decline your request. And I will redouble my efforts to study and write about the practices of your company.
Bitter Greens Journal
POSTED BY TOM PHILPOTT AT 11:53 A