Tuesday, July 2, 2013

When Corporations Discover Fascism

Let's start out with the response, and then go to the "call", eh? Monsanto posted a response to an article in the nation:
Monsanto did not hire Blackwater nor did we approve of the firm infiltrating any groups as was suggested in the Nation article. In 2008, 2009 and early 2010, a firm called Total Intelligence Solutions (TIS) provided Monsanto ’s security group with reports about activities or groups that could pose a risk to the company, its personnel or its global operations. The safety of our people is our utmost priority and we value the communities in which we operate. All information provided by TIS was 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 internet blogs and websites. Prior to retaining TIS, Monsanto specifically enquired about and was informed that TIS was a completely separate entity from Blackwater. Beyond the content of the Nation article, we have not engaged people to infiltrate firms/activist groups and we do not condone that type of behavior.
 There's some not unreasonable coverage via YouTube:

But what's the origin of this? Because, if true--or even slightly true--this points out that Monsanto has abrogated the role of government. And when that happens at the expense of democracy, well, that's a textbook definition of fascism.
It all starts back in an article written by Jeremy Scahill in The Nation. In it, he writes:
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.
Governmental recipients of intelligence services and counterterrorism training from Prince's companies include the Kingdom of Jordan, the Canadian military and the Netherlands police, as well as several US military bases, including Fort Bragg, home of the elite Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), and Fort Huachuca, where military interrogators are trained, according to the documents. (emphasis mine)
I had to add the second paragraph to point out just how complex and intertwined these corporations are with our governments. Scahill continues, later in the article:
Through Total Intelligence and the Terrorism Research Center, 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.
Uninterested in Monsanto's products? You're on their list. Pro GMO labelling? You're on their list. And because transnational corporations like Monsanto have done just that--transcended national ties--they are not responsible to anyone anywhere anytime. Practices may be banned in one country, but won't be in another--allowing activities like this (the corporate equivalent of Prism exposed by Ed Snowden) to continue. 

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