Documents reveal that Blackwater has been busy expanding its corporate reach by providing intelligence services for agencies such as the Canadian Military, Netherlands Police and corporations like Monsanto.
Blackwater is a private, mercenary army. They've been called the 'shadow army,' and most notoriously worked for the United States in Iraq, where the company courted controversy. Journalist Jeremy Scahill, who wrote a book about Blackwater, wrote an exclusive for The Nation, revealing general details of the extent of the Blackwater business operations. Scahill managed to obtain documents that, according to Scahill, show "... 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, including Monsanto, Chevron, the Walt Disney Company, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and banking giants Deutsche Bank and Barclays, according to documents obtained by The Nation. Blackwater's work for corporations and government agencies was contracted using two companies owned by Blackwater's owner and founder, Erik Prince: Total Intelligence Solutions and the Terrorism Research Center (TRC). Prince is listed as the chairman of both companies in internal company documents, which show how the web of companies functions as a highly coordinated operation."
A spokesperson for Monsanto, reached by Scahill, first denied the relationship with Blackwater, but then admitted that Monsanto had paid Total Intelligence for intelligence reoprts "... 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." The spokesperson told Scahill he was told Total Intelligence was completely separate from Blackwater.
The news that Monsanto hired a Blackwater company for intelligence reports is rocketing around the world via anti-GMO activists. Blogger Rady Ananda summed up the relationship between Monsanto and Blackwater as "... A death-tech firm weds a hit squad."
Citing the growing movement to destroy GMO crops, Ananda thought Monsanto was hoping to be able to quell dissent through infiltrating actvist groups that take direct action. Ananda concluded his article saying "... Monsanto, by hiring a mercenary army and former CIA field agents, is deadly serious about protecting its deadly products. Yet, this contract further discredits the company. The public can now paint an even bleaker picture of the firm that brought us Agent Orange, PCBs, rBST, DDT, aspartame and, now, hitmen."
Writing on Above Top Secret, Airspoon commented on Monsanto's hiring of Blackwater, saying (sic) "The above quote is pretty scary and indicative of how corporate interests are acting against our own, though most of us already knew that. For any of the deniars who tried to refute that such tactics were used, one need only look at the plethora of information coming out about Xe and Blackwater due to the scandal in Iraq.
I think that the best thing that could be done, is to boycott these companies as much as possible. Monsanto might be a little hard to boycott for some folks, though the other companies shouldn't be. In fact, Monsanto shouldn't be either for most folks.
Blackwater (Xe) is one of the most dangerous entities facing the American people. It's like the enforcement arm of corporate interests that does not have to operate under the same "restrictions" that government enforcers have to operate under under. It's like a private army for TPTB.
Americans and citizens of the world should be irate ove the very existence of a company such as Blackwater and we should all stand together against the Nazi-like tactics and the anti-freedom angenda of such an evil organization."
The documents obtained by Scahill show that Monsanto paid Blackwater's subsidiary, Total Intelligence a total of $232,000 for intelligence services provided in 2008 and 2009.
Aside from the brief statement provided to Scahill, Monsanto is keeping quiet on the matter, as is Blackwater and the other organizations cited in Scahill's article.
Scahill said the Canadian Military paid Blackwater over $1.6 million for training, which was provided through Blackwater's subsidiary, the Terrorism Research Center.
Blackwater violated some US export control laws, reported Yahoo News this past August, violations which included the provision of training to the Canadian Military.
While the list of violations the US Department of State found Blackwater guilty of is extensive, the company was only fined $42 million.
The company name 'Blackwater' was changed to Xe (pronounced 'zee') in 2009, which Source Watch called a 'rebranding effort.'
The company is now up for sale.
AFP reported Blackwater operatives were accused of killing 17 Iraqis, wounding a further 22 in what was said to be an unprovoked attack in 2007. The company was later cleared of all wrongdoing. Blackwater was ordered out of Iraq earlier this year because of that violent incident said CBS News.
Scahill is a Puffin Foundation Writing Fellow at The Nation Institute. He recently wrote the book, Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army. Scahill is also an award-winning investigative journalist and in addition to writing for The Nation, he is a correspondent with Democracy Now!.
Scahill's article on Blackwater will be available in the October 4, 2010 print edition of The Nation.