by Marianne Falck, Hans Leyendecker and Silvia
July 13, 2013
translated by New Europe Translations for Sustainable Pulse
Original version in German
do not only spy on governments, authorities and
private individuals across the world with the
help of their secret services; they also
understand how to push forward the global
interests of their companies with full force.
example of this is the agriculture giant
Monsanto, the leading manufacturer of
genetically modified seeds in the world.
A glimpse into the
world of Monsanto shows that companies which
delivered the pesticide ‘Agent Orange’ to the US
military in the Vietnam war had close
connections with the central power in
Washington, with tough people from the field of
the US secret services and with private security
internet as a weapon”
In the global fight against genetic engineering, the US group draws
on dubious methods, strange helpers - and the power of Washington.
Critics of the group feel they are being
The US group
Monsanto is a giant in the
agriculture business: and number one in the controversial field of
plant genetic engineering. For its opponents, many of whom live in
Europe, Monsanto is a sinister enemy. Time and again mysterious
things happen, which make the enemy seem yet more sinister.
In the previous month, the European environmental organization
‘Friends of the Earth’ and the German Environmental and Nature
Protection Association (BUND) wanted to present a study on the
pesticide glyphosate in the human body. Weed killers containing
glyphosate are the big seller for Monsanto. The company aims for
more than two billion dollars turnover for the Roundup product
herbicide’ has a “long history of safe use in more than
100 countries”, Monsanto emphasizes.
As viruses attack their computers, the eco-activists ask themselves:
“could we be seeing ghosts?”
However, there are studies which show
that the product may damage plants and animals and the latest study
shows that many large city inhabitants now have the field poison in
their bodies, without knowing it. Exactly what the spray can trigger
in an organism is, as with so many things in this field, disputed.
Two days before the study across 18 countries was set to be
published, a virus disabled the computer of the main organizer,
There was a threat that press
conferences in Vienna, Brussels and Berlin would be cancelled.
“We panicked”, remembers Heike
Moldenhauer from BUND.
The environmental activists were under
extreme time pressure.
Heike Moldenhauer and her colleagues have widely speculated
about the motives and identity of the mysterious attacker. The
genetic engineering expert at BUND believes the unknown virus
suppliers wanted in particular to “generate confusion”.
Nothing is worse for a study than a
cancelled press conference:
“we did ask ourselves at the time if
we were seeing ghosts”, said Moldenhauer.
There is no evidence that Monsanto was
the ghost or had anything to do with the virus.
The company does not do things like
that. It takes pride in operating “responsibly”:
“Today, it is very easy to make and
spread all kinds of allegations,” Monsanto claims.
They say that,
“over and over there are also
dubious and popular allegations spread, which disparage our work
and products and are in no way based on science.”
Critics of the group see things
This is due to the wide network Monsanto
has developed across the world. There are ties with the US secret
services, the US military, with very hard operating private security
companies and of course, with the US government.
A conspicuously large number of Monsanto critics report regular
attacks by professional hackers. The secret services and military
also like to employ hackers and programmers. These specialize in
developing Trojans and viruses in order to penetrate foreign
computer networks. Whistle-blower Edward Snowden has indicated the
connection between intelligence services actions and economic drive.
However, this sinister connection has
been overshadowed by other monstrosities.
Some powerful Monsanto supporters know a lot about how to carry out
a cyber war.
“Imagine the internet as a weapon,
sitting on the table. Either you use it or your opponent does,
but somebody’s going to get killed” said Jay Byrne, the former
head of public relations at Monsanto, back in 2001.
Companies regularly fight with dubious
methods to uphold what they see as their right: but friend or foe,
him or me - that is fighting talk and in a war, you need allies.
Preferably professionals. Such as those from the secret service
milieu, for example.
Monsanto contacts are known to the notorious former secret service
agent Joseph Cofer Black, who helped formulate the law of the
jungle in the fight against terrorists and other enemies.
He is a specialist on dirty work, a
He worked for the CIA for almost three
decades, among other things as the head of anti-terroism. He later
became vice president of the
private security company Blackwater,
which sent tens of thousands of soldiers to Iraq and Afghanistan
under US government orders.
Investigations show how closely connected the management and the
central government in Washington are, as well as with diplomatic
representatives of the USA across the world. In many instances,
Monsanto has operationally powerful assistants.
Former Monsanto employees occupy high
offices in the USA in government authorities and ministries,
industrial associations and in universities; sometimes in almost
According to information from the
American Anti-Lobby-Organization, Open Secrets Org, in the past
year, 16 Monsanto lobbyists have taken up sometimes high ranking
posts in the US administration and even in regulatory authorities.
For the company, it is all about new markets and feeding a rapidly
growing world population. Genetic engineering and patents on plants
play a big role here. Over 90 % of corn and soya in the USA is
genetically modified. In some parts of the rest of the world the
percentage is also growing constantly.
Only the European markets are at a standstill.
Several EU countries
have many reservations about the
Monsanto future, which clearly displeases the US government
In 2009, the German CSU politician,
Ilse Aigner, Federal Minister for Food, Agriculture and Consumer
Protection, also banned the corn type MON810 from German fields.
When she travelled to the USA shortly afterwards, she was approached
by her US colleague, Tom Vilsack about Monsanto.
The democrat was once governor in the
agricultural state of Iowa and distinguished himself early on as a
supporter of genetic engineering. The genetic engineering industry
elected him as ‘governor of the year’ in 2001.
Unfortunately, there is no recording of the discussion between
Vislack and Aigner. It was said to be controversial.
A representative for the Federal
Government described the tone:
there were “huge efforts to force a
change in direction of the German government regarding genetic
The source preferred not to mention
details the type of “huge efforts” and the attempt “to force”
That is not appropriate between friends
Wikileaks, the world has a new idea
of how these friends and partners operate where power and money are
concerned. The whistle-blowing platform published embassy dispatches
two years ago, which also included details about Monsanto and
For example, in 2007, the former US ambassador in Paris, Craig
Stapleton, suggested the US government should create a penalties
list for EU states which wanted to forbid the cultivation of
genetically engineered plants from American companies.
The wording of the secret dispatch:
“Country team Paris recommends that
we calibrate a target retaliation list that causes some pain
across the EU.”
Pain, retaliation: not exactly the
language of diplomacy.
Monsanto led the fight to allow the famous genetically engineered
corn plant MON810 in Europe with lots of lobbying - the group
completely lost the fight. It was even beaten out of the prestigious
French and German markets. An alliance of politicians, farmers and
clergy rejected genetic engineering in the fields and the consumers
do not want it on their plates.
But the battle is not over. The USA is
hoping that negotiations started this week for a free-trade
agreement between the USA and the EU will also open the markets for
Lobbying for your own company is a civic duty in the USA. Even the
important of the 16 US intelligence services have always understood
their work as being a support for American economic interests on the
world markets. They spy on not only governments, authorities and
citizens in other countries under the name of the fight against
terror, they also support American economic interests, in their own
A few examples?
Monsanto denies the accusations and emphasizes that it operates
More than two decades ago, when Japan was not yet a major economic
power, the study ‘Japan 2000’ appeared in the USA, created by the
employees of the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). Japan, the
study read, was planning a kind of world takeover with a ‘reckless
trade policy’. The USA would be the losers, stated the study.
The national security of the USA was at
threat, it continued and the CIA gave the call to war.
America’s economy must be protected from the European’s “dirty
tricks”, explained former head of the CIA James Woolsey.
This, he maintained, is why the “continental European friends” were
spied upon. A clean America.
The whistle-blower Snowden was once in Switzerland for the CIA and
during this time, he reported on which tricks the company was said
to have tried in order to win over a Swiss banker to spy on account
The EU allowed the American services to
take a close look at its citizens’ financial business. Allegedly,
this was to dry up money sources for terror. The method and purpose
are highly dubious.
In Switzerland, the scene of many earlier espionage novels now plays
one of these episodes that make Monsanto especially mysterious and
enigmatic: In January 2008, the former CIA agent Cofer Black
travelled to Zurich and met Kevin Wilson, at the time Monsanto’s
safety officer for global issues.
About what did the two men talk?
Probably the usual: Opponents, business, mortal enemies.
The investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill, who
wrote the reference work about Blackwater,
the company specializing in mercenaries, wrote in the American
weekly The Nation in 2010 about the reported strange meeting in
Zurich. He had received leaked documents once again.
These show: Monsanto wanted to put up a
fight. Against activists who destroyed the fields. Against critics,
who influenced the mood against the genetic modification company.
Cofer Black is the right man for
“We’ll take off the kid gloves”, he
declared after the 11 September terrorist attacks, and tasked
his CIA agents in Afghanistan to take out Osama bin Laden: “Get
him, I want his head in a box.”
However, he also understands a lot about
the other secret service business, which operates with publicly
When he meets with the Monsanto safety
officer Wilson, Cofer Black is still the Vice (President) at
Blackwater, who has the Pentagon, the State Department, the CIA and,
of course private companies as customers.
However, there was a lot of anxiety in
January 2008, because the mercenaries of the security company had
shot 17 civilians in Iraq and some Blackwater employees had drawn
attention by bribing Iraqi government employees. It just so happened
that Cofer Black was at the same time head of the security company
Total Intelligence Solutions (TIS), which was a subsidiary of
Blackwater, not saddled with the same devastating reputation,
however staffed with some excellent and versatile experts.
According to their own statements, Monsanto was conducting business
with TIS at the time and not with Blackwater.
It is without doubt that Monsanto
received reports from TIS about the activities of critics. The
activities in question were those that would have presented a risk
for the company, its employees or its operating business. The
information collected ranged from terrorist attacks in Asia to the
scanning of websites and blogs. Monsanto emphasizes that TIS only
used publicly accessible material when preventing said risk.
This matched Black’s modus operandi. No shady dealings.
There used to be rumors that Monsanto wanted to take over TIS to
mitigate their risk - and there are new rumors these days that the
group allegedly is considering a
takeover of the company 'Academi'
that emerged after a few transformations from the former Blackwater
Is anything correct about these rumors?
“As a rule we are not disclosing
details about our relations with service providers, unless that
information is already available to the public,” is the only
commentary from Monsanto.
Every company has its own history, and
the history of Monsanto includes a substance, which the turned the
company into a demon not only not only for the aging 1968ers:
Monsanto was one of the leading
the pesticide Agent Orange,
which was used until January 1971 by the US military in the
Forests were defoliated by constant
chemical bombardment to make the enemy visible. Arable land was
poisoned, so that the Vietcong had nothing to eat.
In the sprayed areas, the teratogenic
effects increased more than ten times. Children were born without
noses, without eyes, with hydrocephalus, with facial clefts and the
US military stated that the Monsanto agent was as harmless as
Is everything allowed in war? Especially in the new fangled cyber
It is already obvious that somebody makes life difficult for
Monsanto critics and an invisible hand ends careers. However, who is
this somebody? The targets of these attacks are scientists, such as
the Australian Judy Carman.
Among other things, she has made a name
for herself with studies of genetically modified plants. Her
publications were questioned by the same professors which also
attacked the the studies of other Monsanto critics.
It does not stop at skirmishes in the scientific community. Hackers
regularly target various web pages where Carman publishes her
studies and the sites are also systematically observed, at least
that is the impression Carman has.
Evaluations of IP log files show that
not only Monsanto visits the pages regularly, but also various
organizations of the U.S. government, including the military.
the Navy Network Information
the Federal Aviation
the United States Army
Intelligence Center, an institution of the US Army, which
trains soldiers with information gathering
Monsanto’s interest in the studies is
understandable, even for Carman.
“But I do not understand why the
U.S. government and the military are having me observed,” she
The organization GM Watch, known to be
critical of gene technology, also experiences strange events.
Editor Claire Robinson reports
continued hacker attacks on the homepage since 2007.
“Every time we increase the page
security just a bit, the opposite side increases their tenacity
and following are new, worse attacks”, she says.
She also cannot believe the coincidences
When the French scientist Gilles Eric
Seralini published a controversial study on the health risks of
genetically modified maize and glyphosate in 2012, the web site of
GM Watch was hacked and blocked. The same repeats when the opinion
of the European food inspectorate (EFSA) is added to the site. The
timing was skilfully selected in both cases. The attacks took place
exactly when the editors wanted to publish their opinion.
It has not yet been determined who is behind the attacks.
Monsanto itself, as stated, emphasizes that the company operates
The fact is, however, that much is at stake for the group. It is
about an upcoming bill. Especially about the current negotiations on
the free trade agreement. Particularly sensitive is the subject of
the agricultural and food industry.
The Americans want to open the European
markets for previously prohibited products. In addition to
genetically engineered plants controversial feed additives and
hormone-treated beef are subject of the negotiations. The
negotiations will probably extend over several years.
The Americans want to use the Free Trade Agreement to
open the European GMO Market.
The negotiations will be detailed. Toughness will rule the day.
Barack Obama has therefore
appointed Islam Siddiqui as chief negotiator for agriculture.
He has worked for many years for the US ministry of agriculture as
However, hardly anyone in Europe knows:
From 2001 to 2008, he represented CropLife America as a registered
CropLife America is an important
industry association in the United States, representing the
interests of pesticide and gene technology manufacturers - including
of course Monsanto.
“Actually, the EU cannot accept such
a chief negotiator because of bias”, says Manfred Hausling, who
represents the Green Party in the EU parliament.
Eigentlich (In fact).
The word Eigentlich (in fact)
meant in the Middle High German according to the relevant
dictionaries “indentured”, which is not a bad description of the
current situation, in particular as the European and German
politicians have surprisingly much understanding for the US services
who regularly spy on them.