Reports that the huge multinational corporation Monsanto bought the largest mercenary army in the world might have seemed ridiculous on the surface. But it turns out that’s exactly what happened.
A report authored by Jeremy Scahill for The Nation revealed that Blackwater, later called Xe Services and more recently “Academi”, had been sold to Monsanto.
The clandestine intelligence service was renamed in 2009 after it became notorious and synonymous with numerous reports of abuses in Iraq, including massacres of civilians.
The group, originally founded in 1997 by former Navy SEAL officer Erik Prince, remains the largest private contractor of the U.S. Department of State “security services.” It exists in its functional capacity, so that the state may engage in terrorism while giving the government the opportunity to deny it, because those carrying out the war crimes are not directly reporting to members of the U.S. military hierarchy.
A number of military and former CIA officers are said to work for the mercenary group formerly known as Blackwater. The purpose has always been to increase profit selling their nefarious services-ranging from information and intelligence to infiltration, political lobbying and paramilitary training – for other governments, banks and multinational corporations.
Scahill indicates that the group does business with multinationals, like Monsanto, Chevron, and financial giants such as Barclays and Deutsche Bank, but that this is done through two companies owned by Erik Prince, owner of Blackwater: Total Intelligence Solutions and Terrorism Research Center. These officers and directors share the group.
One of those partners is Cofer Black, who was known for his brutality as one of the directors of the CIA.
He is alleged to have been the one who made contact with Monsanto back in 2008 as director of Total Intelligence. Black entered into the contract with the company in order to spy on and infiltrate organizations of animal rights activists, anti-GM and other dirty activities of the biotech giant, according to sources close to Academi.
Monsanto executive Kevin Wilson declined to comment, when asked directly by Scahill about this. But he later confirmed to The Nation that the company had in fact hired Total Intelligence in 2008 and 2009.
According to Monsanto, this was only to keep track of “public disclosure” of its opponents. He asserted, however, that Total Intelligence was a “totally separate entity from Blackwater,” even though it is just one of the myriad of names and forms the massive mercenary group has adopted over the years.
Scahill himself, however, says that he has copies of emails from Cofer Black. They explain that after the meeting with Wilson for Monsanto, where he explains to other former CIA agents, using their Blackwater e-mails, that the discussion with Wilson was that Total Intelligence had become “Monsanto’s intelligence arm,” spying on activists and other actions, including “our people to legally integrate these groups.”
In all, Monsanto paid Total Intelligence $ 127,000 in 2008 and $ 105,000 in 2009. After these details began to leak out, they seem to have buried the paper trail, and perhaps utilized yet another front for Blackwater to provide the same services.
Activists have claimed to have confronted agents of Monsanto who roughly fit the description of mercenaries with the group. Whatever name they are utilizing at this point, it seems reasonable that if they have been used in the past – and if they have repeatedly changed their names and added sub-groups to their organization – that they have only done the same thing once again.
Monsanto has been criticized by an array of environmental, peace and even health activists for their production of toxic poisons spilling from Agent Orange to PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls), as well as their more common business in selling pesticides, hormones and genetically modified seeds.
Almost simultaneously with the publication of this article in The Nation, the Via Campesina reported the purchase of 500,000 shares of Monsanto, for more than $23 million by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which with this action completed the outing of the mask of “philanthropy.” Another association that is not surprising.
It is a marriage between the two most brutal monopolies in the history of industrialism: Bill Gates controls more than 90 percent of the market share of proprietary computing and Monsanto about 90 percent of the global transgenic seed market and most global commercial seed. There does not exist in any other industrial sector monopolies so vast, whose very existence is a negation of the vaunted principle of “market competition” of capitalism. Both Gates and Monsanto are very aggressive in defending their ill-gotten monopolies.
Although Bill Gates might try to say that the Foundation is not linked to his business, all it proves is the opposite: most of their donations end up favoring the commercial investments of the tycoon, not really “donating” anything, but instead of paying taxes to the state coffers, he invests his profits in where it is favorable to him economically, including propaganda from their supposed good intentions. On the contrary, their “donations” finance projects as destructive as geoengineering or replacement of natural community medicines for high-tech patented medicines in the poorest areas of the world. What a coincidence, former Secretary of Health Julio Frenk and Ernesto Zedillo are advisers of the Foundation.
Like Monsanto, Gates is also engaged in trying to destroy rural farming worldwide, mainly through the “Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa” (AGRA). It works as a Trojan horse to deprive poor African farmers of their traditional seeds, replacing them with the seeds of their companies first, finally by genetically modified (GM). To this end, the Foundation hired Robert Horsch in 2006, the director of Monsanto. Now Gates, airing major profits, went straight to the source.
Blackwater, Monsanto and Gates are three sides of the same figure: the war machine on the planet and most people who inhabit it, are peasants, indigenous communities, people who want to share information and knowledge or any other who does not want to be in the aegis of profit and the destructiveness of capitalism.
So why were so many media outlets, editorialists and bloggers clamoring to say that the purchase was a “hoax”?
That’s a good question. The more cynical among us might suspect a financial incentive from Monsanto itself to such “journalists.” Monsanto indeed has hired a public relations team to seek out critical blogs and websites reporting on their crimes against both Nature and humankind. We have seen this first hand in comments on PoliticalBlindSpot.com articles on Monsanto. It is not beyond the realm of possibilities that they have created blogs where seemingly legitimate authors write organic thoughts, observations and rebuttals. The public presumes these are real-world people, when in fact they are working PR for the company.
But the core argument of those who claim that the Monsanto purchase of Blackwater is not true lies in the fact that we can only officially document Blackwater being hired by Monsanto for years. Immediately following this extensive work that Blackwater did for Monsanto, they sold the company. Because of the nature of how the sale transpired, it is impossible to document who the sale was to. The obvious and logical conclusion to insiders (particularly in the private security industry), however, is that the sale was in fact to Monsanto who had been employing the group.
Xe (now Academi) has, indeed, been purchased, and while there’s no way of DOCUMENTING who the new owners really are, the logical conclusion would be that Monsanto, who had been employing them prior to the sale are the new owners. This, of course, would also make sense of the secrecy surrounding the deal and the identity of the new owners. The company was bought out by private investors via private equity companies that don’t have to divulge any of their dealings, with Bank of America providing much of the $200 million in financing for the deal.
New York-based USTC Holdings said it will acquire Xe and its core operating subsidiaries, but did not disclose the price or terms of the agreement in a statement.
USTC Holdings is an investor consortium led by private equity firms Forte Capital Advisors and Manhattan Partners.
Various researchers have been trying to document the buy via a paper trail, but so far without much luck. That, of course, is the point.
One thing that is known: Forte Capital Advisors is the baby of long-time Blackwater ally Jason De Yonker:
DeYonker has unique experience with the Company that dates back to its founding in the late 1990s. He advised the Company through development of its early business plan and expansion of the Moyock training facility as well as supporting negotiations of its first training contracts with U.S. government agencies. Between 1998 and 2002, Mr. DeYonker co-managed Xe founder, Erik Prince’s family office which included management of Mr. Prince’s portfolio companies.
What does that mean? The guy is a glorified accountant.
Prior to joining Forté, Jason co-managed a +$100 million family office. In addition to actively managing various platform companies, Jason was a part of the executive team responsible for family wealth management.
Jason has spent the last 18 years advising on various mergers, acquistions and divestitures with an aggregate transaction value greater than $1 billion. Jason’s experience include: transaction advisory, portfolio management, real estate development, venture capital and cross border dealings. Jason began his career with Arthur Andersen Corporate Finance Group, and was a Director in Deloitte & Touche’s Corporate Finance Group. He also was the Finance Director for the West Family Trust, a venture capital group focused on cross-border transactons.
Jason recieved a Bachelor of Business Administration, with a concentration in finance and accounting, from the Univeristy of Michigan.
The other investor? It looks like the very junior partner will be Manhattan Partners, a private equity company – a shop that gathers money from anonymous rich investors and uses the pool of cash to leverage buyouts of big companies they wouldn’t have been able to take over on their own.
Manhattan Partners invests in “compelling growth and special situation transactions,” but this will be their first known foray into defense industries – WarIsBusiness.com reports (via Spencer Ackerman):
Manhattan Growth Partners is led by Dean Bosacki and Patrick McBride. Bosacki serves on the board of “the world’s largest commencement photography business,” among other companies. Manhattan Growth Partners, which describes itself as “a progressive thinking private equity firm,” also holds a majority interest in Hugo Naturals, a line of organic, vegan-friendly soaps, lotions, scents and soy candles sold at Whole Foods and other greenwashed retailers.
So what does this all mean? Did Monsanto actually buy Blackwater? The answer is yes, but indirectly. The purchase was made through shell company and a pair of private equity firms. At the end of the day, it would seem the logical conclusion is that in spite of arguments to the contrary, Monsanto in fact did by the Blackwater mercenary group… or at least the renamed Blackwater Xe, and now Academi Services group. The big question, now is why?