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Jan-17-2012 17:08printcomments

Rumor Mill Claims Monsanto Purchased Blackwater (XE) as its own Private Army

A translation mistake started an information whiplash; the nation's most deadly company, Monsanto, is not buying XE.

Blackwater (XE) and Monsanto
Blackwater (XE) and Monsanto have had their share of dealings, but XE was not purchased by Monsanto.

(SALEM) - The article 'Blackwater's Black Ops' - by Jeremy Scahill, carried by The Nation, was republished by a number of groups that took the additional step of concluding that Blackwater, Erik Prince's mercenary firm notorious for its crimes in Iraq, was purchased by Monsanto; the driving force behind both Agent Orange, the chemical sprayed on Vietnam that continues to devastate people, and Genetically Modified Food (GMO) which threatens the future of farmers worldwide. It turns out to that Monsanto did not purchase Blackwater (XE), however there is no question that the groups have done their share of dancing.

To be clear, Jeremy Scahill's article did not reach the conclusion now circulating about Monsanto's alleged purchase of XE, however blogs that ran their own versions of the story did. Scahill said, "My article was meticulously documented and claimed nothing of the sort." *

In the article 'Too Much of a Bad Thing: Monsanto Did NOT Buy Blackwater', Jeremy Bloom details how this not-quite-accurate information found its way onto the field.

Bloom explains that Jeremy Scahill's comprehensive take-down on Xe/Blackwater is based on internal emails. The Nation article states:

One of the most incendiary details in the documents is that Blackwater, through [subisidiary] Total Intelligence, sought to become the 'intel arm' of Monsanto, offering to provide operatives to infiltrate activist groups organizing against the multinational biotech firm.

As it turns out, Xe was hired by Monsanto, not purchased by the old Agent Orange nightmare factory. Apparently what happened, is that Environmental Reporter, Silvia Ribeiro, with the Spanish-language La Jornada, newspaper, didn't quite catch the actual meaning of the above paragraph.

Ribeiro misinterpreted the quote about becoming an ‘intel arm’, and took its meaning quite literally. So the mistake is an error that was not made willfully; the languages sometimes just don't jive.

Jeremy Bloom goes on to explain that well-meaning people proceeded to post the news all over the Internet (usually without indicating the source). So the answer to the question, did Monsanto buy Xe or its subsidiary? Is no.

However the article about the alleged purchase is sure getting around. That unity... that ownership of XE would represent to Monsanto, is the last thing America needs. While the story is not what it was originally presented to be, it is a better outcome.

Here is Jeremy Bloom;s article: Too Much of a Bad Thing: Monsanto Did NOT Buy Blackwater - Red, Green and Blue

Here is the article by Jeremy Scahill: Blackwater's Black Ops - The Nation

* When initially published, this article contained a mistake linking Jeremy Scahill's article to the incorrect conclusion about the XE purchase, we apologize for the error.


Tim King, summer 2008, covering the Iraq War

Tim King: Salem-News.com Editor and Writer

Tim King has more than twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. In addition to his role as a war correspondent, this Los Angeles native serves as Salem-News.com's Executive News Editor. Tim spent the winter of 2006/07 covering the war in Afghanistan, and he was in Iraq over the summer of 2008, reporting from the war while embedded with both the U.S. Army and the Marines. Tim is a former U.S. Marine.

Tim holds awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing, including the Silver Spoke Award by the National Coalition of Motorcyclists (2011), Excellence in Journalism Award by the Oregon Confederation of Motorcycle Clubs (2010), Oregon AP Award for Spot News Photographer of the Year (2004), First-place Electronic Media Award in Spot News, Las Vegas, (1998), Oregon AP Cooperation Award (1991); and several others including the 2005 Red Cross Good Neighborhood Award for reporting. Tim has several years of experience in network affiliate news TV stations, having worked as a reporter and photographer at NBC, ABC and FOX stations in Arizona, Nevada and Oregon. Tim was a member of the National Press Photographer's Association for several years and is a current member of the Orange County Press Club.

Serving the community in very real terms, Salem-News.com is the nation's only truly independent high traffic news Website. As News Editor, Tim among other things, is responsible for publishing the original content of 101 Salem-News.com writers. He reminds viewers that emails are easily missed and urges those trying to reach him, to please send a second email if the first goes unanswered. You can write to Tim at this address: newsroom@salem-news.com

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Silvia Ribeiro January 19, 2012 11:58 am (Pacific time)

I didn´t misinterpret anything. My article in Spanish is fully factually correct, see here: http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2010/10/09/opinion/024a1eco
The mistake came from an unsolicited translation to English of my article that has been circulating without consulting me. It´s too typical that Jeremy Bloom or you assumed that a Latin American "misinterpreted" the facts, whithout checking if it was actually was the case. The original article in la Jornada NEVER said that Monsanto purchased Blackwater. It quoted Scahill´s article correctly.
Silvia Ribeiro

Editor: Thank you for the clarification, . 

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