On certain hot-button issues, corrupt troll armies deploy from “intelligence fusion centers” a swamp online forum to manipulate discussion. Intelligence fusion center (IFC) is also a term that the FBI and other law enforcement agencies use for operations that focus on surveillance. At sites like Reddit, these trolls run amok and totally unchecked, while legitimate resistance is shadow banned and purged.
Now comes word of a lawsuit against Monsanto (aka Mon$atan) over revelations about just how these corruptos roll. Not only are they trolling and harassing their targets, but they also obstructed justice when subject to investigation. In addition, Mon$atan paid the notorious corruptos at Google to bury and purge critics from search terms and the YouTube platform.
Mon$atan set up a whole AgBioChatter troll force and advised them to delete their emails to prevent information from coming out when opponents like USRTK (U.S. Right to Know) file a FOIA request for their correspondence.
Journalist Carey Gillam, the nonprofit (USRTK) and singer-songwriter Neil Young have all been targeted by Mon$atan’s IFC. Mon$atan also planned to discredit Carey Giliam’s book “White Wash” ahead of its release in 2017 by instructing its troll teams to post negative reviews and paid Google to promote search results critical of Gillam and her work.
The organized attack on Gillam’s book — dubbed “Project Spruce,” an internal code name for Mon$atan’s defense directive to protect the company against all perceived threats to its business — had more than 20 activity points, including the engagement of regulatory authorities, and provided “pro-science third parties” with talking points.
According to The Guardian, it appears that staff at Mon$atan’s PR firm pressured Reuters to prevent Gillam from reporting on Monsanto and its products.
In an Aug. 9, 2019, article in The Guardian, Gillam provided more color:
When I recently received close to 50 pages of internal Monsanto communications about the company’s plans to target me and my reputation, I was shocked … I never dreamed I would warrant my own Monsanto action plan …
One Monsanto plan involved paying for web placement of a blogpost about me so that Monsanto-written information would pop up at the top of certain internet searches involving my name … In addition, Monsanto produced a video to help it amplify company-engineered propaganda about me and my work …
The documents show that Mon$atan enlisted Washington, D.C.-based FTI Consulting to help it with its plans.
The documents reveal how the protection offered by FOIA requests have been neutered. Mon$atan claimed the right to review any documents released by FOIA before their release to USRTK, “even though USRTK requested the documents by state FOI,” the press release notes.
Third parties said to be employed included Forbes and other content creators, GMO Answers contributors, Sense About Science, the Science Media Center, Center for Food Integrity, International Food Information Council, various farmers groups, and Jon Entine with the Genetic Literacy Project. The “medical scientist” Henry Miller was caught publishing articles ghostwritten by Mon$atan, which forced Forbes to fire him and delete his articles.
Bayer, which had the misfortune of buying out Mon$atan, is now facing expensive litigation. It admitted to the corporate culture of their new purchase. Bayer’s revealed that Mon$atan kept lists of hundreds of lawmakers, scientists and journalists and their views on GMO in France and other European countries.
“French public-sector research institutes Inra and CNRS … said they would file criminal complaints over mishandling of personal data, after finding that some of their researchers and executives featured on the Monsanto stakeholder lists.”
Reuters’ report also included a quote from Matthias Berninger, head of public affairs at Bayer, saying, “When you collect nonpublicly available data about individuals, a Rubicon is clearly crossed, regardless of whether data privacy laws were actually violated.”
GMO Answers was a front group created by Mon$atan’s PR company, Ketcum PR, in an effort to polish Monsanto’s tarnished image. Once again, we see the teaming with corrupto Google to ensure that GMO Answers is now among the top results of most GMO-related Web searches.
GMO Answers also planted Tamar Haspel, “an oyster farmer living on Massachusetts’ Cape Cod,” as a fake independent writer of blogs and articles favoring the GMO industry and chemical agriculture. Reporter Paul Hackler revealed a placement within the Lugenpresse at The Washington Post.
Haspel began her [Washington] Post columns in October 2013, promising to ‘negotiate the schism and nail down the hard, cold facts’ about GMOs. These columns have been sympathetic to the agrichemical industry, promoting GMO products and commodity crops, downplaying the dangers of toxic substances and pesticides, and finding fault with organic agriculture.”
Thacker goes on to list examples of Haspel’s biased reporting, which included downplaying the hazards of glyphosate, failing to disclose that one of her sources was a Mon$atan consultant, and minimizing the risks that synthetic food additives pose to children.
“Behind the scenes, Ketchum’s documents show a reporter eager to collaborate with the firm and promote its new [GMO Answers] campaign ― and Ketchum happy to foster that relationship,” Thacker writes.
“Another page discusses … a plan for ‘ongoing development of relationships’ with Haspel — the only media person mentioned by name — as well as outlets The Motley Fool and Politico …
For many who have been suspicious of Haspel’s relationship with agrichemical giants, the documents are further evidence that she’s too close to the industry she writes about and that her prominent column at The Washington Post provides a perch to spread misleading information about agriculture and the food we eat.
At the very least, they offer a behind-the-scenes look at how public relations specialists work to shape public perception through their interactions with journalists …” Thacker writes.
“Pages of Ketchum PR documents that discuss Haspel are labeled, ‘Success! A Strategy That Embraces Skepticism.’ For Monsanto, any story that muddies the water on the science critical of its products is a win, and Haspel’s have been arguably the most prominent in national media.
The company’s touting of those articles is part of a mutually beneficial loop — she promotes its science; it promotes her on industry sites and social media.”
Another immoral tactic employed by Mon$atan is the development of relationships with scientists and nonprofit organizations that, while maintaining an aura of independence, act as “corporate emissaries to the press,” to use Thacker’s term. Who are some of Monsanto’s most well-known emissaries? Aside from Haskel, Thacker’s article names:
- Nina Federoff, Ph.D., professor emeritus of biology at Penn State (see photo below)
- Jon Entine, founding director of the Genetic Literacy Project, another front group that despite having been repeatedly exposed as such, continues to be promoted to the top of internet search results for GMO topics (see screen grab below)
- Bruce Chassy, professor emeritus at the University of Illinois
- Kevin Folta, University of Florida professor (see image below)
- The American Council on Science and Health
What’s particularly disturbing is that flying-monkey academics working for publicly funded universities have been captured by industry and are promoting their agenda at taxpayers’ expense, while simultaneously benefiting financially from their corporate masters.