Agrochemical giant Monsanto operated an intelligence-gathering operation, known as a “fusion center,” to discredit journalists and activists, including singer Neil Young, according to documents obtained by The Guardian. The internal documents reportedly reveal that the company produced an internal memo on Young’s Twitter activity and even evaluated the lyrics of his 2015 album called the Monsanto Years in order “to develop a list of 20+ potential topics he may target.” The company was also “closely monitoring discussions” about a concert featuring Young, Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp, and Dave Matthews.
Monsanto reportedly also targeted Reuters journalist Carey Gillam, who wrote Whitewash: The Story of a Weed Killer, Cancer, and the Corruption of Science, the definitive book on Monsanto’s efforts to conceal the dangers of their popular weed killer Roundup. The documents show that Monsanto had a multi-pronged strategy to deal with Gillam, and produced a spreadsheet dedicated to opposing revelations in her book, paid Google to promote search results that criticized her work, and discussed pressuring Reuters editors in hopes she would be reassigned. Gillam said the records further prove how Monsanto “works behind the scenes to try to manipulate what the public knows about its products and practices”.