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Aerows On February - 12 - 2011

We all know that organizations infiltrate our blogs, our message boards and our forums to pimp their viewpoints and sell their products.  At some point, however, these corporate entities go too far.

Here’s a brief run down on what has occurred in the last week with the controversy over HBGary Federal, the Palantir, and Berico Technologies in their alliance with Hunton & Williams to bring down progressive organizations and suppress journalists.  This is not hyperbole – this is their stated goal plain for all to see in their hacked documents.

Even the NY Times is now reporting on it.

This firm, HBGary, conspired with other firms to earn taxpayer dollars by spying on US citizens.  Worse, the methodology of the “security” firm that got hacked, was widely criticized by it’s own employees.  It was known to be statistically invalid, and that it relied upon the “gut instinct” of the employer.  They intended to exploit even the children and families of people who adhere to liberal causes.

This move was a publicity stunt to garner clients.  The “list” HBGary offered, as he sold it to clients as his penetration of the inner circle of the premier hacker group Anonymous, contained the names of innocent people unfortunate enough to click on the wrong thing in Facebook.  Barr’s intent was to provide the FBI with a training program on how to use Facebook, as though most of us weren’t aware putting private information on the internet is idiocy.

Because he involved Anonymous, he brought the wrath of the internet on his head.  His company was subsequently hacked harder than a tree in a logging camp, and his personal email uploaded for all to peruse.

In the course of this, it was discovered that Bank of America was targeting WikiLeaks.org in an attempt at damage control.  They hired a lobbyist firm to discredit and silence journalists, such as Glenn Greenwald.  Greenwald is an ardent supporter of Wikileaks.org, and was targeted for a harassment campaign.  The firms also devised documents that included intent to discredit wikileaks.org by releasing falsified material, then exposing it as fraudulent.

What we have here, in Glenn Greenwald’s own words, “These massive corporations and the firms that serve them have no fear of law or government because they control each.  That’s why they so freely plot to target those who oppose them in any way.  They not only have massive resources to devote to such attacks, but the ability to act without limits.

It’s time to become a nation of laws again, instead of a nation of “for the people who possess the most money and power.”

15 Responses so far.

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  1. flo baum says:

    Wonderful interview here of Glenn Greenwald,


    I have to say, despite its many flaws… a really good piece on Huff Po (!) by the Yes Men on the Chamber of Commerce….


    and last a great article on Salon,

    http://www .salon.com /news/poli tics/war_r oom/2011/0 2/16/hbgar y_federal

    have fun !!

  2. intotheabyss says:

    The issue of two tiers of justice in this country is something that galls me to no end. I seriously want to take this issue on this year. I would love to interest enough people to start a campaign to restore the rule of law. I recently contacted the National Lawyers Guild to see if they have anyone already working on this issue. That was just 1 day ago. Hopefully, they’ll respond to my inquiry. I would be happy to co-ordinate a group of activists who would like to take this on. If someone doesn’t do more than complain, nothing will change. I’ve already made the same appeal over at Amped Status and generated some interest. If we don’t confront the Chamber and BofA, they’ll continue their illegal dirty tricks to undermine freedom of expression until there is none. Whose ready to rumble?

  3. Dbos says:

    Massive resources that they can use: thanks to citizen united they can solicit funds to do what they are now doing in the open

  4. ADONAI says:

    Great piece Aerows. You really opened my eyes on this. The CoC is not to be ignored.

  5. JackRusselTerrier says:

    This is why the so called Patriot Act is such a bad idea.
    Those in power can use the system to scope out and separate dissenting voices. What happens after that follows a predictable path. Political prison.

  6. PlatoSunTsu says:

    So it looks like the only ‘Brotherhood’ we need to be worrying about in this country is Big Brother, looking over our shoulders, watching us and falsifying “information”.

  7. Aerows says:

    The point to this is not that internet privacy is a problem, because we all know that it is, rather the point is that we have government actively working hand in hand with private security companies to suppress journalists they disagree with.

    The Chamber of Commerce wants to silence people, and has active plans to do so. That’s what I take away from this story -- it’s evidence of what we all knew, but couldn’t prove.

    • choicelady says:

      Do we? I really see no evidence of that anywhere, any more. I know that’s been the case since at least the White House enemies list, but I have absolutely NO sense of this at all today. I’ve never seen more diversity in news content when it pertains to critiques of the government.

      Where I DO see the problem is in the stranglehold the corporations have on media. I see GroupThink in almost every television report, in most stories. That’s been a problem since the 70s, growing ever worse with the concentration of media ownership and the loss of news outlets.

      I guess I’d like to know what evidence there is of this administration strangling news? I do not see them working with corporations but of corporations bending news that tries to make this administration look bad even when they’ve done good things.

      So I think I’m asking for clear evidence that the administration is complicit. I just don’t see it.

  8. choicelady says:

    Aerows -- I get really confused about all this because YES the corporate machine is definitely trying to do us in, but so is Anonymous. My organization got seriously hacked just after the war in 2003 by what had to have been either the FBI or NSA over comments my Board members had, all internal, about FBI excesses with respect to Muslims. I won’t provide the details of The Call I got (I can’t out that person lest I become accused of outing some freaking agent), but that’s when we knew that Homeland Security was dangerous to the homeland citizens! That said -- I get more grief from amateurs than I ever have from corporations and government combined. The RW Christian Dominionists may have more access to me and mine than the gubbmint and Kochs all rolled up in one. I’ve been stalked FIVE times by the RW Christians (it’s getting very old, thank you) but none of that had a thing to do with corporations or the government.

    The abuses of power are many -- but they come from many different directions. I have NO answer at this point, but good judgement says just what YOU said -- only an idiot puts confidential info on a public site. I fear this administration pretty much not at all, but yeah -- corporate excess is there. So are Mean Girls and Mean Boys who simply ruin your web site, your life, your credit, for no reason other than -- they can. Elisabeth Salanders live -- not all do what they do for good reasons.

    Anyone has an idea of how you can stay in the 21st century AND keep private info private, I’d appreciate knowing it. I am fully prepared to revert to my alternate persona, The Queen of the No. 2 Pencil, but even I know how crappy it would be not to talk with y’all ever again, just to keep you and me safe.

    IS there an answer? Let the recommendations roll! Thank you for reminding us -- Big Brother/Sister/Corporation is watching…

    • KB723 says:

      choicelady, it is quite Lame how privacy has gone away. I did share with someone on HP my personal email, but have no fear, cos I don’t use credit cards or a checking account.

      • choicelady says:

        How cool! I am pretty limited, but I’m not that free from the bonds of at least a credit union account. Wow.

      • Aerows says:

        I have a bunch of friends from HP that I’ve shared my email with, but I wouldn’t touch Facebook with a ten foot pole. You just have to be smart about things.

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