Friday, February 11, 2011

Coincidence? Chamber spies and Koch group both called Themis

Is it a coincidence that a group of private spies hired by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to run an undercover smear campaign has the same name as a group supported by the billionaire Koch brothers? 

Kenneth Vogel is the reporter who the Kochs threatened with arrest at their billionaires' confab in Rancho Mirage last month. Today, Vogel reported in Politico that
...the Kochs don’t control any groups, rather they exert significant influence through their contributions, board positions and patronage of the leaders of outfits that have been prominently featured at their donor conferences, such as Americans for Prosperity and Themis, a fledgling voter micro-targeting initiative spearheaded by former Koch staffer Karl Crow...
Themis is the name used by the three high-tech goon firms that spied on Change to Win (of which the Teamsters are a member), SEIU, ChamberWatch and bloggers such as ThinkProgress. They've all criticized the Chamber's agenda of letting multi-national corporations send more U.S. jobs overseas and destablize working families by forcing down wages even as U.S. unemployment approaches 10 percent.

According to ThinkProgress, emails made public by an activist group of computer hackers showed
...the Chamber hired the lobbying firm Hunton and Williams. Hunton and Williams’ attorney Richard Wyatt ... solicited a set of private security firms — HB Gary Federal, Palantir, and Berico Technologies (collectively called Team Themis) — to develop tactics for damaging progressive groups and labor unions, in particular ThinkProgress, the labor coalition called Change to Win, the SEIU, US Chamber Watch, and
Is there anything more detestable than a company spy?

Vogel also reported, by the way, that the Kochs plan to spend $88 million on promoting their agenda of turning the United States into a banana republic by busting unions, empowering corporations and eliminating environmental regulation.