Monday, February 14, 2011

Chamber goons: "Dam it feels good to be a gangsta…..”

More details on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's efforts to run an undercover smear campaign against its critics who don't like its agenda of making it easier for multinational corporations to send jobs overseas and destabilize American working families by lowering wages:

ThinkProgress reports that three security firms were pitching the Chamber's lobbyists for what they hoped was a $2 million spy-and-disinformation operation. (Didn't Richard Nixon resign in humiliation because he did something similar?) The firms conspired to extract private, personal information from Facebook and LinkedIn in order to spread lies and false accusations against critics of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Earlier we learned that the spies targeted the families of a former Change to Win employee and a blogger who criticized the Chamber.

Reports ThinkProgress:
...A key service that attracted the Chamber’s lawyers to the corporate spies — Palantir Technologies, Berico Technologies, and HBGary Federal — was the ability of HBGary’s CEO Aaron Barr to use computer programs to “scrape” personal information from the websites of Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social media sites.
Leaked emails show that Berico, Palantir, and HBGary conspired to store information scraped from social media sites on Palantir’s servers. On November 11, Barr sent Facebook data about the supporters and leaders of Change To Win, CodePink, US Chamber Watch and other organizations to Berico, who then passed the “scrapes” with “mugshots” along to Palantir...
Lovely, isn't it?

The blogger emptywheel makes an important point: These goons wanted to charge $2,000 a day! Writes emptywheel:
To put it in even more stark perspective, consider one ultimate target of the campaign: the men and women SEIU organizes pushing back against the anti-worker policies of the Chamber. Many of these workers–the kind of people who keep your building clean or care for you when you’re sick–make as little $12/hour or less (though the wages for nurses and other skilled medical care providers are higher).
These corporate spook assholes–in addition to targeting Americans for political activism–also think they’re worth 20 times as much as the people who care for the sick.
As one goon said to another, “Most of all that we are the best money can buy! Dam it feels good to be a gangsta…..”

Very, very nice.