So You’ve Angered The Hive

Stop US Chamber of CommerceKevin Zeese is an attorney and former candidate for U.S. Senate with a law degree from George Washington University. He contributes to a website attacking the agenda of the national Chamber of Commerce (StopTheChamber.com) and ran for office within the Green Party.

Zeese is concerned that malevolent business interests will have undue influence on elections, due to those interests’ expanding ability to influence elections anonymously. On the phone, he took great pains to differentiate the national hub from your local, garden variety chamber of commerce, which Zeese insists can very well represent the interests of local businesses. The local chambers, he said, had attempted to distance themselves from the national hub, the distinction for him lying in his instinct that the national was undermining decentralization of interests.

I asked him, “So I guess I’d just like to start off by asking you to describe in your own words why you think the Chamber of Commerce apparently has a problem with you or doesn’t want you to speak your mind?”

With this, Zeese laughed with glee, and, catching his breath, said, “Well, that’s a good way of putting it.”

“Well, we have a project called StopTheChamber.com, and it’s been for about a year now heavily focused on the Chamber of Commerce and their activities in both elections and lobbying. The Chamber of Commerce took a very strong right turn during the Bush-Rove era. [Chamber of Commerce President] Tom Donohue is an ally of Karl Rove’s, and he became CEO of the Chamber – and national chamber I’m talking about – and it really took a very strong right turn to just knee-jerk extremism of the Bush-Rove variety.

“And it’s resulted in a lot of turmoil inside the chamber. There have been a number of big corporations that have left the Chamber. There were a number of chapters around the country that have left the Chamber, and so we’ve been adding to that pressure. And we did – we did some aggressive things, like we put out a reward poster for Tom Donohue with a $200,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of Tom Donohue. We published that in a local paper in Washington, D.C., and online.

“And you know, we also – we started to up the ante on this way before HBGary was known and the whole – or whole – that whole story. We started to see lots of death threats and e-mails, you know, threatening us, and there were a whole slew of them. And then we – so we decided that the best way to respond to that was to go public with it. We sent a letter to the Department of Justice and the FBI asking that they investigate the Chamber of Commerce for making these kinds of threats to us. And as soon as went public with it, all of the e-mails stopped.”

Tyler Bass: “Do you know that – do you know that they came from the Chamber? Is that something you can –”

Kevin Zeese: “We don’t know where they came from, but it’s – you know, it was coincidental that (that we ?) were attacking the Chamber, publicly criticizing them, and then, as soon as we went public and raised the issue, all the e-mails suddenly stopped.

“In the HBGary stuff, one of the things that we see these people are capable of doing is claiming fake Internet personalities, you know, that don’t really exist. And I wonder now looking back at it whether or not all of those e-mails were real people or whether they were just, you know –you know, robot personalities that they can turn on and off, because it’s very bizarre that they got turned off immediately. That was just one aspect of things that happened way before we knew about HBGary. And so that I thought that was an interesting little tidbit to add to the story.”

TB: “Yeah, well, on – actually interesting you bring that up – I mean, I’ve always been kind of impression that these personas they create are just sockpuppets, if you will –

KZ: “Right.”

TB: “– accounts, and I do think they represent the action of real people. In fact, one thing we can see from the CEO of HBGary is that he took the time to go on Facebook and make those kinds of accounts, so – and what he would do is he tried to find out who Anonymous was by where people’s friends were located, yadda, yadda, yadda.

“I mean, it all seems kind of Quixotic to me because I think he’s wrong in that they do actually represent a very large number of people who are kind of involved in sort of a SETI-type operation.”

And on this point I bothered to elaborate, explaining that I thought that the head of HBGary was wrong to suspect that Anonymous was such a small group as small as 40. The tool used to take down Visa and Mastercard’s servers for a few hours in the wake of Cablegate’s beginning was the Low Orbit Ion Cannon, a relatively user-friendly version of SETI, and this was the real raw populist muscle of the operation. The Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence is a piece of downloadable DYI information processing software that examines loads of radio data from space to attempt to interpret a pattern. In other words, it is the manifestation of the kind of collective effort represented by Anonymous, which HBGary et al sought to cash in on to go after WikiLeaks.

TB: “What I wanted – what really strikes me as ironic about your case is that the Chamber of Commerce seeks personhood for corporations specifically, and they do this because of an interpretation of the 14th Amendment, and many people have pointed out their resentment of this. And they desire of rights of privacy and the rights of personhood, you know,and of course the 14th Amendment is how we get landmark privacy cases like Roe v. Wade, which are based on a right of privacy in the 14th Amendment.

“So it’s kind of funny that while they would seek the sort of autonomy for themselves, I – they don’t really – they don’t really seek autonomy for people who they, you know, want to monitor the e-mails, I would presume. I mean, what are your thoughts on that?

KZ: “Well, I do feel that they what they – what they did to – what they were doing to us and what they were threatening to do us was a violation of our legal rights.”

TB: “Oh, definitely.”

KZ: “It was probably – it was probably a violation of criminal laws, you know, cybersecurity laws, as well as traditional torts – you know, the – you know, that they were pursuing; and an invasion of privacy.

“They were talking about following – (inaudible) – members and that kind of thing.

“So whether it’s consistent with their treating corporations – you know, having the equivalent of human rights or not, what they did to us was certainly wrong. And we don’t want to have our political debates about very important issues from climate change to health care to makeup of courts and makeup of legislatures (colluded ?) by this kind of intimidation tactics. I mean, that’s very dangerous for democracy.

“It’s almost a modern version of, you know, Mussolini’s Brown Shirts. You know, they are trying to intimidate us and trying to intimidate journalists and other activists into not being politically active. And we need to take the opposite approach. We need to be encouraging people to be politically active. There are a lot of Americans in this country who are doing their basic – (inaudible) – and it’s not their voting. Voting’s almost a futile effort in our manipulated democracy. There’s so much more that you could be doing, especially if you’re trying to make a better and healthier country.

“And to have the Chamber of Commerce use its tremendous resources, and they have – they do have a lot of resources. They are the corporate bully of Washington, D.C. They spent more than any, any other corporation does. To have them using their tremendous resources to intimidate activists and journalists is really reprehensible. And I’d love the Justice Department to step in. Unfortunately, the Justice Department is complicit in this. So we’re probably not going to get that. You know, we may have to figure out our own way to hold them accountable.”

TB: “Well, as mercenaries now with the times go online – I mean – and I really – I really think that’s not a too strong a word to use for these people – I mean, it’s creating a weird situation for the Justice Department while – where these people are educated,. You know, often – and remember the HBGary Federal is a veterans-run organization. They say it themselves. And these same people received training from the federal government, and they take advantage of that training when it – when it can be used in legal realms. But then it gets applied by private – the private sector, and it – there becomes a market for those same skills intended for government application and the FBI specifically on the free – on the free market. I mean, do you think that’s new? Is that – is that something – a mew trend of thing?”

KZ: “Well, we’re not – we’re not – no, we’re not the only case. You know, there are other cases involving environmental groups where similar kinds of corporate security firms have gone after them, and the veterans who’ve been trained in military activities and retired police who use their law enforcement training are the – are the people who run these kinds of corporations. And, you know, they do things like call the phone company and flash their police badge and give their police number say, tap this phone.

“I mean, so – you know,this is definitely an appropriate use of their training, and what’s really inappropriate in our case, I think, is the fact that the Department of Justice is what made this happening. Bank of America contacted the Department of Justice and asked them about what to do about this WikiLeaks attack on Bank of America.”

TB: “Right, that they thought might come after the hard drive got released that supposedly –“

KZ: “Which still might come. We don’t know yet.”

TB: “Yeah, yeah.”

KZ: “But what’s interesting – what’s interesting about it is that the Department of Justice referred them to Hunton &Williams, this gigantic corporate lobby firm in Washington, D.C. that has all the big business-concentrated corporate capitalist represented there, and said said contact Hunton & Williams. They can solve your problem. They can make your WikiLeaks problem go away.”

TB: Yeah.

KZ. “And that’s when Hunton & Williams contacted HBGary and all the other firms and created this effort, and, you know, the Chamber of Commerce was also represented by Hunton & Williams, and so they, you know, thought this would apply to our activities as well, and so that’s how this happened. So – (inaudible) –“

TB: “Oh, really. Do you think – so excuse me, let me just get something straight. The Justice Department thought the same things that could apply to the Bank of America being –“

KZ: “Hunton & Williams thought –“

TB: “Oh, OK.”

KZ: “– that their other client – the other client, Commerce, would find this of interest and of value. And so then they – then they prepared a project for the Chamber of Commerce. The Department of Justice was very implicated in this, and so then how do we get justice.”

TB: “Yeah, yeah, and –“

KZ: “How do we get the – how do we – how do we get the government to protect our constitutional rights to free speech and the right to assemble and petition our government and be – and be politically active in our country when the law firm that got brought into this was brought into it by the Department of Justice. And really the lawyers in that firm should be losing their bar licenses for engaging in these kinds of conspiracies against political activists.”

TB: “Well, I think that, you know, it’s – it is still – I mean, it still seems to me like it’s worse – I mean, and I would ask you if you think it’s worse that these people go after you, and who else? I mean, I’m going to look at the chart here or something.”

KZ: “Glenn Greenwald.”

TB: “Yeah, well, Greenwald but Greenwald over the WikiLeaks thing separately and for his views about the Chamber. But, I mean, I’m mostly talking about – I’m mostly talking about ThinkProgress here and I’m talking about Brad Blog – ”

KZ: “Right.”

TB: “You know, and specifically those targeting those people who talk about just a wide variety of topics, if – and you know – you know what this stuff is.

“I would – I mean, don’t you think it’s worse that they do that, because I mean at least some of these Anonymous activists are doing something illegal, I mean, some of them presumably, but you guys are just doing nothing even arguably illegal, because, you know, you’re just criticizing.”

KZ: “Right. Oh, we’re definitely not. We’re definitely not doing anything illegal, that for sure. (Inaudible.)

TB: “So, okay, I know that. I know, so I’m – I believe that, so I’m asking you, don’t you think it’s worse that they go after you than some of the Anonymous people who are – I mean, even if you think it’s justified in Anonymous’, you know, justified civil disobedience, you know, or what have you, you know, isn’t it still worse to go after people who aren’t breaking the law?”

KZ: “Of course. If people don’t operate in the law, you know, that’s a different category of who people are. I don’t consider Anonymous to be law breakers. In fact, you know, after this has come out, I feel very much allied with Anonymous. I think Anonymous saved us from what were a great abuse, so I’m actually a pretty big fan of Anonymous after this exposure, especially when I’ve worked with them on some other projects or at least some, you know, small sliver of Operation Anonymous people, who are not involved in hacking but involved in information gathering and trying to stop the NASDAQ exchange from being expanded to allow a Swedish banking family, the Wallenbergs, to get another seat. So I – but, you know, so I’m not going to criticize Anonymous because I think they actually are the heroes in this and that they exposed this plot.”

TB: “Yeah, I mean, and it had nothing to do with, I mean, knocking Anonymous. I mean, I think that – you know, that they have done illegal things that then revealed more illegal things. And, you know, it’s tough because – I mean, for me, it’s tough because, you know, if – even – how bad does the thing that gets uncovered through illegal means have to be to justify it. You know, and that’s, I guess, sort of the question of our times.”

KZ: “Right.”

TB: “I was curious – I wanted to ask you about this because a number of bloggers who were sympathetic for reasons – and not very sympathetic, I might add – to Hunton & Williams and especially HBGary Federal, who then Palantir and the other firm [Berico] started, you know, trying to pin all this stuff on essentially. But, I mean, what – to what degree did – they – you know, they believe this about Brett Kimberlin and his own actions as an individual? I mean, what – to what degree do you think that this was a part of HBGary Federal’s – you know, like, their idea that they could get away with this, you know, why they were above the law? Do you think that –“

KZ: “Well, I think that these big corporations get away with a lot –“

TB: “Yes.”

KZ: “– and that the – that is the normal state of affairs in Washington is for corporate criminals to go free and not be prosecuted. And so far there’s been no criminal action taken against HBGary. HBGary, I think, is losing business, and their CEO has been forced to resign because –“

TB: “Yeah.”

KZ: “– he’s shown himself to be a fool –“

TB: “Right.”

KZ: “– and incompetent. You know, that he has a security firm, and a teenager was able to hack into their website and gather all their e-mails, I don’t think the Department of Defense should trust, someone with those (skills ?) and a firm that allows that kind of person to be their CEO.

“So I think, you know, these guys have gone free so far. Nothing’s been done against Hunton & Williams. No action’s been taken by a bar association. We have filed complaints with the bar association in Washington, D.C. about the lawyers involved, but no action’s been taken yet to hold anybody accountable who’s involved in this essentially cyberconspiracy against political activists and journalists, and that just shows they’re right. They can get away with. And if we – if we didn’t fight back for ourselves, they wouldn’t face any accountability.”

TB: “Yeah, and it’s ironic because, you know, the tactics used by Anonymous in this case, I mean, are – I mean, I don’t mean to equate the intents of one party with the other. One is money and disrespect for the law, and the other is, you know, in some way truth and then also disrespect for the law. But at the same time, they have the same – they have the same idea. And in fact, that’s – that seems to be what set Anonymous off was the fact that – the threat of having their supposed information released, which is of questionable –”

KZ: “Supposedly the information turned out to be inaccurate, and Anonymous released this information on their own –”

TB: “Yeah.”

KZ: “– (inaudible). But I think what’s really interesting about this, what’s really telling about corporate crime in Washington, D.C. and how corporate criminals can act so blatantly is that –”

TB: “And get away with it, apparently.”

KZ: “– major partners in a – one of the biggest corporate lobby law firms in Washington, D.C, Hunton & Williams, openly talked about on the Internet criminal – what I – what looks to me like cybercrimes as well as crimes against individuals who are political activists and journalists. They openly write about it, talk about this stuff like – as if it’s no big deal. They are so – their hubris and their confidence in their control of government is so significant, and of course it should be. The Department of Justice after all brought Hunton & Williams into this, and so they should feel pretty confident.”

TB: “Here’s for example – this is – this is the way you put it. Here’s the way Richard Wyatt him on his biography describes himself, and these are really interesting terms, and because everything you just said is described in his mind, I presume as such, and I quote: ‘He regularly advises the management of public companies and their boards in connection with complex business litigation, strategic reviews of business and transactional alternatives and director compliance with fiduciary duties. He frequently serves as lead counsel in appeals from adverse decisions in matters not originally handled by him or members of his firm.’

“But actually the funny thing is a number of people in the House suspect that in fact he – his law firm is perhaps complicit in such items in violation of U.S. Code such as forgery, mail and wire fraud, fraud and related activity in connection with computers.”

KZ: “Well, yeah, that list of – if you looked at our – at our, you know, Stop The Chamber site and look for these complaints that we filed against Hunton & Williams, you’ll see a long list of crimes that congressmembers are now using for their model, and, you know, there’s a long list of potential crimes here, and it’s a shame that our government is so corrupted by corporate influence that they will not take action against corporate criminals who do this kind of thing to our political process.”

TB: “So do you – do you predict that because this law firm was also involved with trying to hunt Anonymous and people who are obviously strong WikiLeaks, Manning’s, you know, sympathizers that the opposition to those members of Congress will be voiced as in – you know, that they’re traitors just like, you know, Manning and Assange or – you know, who’s not even a citizen, but do you – do you think that could be – that could be echoed back at these individuals in their congressional races? What do you think the larger political consequences will be for the people who seem to see things your way?”

KZ: “Oh, I think that the political – the elected officials who are doing these kind of things come from congressional districts that are pretty, pretty left of center if not progressive and I think that they’ll be secure in their actions. And I think more and more Americans across the political spectrum are seeing the corruption of our government by concentrated corporate capital, and that really is what this is about. Hunton & Williams represent – look at their list of clients. There’ s big energy, there’s pharmaceutical companies, the health insurance companies, big oil, you know, coal, nuclear. It’s all the concentrated corporate interest that dominate Washington, D.C. and prevent us from really solving problems and who create laws that funnel money to the top 1 percent while the rest of us are faced with having, you know, budget debt undermine our basic human needs.

“So I think more and more Americans are getting that and that this case will highlight that. So if they make an issue – I think it – (inaudible) – in particular, the members of Congress will actually succeed from it. I have no doubt, though, that because they do control the corporate media, these corporations will do their best to, you know, brand us all as traitors for supporting WikiLeaks, Bradley Manning or even challenging the, you know, Chamber of Commerce. I mean, the people – the corporate media is not on our side. And thank goodness more and more people get that.

“The corporate media now is at its least credible levels ever in history since it’s been measured, and we see the independent media growing and you see – you know, we’re seeing the democratization of media through social networks, Twitter, Facebook, other outlets where you can put out your own media, and, you know, and more and more transparency of government with groups like WikiLeaks and other groups like Local Leaks, who are able to take information from (citizens ?) who work in government or who work in big business, take it anonymously and get it out to the world.

“And so we’re at a phase of very much a changing media when traditional media is getting weaker, and the independent media is getting stronger, transparency is becoming more likely, and so people in government and business have to be more careful now about their activities because they could be exposed.”

TB: “So I was curious – you kind of hinted at this earlier, but I was interested to know if you ever felt any – you said you wondered if some certain people were, like, sock puppet accounts or were just personas. And, I mean, have you – did you ever feel certain enough about that to know that was sure, or do you know of any intentional information you may have received, or do you suspect anything you’ve written in fact an element that was false that was then planted? I mean, presumably the e-mails would tell us about this.”

KZ: “We’ve never – we’ve never – we’ve never been caught in falsehood that we – you know, on the sock puppet issue, I think it’s remarkable that all of those e-mails stopped as soon as we went public. That just kind of raises questions in my mind and is almost a prima facie case that something was under the control of the Chamber of Commerce, and they stopped it as soon as we went to the FBI and Department of Justice. So that was – it’s too strange to have – you know, we were literally getting hundreds of e-mails, to have them all stop immediately. That’s just too bizarre.

“And as far as disinformation and false information, which is one of their strategies they planned on doing, I don’t think we did receive anything like that. We did receive one in response to our reward poster. We received an anonymous letter from someone who seemed to know a lot about the Chamber of Commerce. It was a like a three or four or maybe even five-page single space letter, and were very careful about it. You know, we said that there’s no way for us to verify who this person is and so we took a cautioned approach. We still – and we didn’t even go public with it. We only sent it to the Department of Justice so they would have it to investigate with. That’s the only thing that comes close, and I’m not even sure that was false, but we didn’t feel confident enough with it to go to the media with it or to the public, and gave it to Department of Justice, FBI for their own investigative purposes.”

TB: “Yeah, indeed, indeed. Well, I think it’s very – you know, I think there are a lot of people who just resent attacks on the chamber who have not the foggiest idea what your complaints about them are, and, you know, I’ll say it: Andrew Breitbart being a prime example.”

KZ: “Well, yeah, there’s a – there’s a – there’s a lot of confusion between the national Chamber of Commerce and the local Chamber of Commerce. The local Chamber of Commerces are totally different from the national. Many of them do very good work as far as promoting local businesses go, promoting local communities, providing information to the consumers and the public about communities, and so that’s a whole different kind of organization that the national Chamber of Commerce, which is, like I said, the corporate bully of Washington, D.C. It spends more than any other corporation and is used as a kind of a way for industries to play two sides.

“For example, in the health insurance debate, the insurance companies would appear with Obama in press conferences being supportive of the bill but they gave tens of millions of dollars to the Chamber of Commerce to attack the bill, so they played both sides that way. The Chamber of Commerce has also done amazing work in warping courts around the country, supreme courts at the state level, where they come in – well, they create – they create a fake organization like Citizens for a Strong Ohio. That’s a real organization that was created, and they spend lots of money in the last few weeks of the campaign attacking a justice who they think is too pro-consumer or too pro-civil rights or too critical of corporations, and then replace that – and then attempt to replace that person with someone who’s a corporate lawyer or a corporate-friendly justice.

“And, you know, they poured lots of money in these races at the last minute, and then justice who’s under attack has no time to raise money to respond, and voters are mislead. And they don’t tell where the money comes for for the Citizens for a Strong Ohio. It took five years of litigation, actually, to find out who Citizens for a Strong Ohio were. It turned out it wasn’t citizens. It was corporations. It was pharmaceuticals, insurance companies, car – you know, automobile companies, bankers, all the, you know, typical big-business interests. I mean, it wasn’t – if instead it had Big Business for a Strong Ohio, people would understand why this progressive or liberal or, you know, pro-consumer justice was being attacked, but because they disguise themselves to fool voters and hide the source of their money, then we have more problems.

“And we also pointed out in this last election that the Chamber of Commerce gets lots of money from foreign corporations, including foreign companies that are controlled by foreign governments, and it goes into their general fund, and that general fund is where they fund their electoral campaign. Now, the chamber claims they have some separation. They haven’t shown anything, haven’t provided any proof of that, and they have a consistent history of misleading the public so you can’t trust them. You need to go in and see it, and we hope that the FBI and the Federal Election Commission go in, conduct an investigation and actually see whether or not the Chamber of Commerce is funding election activity with foreign dollars. If they are, that’s a clear violation of law, and so we need to find out what the story is on that, and we raise those kind of issues, too.

“So if you like your local Chamber of Commerce, that’s – a lot of them have separated from the national because the national is so extreme, that the national has become an extremist, right-wing propaganda corporate outfit and really can’t be trusted with anything it says.”

TB: “I noted at the beginning of this dialogue I wanted to know why you felt like they went after you, right? And you mentioned these – this thing with – of Donohue – you know, saying he wanted information on, you know, illegal acts that he had committed. Now, you – we can contrast that just, for example, with these complaints you have about the Chamber of Commerce able to access electoral influence and mask the influence of either foreign corporations, private parties who do not have necessarily benevolent feelings toward the public or public interest.”

KZ: “Right, right.”

TB: “And so I was wondering how you would feel if there was a group that was – that was kind of like Chamber of Commerce and you couldn’t find out who was funding it, but a group had made the very same offer you did. Now, you did so openly. You offered all this money for this information on Donohue. But what if some organization that was completely blacked out and you had no idea who was sponsoring it wanted to do that to Donohue. Is that – should that be legal?”

KZ: “If they wanted – if they wanted to do that to me here or –“

TB: “Or to Donohue. I mean, if – even if they –“

KZ: “So to Donohue.”

TB: “Yeah, to Donohue. It’s the exact same thing. It’s just they’re targeting Donohue. What do you think?”

KZ: “We are up against a very, very serious threat in this country to our economy and to our democracy. In fact, I think democracy is right now a mirage, and the economy is so warped in favor of the top 1 percent that we have very little power, and I think we have to take very aggressive efforts to try to regain some power to shift the power to the people. I think civil resistance is going to be very important for now and as a way that we show our anger and show them, get organized and demand that the power be shifted to the people. So it’s pretty hard to take much off the table, any nonviolent activity off the table. I think violence would be a mistake, because I think that we’ll lose the support of the public, and the government has much more capability of violence than we do, as do the corporations. And so I don’t think violence is even a smart tactic or one that will be effective. So I think any nonviolent action to try to expose the crimes of these corporations and the complicity of government is on the table, and I think civil resistance needs to be one of our major areas of activity.”

TB: “You know, don’t get me wrong, Corporations are remarkably – some of them, some of them are remarkably violent animals and very, very, very violent, but I also think it’s kind of ironic that these two parties, Anonymous – this legion, in other words – and indeed the Chamber of Commerce seek to influence anonymously. They both try to do this. That’s their point. The Chamber of Commerce is a blunt instrument for raw corporate influence, and Anonymous –“

KZ: “Yeah, I mean, with regard to Anonymous, I mean, I think that we are – there are a lot of people who are afraid in this country to share their political activity.”

TB: “Yeah, and didn’t – and didn’t HBGary Federal say that themselves? One of my favorite quotes out of this whole thing, which you can find in the PowerPoint presentation, and this is in connection with WikiLeaks specifically, but, you know, that people who have professional interest and they have job influence, you know, they’ll be more interested in keeping their nose to the grindstone than, you know, speaking up about this if they have financial interest immediately and professional interest in making them be quiet. And they’re talking about the role of peer pressure, conformity. It’s all very creepy stuff.”

The full, actual quote comes from a Palantir Powerpoint about WikiLeaks supporters: “These are established professionals that have a liberal bent, but ultimately most of them if pushed will choose professional preservation over cause, such is the mentality of most business professionals.” This quote offers great insight into the ideology of the contractors interested in violating the privacy of individuals engaged in unambiguously legal activism. It’s a very cynical attitude and says everything about the kind of people who would be willing to engage in such work on behalf of the Chamber of Commerce or Bank of America for that matter. Although Palantir described these activists as biased, the firm doesn’t insist in that line that the activists’ cause has underlying moral flaw, merely that it does not have an immediate corollary with money acquisition.

KZ: “Well, I mean, so with that kind of power and with the government working for these corporations – as I said, the Department of Justice referred, you know, Bank of America to Hunton & Williams to solve their WikiLeaks problem.”

TB: “Yeah.”

KZ: “You know, so government and corporations working against people that way – they’re creating the need for Anonymous. You know, some people have to be Anonymous to help expose government. Some people have to anonymously provide documents to WikiLeaks or Local Leaks or some other vehicle to – and do it anonymously – to expose crime and corruption in government and big business, and so they’ve created the situation. There’s almost no other way to fight back for many people. I’m very lucky that I can be public and I’m proud to be public and I’m not – this does not intimidate me in any way.”

TB: “Great! I’m glad. I’m glad.”

Zeese acknowledged in so many words what I suspected all along: Despite his rhetoric strongly justifying his rage at HBGary, his level of independent wealth is why he did not meet Palantir’s archetype of the financially malleables, if you will. HBGary’s Federal’s greatest weapon was making you look nuts to your boss and family. Zeese’s relative security compared to most of WikiLeaks supports was why HBGary Federal et al were left utterly terrified of the man.

KZ: “The death threats – the death threats – the death threats didn’t intimidate me. I mean, I just – I mean, I just think we have no choice at this point but to, you know, stand up, and I hope that other people, you know, hope that WikiLeaks is right and that courage is contagious and stand up – stand up and demand it.”

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  • Liam_McGonagle

    Wow. This might be just the single most powerful piece I’ve read in the past year. I’m sharing this on Facebook et cetera immediately.

    It’s a bit long, and the colloquy does get a bit hard to follow at times, but it’s well worth taking your time and finishing the whole thing. The underlying info could form the basis of several smaller but maybe equally important pieces. I could be chewing on this thing for a month or so.

    Where the fuck was I in February when the HBGary Federal / Team Themis thing broke? Maybe I was preoccupied with the Madison Uprising. Ironic because the two things are so profoundly connected. The Team Themis thing just could be the “Watergate” of the X Generation.

    Thanks for posting this, Disinfo! More like THIS, please!

  • Liam_McGonagle

    Wow. This might be just the single most powerful piece I’ve read in the past year. I’m sharing this on Facebook et cetera immediately.

    It’s a bit long, and the colloquy does get a bit hard to follow at times, but it’s well worth taking your time and finishing the whole thing. The underlying info could form the basis of several smaller but maybe equally important pieces. I could be chewing on this thing for a month or so.

    Where the fuck was I in February when the HBGary Federal / Team Themis thing broke? Maybe I was preoccupied with the Madison Uprising. Ironic because the two things are so profoundly connected. The Team Themis thing just could be the “Watergate” of the X Generation.

    Thanks for posting this, Disinfo! More like THIS, please!

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