Anonymous' counterattack against HBGary and the network of federal contractors and even government agencies that colluded in unethical and perhaps illegal activities in an effort to destroy Glenn Greenwald, Wikileaks, and various unions has yielded a number of victories for decency and transparency. Still, our work - which is yours as well - is far from over. Thus it is that we invite you to consider the following:
1. Facebook heavy Peter Thiel is pimping the firm Palantir, in which he has invested quite heavily, as the next big thing.
2. Palantir was involved in the HBGary affair, itself one of the most incredible and ostentatious conspiracies to have been revealed in years.
3. Nonetheless, Palantir initially "cut off ties" from HBGary in such a way as to leave the blame with that firm...
4. ... despite the fact that their own employee, who was presumably not working unsupervised despite insane claims to the contrary by Palantir, was heavily involved in some of the most disgusting plans.
5. After we discovered the extent of his role, I contacted Steckman via e-mail to provide terms of surrender a couple Fridays ago (and forwarded to press to protect myself). I received a call from the firm's head counsel an hour later (which I recorded and provided to a journalist, again to protect myself). He and I agreed on a conference call for 1:00 pm EST the next day - one which they seem to have decided not to attend.
6. Palantir is lying.
7. What follows is a guide, prepared by Anonymous lawyers (seriously - we have those now) which I have provided to Glenn Greenwald and other relevant parties. Now is the time to distribute it in such a way as to help ensure that a firm like Palantir does not end up being any sort of Facebook or even a ChipsAhoy.com.
8. By downloading an IRC client and joining irc.anonops.in #anonleaks, anyone may also join us in our targeted rampage against the parties that have engaged in what I would refer to as the "politics of personal destruction" were Anonymous not so rightly intent on the personal destruction of those who brought the U.S. to this sad and degenerate age.
9. We do not forgive.
10. We do not forget.
The following emails clearly establish Matthew Steckman's (Foward Deployed Engineer at Planatir) involvement in the creation of the leaked presentation/proposal entitled, "The Wikileaks Threat," including content allegedly considered unethical by the Internet security firm, Palantir, and possibly illegal under U.S. law. According to emails sent and received by Steckman, Matthew Steckman:
Was the first to correspond with Bank of America's legal representation, Hunton & Williams regarding Wikileaks, a publisher allegedly holding leaked documents from Bank of America;
Was aware that Hunton & Williams had been recommended to Bank of America by the U.S. Department of Justice;
Solicited the involvement of the security firms Berico and HBGary, in addition to his own firm, Palantir;
Outlined the format of the presentation to be made to Hunton & Williams by Palantir, Berico and HBGary, including the number of slides and the possible content of slides;
Received and approved suggestions for the proposal from representatives from HBGary, Berico and Palantir, including HBGary CEO Aaron Barr;
Specifically approved suggestions for the proposal, made by Aaron Barr, regarding strategic "attacks" on journalist Glenn Greenwald and others in the media for the purpose of undermining Wikileaks' support in the media;
Specifically approved suggestions for the proposal, made by Aaron Barr, regarding the exploitation of weaknesses in Wikileaks' infrastructure, including its network of staff, volunteers and leakers; its submission servers; its finances; its founder, Julian Assange; etc;
Incorporated the above-described suggestions for the proposal, made by Aaron Barr, into the finished proposal;
Personally created, formatted, revised, edited, approved and distributed the presentation document in question.
Listed emails also detail correspondance between employees of the firms HBGary and Palantir (including Aaron Barr and Matthew Steckman) among others, concerning the internet movement called Anonymous, its alleged connections to Wikileaks, and Aaron's Barr's research on Anonymous, including its alleged connections to Wikileaks.
List of emails TO Matthew Steckman RE: Wikileaks
John Woods (Hunton for BoA) requests slides for a presentation to a "large US bank" re: Wikileaks:
Eli Bingham (Palantir) requests for sec reps from Palantir, Berico and HBGary to join a conference call regarding the "large US bank" opportunity discussed above:
Aaron Barr informs Matthew Steckman that he cannot open a file attachment from Steckman's previous email (linked):
Aaron Barr discusses sending analysis information to Matthew Steckman, regarding BoA/Wikileaks. Barr mentions "mapping" [speculation: the analysis maps seen in the presentation made to Hunton for BoA]:
Aaron Barr, to Matthew Stuckman, explicitly lays out potential "attack" strategies against Wikileaks' "weak points," citing Wikileaks' volunteers, staff, financials, submission servers, Julian Assange, the perceived security of leakers, etc. [speculation: this appears to be the origination of most of the points made in the palantir/berico/hbgary presentation to BoA legal defense]:
Aaron Barr introduces Matthew Steckman to the idea of attacking Glenn Greenwald specifically, and makes a case for strategically undermining Wikileaks' support in the "liberal" media. Barr explicitly uses the word "attack" in relation to organizations/individuals supporting Wikileaks:
Aaron Barr informs Matthew Steckman that he cannot open a file attachment sent by Steckman. Attachment appears to be a draft of the presentation to be made to Hunton for BoA:
Aaron Barr agrees with Matthew Steckman that they should find out "later" on whose end is the technical issue keeping Barr from accessing Steckman's BoA/Wikileaks proposal file attachments:
List of emails FROM Matthew Steckman RE: Wikileaks
Matthew Steckman invites Aaron Barr (and reps from Palantir and Berico) to join a conference call about an opportunity from a "large US bank" re: Wikileaks (mentioned in previous email):
Matthew Steckman summarizes, for Palantir, Berico and HBGary sec reps, a phonecall from Hunton and Williams; outlines BoA/Wikileaks opportunity as "internal investigation;" mentions BoA seeking injunction against wikileaks; mentions US Department of Justice's recommendation of Hunton & Williams, specifically Richard Wyatt, whom steckman refers to as "the emperor," to BoA's general counsel; mentions roles of Palantir, Berico and HBGary; mentions potential prosecution of Wikileaks:
Matthew Steckman outlines possible presentation slides for proposal to Hunton for BoA, and organizes logistics of upcoming conference call:
Matthew Steckman sends "a cleaned up version" of a document for sec reps to "work from" [original attachment is not included at listed link, document is an early draft of the BoA proposal.] Steckman informs sec reps from HBGary, Palantir and Berico that he is only collecting information for the time being, regarding the BoA/WIkileaks proposal:
Matthew Steckman sends Berico and HBGary reps another "cleaned up version to work from":
Matthew Steckman informs John Woods (Hunton for BoA) that the three firms (Palantir, Berico, HBGary) will have coordinated an early proposal by "tonight" [Dec 02, 2010]:
Matthew Steckman and John Woods (Hunton for BoA) organize logistics of morning conference call:
Matthew Steckman sends "working draft" of BoA/Wikileaks proposal to sec reps from Berico, Palantir and HBGary:
Matthew Steckman sends conference call details [date, time, phone number] to John Woods (Hunton for BoA) and Berico, Palantir and HBGary sec reps:
Matthew Steckman sends proposal notes ["document"] for upcoming conference call/presentation to John Woods (Hunton for BoA) and Berico, Palantir and HBGary sec reps:
Matthew Steckman informs Aaron Barr that he approves of Barr's earlier suggestions regarding Wikileaks' strengths/weaknesses and that he plans to "spotlight" an attack on Glenn Greenwald in the upcoming presentation, also per Barr's earlier suggestion [see earlier emails TO Steckman]:
Matthew Steckman informs Aaron Barr that Barr's suggestions have been added to the updated proposal and thanks Barr for his suggestions [detailed in emails/synopses above]:
Matthew Steckman sends Aaron Barr a "Pfd" [sic] and suggests that they need to work out Barr's technical difficulties opening steckman's email attachments "afterwards":
List of emails TO/FROM Aaron Barr RE: Anonymous Research and/or Anonymous Connections to Wikileaks
Aaron Barr contacts John Woods (Hunton for BoA) about Barr's research on Anonymous. Barr claims to have information about Anonymous that possibly no one else has regarding "organization operations and communications infrastructure as well as key players by name." Barr mentions possible application of this information to another "opportunity" previously discussed with Woods, but does not elaborate:
Aaron Barr and Matthew Steckman discuss sharing Barr's research on Anonymous:
Aaron Barr and Matthew Stechman discuss meeting and sharing Barr's research on Anonymous:
Aaron Barr contacts Dawn Meyerriecks (Office of the Director of National Intelligence) and informs her of his research on Anonymous. Barr claims to have put together "a significant data set" and offers to discuss his "results, methodologies, and significance of social media for analysis and exposure":
Aaron Barr corresponds with John Woods (Hunton) and claims that he has mapped out 80-90% of Anonymous' leadership. Barr claims to be meeting with "govies" [speculation: government officials] "next week" [dated 01/31/2011.] Follow-up to email in which Barr alleges ties between Anonymous and Wikileaks.
Aaron Barr discusses with Bill Wansley (Booz, Allen, Hamilton) the possibility of researching ties between Anonymous and Wikileaks; Barr claims there are "many" such ties:
List of emails TO/FROM Other HBGary Employees RE: Wikileaks and/or Anonymous
Bob Slapnik (HBGary) recounts to HBGary's sales department a recent conversation at a "customer site" about potential markets created by the Wikileaks release (i.e. China's resultant access to classified US security intelligence and the US's subsequent need for new sec.) Slapnik stresses the importance of targeted language when proposing such products:
David Willson informs Ted Vera (HBGary) that the Bank of America/Wikileaks news has been broken by FOX:
"The Wikileaks Threat" (Original Document) Discussed in Listed Emails
WikiLeaks Response v5: http://www.mediafire.com/...
WikiLeaks Response v6: http://www.mediafire.com/...
Differences between drafts/versions:
Organizational breakdown expanded
White space changed
Minor wording changes
The rest seems to be identical
Based on what I’ve seen of their corporate positioning, Palantir seem to be invested in the idea that they are one of the good guys. They claim to offer technology which better distinguishes and discriminates amongst information acquired via mass-surveillance, and to permit the ‘tagging’ of this information so that it is accessible only to those with the appropriate clearance and jurisdiction.
“ dedicated to working for the common good and doing what’s right”
“That deeply felt commitment has been clear since the company’s inception and is evident in the company’s roster of advisors, leaders, engineers, and technology experts.”
White Paper: ‘Privacy and Civil Liberties are in Palantir’s DNA’
“Dam it feels good to be a gangsta...”
(worthwhile background: positioned as trying to make a bad system better
They’re also pretty high profile, with a market capitalisation of over $1 billion (mostly courtesy of PayPal cofounder Peter Thiel) - ie, they’re a little more serious than the HBGary fools.
All of which makes it likely that they’re going to be looking to isolate Steckman, emphasising the disparity between their corporate values and his conduct. Obviously, having THEIR emails would make it easier to determine just how much upper management knew about his work without having to actually ask them only to receive the standard incredulous insistence of virtue. Either way, probing this is likely to give some insight into the scale of the threat as they presently perceive it.
On that threat, I think the safest thing to say at the moment is that nobody is quite sure where all of this is going to end up. Equally safe is that whatever we might be able to reduce the ‘Anonymous’ position to, it will likely be directly contrary to Palantir and their ilk – they want this to be a momentary blip, we want it to be the chink that proves the undoing of this sick machine we’ve all ended up serving and despising. The following is intended to outline some of the bigger picture factors in the form of some choice extracts from authoritative sources. This will hopefully yield insights into particular pressure points, fissures and weaknesses to be exploited.
Privatization and the Federal Government: An Introduction
December 28, 2006 Kevin R. Kosar Congressional Reporting Service
Furthermore, the movement of an activity from the governmental sector to the private sector, or vice versa, has significant ramifications. Most obviously, the behavior of the entity carrying out the task will differ because each sector has different incentives and constraints. One public administration scholar has suggested that the incentives amount to this: a government entity may do only what the law permits and prescribes; a private entity may do whatever the law does not forbid.
Government agencies, unlike private firms, usually operate under complex accountability hierarchies that include multiple and even conflicting goals. Federal agencies, for example, are subject to the corpus of federal management laws. These laws serve as means for keeping executive branch agencies accountable to Congress, the President, and the public. They also embody principles of democratic justice, such as the allowance for public participation and government transparency.
Thus, in shifting an activity from the governmental to the private sector, the nature of government oversight is transformed. As the components of government provision of goods and services are privatized, the jurisdiction of federal management laws, Congress, the President, and the courts is reduced.
Jon D. Michaels
[77:717 2010] The University of Chicago Law Review
Workarounds provide outsourcing agencies with the means of accomplishing distinct policy goals that—but for the pretext of technocratic privatization—would either be legally unattainable or much more difficult to realize.
Consider the following scenario:
Exploiting Legal-Status Differentials. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) would like to establish a data mining operation to gather intelligence on potential terrorist threats. Bristling under stringent federal privacy laws imposed on government officials—laws that inhibit DHS’s ability to collect and analyze personal information without court authorization—policymakers turn to private contractors. Contractors, like most other private individuals, are largely beyond the scope of these federal laws. For the most part, these laws were enacted well before contractors were hired with great regularity to assist with law enforcement and counterterrorism initiatives. Now, in an era where outsourcing is the norm, DHS may use the statutes’ narrowness to its advantage and award government contracts to the unencumbered private data brokers. The contractors can then acquire the information more liberally on their own and submit raw data or synthesized intelligence to the government. DHS thus gets the benefit of more sweeping, intrusive searches than would otherwise be permitted of government officials, short of their first obtaining warrants or securing legislative change.
Report of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and
fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, Martin Scheinin
HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL Thirteenth session
A/HRC/13/37 28 December 2009
States that previously lacked constitutional or statutory safeguards have been able to radically transform their surveillance powers with few restrictions. In countries that have constitutional and legal safeguards, Governments have endangered the protection of the right to privacy by not extending these safeguards to their cooperation with third countries and private actors, or by placing surveillance systems beyond the jurisdiction of their constitutions.
The Special Rapporteur notes that since September 2001 there has been a trend towards outsourcing the collection of intelligence to private contractors... [raising concerns about] lack of proper training, the introduction of a profit motive into situations which are prone to human rights violations, and the often questionable prospect that such contractors will be subject to judicial and parliamentary accountability mechanisms
Report of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, Martin Scheinin
HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL Tenth session
A/HRC/10/3 4 February 2009
For legislative assemblies
65. The Special Rapporteur recommends that any interference with the right to privacy, family, home or correspondence by an intelligence agency should be authorized by provisions of law that are particularly precise, proportionate to the security threat, and offer effective guarantees against abuse. States should ensure that competent authorities apply less intrusive investigation methods than special investigation techniques if such methods enable a terrorist offence to be detected, prevented or prosecuted with adequate effectiveness. Decision-making authority should be layered so that the greater the invasion of privacy, the higher the level of necessary authorization. Furthermore, in order to safeguard against the arbitrary use of special investigative techniques and violations of human rights, the use of special investigative techniques by the intelligence agencies must be subject to appropriate supervision and review.
66. There should be a domestic legal basis for the storage and use of data by intelligence and security services, which is foreseeable as to its effects and subject to scrutiny in the public interest. The law should also provide for effective controls on how long information may be retained, the use to which it may be put, and who may have access to it, and ensure compliance with international data protection principles in the handling of information. There should be audit processes, which include external independent personnel, to ensure that such rules are adhered to.
67. The Special Rapporteur also recommends the adoption of legislation that clarifies the rights, responsibilities, and liability of private companies in submitting data to government agencies.
For the executive power
71. The executive should have effective powers of control, provided for in law, over the intelligence agencies and have adequate information about their actions in order to be able to effectively exercise control over them. The minister responsible for the intelligence and security services should therefore have the right to approve matters of political sensitivity (such as cooperation with agencies from other countries) or undertakings that affect fundamental rights (such as the approval of special investigative powers, whether or not additional external approval is required from a judge).