The United Chamber of Hacking?


Submitted By Lawrence Rafferty, (rafflaw), Guest Blogger



When someone mentions the United States Chamber of Commerce to me, I automatically think of the recent claims that were made that the Chamber solicited campaign donations from foreign corporations during the last election cycle. “A ThinkProgress investigation has found that the Chamber funds its political attack campaign out of its general account, which solicits foreign funding. And while the Chamber will likely assert it has internal controls, foreign money is fungible, permitting the Chamber to run its unprecedented attack campaign. According to legal experts consulted by ThinkProgress, the Chamber is likely skirting longstanding campaign finance law that bans the involvement of foreign corporations in American elections.” Think Progress   While that may be an atrocious and possibly illegal funding of domestic elections with foreign money, I am not currently interested in that “activity” of our friends at the Chamber of Commerce. Something else caught my eye!

I am concerned today with allegations that claim the Chamber of Commerce plotted with military contractors “…to come up with a proposal to discredit groups like ThinkProgress, the SEIU,,, and others. The tactics proposed included spying on families, using malware computer viruses to steal private information, using fake documents to embarrass liberals, and creating fake identities to infiltrate their targets.”  Think Progress   These allegations should be taken seriously because they claim that the Chamber was planning on stealing private information that was stored on the aforementioned groups computers.  The last time I checked, hacking into computers and stealing information was illegal.  Recently, Richard Clarke, the former cyber security czar with the Bush Administration, argued that the Chamber might have committed a felony.

I think it’s a violation of 10USC. I think it’s a felony, and I think they should go to jail. You call them a large trade association, I call them a large political action group that took foreign money in the last election. But be that as it may, if you in the United States, if any American citizen anywhere in the world, because this is an extraterritorial law, so don’t think you can go to Bermuda and do it, if any American citizen anywhere in the world engages in unauthorized penetration, or identity theft, accessing a number through identity theft purposes, that’s a felony and if the Chamber of Commerce wants to try that, that’s fine with me because the FBI will be on their doorstep in a matter of hours” Think Progress   While Richard Clarke is not an official of the Department of Justice, he does make a good point.  The contractors that the Chamber is alleged to have planned or plotted with to make these alleged intrusions into private computers of groups that are critical of the Chamber of Commerce, just happen to be contractors that have worked with the military in the area of cyber war. 

It amazes me that the United States Chamber of Commerce can allegedly plot to commit computer crimes and the main stream media is silent on the issue.  While there has been some interest on this issue from Congressmen, we still have heard very little about the potential crimes from the mass media.  Washington Post   Will the Chamber of Commerce be investigated for these serious allegations and how far will we allow an advocacy group to go to try to get their candidate(s) elected before the FBI calls a halt to any illegal activities?  It is funny that political activists on the right can scam people into believing that someone has committed crimes or made disparaging comments about an opponent and the entire media machine is right on the story, but if and when the line of legality gets crossed by the Right, you can’t give away the story.  Damn that Liberal Media!?


Additional Sources: Think Progress  and Think Progress                                                 

 Respectfully submitted by Lawrence Rafferty, Guest Blogger

33 thoughts on “The United Chamber of Hacking?”

  1. Nate,
    I agree on your first statement, but I cannot subscribe to violence. Peaceful protests are the only way to fight this kind of evil.

  2. :: quietly ::

    I believe correction will come. I believe bloodshed will too.

  3. Mike Spindell,

    I understand that people like to complain and to point out where we are as a society and how badly off we are. I don’t mind that kind of complaining.

    It’s just not enough for me. I have to do something about it. Now I know a bunch of middle class faces (hundreds of thousands thus far in the last month) showing up in the streets makes an impression on government. Especially since the news media is doing its best to ignore the situation. Still the crowds are turning out in spite of the news blackout. It matters and it counts. Writing one’s congressman and senator at both the state and national level also matters and counts … so I do it weekly.

    For me it is not enough to complain. I don’t need a Gandhi to get me off my ass. I can get myself up and moving. I really do believe that if I’m not going to shut up then I’d sure as hell better put up.

    I was at a rally today where plans were being solidified for more action in Columbus. Talk of Lam was everywhere and people were once again being cautioned to pay attention to those around them and bring any potential “false flaggers” to the attention of a designated minder. Someone bent on violence is going to have to be really sneaky about it as everybody in the crowd of demonstrators is watching … and filming. You want to start something bad, you’re gonna be recorded doin’ it. 🙂

  4. Mike S.,
    Well said . We need an American Ghandi to get us going.
    Thanks for your suggestion. My point in the last two sentences is that if the middle class has a chance against the Chamber and it’s corporate masters, an equitable and vigorous media will be a necessity.

  5. What culheath, Tom AND Blouise said,

    I don’t think they are mutually exclusive. The problems we face are so great and the Plutocratic Feudalists are so entrenched that many means, including extreme ones are needed to combat the current state of affairs. I don’t believe in violent revolutions because too often the excesses cause by them are such that the victors actions and ruling propensity, becomes all too similar to those thrown out of power. We do, however, need radical change and that is not exclusively open rebellion. Ghandi and MLK went very far in their non-violent efforts, mainly because they clearly defined the difference between themselves and their opponents, while nevertheless suffering substantial losses in the process. We need a new paradigm of resistance, one that wouldn’t turn us into the same type of people as those we abhor.

  6. “I think Tom has it right – the bigger issue is that the pendulum of power and control is creeping dangerously close to corporate interests(foreign or domestic) with no end in sight.” (Juris)

    The pendulum never gets stuck in one place … it’s a pendulum, it swings … It’s not a done deal, people … get out there and do something about it

  7. Cheap gas and cheap prices are relative and always have been.

    The price of a gallon of gas in England today is about $10 gallon … approx $9 for diesel … my figures could be a bit skewed by the litre to gallon and pound to dollar conversions but my point isn’t.

    We all know that the recent gas price increases here have nothing to do with the unrest in the Middle East … it’s simply opportunistic greed on the part of the oil barons. However, that is not the case in Great Britain where the situation in Libya has significant impact on fuel prices. And that, in my opinion, is the main reason we’re bombing away.

    Well that, and the CIA, like the oil barons, sees an opportunity for expansion.

    Gas prices usually go up about 80-90 cents and then fall back to a permanent 40 cent raise, even though the situations become stable. If I were a conspiracy theorist … I’d think the oil barons are in partnership with the CIA … each scratching the other’s back and gleefully starting uprisings within oil producing countries populations “desiring freedom and democracy”.

    Gas is still cheap enough here to get one to a demonstration or two … car pooling also works. Pick your battles and then stand on your principles. Don’t be distracted.

  8. Great article. I was ignorant of this story until your post, and I think people need to know about this. However, I want to make a suggestion to you with the utmost respect – leave out the left v. right banter. IMHO, the last 2 sentences really take away from what would otherwise be a great post on a crucial issue.

    I think Tom has it right – the bigger issue is that the pendulum of power and control is creeping dangerously close to corporate interests(foreign or domestic) with no end in sight.

  9. refflaw,

    Thanks for the post. This is the first time I have seen this issue mentioned in a very, very long time. I’m doubtful that anything will come of it but time will tell. The only thing we can do is continue to support the organizations willing to take on the Chamber and keep our fingers crossed law enforcement takes notice.

    And, I positively love Richard Clarke – I think he would have been a most excellent addition to the Obama Administration.

  10. what Culheath said…and unfortunately, Tom too. But my heart is with Blouise!

    and as to ““A ThinkProgress investigation has found that the Chamber funds its political attack campaign out of its general account, which solicits foreign funding. ” ~rafflaw…

    …isn’t this blatantly illegal and closer to domestic terrorism than any silly piece of gold w/a bust on it? Does this not undermine the entire political process of the USA???

    I mean really!

  11. i think you’re all missing the point. We’re not going to ever get back to the days where cheap gas and cheap products were the basis of the “good life.” Those days are over.

    It doesn’t matter who you vote for (look at the last three elections for proof of how the system has been corrupted) – the corporate interests have taken over the reins of government and i have no idea how we’re going to retake control. They did it in a slow methodical way over decades and now write the laws that keep it this way.

    So vote all you want, you won’t see meaningful change until someone goes to jail behind all the corruption that’s happening now! Bush/Cheney got off scot free; the banksters and fraud perpetrators on Wall Street RUN the Fed and get rewarded for their criminality! Where’s the justice? Oh that’s right – they’re in on it too!

  12. wealthy = inherited wealth

    Bill Gates is wealthy but his is not an inherited wealth … it will be for his daughter.

    Koch siblings are the product of inherited wealth.

    Note the difference.

  13. rafflaw,

    There are going to be some big problems … that’s a given.

    Here’s how I see it and please note that I am speaking in generalities:

    Greed has always been with us … it is only a matter of which group decides to take control of the gravy train.

    The middle-class is happy if they are able to enjoy upward mobility for their children and see their ranks swelled by movement from those coming up from the lower class. Middle class folk usually see the wisdom of helping the poor get a leg up because they understand the economic advantages having always had to work to earn their money. More people in the class, more money to be made.

    The wealthy class is, sadly, without imagination and by the circumstances of birth, insular. Their natural inclination is to hoard.

    The hoarders have held sway for about 3 decades, now the pendulum is swinging back. The middle-class has decided to take control of the gravy train; the wealthy are trying to hang on and, as usual, will be overwhelmed by sheer numbers.

  14. rafflaw,

    I realize it is fashionable to wring one’s hands and pull at one’s hair moaning “we are lost, we are lost” but I have been on the lines and I continue to go and therein I meet democrats, republicans, and independents all who want change and who are beginning to recognize that it is in the interests of “institutions” such as the Chamber to divide us with rhetoric and false issues.

    Note what is going on in England and other democracies around the world. The pendulum is swinging back … as it always does. People are tired of paying welfare to the wealthy.

  15. Color me a pessimist when it comes to democratically changing the plutocratic course we are on. I have my doubts that this race between good and evil will be won by the folks willing to politely stay in their saddles. We need uprisings like Egypt plain and simple.

    martin of Portland, Oregon wrote this insight today:

    “The reason we have lost our way is that deregulation in banking, free trade agreements, tax policies that favor the rich leading to gross wealth imbalance have unleashed a flood of greed in this country that is both intoxicating and addicting.

    The war on the middle class and working people, the contempt for the poor and the idol worship of the rich have so warped the judgement of our political leaders that they enact policies without a shred of humanity, social conscience, or rationality. We are on a self destructive roller coaster as a nation and we are unable to stop, because like other addicts our addition to greed won’t let us.

    The reason we regulate sex in our society by legally putting into place an age of consent for two adults to have sex is because if we deregulated sex, sexual relations between adults and children would be rampant. Minors would be even more exploited than they already are in this area. The reason is that sex is a very powerful drive which many adults would seek to satisfy is a relationship in where they are the powerful one, in other words, sex with minors. We also have regulations for consuming alcohol for that matter and all recreational drugs are illegal.

    However, for some reason our leaders believe that it is desireable to deregulate greed.

    The reason that banking, financial transactions, and trade need to be regulated is that the basic greed that fuels our capitalist system must be controlled or else that greed will run amok in these institutions, consume its practioners, leading to fraudulent activities and schemes, illicit practices and immoral decisions.

    People crazed by overwhelming and unregulated greed basically are at risk for having impaired judgement, overt predatory behavior, voracious need for wealth accumulation and power and a nihilistic value system. This is as old as the Bible,and as ancient as the creation of humanity.

    Just like an addict views getting their drug in order to get high as an end in itself, so does a greed crazed banker or corporation seek wealth for wealth’s sake and the power discrepancies it creates no matter what the cost or suffering to others. That is where we are at in our society. We have become the Saddam and Gomorrah of greed among the community of nations.

    As a consequence our judgement is impaired, our policies flawed, and our values warped. We are on a sliding slope to destruction.

    Greece and Rome were also great empires. empires from where we derived our philosophical foundation of thought and legal system. The British had a great empire. Even the Soviet Union was once a powerful and feared entity. They all fell. So will we. It is more a matter of when than if.

    We have lost our way because greed has replaced equality as our main social value and the foundation of society.”

    That’s the race I see.

  16. This is one more item to add to the list of the Chamber’s “Un-American” activities.

    Eventually we will manage to elect strong-minded men and women to the Congress and the Senate who will, in turn, demand actual accountability from the DOJ, the FBI, and others. They will refuse to confirm lackluster nominees to these departments and some real law and order will start making its way to cess-pools like the Chamber.

    People are sick and tired of the lawlessness from all these “institutions” and are demanding change. Democracy is a slow process but it carries a force that is unstoppable. That force is moving.

  17. Hat’s off to the hackers; such creativity and a seemingly loyal devotion to finding out what’s really going on. Hack on!!!! 🙂

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