Yep, that’s me. The Cynical Old Bastard. But I didn’t want to get tagged as paranoid, so I’ve been sitting on a conclusion I’d reached a while ago. Let’s take a look at a couple of things.
I’ve been hanging out on Groklaw.net since the beginning. I’ve read every single article. And read a lot of the comments.
Early on PJ was claiming that there were trolls popping up, and we all saw several regular trolls, like the creature using the alias BackinFullForce, less than affectionately known as BIFF. His or her line wouldn’t have sounded odd coming from Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf, aka Comical Ali, aka Baghdad Bob. Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf was the Iraqi Information Minister in the Saddam Hussein regime, and was famous for a series of ludicrous statements which bore no relation to reality. War isn’t supposed to be fun, but Baghdad Bob was a running joke during the second Gulf War.
He’s since been resurrected by some comedians as Egypt Bob, with him supposedly working for Hosni Mubarak on Identi.ca the Canadian Micro-Blogging service. Egypt Bob dented some pretty insane stuff during the Egyptian protests. And then resurrected once again as Rlyeh Bob, who is supposedly the Information Minister for the Elder God Cthulhu.
Which is getting off topic, but BIFF’s comments about The SCO Group v. IBM lawsuit often followed company policy so closely, we thought that he or she was an insider, and was being paid to do nothing but troll the net, in an attempt to interfere with discussions about what was going on.
And there are a lot of trolls out there. Trolls in internet parlance are people who pop up, and do nothing but attempt to destroy a message board. They are often rude, crude, bombastic, and rude. I’ve run into them several times (which is why I have comments tightened down). So has just about anyone else who’s ever written anything which isn’t complimentary to Microsoft. Seriously.
I can write uncomplimentary articles about Google, Adobe, Oracle, IBM, etc. No Trolls. Write something uncomplimentary about Microsoft and it attracts trolls, just like a picnic attracts ants.
The thing is that we know that Microsoft was working to torpedo anyone who didn’t like them. It’s in the documents released in discovery in the Comes anti-trust case. A copy of the Comes Documents can be found here.
Then there’s the Alexis de Tocqueville Institution, which we know was hired by Phillip Morris to try and stop some legislation that would have cost Phillip Morris sales. ADTI still attempts to bill themselves as a non-partisan think tank. Their only problem is that the Phillip Morris documents are now public, and the stench of tobacco smoke follows ADTI everywhere. You can search the Tobacco Document Collection here.
Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves
So when Anonymous raided HBGary Federal’s email server, and found documentation that HBGary Federal was engaged in things that weren’t quite Kosher, I wasn’t surprised. In fact I suspected that it was the tip of the iceberg.
And now we hear from Jolly Old England, where Sir Hugh Orde, the president of the Association of Chief Police Officers, made a speech. The thrust of his speech was that while yes, they’d spied on protestors, but they had to abide by the law. But there were also corporate spies involved in watching environmental groups, and these spies didn’t have the same oversight that the police had.
To add fuel to the fire, the Guardian Newspaper conducted an investigation, and found proof that Sir Hugh was right! There are a lot of private spies watching the environmental groups, and other groups that companies think might be a danger to their operations.
I had thought that things like this were probably happening, but I hadn’t written about them, because I didn’t want to appear paranoid. It turns out that I wasn’t paranoid, in fact I may have underestimated the problem.
I can understand that a company like Huntington Life Sciences wouldn’t like someone like me. Huntington Life Sciences uses Beagles for some of their testing work. I think this should be illegal. See the picture at the top of this page? My Senior Editor, Sam, is a Beagle. I love Beagles. Over the years I’ve had Susie, Lady, Sam 1, Cutie, Princess, and Sam 2, my current editor. We also now have Rose, who’s my wife’s helper, who’s half Beagle.
But should they, or any other firm have to right to spy on me, or other people like me? Should they have the right to try to stop protestors who have a legitimate grievance from protesting?
And exactly how much impact did these spies have on recent laws, like the one that was passed in England which makes it virtually impossible to protest about the actions of Huntington Life Sciences? A law that was passed after a certain amount of violence – but who carried out the violence? Was it a Huntington spy?
And of course this all ties into the post 9/11 Security laws as well. Are these laws being used to protect corporations from public scrutiny?
Stay tuned. I think we are going to find out. Anonymous was pissed over what they found in the HBGary computer system. I suspect that they are looking at what they’ve gotten so far, like me, are wondering which other companies are doing the dirty.
Monday February 14, 2011