You are hereEmptyWheel: Themis Applies JSOC Techniques to Citizens “Extorting” from Corporate Clients

EmptyWheel: Themis Applies JSOC Techniques to Citizens “Extorting” from Corporate Clients


February 16, 2011- I have a feeling I’ll be doing a lot of these posts, showing how Hunton & Williams asked “Themis” (the three firm team of HBGary, Palantir, and Berico Technologies) to apply counterterrorism approaches to combat First Amendment activities.

This particular installment comes from an early presentation and accompanying proposal Themis prepared for Hunton & Williams. These documents were attached to an email dated November 2, 2010 sent out by Berico Technologies’ Deputy Director. He explains that the presentation and proposal would be briefed to H&W the following day.

The Powerpoint includes a slide describing the purpose of Themis’ pitch to H&W.

"Purpose: Develop a corporate information reconnaissance service to aid legal investigations through the open source collection of information on target groups and individuals that appear organized to extort specific concessions through online slander campaigns."

Now, this is in the period when H&W was only beginning to discuss the Chamber of Commerce project with Themis, long before the BoA pitch. That is, this is the period when they were discussing generalized opposition to Chamber of Commerce.

And of that they got “extortion”? “slander”?

Apparently the team members of Themis–several of whom, as veterans, would have sworn an oath to our Constitution–accepted the premise that union members and poorly financed liberals opposing the wholesale sellout of our politics to private corporations constituted “extortion” and “slander.”

These firms, two of which deny any ill will, were willing to describe political speech–the opposition of working people to the Chamber’s hijacking of our politics–as “extortion” and “slander.”

More shocking to me, though, is where the proposal uses a Special Operations model to describe what Themis planned to do for H&W. On a proposal bearing Berico Technologies’ document header, Themis places their proposed “Corporate Information Reconnaissance Cell” next to a Joint Special Operations Command F3EA “targeting cycle” with this explanation:

"Team Themis will draw on our extensive operational and intelligence experience to rapidly make sense of the volumes of data we’ve collected through the application of proven analytical/targeting methodologies.  Drawing on the principles and processes developed and refined by JSOC in the “Find, Fix, Finish, Exploit, Analyze” (F3EA) targeting cycle, we will develop and execute a tailored CIRC intelligence cycle suited to enable rapid identification/understanding, refined collection/detection, focused application of effects, exploitation, and analysis/assessment."

Mind you, this is just a fancy graphic for “analysis”–the kind of stuff civilians do all the time. But Themis–led by Berico Technologies in this case–decided to brand it as a JSOC (Joint Special Operations Command) product, applying an American unconventional warfare model  to targeting political opponents engaging in free speech.

FULL STORY HERE:

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