Spooky business

December 15, 2013

Spooky business

Dear All,

If you subscribe to environmental or anti big-business activism, then be afraid. Be very afraid. A report by the Center for Corporate Policy (CCP) in Washington has compiled evidence of how some of the world’s largest corporations work with private intelligence firms and even government intelligence agencies to spy on activists and undermine their causes.

According to the report, which is titled ‘Spooky Business: Corporate Espionage against Nonprofit Organizations’, Big Businesses not only put considerable resources into trying to undermine and discredit activists who might threaten corporation profits, they are often actually assisted in this by the intelligence community.

It seems that a prime target of this sinister nexus -- of Big Businesses and government intelligence agencies -- are organisations dedicated to environmental issues. Thus the group that has been targeted most is Greenpeace.

Dr Nafeez Ahmed of the Institute for Policy Research and Development elaborates on this in his blog "In the 1990s Greenpeace was tracked by private security firm Becket Brown International on behalf of the world’s largest chlorine producer Dow Chemicals… and Greenpeace offices in Europe were hacked and spied upon by French private intelligence firms at the behest of Electricite de France, the world’s largest operator of nuclear power plants and 25% owned by the French government."

According to the CCP report, the large corporations involved in this kind of espionage include, among others, Walmart, Monsanto, Bank of America, Dow Chemical, Kraft, Coca Cola, Burger King, McDonalds, Shell, BP, BAE and E.ON and a "diverse array of nonprofits have been targeted by espionage, environmental, anti-war, public interest, consumer, food safety, pesticide reform… gun control, social justice, animal rights and arms control groups".

The target is anybody who raises a voice that in any way threatens the prosperity of the business. No wonder then, that Nafeez Ahmed terms this ‘The War on Democracy’ and that Gary Ruskin, author of the CCP report, writes that "Corporate espionage against nonprofit organizations is an egregious abuse of corporate power that is subverting democracy".

What is also extremely disturbing about the report is its revelation that in the US the FBI is Big Business’s partner in crime. And they are doing this legally through InfraGard: a little known partnership between private industry, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security.

The report outlines processes and partnerships that highlight the dangers of the modern day practice of using ‘consultancies’ and of outsourcing work, particularly within the security sphere. Not only has the FBI been complicit with Big Business, ex-CIA as well as serving CIA staff have been too. And companies like the infamous Blackwater (rebranded as Xi) and security strategic forecasting organisations like Stratfor are mentioned in cases cited by the CCP report as well.

But even more shocking than the report itself is the fact that the media and the public have largely ignored it. The fact that most of the mainstream press was not outraged by these findings and that they did not feature on rolling news for any period of time indicates that the corporates and the spooks are winning the war against democratic thought and matters of principled conscience.

Money is the only principle, conscience is an old fashioned notion and Big Business is watching you.


Umber Khairi

The report can be found here 

Spooky business