Walmart and “black ops”

This story is still emerging, but it has to do with hiring an investigative firm to get data on protesters by a number of US firms. Cops and Former Secret Service Agents Ran Black Ops on Green Groups
A private security company organized and managed by former Secret Service officers spied on Greenpeace and other environmental organizations from the late 1990s through at least 2000, pilfering documents from trash bins, attempting to plant undercover operatives within groups, casing offices, collecting phone records of activists, and penetrating confidential meetings. According to company documents provided to Mother Jones by a former investor in the firm, this security outfit collected confidential internal records—donor lists, detailed financial statements, the Social Security numbers of staff members, strategy memos—from these organizations and produced intelligence reports for public relations firms and major corporations involved in environmental controversies.
In addition to focusing on environmentalists, the firm, Beckett Brown International (later called S2i), provided a range of services to a host of clients. According to its billing records, BBI engaged in "intelligence collection" for Allied Waste; it conducted background checks and performed due diligence for the Carlyle Group, the Washington-based investment firm; it provided "protective services" for the National Rifle Association; it handled "crisis management" for the Gallo wine company and for Pirelli; it made sure that the Louis Dreyfus Group, the commodities firm, was not being bugged; it engaged in "information collection" for Wal-Mart...
Let's get one thing perfectly clear, the powerful in this country are only willing to allow dissent as long as it is ineffective or of marginal importance. When there are real challenges to the current power structure the gloves come off. Administration Set to Use New Spy Program in U.S.
The Bush administration said yesterday that it plans to start using the nation's most advanced spy technology for domestic purposes soon, rebuffing challenges by House Democrats over the idea's legal authority.
I've written elsewhere on the real uses for surveillance. History has shown that attempts to find foreign or domestic forces aimed at violence quickly morph into secret policing aimed at all political opposition. The transition from tracking those who are opposed to the existing structure of society to seeing as a threat anyone who is opposed to the specific individuals who are in power at the moment is an easy one. The "L'etat est moi" position of Louis XIV has had an appeal to every tin horn dictator since. One only has to look around the globe at this moment to see how many leaders have this attitude. What sets the US apart is that it is now setting up a permanent, secret force using the most high tech system to monitor its own population. I doubt that any future president will be able to resist the lure of keeping tabs on everyone, or that they would be able to turn off this operation even if they wished to. Secret operations aren't only kept from the public, but from other branches of government as well. It is widely known that J. Edgar Hoover had the FBI keep files on all the members of congress and others in government. The files were stored in his office and were outside all the usual FBI indexing systems. Imagine what has been developed since his time.

3 Responses to “Walmart and “black ops””

  1. What with the directive from WalMart for RFID chips,and its potential to glean ultra personal info at its proposed health care clinics,well,well, welcome to the Corporation of WalMart States…..COWS.

  2. Not to raise paranoia to an even higher level, but…

    One of the concerns about RFID is that they can be placed in items in a way that the consumer does not know that they are there. In addition they can remain active forever. They use no power, but just wake up when polled.

    So placing RFID tags in clothing will allow tracking of people as they shop (or do almost anything else) without their knowledge or consent. Civil liberties folks are concerned and want security measures taken to prevent this. One scheme is to have the chips self destruct after the item is purchased.

    Like all such programs that depend upon voluntary compliance, if the rewards from breaking the rules are great enough they will be ignored.

  3. There is an excellent site called which deals extensively with the use of RFID in the retail marketplace. It is not paranoia ,IMHO, to be aware AND informed.

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