“Tactics Developed for Use against Terrorists May Have Been Unleashed against American Citizens”

Hmmm. “Tactics developed for use on terrorists may have been unleashed against citizens.” That sounds like something I would have written about the HB Gary scandal. Twice.

It’s nice to see some members of Congress understand what the entire problem with this scandal is about.

In a letter to be released Tuesday, Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) and more than a dozen other lawmakers wrote that the e-mails appear “to reveal a conspiracy to use subversive techniques to target Chamber critics,” including “possible illegal actions against citizens engaged in free speech.”

The lawmakers say it is “deeply troubling” that “tactics developed for use against terrorists may have been unleashed against American citizens.”


The companies proposed forming a “corporate information reconnaissance cell” and discussed tactics such as creating online personas to infiltrate activist Web sites; planting false information to embarrass U.S. Chamber Watch and other groups; and trolling for personal information using powerful computer software.

You almost wonder whether this is why Aaron Barr resigned? To try to stave off attention to how common it is for corporations to treat citizen speech as terrorism?

  1. BoxTurtle says:

    Whom are they writing the letter to? HB gary? Chamber of Commerce? ObamaLLP?

    ’cause they’ve all been doing it.

    Boxturtle (Or is this a Sternly Worded Letter To Whom It May Concern?)

    • hotdog says:

      “Dear us,

      We’re a bunch of corporate owned, criminal enabling, useless, sock-puppets and we suck.

      – US Congress”

      • gannonguckert says:

        Hotdog–I jumped into the comments here just to indignantly ask the question, To Whom The Hell Did They Address It, only to see Boxturtle had posed the question right at the top.

        Thanks very much for providing the answer. Well done.

  2. wavpeac says:

    We felt it, on some level knew it…long before the facts became clear. We should never forget that “feeling” of censorship…to be used as a guide to the facts. So good to see it in print.

  3. slide says:

    What bothers me about this story is the fact that the MSM has essentially ignored the issue. Imagine Acorn having gotten caught doing something as egregious as what HB Gary, the Chamber of Commerce and others have done. Acorn was brought down on a fraud against them, even if true was not nearly the scope of what HB Gary and their cohorts have done. And it is doubtful there will be any real consequences as a result, unlike what happened to Acorn.

  4. PeasantParty says:

    Twice! Yes, you did! You have scooped our media so many times it is now shameful. No longer funny, just absolutely shameful.

    Yes, I commented on the fact that they were using warfare tactics on American citizens. I know that is why he is resigning and especially since the Bar Associations got so much mail and complaints against the Law Firm as well.

    We can’t let this story get swept under the rug. It has to be known nation wide and the perps need a walk!

  5. 1970cs says:

    “You almost wonder whether this is why Aaron Barr resigned?”

    …or who or what gave him a heads up?

    • BoxTurtle says:

      He likely resigned because of Anon harassing his firm and the parent nearly to death. His dismissal was part of what Anon wanted.

      Boxturtle( Though I’m sure that OFFICALLY theres no relation)

  6. Margaret says:

    To try to stave off attention to how common it is for corporations to treat citizen speech as terrorism?

    (emphasis mine)
    Precisely. Because it sure as hell isn’t going to stop the practice. And it’s not just the corporations. The police do it as well. On the local, state and federal levels.

  7. BoxTurtle says:

    Bar Associations got so much mail and complaints against the Law Firm

    Unh, link? I’m only aware of the one that velvetrevolution filed. And it’s being sat upon.

    Boxturtle (I still find it funny that Marcy can consistantly scoop the NYT from the Michigan UP)

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Don’t get your hopes up. The DC bar just admitted Kyle Sampson, a partner at, um, Hunton & Williams.

      For it to start finding actionable problems with these lawyers, it would need a forced epiphany, something as encouraging as what helped Capt. Reynaud to discover gambling at Rick’s place. The logical consequence of such an epiphany would then be to do what Capt. Reynaud did to Rick’s, because everybody would have been caught “gambling”.

      “Your winning’s sir.”
      “Oh, thank you very much.”

  8. knowbuddhau says:

    Now that’s more like it! Much obliged.

    Still, there’s no need for the conditional. We’ve known, thanks to Scott Horton, since Feb ’09, that

    The Pentagon’s Public Affairs Office has been one of the last redoubts of the Neoconservatives. Burrowed Bush era figures remain in key positions in the office, which had responsibility for implementation of some of the Rumsfeld Pentagon’s most controversial strategies in which the American public was targeted with practices previously associated with battlefield psy-ops. http://harpers.org/archive/2009/02/hbc-90004359

    Translation: We, my dear compatriots, have been under attack by our own forces, with weapons-grade weapons, for years now. That means, our hallowed “public opinion” is not our own, it’s fake consent manufactured by PSYOP.

    Of course, we all remember how our hero, Obama, repudiated and investigated these outrageous attacks against our entire body politic. HA!

    No, he’s still attacking us. And attacking Congress. Isn’t that special? Our CinC’s generals are attacking us, the very People whom they’re sworn to defend, whether he knows it or not. Hell, according to Ray McGovern, even Obama may be a target of “shock & awe” PSYOP. Let that sink in.

    [A radio show host] asked what I would tell President-elect Barack Obama if I were Mike Morell, the chief CIA analyst assigned to brief Obama daily.

    What fun, I thought. On more sober reflection, it seemed more useful to prepare questions of the kind President-elect Obama might wish to ask Morell, since the briefings are supposed to be a two-way street.

    Obama is no shrinking violet. Just the same, it may be useful to warn him not to succumb to the particular brand of “shock and awe” that can be induced by ostensibly sexy intelligence to color reactions of briefees, including presidents. I have seen it happen. http://consortiumblog.blogspot.com/2008/11/president-elects-queries-for-briefers.html

    So, who’s neat little PSYOP trick is that? Who’s running this show? Don’t governments that attack their own people forfeit Heaven’s Mandate?

    We’re under attack, too, just like the ones we’re oh so concerned about – when they’re distant enough not to implicate our selves or leaders in crimes against humanity.

    Our leaders are the monsters they’re warning us about. And so are we, to the exact extent we don’t resist, protest, and stop them. Today!

    I bow in all y’all’s vrrtl drrcxxns.

    • PeasantParty says:

      Had to take the elder mother to the doc yesterday. When we got there they had the waiting room divided up and quarantened part of it. The sick people on the other side were wearing face masks. I asked the nurse what the heck is going on and should we leave so the older mom doesn’t catch it.

      “I’m, er, we’re not sure what it is. We have had an enormous amount, extrodinary amount of people in with horrific malaise, weakness, and continual feeling of exhaustion.”

      I told the Mom not to touch anything and we should wash at every hand station. Sounds like some type of horrible virus has been released.

  9. Gitcheegumee says:

    “In times of universal deceit,telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.”

    George Orwell

  10. donbacon says:

    What to do?
    One thing is that we need to keep up the free speech — give them something to “creating online personas” for, so we can shoot them down.
    Let’s step up the attacks on the US and American Chambers.
    Why? Because jobs is job one.
    US corporations have found a super way to increase productivity and profits — outsource manufacturing and services to other countries. There are dozens of US firms who are promising that they can outsource nearly every corporate function to another country.

    The US Foreign Service has representatives at 265 embassies and consulates throughout the world who report to the state department. The commercial officers in these embassies and consulates work hand-in-glove with the US and American Chambers (AmChams) of Commerce to export US corporate investment and jobs.

    Currently there are 115 AmChams in 102 countries are affiliated with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
    Sales by their foreign affiliates nonetheless topped $5 trillion in 2008. In fact, roughly half of all revenue earned by Fortune 200 companies came from their foreign affiliates in recent years.

    For three decades, the United States has negotiated bilateral investment treaties (BITs) to protect U.S. investments abroad, and similar provisions are included in bilateral trade agreements. BITs open foreign markets to U.S. investment, uphold contract and property rights, and level the playing field by prohibiting discrimination against U.S. companies and guaranteeing them the same rights and responsibilities as domestic investors. BITs guarantee transparency with respect to investment-related laws and regulations.

    The result of all this traitorous action against US workers? U.S. GDP in March of 2008 was $14.546 Trillion and non farm employment was 137.841 million. Today, non-farm employment is 130.229 million and total GDP is $15.010 Trillion. So essentially we have $500 billion more output from almost 8 million fewer workers.

    The GDP, corporate profits and payoffs to politicians are doing just fine, thank you, but the US government together with the American Chambers which are affiliated with the US Chamber of Commerce are selling US workers down the river.

    • Gitcheegumee says:

      Do you happen to recall the Soprano style ad that ran in Minnesota against Franken a few years back,when he and Coleman were campaining against each other?

      Franken was pro labor and the Chamber and its corporate overlords were in overdrive to defeat him.

      • Gitcheegumee says:

        Group tied to Coleman’s $600 landlord runs anti-Franken ad …Aug 28, 2008 … Group tied to Coleman’s $600 landlord runs anti-Franken ad – POLITICO … Norm Coleman — is uncorking a second round of negative ads against Coleman opponent Al Franken. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a client of Larson’s …


        Bail-OUT EXECS PLOT AGAINST LABOR BILL – Democratic UndergroundJan 27, 2009 … Look behind all of them and you find the US Chamber of Commerce …… Last year ,Crooks and Liars had a video of a TV ad run in Minnesota . … a new intentionally misleading Sopranos-spoof TV ad by the Coalition … MN Senate Race: “Reality Check” Pwns Anti-Worker Astroturf Ad Against Al Franken …

        http://www.democraticunderground.com › Discuss – Cached

        • Gitcheegumee says:

          FDL Book Salon Welcomes Ken Silverstein: Turkmeniscam | FiredoglakeNov 15, 2008 … Do you see Nasser Kazeminy as working in concert with Norm Coleman’s friends in the Republican establishment–guys like Jeff Larsen from FLS …
          firedoglake.com/2008/11/…/fdl-book-salon-turkmeniscam-by-ken-silverstein /

          NOTE: This is a very interesting and complimentary salon to much of what is being discussed here,now, and in the past few days.
          (Incidentally the FLS group (premier GOP go to guys )was endorsed by Rove on its website,FWIW.FLS and Chamber worked closerthanthis,from what I have read.)

  11. behindthefall says:

    Why would U.S.Ch.Comm. people who watched or were going to watch the Team Themis presentation have known who Brad Friedman even was UNLESS they had an intense interest in electronic voting machines and their susceptibilities? (Mr. Friedman is probably not well-known throughout the general public, less so among corporate types with better things to do than read blogs.)

  12. donbacon says:

    Actually the US government is a more appropriate target than the AmChams, although they’re both at fault and so we should attack both. But the government belongs to us, correct? One thing is that they are using “foreign aid” funds, taxpayer money, funneled through USAID to help foreign companies and workers take US jobs.

    India is just one example, of many.

    Boeing: “There’s been a paradigm shift – we’re no longer just buying and selling. We are creating an industrial footprint here in India. Like the P8I deal I talked about – so over $ 600 million worth of offsets – we have started placing contracts for that. We have an R&T center – a Research and Technology center – in Bangalore that we recently launched.”

    The U.S. Export-Import Bank, Overseas Private Investment Corporation and Trade Development Agency plan to significantly increase their already robust participation in renewable energy development in India through their financing programs. . .The U.S. Agency for International Development has been able to partner with private sector companies on projects that support contract farming and private marketing . . there will be a substantial increase in the number of Fulbright-Nehru scholarships for graduate and post-graduate training.

    David C. Mulford, U.S. Ambassador to India, January 24, 2007: “As I hope you are hearing, the U.S. Government solidly supports the efforts of U.S. companies’ in India. Our Commercial Section has developed a strategy under our Commercial Dialogue, that focuses on ten strategic industry initiatives (in areas such as telecom, energy, and aerospace), and selected strategic niche sectors, such as such as machine tools, scrap recycling, and printing technology.”

  13. donbacon says:

    Why is the US still in Afghanistan after ten fruitless years?

    The business of America is business, and the US Chamber of Commerce together with its foreign affiliates American Chambers, will always help expand the US economic empire. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce (Eurasia Business Platform) held a marquee conference, “Silk Road Trade and Investment: New Pathways for U.S.-Central Asia Economic Ties” on October 7-8, 2009. This event brought together Ministers, corporate decision makers and experts from the public and private sectors to discuss the opportunities and challenges of the rapidly emerging market nestled strategically between Europe, China, Russia, South Asia, Turkey and the Middle East.

    The US Senate has had a continuing interest in the “Silk Road” countries of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan and Afghansistan is a key factor..

    S. 2749 IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES May 4, 2006 A BILL To update the Silk Road Strategy Act of 1999 to modify targeting of assistance in order to support the economic and political independence of the countries of Central Asia and the South Caucasus in recognition of political and economic changes in these regions since enactment of the original legislation.

    “In General- The United States has significant long-term interests in the countries of Central Asia and the South Caucasus. These interests concern security, economic development, energy, and human rights. Accordingly, it is the policy of the United States to seek political and economic stability in the social development of, and cooperative relationships with, the countries of Central Asia and the South Caucasus, including by providing assistance in accordance with the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961.”

    “The liberation of Afghanistan from Taliban misrule and the new course in Afghanistan toward political and economic openness make possible the country’s reintegration into Central Asia. . . The ouster of the Taliban from Afghanistan has diminished threats to that country’s neighbors in Central Asia, allowing for accelerated progress toward democracy, open economies, and the rule of law across the region. Afghanistan’s embrace of popular sovereignty and political pluralism demonstrates the universal applicability of these values.”

  14. earlofhuntingdon says:

    I hope a team as good as a few of the Anonymous hackers have helped FDL with its back office magic. Ditto Salon and Glenn Greenwald. Both are surely on a short list of First Amendment service providers TPTB would prefer to see shut down or discredited.

    As I’ve written about before, hacking and disinformation campaigns for corporate (and, presumably, governmental) fun and profit is a well-practiced game. Here’s one example from the UK.

    Rupert Murdoch’s top tabloid in the UK, the News of the World, was under investigation for it in 2005. That investigation is again in the press over acknowledgments that it was badly bungled, constricted and shut down too soon. The “lone” reporter and lone “rogue” private dick that were convicted in it may turn out to have company. A lot of company.

    Allegations are swirling that many of the NOTW’s reporters and top management were involved in soliciting hacked information on dozens, possibly over a hundred, celebrities and politicians. These range from top soccer managers with inside knowledge of player fitness to top aides to the PM and defense establishment.

    Betting shops, opposition politicians, spies and stock brokers would be on anyone’s short list of who might be interested in such information. Consequently, rumors are also swirling that more was done with that information than embarrass those public figures. The potential liability and scandal might be far greater than breach of computer laws and breach of privacy claims, though those are taken more seriously in the UK than here. The original investigation has been reopened and may be taken over by a group independent of the police.

    The point is that HBGary-like campaigns have been going on for some time. The NOTW case is six years old. The latter implicates a large subsidiary of the world’s biggest media owner, Rupert Murdoch, who, coincidentally is in the midst of attempting another large takeover of a popular broadcaster in the UK.

    This is pure speculation, mind, but Mr. Murdoch owns media properties in most major markets around the world. Two of them in the US are Fox and the WSJ. Good ideas travel fast, as do Jeffrey Skilling’s ethics: anything is legal until the government catches you, stops you and makes you pay a consequence far greater than the short-term return on that questionable or patently illegal behavior.

    So the questions are, just how widespread are those HBGary-like practices and what actions have they led to? Is Roger Ailes really at risk of being indicted? Inquiring minds would like to know.

    • Gitcheegumee says:


      It’s not about right or wrong,legal or illegal-it’s what you can get away with.


      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        It’s bringing street crime into the boardroom and basing mega-bonuses on how well it’s done.

          • earlofhuntingdon says:

            I guess that makes us VUIP. But there’ll be no Susan B. Anthony waiting for us at the Vegas airport.

            • Gitcheegumee says:

              All of the discussions these past few days have had me ruminating over what is the actual difference between rhetoric and propaganda.

              Well, syncronistically enough,Chris Floyd has written another superb piece that ends with this:

              it’s also true that something real and valuable — a countervailing current of hope, solidarity and concern for the poor and oppressed — has been lost … or else buried beneath mountains of the bloodflecked slag of empire and elitism …

              Rhetoric is often empty and meaningless, of course… But it’s not entirely unimportant either. It sets down markers by which the hypocrisy of those in power can be judged; and it can help shape the consciousness, the perceptions and the expectations of individuals in a society. When even the word of compassion is no longer heard, when even the rhetoric of solidarity and fellow-feeling are scorned and demonized, then yes, something real has been lost, and people’s society — and their minds — have been degraded…

              OpEdNews – Article: Lost Horizons: The Degradation of the …Feb 27, 2011 … Lost Horizons: The Degradation of the Democratic Dogma …. then yes, something real has been lost, and people’s society — and their minds …
              http://www.opednews.com/…/Lost-Horizons-The-Degrada-by-Chris-Floyd-110226 -69.html – Cached

              NOTE: This is a superb piece that should not be missed. I am not certain it clarifies the differences between rhetoric and propaganda, but it’s a hell of a read.

              • earlofhuntingdon says:

                A classic difference is that rhetoric, by definition, is meant to inspire action. Propaganda often hopes to inspire inaction, to keep the masses docile or pliable; it also comforts the oppressed by giving them an outside other over whom they can feel superior and, in turn, can discriminate against.

                Propaganda shades into rhetoric when it seeks to do such things as encourage military enlistment with unrealistic descriptions of life in arms, when it seeks support for wars built on lies, or when it hopes to get out the vote for the party that propagandizes the best.

                Propaganda is always false, by omission or commission. Rhetoric can be truthful or propagandistic.

                • brendanx says:

                  “Propaganda is always false, by omission or commission”

                  Not at all. The root of “propaganda” is the same as for “propagate”. It just means politically organized dissemination of speech, whether truth, lies or both. The best propaganda is true.

                  • earlofhuntingdon says:

                    The best propaganda is built on truth, better yet, half truths, but its purpose is to lie.

                  • earlofhuntingdon says:

                    You’re right in the sense that propaganda at its most basic seeks to influence opinion through appeals to emotion rather than logic, and that it can technically be used for benign or evil purposes alike. I am speaking about the more commonly experienced, political, military and economic propaganda that seeks to influence opinion through deceit, via partial truths intermixed with false ones or false conclusions based on correct facts. Karl Rove was a master at it.

  15. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Glenzilla’s comment from yesterday afternoon fits right in with this topic and is a must read.

    He blasts James Goldsmith’s defense of Bill Keller and the Times in its non-coverage of the Raymond Davis affair. Goldsmith is essentially saying that American media explicitly choose “patriotism” and “loyalty” – promoting USG-defined interests – in choosing what and how they report. Glenn agrees, but then points out what Marcy or Izzy Stone would: that’s true, it’s bias, it’s undisclosed, it’s deceitful, and it generates propaganda, not news.

    Read the whole thing.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Related to that is Goldsmith’s argument that global media’s failure to abide by US media’s loyalty ethos is making life harder for the USG to promote its interests. Include WikiLeaks, bloggers, and outliers like Marcy and Glenn in the description of uncooperative global media.

      Mr. Goldsmith may now be at Harvard, but I assume he remains in good stead with the Republican PTB, so he’s speaking for a wide list of patrons. His defense of Keller and the Times is an implicit defense of HBGary-like tactics, as an effort to counteract the nefarious influences of uncooperative media.

      Goldsmith is arguing, in effect, that the real nefarious, irresponsible and illegal conduct is merely a hand tool of government. Rove-like, he is making arguments against it into a matter of opinion, upon which all citizens good and true might credibly disagree. Crap.

  16. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Re Goldsmith, Glenn points to this reader comment that could have come from here:

    I’d suggest Goldsmith doesn’t know what he’s looking at re: journalism. He’s seeing all this bowing and scraping among journalists and their institutions and calling it “patriotism”. It’s no more patriotic here than it was at Versailles. These guys are no longer concerned with what is best for the nation as a whole–they’re simply trying to thrive in the court.

  17. earlofhuntingdon says:

    OT for giggles is this comment from an English critic, reviewing a new film about King John starring Paul Giamatti, Ironclad. The debate is about why King John is considered one of England’s worst kings:

    The truth is that he was an inept politician but he wasn’t a tyrant, says Mr Sturtevant. His conflicts were not with his subjects but with barons, the Pope or the French.

    “I see him a bit like Barack Obama in so far as he inherited a nightmare situation from his predecessor but because he was a bad politician he didn’t help himself to get out of it.”

    Funny, but there’s another parallel: concern for the welfare of serfs, peasants, tradesmen, farmers and ordinary merchants – as opposed to the largest, who could finance their treasuries – was not a priority at all for medieval bishops and monarchs. Plus ca change.

  18. Nell says:

    Apologies if this has been covered – I’m rushing and haven’t read the comments – but:

    It’s all criminal, outrageous, etc. But the biggest outrage to me in this is the Justice Dept’s role in hooking up the aggrieved corporation with the goons in the first place. Stephen Colbert put the clearest focus on that aspect of anyone who’s writing or talking about this (the clip is at Greenwald’s site). We need to get his language out there “I know a guy who knows a guy who can take care of your problem…”

  19. MicheleMooreHappy1 says:

    The same corrupt crowd is silencing bank whistle blowers –

    See: http://ReportingWrongdoing.com

    Ever wonder why we don’t hear from bank whistle blowers with all the fraud in the banking and mortgage industries? Bank whistle blowers are routinely silenced by corrupt companies like HBGary and Hunton Williams.

    I worked on the first McKinsey Client Team when I joined SunTrust Bank (it was Trust Company of Georgia at the time) and was able to see the bank’s operations from a very unusual perspective.

    Three SunTrust Executive Vice Presidents were fired for accounting improprieties during a major SEC investigation – the EVP I reported to survived. When I was told a trusted work colleague was pushed to suicide by the problems, I went to the SEC with additional information.

    The hacking and spoofing of my Verizon Blackberry cellphone and email, the stalk and smear campaign, thefts and vandalism that CONTINUES TODAY today escalated dramatically.

    It’s really hard to get good legal help when your telephone and email are hacked. I have money to pay attorneys and brokerage statements to prove it.

    If you have a good NYC legal referral, please get it to me – try postal mail, I get no responses by email.

    Sooner or later the truth will come out!

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Bank whistleblowers are frequently the first to be jailed. It should come as no surprise that the Swiss legally treat revealing corporate secrets the same as treason to the state. They are not alone in fact, if not in law. It’s not the family bank account secrets of Heidi and Renee or of the local brasserie that are the primary beneficiaries of such vociferous protection.

  20. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Pithy quotes about propaganda abound. Here’s one from Richard Crossman, as quoted by Wikipedia:

    “In propaganda truth pays… It is a complete delusion to think of the brilliant propagandist as being a professional liar. The brilliant propagandist is the man who tells the truth, or that selection of the truth which is requisite for his purpose, and tells it in such a way that the recipient does not think he is receiving any propaganda… […] The art of propaganda is not telling lies, bur rather selecting the truth you require and giving it mixed up with some truths the audience wants to hear.”

    Before becoming a senior British politician and diarist, Crossman was deputy director for what we would now call PsyOps for the Allied command in Europe in WWII, so consider the source.

    Here’s a longer essay by Edward Herman at U. Penn., who worked with Noam Chomsky on Manufacturing Consent.

    The common theme is deception.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Churchill betters Crossman’s extended definition of deception-via-truthtelling by inventing a pithier term for government lies – terminological inexactitudes – an Orwellian phrase invented before George Orwell turned three.

      • Gitcheegumee says:

        Terminological inexactitude is a phrase introduced in 1906 by British politician (later Prime Minister) Winston Churchill. Today, it is used as a euphemism or circumlocution meaning a lie or untruth.

        Churchill first used the phrase during the 1906 election.

        It seems this first usage was strictly literal, merely a roundabout way of referring to inexact or inaccurate terminology. But it was soon interpreted or taken up as a euphemism for an outright lie. To accuse another member in the House of lying is unparliamentary, so a way of implying that without saying it was very useful. Wiki

        Now that’s a real dude with some seriously original “tude”!

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Churchill’s neologism was intentionally Orwellian and meant to cover lies – deceptions in fact, if not in law or in strict definitional terms. That partly accounts for how quickly it came to mean a humorous expression for baldfaced lie, at least for those accustomed to polysyllabic speech. Given limited turn of the 19th century access to education, that meant fewer people than today.

          Churchill first used “terminological inexactitude” in a 1906 parliamentary speech. He used it to discredit critics’ who characterized as a form of slavery the extension to South Asians of highly controversial “pass laws” in South Africa.

          He was a newly minted junior cabinet minister, the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies. Ironically, given that his escapades in South Africa helped win him election to Parliament (on his second attempt), and given that in his maiden speech he displayed unusual sympathy for the Boers, he now had responsibility for defending the government’s actions with respect to South Africa.

          One of these was a new pass law, an extension to the pass laws that already required registration of blacks. The extension was specifically targeted at emigrant workers from South Asia. Failure to carry a fingerprint ID at all times meant risking expulsion and a record when being returned to India, consequences that could mean going without work for a long time. In the subsistence economies for black Africans and South Asians in South Africa and India, both ruled by the same empire, that could be a death sentence.

          Critics characterized the practical effects of the pass law as a form of slavery. Churchill disagreed, and in defending his government, dismissed the characterization with his new phrase. But he knew that keeping tabs on the large influx of Indian workers was a high priority and intended to keep them firmly under control in a colony still reeling from the after effects of the Boer War. Among other causes for widespread lingering resentment, was the corrosive maltreatment of POW’s, including the deaths while in British custody of tens of thousands of white women and children.

          To add to the irony, combating the pass laws Churchill was defending became the cause celebre of Mohandas K. Gandhi, whom Churchill would regard as a lifelong nemesis. In a seven-year campaign to get those pass laws changed, Gandhi first advocated using civil disobedience as a tactic to shame TPTB – imperial London and its colonial deputees – into changing their minds. As a result,

          thousands of Indians were jailed (including Gandhi himself on many occasions), flogged, or even shot, for striking, refusing to register, burning their registration cards, or engaging in other forms of non-violent resistance. While the government was successful in repressing the Indian protesters, the public outcry stemming from the harsh methods employed by the South African government in the face of peaceful Indian protesters finally forced South African General Jan Christiaan Smuts to negotiate a compromise with Gandhi.

          Which brings us back around to HBGary and events in Wisconsin, Ohio and DC. Civil rights are frequently not rights at all, and more than civility is required to retain them in the face of concerted efforts to dismiss them as bloatedly expensive or hamstringing to growth, profits and “jobs”.

          • earlofhuntingdon says:

            Smuts was president of South Africa, but in effect, he was London’s deputee. The Times of London describes him as “compromising” with Gandhi. That’s a euphemism. It understates that the campaign Gandhi led in 1906-1913 forced a white South African general and president, within a year of the start of the First World War, to formally back down on legislation and policy involving the subjugation of blacks and South Asians. His successor did not repeal the apartheid laws until 1991.

            Mohandas K. Gandhi was a graduate of Cambridge University, a barrister and a member of the Inner Temple. But for Smuts, in social terms, he was a half-naked fakir (albeit Hindu, not Muslim). He forced him to retreat through the power of his will, through leading by example, and through the simple force of thousands of people peacefully demanding (though being treated shamefully in return) that their rights be respected, when in truth they were commonly flouted. Gandhi won. So can we.

            • earlofhuntingdon says:

              To be a little clearer, Jan Smuts was a Boer and a former enemy, one of the insurgents’ top leaders. But on this issue, he and his government were as one with their imperial overlords in London, in much the same way as the London-appointed governors general of India were when Gandhi left South Africa and returned home to pursue the causes of Indian self-government and fair economic treatment for all Indians.

              The winds of change, the acceptance of colonial aspirations for independence and what that meant for the future of the British empire, that Harold Macmillan found himself able to acknowledge, were winds that Churchill resolutely refused to accept.

  21. Gitcheegumee says:

    Earl, the depth and breadth of your elegant intellect is astonishing.

    Merci,mon seigneur,encore.

  22. Gitcheegumee says:

    Just a couple of random thougts, how ironic that politics contains the word polite…policy…police…

    And in reference to comment #57 about fingerprinting ,etc,did you by chance did you see my post about DNA testing by DHS at airports,I posted earlier?

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      I did see it, thanks. Startling development. The practical and legal ramifications are gobsmacking. Ironically, the Brits are officially retreating from their practice of taking DNA samples from all arrestees, regardless of the crime or ultimate conviction. The European Court helped the government come to the realization that attempting to collect DNA, using a variety of means, on its entire population, was bad practice and an unacceptable, unnecessary invasion of privacy.

      Pity we have no effective privacy laws here, and limited ability to regulate how freely the government outsources what it has to the private sector, which then uses it for fun and profit, anonymized, of course.