Palantir: Where the GWOT meets spying on progressives

Forget Cambridge Analytica. Palantir is the real scandal.

Sankar, Palantir employee No. 13 and now one of the company’s top executives, also showed up in another Palantir scandal: the company’s 2010 proposal for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to run a secret sabotage campaign against the group’s liberal opponents. Hacked emails released by the group Anonymous indicated that Palantir and two other defense contractors pitched outside lawyers for the organization on a plan to snoop on the families of progressive activists, create fake identities to infiltrate left-leaning groups, scrape social media with bots, and plant false information with liberal groups to subsequently discredit them.

Did you ever get the feeling that there was an organized effort against progressives?
You were right.

Karp issued a public apology and said he and Palantir were deeply committed to progressive causes.

Nevermind. Palantir was deeply committed to civil liberties...unless it gets in the way of making a buck.

Palantir began work with the LAPD in 2009. The impetus was federal funding. After several Sept. 11 postmortems called for more intelligence sharing at all levels of law enforcement, money started flowing to Palantir to help build data integration systems for so-called fusion centers, starting in L.A. There are now more than 1,300 trained Palantir users at more than a half-dozen law enforcement agencies in Southern California, including local police and sheriff’s departments and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
The LAPD uses Palantir’s Gotham product for Operation Laser, a program to identify and deter people likely to commit crimes. Information from rap sheets, parole reports, police interviews, and other sources is fed into the system to generate a list of people the department defines as chronic offenders, says Craig Uchida, whose consulting firm, Justice & Security Strategies Inc., designed the Laser system. The list is distributed to patrolmen, with orders to monitor and stop the pre-crime suspects as often as possible, using excuses such as jaywalking or fix-it tickets. At each contact, officers fill out a field interview card with names, addresses, vehicles, physical descriptions, any neighborhood intelligence the person offers, and the officer’s own observations on the subject.

No, that isn't scary and Orwellian at all.
The article ends with an ominous quote.

“The world changed when it became clear everyone could be targeted using Palantir. Nefarious ideas became trivial to implement; everyone’s a suspect, so we monitored everything. It was a pretty terrible feeling.”

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Wow, I had almost completely forgotten how Anonymous had outed their corporate/RW agenda bullshit. From Lee Fang in 2013

By November of that year, Palantir, HBGary Federal and another firm, Berico, had discussed the effort to push back against the Chamber’s critics several times with a number of the Chamber’s attorneys at the law/lobbying firm Hunton and Williams, and had prepared a series of presentations detailing their proposal to the Chamber. One of the attorneys involved in the discussions, Hunton and William's Richard Wyatt, had already been retained by the Chamber to sue the Yes Men, a comedic advocacy group, for impersonating the Chamber at a prank press conference.

The presentations, which were also leaked by Anonymous, contained ethically questionable tactics, like creating a “false document, perhaps highlighting periodical financial information,” to give to a progressive group opposing the Chamber, and then subsequently exposing the document as a fake to undermine the credibility of the Chamber’s opponents. In addition, the group proposed creating a “fake insider persona” to “generate communications” with Change to Win, a federation of labor unions that sponsored the watchdog site, US Chamber Watch.

Their suggested targets?

In January of 2011, Hunton and Williams, which had met with the Chamber to discuss the proposals, sent by courier a CD with target data to the contractors. The targets discussed in e-mails included labor unions SEIU, IBT, UFW, UFCW, AFL-CIO, Change to Win, as well as progressive organizations like the Center for American Progress, MoveOn.org, Courage Campaign, the Ruckus Society, Agit-Pop, Brave New Films and others.

Do folks remember Ray Pensador TOP harping on this (general) topic? I thought he was on target about corporate & MIC infiltration & trolling/ratfucking the online left. Too bad he was relentlessly harassed (by corpraMIC tools?) into flaming out.

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JVolvo2

Pluto's Republic's picture

@JVolvo2

...but he doesn't really know what this place is about. He seemed mistrustful of c99, too, conflating us with the harpies and flying monkeys who drove him out of DK. He was treated terribly there, and I think it broke him. He was a very reasonable person, very clear and organized. That, in itself, may have been a threat to the right-wing Dems.

Of course, these are my impressions and I could be reading it wrong. It seemed to me that the sometimes effusive support for him that was expressed by people here, was not heard. Or was misheard. He was defensive rather than responsive to individuals, and then he was gone again. He had a great talent for meta politics (big picture forensics) that bloomed late.

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@JVolvo2

. . . to the existence of "sock puppet identities"/paid trolls on internet comment sections.

Thanks Anonymous for exposing them and alerting me to their existence, and to the ways in which the internet can be deceitfully manipulated.

Now, I've come to the point that my default position in dealing with commenters that post things that have been completely debunked by facts, is that they are on somebody's payroll.

I have especially come to view the "members" of the GOS "community," in that light. I strongly suspect that most of the people that write there, and most of the people that post there in response, do so motivated by some kind of a paycheck. It is a pure psyop/propaganda operation.

Thanks Anonymous for educating me about how the real world of the internet works.

And thanks HBGary and Palantir. I couldn't have done it without you.

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Meteor Man's picture

This is bone chilling news gjohnsit. Thx. We started hearing rumors about LAPD/Federal Fusion Centers a little bit after Occupy, but this type of detailed, factual information was completely absent. We knew the LAPD was doing this all the time:

The list is distributed to patrolmen, with orders to monitor and stop the pre-crime suspects as often as possible, using excuses such as jaywalking or fix-it tickets. At each contact, officers fill out a field interview card with names, addresses, vehicles, physical descriptions, any neighborhood intelligence the person offers, and the officer’s own observations on the subject.

but had no clue how extensive their database was:

There are now more than 1,300 trained Palantir users at more than a half-dozen law enforcement agencies in Southern California, including local police and sheriff’s departments and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

The problem with getting photographed for innocuous reasons and entered into the "gang database" is a well known problem. Parents have complained that there is no way to remove their children from the database, even if they find out. Unverifiable and false information cannot be corrected.

This Thiel quote says it all:

“Most importantly, I no longer believe that freedom and democracy are compatible.”

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"They'll say we're disturbing the peace, but there is no peace. What really bothers them is that we are disturbing the war." Howard Zinn

@Meteor Man
It's democracy and capitalism that don't work together.

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Meteor Man's picture

@gjohnsit
I intended to say the quote says everything you need to know about Thiel. That quote begs the question of what kind of political system Thiel favors that is compatible with freedom. Some sort of Police State Oligarchic Dictatorship I guess.

So in Thiel's opinion America is on the right MAGA path.

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"They'll say we're disturbing the peace, but there is no peace. What really bothers them is that we are disturbing the war." Howard Zinn

dance you monster's picture

@Meteor Man

You might recall a few years ago his interest (and some investment) in designs for a floating city for rich folks far from tax collectors or other nuisances.

http://abcnews.go.com/Travel/peter-thiel-floating-nation-photos-reveal-t...

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/jan/02/seasteading-peter-thi...

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Meteor Man's picture

@dance you monster
I missed those stories, but it explains his character or lack thereof.

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"They'll say we're disturbing the peace, but there is no peace. What really bothers them is that we are disturbing the war." Howard Zinn

thanatokephaloides's picture

@gjohnsit

Thiel is confused It's democracy and capitalism that don't work together.

Thiel is indeed confused. Contrary to the most beloved thoughts of right-wingers, freedom doesn't work well with capitalism, either. (Unless, of course, one is seriously rich already.)

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"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own asses on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg

The Aspie Corner's picture

It may as well be anyway with the way they're cracking down on it anyway.

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@The Aspie Corner see the left as the enemy. They're afraid of us. That's why OWS was an orphan to both parties, when the D's should have been in the front lines.

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Hawkfish's picture

A number of CA employees used to work at Palantir.

And what’s with the name, anyway? The only people in TLOTR who used them were evil.

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We may find that we’re all alone
In the dream of the proud.
- Pink Floyd, On the Turning Away

Do they want my house? My income? My family? What
exactly do I have that they must take from me?
I AM IN THEIR WAY AND IMPEDING THEIR PROGRESS.

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@on the cusp

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zoebear's picture

When the surveillance horse is already out of the barn?

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"World is a multi-dimensional reality. At lower levels, it is full with unconsciousness and competitiveness. At higher level, it is full of beauty, bliss and divinity. Focus on higher dimensions"
~Amit Ray

@zoebear The benefit to "them" for raping me to death personally and financially is so miniscule, I can't figure it out.
What do they want from me and you?
WHAT?

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zoebear's picture

@on the cusp

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"World is a multi-dimensional reality. At lower levels, it is full with unconsciousness and competitiveness. At higher level, it is full of beauty, bliss and divinity. Focus on higher dimensions"
~Amit Ray

Wink's picture

@on the cusp

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the little things you can do are more valuable than the giant things you can't! - @thanatokephaloides. On Twitter @wink1radio. (-1.9) All about building progressive media.

@on the cusp

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@on the cusp to their service.

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dfarrah

Meteor Man's picture

@zoebear
The OP article throws this out there:

Why the courts haven’t ruled on whether Palantir’s analytical tools are legal

Civil rights advocates say the compilation of a digital dossier of someone’s life, absent a court warrant, is an unlawful intrusion under the U.S. Constitution. Law enforcement officials say that’s not the case. For now, the question is unsettled, and that may be no accident. Civil liberties lawyers are seeking a case to challenge the constitutionality of Palantir’s use, but prosecutors and immigration agents have been careful not to cite the software in evidentiary documents, says Paromita Shah, associate director of the National Lawyers Guild’s National Immigration Project. “Palantir lives on that secrecy,” she says.

It would probably require new legislation and pervasive oversight by ACLU type attornies in some newly created division of the Justice Department, (after Sessions and Trump are gone) over all data mining companies, including FB, Google, Amazon et. al.

I would hazard a guess that their connections to law enforcement and other security state operations gives them substantial immunity.

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"They'll say we're disturbing the peace, but there is no peace. What really bothers them is that we are disturbing the war." Howard Zinn

zoebear's picture

@Meteor Man

It would probably require new legislation and pervasive oversight by ACLU type attornies in some newly created division of the Justice Department, (after Sessions and Trump are gone) over all data mining companies, including FB, Google, Amazon et. al.

Taking this on. This is the way the permanent state will control us which they will need to do to keep everything in check. Who ever is in office doesn't dictate to the permanent state. It's the other way around.

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"World is a multi-dimensional reality. At lower levels, it is full with unconsciousness and competitiveness. At higher level, it is full of beauty, bliss and divinity. Focus on higher dimensions"
~Amit Ray

Meteor Man's picture

@zoebear
Our chance of getting the type of Executive, Legislative and Judicial oversight required was left in the dust by Obama and Citizens United. The Surveillance Security State appears to be in complete control.

Here's a related article by Jim Hightower on The Kochtopus is Extending Its Tentacles

. . . in January, Charles Koch boasted: "We've made more progress in the last five years than I had in the previous 50. ... The capabilities we have now can take us to a whole new level." The network has pledged to spend an additional $400 million on the 2018 elections ... including elections at the local and state levels.

The article includes a very good summary of the extensive influence of The Kochtopus.

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"They'll say we're disturbing the peace, but there is no peace. What really bothers them is that we are disturbing the war." Howard Zinn

zoebear's picture

@Meteor Man

How depressing. And to think I volunteered for Obama's campaign. Twice.

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"World is a multi-dimensional reality. At lower levels, it is full with unconsciousness and competitiveness. At higher level, it is full of beauty, bliss and divinity. Focus on higher dimensions"
~Amit Ray

k9disc's picture

American Oligarchs.

The Kochs, Soros, CA, Fusion GPS, Podesta, Manafort, etc.

These guys are going to do it again. The Kochs' have been bragging about their capture and intention to capture of US Democratic process for the last 20 years.

I'm doing this every chance I can now. Our Oligarchs. American Oligarchs. "It ain't Putin that's making the NRA and America suck..."

We should be pushing, proactively, on the electoral manipulation and malfeasance front.

OUR Oligarchs. Warn our people about American Oligarchs who make Russian Oligarchs look like pikers.

How many wars are they in, anyway?

How much wealth have they stolen from Russians? Can't be anywhere near what our boys slice off for themselves.

@Meteor Man

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“Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” ~ Sun Tzu

EdMass's picture

Foolish Took...

The world changed when it became clear everyone could be targeted using Palantir.

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"I'd love to change the world
But I don't know what to do
So I'll leave it up to you"

Alvin Lee - Ten Years After

Stop the War!

Citizen Of Earth's picture

has been resurrected -- with exponentially better surveillance tools. The USSA Titanic is about an hour from sinking.

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Donnie The #ShitHole Douchebag. Fake Friend to the Working Class. Real Asshole.

@Citizen Of Earth
Everybody knows that.

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Beware the bullshit factories.