Tuesday, March 19, 2013

'Shut the Chamber' may be offshoot of Brett Kimberlin's 'Stop the Chamber' campaign

A week ago, on March 15, I received the following fundraising email from 'Democracy News, a service of the Liberty Tree Foundation,' a non-governmental organization incorporated in Wisconsin. The subject header was "The Chamber spied on us," and the senders were listed as Sarah, Adam, Dave and Ben.

"We’ve never told you this before, but thanks to Wikileaks and Anonymous, we have evidence that the Chamber of Commerce spied on us," the email states. "We’re not intimidated."
"Some things just have to be done. it may be that the task is big, and you are small - but the task has to be done. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has to be removed from American politics.

As you know, we here at Liberty Tree are raising money to launch a campaign to Shut the Chamber. Liberty Tree is a small organization. Compared to the Chamber, we’re tiny. But together with our allies - with you - we can and will succeed.

Three years ago, we thought about taking on the Chamber. But we didn’t because we didn’t have the resources. We talked with friends and potential partners. And that’s all we did; talk.
On February 10, 2011, Lee Fang and Scott Keyes reported for the liberal blog ThinkProgress - which is a "project of the Center for American Progress Action Fund" - that "a law firm representing the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the big business trade association representing ExxonMobil, AIG, and other major international corporations, is working with set of 'private security' companies and lobbying firms to undermine their political opponents, including ThinkProgress, with a surreptitious sabotage campaign."

"According to e-mails obtained by ThinkProgress, the Chamber hired the lobbying firm Hunton and Williams. Hunton And Williams’ attorney Richard Wyatt, who once represented Food Lion in its infamous lawsuit against ABC News, was hired by the Chamber in October of last year. To assist the Chamber, Wyatt and his associates, John Woods and Bob Quackenboss, solicited a set of private security firms — HBGary Federal, Palantir, and Berico Technologies (collectively called Team Themis) — to develop tactics for damaging progressive groups and labor unions, in particular ThinkProgress, the labor coalition called Change to Win, the SEIU, US Chamber Watch, and StopTheChamber.com."
The Liberty Tree Foundation email continues, "It turns out that even then, the Chamber was listening. They hired private security firms made up of former military intelligence specialists to spy on our friends, and to spy on us. These firms, HBGary Federal, Palantir, and Berico Technologies (collectively called Team Themis) — developed tactics for damaging progressive groups and labor unions, produced a report that revealed that our executive director, Ben Manski, had met with another pro-democracy activist named Brett Kimberlin."

"Here’s the kicker," the March 15 email adds. "When Ben and Brett met, the Chamber’s spies were watching. Ben and Brett had never met before and had never even heard of each other until that day. And they didn’t have contact with one another afterward either."

Curiously, the fundraising letter doesn't mention that Brett Kimberlin was convicted of bombings in Speedway, Indiana that were committed in 1978, or anything at all about his past, which also includes being convicted of a "conspiracy to distribute marijuana." There is nothing in the email explaining why recipients should care that Liberty Tree executive director Ben Manski was being linked to Kimberlin. It only refers to Kimberlin as a "pro-democracy activist," which is oddly how Manski describes himself, according to his Wikipedia entry.

After ThinkProgress published its exclusives in February of 2011 - based on emails purloined from HBGary Federal by Anonymous hackers in a group called LulzSec - Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Patrick Frey, who blogs under the name "Patterico", wrote a blog post complaining that they were "censoring any mention" of Brett Kimberlin.

"Think Progress is making Brad Friedman into a martyr by pretending that the Chamber of Commerce is targeting Friedman and his 'family," Frey was referring to the owner of "The Brad Blog", who often writes about voting and voter fraud issues, and who has been at odds with Patterico and reporters from Breitbart.com for close to four years. "But what Think Progress isn’t telling you: the Chamber of Commerce was far more interested in Friedman’s business partner, convicted bomber Brett Kimberlin."

"Think Progress published parts of internal Chamber of Commerce e-mails talking about Friedman. But what Think Progress hides from you is that the Chamber was actually primarily interested in Kimberlin. They described Kimberlin as having 'a bit of a checkered past and has been associated with some more radical and violent activities.' That’s a pretty mild description of a guy who set off several bombs, one of which blew off a man’s leg. Meanwhile, they were very kind to Friedman, describing him as 'much more mainstream' and someone who 'can often be seen on many of the political talk shows.'

Their focus was Kimberlin. But Think Progress cut out any mention of Kimberlin. Entirely.
Frey added, "The left has been covering up Kimberlin for years. Friedman himself is deathly afraid that people will learn about Kimberlin’s past — so much so that he censors mention of Kimberlin in his comments. For my efforts in shining the spotlight on this violent and dishonest man, Kimberlin has threatened to sue me, and has written numerous letters to my bosses at my office, accusing me of stalking him and the like. It is guaranteed that this post, which makes a legitimate point about a site’s censoring of important information on a topic of public interest, will lead to another e-mail to my boss."

A week before being arrested by the FBI, Barrett Brown - a satirist/journalist who "spent several months studying" the hacked HBGary emails - published a conversation he had with Frey in early 2011. "This is the kind of thing that interests this fucking prosecutor after HBGary caught going after journalists, me, Anonymous, Greenwald, etc.," Brown complained before posting the chat.

"How is it that Think Progress is reporting that the Chamber of Commerce dug up info on Velvet Revolution -- yet we only see e-mails about Brad Friedman and not about his partner, convicted bomber Brett Kimberlin?" Frey had asked Brown, who claimed not to know anything about either Kimberlin or his group, but suggested that there were other things uncovered in the hacking that might be worth investigating.

Brown complained that HBGary Federal was doing "illegal shit...to those who've done nothing except for present opinions," and, alluding to Anonymous in general, added, "whereas we do it to people who try to wrongly accuse people to the FBI."

"The only thing that got my attention about all this was the angle having to do with the convicted bomber," Frey responded.

Brown said, "I'll bet."

Later in the conversation, Frey argues, "Friedman's association with Kimberlin discredits him when people find out who Kimberlin is [s]o they try to squash it."

Frey asked Brown for a link to "some place on the Web where all this shit is" so that the Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney acting as a blogger whose day job had been threatened could look through the hacked emails to see if "they looked into Kimberlin if they looked into Friedman." Brown tells Frey that "anonleaks.ru is shaky" and "was up all week but been up and down depending on one's location today," but "if you have problems, let me know and I'll see what else is available."

After finding what he's looking for, Frey tells Brown that Kimberlin "set off bombs and blew off a guy's leg" and the "guy later killed himself." Brown - who is not a fan of Republicans or Democrats, and has long reported on propaganda - tells him, "frankly, I can see why as an editorial decision they would keep the info out of the story even without knowing who the guy is."

"Sure," Frey responds. "Doesn't help their cause."

Brown asks, "your background is in law, I guess? [N]ot media or it could be what you're saying" but that "there's not going to be any way to prove it by seeing the e-mails unless I'm missing something."

Frey fires back, "They want to make the Chamber look bad. If the Chamber was gathering info on one of these people being a convicted bomber, that doesn't help."


I'm hoping to hear back from Liberty Tree Foundation and Ben Manski, so I'm giving them another day to respond to some emailed questions before reporting on the links between Brett Kimberlin's "Stop the Chamber" campaign and the new "Shut the Chamber" effort. I'm also hoping former Ohio Democratic Congressman Dennis Kucinich gets back to me, since he appears to be working with "Shut the Chamber." Finally, Kevin B. Zeese - an attorney affiliated with Velvet Revolution - is also involved with "No More Stolen Elections", which is "[a] Project of the Liberty Tree Foundation," so I'm waiting for him to respond to a request to chat about his ties to Kimberlin and Manski.

(Editor's Note: For the last twenty-one months, I've been falsely accused by some conservatives of being in some kind of elaborate criminal conspiracy with Brett Kimberlin, that would take at least 100,000 words to somehow explain. Meanwhile, Kimberlin and allies of a former security firm volunteer who worked on progressive Democratic campaigns - Neal Rauhauser - have smeared me from the other side. There are other stories at this blog which attempt to unravel why both sides have come after me, and I've been accused of absurd crimes, sued in a crazy conspiracy theory lawsuit and private information about my family and my past has been leaked. Even though there have been countless blogs from the left and the right, and Congressional letters to DoJ, and stories in the mainstream media, not one journalist has ever reported my side of the story.)

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