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Pacific Free Press: WikiLeaks' Threat and Other Tales from the Dark Side

March 6, 2011- It all began with news that WikiLeaks would soon shine a spotlight on the thieves dominating the global financial sector, those self-styled "masters of the universe" reigning over capitalism's Borg hive. Scant months later, as a result of hubris and egomaniacal greed, an enormous window was smashed open and a sharp, merciless light flooded the dark recesses of the dirty world of corporate spying.

Last November, Julian Assange told Forbes that WikiLeaks next target would be a "major American bank."

"It will give a true and representative insight into how banks behave at the executive level in a way that will stimulate investigations and reforms, I presume," Assange informed journalist Andy Greenberg.

"For this, there's only one similar example. It's like the Enron emails."

This was no idle threat. Back in January, Swiss whistleblower Rudolf Elmer, a former executive with Switzerland's Bank Julius Baer turned over two CDs to Assange at a London press conference.

Legal Ethics Forum: Hunton & Williams vs. Wikileaks

-By Brad Wendel

February 15, 2011- Several stories in the mainstream media and progressive blogs have reported on a meeting in which several security firms pitched for the business of Hunton & Williams in connection with the threatened disclosure of Bank of America documents by Wikileaks.  (See the WaPo, NYT, the Guardian, and Salon, and this post on a DailyKos affiliated blog.)  Hunton & Williams represents BoA, and the firms were trying to figure out a way to get out ahead of the disclosures and protect the bank as well as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.  The proposal involved a strategy of disinformation aimed at discrediting Wilkileaks as well as prominent supporters in the media, including Glenn Greenwald at Salon.  Numerous documents have come to light detailing the proposals to Hunton & Williams, including a PowerPoint presentation in which the three security firms, HBGary Federal, Palantir Technologies, and Berico Technologies proposed to submit faked documents to Wikileaks and subsequently expose them as fakes.  The presentation also suggested threatening the career of Greenwald, as well as reporters at the New York Times and the Guardian. 

ARS Technica: Dems push for Congressional investigation of HBGary Federal

March 1, 2011- Embattled HBGary Federal CEO Aaron Barr quit his job yesterday as the prospect of a Congressional investigation loomed. A dozen Democrats in Congress asked various Republican committee chairs to launch probes of HBGary Federal's idea for a "reconnaissance cell" targeting pro-union organizers.

HBGary Federal was hacked last month by Anonymous after Aaron Barr believed he had unmasked much of the group's leadership—and Barr's entire cache of corporate e-mails was made public. Those messages revealed that Barr had joined up with two other security firms, Palantir and Berico, to pitch the powerhouse DC law firm of Hunton & Williams on an idea to go after union-backed websites who opposed the US Chamber of Commerce. The scheme, if adopted, would have cost the Chamber up to $2 million a month.

The three companies called themselves Team Themis, and instead of providing simple "business intelligence," they had a few other ideas:

Legal Schnauzer: Will Bar Complaint Take The Bite Out Of U.S. Chamber's Attack Dogs?

February 28, 2011- We long have been critical of lawyers for their failure to regulate themselves. Thanks to an offshoot of the WikiLeaks story, we are about to get another opportunity to see if the legal profession can police a few of its numerous bad actors.

Two watchdog groups have filed a bar complaint against lawyers who allegedly participated in a dirty-tricks campaign on behalf of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Lawyers from the firm Hunton and Williams were found to have engaged in apparent misconduct when the hacktivist group Anonymous leaked more than 70,000 of their e-mails. Anonymous has supported WikiLeaks' efforts to promote transparency in government and business, as have the targeted groups, and

Tech Blogs Beginning to Pick Up HB Gary / H&W Story


There was lots of noise and distraction on the crowded Expo floor of the RSA Security Conference this year. After a grueling couple of years, vendors were back in force with big booths, big news and plenty of entertainment designed to attract visitor traffic. Wandering the floor, I saw - variously - magic tricks, a man walking on stilts, a whack-a-mole game, a man dressed in a full suit of armor and a 15 foot long racetrack that I would have killed for when I was 10.

Legal Times: Complaint Accuses Hunton & Williams of Dirty Tricks

February 24, 2011- Three Hunton & Williams partners face an ethics complaint before the D.C. Bar after the release of e-mails saying they worked on an effort to undermine liberal activists.

The organization Stop the Chamber says it filed the complaint on Wednesday. Stop the Chamber, a critic of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, was among the groups targeted by the security companies that Hunton & Williams worked with, according to e-mails.

The 14-page complaint (PDF) accuses the three Hunton & Williams lawyers of violating Rule 8.4 of the D.C. Rules of Professional Conduct. The rule prohibits misconduct including conduct “involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation.”

StopTheChamber / VR Files Bar Complaint Against Hunton & Williams

February 23, 2011- Today StopTheChamber filed a bar complaint against John W. Woods, Richard L. Wyatt Jr., and Robert T. Quackenboss of the Hunton & Williams Law Firm for their role in the HB Gary spying operation against us and other opponents of the US Chamber of Commerce. Their involvement in the operation on behalf of the Chamber was made plain in the HB Gary emails leaked by Anonymous.

It is our intention to see the three aforementioned lawyers disciplined for their participation in this dirty tricks campaign, and for gross violations of the Washington DC code of legal ethics.