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Corporate Spying on Activists-- Intvw W Gary Ruskin

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Gary Ruskin is Director of the  Center for Corporate Policy   He recently issued an Executive report: Spooky Business: Corporate Espionage Against Nonprofit Organizations

Here's a brief excerpt from it:

Many different types of nonprofits have been targeted with espionage, including environmental, anti-war, public interest, consumer, food safety, pesticide reform, nursing home reform, gun control, social justice, animal rights and arms control groups.

Corporations have been linked to a wide variety of espionage tactics.  The most prevalent tactic appears to be infiltration by posing a volunteer or journalist, to obtain information from a nonprofit.  But corporations have been linked to many other human, physical and electronic espionage tactics against nonprofits.  Many of these tactics are either highly unethical or illegal.

Corporations engage in espionage against nonprofits with near impunity.

Interview notes-- mostly my questions. 

Rob:Tell me a story based on putting this report together.

What Dow Chemical did to Greenpeace. greenpeace was running a campaign to get chlorine out of paper and plastics

Dow hired Ketchum PR, which hired Beckett Brown International (BBI)  to spy on Greenpeace

     stole trash with help of active duty cop, wire-tapped, 

From dumpster diving


PR and espionage budgets

Rob: Any idea of the budget spent by BBI on investigating greenpeace?

What is the  Center for Corporate Policy

Any idea how much was spent by FBI, Homeland Security, etc surveilling Occupy?

Any freedom of information act FOIA requests on that?

Can you discuss some of the ways corporate espionage is perpetrated on non-profits?

     Most common is putting spies in orgs

    Barnum and Bailey placed 16 undercover operatives at PETA

       Dumpster diving

Center for Food Safety

Fenton communications

Electronic espionage- vulnerability research, hacking, creation of custom malware, phishing, trojan horses, bots,  computer network attacks, implants

HP Gary Federal, and two others--- provide intelligence 

IO information and operation-- 

Electricy de France-- largest operator of nuclear plants-- 

French govt  investigated, people went to jail, large fines. 


Let me get this straight. In France and the UK, when corporations spy on individuals and non-profit orgs, they are investigated, prosecuted jailed and fined. But in the US, they get off scot free?

Rupert Murdoch's paper spied on people"  Levison commission   500-1000 phone hacks

Corporate espionage against non-profits presents a real threat to democracy"

What are your thoughts that you didn't put in writing? What are your worst fears?

How little of the tip of the iceberg is this report? Does this document one hundredth or one thousandth? Are there more sophisticated techniques being used?

How can nonprofit organizations protect themselves from corporate espionage?

Is it reasonable to ask volunteers for identification? To get a history from them?

What are the worst things that corporations have done to individuals within non-profits?

Let's talk about that. Has the Justice Department, ever, in recent history, prosecuted a corporation for spying on a non-profit org?

Jim Ridgeway-- at New Republic, wrote about General Motors investigating Ralph Nader and others. 

And what about congress. When was the last investigation? 1966.

If there were to be a congressional investigation, what would you like to see be a part of it?

Senators Levin and McCain head committee that could do investigation

Walmart has one of the sophisticated spying operations of any organization in the world. What do you know about it?

Which congressional committees would be the likely ones to ask these questions?

Senate permanent subcommittee on investigations  Levin and McCain

Homeland committee on government affairs   Carper (DE)

With privatization of the spy business, with hundreds of thousands of private workers on the NSA, CIA and FBI payroll, how are corporate interests separated from government ones?

In a lot of ways, they're not. Article by Dana Priest in WaPo-- Top Secret America. 

Let's turn the tables. What could and would corporations do if they learned that non-profit organizations. Getting hired as a spy, dumpster diving".?

From what you described, a big company hires a PR firm, which hires a spy company which hires an off duty cop. Is it possible that the company will end up being investigated and charged. 

Does the idea of corporate personhood fin in at all, does it provide an protection for these companies?

How common is corporate espionage against nonprofits?

Does this issue have political or ideological aspects-- are Democrats or Republicans, conservatives or liberals more interested in it?

You've been on a number of interviews. have they been with liberals or conservatives. 

InfraGard -- a partnership between private industry, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security. [16]  As of 2008, InfraGard claimed the participation of "more than 23,000 representatives of private industry," including 350 of the Fortune 500 companies.

This is a uniform and customary budget item on every Fortune 100 company's budget. 

Are there examples of how corporate espionage has affected individuals in nonprofits who have been spied upon?

NRA had been a client of Sapone

Palantir Technologies and Berico-- for US Chamber of Commerce

team Themis  HB Gary Federal, 

got photos and info on families and kids

What non-profits. 

US Chamberwatch, Public Citizen, Velvet Revolution, Move to Amend, Moveon

Was this performed or was this just a quotation for services. 

Society of Toxicology-- worried about protests against exhibitors in a conference. Hired investigators to find out about protestors

Tell us a bit about Infragard [16] 

article written by Matt Rothschild-- The Progressive

Like Business Class for Law enforcement-- businesses get special information and special relationship with the FBI. 

How much are the intelligence services becoming corporatized, which would be another form of corporate welfare?

Do you think the CIA briefs people within major corporations?

Are there ethical rules and firewalls in place in terms of intelligence agencies communicating with corporations?

What questions do you have left? 

What are you working on now?



chevron journalist spy   Mary Cuddehe       was approached by Kroll-- PR firm. 

NRA spy Mary McFake   real name mary lou Sapone

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Rob Kall is editor-in-chief, publisher and site architect of, President of Futurehealth, Inc, and an inventor. He hosts the Rob Kall Bottom Up Radio Show, aired in the Metro Philly area on AM 1360, WNJC. Over 200 podcasts are archived for downloading here, or can be accessed from iTunes. Rob is also published regularly on the

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Obviously this article is not meant to be read, bu... by Sun King on Friday, Dec 6, 2013 at 11:59:11 AM