Bruce Sterling on Sun, 21 Jul 2002 19:09:03 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Oh dearie me

*Well, while one is summit-hopping with all those black-clad
brick throwers, it must be nice to have a solid line of income *8-/


From: Dan Clore <>
Date: Sat Jul 20, 2002  06:48:10 AM US/Central
To: "" <>
Subject: [smygo] Big Brother, Inc.

News for Anarchists & Activists:

PR Watch

Big Brother Incorporated

by Eveline Lubbers

For years, activist groups in Europe thought that Manfred
Schlickenrieder was a leftist sympathizer and filmmaker. He
traveled around Europe, interviewing a broad spectrum of
activists, and even produced a documentary video, titled
Business As Usual: The Arrogance of Power, about human
rights groups and environmentalists campaigning against the
Shell oil company.

In reality, Schlickenrieder was a spy, and Shell was one of
his clients. His film and his activist pretensions were
merely cover designed to win the confidence of activists so
that he could infiltrate their organizations and collect
"inside information" about their goals and activities.

Schlickenrieder's cover was blown when the Swiss action
group Revolutionaire Aufbau began to distrust him. Its
investigation uncovered a large pile of documents, many of
which were put online at the beginning of 2000
( ).These documents proved that
Schlickenrieder was on the payroll of Hakluyt & Company
Ltd., a London-based "business intelligence bureau" linked
closely to MI6, the British foreign intelligence service. In
addition to spying on behalf of multinational corporations,
the documents also indicate strongly that Schlickenrieder
was working simultaneously for more than one German state
intelligence service.

Among the documents was detailed e-mail correspondence
between Schlickenrieder and Hakluyt. There was also a DM
20,000 (US$9,000) invoice to Hakluyt for "Greenpeace
research" including expenses, "to be paid according to
agreement in the usual manner." Confronted with this
material, Hakluyt reluctantly admitted that Schlickenrieder
was an employee. When the Sunday Times of London broke the
story in July 2000, both BP and Shell acknowledged having
hired the firm, but claimed they had been unaware of its

Schlickenrieder's exposure put the spotlight on a firm that
prefers to operate secretly in the shadowy area of former
state intelligence specialists-turned-private spies. Members
of Parliament accused MI6 of using the firm as a front to
spy on green activists.

A freelance spy

Schlickenrieder had apparently built up spying experience
during years of working for Germany's domestic and foreign
intelligence services, Landesamt für Verfassungsschutz and
Bundesnachrichtendienst. Documents found at his home
indicated he had had access to reports from them as well as
the French and Italian secret services. None of the spy
agencies acknowledged publicly that Schlickenrieder had been
working for them, but informed sources agreed that the
agent's exposure had been a blow for the German intelligence
community, as several newspapers reported. Furthermore, the
Schlickenrieder case was discussed in the prime minister and
parliamentary committee's weekly meeting with the German
secret services.

Though there is evidence that the government agencies paid
Schlickenrieder, it is not known whether he was actually on
their payrolls; he may have been a freelance spy. The fact
that he wrote detailed proposals for the government,
suggesting new fields of research within the radical leftist
movement, points in this direction. Whichever it was, the
rewards of espionage seem to have included a spacious flat
overlooking a park in Munich and a BMW Z3, the model of
sports car driven by James Bond in Goldeneye. His monthly
expenses were calculated at $4,500.

He got good at delivering different kinds of intelligence,
from broad overviews to assessments to insider mood reports.
Taking advantage of activists' trust, he developed a knack
for piecing together bits and pieces of information to
compile a fairly accurate picture.

Schlickenrieder frequented meetings of radical leftist
groups including the Red Army Faction (RAF) from the early
1980s until his cover was blown, and he made a documentary
about violent resistance with solidarity groups and
relatives of convicted comrades which featured the RAF. He
claimed to be working on another film, about Italy's Red
Brigades, which was never finished. But stills from his
video footage served as a photo database, accompanied by
personal details about everybody he had met.

Schlickenrieder's ways of working for state and business
were similar. In fact, there seemed to be no boundaries
between the two. He sometimes compiled reports for Hakluyt
without being asked. For instance, in a September 1997
e-mail to Hakluyt, he explained how he had "used the
opportunity of visiting Hamburg to talk to two separate
people within Greenpeace." In closing, he wrote: "That was
your free 'mood report' supplement from Hamburg."

The MI6 connection

Hakluyt, named after a 16th-century geographer and economic
intelligence specialist, started in a one-room office in
1995. Its founders, Christopher James and Mike Reynolds, are
both former members of the British foreign service. The
company's purpose, according to James, was "to do for
industry what we had done for the government." By 2001 its
clients included one-quarter of the companies listed in the
United Kingdom's leading stock market index, the FTSE 100.

Reynolds founded MI6's counterterrorism branch and was the
foreign service's head of station in Berlin. The newly
appointed head of MI6, Richard Dearlove, is a close friend
of his.

James led a section of MI6 that liaised with British firms.
Over his 20-year career he got to know the heads of many of
Britain's top companies. In return for a few tips that
helped them compete in the market, he persuaded them to
provide intelligence from their overseas operations.

Hakluyt's management board is a display case for the kind of
reputation the company is aiming for. One member was Ian
Fleming's model for James Bond -- the former soldier, spy
and diplomat Sir Fitzroy Maclean. And the company is linked
to the oil industry through Sir William Purves, CEO of Shell
Transport and chairman of Hakluyt; Sir Peter Holmes, former
chairman of Shell and current president of the Hakluyt
foundation (a kind of supervisory board); and Sir Peter
Cazalet, the former deputy chairman of BP, who helped to
establish Hakluyt before he retired in 2000. BP itself has
longstanding ties to MI6: its director of government and
public affairs, John Gerson, was at one time a leading
candidate to succeed Sir David Spedding as chief of MI6.

A Hakluyt brochure promises to find information for clients
that they "will not receive by the usual government, media
and commercial routes." The company tries to distinguish
itself from other business intelligence consultants and
clipping services. "We do not take anything off the shelf,
nothing off the Net--we assume that any company worth its
salt has done all of that," Hakluyt's Michael Maclay
explained at a 1999 conference in the Netherlands. "We go
with the judgment of people who know the countries, the
elites, the industries, the local media, the local
environmentalists, all the factors that will feed into big
decisions being made."

Manfred Schlickenrieder apparently was one of those people
who "knew the local environmentalists."

Spying on Greenpeace

Shell International turned to Hakluyt for help when the oil
conglomerate's reputation came under fire during the Brent
Spar PR crisis and the Nigerian government's execution of
writer-activist Ken Saro-Wiwa. Using his cover as a
filmmaker, Schlickenrieder traveled around Europe,
interviewing on film a broad spectrum of people campaigning
for Nigeria's Ogoni people. He spent months questioning all
sorts of groups and wrote to organizations ranging from
Friends of the Earth to the Body Shop, asking about their
ongoing campaigns, their future plans and the impact of
their work.

In addition to Shell, oil companies were scared to death of
becoming Greenpeace's next target. BP turned to Hakluyt for
help after it got wind that Greenpeace was planning its
Atlantic Frontier campaign to stop oil drilling in a new
part of the Atlantic. The company asked Schlickenrieder to
deliver details about what was going to happen.

Hakluyt used material from other sources to complement the
information about Greenpeace's plans Schlickenrieder
provided. It claimed to have laid its hands on a copy of
"Putting the Lid on Fossil Fuels," the Greenpeace brochure
meant to kick off the campaign, even before the ink was dry.
BP used this inside information to polish its press and PR
communications. "BP countered the campaign in an unusually
fast and smart way," Greenpeace Germany spokesperson Stefan
Krug told the German daily Die Tageszeitung. Since BP knew
what was coming in advance, it was never taken by surprise.

BP also used Hakluyt to plan a counterstrategic lawsuit
against Greenpeace. In a May 1997 e-mail message to
Schlickenrieder, Hakluyt's Director Mike Reynolds inquired
about the possible impact of suing the environmentalists. He
asked his German spy for information on whether Greenpeace
was taking legal steps to protect its assets against seizure
in the event it was sued by an oil company. When Greenpeace
subsequently occupied BP's Stena Dee oil installation in the
Atlantic Ocean, the company sued Greenpeace for DM4.2
million in damages (almost $2 million). BP got an injunction
to block Greenpeace UK's bank accounts, which caused the
group serious financial problems. This was one of the first
times an injunction was used to threaten activists with
possible arrest. It has since become an increasingly popular
way to stop a campaign.

Oil activism was not Schlickenrieder's only field of
activity. The Aufbau group discovered leads about research
he did for Hakluyt on banks and financial takeovers. And in
1996 he started mapping resistance against Rio Tinto, which
calls itself the "world leader in finding, mining and
processing the Earth's mineral resources." He continued to
bill Hakluyt for this research until at least spring 1999.

A New Terrain for Intelligence

The massive 1999 demonstrations in Seattle were a watershed
event for both the growing anti-globalization movement and
for the corporate and government authorities that benefit
from globalization. State and private security agencies felt
they were caught off guard in Seattle, where a large,
diverse group of demonstrators, using sophisticated methods
and technology, effectively shut down the World Trade
Organization's Ministerial Conference.

Some governments now see anti-corporate activities as a
serious threat to social stability. And their intelligence
services see securing that stability as a primary task.

The first indication of this interest was a widely
circulated secret report by the Canadian Security
Intelligence Service, "Anti-Globalization--A Spreading
Phenomenon." The CSIS report used quotes from Naomi Klein's
book, No Logo, to assess the threat posed by anticorporate
protests to the Summit of the Americas in Quebec which was
coming up in April 2001.

In May 2000, the France-based Intelligence Newsletter
published a report, based on information from sources close
to the spy community, on the work of state intelligence
units to gather information on anti-globalization militants.
It noted that the US Army Intelligence and Security Command
and the Pentagon helped the police keep an eye on
demonstrators during the April 16, 2000, World Bank protests
in Washington, DC. Perhaps when the US Attorney's office
praised the DC police for their "unparalleled" coordination
with other police agencies during the spring 2000 IMF
protests, it was thinking of these bodies. The FBI
reportedly had held seminars on the lessons of Seattle for
police in other protest cities to help them prepare for
demonstrations. Now it had paid off. "The FBI provided
valuable background on the individuals who were intent on
committing criminal acts," the US Attorney's office
declared, according to an article by Abby Scher in the

Scher warned of an intensifying crackdown on opponents of
corporate globalization, pointing to unusually close
collaboration between police and intelligence services
including the FBI before and during the DC protests. This
collaboration harks back to the heyday of J. Edgar Hoover
and his illegal Counter Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO).
Back then, the FBI relied on local police and even private
right-wing spy groups for information about antiwar and
other activists. The FBI used that information and its own
agents provocateurs to disrupt the activities of the Black
Panthers, Students for a Democratic Society, Puerto Rican
nationalist groups and others.

Targeting organizers and letting activists know they are
under surveillance are two time-honored tactics of local
intelligence units and the FBI. Preventive detention,
spreading fear of infiltration, and disseminating false
stories to the press were also used during the dark days of
COINTELPRO. Now, the first reports have emerged documenting
similar police strategies aimed at protesters in 2000 and

In 2001 the FBI listed "anarchist and extremist socialist
groups" such as the Workers' World Party, Reclaim the
Streets and Carnival Against Capitalism as a "potential
threat" to the United States. Reclaim the Streets is
actually more a tactic than a movement or organization. In
1996, activists in England decided to hold the first RTS
"street party," a daytime rave with a political spin,
complete with sound system, dancing, and party games, in the
middle of a busy intersection. The party aimed to
temporarily "reclaim" the street from cars and point out how
capitalism and car culture deprive people of public space
and opportunities for festivals.

The fact that dancing in the street could become terrorism
in the eyes of the FBI can only be explained by the
aftershock of Seattle, where, according to the FBI,
"anarchists, operating individually and in groups, caused
much of the damage." This statement, made on May 10, 2001,
mentioned these groups as part of "The Domestic Terrorism
Threat," soon after a section on "The International
Terrorist Situation" featuring Osama bin Laden and
individuals affiliated with Al Qaeda. The attacks on the
World Trade Center four months later illustrate the enormous
disproportion between the two "threats."

Categorizing "anarchist groups" like Reclaim the Streets as
terrorist organizations provides a legal pretext for the
FBI's interest in the antiglobalization movement. Although
inclusion on such a list can be taken to mean such groups
are gaining influence, it also increases the likelihood of
government-sponsored involvement, such as infiltration or
frame-ups based on planted evidence.

Intelligence agencies in most Western countries already had
broad powers to track and surveil suspected activists and
political organizations. The events of Sept. 11, 2001,
triggered further antiterrorist legislation everywhere,
encouraging repressive police and intelligence tactics. Only
the future can tell how these new laws will effect the
maneuvering space for anticorporate activism.

The Department of Dirty Tricks

Besides being spied upon, activists risk being manipulated
or threatened, too. Consulting companies like KPMG and
security firms like Control Risks Group have reasons to
monitor NGOs, as an article in Intelligence Newsletter
stated: ostensibly, corporate clients want to be informed of
destabilization campaigns that could affect them well in
advance. "But they also want to fend off indirect attack,"
the magazine went on. "To be sure, some firms feel a strong
temptation to 'channel' the fury of NGOs like Export Credit
Agencies, Public Citizen or ATTAC towards some of their
business competitors," the magazine said. It quoted
intelligence expert Roy Godson as predicting that
manipulating NGOs would become one of the most effective
means for companies to destabilize rivals and adversaries in
the future.

Intelligence Newsletter hints at the endless time and effort
NGOs spend in the perpetual quest for "ideal" companies to
take on. "Only by targeting a known corporate name can they
be sure to enhance their own profile, distinguish from other
NGOs and compete with them for media attention." Apparently
this early stage of campaigning is seen as the best moment
to intervene.

How? One possibility springs to mind: imagine your group
gets a dedicated new member with ideas for a new campaign
against a company you haven't paid much attention to so far.
Perhaps he's been sent by another company you've been
successfully campaigning against for years, or are intending
to target in the near future.

NGOs' taste for media attention can be their Achilles' heel,
which makes it relatively easy to feed them disinformation
they'll rush to publicize. The East German secret service
apparently understood this back in the 1970s: Godson claimed
it used this weakness for publicity against Amnesty
International during the Cold War. This is another kind of
manipulation easy to envision a company using.

Manipulating internal differences is another strategy to
cripple an activist coalition. For example, someone wishing
to disrupt an organization, could work to divide the
"radicals" from the "moderates" or could attempt to
discredit the organization by using provocateurs to incite
violence which could then be blamed on activists. A number
of reports suggest that this may be what occurred during the
anti-globalization protests that occurred in in Genoa, Italy
in July 2001.

It is not paranoid to suspect that corporations and
governments will use these sorts of tactics. They have been
used in the past, and history suggests that if the stakes
are high enough, targeted companies resort to "special

Dan Clore

Now available: _The Unspeakable and Others_
Including all my fiction through 2001, and more.

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