Monday, February 14, 2011

Two million bucks a month just won't buy what it used to (Updated)

Brad Friedman has an amazing piece up on Chamber-gate. That's my term for the abortive attempt to spy on and smear prog bloggers who have criticized the Chamber of Commerce and its members (including AIG).

Turns out my initial impression was wrong: The folks at HBGary did not want a mere $2 million for their services. They wanted $2 million a month.

It stuns me to think that anyone has that kind of money for such a project. What stuns me even more was the quality of intelligence you can expect to get for that kind of money:
In addition to Barr's email offering personal information on me and my family, the H&W scheme by Team Themis, created for the U.S. Chamber, also included a Power Point presentation in which I am personally highlighted, with photograph, along with my wife "Martha" and "2 boys, James and John Friedman" at our "home at 1055 Raywood Ln, Silver Springs, MD".

Of course, I'm not married and have no children and don't live in MD...
Where the hell did they get this misinformation? Anyone who reads Brad's blog knows that he lives in California; he makes no secret of that fact.

According to WhoWhere (accessible for $0.00), there are several "Brad Friedmans" in Maryland, none of them in Silver Springs. After consulting both Google Earth and Google the search engine, I've concluded that there is no Raywood Lane (or Road or Street or Avenue or Boulevard) in Silver Springs or anywhere else in Maryland.

Looks like HBGary just made shit up. Then they said: "Two million dollars, please." Nice work if you can get it!

The suggested disinfo campaign is particularly disturbing.
The plan also involved creating "two fake insider personas", one at VR and another at the unrelated Change To Win organization, which had employed a coalition of union groups to create a non-profit campaign, some months after VR's, called U.S. Chamber Watch. The plan presented by Team Themis, as the three security firms called themselves, would then use one of the "fake personas" as "leverage to discredit the other while confirming the legitimacy of the second" in hopes of publicizing the fraudulent appearance of some sort of "conspiracy" between the various progressive organizations in order to somehow discredit them.
Most of the time, Friedman's writing is admirably lucid -- but on this occasion, the details are a bit hard to follow. Still, one gets the general idea. And there's a definite stench in the air.

It's a familiar smell. Lambert has compared HBGary's antics to David Axelrod's little-known "astroturf" side business, ASK Public Strategies, which helps corporations manipulate public opinion. (More on that topic later.) It's hard to see much moral difference between Axelrod and HBGary head man Aaron Barr.

Readers, can you help me figure this out...? Let's get back to the Chamber of Commerce. One of our readers, Tony Ryals, offered a comment which I found intriguing, albeit very difficult to unpack. There may be a very important story buried here beneath some unfortunate wordsmithing. Let's see if you can help decipher the intended message:
Barack Osama Obama's Chamber of Commerce buddies are part of NTU and Agora Inc. founder James Dale Davidson's and Patrick Byrne's and ex SEC Chair Christopher Cox's and Carl Levin's,'s 'naked short selling' lie that was used to distract from massive penny stock fraud and later Cox on in 2008 claimed even Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, AIG, Bank of America and even Goldman Sachs Sachs weren't just shorted which is what Cox set them up for by making shorting easier when he took over SEC - BUT WERE 'NAKED SHORTED'!

James Dale Davidson's Agora Inc. gold touter recently promoted by scumbag Alex Jones has admitted he and Agora among other billionaire clubs methodically shorted Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac shares themselves!

No doubt they all must have some very fat offshore accounts by now while America is bankrupt.
Alas, Mr. Ryals has presented his information in such a compact and hyperbolic form that I, for one, have a difficult time following his argument. Epic run-on sentences never aid comprehension. And I certainly don't have any sympathy for people who refer to "Barack Osama Obama." Cannonfire is not the kind of blog that prints crap like that -- usually. interest is aroused. Provisionally.

After running the above passage by Dakinkat, she emailed the following partial explanation, which I trust she won't mind seeing in print:
Naked short selling means you do a transaction in the futures market without actually owning the asset. You plan to buy it so cheap in the future that when you have to deliver on the contract, you have to buy it then and so you make huge amounts of money on the arbitrage if you're leveraged and have enough contracts out there.

This basically means all these people thought there was a bubble in mortgages that was going to burst because the knew that those assets would be worthless than now. It also could imply they colluded which is illegal.

With regular short selling you borrow the security. Naked short selling is gambling and pure speculation. If any practice should be banned, that one should be. Short selling basically killed Lehman brothers in a very short time. If a bunch of them systemically did this in large numbers with leverage which amplifies the deals, it would basically bring an asset down. If they 'conspired' to do it. It would be illegal.

The trick on this it figure out who did it, if they talk to one another, and the size of the deals. It takes a pretty expensive data base to get to this information. You can get stuff like this through Morning Star or CRSP. The real detail trades have to be done through audits like the SEC would do ...
Okay, so that explains what naked short selling is. But I'm still not sure what Agora has done, or what its relationship to the Chamber of Commerce is.

All I know is this: Any potential scandal that might embarrass both Barack Obama and Alex Jones is bound to make me smile. Please let it be true please please please.

Update: About the "two fake personas" thing. After reading the passage more carefully, I think I get it now. In fact, the trick described here seems awfully familiar. Have we seen this before? A specific example does not come to mind.

Reader affinis (see the comments section) seems to think that Tony Ryals has headed down a dead end research avenue. Perhaps. Let's see what others think.


affinis said...

Here are some more of Ryal's comments along these lines (courtesy of a quick google):
I'm skeptical of the validity of Ryal's claims (though I haven't actually looked into them).

As far as I can make out, Ryal appears to be asserting that the individuals he lists (Davidson, Byrne, Cox, Levin) were pushing a false claim that naked shorting was occurring, and that they were doing so to cover up penny stock fraud and other stock manipulation (including for Fannie and Freddie stock). Cox implemented new restrictions on naked shorting in 2008, and these measures were favored by the Chamber of Commerce.

Zolodoco said...

Asking $2 million a month for garbage probably means that HBGary has cohorts amongst the people who would approve such a deal, and of course that large kickbacks would be in the offing. I cynically assume that most of the intelligence outsourcing boom contractors follow this kind of business plan.

Tony Ryals said...

The first time I ever heard of 'naked short selling' in my life was when it appeared on ragingbull penny stock tout website in 2002 and at the same time in Agora Inc's Vantage Point by James Dale Davidson and at the same time NAANSS or National Association Against Naked Short Selling appeared website naked appeared.

True, I have seen so much stock terror and had my life threatened by people like Patrick Byrne goon Bud Burrell of NCANS or National Coalition Against Naked Shorting
Selling and the Israelis of Michael Zwebner's Air Water Corp that I am not too polite anymore.(CNN and Wolf Blitzer covered up and didn't report Zwebner's connections to and collusion with ex Israeli PM Ehud Olmert and recently convicted rapist and ex Israeli President Moshe Katsav in his Air Water Corp penny stock fraud even though Zwebner sued them for $100 million in Florida court becauseof my use of pseudnym wolfblitzzere0 on raginbull website.)

Tony Ryals said...

And by the way ex Utah Governor and Moron Republican Jon Huntsman was made U.S.Ambassador to China by Barack Obama,(to represent his father's chemical corp there), even though he received over $75,000 from Geico billionaire's son Patrick Byrne for lieing that Overstock.con was 'naked shorted'. So even though Arizona's Bud Burrell is connected to ex FBI agent Don Clark by way of Houston attorneys Wes Christion and deceased John O'Quinn as well as a Rothschild attorney who was recently slapped with a half million dollar or so fine in London for a Burrell connected fraud on the London Stock Exchange,among others.
Bud Burrell is protected here by Obama's SEC and DOJ although he is poster boy besides David Patch, Byrne,Davidson for pumping and dumping unaudited shares of worthless penny stocks then crying that he was 'naked'.Georgeton Univerity's James Angel has aided the fraudulent claim as well.
I have written so many articles and complaints,(the SEC claims to have lost my original complaint of 2003), and explanations of the naked short selling lie since I was a first victim through Endovasc in 2002,some better and clearer than others,that I am a bit irritable and in no mood to pretend the Barack Obama is a 'nice guy' or means well.
I'm from the school of hard knocks and I know better and won't pretend.Nor will I pretend that Bud Burrell's threats to torture me were not noticed by his naked sell lie colleague FBI agent Don Clark.
I certainly don't trust the FBI 1993 NY WTC BOMBING INVESTIGATION
I removed my name from Bud Burrell's lies and threat to torture and murder me and replaced Barack Obama's name with mine and did the same using Arlen Specter's name(who also lied about 'naked shorting') where mine goes.Had I written that myself,(although it has the FBI and probably CIA connected mafiosi Bud Burrell's
'neural prints' all over it),I'm sure the FBI would have come for me
guns in hand.However if you put 'copyright 2008,Bud Burrell,no
problem.Burrell who lies about and threatens to torture and murder is,
unlike me,above the law and protected.
There's more lots more,google 'mary helburn naked short queen dead',etc.The NCANS gang removed video of byrne,James Angel,Mary Helburn,'Bobo O'Brien' liing about 'naked short selling' as soon as I posted it.
Your 'source' on 'naked short selling' is not very good and just repeats the type of misinfo posted on Chicago Mercantil Exchange con artist Jimbo Wales' Wikipedia.

Anonymous said...

"He that sells what isnt his'n, must buy it back or go to prison."

Forgive me for offering some contrary comment, but personally I don't see short selling as a big sin, nor do I see naked short selling as any more immoral than offering to buy a house without tie-ing up the financing first.

That doesn't mean that it is universally benign. Its about what people are using naked shorts for. And yes it is generally banned by SEC rules.

So here is where naked shorting can get messy. Suppose that you don't need to borrow stocks or bonds to short them? Well a deep pocketed speculator could attempt to manipulate the price of a stock down. In the case of leveraged companies - like banks or Fannie Mae - that might give a self-fulfilling impression of financial weakness.

Some people say that this happened in the case of LEH or Fannie Mae. I would argue that if it did, it only happened in the CDS market, and not the stock market. But CDS are all "naked" anyway- so it would be an easier way of doing this.

I think it is obvious why LEH went bust now. They went bust cos they were massively over-leveraged - same as Fannie Mae. However the final catalyst was JP Morgan hiking their margin requirements.

So if you wanna blame someone blame Jamie Dimon. Oh, and dont forget that Barclays then ripped off JP Morgan by stealing $5bn of good collateral out of LEH.

Funny old world.

Just dont blame short selling. Its like blaming your eyes when you see something you dont like.

Hope this helps.


Tony Ryals said...

So does 'Harry' agree with the U.S. and SEC protected mafiosi Bud Burrell and David Patch(and their deceased partner in CMKX crime the FBI mafiosi connected Robert Maheu), that the USPX,CMKX Diamonds and James Dale Davidson connected pumps and dumps Genemax and Endovasc were really all victims of 'naked short selling !?
How about Bernie Kerick's Taser shares or Paul Singer,Carl Icahnn's GenesisIntermedia or Patrick Byrne's Overstock.con whose pump and dump profits helped fund the Swift Boaters against John Kerry ?
And those few fraudulent SEC Chris Cox and Mary Schapiro and W Bush and Barrack Osama Obama share-money laundering ops are just a drop in the bucket of fraudulent 'naked short selling' claims.There is NFI or Novastar Financial that became a model for the organized criminal shorting of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as well.And you know what ? The Patrick Byrne and even Lanny Davis connected NFI was the first stock where the criminals to the fraud lied about a dividend paying stock being a victim of 'naked shorting' which all you criminals claim means 'counterfeiting' of shares !
Yet if the dividend paying shares all received their dividends and none came forth to claim-lie about not receiving their dividends then how in heil could any of those shares have been naked shorted.
Just as I wrote in my article, Angela Merkel Nact(Naked)none of her Euro bonds could be 'naked shorted',however she said it in German,because ALL Euro bonds receive dividends and no one was holding any 'counterfeit bonds for that very reason.And I also mentioned in my article in reply to Angela Merkel's naked short'lie that her own German exchanges all had various U.S.penny stocks listed for 'trading'on German markets and that offshore dumping and manipulation might account for some of the lies about U.S.penny stocks being 'naked shorted' in the first place! And now German crooks have bought the U.S.NYSE.Very interesting don't you 'think' ?
Further I doubt seriously that anyone used 'naked shortselling' in German before Agora Inc and James Dale Davidson used it to distract from their Genemax and Endovasc pumps and dumps and 'share-money laundering',(my term),ops of 2002.

So Harry I've saved my correspondence with Agora Inc.s James Dale Davidson about 'the SEC lieing' about him in regards to Endovasc and Genemax pumps and dumps of 2002-2003.Why don't you just come right out and defend his 'naked short selling' lies ?
Note also that the crook and 9/11 cover up suspect Carl Levin who also covered up for ICTS International's flight 253 on his own political turf in Detroit Michigan on Christmas 2009 was quite clever in claiming stocks were being 'naked shorted' without naming one single stock so that he would not be a laughing stock when the stocks he might name turn out really to be stock pumpa and dumps and manipulations as they no doubt would be.Why didn't he name just one like ex Utah Moron Senator Bob Bennett who named(ha ha heee),the mormon scam called Global Links as an example of a stock that was 'naked shorted' and waving a copy of David Patch connected stock fraud rag,(what's it called) to prove it !
Harry I don't just suspect you are an idiot,I suspect something more devious !