It seems that every national candidate has a billionaire daddy (or is had by one). Like sports team ownership, national political ownership is a big-money game these days.
First we learned about Newt Gingrich's billionaire — casino giant Sheldon Adelson. Then we discovered Santorum was similarly possessed — by Foster Freiss, a fan of Gov. Scott Walker and aspirin.
Now comes news of Ron Paul's billionaire. What this says about Dr. Paul is well worth knowing.
Bottom line — Ron Paul's billionaire is a major player from the depths of the public-private national security industry, a very heavy hitter from the Spook-Industrial State.
Mark Ames writing in The Nation (sub may be required; March 19 newsstand copy; my emphases):
So it should come as a shock and disappointment to his followers that Ron Paul’s single largest donor—his Sheldon Adelson, as it were—founded a controversial defense contractor, Palantir Technologies. The company profits from government espionage work for the CIA, the FBI and other agencies, and last year it was caught organizing an illegal spy ring targeting opponents of the US Chamber of Commerce, including journalists, progressive activists and union leaders. (Palantir takes its name from the mystical seeing stones used by characters in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings to spy on one another.)I wasn't kidding when I characterized Thiel — Palantir is a major player at Spook Central, the public-private conglo that runs the U.S. national security state.
According to recently filed FEC disclosure documents, Ron Paul’s Super PAC, Endorse Liberty, has received nearly all of its money from a single source, billionaire Peter Thiel. So far, Thiel has contributed $2.6 million to the Super PAC, providing 76 percent of the its total intake.
Thiel, a self-described libertarian and opponent of democracy [sic] who made his fortune as the founder of PayPal, launched Palantir in 2004 to profit from what the Wall Street Journal described as “the government spy-services marketplace.” The CIA’s venture capital firm, In-Q-Tel, was brought in to back up Thiel as one of Palantir’s first outside investors. Today, Palantir’s valuation is reported to be in the billions.
Here's BusinessWeek on Palantir, as quoted by Ames (my reparagraphing):
Depending where you fall on the spectrum between civil liberties absolutism and homeland security lockdown, Palantir’s technology is either creepy or heroic. Judging by the company’s growth, opinion in Washington and elsewhere has veered toward the latter.Do check out the BW article. It's eye-opening.
Palantir has built a customer list that includes the U.S. Defense Dept., CIA, FBI, Army, Marines, Air Force, the police departments of New York and Los Angeles, and a growing number of financial institutions trying to detect bank fraud. These deals have turned the company into one of the quietest success stories in Silicon Valley—it’s on track to hit $250 million in sales this year—and a candidate for an initial public offering. Palantir has been used to find suspects in a case involving the murder of a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement special agent, and to uncover bombing networks in Syria, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. “It’s like plugging into the Matrix,” says a Special Forces member stationed in Afghanistan who requested anonymity out of security concerns. “The first time I saw it, I was like, ‘Holy crap. Holy crap. Holy crap.’ ”
If the name "Palantir" sounds familiar, it should. Palantir was involved in the early-2011 HBGary 75,000-hacked-emails story. Here's Ames on that:
[T]he technologies and know-how acquired over years of spying on suspected foreign terrorists and threats were turned against US citizens. In what became known last year as “Chamber-gate,” Palantir was outed by Anonymous as the lead outfit in a private espionage consortium, with security technology companies HBGary and Berico; the groups spent months “creating electronic dossiers on political opponents of the Chamber through illicit means.”For more on that story, our coverage is here. This is Glenn Greenwald with just part of the fascinating detail (the whole piece is well worth your time):
And in another case, on behalf of the Chamber of Commerce, they [HBGary] wanted to do the same to progressive groups and activists who are critical of the Chamber of Commerce and that’s what has kind of produced a lot of controversy is that the firms that were involved in these discussions, not just HBGary but also Palantir Technologies, Berico Technologies and most of all Hunton and Williams the very large and well connected DC law firm that represents both the Chamber of Commerce and Bank of America. These are very serious and legitimate players and so to see all of them discussing an email on these kind of odious schemes to basically destroy the credibility of political adversaries is why this has become a news story.When you think Ron Paul, think Spook Central. Paul is owned by a Spook Central billionaire.
Is Ron Paul really Mr. I'm Against War? Right... (Psst, wanna buy a bridge?)
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