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FTR #891 How Might Colonel L. Fletcher Prouty Have Viewed Edward Snowden? (The Foxes Aren’t Guarding the Henhouse, They ARE the Henhouse, Part 2: Update on the Adventures of Eddie the Friendly Spook)

Dave Emory’s entire life­time of work is avail­able on a flash dri­ve that can be obtained here. [1] The new dri­ve is a 32-giga­byte dri­ve that is cur­rent as of the pro­grams and arti­cles post­ed by late spring of 2015. The new dri­ve (avail­able for a tax-deductible con­tri­bu­tion of $65.00 or more) is com­plete through the late spring of 2015.

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This pro­gram was record­ed in one, 60-minute seg­ment [6]

[7]Intro­duc­tion: Undoubt­ed­ly, many lis­ten­ers have been puz­zled by Mr. Emory’s take on “Eddie the Friend­ly Spook” Snow­den. We note that the “Snow­den op” is a high­ly com­pli­cat­ed affair, with lev­els and ram­i­fi­ca­tions extend­ing around the world. We can­not do jus­tice to the entire­ty of “L’Af­faire Snow­den” in the con­text of this pro­gram and its descrip­tion.

Snow­den is actu­al­ly the oppo­site of what he is rep­re­sent­ed as being.

In this pro­gram, we scru­ti­nize Edward Snow­den from the per­spec­tive of Colonel L. Fletch­er Prouty, the Air Force “Focal Point Offi­cer” who devel­oped a CIA-con­trolled net­work inside of the branch­es of the mil­i­tary and oth­er agen­cies of the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment. (We note in this con­text that Snow­den was work­ing for CIA when he under­took his leak­ing oper­a­tion.)

We first present mate­r­i­al culled from Prouty’s book The Secret Team [8].

The analy­sis begins with an excerpt from The Guns of Novem­ber, Part I [9], review­ing the cir­cum­stances sur­round­ing the U‑2 inci­dent in May of 1960. On the cusp of a sum­mit con­fer­ence between then Pres­i­dent Dwight D. Eisen­how­er and then Sovi­et Pre­mier Niki­ta Khr­uschev, a U‑2 spy plane pilot­ed by Fran­cis Gary Pow­ers came down in the heart of the for­mer Sovi­et Union. The inci­dent caused the can­cel­la­tion of the sum­mit con­fer­ence, which was to be a pre­lude to detente between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R.

This por­tion of the pro­gram was record­ed as a pre­lude to a lengthy dis­cus­sion of “The Adven­tures of Eddie the Friend­ly Spook”–Edward Snow­den, begun in 2013. Just before Pres­i­dent Oba­ma’s meet­ing with Mr. Xi,  pres­i­dent of Chi­na, Snow­den decamps to Hong Kong (in Chi­na) and leaks infor­ma­tion about the hack­ing of Chi­nese com­put­ers. This caused enor­mous embar­rass­ment to Pres­i­dent Oba­ma, and neu­tral­ized any attempt he might have been able to make to reduce Chi­nese hack­ing of Amer­i­can com­put­ers, as well as oth­er points of dis­pute between the two nations.

Next, Snow­den’s leak­er of choice–“Cit­i­zen Green­wald” [10]–pub­lished arti­cles in The Guardian dis­clos­ing exten­sive NSA spy­ing on Ger­many, which the NSA views as “a third class part­ner.” These arti­cles were pub­lished just before Pres­i­dent Oba­ma was to meet with Chan­cel­lor Angela Merkel of Ger­many. Again, it caused enor­mous dam­age to Oba­ma and harmed U.S. rela­tion­ships with Ger­many and oth­er Euro­pean nations. (Note that Green­wald, as an attor­ney [11], was a fel­low trav­el­er [12] of some of the most heinous and mur­der­ous neo-Nazi and white suprema­cist groups).

Hit­ting the tri­fec­ta, Eddie the Friend­ly Spook [Snow­den] then decamps to Moscow in Rus­sia (like Chi­na, Rus­sia is not renowned as a bas­tion of free speech or inter­net free­dom.) This occurred just before Oba­ma’s meet­ing of the G20 in Moscow and in the run-up to a sched­uled sum­mit con­fer­ence with Putin. That sum­mit con­fer­ence was can­celed, not unlike the 1960 con­fer­ence between Khr­uschev and Eisen­how­er, which was destroyed by the U‑2 inci­dent. Colonel Prouty would not have failed to note the sim­i­lar­i­ty.

Snow­den’s trip to Moscow, like his jour­ney to Hong Kong/China could only have been intend­ed to harm Pres­i­dent Oba­ma’s admin­is­tra­tion and U.S. diplo­ma­cy.

Fun­da­men­tal to this analy­sis is the fact that, in 2009, Snow­den was work­ing for the CIA [13] when he decid­ed [14] to leak NSA infor­ma­tion. Colonel Prouty would not have failed to note this, nor would he have over­looked Snow­den’s vul­gar, ultra-right wing views. 

It also appears to have made the NSA vul­ner­a­ble to pos­si­ble manip­u­la­tion by the CIA, as key fea­tures of the NSA’s oper­a­tional blue­print were obtained by Snow­den. Bear in mind that the “Earth Island Boo­gie” [15] is in full swing.

Elec­tron­ic intel­li­gence about the Russ­ian “non-inva­sion” of Ukraine, the “non-shoot­down” of Malaysian Air­lines Flight 17 by Russ­ian-backed sep­a­ratists and the ambush­ing of Russ­ian Su-24 fight­er bomber by Turk­ish F‑16s would all be (lit­er­al­ly) on the NSA’s radar screen. Reign­ing in pos­si­ble NSA whistle­blow­ers on these mat­ters, as well as see­ing to it that NSA would not dis­close CIA back­ing for jihadist ter­ror­ist groups in the Earth Island would be rea­son enough for the CIA to want to gain the upper hand on NSA.

The infor­ma­tion gleaned by Snow­den would fun­da­men­tal­ly com­pro­mise NSA, per­mit­ting the hold­er of the doc­u­ments to “evade or repli­cate” [16] the NSA’s sur­veil­lance!

We note that Snow­den’s “op” direct­ly pre­ced­ed aggres­sive U.S. moves against both Chi­na and Rus­sia, both mil­i­tar­i­ly and eco­nom­i­cal­ly. In the Pacif­ic, the Trans-Pacif­ic Part­ner­ship (which excludes Chi­na) is in the off­ing and U.S. naval forces are con­fronting Chi­na in the Pacif­ic.

In Europe, the Snow­den “op” sig­naled the end of the “reboot with Rus­sia” and the onset of the Maid­an covert oper­a­tion, the war in Ukraine and the eco­nom­ic sanc­tions imposed on Rus­sia.

The pro­gram con­cludes with a look [17] at Jacob Apple­baum, one of the tech­nocrats involved both with the Wik­iLeaks and Snow­den “ops.” Apple­baum, like so many of the so-called “pri­va­cy activists” has a record of col­lab­o­rat­ing with the very U.S. intel­li­gence appa­rat they pro­fess to oppose.

” . . . Read­ers might find it odd that a US gov­ern­ment agency estab­lished as a way to laun­der the image of var­i­ous shady pro­pa­ganda out­fits (more on that soon) is now keen to fund tech­nolo­gies designed to pro­tect us from the US gov­ern­ment. More­over, it might seem curi­ous that its mon­ey would be so warm­ly wel­comed by some of the Internet’s fiercest antigov­ern­ment activists. . . . You’d think that anti-sur­veil­lance activists like Chris Soghoian, Jacob Appel­baum, Cory Doc­torow and Jil­lian York would be staunch­ly against out­fits like BBG and Radio Free Asia, and the role they have played — and con­tinue to play — in work­ing with defense and cor­po­rate inter­ests to project and impose U.S. pow­er abroad. Instead, these rad­i­cal activists have know­ingly joined the club, and in doing so, have become will­ing pitch­men for a wing of the very same U.S. Nation­al Secu­rity State they so adamant­ly oppose. . . .”

Pro­gram High­lights Include: Pres­i­dent Eisen­how­er’s order to sus­pend all U‑2 over­flights of the Sovi­et Union (Pow­ers’ flight was dis­patched against Pres­i­den­tial orders); the fact that Fran­cis Gary Pow­ers had poi­son and a nee­dle with which to take his own life, in order to pre­vent cap­ture (which he did not do); the fact that Pow­ers had exten­sive per­son­al iden­ti­fi­ca­tion pin­point­ing him as a U.S. intel­li­gence agent, oper­at­ing under civil­ian cov­er (in direct con­tra­ven­tion of stan­dard “san­i­ti­za­tion” pro­ce­dures); the fact that the U‑2 flew at an alti­tude which no Sovi­et or Amer­i­can inter­cep­tor air­craft or sur­face-to-air mis­sile could reach; the U‑2’s use of a spe­cial hydro­gen tech­nol­o­gy to per­mit its engine to oper­ate at that alti­tude; the prob­a­bil­i­ty that hydro­gen star­va­tion forced down Pow­ers’ plane; the rel­a­tive­ly undam­aged state of the U‑2 air­craft, call­ing into ques­tion the asser­tion that a sur­face-to-air mis­sile could have been respon­si­ble for the down­ing of Pow­ers’ plane; Pow­ers’ asser­tion [18] that Lee Har­vey Oswald was respon­si­ble for the down­ing of his U‑2 plane (this pre­sum­ably cen­tered on Oswald’s access to radar fre­quen­cies, which had noth­ing to do with the down­ing of the plane!); Jacob Apple­baum’s links to Gene Sharp, at the cen­ter of the so-called “col­or rev­o­lu­tions;”.

2a. We note that Snow­den was work­ing for CIA in the sum­mer of 1969, when he was sud­den­ly vis­it­ed by the Angel of Mer­cy, who imbued him with the spir­it of altru­ism. So inspired, he sal­lied res­olute­ly for­ward, deter­mined to make any nec­es­sary sac­ri­fice for “truth, free­dom and the Amer­i­can way.”

“In 2009, Ed Snow­den Said Leak­ers “Should Be Shot.” Then He Became One” by Joe Mullin; Ars Tech­ni­ca; 6/26/2013. [13]

. . . . Hired by the CIA and grant­ed a diplo­matic cov­er, he was a reg­u­lar old IT guy whose life was ele­vated by a hint of inter­na­tional intrigue. . . .

. . . . But as his first spring dawned in Switzer­land, it must have felt cold, for­eign, and expen­sive. Two days after his arrival in Switzer­land, Snow­den logged onto #arsi­fi­cial, a chan­nel on Ars Technica’s pub­lic Inter­net Relay Chat (IRC) serv­er. He’d been fre­quent­ing this space for a few months, chat­ting with whomev­er hap­pened to be hang­ing out. . . .

. . . . Snow­den logged on to the pub­lic IRC chat room with the same user­name he used across the Web: TheTrue­HOOHA. The chat room was a place he would return to on dozens of occa­sions over his years in Switzer­land, and his writ­ings fill in details about the man who may go down as the most famous leak­er in US his­tory. Over the years that he hung out in #arsi­fi­cial, Snow­den went from being a fair­ly insu­lated Amer­i­can to being a man of the world. He would wax philo­soph­i­cal about mon­ey, pol­i­tics, and in one notable exchange, about his uncom­pro­mis­ing views about gov­ern­ment leak­ers.

Four years lat­er, Snow­den took a job with a gov­ern­ment con­trac­tor for the spe­cific pur­pose of gath­er­ing secret infor­ma­tion on domes­tic spy­ing being done by the Nation­al Secu­rity Agency (NSA). In May, he hopped a plane to Hong Kong before the NSA knew where he was going. Once there, Snow­den began a process of leak­ing top-secret doc­u­ments to jour­nal­ists. Snowden’s first leak con­firmed what activists had sus­pected but couldn’t prove: there was a drag­net gov­ern­ment sur­veil­lance pro­gram col­lect­ing infor­ma­tion on every American’s phone calls. [This is man­i­fest­ly false, obvi­ous­ly, this was known well before.–D.E.]. . .

. . . . And he could be abra­sive. Snow­den didn’t short stocks just to make money—he did it because it was the right thing to do. He saw him­self as a pal­adin of the mar­kets, bring­ing “liq­uid­ity” to all. As for those who didn’t agree with him about the right­ness of the gold stan­dard or the need to elim­i­nate Social Secu­rity, they weren’t just mistaken—they were “retards.” . . .

. . . . A Ron Paul man and a short-sell­er

If Snow­den was get­ting com­fort­able in Gene­va, he was ful­ly at home in #arsi­fi­cial. In a depar­ture from his near­ly 800 posts in oth­er Ars forums, here he spoke blunt­ly on mat­ters of state. In the months fol­low­ing the 2008 elec­tion, he dis­cussed his embrace of a return to the gold stan­dard and his admi­ra­tion of its high­est-pro­file cham­pi­on.

In his more hyper­bolic moments, Snow­den spoke about the fall of the dol­lar in near-apoc­a­lyp­tic terms. “It seems like the USD and GBP are both like­ly to go the way of the zim­babwe dol­lar,” he sug­gested in March 2009. “Espe­cially with that cock­bag Bernanke decid­ing to mag­i­cally print 1.2T more dol­lars.” . . .

. . . . The high unem­ploy­ment rate that was on the way for the US didn’t phase Snow­den; those wring­ing their hands and seek­ing con­ven­tional Key­ne­sian solu­tions seemed soft­headed to him. Oba­ma was “plan­ning to deval­ue the cur­rency absolute­ly as fast as the­o­ret­i­cally pos­si­ble,” he wrote. Ris­ing unem­ploy­ment was a mere “cor­rec­tion,” a “nec­es­sary part of cap­i­tal­ism.” . . .

2b.  It was while work­ing for the CIA in 2009 that Snow­den made his deci­sion to leak NSA doc­u­ments. This puff-piece from Rolling Stone is use­ful only that it dis­clos­es that Snow­den chose to become a “leak­er” dur­ing the same time peri­od that he said that the elder­ly “would­n’t be fuck­ing help­less if you stopped send­ing them fuck­ing checks so they can sit on their ass and lie in hos­pi­tals all day.”

“Edward Snow­den and Glenn Green­wald: The Men Who Leaked the Secrets” by Janet Reit­man; Rolling Stone; 12/04/2013. [14]

 . . . . Anoth­er per­son who was both­ered by the Times’ treat­ment of the war­rant­less-wire­tap­ping sto­ry – and a num­ber of oth­ers based on clas­si­fied leaks – was Edward Snow­den, a patri­ot­ic young man who dreamed of a life in for­eign espi­onage. “Those peo­ple should be shot in the balls,” Snow­den, then a 25-year-old com­put­er tech­ni­cian, post­ed to an online forum in 2009, crit­i­ciz­ing both the anony­mous sources who leaked and the pub­li­ca­tions that print­ed the infor­ma­tion. “They’re report­ing clas­si­fied shit,” he said. “You don’t put that shit in the news­pa­per. . . . That shit is clas­si­fied for a rea­son.” . . . .

. . . . Pri­or to 2009, Snow­den had con­sid­ered leak­ing gov­ern­ment secrets when he was at the CIA, but held off, he lat­er said, not want­i­ng to harm agents in the field, and hop­ing that Oba­ma would reform the sys­tem. His opti­mism did­n’t last long. “[I] watched as Oba­ma advanced the very poli­cies that I thought would be reined in,” he lat­er said. As a result, he added, “I got hard­ened.” The more Snow­den saw of the NSA’s actu­al busi­ness – and, par­tic­u­lar­ly, the more he read “true infor­ma­tion,” includ­ing a 2009 Inspec­tor Gen­er­al’s report detail­ing the Bush era’s war­rant­less-sur­veil­lance pro­gram – the more he real­ized that there were actu­al­ly two gov­ern­ments: the one that was elect­ed, and the oth­er, secret regime, gov­ern­ing in the dark. “If the high­est offi­cials in gov­ern­ment can break the law with­out fear­ing pun­ish­ment or even any reper­cus­sions at all, secret pow­ers become tremen­dous­ly dan­ger­ous.” . . . .

3. Against the back­ground of the Snow­den “op,” we high­light the devel­op­ment of “focal point” per­son­nel by the CIA. Infil­trat­ed into oth­er branch­es of gov­ern­ment, includ­ing the mil­i­tary, they con­sti­tut­ed a “gov­ern­ment with­in a gov­ern­ment.” Was Snow­den one such “focal point?”

JFK and the Unspeak­able: Why He Died and Why It Mat­ters  [19]by James W. Dou­glass; Touch­stone Books [SC]; Copy­right 2008 by James W. Dou­glas; ISBN 978–1‑4391–9388‑4; pp. 196–197. [19]

. . . . One man in a posi­tion to watch the arms of the CIA pro­lif­er­ate was Colonel Fletch­er Prouty. He ran the office that did the pro­lif­er­at­ing. In 1955, Air Force Head­quar­ters ordered Colonel L. Fletch­er Prouty, a career Army and Air Force offi­cer since World War II, to set up a Pen­ta­gon office to pro­vide mil­i­tary sup­port for the clan­des­tine oper­a­tions of the CIA. Thus Prouty became direc­tor of the Pen­tagon’s “Focal Point Office for the CIA.”

CIA Direc­tor Allen Dulles was its actu­al cre­ator. In the fifties, Dulles need­ed mil­i­tary sup­port for his cov­er cam­paigns to under­mine oppos­ing nations in the Cold War. More­over, Dulles want­ed sub­ter­ranean secre­cy and auton­o­my for his projects, even from the mem­bers of his own gov­ern­ment. Prouty’s job was to pro­vide Pen­ta­gon sup­port and deep cov­er for the CIA beneath the dif­fer­ent branch­es of Wash­ing­ton’s bureau­cra­cy. Dulles dic­tat­ed the method Prouty was to fol­low.

“I want a focal point,” Dulles said. “I want an office that’s cleared to do what we have to have done; an office that knows us very, very well and then an office that has access to a sys­tem in the Pen­ta­gon. But the sys­tem will not be aware of what ini­ti­at­ed the request–they’ll think it came from the Sec­re­tary of Defense. They won’t real­ize it came from the Direc­tor of Cen­tral Intel­li­gence.

Dulles got Prouty to cre­ate a net­work of sub­or­di­nate focal point offices in the armed ser­vices, then through­out the entire U.S. gov­ern­ment. Each office that Prouty set up was put under a “cleared” CIA employ­ee. That per­son took orders direct­ly from the CIA but func­tioned under the cov­er of his par­tic­u­lar office and branch of gov­ern­ment. Such “breed­ing,” Prouty said decades lat­er in an inter­view, result­ed in a web of covert CIA rep­re­sen­ta­tives “in the State Depart­ment, in the FAA, in the Cus­toms Ser­vice, in the Trea­sury, in the FBI and all around through the government–up in the White House . . . Then we began to assign peo­ple there who, those agen­cies thought, were from the Defense Depart­ment. But they actu­al­ly were peo­ple that we put there from the CIA.”

The con­se­quence in the ear­ly 1960’s, when Kennedy became pres­i­dent, was that the CIA had placed a secret team of its own employ­ees through the entire U.S. gov­ern­ment. It was account­able to no one except the CIA, head­ed by Allen Dulles. After Dulles was fired by Kennedy, the CIA’s Deputy Direc­tor of Plans, Richard Helms, became this invis­i­ble gov­ern­men­t’s imme­di­ate com­man­der. No one except a tight inner cir­cle of the CIA even knew of the exis­tence of this top-secret intel­li­gence net­work, much less the iden­tiy of its deep-cov­er bureau­crats. These CIA “focal points,” as Dulles called them, con­sti­tut­ed a pow­er­ful, unseen gov­ern­ment with­in the gov­ern­ment. Its Dulles-appoint­ed mem­bers would act quick­ly, with total obe­di­ence, when called on by the CIA to assist its covert oper­a­tions. . . .

4b. Snow­den’s vast doc­u­ment theft make NO sense in terms of pro­tec­tion of per­son­al pri­va­cy or civ­il lib­er­ties. It appears that his “data dump” of some 1.7 mil­lion doc­u­ments would per­mit a would-be male­fac­tor to defeat NSA sur­veil­lance. Pur­loin­ing files on the mil­i­tary capa­bil­i­ties of for­eign coun­tries and the per­son­al lives of GCHQ oper­a­tives (which Snow­den has done) have noth­ing to do with civ­il lib­er­ties.

Note that there is NO WAY that Snow­den could pos­si­bly have reviewed all 1.7 mil­lion doc­u­ments.

Snow­den’s “op” is a hos­tile counter-intel­li­gence oper­a­tion.

“Snow­den Still Hold­ing ‘Keys to the King­dom’ ” by Wal­ter Pin­cus; The Wash­ing­ton Post; 12/18/2013. [16]

We’ve yet to see the full impact of for­mer Nation­al Secu­rity Agency con­trac­tor Edward Snowden’s unau­tho­rized down­load­ing of high­ly clas­si­fied intel­li­gence doc­u­ments.

Among the rough­ly 1.7 mil­lion doc­u­ments he walked away with — the vast major­ity of which have not been made pub­lic — are high­ly sen­si­tive, spe­cific intel­li­gence reports, as well as cur­rent and his­toric require­ments the White House has giv­en the agency to guide its col­lec­tion activ­i­ties, accord­ing to a senior gov­ern­ment offi­cial with knowl­edge of the sit­u­a­tion.

The lat­ter cat­e­gory involves about 2,000 unique task­ings that can run to 20 pages each and give rea­sons for selec­tive tar­get­ing to NSA col­lec­tors and ana­lysts. These orders alone may run 31,500 pages.

If dis­closed, that infor­ma­tion would reveal vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties with­in U. S. intel­li­gence gath­er­ing at the strate­gic lev­el, the offi­cial said.

...

Where the copies of these sen­si­tive task­ing doc­u­ments are is an unan­swered ques­tion.

Snow­den, in Hong Kong, dis­trib­uted NSA doc­u­ments dur­ing the first week in June to three jour­nal­ists — Glenn Green­wald, doc­u­men­tary film­maker Lau­ra Poitras and Bar­ton Gell­man. Gellman’s sto­ries based on them have been pub­lished in The Wash­ing­ton Post.

Snow­den went pub­lic June 9, after the first sto­ries appeared. Then he went into hid­ing.

On June 24, the South Chi­na Morn­ing Post pub­lished a sto­ry based on a June 12 inter­view with Snow­den in which he indi­cated that he had more doc­u­ments to leak. “If I have time to go through this infor­ma­tion, I would like to make it avail­able to jour­nal­ists in each coun­try to make their own assess­ment, inde­pen­dent of my bias, as to whether or not the knowl­edge of U.S. net­work oper­a­tions against their peo­ple should be pub­lished,” Snow­den was quot­ed as say­ing.

On July 14, the Asso­ci­ated Press pub­lished a sto­ry in which Green­wald said that Snow­den — then in Moscow at the air­port — had “lit­er­ally thou­sands of doc­u­ments” that con­sti­tute “basi­cally the instruc­tion man­ual for how the NSA is built.” Green­wald, who said he had spo­ken to Snow­den hours ear­lier, told the AP that in order to prove his cred­i­bil­ity Snow­den “had to take ones that includ­ed very sen­si­tive, detailed blue­prints of how the NSA does what they do.”

These doc­u­ments, Green­wald said, “would allow some­body who read them to know exact­ly how the NSA does what it does, which would in turn allow them to evade that sur­veil­lance or repli­cate it.”

But, Green­wald added, Snow­den had insist­ed they not be made pub­lic. On July 19, Green­wald told Ger­man pub­lic broad­caster ARD that Snow­den in June in Hong Kong had giv­en him and Poitras about 9,000 to 10,000 top-secret doc­u­ments.

On Oct. 17, the New York Times’ James Risen pub­lished a sto­ry based on an inter­view with Snow­den in which he said he did not take any NSA doc­u­ments with him to Rus­sia, where he now has a year-long res­i­dency per­mit.

Green­wald recent­ly told ABC News, “We pub­lished only a small frac­tion of the ones that we have been giv­en so far because we have gone through each of them and made sure that noth­ing we are pub­lish­ing endan­gers human lives.”

Still, there are “a lot of very sig­nif­i­cant sto­ries that are yet to be report­ed,” he said dur­ing an inter­view for an ABC News spe­cial to be aired this month.

So where are the task­ing doc­u­ments? I’ve not asked Gell­man, Green­wald or Poitras because were I in their posi­tions I would not say one way or the oth­er.

The NSA’s Led­gett con­sid­ers them so impor­tant that the secu­rity of those doc­u­ments is worth hav­ing a dis­cus­sion with Snow­den about amnesty.

“My per­sonal view is, yes, it’s worth hav­ing a con­ver­sa­tion about. I would need assur­ances that the remain­der of the data could be secured, and my bar for those assur­ances would be very high,” Led­gett said. . . .

5a. Jacob Appel­baum, the Wik­ileaks hack­er [20]/data-pri­va­cy activist [21]/Cyper­punk utopi­an [22] who has been one of the key tech­ni­cal ana­lysts to review and write about the Snow­den cache [23], had a series of tweets back in 2011 singing the prais­es of soft-rev­o­lu­tion expert Gene Sharp, whose the­o­ries have been a cen­ter­piece of the “con­ga-line ops” we spoke of in FTR #885 [24].

In light of his activ­i­ties fund­ed by the very U.S. gov­ern­ment intel­li­gence agen­cies he osten­si­bly oppos­es, this sug­gests that there may be far more to Apple­baum than we have been told [25].

Apple­baum has been deeply involved with both the Wik­iLeaks and Snow­den “ops,” sug­gest­ing that the pos­si­bil­i­ty that he may have been anoth­er of the CIA’s plants.

See here [26]:

Jacob Appel­baum
@ioerror

The high­light of my day was meet­ing Gene Sharp and dis­cussing rev­o­lu­tions. I feel real­ly inspired.

4:33 PM — 18 Feb 2011

here [27]:

Jacob Appel­baum
@ioerror

While ask­ing ques­tions, they locat­ed Gene Sharp books about author­i­tar­i­an­ism and obe­di­ence. Appar­ently, some­thing some pas­sen­gers lack.

12:58 AM — 12 Apr 2011

and here [28]:

Jacob Appel­baum
@ioerror

If any­thing — Gene Sharp deserves cred­it for his help with many of the col­or rev­o­lu­tions; those influ­enced mod­ern events. #Gene­Sharp­TaughtMe [29]

12:17 PM — 15 Apr 2011

5b. Appel­baum is just one of many hack­tivists who are build­ing today’s cut­ting-edge pri­vacy tools and they’re not doing it for free. No, these Cypher­punk utopi­ans are work­ing for the same enti­ty Gene Sharp has assist­ed so ably over the years: the US intel­li­gence com­mu­nity [17].

” . . . Read­ers might find it odd that a US gov­ern­ment agency estab­lished as a way to laun­der the image of var­i­ous shady pro­pa­ganda out­fits (more on that soon) is now keen to fund tech­nolo­gies designed to pro­tect us from the US gov­ern­ment. More­over, it might seem curi­ous that its mon­ey would be so warm­ly wel­comed by some of the Internet’s fiercest antigov­ern­ment activists. . . . . In 2012, just a few months after Radio Free Asia’s 24/7 pro­pa­ganda blitz into North Korea failed to trig­ger regime change, RFA sent folks from the Tor Project — includ­ing core devel­oper Jacob Appel­baum (pic­tured above) — into Bur­ma, just as the mil­i­tary dic­ta­tor­ship was final­ly agree­ing to hand polit­i­cal pow­er over to US-backed [30] pro-democ­ra­cy politi­cians. The stat­ed pur­pose of Appelbaum’s RFA-fund­ed expe­di­tion was to probe Burma’s Inter­net sys­tem from with­in and col­lect infor­ma­tion [31] on its telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions infra­struc­ture — which was then used to com­pile a report for West­ern politi­cians and “inter­na­tional investors” inter­ested in pen­e­trat­ing Burma’s recent­ly opened mar­kets. Here you can see Appelbaum’s visa [32]— pub­lished in the report as evi­dence of what you need­ed to do to buy a SIM card in Bur­ma.

Bur­ma is a curi­ous place for Amer­i­can anti-sur­veil­lance activists fund­ed by Radio Free Asia to trav­el to, con­sid­er­ing that it has long been a tar­get of US regime-change cam­paigns. In fact, the guru [33] of pro-West­ern “col­or rev­o­lu­tions,” Gene Sharp, wrote his famous guide to non-vio­lent rev­o­lu­tions, “From Dic­ta­tor­ship to Democ­racy”, ini­tially as a guide [34] for Burma’s oppo­si­tion move­ment, in order to help it over­throw the mil­i­tary jun­ta in the late 1980s. . . .

. . . . Jacob Appelbaum’s will­ing­ness to work direct­ly for an old CIA cutout like Radio Free Asia in a nation long tar­geted for regime-change is cer­tainly odd, to say the least. Par­tic­u­larly since Appel­baum made a big pub­lic show recent­ly claim­ing that, though it pains him that Tor takes so much mon­ey from the US mil­i­tary, he would nev­er take mon­ey from some­thing as evil as the CIA [35]. . . . 

. . . . Appelbaum’s finan­cial rela­tion­ships with var­i­ous CIA spin­offs like Radio Free Asia and the BBG go fur­ther. From 2012 through 2013, Radio Free Asia trans­ferred [36] about $1.1 mil­lion to Tor in the form of grants and con­tracts. This mil­lion dol­lars comes on top of anoth­er $3.4 mil­lion Tor received [36] from Radio Free Asia’s par­ent agency, the BBG, start­ing from 2007. . . .You’d think that anti-sur­veil­lance activists like Chris Soghoian, Jacob Appel­baum, Cory Doc­torow and Jil­lian York would be staunch­ly against out­fits like BBG and Radio Free Asia, and the role they have played — and con­tinue to play — in work­ing with defense and cor­po­rate inter­ests to project and impose U.S. pow­er abroad. Instead, these rad­i­cal activists have know­ingly joined the club, and in doing so, have become will­ing pitch­men for a wing of the very same U.S. Nation­al Secu­rity State they so adamant­ly oppose. . . .”

“Inter­net Pri­vacy, Fund­ed by Spooks: A Brief His­tory of the BBG” by Yasha Levine; Pan­do Dai­ly; 3/01/2015.  [17]

For the past few months I’ve been cov­er­ing [37] U.S. gov­ern­ment fund­ing of pop­u­lar Inter­net pri­vacy tools like Tor, Cryp­to­Cat and Open Whis­per Sys­tems. Dur­ing my report­ing, one agency in par­tic­u­lar keeps pop­ping up: An agency with one of those real­ly bland names that masks its wild, bizarre his­tory: the Broad­cast­ing Board of Gov­er­nors, or BBG.

The BBG was formed in 1999 and runs on a $721 mil­lion annu­al bud­get [38]. It reports direct­ly to Sec­re­tary of State John Ker­ry [39] and oper­ates like a hold­ing com­pany for a host of Cold War-era CIA spin­offs and old school “psy­cho­log­i­cal war­fare” projects: Radio Free Europe, Radio Free Asia, Radio Martí, Voice of Amer­ica, Radio Lib­er­a­tion from Bol­she­vism (since renamed “Radio Lib­erty”) and a dozen oth­er gov­ern­ment-fund­ed radio sta­tions and media out­lets pump­ing out pro-Amer­i­can pro­pa­ganda across the globe.

Today, the Con­gres­sion­al­ly-fund­ed fed­eral agency is also one of the biggest back­ers of grass­roots and open-source Inter­net pri­vacy tech­nol­ogy. These invest­ments start­ed in 2012, when the BBG launched the “Open Tech­nol­ogy Fund” (OTF) — an ini­tia­tive housed with­in and run by Radio Free Asia (RFA), a pre­mier BBG prop­erty that broad­casts into com­mu­nist coun­tries like North Korea, Viet­nam, Laos, Chi­na and Myan­mar. The BBG endowed Radio Free Asia’s Open Tech­nol­ogy Fund with a mul­ti­mil­lion dol­lar bud­get and a sin­gle task: “to ful­fill the U.S. Con­gres­sional glob­al man­date for Inter­net free­dom.”

It’s already a mouth­ful of prover­bial Wash­ing­ton alpha­bet soup — Con­gress funds BBG to fund RFA to fund OTF — but, regard­less of which sub-group ulti­mately writes the check, the impor­tant thing to under­stand is that all this fed­eral gov­ern­ment mon­ey flows, direct­ly or indi­rectly, from the Broad­cast­ing Board of Gov­er­nors.

Between 2012 [40]and 2014 [41], Radio Free Asia’s Open Tech­nol­ogy Fund poured more than $10 mil­lion into Inter­net pri­vacy projects big and small: open-source encrypt­ed com­mu­ni­ca­tion apps, next-gen­er­a­tion secure email ini­tia­tives, anti-cen­sor­ship mesh net­work­ing plat­forms, encryp­tion secu­rity audits, secure cloud host­ing, a net­work of “high-capac­i­ty” Tor exit nodes and even an anony­mous Tor-based tool for leak­ers and whistle­blow­ers that com­peted with Wik­ileaks.

Though many of the apps and tech backed by Radio Free Asia’s OTF are unknown to the gen­eral pub­lic, they are high­ly respect­ed and extreme­ly pop­u­lar among the anti-sur­veil­lance Inter­net activist crowd. OTF-fund­ed apps have been rec­om­mended [42] by Edward Snow­den, cov­ered favor­ably by ProP­ub­lica [43] and The New York Times’ tech­nol­ogy reporters, and repeat­edly pro­moted by the Elec­tronic Fron­tier Foun­da­tion. Every­one seems to agree that OTF-fund­ed pri­vacy apps offer some of the best pro­tec­tion from gov­ern­ment sur­veil­lance you can get. In fact, just about all the fea­tured open-source apps [44]on EFF’s recent “Secure Mes­sag­ing Score­card” were fund­ed by OTF.

Here’s a small sam­ple of what the Broad­cast­ing Board of Gov­er­nors fund­ed (through Radio Free Asia and then through the Open Tech­nol­ogy Fund) between 2012 and 2014:

* Open Whis­per Sys­tems, mak­er of free encrypt­ed text and voice mobile apps like TextSe­cure and Signal/RedPhone, got a gen­er­ous $1.35-million infu­sion [45]. (Face­book recent­ly start­ed using Open Whis­per Sys­tems to secure its What­sApp mes­sages.)
* Cryp­to­Cat, an encrypt­ed chat app made by Nadim Kobeis­si and pro­moted by EFF, received $184,000.
* LEAP, an email encryp­tion start­up, got just over $1 mil­lion. LEAP is cur­rently being used to run secure VPN ser­vices at RiseUp.net [46], the rad­i­cal anar­chist com­mu­ni­ca­tion col­lec­tive.
A Wik­ileaks alter­na­tive called Glob­aLeaks (which was endorsed [47] by the folks at Tor, includ­ing Jacob Appel­baum) received just under $350,000.
* The Guardian Project — which makes an encrypt­ed chat app called Chat­Se­cure, as well a mobile ver­sion of Tor called Orbot — got $388,500.
* The Tor Project received over $1 mil­lion [48] from OTF to pay for secu­rity audits, traf­fic analy­sis tools and set up fast Tor exit nodes in the Mid­dle East and South East Asia.

In 2014, Con­gress mas­sively upped the BBG’s “Inter­net free­dom” bud­get to $25 mil­lion, with half of that mon­ey [49] flow­ing through RFA and into the Open Tech­nol­ogy Fund. This $12.75 mil­lion rep­re­sented a three-fold increase [49] in OTF’s bud­get from 2013 — a con­sid­er­able expan­sion for an out­fit that was just a few years old. Clear­ly, it’s doing some­thing that the gov­ern­ment likes. A lot.

With those resources, the Open Tech­nol­ogy Fund’s moth­er-agency, Radio Free Asia, plans to cre­ate a ver­ti­cally inte­grated incu­ba­tor for bud­ding pri­vacy tech­nol­o­gists around the globe — pro­vid­ing every­thing from train­ing and men­tor­ship, to offer­ing them a secure glob­al cloud host­ing envi­ron­ment to run their apps, to legal assis­tance.

...

Read­ers might find it odd that a US gov­ern­ment agency estab­lished as a way to laun­der the image of var­i­ous shady pro­pa­ganda out­fits (more on that soon) is now keen to fund tech­nolo­gies designed to pro­tect us from the US gov­ern­ment. More­over, it might seem curi­ous that its mon­ey would be so warm­ly wel­comed by some of the Internet’s fiercest antigov­ern­ment activists.

But, as folks in the open-source pri­vacy com­mu­nity will tell you, fund­ing for open-source encryp­tion/an­ti-sur­veil­lance tech has been hard to come by. So they’ve wel­comed mon­ey from Radio Free Asia’s Open Tech­nol­ogy Fund with open pock­ets. Devel­op­ers and groups sub­mit­ted their projects for fund­ing, while lib­er­tar­i­ans and anti-gov­ern­men­t/an­ti-sur­veil­lance activists enthu­si­as­ti­cally joined OTF’s advi­sory coun­cil, sit­ting along­side rep­re­sen­ta­tives [50] from Google and the US State Depart­ment, tech lob­by­ists, and mil­i­tary con­sul­tants.

But why is a fed­er­al­ly-fund­ed CIA spin­off with decades of expe­ri­ence in “psy­cho­log­i­cal war­fare” sud­denly blow­ing tens of mil­lions in gov­ern­ment funds on pri­vacy tools meant to pro­tect peo­ple from being sur­veilled by anoth­er arm of the very same gov­ern­ment? To answer that ques­tion, we have to pull the cam­era back and exam­ine how all of those Cold War pro­pa­ganda out­lets begat the Broad­cast­ing Board of Gov­er­nors begat Radio Free Asia begat the Open Tech­nol­ogy Fund. The sto­ry begins in the late 1940’s.

The ori­gins of the Broad­cast­ing Board of Gov­er­nors

The Broad­cast­ing Board of Gov­er­nors traces its begin­nings to the ear­ly Cold War years, as a covert pro­pa­ganda project of the new­ly-cre­at­ed Cen­tral Intel­li­gence Agency to wage “psy­cho­log­i­cal war­fare” against Com­mu­nist regimes and oth­ers deemed a threat to US inter­ests.

George Ken­nan — the key archi­tect of post-WWII for­eign pol­icy — pushed for expand­ing the role [51] of covert peace­time pro­grams. And so, in 1948, Nation­al Secu­rity Coun­cil Direc­tive 10/2 [52] offi­cially autho­rized the CIA to engage in “covert oper­a­tions” against the Com­mu­nist Men­ace. Clause 5 of the direc­tive [52]e defined “covert oper­a­tions” as “pro­pa­ganda, eco­nomic war­fare; pre­ven­tive direct action, includ­ing sab­o­tage, anti-sab­o­tage, demo­li­tion and evac­u­a­tion mea­sures; sub­ver­sion against hos­tile states, includ­ing assis­tance to under­ground resis­tance move­ments, guer­ril­las and refugee lib­er­a­tion groups, and sup­port of indige­nous anti-com­mu­nist ele­ments in threat­ened coun­tries of the free world.”

Pro­pa­ganda quick­ly became one of the key weapons in the CIA’s covert oper­a­tions arse­nal. The agency estab­lished and fund­ed radio sta­tions [53], news­pa­pers, mag­a­zines, his­tor­i­cal soci­eties, emi­gre “research insti­tutes,” and cul­tural pro­grams all over Europe. In many cas­es, it fun­neled mon­ey to out­fits run and staffed by known World War II war crim­i­nals and Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tors, both in Europe and here in the Unit­ed States.

Christo­pher Simp­son, author of “Blow­back: America’s Recruit­ment of Nazis and Its Destruc­tive Impact on Our Domes­tic and For­eign Pol­icy”, details the extent of these “psy­cho­log­i­cal war­fare projects”:

CIA-fund­ed psy­cho­log­i­cal war­fare projects employ­ing East­ern Euro­pean émi­grés became major oper­a­tions dur­ing the 1950s, con­sum­ing tens and even hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars. . . .This includ­ed under­writ­ing most of the French Paix et Lib­erté move­ment, pay­ing the bills of the Ger­man League for Strug­gle Against Inhu­man­ity , and financ­ing a half dozen free jurists asso­ci­a­tions, a vari­ety of Euro­pean fed­er­al­ist groups, the Con­gress for Cul­tural Free­dom, mag­a­zines, news ser­vices, book pub­lish­ers, and much more. These were very broad pro­grams designed to influ­ence world pub­lic opin­ion at vir­tu­ally every lev­el, from illit­er­ate peas­ants in the fields to the most sophis­ti­cated schol­ars in pres­ti­gious uni­ver­si­ties. They drew on a wide range of resources: labor unions, adver­tis­ing agen­cies, col­lege pro­fes­sors, jour­nal­ists, and stu­dent lead­ers, to name a few. [empha­sis added]

In Europe, the CIA set up “Radio Free Europe” and “Radio Lib­er­a­tion From Bol­she­vism” (lat­er renamed “Radio Lib­erty”), which beamed pro­pa­ganda in sev­eral lan­guages into the Sovi­et Union and Sovi­et satel­lite states of East­ern Europe. The CIA lat­er expand­ed its radio pro­pa­ganda oper­a­tions into Asia, tar­get­ing com­mu­nist Chi­na, North Korea and Viet­nam. The spy agency also fund­ed sev­eral radio projects aimed at sub­vert­ing left­ist gov­ern­ments in Cen­tral and South Amer­ica, includ­ing Radio Free Cuba and Radio Swan [54]— which was run by the CIA and employed [55] some of the same Cuban exiles that took part in the failed Bay of Pigs inva­sion. Even today, the CIA boasts [51] that these ear­ly “psy­cho­log­i­cal war­fare” projects “would become one of the longest run­ning and suc­cess­ful covert action cam­paigns ever mount­ed by the Unit­ed States.”

Offi­cially, the CIA’s direct role in this glob­al “psy­cho­log­i­cal war­fare” project dimin­ished [51] in the 1970s, after the spy agency’s ties to Cold War pro­pa­ganda arms like Radio Free Europe were exposed [56]. Con­gress agreed to take over fund­ing of these projects from the CIA, and even­tu­ally Wash­ing­ton expand­ed them into a mas­sive fed­er­al­ly-fund­ed pro­pa­ganda appa­ra­tus.

The names of the var­i­ous CIA spin­offs and non­prof­its changed over the years, cul­mi­nat­ing in a 1999 reor­ga­ni­za­tion under Pres­i­dent Bill Clin­ton which cre­ated the Broad­cast­ing Board of Gov­er­nors, a par­ent hold­ing com­pany to group new broad­cast­ing oper­a­tions around the world togeth­er with Cold War-era pro­pa­ganda out­fits with spooky pasts—including Radio Free Europe/Radio Lib­erty, Voice of Amer­ica and Radio Free Asia.

Today, the BBG has a $721 mil­lion bud­get [38] pro­vided by Con­gress, reports to the Sec­re­tary of State and is man­aged by a revolv­ing crew of neo­cons and mil­i­tary think-tank experts. Among them: Ken­neth Wein­stein [57], head of the Hud­son Insti­tute, the arch-con­ser­v­a­tive Cold War-era mil­i­tary think tank; and Ryan C. Crock­er, for­mer ambas­sador to Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syr­ia.

Although today’s BBG is no longer covert­ly fund­ed via the CIA’s black bud­get, its role as a soft pow­er “psy­cho­log­i­cal war­fare” oper­a­tion hasn’t real­ly changed since its incep­tion. The BBG and its sub­sidiaries still engage in pro­pa­ganda war­fare, sub­ver­sion and soft-pow­er pro­jec­tion against coun­tries and for­eign polit­i­cal move­ments deemed hos­tile to US inter­ests. And it is still deeply inter­twined with the same mil­i­tary and CIA-con­nect­ed intel­li­gence orga­ni­za­tions — from USAID to DARPA to the Nation­al Endow­ment for Democ­ra­cy.

Today, the Broad­cast­ing Board of Gov­er­nors runs a pro­pa­ganda net­work that blan­kets the globe: Radio Martí (aimed at Cuba), Radio Far­da (aimed at Iran), Radio Sawa (which broad­casts in Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Moroc­co, and Sudan), Radio Aza­di (tar­get­ing Afghanistan), Radio Free Europe/Radio Lib­erty [58] (which has tai­lored broad­casts in over a dozen lan­guages into Rus­sia, Ukraine, Ser­bia, Azer­bai­jan, Ukraine, Belarus, Geor­gia, and Arme­nia), and Radio Free Asia (which tar­gets Chi­na, North Korea, Laos, and Viet­nam).

The BBG is also involved in the tech­nol­ogy of post-Cold War, Inter­net-era pro­pa­ganda. It has bankrolled satel­lite Inter­net access in Iran and con­tin­ues to fund an SMS-based social net­work [59] in Cuba called Piramideo — which is dif­fer­ent from the failed covert Twit­ter clone fund­ed by USAID [60] that tried to spark a Cuban Spring rev­o­lu­tion. It has con­tracted with an anonymi­ty Inter­net proxy called SafeWeb [61], which had been fund­ed [62] by the CIA’s ven­ture cap­i­tal firm In-Q-Tel. It worked with tech out­fits run by prac­ti­tion­ers of the con­tro­ver­sial Chi­nese right-wing cult, Falun Gong — whose leader [63] believes that humans are being cor­rupted by invad­ing aliens [64] from oth­er planets/dimensions. These com­pa­nies — Dynaweb and Ultra­reach — pro­vide anti-cen­sor­ship tools to Chi­nese Inter­net users. As of 2012, the BBG con­tin­ued to fund [65] them to the tune of $1.5 mil­lion a year.

As the BBG proud­ly out­lined in a 2013 fact sheet for its “Inter­net Anti-Cen­sor­ship” unit:

The BBG col­lab­o­rates with oth­er Inter­net free­dom projects and orga­ni­za­tions, includ­ing RFA’s Open Tech­nol­ogy Fund, the State Depart­ment, USAID, and DARPAs SAFER Warfight­er Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Pro­gram. IAC is also reach­ing out to oth­er groups inter­ested in Inter­net free­dom such as Google, Free­dom House and the Nation­al Endow­ment for Democracy’s Cen­ter for Inter­na­tional Media Assis­tance.

BBG is also one of the Tor Project’s biggest fun­ders, pay­ing out about $3.5 mil­lion from 2008 through 2013 [66]. BBG’s lat­est pub­licly-known Tor con­tract [67] was final­ized in mid-2012 [67]. The BBG gave Tor at least $1.2 mil­lion to improve secu­rity and dras­ti­cally boost the band­width of the Tor net­work by fund­ing over a hun­dred Tor nodes across the world — all part of the US government’s effort to find an effec­tive soft-pow­er weapon that can under­mine Inter­net cen­sor­ship and con­trol in coun­tries hos­tile to US inter­ests. (We only know about the BBG’s lucra­tive fund­ing of Tor thanks to the dogged efforts of the Elec­tronic Pri­vacy Infor­ma­tion Cen­ter, which had to sue to get its FOIA requests ful­filled [68].)

As men­tioned, last year Con­gress decid­ed the BBG was doing such a good job advanc­ing America’s inter­ests abroad that it boost­ed the agency’s “Inter­net free­dom” annu­al bud­get from just $1.6 mil­lion in 2011 [69]to a whop­ping $25 mil­lion this year. The BBG fun­neled half of this tax­payer mon­ey through its Radio Free Asia sub­sidiary, into the “Open Tech­nol­ogy Fund” — the “non­profit” respon­si­ble for bankrolling many of today’s pop­u­lar open-source pri­vacy and encryp­tion apps.

Which brings me to the next star­ring agency in this recov­ered his­tory of Wash­ing­ton DC’s pri­vacy tech­nol­ogy invest­ments: Radio Free Asia.

Radio Free Asia

The CIA launched Radio Free Asia (RFA) in 1951 as an exten­sion of its glob­al anti-Com­mu­nist pro­pa­ganda radio net­work. RFA beamed its sig­nal into main­land Chi­na from a trans­mit­ter in Mani­la, and its oper­a­tions were based on the ear­lier Radio Free Europe/Radio Lib­er­a­tion From Bol­she­vism mod­el.

The CIA quick­ly dis­cov­ered that their plan to foment polit­i­cal unrest in Chi­na had one major flaw: the Chi­nese were too poor to own radios.

...

Bal­loons, hold­ing small radios tuned to Radio Free Asia’s fre­quency, were loft­ed toward the main­land from the island of Tai­wan, where the Chi­nese Nation­al­ists had fled after the Com­mu­nist takeover of the main­land in 1949. The plan was aban­doned when the bal­loons were blown back to Tai­wan across the For­mosa Strait. The CIA sup­pos­edly shut­tered Radio Free Asia in the mid-1950s, but anoth­er Radio Free Asia reap­peared a decade lat­er, this time fund­ed through a CIA-Moonie out­fit called the Kore­an Cul­ture and Free­dom Foun­da­tion (KCFF) — a group based in Wash­ing­ton, D.C. that was run by a top fig­ure in South Korea’s state intel­li­gence agency, Colonel Bo Hi Pak, who also served as the “prin­ci­ple evan­ge­list” of cult leader Rev. Sun-Myung Moon of the Uni­fi­ca­tion Church.

This new Moonie iter­a­tion of Radio Free Asia was con­trolled by the South Kore­an gov­ern­ment, includ­ing the country’s own CIA, the “KCIA.” It enjoyed high-lev­el sup­port from with­in the first Nixon Admin­is­tra­tion and even fea­tured then-Con­gress­man Ger­ald Ford on its board. Accord­ing to an FBI file on Rev. Moon [70], Radio Free Asia “at the height of the Viet­nam war pro­duced anti-com­mu­nist pro­grams in Wash­ing­ton and beamed them into Chi­na, North Korea and North Viet­nam.”

Radio Free Asia got bust­ed in a wide­spread cor­rup­tion scan­dal in the late 1970s, when the South Kore­an gov­ern­ment was inves­ti­gated [71] for using the Moonie cult to influ­ence US pub­lic opin­ion in order to keep the US mil­i­tary engaged against North Korea. Back in the 1970s, the Moonies [72] were the most noto­ri­ous cult [73] in the Unit­ed States, accused of abduct­ing [74] and “brain­wash­ing ” [75]count­less Amer­i­can youths. How it was that the CIA’s Radio Free Asia was hand­ed off to the Moonies was nev­er quite explained, but giv­en laws ban­ning the CIA (or the KCIA) from engag­ing in psy­cho­log­i­cal war­fare in the US, the obvi­ous thing to do was to bury Radio Free Asia long enough for every­one to for­get about it.

No soon­er had Radio Free Asia van­ished amid scan­dal than it reap­peared again, Ter­mi­na­tor-like, in the 1990s — this time as a legit “inde­pen­dent” non­profit whol­ly con­trolled by the BBG and fund­ed by Con­gress.

Although this lat­est ver­sion of Radio Free Asia was sup­posed to be a com­pletely new orga­ni­za­tion and was no longer as covert and B‑movie spooky, its objec­tives and tac­tics remained exact­ly the same: To this day it beams pro­pa­ganda into the same Com­mu­nist coun­tries, includ­ing North Korea, Viet­nam, Laos, Cam­bo­dia, Chi­na, and Bur­ma, and fid­dles around in the same sorts of spooky adven­tures.

...

Radio Free Asia and Anti-gov­ern­ment Hack­tivists

Which brings us up to the present, when the Broad­cast­ing Board of Gov­er­nors, Radio Free Asia and its off­shoot, the Open Tech­nol­ogy Fund, find them­selves in bed with many of the very same pri­vacy activist fig­ures whom the pub­lic regards as the pri­mary adver­saries of out­fits like Radio Free Asia and the BBG. And it’s tech­nol­ogy that brings togeth­er these sup­posed adver­saries — the US Nation­al Secu­rity State on the one hand, and “hack­tivist”, “anti-gov­ern­ment” lib­er­tar­ian pri­vacy activists on the oth­er:

“I’m proud to be a vol­un­teer OTF advi­sor,” declared Cory Doc­torow, edi­tor of Boing­Bo­ing and a well-known lib­er­tar­ian anti-sur­veil­lance activist/author.

“Hap­py to have joined the Open Tech­nol­ogy Fund’s new advi­sory coun­cil,” tweet­ed [76] Jil­lian York, the Direc­tor for Inter­na­tional Free­dom of Expres­sion at the Elec­tronic Fron­tier Foun­da­tion. (York recent­ly admit­ted [77] that the OTF’s “Inter­net free­dom” agen­da is, at its core, about regime change, but bizarrely argued that it didn’t mat­ter.)

In 2012, just a few months after Radio Free Asia’s 24/7 pro­pa­ganda blitz into North Korea failed to trig­ger regime change, RFA sent folks from the Tor Project — includ­ing core devel­oper Jacob Appel­baum (pic­tured above) — into Bur­ma, just as the mil­i­tary dic­ta­tor­ship was final­ly agree­ing to hand polit­i­cal pow­er over to US-backed [30] pro-democ­ra­cy politi­cians. The stat­ed pur­pose of Appelbaum’s RFA-fund­ed expe­di­tion was to probe Burma’s Inter­net sys­tem from with­in and col­lect infor­ma­tion [31]on its telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions infra­struc­ture — which was then used to com­pile a report for West­ern politi­cians and “inter­na­tional investors” inter­ested in pen­e­trat­ing Burma’s recent­ly opened mar­kets. Here you can see Appelbaum’s visa [32]— pub­lished in the report as evi­dence of what you need­ed to do to buy a SIM card in Bur­ma.

Bur­ma is a curi­ous place for Amer­i­can anti-sur­veil­lance activists fund­ed by Radio Free Asia to trav­el to, con­sid­er­ing that it has long been a tar­get of US regime-change cam­paigns. In fact, the guru [33] of pro-West­ern “col­or rev­o­lu­tions,” Gene Sharp, wrote his famous guide to non-vio­lent rev­o­lu­tions, “From Dic­ta­tor­ship to Democ­racy”, ini­tially as a guide [34] for Burma’s oppo­si­tion move­ment, in order to help it over­throw the mil­i­tary jun­ta in the late 1980s. Sharp had crossed into Bur­ma ille­gally to train oppo­si­tion activists there — all under the pro­tec­tion and spon­sor­ship [78] of the US gov­ern­ment and one Col. Robert Helvey [79], a mil­i­tary intel­li­gence offi­cer.

Jacob Appelbaum’s will­ing­ness to work direct­ly for an old CIA cutout like Radio Free Asia in a nation long tar­geted for regime-change is cer­tainly odd, to say the least. Par­tic­u­larly since Appel­baum made a big pub­lic show recent­ly claim­ing that, though it pains him that Tor takes so much mon­ey from the US mil­i­tary, he would nev­er take mon­ey from some­thing as evil as the CIA [35].

Igno­rance is bliss.

Appelbaum’s finan­cial rela­tion­ships with var­i­ous CIA spin­offs like Radio Free Asia and the BBG go fur­ther. From 2012 through 2013, Radio Free Asia trans­ferred [36] about $1.1 mil­lion to Tor in the form of grants and con­tracts. This mil­lion dol­lars comes on top of anoth­er $3.4 mil­lion Tor received [36] from Radio Free Asia’s par­ent agency, the BBG, start­ing from 2007.

But Tor and Appel­baum are not the only ones hap­py to take mon­ey from the BBG/RFA.

Take com­puter researcher/privacy activist Har­ry Halpin, for exam­ple. Back in Novem­ber of 2014, Halpin smeared [80] me as a con­spir­acy the­o­rist, and then false­ly accused me and Pan­do of being fund­ed by the CIA — sim­ply because I report­ed on Tor’s gov­ern­ment fund­ing. Turns out that Halpin’s next-gen­er­a­tion secure com­mu­ni­ca­tions out­fit, called LEAP, took more than $1 mil­lion [81] from Radio Free Asia’s Open Tech­nol­ogy Fund. Some­what iron­i­cally, LEAP’s tech­nol­ogy pow­ers the VPN ser­vices [82] of RiseUp.Net, the rad­i­cal anar­chist tech col­lec­tive that pro­vides activists with email and secure com­mu­ni­ca­tions tools (and forces you to sign a thin­ly veiled anti-Com­mu­nist [83] pledge before giv­ing you an account).

Then there’s the ACLU’s Christo­pher Soghoian. A few months ago, he had vicious­ly attacked me and Pan­do for report­ing on Tor’s US gov­ern­ment fund­ing. But just the oth­er day, Soghoian went on Democ­racy Now, and in the mid­dle of a seg­ment crit­i­ciz­ing the U.S. government’s run­away hack­ing and sur­veil­lance pro­grams, rec­om­mended that peo­ple use a suite of encrypt­ed text and voice apps fund­ed by the very same intel­li­gence-con­nect­ed U.S. gov­ern­ment appa­ra­tus he was denounc­ing. Specif­i­cally, Soghoian rec­om­mended apps made by Open Whis­per Sys­tems, which got $1.35 mil­lion from Radio Free Asia’s Open Tech­nol­ogy Fund from 2013 through 2014.

He told Amy Good­man:

“These are best-of-breed free appli­ca­tions made by top secu­rity researchers, and actu­ally sub­si­dized by the State Depart­ment and by the U.S. tax­payer. You can down­load these tools today. You can make encrypt­ed tele­phone calls. You can send encrypt­ed text mes­sages. You can real­ly up your game and pro­tect your com­mu­ni­ca­tions.”

When Good­man won­dered why the U.S. gov­ern­ment would fund pri­vacy apps, he acknowl­edged that this tech­nol­ogy is a soft-pow­er weapon of U.S. empire but then gave a very mud­dled and naive answer:

CHRISTOPHER SOGHOIAN: Because they’re tools of for­eign pol­icy. You know, the U.S. gov­ern­ment isn’t this one machine with one per­son, you know, dic­tat­ing all of its poli­cies. You have these dif­fer­ent agen­cies squab­bling, some­times doing con­tra­dic­tory things. The U.S. gov­ern­ment, the State Depart­ment has spent mil­lions of dol­lars over the last 10 years to fund the cre­ation and the deploy­ment and improve­ment to secure com­mu­ni­ca­tions and secure com­put­ing tools that were intend­ed to allow activists in Chi­na and Iran to com­mu­ni­cate, that are intend­ed to allow jour­nal­ists to do their thing and spread news about democ­racy with­out fear of inter­cep­tion and sur­veil­lance by the Chi­nese and oth­er gov­ern­ments.

AMY GOODMAN: But maybe the U.S. gov­ern­ment has a way to break in.

CHRISTOPHER SOGHOIAN: Well, you know, it’s pos­si­ble that they’ve dis­cov­ered flaws, but, you know, they have—the U.S. gov­ern­ment hasn’t been writ­ing the soft­ware. They’ve been giv­ing grants to high­ly respect­ed research teams, secu­rity researchers and aca­d­e­mics, and these tools are about the best that we have. You know, I agree. I think it’s a lit­tle bit odd that, you know, the State Department’s fund­ing this, but these tools aren’t get­ting a lot of fund­ing from oth­er places. And so, as long as the State Depart­ment is will­ing to write them checks, I’m hap­py that the Tor Project and Whis­per Sys­tems and these oth­er orga­ni­za­tions are cash­ing them. They are cre­at­ing great tools and great tech­nol­ogy that can real­ly improve our secu­rity. And I hope that they’ll get more mon­ey in the future. It’s con­ve­nient and nice to believe that one hand of the U.S. Nation­al Secu­rity State doesn’t know what the oth­er hand is doing — espe­cially when the liveli­hoods of you and your col­leagues depends on it. But as the long and dark covert intel­li­gence his­tory of the Broad­cast­ers Board of Gov­er­nors and Radio Free Asia so clear­ly shows, this think­ing is naive and wrong. It also shows just how effec­tively the U.S. Nation­al Secu­rity State brought its oppo­si­tion into the fold.

You’d think that anti-sur­veil­lance activists like Chris Soghoian, Jacob Appel­baum, Cory Doc­torow and Jil­lian York would be staunch­ly against out­fits like BBG and Radio Free Asia, and the role they have played — and con­tinue to play — in work­ing with defense and cor­po­rate inter­ests to project and impose U.S. pow­er abroad. Instead, these rad­i­cal activists have know­ingly joined the club, and in doing so, have become will­ing pitch­men for a wing of the very same U.S. Nation­al Secu­rity State they so adamant­ly oppose.