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Born of the same DARPA project that spawned Agent Orange, the Internet was never intended to be something good. Its generative function and purpose is counter-insurgency. In this landmark volume, Levine makes numerous points, including:
- The harvesting of data by intelligence services is PRECISELY what the Internet was designed to do in the first place.
- The harvesting of data engaged in by the major tech corporations is an extension of the data gathering/surveillance that was–and is–the raison d’etre for the Internet in the first place.
- The big tech companies all collaborate with the various intelligence agencies they publicly scorn and seek to ostensibly distance themselves from.
- Edward Snowden, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Jacob Appelbaum and WikiLeaks are complicit in the data harvesting and surveillance.
- Snowden and other privacy activists are double agents, consciously channeling people fearful of having their communications monitored into technologies that will facilitate that surveillance!
. . . . In the 1960s, America was a global power overseeing an increasingly volatile world: conflicts and regional insurgencies against US-allied governments from South America to Southeast Asia and the Middle East. These were not traditional wars that involved big armies but guerilla campaigns and local rebellions, frequently fought in regions where Americans had little previous experience. Who were these people? Why were they rebelling? What could be done to stop them? In military circles, it was believed that these questions were of vital importance to America’s pacification efforts, and some argued that the only effective way to answer them was to develop and leverage computer-aided information technology.
The Internet came out of this effort: an attempt to build computer systems that could collect and share intelligence, watch the world in real time, and study and analyze people and political movements with the ultimate goal of predicting and preventing social upheaval. . . .
. . . . Ranch Hand got going in 1962 and lasted until the war ended more than a decade later. In that time, American C‑123 transport planes doused an area equal in size to half of South Vietnam with twenty million gallons of toxic chemical defoliants. Agent Orange was fortified with other colors of the rainbow: Agent White, Agent Pink, Agent Purple, Agent Blue. The chemicals, produced by American companies like Dow and Monsanto, turned whole swaths of lush jungle into barren moonscapes, causing death and horrible suffering for hundreds of thousands.
Operation Ranch Hand was merciless, and in clear violation of the Geneva Conventions. It remains one of the most shameful episodes of the Vietnam War. Yet the defoliation project is notable for more than just its unimaginable cruelty. The government body at its lead was a Department of Defense outfit called the Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Born in 1958 as a cash program to protect the United States from a Soviet nuclear threat from space, it launched several groundbreaking initiatives tasked with developing advanced weapons and military technologies. Among them were project Agile and Command and Control Research, two overlapping ARPA initiatives that created the Internet. . . .