Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.
The tag 'cryptocurrency' is associated with 6 posts.

FTR #1077 Surveillance Valley, Part 3: Cambridge Analytica, Democracy and Counterinsurgency

Continuing the discussion from FTR #1076, the broadcast recaps key aspects of analysis of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

In our last program, we noted that both the internet (DARPA projects including Project Agile) and the German Nazi Party had their origins as counterinsurgency gambits. Noting Hitler’s speech before The Industry Club of Dusseldorf, in which he equated communism with democracy, we highlight how the Cambridge Analytica scandal reflects the counterinsurgency origins of the Internet, and how the Cambridge Analytica affair embodies anti-Democracy/as counterinsurgency.

Key aspects of the Cambridge Analytica affair include:

1.–The use of psychographic personality testing on Facebook that is used for political advantage: ” . . . . For several years, a data firm eventually hired by the Trump campaign, Cambridge Analytica, has been using Facebook as a tool to build psychological profiles that represent some 230 million adult Americans. A spinoff of a British consulting company and sometime-defense contractor known for its counterterrorism ‘psy ops’ work in Afghanistan, the firm does so by seeding the social network with personality quizzes. Respondents — by now hundreds of thousands of us, mostly female and mostly young but enough male and older for the firm to make inferences about others with similar behaviors and demographics — get a free look at their Ocean scores. Cambridge Analytica also gets a look at their scores and, thanks to Facebook, gains access to their profiles and real names. . . .”
2.–The parent company of Cambridge Analytica–SCL–was deeply involved with counterterrorism “psy-ops” in Afghanistan, embodying the essence of the counterinsurgency dynamic at the root of the development of the Internet. The use of online data to subvert democracy recalls Hitler’s speech to the Industry Club of Dusseldorf, in which he equated democracy with communism: ” . . . . Cambridge Analytica was a company spun out of SCL Group, a British military contractor that worked in information operations for armed forces around the world. It was conducting research on how to scale and digitise information warfare – the use of information to confuse or degrade the efficacy of an enemy. . . . As director of research, Wylie’s original role was to map out how the company would take traditional information operations tactics into the online space – in particular, by profiling people who would be susceptible to certain messaging. This morphed into the political arena. After Wylie left, the company worked on Donald Trump’s US presidential campaign . . . .”
3.–Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Christopher Wylie’s observations on the anti-democratic nature of the firm’s work: ” . . . . It was this shift from the battlefield to politics that made Wylie uncomfortable. ‘When you are working in information operations projects, where your target is a combatant, the autonomy or agency of your targets is not your primary consideration. It is fair game to deny and manipulate information, coerce and exploit any mental vulnerabilities a person has, and to bring out the very worst characteristics in that person because they are an enemy,’ he says. ‘But if you port that over to a democratic system, if you run campaigns designed to undermine people’s ability to make free choices and to understand what is real and not real, you are undermining democracy and treating voters in the same way as you are treating terrorists.’ . . . .”
4.–Wylie’s observations on how Cambridge Analytica’s methodology can be used to build a fascist political movement: ” . . . . One of the reasons these techniques are so insidious is that being a target of a disinformation campaign is ‘usually a pleasurable experience’, because you are being fed content with which you are likely to agree. ‘You are being guided through something that you want to be true,’ Wylie says. To build an insurgency, he explains, you first target people who are more prone to having erratic traits, paranoia or conspiratorial thinking, and get them to ‘like’ a group on social media. They start engaging with the content, which may or may not be true; either way ‘it feels good to see that information’. When the group reaches 1,000 or 2,000 members, an event is set up in the local area. Even if only 5% show up, ‘that’s 50 to 100 people flooding a local coffee shop’, Wylie says. This, he adds, validates their opinion because other people there are also talking about ‘all these things that you’ve been seeing online in the depths of your den and getting angry about’. People then start to believe the reason it’s not shown on mainstream news channels is because ‘they don’t want you to know what the truth is’. As Wylie sums it up: ‘What started out as a fantasy online gets ported into the temporal world and becomes real to you because you see all these people around you.’ . . . .”
5.–Wylie’s observation that Facebook was “All In” on the Cambridge Analytica machinations: ” . . . . ‘Facebook has known about what Cambridge Analytica was up to from the very beginning of those projects,” Wylie claims. “They were notified, they authorised the applications, they were given the terms and conditions of the app that said explicitly what it was doing. They hired people who worked on building the app. I had legal correspondence with their lawyers where they acknowledged it happened as far back as 2016.’ . . . .”
6.–The decisive participation of “Spy Tech” firm Palantir in the Cambridge Analytica operation: Peter Thiel’s surveillance firm Palantir was apparently deeply involved with Cambridge Analytica’s gaming of personal data harvested from Facebook in order to engineer an electoral victory for Trump. Thiel was an early investor in Facebook, at one point was its largest shareholder and is still one of its largest shareholders. In addition to his opposition to democracy because it allegedly is inimical to wealth creation, Thiel doesn’t think women should be allowed to vote and holds Nazi legal theoretician Carl Schmitt in high regard. ” . . . . It was a Palantir employee in London, working closely with the data scientists building Cambridge’s psychological profiling technology, who suggested the scientists create their own app — a mobile-phone-based personality quiz — to gain access to Facebook users’ friend networks, according to documents obtained by The New York Times. The revelations pulled Palantir — co-founded by the wealthy libertarian Peter Thiel — into the furor surrounding Cambridge, which improperly obtained Facebook data to build analytical tools it deployed on behalf of Donald J. Trump and other Republican candidates in 2016. Mr. Thiel, a supporter of President Trump, serves on the board at Facebook. ‘There were senior Palantir employees that were also working on the Facebook data,’ said Christopher Wylie, a data expert and Cambridge Analytica co-founder, in testimony before British lawmakers on Tuesday. . . . The connections between Palantir and Cambridge Analytica were thrust into the spotlight by Mr. Wylie’s testimony on Tuesday. Both companies are linked to tech-driven billionaires who backed Mr. Trump’s campaign: Cambridge is chiefly owned by Robert Mercer, the computer scientist and hedge fund magnate, while Palantir was co-founded in 2003 by Mr. Thiel, who was an initial investor in Facebook. . . .”
7.–The use of “dark posts” by the Cambridge Analytica team. (We have noted that Brad Parscale has reassembled the old Cambridge Analytica team for Trump’s 2020 election campaign. It seems probable that AOC’s millions of online followers, as well as the “Bernie Bots,” will be getting “dark posts” crafted by AI’s scanning their online efforts.) ” . . . . One recent advertising product on Facebook is the so-called ‘dark post’: A newsfeed message seen by no one aside from the users being targeted. With the help of Cambridge Analytica, Mr. Trump’s digital team used dark posts to serve different ads to different potential voters, aiming to push the exact right buttons for the exact right people at the exact right times. . . .”

Supplementing the discussion about Cambridge Analytica, the program reviews information from FTR #718 about Facebook’s apparent involvement with elements and individuals linked to CIA and DARPA: ” . . . . Facebook’s most recent round of funding was led by a company called Greylock Venture Capital, who put in the sum of $27.5m. One of Greylock’s senior partners is called Howard Cox, another former chairman of the NVCA, who is also on the board of In-Q-Tel. What’s In-Q-Tel? Well, believe it or not (and check out their website), this is the venture-capital wing of the CIA. After 9/11, the US intelligence community became so excited by the possibilities of new technology and the innovations being made in the private sector, that in 1999 they set up their own venture capital fund, In-Q-Tel, which ‘identifies and partners with companies developing cutting-edge technologies to help deliver these solutions to the Central Intelligence Agency and the broader US Intelligence Community (IC) to further their missions’. . . .”

More about the CIA/DARPA links to the development of Facebook: ” . . . . The second round of funding into Facebook ($US12.7 million) came from venture capital firm Accel Partners. Its manager James Breyer was formerly chairman of the National Venture Capital Association, and served on the board with Gilman Louie, CEO of In-Q-Tel, a venture capital firm established by the Central Intelligence Agency in 1999. One of the company’s key areas of expertise are in ‘data mining technologies’. Breyer also served on the board of R&D firm BBN Technologies, which was one of those companies responsible for the rise of the internet. Dr Anita Jones joined the firm, which included Gilman Louie. She had also served on the In-Q-Tel’s board, and had been director of Defence Research and Engineering for the US Department of Defence. She was also an adviser to the Secretary of Defence and overseeing the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which is responsible for high-tech, high-end development. . . .”

Program Highlights Include: Review of Facebook’s plans to use brain-to-computer technology to operate its platform, thereby the enabling of recording and databasing people’s thoughts; Review of Facebook’s employment of former DARPA head Regina Dugan to implement the brain-to-computer technology; Review of Facebook’s building 8–designed to duplicate DARPA; Review of Facebook’s hiring of the Atlantic Council to police the social medium’s online content; Review of Facebook’s partnering with Narendra Modi’s Hindutva fascist government in India; Review of Facebook’s emloyment of Ukrainian fascist Kateryna Kruk to manage the social medium’s Ukrainian content.


FTR #952 Be Afraid, Be VERY Afraid: Update on Technocratic Fascism

One of the illusions harbored by many–in particular, young people who have grown up with the internet, social networks and mobile technology–sees digital activity as private. Nothing could be further from the truth. Even before the cyber-libertarian policies advocated by individuals like John Perry Barlow, Eddie Snowden, Julian Assange and others became manifest in the Trump administration’s were implemented by the Trump administration and the GOP-controlled congress, digital affairs were subject to an extraordinary degree of manipulation by a multitude of interests.

We begin our examination of technocratic fascism with a look at the corporate foundation of Pokemon Go. Information about the background of Pokemon Go’s developer (Niantic) and the development of the firm is detailed in an article from Network World. In addition to the formidable nature of the intelligence agencies involved with generating the corporate foundation of Pokemon Go (Keyhole, Inc.; Niantic), note the unnerving nature of the information that can be gleaned from the Android phone of anyone who downloads the “app.”

Pokemon Go was seen as enhancing the “Cool Japan Strategy” of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The “Cool Japan Promotion Fund” was implemented by Abe (the grandson of Nobosuke Kishi, a Japanese war criminal who signed Japan’s declaration of war against the U.S. and became the country’s first postwar Prime Minister) to “raise the international profile of the country’s mass culture.”

The Finance Minister of Japan is Taro Aso, one of the enthusiasts of Nazi political strategy highlighted below. The “Cool Japan promotion Fund” would have been under his administration, with Tomomi Inada functioning as his administrator for the program. Now serving as Japan’s Defense Minister, Inada is another advocate of Nazi political strategy.

Next, we turn to another manifestation of Pokemon Go. The “Alt-Right” (read “Nazi”) movement is using Pokemon Go to recruit kids to the Nazi cause. Consider this against the background of Niantic, the Cool Japan strategy and the pro-Nazi figures involved with it. Consider this also, in conjunction with the Nazified AI developed and deployed by Robert and Rebekah Mercer, Steve Bannon, Cambridge Analytica and the “Alt-Right” milieu with which they associate.

A recent “New Yorker” article by Jane Mayer concerning Robert Mercer keys some interesting thoughts about Mercer, Bannon, the Alt-Right WikiLeaks and the Nazified AI we spoke of in FTR #’s 948 and 949. In FTR #946, we noted this concatenation’s central place in the Facebook constellation, a position that has positioned them to act decisively on the political landscape.

We note several things about the Mayer piece:

She writes of Mercer’s support for the Alt-Right–Mercer helps fund Bannon’s Breitbart: “. . . . In February, David Magerman, a senior employee at Renaissance, spoke out about what he regards as Mercer’s worrisome influence. Magerman, a Democrat who is a strong supporter of Jewish causes, took particular issue with Mercer’s empowerment of the alt-right, which has included anti-Semitic and white-supremacist voices. . . .”

Mercer is racist, feeling that racism only exists in contemporary black culture: “. . . . Mercer, for his part, has argued that the Civil Rights Act, in 1964, was a major mistake. According to the onetime Renaissance employee, Mercer has asserted repeatedly that African-Americans were better off economically before the civil-rights movement. (Few scholars agree.) He has also said that the problem of racism in America is exaggerated. The source said that, not long ago, he heard Mercer proclaim that there are no white racists in America today, only black racists. . . .”

His work at IBM was funded in part by DARPA, strongly implying that the DOD has applied some of the Mercer technology: “. . . . Yet, when I.B.M. failed to offer adequate support for Mercer and Brown’s translation project, they secured additional funding from DARPA, the secretive Pentagon program. Despite Mercer’s disdain for ‘big government,’ this funding was essential to his early success. . . .”

In a 2012 anti-Obama propaganda film funded by Citizens United, Steve Bannon borrowed from “The Triumph of the Will: “. . . . Many of these [disillusioned Obama] voters became the central figures of ‘The Hope & the Change,’ an anti-Obama film that Bannon and Citizens United released during the 2012 Democratic National Convention. After Caddell saw the film, he pointed out to Bannon that its opening imitated that of ‘Triumph of the Will,’ the 1935 ode to Hitler, made by the Nazi filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl. Bannon laughed and said, ‘You’re the only one that caught it!’ In both films, a plane flies over a blighted land, as ominous music swells; then clouds in the sky part, auguring a new era. . . .”

Next, we return to the subject of Bitcoin and cyber-libertarian policy. We have explored Bitcoin in a number of programs–FTR #’s 760, 764, 770 and 785.

An important new book by David Golumbia sets forth the technocratic fascist politics underlying Bitcoin. Known to veteran listeners/readers as the author of an oft-quoted article dealing with technocratic fascism, Golumbia has published a short, important book about the right-wing extremism underlying Bitcoin. (Programs on technocratic fascism include: FTR #’s 851, 859, 866, 867.)

In an excerpt from the book, we see disturbing elements of resonance with the views of Stephen Bannon and some of the philosophical influences on him. Julius Evola, “Mencius Moldbug” and Bannon himself see our civilization as in decline, at a critical “turning point,” and in need of being “blown up” (as Evola put it) or needing a “shock to the system.”

Note that the Cypherpunk’s Manifesto (published by the Electronic Frontier Foundation) and the 1996 “Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace” written by the libertarian activist, Grateful Dead lyricist, Electronic Frontier Foundation founder John Perry Barlow decry governmental regulation of the digital system. (EFF is a leading “digital rights” and technology industry advocacy organization.)

The libertarian/fascist ethic of the digital world was articulated by Barlow.

Note how the “freedom” advocated by Barlow et al has played out: the Trump administration (implementing the desires of corporate America) has “deregulated” the internet. All this in the name of “freedom.”

In FTR #854, we noted the curious professional resume of Barlow, containing such disparate elements as–lyricist for the Grateful Dead (“Far Out!”); Dick Cheney’s campaign manager (not so “Far Out!”); a voter for white supremacist/segregationist George Wallace in the 1968 Presidential campaign (very “Un-Far Out!”).

For our purposes, his most noteworthy professional undertaking is his founding of the EFF–The Electronic Frontier Foundation. A leading ostensible advocate for internet freedom, the EFF has endorsed technology and embraced personnel inextricably linked with a CIA-derived milieu embodied in Radio Free Asia’s Open Technology Fund. (For those who are, understandably, surprised and/or skeptical, we discussed this at length and in detail in FTR #’s 891 and 895.)

Next, we present an article that brings to the fore some interesting questions about Barlow, the CIA and the very genesis of social media.

We offer Ms. Sunderson’s observations, stressing that Barlow’s foreshadowing of the communication functions inherent in social media and his presence at CIA headquarters (by invitation!) suggest that Barlow not only has strong ties to CIA but may have been involved in the conceptual genesis that spawned CIA-connected entities such as Facebook.

In FTR #951, we observed that Richard B. Spencer, one of Trump’s Nazi backers, has begun a website with Swedish Alt-Righter Daniel Friberg, part of the Swedish fascist milieu to which Carl Lundstrom belongs. In FTR #732 (among other programs), we noted that it was Lundstrom who financed the Pirate Bay website, on which WikiLeaks held forth for quite some time. In FTR #745, we documented that top Assange aide and Holocaust-denier Joran Jermas (aka “Israel Shamir”) arranged the Lundstrom/WikiLeaks liaison. (Jermas handles WikiLeaks Russian operations, a point of interest in the wake of the 2016 campaign.)

It is a good bet that Lundstrom/Pirate Bay/WikiLeaks et al were data mining the many people who visited the WikiLeaks site.

Might Lundstrom/Jermas/Assange et al have shared the voluminous data they may well have mined with Mercer/Cambridge Analytica/Bannon’s Nazified AI?

We conclude with recap of Microsoft researcher Kate Crawford’s observations at the SXSW event. Crawford gave a speech about her work titled “Dark Days: AI and the Rise of Fascism,” the presentation highlighted the social impact of machine learning and large-scale data systems. The take home message? By delegating powers to Bid Data-driven AIs, those AIs could become fascist’s dream: Incredible power over the lives of others with minimal accountability: ” . . . .’This is a fascist’s dream,’ she said. ‘Power without accountability.’ . . . .”

We reiterate, in closing, that ” . . . . Palantir is building an intelligence system to assist Donald Trump in deporting immigrants. . . .”

In FTR #757 we noted that Palantir is a firm dominated by Peter Thiel, a main backer of Donald Trump.

Program Highlights Include: WikiLeaks’ continued propagation of Alt-Right style Anti-Semitic propaganda: ” . . . . Now it is the darling of the alt-right, revealing hacked emails seemingly to influence a presidential contest, claiming the US election is ‘rigged.’ and descending into conspiracy. Just this week on Twitter, it described the deaths by natural causes of two of its supporters as a ‘bloody year for WikiLeaks.’ and warned of media outlets ‘controlled by’ members of the Rothschild family – a common anti-Semitic trope. . . .”; assessing all of the data-mining potential (certainty) of WikiLeaks, Pokemon Go and the (perhaps) Barlow-inspired Social Media world against the background of the Mercer/Bannon/Cambridge analytica Nazified AI.


Is Comey Destabilizing the Democratic Party for the GOP?

A Mitt Romney backer and former George W. Bush Justice Department staffer, James Comey is taking actions that are destabilizing both the Obama administration and the Clinton candidacy. All of the contents of this website as of 12/19/2014–Dave Emory’s 35+ years of research and broadcasting–as well as hours of videotaped lectures are available on a 32GB flash drive. Dave offers his programs and articles for free–your support is very much appreciated.


Cyber-Terrorists Holding Detroit Database Hostage, Demanding Ransom of 2,000 Bitcoins

Highlighting the perils of wikiculture and underscoring the utility of Bitcoin for various types of criminal activity, we note that cyberattackers have frozen a key database for bankruptcy-afflicted Detroit. In return, they are demanding 2,000 Bitcoins as ransom–no doubt because of the relatively opaque and untraceable nature of the digital currency. All of the contents of this website as of 10/2/2014–Dave Emory’s 35+ years of research and broadcasting–as well as hours of videotaped lectures are available on a 32GB flash drive.


FTR #770 Bit[coin]burg, Part 3: Fool’s Gold

Presented as an alternative to the existing monetary and fiscal paradigms, bitcoin is–in fact–as bad, or worse, than what it is designed to replace. Subject to a wide variety of crooked machinations, bitcoin also lends itself readily to concentration of ownership–get ready for the “bitcoin 1%.” The bitcoin milieu increasingly overlaps that of Eddie the Friendly Spook and “The Paulistinian Libertarian Organization.”


The Big Bitcoin Bet: Currency of the Future or Just a Better Casino?

Bitcoin’s nearly parabolic rise in price this year has led to a similar rise in expectations. What does the future hold for bitcoin? Could bitcoin replace gold? Or might it grow even bigger? We’ll see, but one thing is for sure: The great bitcoin mining race is still picking up speed and you’re probably going to lose.