Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.
The tag 'IBM' is associated with 8 posts.

FTR #1076 Surveillance Valley, Part 2: Mauthausen on Our Mind

The pro­gram begins with recap of the adap­ta­tion of IBM’s Hol­lerith machines to Nazi data com­pi­la­tion. (We con­clud­ed FTR #1075 with dis­cus­sion of this.): ” . . . . Germany’s vast state bureau­cra­cy and its mil­i­tary and rear­ma­ment pro­grams, includ­ing the country’s grow­ing con­cen­tra­tion camp/slave labor sys­tem, also required data pro­cess­ing ser­vices. By the time the U.S. offi­cial­ly entered the war in 1941, IBM’s Ger­man sub­sidiary had grown to employ 10,000 peo­ple and served 300 dif­fer­ent Ger­man gov­ern­ment agen­cies. The Nazi Par­ty Trea­sury; the SS; the War Min­istry; the Reichs­bank; the Reich­spost; the Arma­ments Min­istry; the Navy, Army and Air Force; and the Reich Sta­tis­ti­cal Office — the list of IBM’s clients went on and on.

” ‘Indeed, the Third Reich would open star­tling sta­tis­ti­cal venues for Hol­lerith machines nev­er before insti­tut­ed — per­haps nev­er before even imag­ined,’ wrote Edwin Black in IBM and the Holo­caust, his pio­neer­ing 2001 exposé of the for­got­ten busi­ness ties between IBM and Nazi Ger­many. ‘In Hitler’s Ger­many, the sta­tis­ti­cal and cen­sus com­mu­ni­ty, over­run with doc­tri­naire Nazis, pub­licly boast­ed about the new demo­graph­ic break­throughs their equip­ment would achieve.’ . . . .

“Demand for Hol­lerith tab­u­la­tors was so robust that IBM was forced to open a new fac­to­ry in Berlin to crank out all the new machines. At the facility’s chris­ten­ing cer­e­mo­ny, which was attend­ed by a top U.S. IBM exec­u­tive and the elite of the Nazi Par­ty, the head of IBM’s Ger­man sub­sidiary gave a rous­ing speech about the impor­tant role that Hol­lerith tab­u­la­tors played in Hitler’s dri­ve to puri­fy Ger­many and cleanse it of infe­ri­or racial stock. . . .”

In that same arti­cle, Yasha Levine notes that the Trump admin­is­tra­tion’s pro­posed changes in the 2020 cen­sus sound as though they may por­tend some­thing akin to the Nazi cen­sus of 1933: ” . . . . Based on a close read­ing of inter­nal Depart­ment of Com­merce doc­u­ments tied to the cen­sus cit­i­zen ques­tion pro­pos­al, it appears the Trump admin­is­tra­tion wants to use the cen­sus to con­struct a first-of-its-kind cit­i­zen­ship reg­istry for the entire U.S. pop­u­la­tion — a deci­sion that arguably exceeds the legal author­i­ty of the cen­sus. ‘It was deep in the doc­u­men­ta­tion that was released,’ Robert Groves, a for­mer Cen­sus Bureau direc­tor who head­ed the Nation­al Acad­e­mies com­mit­tee con­vened to inves­ti­gate the 2020 cen­sus, told me by tele­phone. ‘No one picked up on it much. But the term ‘reg­istry’ in our world means not a col­lec­tion of data for sta­tis­ti­cal pur­pos­es but rather to know the iden­ti­ty of par­tic­u­lar peo­ple in order to use that knowl­edge to affect their lives.’ Giv­en the administration’s pos­ture toward immi­gra­tion, the fact that it wants to build a com­pre­hen­sive cit­i­zen­ship data­base is high­ly con­cern­ing. To Groves, it clear­ly sig­nals ‘a bright line being crossed.’ . . .”

In the con­clu­sion to Sur­veil­lance Val­ley, Yasha Levine notes how IBM com­put­ing tech­nol­o­gy facil­i­tat­ed the Nazi slave labor oper­a­tions through­out the Third Reich. The epi­cen­ter of this was Mau­thausen.

The sys­tem­at­ic use of slave labor was cen­tral to Nazi Ger­many’s indus­tri­al infra­struc­ture: ” . . . . But in the 1930s, Mau­thausen had been a vital eco­nom­ic engine of Hitler’s geno­ci­dal plan to remake Europe and the Sovi­et Union into his own back­yard utopia. It start­ed out as a gran­ite quar­ry but quick­ly grew into the largest slave labor com­plex in Nazi Ger­many, with fifty sub-camps that spanned most of mod­ern-day Aus­tria. Here, hun­dreds of thou­sands of prisoners–mostly Euro­pean Jews but also Roma, Spaniards, Rus­sians, Serbs, Slovenes, Ger­mans, Bul­gar­i­ans, even Cubans–were worked to death. They refined oil, built fight­er air­craft, assem­bled can­nons, devel­oped rock­et tech­nol­o­gy, and were leased out to pri­vate Ger­man busi­ness­es. Volk­swa­gen, Siemens, Daim­ler-Benz, BMW, Bosch–all ben­e­fit­ed from the camp’s slave labor pool. Mau­thausen, the admin­is­tra­tive nerve cen­ter, was cen­tral­ly direct­ed from Berlin using the lat­est in ear­ly com­put­er tech­nol­o­gy: IBM punch card tab­u­la­tors. . . .”

Mau­thausen’s IBM machines were, in turn, cen­tral to Ger­man indus­try’s use of slave labor: ” . . . . the camp had sev­er­al IBM machines work­ing over­time to han­dle the big churn of inmates and to make sure there were always enough bod­ies to per­form the nec­es­sary work. These machines didn’t oper­ate in iso­la­tion but were part of a larg­er slave labor con­trol-and-account­ing sys­tem that stretched across Nazi-occu­pied Europe con­nect­ing Berlin to every major con­cen­tra­tion and labor punch card, tele­graph, tele­phone, and human couri­er. This wasn’t the auto­mat­ed type of com­put­er net­work sys­tem that the Pen­ta­gon would begin to build in the Unit­ed States just a decade lat­er, but it was an infor­ma­tion net­work nonethe­less: an electro­mechan­i­cal web that fueled and sus­tained Nazi Germany’s war machine with blaz­ing effi­cien­cy. It extend­ed beyond the labor camps and reached into the cities and towns, crunch­ing moun­tains of genealog­i­cal data to track down peo­ple with even the barest whiff of Jew­ish blood or per­ceived racial impu­ri­ty in a mad rush to ful­fill Adolf Hitler’s dri­ve to puri­fy the Ger­man peo­ple, but they made the Nazi death machine run faster and more effi­cient­ly, scour­ing the pop­u­la­tion and track­ing down vic­tims in ways that would nev­er have been pos­si­ble with­out them. . . .”

In his book–one of the most impor­tant in recent memory–Yasha Levine sets forth vital, rev­e­la­to­ry infor­ma­tion about the devel­op­ment and func­tion­ing of the Inter­net.

Born of the same over­lap­ping DARPA projects that spawned Agent Orange, the Inter­net was nev­er intend­ed to be some­thing good. Its gen­er­a­tive func­tion and pur­pose is counter-insur­gency. ” . . . . 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. . . .”

In this land­mark vol­ume, Levine makes numer­ous points, includ­ing:

1.–The har­vest­ing of data by intel­li­gence ser­vices is PRECISELY what the Inter­net was designed to do in the first place.
2.–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.
3.–The big tech com­pa­nies all col­lab­o­rate with the var­i­ous intel­li­gence agen­cies they pub­licly scorn and seek to osten­si­bly dis­tance them­selves from.
4.–Edward Snow­den, the Elec­tron­ic Fron­tier Foun­da­tion, Jacob Appel­baum, the milieu of the Tor Net­work and Wik­iLeaks are com­plic­it in the data har­vest­ing and sur­veil­lance.
5.–Snowden and oth­er pri­va­cy activists are dou­ble agents, con­scious­ly chan­nel­ing peo­ple fear­ful of hav­ing their com­mu­ni­ca­tions mon­i­tored into tech­nolo­gies that will facil­i­tate that sur­veil­lance!

The pro­gram notes that counterinsurgency–the func­tion­al con­text of the ori­gin of the Internet–is at the foun­da­tion of the gen­e­sis of Nazism. At the con­clu­sion of World War I, Ger­many was beset by a series of socialist/Communist upris­ings in a num­ber of cities, includ­ing Munich. Respond­ing to that, under­ground Reich­swehr units com­mand­ed by Ernst Rohm (lat­er head of the SA) sys­tem­at­i­cal­ly assas­si­nat­ed the lead­ers of the rev­o­lu­tion, as well as promi­nent social democ­rats and Jews, such as Walther Rathenau. In Munich, an under­cov­er agent for the polit­i­cal depart­ment of the Reich­swehr under Gen­er­al Von Los­sow infil­trat­ed the rev­o­lu­tion­ar­ies, pre­tend­ing to be one of them.

Fol­low­ing the crush­ing of the rebel­lion and occu­pa­tion of the city by Reich­swehr units, that infil­tra­tor iden­ti­fied the lead­ers of the rev­o­lu­tion, who were then sum­mar­i­ly exe­cut­ed. The infil­tra­tor’s name was Adolf Hitler.

After the sup­pres­sion of the rebel­lion, Hitler, Rohm and under­cov­er Reich­swehr agents infil­trat­ed a mori­bund polit­i­cal par­ty and turned it into an intel­li­gence front for the intro­duc­tion of the sup­pos­ed­ly de-mobi­lized Ger­man Army into Ger­man soci­ety for the pur­pose of gen­er­at­ing polit­i­cal reac­tion. That front was the Ger­man Nation­al Social Work­ers Par­ty.

The broad­cast re-capit­u­lates (from part of Mis­cel­la­neous Archive Show M11) Hitler’s speech to the Indus­try Club of Dus­sel­dorf. This speech, which won the Ger­man indus­tri­al and finan­cial elite over to the cause of the Nazi Par­ty, equat­ed democ­ra­cy with Com­mu­nism.

Man­i­fest­ing a Social Dar­win­ist per­spec­tive, Hitler opined that the [assem­bled] suc­cess­ful, accom­plished were, by def­i­n­i­tion supe­ri­or to oth­ers. If those, by def­i­n­i­tion, infe­ri­or peo­ple were allowed to con­trol the polit­i­cal process, they would struc­ture the social and eco­nom­ic land­scape to their own ben­e­fit.

This, accord­ing to Hitler, would be counter-evo­lu­tion­ary.


FTR #1075 Surveillance Valley, Part 1: Eugenics, Racism and High Tech

Begin­ning a crit­i­cal­ly impor­tant series on a vital­ly impor­tant book titled Sur­veil­lance Val­ley: The Secret Mil­i­tary His­to­ry of the Inter­net, this pro­gram explores the gen­e­sis of high tech and data pro­cess­ing, an ori­gin that is inex­tri­ca­bly linked with eugen­ics, anti-immi­grant doc­trine and–as is char­ac­ter­is­tic of fas­cism, the fear of the ubiq­ui­tous, malev­o­lent “oth­er.”

High­lights of dis­cus­sion and analy­sis include:

1.–The gen­e­sis of high tech was Her­man Hol­lerith’s tab­u­lat­ing machine. ” . . . . A few years ear­li­er, work­ing for the U.S. Cen­sus Bureau, Hol­lerith had devel­oped the world’s first func­tion­al mass-pro­duced com­put­er: the Hol­lerith tab­u­la­tor. An electro­mechan­i­cal device about the size of large desk and dress­er, it used punch cards and a clever arrange­ment of gears, sorters, elec­tri­cal con­tacts, and dials to process data with blaz­ing speed and accu­ra­cy. What had tak­en years by hand could be done in a mat­ter of months. As one U.S. news­pa­per described it, ‘with [the device’s] aid some 15 young ladies can count accu­rate­ly half a mil­lion of names in a day.’ . . .’
2.–Hollerith’s machine found its (arguably) great­est appli­ca­tion with the com­pi­la­tion of the cen­sus and the appli­ca­tion of the pseu­do-sci­ence of eugen­ics to it: ” . . . . Grasp­ing about for solu­tions, many set­tled on var­i­ous strains of race sci­ence quack­ery. So-called social Dar­win­ists relied on a twist­ed ver­sion of the the­o­ry of evo­lu­tion to explain why the poor and mar­gin­al­ized should remain that way while the wealthy and suc­cess­ful deserved to rule unchal­lenged. Tak­ing this notion a step fur­ther, adher­ents of eugen­ics fer­vent­ly believed that nat­u­ral­ly supe­ri­or Anglo-Amer­i­cans were on the verge of being wiped out due to the high birth rates of ‘degen­er­ate’ and immi­grant stock. To head off this threat, they advo­cat­ed strict con­trols on repro­duc­tion — breed­ing humans for qual­i­ty in the same way that farm­ers did cows and hors­es. . . .”
3.–Hollerith’s machine was seen as the per­fect vehi­cle for real­iz­ing eugenic prac­tice through refin­ing the cen­sus: ” . . . . The cen­sus had been a racial instru­ment from its incep­tion, begin­ning with the orig­i­nal con­sti­tu­tion­al clause that instruct­ed cen­sus offi­cials to count black slaves sep­a­rate­ly from whites and to assign them a val­ue of only three-fifths of a per­son. With each decade, new ‘racial’ cat­e­gories were invent­ed and added to the mix: ‘free col­ored males and females’ and ‘mulat­to’ were count­ed, includ­ing sub­di­vi­sions like includ­ing ‘quadroon’ and ‘octoroon.’ Cat­e­gories for Chi­nese, ‘Hin­doo,’ and Japan­ese were added, as were ‘for­eign’ and ‘native born’ des­ig­na­tions for whites. The cen­sus slow­ly expand­ed to col­lect oth­er demo­graph­ic data, includ­ing lit­er­a­cy lev­els, unem­ploy­ment sta­tis­tics, and med­ical ail­ments, such as those who were ‘deaf, dumb, and blind’ and the ‘insane and idi­ot­ic.’ All of it was bro­ken down by race. . . .The cen­sus need­ed to improve dras­ti­cal­ly. What it need­ed was a tal­ent­ed inven­tor, some­one young and ambi­tious who would be able to come up with a method to auto­mate tab­u­la­tion and data analy­sis. Some­one like Her­man Hol­lerith. . . .”
4.–Hollerith’s technology–when applied to the cen­sus, antic­i­pat­ed the mass sur­veil­lance tech­nol­o­gy of the inter­net: ” . . . . Overnight, Hollerith’s tab­u­la­tor tech­nol­o­gy had trans­formed cen­sus tak­ing from a sim­ple head count into some­thing that looked very much like a crude form of mass sur­veil­lance. To the race-obsessed polit­i­cal class, it was a rev­o­lu­tion­ary devel­op­ment. They could final­ly put the nation’s eth­nic make­up under the micro­scope. The data seemed to con­firm the nativists’ worst fears: Poor, illit­er­ate immi­grants were swarm­ing America’s cities, breed­ing like rab­bits, and out­strip­ping native Anglo-Amer­i­can birth rates. Imme­di­ate­ly fol­low­ing the cen­sus, the states and the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment passed a flur­ry of laws that heav­i­ly restrict­ed immi­gra­tion. . . .”
5.–As dis­cussed in FTR #279, IBM’s Hol­lerith machines (acquired when Thomas J. Wat­son bought out Hol­lerith) were fun­da­men­tal to the oper­a­tions of the Third Reich: ” . . . . ‘Indeed, the Third Reich would open star­tling sta­tis­ti­cal venues for Hol­lerith machines nev­er before insti­tut­ed — per­haps nev­er before even imag­ined,’ wrote Edwin Black in IBM and the Holo­caust, his pio­neer­ing 2001 exposé of the for­got­ten busi­ness ties between IBM and Nazi Ger­many. ‘In Hitler’s Ger­many, the sta­tis­ti­cal and cen­sus com­mu­ni­ty, over­run with doc­tri­naire Nazis, pub­licly boast­ed about the new demo­graph­ic break­throughs their equip­ment would achieve.’ . . . Demand for Hol­lerith tab­u­la­tors was so robust that IBM was forced to open a new fac­to­ry in Berlin to crank out all the new machines. At the facility’s chris­ten­ing cer­e­mo­ny, which was attend­ed by a top U.S. IBM exec­u­tive and the elite of the Nazi Par­ty, the head of IBM’s Ger­man sub­sidiary gave a rous­ing speech about the impor­tant role that Hol­lerith tab­u­la­tors played in Hitler’s dri­ve to puri­fy Ger­many and cleanse it of infe­ri­or racial stock. . . .”
6.–The Trump admin­is­tra­tion’s fram­ing of ques­tions for the 2020 cen­sus appear aimed at cre­at­ing a “nation­al registry”–a con­cept rem­i­nis­cent of the Third Reich’s use of IBM’s Hol­lerith-col­lect­ed data: ” . . . . Based on a close read­ing of inter­nal Depart­ment of Com­merce doc­u­ments tied to the cen­sus cit­i­zen ques­tion pro­pos­al, it appears the Trump admin­is­tra­tion wants to use the cen­sus to con­struct a first-of-its-kind cit­i­zen­ship reg­istry for the entire U.S. pop­u­la­tion — a deci­sion that arguably exceeds the legal author­i­ty of the cen­sus. ‘It was deep in the doc­u­men­ta­tion that was released,’ Robert Groves, a for­mer Cen­sus Bureau direc­tor who head­ed the Nation­al Acad­e­mies com­mit­tee con­vened to inves­ti­gate the 2020 cen­sus, told me by tele­phone. ‘No one picked up on it much. But the term ‘reg­istry’ in our world means not a col­lec­tion of data for sta­tis­ti­cal pur­pos­es but rather to know the iden­ti­ty of par­tic­u­lar peo­ple in order to use that knowl­edge to affect their lives.’ Giv­en the administration’s pos­ture toward immi­gra­tion, the fact that it wants to build a com­pre­hen­sive cit­i­zen­ship data­base is high­ly con­cern­ing. To Groves, it clear­ly sig­nals ‘a bright line being crossed.’ . . .”


The Big Bitcoin Bet, Part 2: Big Money to Buy Bitcoin, and Other Bad Ideas

2014 could have been bet­ter for Bit­coin. After peak­ing near $1100 in Decem­ber 2013, Bit­coin is cur­rent­ly under $250. 2014 was not a good year for Bit­coin.

But that does­n’t mean 2015 has to be the same. And if a slew of recent announce­ment involv­ing some very big investors are any indi­ca­tion of what to expect, the main­stream­ing Bit­coin is about to get a big boost. But that boost could come with a big price too. All those “micro­trans­ac­tions” of as lit­tle as 0.000000001 of one bit­coin (BTC) that much of the Bit­coin com­mu­ni­ty hates so much is pre­cise­ly what these deep pock­et­ed inter­ests are plan­ning on pro­mot­ing in a big way. And in order to make it all hap­pen, they might have to become some of the biggest bit­coin min­ers around too. And that means the future of Bit­coin is increas­ing in the hands of ‘The Man’. Also, the micro­trans­ac­tions might be used to mon­e­tize how we access the web. And how the Inter­net of Things spies on us. It does­n’t actu­al­ly sound very fun.


FTR #846 Interview (#9) with Peter Levenda about “The Hitler Legacy”

This ninth inter­view fills in the details con­cern­ing a mys­te­ri­ous cast of char­ac­ters in Indone­sia who were inves­ti­gat­ing the late pres­i­dent Sukarno’s Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Fund. That fund appears to have derived from large amounts of World War II wealth stolen by Japan and Ger­many. Dr. Sos­ro Huso­do alleged in a book that a mys­te­ri­ous Nazi named Dr. Anton Poch was actu­al­ly Hitler. That alle­ga­tion has nev­er been proved, how­ev­er the sto­ries of Poch, Huso­do, Dr. Edi­son Damanik and an Indone­sian arms deal­er named Soeryo Goer­it­no are indica­tive of a mas­sive, ongo­ing cov­er-up of the polit­i­cal and eco­nom­ic dynam­ics under­ly­ing their sit­u­a­tions. Expand­ing the scope of the inquiry to the cap­i­tal flows ass­so­ci­at­ed with the Third Reich, its post­war under­ground phase and insti­tu­tions asso­ci­at­ed with and/or evolv­ing from Nazism, the pro­grams sets forth a num­ber of con­sid­er­a­tions: the financ­ing of the post­war Ger­man eco­nom­ic mir­a­cle by Ger­man cor­po­ra­tions; the frus­tra­tion of the de-Naz­i­fi­ca­tion of cor­po­rate Ger­many by the Third Reich’s promi­nent Amer­i­can eco­nom­ic back­ers; the enor­mous scale of the Nazi eco­nom­ic dias­po­ra; the role of Klaus Bar­bie and his “Fiancees of Death” in ODESSA-relat­ed oper­a­tions; Colo­nia Dig­nidad and its role in laun­der­ing ODESSA mon­ey.


Devastating Update to the Story of IBM and the Holocaust

IBM’s pres­i­dent and cor­po­rate lead­er­ship micro-man­aged the liq­ui­da­tion of Euro­pean Jews in close part­ner­ship with the SS.


FTR #309 The Ties that Bind

Sig­nif­i­cant over­lap­ping of polit­i­cal and eco­nom­ic pow­ers with­in the milieu of inter­na­tion­al fas­cism.


FTR #294 Update on Corporate Germany

As the glob­al ener­gy indus­try is dereg­u­lat­ed, ener­gy cor­po­ra­tions are cross­ing nation­al bound­aries.


FTR #279 Tabulate This! IBM and the Third Reich

IBM was cen­tral to the eco­nom­ic oper­a­tions of Nazi Ger­many and occu­pied Europe.