Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.
The tag 'Julian Assange' is associated with 82 posts.

FTR #1987 Fascism: 2019 World Tour, Part 2

After review of Carl Lund­strom’s financ­ing of the Swe­den Democ­rats, as well as his cen­tral role in financ­ing the Pirate Bay site (which host­ed Wik­iLeaks, cour­tesy of Joran Jermas/Israel Shamir), we delve into the oper­a­tions of Lund­strom’s Swe­den Demo­c­rat asso­ciates.

Uti­liz­ing the anti-immi­grant theme uti­lized with great effect by fas­cists around the world, the Swe­den Democ­rats are gain­ing ground on the Swedish polit­i­cal land­scape.

Key points of dis­cus­sion include: The Nazi ori­gins of the Swe­den Democ­rats; the Waf­fen SS back­ground of one of the par­ty’s founders; net­work­ing of the Swe­den Democ­rats with fas­cists and reac­tionar­ies in oth­er coun­tries, includ­ing the U.S., France and Ger­many; the piv­otal role of the inter­net in advanc­ing the for­tunes of the Swe­den Democ­rats.

Next, we exam­ine the rise of Jair Bol­sonaro’s fas­cist gov­ern­ment.

Again, in recent pro­grams, we have exam­ined the pro­found role of online tech­nol­o­gy. in the pro­mo­tion of fas­cism, as well as over­lap­ping areas of intel­li­gence activ­i­ty. In that con­text, it is vital to remem­ber that the Inter­net was devel­oped as a weapon, with the focus of the tech­nol­o­gy being coun­terin­sur­gency.

In Brazil, the rise of Jair Bol­sonaro’s fas­cist gov­ern­ment received deci­sive momen­tum from YouTube, which is trans­form­ing the polit­i­cal land­scape in Brazil, as it is in this coun­try.

” . . . .In col­or­ful, far-right rants, Mr. Moura accused fem­i­nists, teach­ers and main­stream politi­cians of wag­ing vast con­spir­a­cies. Mr. Dominguez was hooked.

As his time on the site grew, YouTube rec­om­mend­ed videos from oth­er far-right fig­ures. One was a law­mak­er named Jair Bol­sonaro, then a mar­gin­al fig­ure in nation­al pol­i­tics — but a star in YouTube’s far-right com­mu­ni­ty in Brazil, where the plat­form has become more wide­ly watched than all but one TV chan­nel. Last year, he became Pres­i­dent Bol­sonaro.

‘YouTube became the social media plat­form of the Brazil­ian right,’ said Mr. Dominguez, now a lanky 17-year-old who says he, too, plans to seek polit­i­cal office. . . .”

Two excerpts from the sto­ry below encap­su­late and epit­o­mize the grow­ing, suc­cess­ful man­i­fes­ta­tion of inter­net fas­cism: “An Ecosys­tem of Hate” and the “Dic­ta­tor­ship of the ‘Like’ ”

“. . . . An Ecosys­tem of Hate

. . . . As the far right rose, many of its lead­ing voic­es had learned to weaponize the con­spir­a­cy videos, offer­ing their vast audi­ences a tar­get: peo­ple to blame. Even­tu­al­ly, the YouTube con­spir­acists turned their spot­light on Deb­o­ra Diniz, a women’s rights activist whose abor­tion advo­ca­cy had long made her a tar­get of the far right.

Bernar­do Küster, a YouTube star whose home­made rants had won him 750,000 sub­scribers and an endorse­ment from Mr. Bol­sonaro, accused her of involve­ment in the sup­posed Zika plots.

As far-right and con­spir­a­cy chan­nels began cit­ing one anoth­er, YouTube’s rec­om­men­da­tion sys­tem learned to string their videos togeth­er.

How­ev­er implau­si­ble any indi­vid­ual rumor might be on its own, joined togeth­er, they cre­at­ed the impres­sion that dozens of dis­parate sources were reveal­ing the same ter­ri­fy­ing truth.

‘It feels like the con­nec­tion is made by the view­er, but the con­nec­tion is made by the sys­tem,’ Ms. Diniz said.

Threats of rape and tor­ture filled Ms. Diniz’s phone and email. Some cit­ed her dai­ly rou­tines. Many echoed claims from Mr. Küster’s videos, she said.

Mr. Küster glee­ful­ly men­tioned, though nev­er explic­it­ly endorsed, the threats. That kept him just with­in YouTube’s rules.

When the uni­ver­si­ty where Ms. Diniz taught received a warn­ing that a gun­man would shoot her and her stu­dents, and the police said they could no longer guar­an­tee her safe­ty, she left Brazil. . . .

. . . . ‘The Dic­ta­tor­ship of the Like’

Ground zero for pol­i­tics by YouTube may be the São Paulo head­quar­ters of Movi­men­to Brasil Livre, which formed to agi­tate for the 2016 impeach­ment of the left-wing Pres­i­dent Dil­ma Rouss­eff. Its mem­bers trend young, mid­dle-class, right-wing and extreme­ly online.

Renan San­tos, the group’s nation­al coor­di­na­tor, ges­tured to a door marked ‘the YouTube Divi­sion’ and said, ‘This is the heart of things.’

Inside, eight young men poked at edit­ing soft­ware. One was styl­iz­ing an image of Ben­i­to Mus­soli­ni for a video argu­ing that fas­cism had been wrong­ly blamed on the right.

. . . . The group’s co-founder, a man-bunned for­mer rock gui­tarist name Pedro D’Eyrot, said ‘we have some­thing here that we call the dic­ta­tor­ship of the like.’

Real­i­ty, he said, is shaped by what­ev­er mes­sage goes most viral. Even as he spoke, a two-hour YouTube video was cap­ti­vat­ing the nation. Titled ‘1964’ for the year of Brazil’s mil­i­tary coup, it argued that the takeover had been nec­es­sary to save Brazil from com­mu­nism.

Mr. Dominguez, the teenag­er learn­ing to play gui­tar, said the video per­suad­ed him that his teach­ers had fab­ri­cat­ed the hor­rors of mil­i­tary rule.

Ms. Borges, the his­to­ry teacher vil­i­fied on YouTube, said it brought back mem­o­ries of mil­i­tary cur­fews, dis­ap­peared activists and police beat­ings. ‘I don’t think I’ve had my last beat­ing,’ she said. . . .”


FTR #1086 Fascism: 2019 World Tour, Part 1

Begin­ning an overview of bur­geon­ing fas­cism around the world, this pro­gram com­mences with fur­ther doc­u­men­ta­tion of the oper­a­tion and her­itage of fas­cism in Ukraine.

We begin with dis­cus­sion of a Kyiv legal deci­sion main­tain­ing that the C14 mili­tia of the Svo­bo­da orga­ni­za­tion is not a neo-Nazi orga­ni­za­tion.

A lawyer for C14 asserts that the group, while nation­al­ist, is not neo-Nazi in nature and label­ing it a neo-Nazi group hurt its “busi­ness rep­u­ta­tion”.

The Kyiv City Com­mer­cial Court agreed, rul­ing that Hro­madske TV couldn’t estab­lish that C14 – a group named after David Lane’s “14 words” white suprema­cist slo­gan – was actu­al­ly a neo-Nazi group. As a result, Hro­madske TV has to retract its tweet and pay 3,500 hryvnyas ($136) in court fees for C14.

This despite the fact not­ed in the arti­cle below that: ” . . . . [C14’s] own mem­bers have admit­ted to join­ing it because of its neo-Nazi ide­ol­o­gy . . . .”

It’s a sign of how far along the main­stream­ing of Ukraine’s neo-Nazi groups is in Ukraine: If you call the open neo-Nazis “neo-Nazis”, they can sue you and win.

As the arti­cle also notes, C14’s youth cadre is fund­ed by the Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment: “ . . . . Nev­er­the­less, C14 has received state fund­ing for two years run­ning from the Min­istry of Youth and Sport to con­duct “nation­al-patri­ot­ic edu­ca­tion” cours­es at sum­mer camps for the country’s youth. . . . .”

In FTR #907,we not­ed the pro­found pres­ence of the Ukrain­ian fas­cists in the Unit­ed States, as well as their oper­a­tional con­nec­tions to the Third Reich. In FTR #1072, we not­ed the Ukrain­ian youth cadre in the U.S., and its affil­i­a­tion with the OUN/B milieu in Ukraine.

Our next sto­ry flesh­es out these con­nec­tions, not­ing:

1. The CYM orga­ni­za­tion and its pres­ence in the U.S.
2. The deci­sive involve­ment of post-World War II emi­gres in the growth of that move­ment.
3. CYM’s close affil­i­a­tion with the OUN/B.
4. CYM’s uni­formed, mil­i­tary ori­en­ta­tion: ” . . . . Among the most pop­u­lar activ­i­ties are mil­i­tary-style games where campers are divid­ed into two teams that have to dodge or cap­ture their oppo­nents by mov­ing stealth­ily and orga­niz­ing ambush­es. . . . .”

Next, we high­light the fas­cist ascent in the Baltic states.

In Esto­nia, the EKRE par­ty is imple­ment­ing a fas­cist agen­da, cap­i­tal­iz­ing on an anti-immi­grant theme, in a coun­try that has had lit­tle immi­gra­tion.

In addi­tion, the par­ty has tar­get­ed the LGBT milieu and “glob­al­iza­tion,” as well as resus­ci­tat­ing Nazi eco­nom­ic the­o­ry and prac­tice.

After review of Carl Lund­strom’s financ­ing of the Swe­den Democ­rats, as well as Lund­strom’s cen­tral role in financ­ing the Pirate Bay site (which host­ed Wik­iLeaks, cour­tesy of Julian Assange’s fas­cist asso­ciate Joran Jermas/Israel Shamir), we delve into the oper­a­tions of Lund­strom’s asso­ciates.

Uti­liz­ing the anti-immi­grant theme uti­lized with great effect by fas­cists around the world, the Swe­den Democ­rats are gain­ing ground on the Swedish polit­i­cal land­scape.

Key points of dis­cus­sion include: The Nazi ori­gins of the Swe­den Democ­rats; the Waf­fen SS back­ground of one of the par­ty’s founders; net­work­ing of the Swe­den Democ­rats with fas­cists and reac­tionar­ies in oth­er coun­tries, includ­ing the U.S., France and Ger­many.


FTR #1081 Surveillance Valley, Part 7: Yasha Levine Gets the Jim Garrison/Gary Webb Treatment

We empha­size the treat­ment afford­ed Yasha Levine. As might be expect­ed, Levine received the Jim Garrison/Gary Webb treat­ment. The ret­ri­bu­tion direct­ed at Yasha Levine epit­o­mizes why Mr. Emory refers to the so-called pro­gres­sive sec­tor as “so-called.”

” . . . . The threats and attacks had begun some­time overnight while I slept. By morn­ing, they had reached a vicious and mur­der­ous pitch. There were calls for my death—by fire, by suf­fo­ca­tion, by hav­ing my throat slit by razor blades. Peo­ple I had nev­er met called me a rapist, and alleged that I took delight in beat­ing women and forc­ing peo­ple to have sex with me. I was accused of homo­pho­bia. Anony­mous peo­ple filed bogus claims with my edi­tor. Alle­ga­tions that I was a CIA agent poured in, as did claims that I worked with British intel­li­gence. The fact that I had been born in the Sovi­et Union did­n’t do me any favors; nat­u­ral­ly, I was accused of being an FSB spy and of work­ing for Rus­si­a’s suc­ces­sor to the KGB. I was informed that my name was added to a dark net assas­si­na­tion list—a site where peo­ple could place anony­mous bids for my mur­der. The roam­ing eye of the Inter­net hate machine had sud­den­ly fixed on me. . . .”

In addi­tion to online bul­ly­ing, slan­der and veiled and direct threats, the so-called “pri­va­cy activists” joined in pil­lo­ry­ing Yasha Levine: ” . . . . Mic­ah Lee, the for­mer EFF tech­nol­o­gist who helped Edward Snow­den com­mu­ni­cate secure­ly with jour­nal­ists and who now works at The Inter­cept, attacked me as a con­spir­a­cy the­o­rist and accused me and my col­leagues at Pan­do of being sex­ist bul­lies, he claimed that my report­ing was moti­vat­ed not by a desire to get at the truth but by a mali­cious impulse to harass a female Tor devel­op­er. Although Lee con­ced­ed that my infor­ma­tion about Tor’s gov­ern­ment fund­ing was cor­rect, he counter intu­itive­ly argued that it did­n’t mat­ter. . . .

” . . . . Jour­nal­ists, experts, and tech­nol­o­gists from groups like the ACLU, the EFF, Free­dom of the Press Foun­da­tion and The Inter­cept and employ­ees of the Tor Project joined in to attack my report­ing. Unlike Lee, most did not attempt to engage my report­ing but employed a range of famil­iar PR smear tactics—tactics you usu­al­ly see used by cor­po­rate flacks, not prin­ci­pled pri­va­cy activists. They took to social media, telling any­one who showed inter­est in my arti­cles that they should ignore them instead. Then, when that did­n’t work, they tried to dis­cred­it my report­ing with ridicule, mis­di­rec­tion, and crude insults. . . .

” . . . . A respect­ed ACLU pri­va­cy expert, who now works as a con­gres­sion­al staffer, called me “a con­spir­a­cy the­o­rist  who sees black heli­copters every­where” and com­pared my report­ing about Tor to the Pro­to­cols of the Elders of Zion. As some­one who escaped state-spon­sored anti-Semi­tism in the Sovi­et Union, I found the com­par­i­son extreme­ly offen­sive, espe­cial­ly com­ing from the ACLU. The Pro­to­cols were an anti-Semit­ic forgery dis­sem­i­nat­ed by the Russ­ian Tsar’s secret police that unleashed waves of dead­ly pogroms against Jews across the Russ­ian Empire in the ear­ly twen­ti­eth cen­tu­ry. Tor employ­ees put forth a tor­rent of child­ish insults, call­ing me a ‘dumb Stal­in­ist state-felch­er’ and a ‘fuck­tard’s fuck­tard.’ They accused me of being fund­ed by spies to under­mine faith in cryp­tog­ra­phy. One of them claimed that I was a rapist, and hurled homo­pho­bic insults about the var­i­ous ways in which I had sup­pos­ed­ly per­formed sex­u­al favors for a male col­league.

 “In the way that these Inter­net haz­ing ses­sions, go, the cam­paign evolved and spread. Strange peo­ple began threat­en­ing me and my col­leagues on social media. Some accused me of hav­ing blood on my hands and of rack­ing up an “activist body count”–that peo­ple were actu­al­ly dying because of my report­ing under­mined trust in Tor.The attacks widened to include reg­u­lar read­ers and social media users, any­one who had the nerve to ask ques­tions about Tor’s fund­ing sources. An employ­ee of the Tor Project went so far as to dox an anony­mous Twit­ter user, expos­ing his real iden­ti­ty and con­tact­ing his employ­er in the hopes of get­ting him fired from his job as a junior phar­ma­cist.

It was bizarre. I watched all this unfold in real time but had no idea how to respond. Even more dis­con­cert­ing was that the attacks soon expand­ed to include libelous sto­ries placed in rep­utable media out­lets. The Guardian pub­lished a sto­ry by a free­lancer accus­ing me of run­ning an online sex­u­al harass­ment and bul­ly­ing cam­paign. The Los Ange­les Review of Books, gen­er­al­ly a good jour­nal of arts and cul­ture, ran an essay by a free­lancer alleg­ing that my report­ing was fund­ed by the CIA. Paul Carr, my edi­tor at Pan­do, lodged offi­cial com­plaints and demand­ed to know how these reporters came to their con­clu­sions. Both pub­li­ca­tions ulti­mate­ly retract­ed their state­ments and print­ed cor­rec­tions. An edi­tor at the Guardian apol­o­gized and described the arti­cle as a ‘fuck up.’ But the online attacks con­tin­ued. . . .”

Pro­gram High­lights Include:

1.–The role of Eddie Snow­den in mis­at­tribut­ing the Shad­ow Bro­kers non-hack to Rus­sia.
2.–Snowden’s fore­shad­ow­ing of the alleged Russ­ian “hack” of the Macron cam­paign”: ” . . . . ‘That could have sig­nif­i­cant for­eign pol­i­cy con­se­quences,’ Snow­den wrote on Twit­ter. ‘Par­tic­u­lar­ly if any of those oper­a­tions tar­get­ed US allies. Par­tic­u­lar­ly if any of those oper­a­tions tar­get­ed elec­tions.’ . . .”
3.–James Bam­ford’s analy­sis of WikiLeaker/Tor promoter/BBG asso­ciate Jacob Apel­baum as the most like­ly source of the Shad­ow Bro­kers non-hack. 
The ludi­crous nature of the “Rus­sia-did it” hypoth­e­sis con­cern­ing the Macron hacks: ” . . . . The hacked doc­u­ments in the ‘Macron hack’ not only con­tained Cyril­lic text in the meta­da­ta, but also con­tained the name of the last per­son to mod­i­fy the doc­u­ments. That name, ‘Rosh­ka Georgiy Petro­vichan’, is an employ­ee at Evri­ka, a large IT com­pa­ny that does work for the Russ­ian gov­ern­ment, includ­ing the FSB (Russ­ian intel­li­gence.) Also found in the meta­da­ta is the email of the per­son who uploaded the files to ‘archive.org’, and that email address, frankmacher1@gmx.de, is reg­is­tered with a Ger­man free web­mail provider used pre­vi­ous­ly in 2016 phish­ing attacks against the CDU in Ger­many that have been attrib­uted to APT28. It would appear that the ‘Russ­ian hack­ers’ not only left clues sug­gest­ing it was Russ­ian hack­ers behind the hack, but they decid­ed to name names this time–their own names. . . .”
4.–Neo-Nazi and Glenn Green­wald and Lau­ra Poitras asso­ciate Andrew Aueren­heimer’s role in mod­i­fy­ing the doc­u­ments in the Macron hack:  ” . . . . Short­ly after an anony­mous user of the 4chan.org dis­cus­sion forum post­ed fake doc­u­ments pur­port­ing to show Mr. Macron had set up an undis­closed shell com­pa­ny in the Caribbean, the user direct­ed peo­ple to vis­it nouveaumartel.com for updates on the French elec­tion. That web­site, accord­ing to research by web-secu­ri­ty provider Virtualroad.org, is reg­is­tered by ‘Wee­v­los,’ a known online alias of Andrew Auern­heimer, an Amer­i­can hack­er who gained noto­ri­ety three years ago when a U.S. appeals court vacat­ed his con­vic­tion for com­put­er fraud. The site also is host­ed by a serv­er in Latvia that hosts the Dai­ly Stormer, a neo-Nazi news site that iden­ti­fies its admin­is­tra­tor as ‘Weev,’ anoth­er online alias of Mr. Aeurn­heimer, Virtualroad.org says. ‘We strong­ly believe that the fake off­shore doc­u­ments were cre­at­ed by some­one with con­trol of the Dai­ly Stormer serv­er,’ said Tord Lund­ström, a com­put­er foren­sics inves­ti­ga­tor at Virtualroad.org. . . .”
5.–French cyber­se­cu­ri­ty chief Guil­laume Poupard negat­ed the asser­tion that Rus­sia hacked the Macron cam­paign: ” . . . . The head of the French government’s cyber secu­ri­ty agency, which inves­ti­gat­ed leaks from Pres­i­dent Emmanuel Macron’s elec­tion cam­paign, says they found no trace of a noto­ri­ous Russ­ian hack­ing group behind the attack. . . . ”


FTR #1080 Surveillance Valley, Part 6: Double Agents, Part 2 (Foxes Guarding the Online Privacy Henhouse, Part 3)

In this pro­gram, we resume dis­cus­sion and analy­sis of the con­sum­mate­ly impor­tant recent book Sur­veil­lance Val­ley: The Secret Mil­i­tary His­to­ry of the Inter­net by Yasha Levine. In the pre­vi­ous pro­gram, we not­ed, among oth­er points of analy­sis, the deci­sive role of Eddie “The Friend­ly Spook” Snow­den in pro­mot­ing the intel­li­gence-agency craft­ed Tor net­work.

In addi­tion to Tor, the Open Tech­nol­o­gy Fund (read “CIA”) helped finance the Sig­nal app for mobile phones. It, too, is fun­da­men­tal­ly com­pro­mised. ” . . . . . . . . The Tor project remained the best-known pri­va­cy app fund­ed by the Open Tech­nol­o­gy Fund, but it was quick­ly joined by anoth­er: Sig­nal, an encrypt­ed mobile phone mes­sag­ing app for the iPhone and Android. . . .”

Not sur­pris­ing­ly, the CIA’s Eddie “The Friend­ly Spook” Snow­den was a big pro­mot­er of Sig­nal, as well as Tor: ” . . . . Peo­ple at the ACLU claimed that Sig­nal made fed­er­al agents weep. The Elec­tron­ic Fron­tier Foun­da­tion added Sig­nal along­side Tor to its Sur­veil­lance Self-Defense guide. Fight for the Future, a Sil­i­con Val­ley-fund­ed pri­va­cy activist orga­ni­za­tion, described Sig­nal and Tor as ‘NSA-proof’ and urged peo­ple to use them. Edward Snow­den was the com­bo’s biggest and most famous boost­er and repeat­ed­ly took to Twit­ter to tell his three mil­lion fol­low­ers that he used Sig­nal and Tor every day, and that they should do the same to pro­tect them­selves from gov­ern­ment sur­veil­lance. ‘Use Tor, Use Sig­nal,’ he tweet­ed out.

“With endorse­ments like these, Sig­nal quick­ly became the go-to app for polit­i­cal activists around the world. Egypt, Rus­sia, Syr­ia, and even the Unit­ed States—millions down­loaded Sig­nal, and it became the com­mu­ni­ca­tion app of choice for those who hoped to avoid police sur­veil­lance. Fem­i­nist col­lec­tives, anti-Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump pro­test­ers, com­mu­nists, anar­chists, rad­i­cal ani­mal rights orga­ni­za­tions, Black Lives Mat­ter activists—all flocked to Sig­nal. Many were heed­ing Snow­den’s advice: ‘Orga­nize. Com­part­men­tal­ize to lim­it com­pro­mise. Encrypt every­thing, from calls to texts (use Sig­nal as a first step.)’ . . . .”

Yasha Levine sums up the fun­da­men­tal con­tra­dic­tions inher­ent  in this dynam­ic: ” . . . . If you stepped back to sur­vey the scene, the entire land­scape of this new Inter­net Free­dom pri­va­cy move­ment looked absurd. Cold War-era orga­ni­za­tions spun off from the CIA now fund­ing the glob­al move­ment against gov­ern­ment sur­veil­lance? Google and Face­book, com­pa­nies that ran pri­vate sur­veil­lance net­works and worked hand in hand with the NSA, deploy­ing gov­ern­ment-fund­ed pri­va­cy tech to pro­tect their users from gov­ern­ment sur­veil­lance? Pri­va­cy activists work­ing with Sil­i­con Val­ley and the US gov­ern­ment to fight gov­ern­ment surveillance—and with the sup­port of Edward Snow­den him­self? . . . .”

Fol­low­ing Snow­den’s pro­mo­tion of OTF’s Tor and Sig­nal tech­nolo­gies, OTF was at a zenith: ” . . . . After Edward Snow­den, OTF was tri­umphant. It did­n’t men­tion the leak­er by name in its pro­mo­tion­al mate­ri­als, but it prof­it­ed from the cryp­to cul­ture he pro­mot­ed and ben­e­fit­ed from his direct endorse­ment of the cryp­to tools it financed. It boast­ed that its part­ner­ship with both Sil­i­con Val­ley and respect­ed pri­va­cy activists meant that hun­dreds of mil­lions of peo­ple could use the pri­va­cy tools the US gov­ern­ment had brought to mar­ket. And OTF promised that this was just a start: ‘By lever­ag­ing social net­work effects, we expect to expand to a bil­lion reg­u­lar users tak­ing advan­tage of OTF-sup­port­ed tools and Inter­net Free­dom tech­nolo­gies by 2015. . . .’

As even­tu­al­ly became clear, the Tor net­work was eas­i­ly breached. It is a safe bet that the fas­cists grouped around the Pirate Bay site (on which Wik­iLeaks held forth), had breached Tor’s “secre­cy,” in addi­tion to the obvi­ous fact that intel­li­gence ser­vices could pen­e­trate it at will.

With this in mind, John Young’s rumi­na­tion about Wik­iLeaks sound more and more sub­stan­tive.

In all prob­a­bil­i­ty, Wik­iLeaks was a huge data min­ing oper­a­tion both by the very intel­li­gence agen­cies who were osten­si­bly tar­get­ed by Wik­iLeaks, and the Fas­cist Inter­na­tion­al net­work around Carl Lund­strom, Daniel Friberg, David Duke et al.

In FTR #‘s 756 and 831 we not­ed Snow­den’s fas­cist views and con­nec­tions. Levine mere­ly char­ac­ter­izes him as a “right-wing lib­er­tar­i­an,” but there is MUCH MORE TO IT THAN  THAT!

Snow­den down­played the fun­da­men­tal role of the Big Tech firms in aid­ing and abet­ting gov­ern­ment sur­veil­lance, in addi­tion to their own mas­sive sur­veil­lance and resul­tant data min­ing. ” . . . . There, while liv­ing under state pro­tec­tion at an undis­closed loca­tion in Moscow, he swept Sil­i­con Val­ley’s role in Inter­net sur­veil­lance under the rug. Asked about it by Wash­ing­ton Post reporter Bar­ton Gell­man, who had first report­ed on the NSA’s PRISM pro­gram, Snow­den shrugged off the dan­ger posed by com­pa­nies like Google and Face­book. The rea­son? Because pri­vate com­pa­nies do not have the pow­er to arrest, jail, or kill peo­ple. ‘Twit­ter does­n’t put war­heads on fore­heads,’ he joked. . . .”

Embody­ing his “cor­po­ratist” and Tech­no­crat­ic Fas­cist point of view, Snow­den cham­pi­oned the Big Tech firms as bul­warks against gov­ern­ment Inter­net sur­veil­lance, despite the only-too-obvi­ous fact (rein­forced by the doc­u­ments he leaked) that Big Tech is–and always has been–in bed with, and active­ly col­lab­o­rat­ing with, the very gov­ern­ment intel­li­gence agen­cies con­duct­ing that sur­veil­lance: ” . . . . The only islands of safe­ty were the pri­vate data cen­ters con­trolled by pri­vate companies—Google, Apple, Face­book. These were the cyber-fortress­es and walled cities that offered sanc­tu­ary to the mass­es. In this chaot­ic land­scape, com­put­er engi­neers and cryp­tog­ra­phers played the role of self­less gal­lop­ing knights and wiz­ard-war­riors whose job was to pro­tect the weak folk of the Inter­net: the young, the old and infirm, fam­i­lies. It was their duty to ride out, weapons aloft, and con­vey peo­ple and their pre­cious data safe­ly from fortress to fortress, not let­ting any of the infor­ma­tion fall into the hands of gov­ern­ment spies. He called on them to start a peo­ple’s pri­va­cy war, ral­ly­ing them to go forth and lib­er­ate the Inter­net, to reclaim it from the gov­ern­ments of the world. . . .”

The nau­se­at­ing head of Facebook–Mark Zuckerberg–has decried the intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty’s use of the Inter­net for data min­ing. In FTR #1077, we high­light­ed the Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca affair, and Face­book’s full coop­er­a­tion with that project at every turn.

Oth­er Big Tech firms had sim­i­lar reac­tions. “. . . . . ‘We had­n’t even heard of PRISM before yes­ter­day,’ Mark Zucker­berg wrote in a Face­book post. He blamed the gov­ern­ment and posi­tioned Face­book as a vic­tim. “I’ve called Pres­i­dent Oba­ma to express my frus­tra­tion over the dam­age the gov­ern­ment is cre­at­ing for all of our future. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, it seems like it will take a very long time for true full reform.’ Apple,  Microsoft, Google, and Yahoo! All react­ed in much the same way, deny­ing the alle­ga­tions and paint­ing them­selves as the vic­tims of gov­ern­ment over­reach. ‘It’s tremen­dous­ly dis­ap­point­ing that the gov­ern­ment sort of secret­ly did all this stuff and did­n’t tell us. We can’t have a democ­ra­cy if we’re hav­ing to pro­tect you and our users from the gov­ern­ment,’ Lar­ry Page told Char­lie Rose in an inter­view on CBS. . . . .”

We present the con­clu­sion of the main part of the book, with Levine’s sum­ma­tion of the inex­tri­ca­ble nature and sym­bio­sis between the Inter­net, the tech firms and the so-called “pri­va­cy com­mu­ni­ty.”

The key points of dis­cus­sion and analy­sis of Levine’s book (as a whole) include:

1.–The Inter­net is a weapon, devel­oped for counter-insur­gency pur­pos­es.
2.–Big Tech firms net­work with the very intel­li­gence ser­vices they pub­licly decry.
3.–Big Tech firms that data mine their cus­tomers on a near­ly unimag­in­able scale do so as a direct, oper­a­tional exten­sion of the very sur­veil­lance func­tion upon which  the Inter­net is pred­i­cat­ed.
4.–The tech­nolo­gies tout­ed by the so-called “Pri­va­cy Activists” such as Edward Snow­den and Jacob Apple­baum were devel­oped by the very intel­li­gence ser­vices they are sup­posed to deflect.
5.–The tech­nolo­gies tout­ed by the so-called “Pri­va­cy Activists” such as Edward Snow­den and Jacob Applebaum–such as the Tor Inter­net func­tion and the Sig­nal mobile phone app– are read­i­ly acces­si­ble to the very intel­li­gence ser­vices they are sup­posed to deflect.
6.–The orga­ni­za­tions that pro­mote the alleged virtues of Snow­den, Apple­baum, Tor, Sig­nal et al are linked to the very intel­li­gence ser­vices they would have us believe they oppose.
7.–Big Tech firms embrace “Inter­net Free­dom” as a dis­trac­tion from their own will­ful and all-embrac­ing data min­ing and their ongo­ing con­scious col­lab­o­ra­tion with the very intel­li­gence ser­vices they pub­licly decry.

NB: Mr. Levine does not go into the fascis­tic char­ac­ter of Snow­den, Assange, Green­wald et al. Some of those shows: Greenwald–FTR #888, Snowden–FTR #‘s 756, 831, Assange and WikiLeaks–FTR #‘s 732, 745, 755, 917.

“. . . . Then there was the fact that Sig­nal ran on Ama­zon’s servers, which meant that all its data were avail­able to a part­ner in the NSA’s PRISM sur­veil­lance pro­gram. Equal­ly prob­lem­at­ic, Sig­nal need­ed Apple and Google to install and run the app on peo­ple’s mobile phones. Both com­pa­nies were, and as far as we know still are, part­ners in PRISM as well. ‘Google usu­al­ly has root access to the phone, there’s the issue of integri­ty,’ writes Sander Ven­e­ma, a respect­ed devel­op­er and secure—technology train­er, in a blog post explain­ing why he no longer rec­om­mends peo­ple use Sig­nal for encrypt­ed chat. ‘Google is still coop­er­at­ing with the NSA and oth­er intel­li­gence agen­cies. PRISM is also still a thing. I’m pret­ty sure that Google could serve a spe­cial­ly mod­i­fied update or ver­sion of Sig­nal to spe­cif­ic tar­get for sur­veil­lance, and they would be none the wis­er that they installed mal­ware on their phones.’ . . .

. . . . So, although the app encrypt­ed the con­tent of peo­ple’s mes­sages, it also marked them with a flash­ing red sign: ‘Fol­low Me, I Have Some­thing to Hide.’ (Indeed, activists protest­ing at the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Nation­al Con­ven­tion in Philadel­phia in 2016 told me that they were bewil­dered by the fact that police seemed to know and antic­i­pate their every move despite their hav­ing used Sig­nal to orga­nize. . . .”

” . . . . For many Inter­net com­pa­nies, includ­ing Google and Face­book, sur­veil­lance is the busi­ness mod­el. It is the base on which their cor­po­rate and eco­nom­ic pow­er rests. Dis­en­tan­gle sur­veil­lance and prof­it, and these com­pa­nies would col­lapse. Lim­it data col­lec­tion, an the com­pa­nies would see investors flee and their stock prices plum­met. [Ital­ics are mine–D.E.]

“Sil­i­con Val­ley fears a polit­i­cal solu­tion to pri­va­cy. Inter­net Free­dom and cryp­to offer an accept­able alter­na­tive. Tools like Sig­nal and Tor pro­vide a false solu­tion to the pri­va­cy prob­lem, focus­ing people’s atten­tion on gov­ern­ment sur­veil­lance and dis­tract­ing them from the pri­vate spy­ing car­ried out by the Inter­net com­pa­nies they use every day. All the while, cryp­to tools give peo­ple a [false] sense that they’re doing some­thing to pro­tect them­selves, a feel­ing of per­son­al empow­er­ment and con­trol. And all those cryp­to rad­i­cals? Well, they just enhance the illu­sion, height­en­ing the impres­sion of risk and dan­ger. With Sig­nal or Tor installed, using an iPhone or Android sud­den­ly becomes edgy and rad­i­cal. So instead of push­ing for polit­i­cal and demo­c­ra­t­ic solu­tions to sur­veil­lance, we out­source our pri­va­cy pol­i­tics to cryp­to apps–software made by the very same pow­er­ful enti­ties that these apps are sup­posed to pro­tect us from. . . .”


FTR #1079 Surveillance Valley, Part 5: Double Agents (Foxes Guarding the Online Privacy Henhouse, Part 2)

Con­tin­u­ing with our exam­i­na­tion of Yasha Levine’s sem­i­nal vol­ume Sur­veil­lance Val­ley, we con­tin­ue our analy­sis of the indi­vid­u­als, insti­tu­tions and tech­nolo­gies cen­tral to the so-called “online pri­va­cy” effort. The Tor Project, the Elec­tron­ic Fron­tier Foun­da­tion, the Broad­cast­ing Board of Gov­er­nors and its Open Tech­nol­o­gy Fund and Jacob Appel­baum are all the oppo­site of what they have been rep­re­sent­ed as being.

We begin with infor­ma­tion over­lapped from our last pro­gram, high­light­ing how Jacob Appel­baum and the Tor net­work hooked up with Wik­iLeaks.

Tor, Appel­baum, Assange and Wik­iLeaks:

1.–Became increas­ing­ly inter­twined, enjoy­ing acco­lades from many, appar­ent­ly unsus­pect­ing, groups: ” . . . .  His [Appel­baum’s] asso­ci­a­tion with Wik­iLeaks and Assange boost­ed the Tor Pro­jec­t’s pub­lic pro­file and rad­i­cal cre­den­tials. Sup­port and acco­lades poured in from jour­nal­ists, pri­va­cy orga­ni­za­tions, and gov­ern­ment watch­dogs. The Amer­i­can Civ­il Lib­er­ties Union part­nered with Appel­baum on an Inter­net pri­va­cy project, and New York’s Whit­ney Museum—one of the lead­ing mod­ern art muse­ums in the world—invited him for a ‘Sur­veil­lance Teach-In.’ The Elec­tron­ic Fron­tier Foun­da­tion gave Tor its Pio­neer Award, and Roger Din­gle­dine made in on For­eign Pol­i­cy mag­a­zine’s Top 100 Glob­al Thinkers for pro­tect­ing ‘any­one and every­one from the dan­gers of Big Broth­er.’ . . . .”
2.– Dif­fered fun­da­men­tal­ly from the accept­ed text: ” . . . . With Julian Assange endors­ing Tor, reporters assumed that the US gov­ern­ment saw the anonymi­ty non­prof­it as a threat. But inter­nal doc­u­ments obtained through FOIA from the Broad­cast­ing Board of Gov­er­nors, as well as analy­sis of Tor’s gov­ern­ment con­tracts paint a dif­fer­ent pic­ture. They reveal that Appel­baum and Din­gle­dine worked with Assange on secur­ing Wik­iLeaks with Tor since late 2008 and that they kept their han­dlers at the BBG informed about their rela­tion­ship and even pro­vid­ed infor­ma­tion about the inner work­ings of Wik­iLeak­s’s secure sub­mis­sion sys­tem. . . .”
3.–Did not adverse­ly affect the gov­ern­ment fund­ing of Tor at all, as might be expect­ed by the super­fi­cial appar­ent real­i­ty of the sit­u­a­tion: ” . . . . Per­haps most telling was that sup­port from the BBG [read “CIA”–D.E.] con­tin­ued even after Wik­iLeaks began pub­lish­ing clas­si­fied gov­ern­ment infor­ma­tion and Appel­baum became the tar­get of a larg­er Depart­ment of Jus­tice inves­ti­ga­tion into Wik­iLeaks. For exam­ple, on July 31, 2010, CNET report­ed that Appel­baum had been detained at the Las Vegas air­port and ques­tioned about his rela­tion­ship with Wik­iLeaks. News of the deten­tion made head­lines around the world, once again high­light­ing Appel­baum’s close ties to Julian Assange. And a week lat­er, Tor’s exec­u­tive direc­tor Andrew Lew­man, clear­ly wor­ried that this might affect Tor’s fund­ing, emailed Ken Berman at the BBG in the hopes of smooth­ing things over and answer­ing ‘any ques­tions you may have about the recent press regard­ing Jake and Wik­iLeaks.’ But Lew­man was in for a pleas­ant sur­prise: Roger Din­gle­dine had been keep­ing folks at the BBG in the loop, and every­thing seemed to be okay. ‘Great stuff, thx. Roger answered a num­ber of ques­tions when he met us this week in DC,’ Berman replied. . . .”
4.–” . . . . In 2011 con­tracts came in with­out a hitch–$150,000 from the Broad­cast­ing Board of Gov­er­nors and $227,118 from the State Depart­ment. Tor was even able to snag a big chunk of mon­ey from the Pen­ta­gon: a new $503,706 annu­al con­tract from the Space and Naval War­fare Sys­tems Com­mand, an elite infor­ma­tion and intel­li­gence unit that hous­es a top-secret cyber-war­fare division.The Navy was passed through SRI, the old Stan­ford mil­i­tary con­trac­tor that had done coun­terin­sur­gency, net­work­ing, and chem­i­cal weapons work for ARPA back in the 1960s and 1970s. The funds were part of a larg­er Navy ‘Com­mand, Con­trol, Com­munca­tions, Com­put­ers, Intel­li­gence, Sur­veil­lance, and Recon­nais­sance’ pro­gram to improve mil­i­tary oper­a­tions. A year lat­er, Tor would see its gov­ern­ment con­tracts more than dou­ble to $2.2 mil­lion: $353,000 from the State Depart­ment, $876,099 from the US Navy, and $937,800 from the Broad­cast­ing Board of Gov­er­nors. . . .”

In this con­text, we recall some ear­li­er obser­va­tions about Wik­iLeaks. John Young, one of Wik­iLeaks’ founders turned crit­ic of the orga­ni­za­tion har­bors deep sus­pi­cions con­cern­ing the group. ” . . . they’re act­ing like a cult. They’re act­ing like a reli­gion. They’re act­ing like a gov­ern­ment. They’re act­ing like a bunch of spies. They’re hid­ing their iden­ti­ty. They don’t account for the mon­ey. They promise all sorts of good things. They sel­dom let you know what they’re real­ly up to. . .There was sus­pi­cion from day one that this was entrap­ment run by some­one unknown to suck a num­ber of peo­ple into a trap. So we actu­al­ly don’t know. But it’s cer­tain­ly a stan­dard coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence tech­nique. And they’re usu­al­ly pret­ty elab­o­rate and pret­ty care­ful­ly run. They’ll even pros­e­cute peo­ple as part of the cov­er sto­ry. That actu­al­ly was talked about at (Sunday’s) pan­el. They’ll try to con­ceal who was inform­ing and betray­ing oth­ers by pre­tend­ing to pros­e­cute them. . . .” The Tor/Appelbaum/BBG (read “CIA”)/WikiLeaks nexus may very well be proof of Young’s sus­pi­cions.

Appel­baum, Wik­iLeaks and Tor became fun­da­men­tal to the oper­a­tions of Eddie “The Friend­ly Spook” Snow­den. In past dis­cus­sion, we have not­ed that in the sum­mer of 2009, when Snow­den made his deci­sion to dis­close the NSA doc­u­ments, he was work­ing for the very same CIA from which the Broad­cast­ing Board of Gov­er­nors and its Open Tech­nol­o­gy Fund were derived. Jacob Appel­baum was fund­ed by BBG, as was Tor. ” . . . . From the start, the Tor Project stood at the cen­ter of Snow­den’s sto­ry. The leak­er’s endorse­ment and pro­mo­tion intro­duced the project to a glob­al audi­ence, boost­ing Tor’s world­wide user base from one mil­lion to six mil­lion almost overnight and inject­ing it into the heart of a bur­geon­ing pri­va­cy move­ment. In Rus­sia, where the BBG and Din­gle­dine had tried but failed to recruit activists for their Tor deploy­ment plan, use of the soft­ware increased from twen­ty thou­sand dai­ly con­nec­tions to some­where around two hun­dred thou­sand.

“Dur­ing a pro­mo­tion­al cam­paign for the Tor Project, Snow­den said: ‘With­out Tor, the streets of the Inter­net become like the streets of a very heav­i­ly sur­veilled city. There are sur­veil­lance cam­eras every­where, and if the adver­sary sim­ply takes enough time, they can fol­low the tapes back and see every­thing you’ve done. With Tor, we have pri­vate spaces and pri­vate lives, where we can choose who we want to asso­ciate with and how, with­out the fear of what that is going to look like if it is abused. The design of the Tor sys­tem is struc­tured in such a way that even if the US Gov­ern­ment want­ed to sub­vert it, it could­n’t.’ Snow­den did­n’t talk about Tor’s con­tin­ued gov­ern­ment fund­ing, nor did he address an appar­ent con­tra­dic­tion: why the US gov­ern­ment would fund a pro­gram that sup­pos­ed­ly lim­it­ed its own pow­er. What­ev­er Snow­den’s pri­vate thought on the mat­ter, his endorse­ment gave Tor the high­est pos­si­ble seal of approval. It was like a Hack­er’s Medal of Val­or. With Snow­den’s back­ing, no one even thought to ques­tion Tor’s rad­i­cal antigov­ern­ment bona fides. . . .”

Next, we review infor­ma­tion about the so-called “Arab Spring.” In FTR #‘s 733 through 739, we pre­sent­ed our view that the so-called Arab Spring was a U.S. intel­li­gence oper­a­tion, aimed at plac­ing the Broth­er­hood in pow­er in Mus­lim coun­tries dom­i­nat­ed either by a sec­u­lar dic­ta­tor or absolute monar­chy.

Yasha Levine has high­light­ed the role of U.S. tech per­son­nel in train­ing and prep­ping the Arab Spring online activists. As we have not­ed in the past, the so-called Arab Spring might have been bet­ter thought of as “The Mus­lim Broth­er­hood Spring,” as the neo-lib­er­al, pri­va­ti­za­tion ide­ol­o­gy of Broth­er­hood eco­nom­ic icon Ibn Khal­dun was fun­da­men­tal to the oper­a­tion.

The eco­nom­ic goals of the Arab Spring “op” were reviewed in, among oth­er pro­grams, FTR #‘s 1025 and 1026.

Recall while read­ing the fol­low­ing excerpts of this remark­able and impor­tant book, that:

1.–The Tor net­work was devel­oped by, and used and com­pro­mised by, ele­ments of U.S. intel­li­gence.
2.–One of the pri­ma­ry advo­cates and spon­sors of the Tor net­work is the Broad­cast­ing Board of Gov­er­nors. As we saw in FTR #‘s 891, 895, is an exten­sion of the CIA.
3.–Jacob Appel­baum has been financed by the Broad­cast­ing Board of Gov­er­nors, advo­cates use of the Tor net­work, has helped Wik­iLeaks with its exten­sive use of the Tor net­work, and is an ide­o­log­i­cal acolyte of Ayn Rand.

The Arab Spring pro­vid­ed moti­va­tion for enhanced U.S. fund­ing for Inter­net Free­dom. The Open Tech­nol­o­gy Fund, like the BBG a CIA “deriv­a­tive,” was at the cen­ter of this: ” . . . . The moti­va­tion for this expan­sion came out of the Arab Spring. The idea was to make sure the US gov­ern­ment would main­tain its tech­no­log­i­cal advan­tage in the cen­sor­ship arms race that began in the ear­ly 2000s, but the funds were also going into devel­op­ing a new gen­er­a­tion of tools aimed at lever­ag­ing the pow­er of the Inter­net to help for­eign oppo­si­tion activists orga­nize into cohe­sive polit­i­cal move­ments. The BBG’s $25.5 mil­lion cut of the cash more than dou­bled the agen­cy’s anti­cen­sor­ship tech­nol­o­gy bud­get from the pre­vi­ous year, and the BBG fun­neled the mon­ey into the Open Tech­nol­o­gy Fund, a new orga­ni­za­tion it had cre­at­ed with­in Radio Free Asia to fund Inter­net Free­dom tech­nolo­gies in the wake of the Arab Spring. . . .”

The fun­da­men­tal posi­tion of BBG and OTF (read “CIA”) to the so-called online pri­va­cy com­mu­ni­ty was con­cise­ly expressed by Yasha Levine: ” . . . . From behind this hip and con­nect­ed exte­ri­or, BBG and Radio Free Asia built a ver­ti­cal­ly inte­grat­ed incu­ba­tor for Inter­net Free­dom tech­nolo­gies, pour­ing mil­lions into projects big and small, includ­ing every­thing from evad­ing cen­sor­ship to help­ing polit­i­cal orga­niz­ing, protests, and move­ment build­ing. With its deep pock­ets and its recruit­ment of big-name pri­va­cy activists, the Open Tech­nol­o­gy Fund did­n’t just thrust itself into the pri­va­cy move­ment. In many ways, it WAS the pri­va­cy move­ment. . . .”


FTR #1078 Surveillance Valley, Part 4: Tor Up (Foxes Guarding the Online Privacy Henhouse, Part 1.)

Yasha Levine’s sum­ma­tion of the inex­tri­ca­ble nature and sym­bio­sis between the Inter­net, the tech firms and the so-called “pri­va­cy com­mu­ni­ty” include:

1.–The Inter­net is a weapon, devel­oped for counter-insur­gency pur­pos­es.
2.–Big Tech firms net­work with the very intel­li­gence ser­vices they pub­licly decry.
3.–Big Tech firms that data mine their cus­tomers on a near­ly unimag­in­able scale do so as a direct, oper­a­tional exten­sion of the very sur­veil­lance func­tion upon which  the Inter­net is pred­i­cat­ed.
4.–The tech­nolo­gies tout­ed by the so-called “Pri­va­cy Activists” such as Edward Snow­den and Jacob Apple­baum were devel­oped by the very intel­li­gence ser­vices they are sup­posed to deflect.
5.–The tech­nolo­gies tout­ed by the so-called “Pri­va­cy Activists” such as Edward Snow­den and Jacob Applebaum–such as the Tor Inter­net func­tion and the Sig­nal mobile phone app– are read­i­ly acces­si­ble to the very intel­li­gence ser­vices they are sup­posed to deflect.
6.–The orga­ni­za­tions that pro­mote the alleged virtues of Snow­den, Apple­baum, Tor, Sig­nal et al are linked to the very intel­li­gence ser­vices they would have us believe they oppose.
7.–Big Tech firms embrace “Inter­net Free­dom” as a dis­trac­tion from their own will­ful and all-embrac­ing data min­ing and their ongo­ing con­scious col­lab­o­ra­tion with the very intel­li­gence ser­vices they pub­licly decry.

After detail­ing the his­to­ry of the devel­op­ment of the Inter­net by the nation­al secu­ri­ty estab­lish­ment, Levine presents the sto­ry of the devel­op­ment of the Tor net­work.

Key points of analy­sis and dis­cus­sion:

1.–Tor’s Sil­i­con Val­ley back­ing: ” . . . . Pri­va­cy groups fund­ed by com­pa­nies like Google and Face­book, includ­ing the Elec­tron­ic Fron­tier Foun­da­tion and Fight for the Future, were some of Tor’s biggest and most ded­i­cat­ed back­ers. Google had direct­ly bankrolled its devel­op­ment, pay­ing out gen­er­ous grants to col­lege stu­dents who worked at Tor dur­ing their sum­mer vaca­tions. Why would an Inter­net com­pa­ny whose entire busi­ness rest­ed on track­ing peo­ple online pro­mote and help devel­op a pow­er­ful pri­va­cy tool? Some­thing did­n’t add up. . . .”
2.–Not sur­pris­ing­ly, Tor does not shield users from orgias­tic data min­ing by Sil­i­con Val­ley tech giants: ” . . . . Tor works only if peo­ple are ded­i­cat­ed to main­tain­ing a strict anony­mous Inter­net rou­tine: using only dum­my email address­es and bogus accounts, car­ry­ing out all finan­cial trans­ac­tions in Bit­coin and oth­er cryp­tocur­ren­cies, and nev­er men­tion­ing their real name in emails or mes­sages. For the vast major­i­ty of peo­ple on the Internet—those who use Gmail, inter­act with Face­book friends, and shop on Amazon—you reveal your iden­ti­ty. These com­pa­nies know who you are. They know your name, your ship­ping address, your cred­it card infor­ma­tion. They con­tin­ue to scan your emails, map your social net­works, and com­pile dossiers. Tor or not, once you enter your account name and pass­word, Tor’s anonymi­ty tech­nol­o­gy becomes use­less. . . .”
3.–Silicon Val­ley’s sup­port for Tor is some­thing of a “false bro­mide”: ” . . . . After all, Snow­den’s leaked doc­u­ments revealed that any­thing Inter­net com­pa­nies had, the NSA had as well. I was puz­zled, but at least I under­stood why Tor had back­ing from Sil­i­con Val­ley: it offered a false sense of pri­va­cy, while not pos­ing a threat to the indus­try’s under­ly­ing sur­veil­lance mod­el. . . .”
4.–Tor is, in fact, financed by ele­ments of the very same intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty and nation­al secu­ri­ty estab­lish­ment that sup­pos­ed­ly frustrated/“locked out” by Tor! ” . . . . But as I ana­lyzed the orga­ni­za­tion’s finan­cial doc­u­ments, I found that the oppo­site was true. Tor had come out of a joint US Navy—DARPA mil­i­tary project in the ear­ly 2000s and con­tin­ued to rely on a series of fed­er­al con­tracts after it was spun off into a pri­vate non­prof­it. This fund­ing came from the Pen­ta­gon, the State Depart­ment, and at least one orga­ni­za­tion that derived from the CIA. These con­tracts added up to sev­er­al mil­lion dol­lars a year and, most years,  account­ed for more than 90 per­cent of Tor’s oper­at­ing bud­get. Tor was a fed­er­al mil­i­tary con­trac­tor. It even had its own fed­er­al con­tract­ing num­ber. . . This includ­ed Tor’s founder, Roger Din­gle­dine, who spent a sum­mer work­ing at the NSA and who had brought Tor to life under a series of DARPA and Navy con­tracts. . . .”

Wide­ly regard­ed as a cham­pi­on of Inter­net free­dom and pri­va­cy, the Elec­tron­ic Fron­tier Foun­da­tion helped finance Tor and cham­pi­oned its use.

Key ele­ments of dis­cus­sion and analy­sis of the EFF/Tor alliance include:

1.–EFF’s ear­ly financ­ing of Tor: ” . . . . . . . . In 2004, [Roger] Din­gle­dine struck out on his own, spin­ning the mil­i­tary onion rout­ing project into a non-prof­it cor­po­ra­tion called the Tor Project and, while still fund­ed by DARPA and the Navy, began scratch­ing around for pri­vate fund­ing. He got help from an unex­pect­ed ally: the Elec­tron­ic Fron­tier Foun­da­tion (EFF), which gave Tor almost a quar­ter mil­lion dol­lars to keep it going while Din­gle­dine looked for oth­er pri­vate spon­sors. The EFF even host­ed Tor’s web­site. . . .”
2.–The EFF’s effu­sive praise for the fun­da­men­tal­ly com­pro­mised Tor Project: ” . . . . ‘The Tor Project is a per­fect fit for EFF, because one of our pri­ma­ry goals is to pro­tect the pri­va­cy and anonymi­ty of Inter­net users. Tor can help peo­ple exer­cise their First Amend­ment right to free, anony­mous speech online.’ EFF’s tech­nol­o­gy man­ag­er Chris Palmer explained in a 2004 press release, which curi­ous­ly failed to men­tion that Tor was devel­oped pri­mar­i­ly for mil­i­tary intel­li­gence use and was still active­ly fund­ed by the Pen­ta­gon. . . .”
3.–The EFF’s his­to­ry of work­ing with ele­ments of the nation­al secu­ri­ty estab­lish­ment: ” . . . . In 1994, EFF worked with the FBI to pass the Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Assis­tance for Law Enforce­ment Act, which required all telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions com­pa­nies to build their equip­ment so that it could be wire­tapped by the FBI. In 1999, EFF worked to sup­port NATO’s bomb­ing cam­paign in Koso­vo with some­thing called the ‘Koso­vo Pri­va­cy Sup­port,’ which aimed to keep the region’s Inter­net access open dur­ing mil­i­tary action. Sell­ing a Pen­ta­gon intel­li­gence project as a grass­roots pri­va­cy tool—it did­n’t seem all that wild. . . .”
4.–In FTR #854, we not­ed that EFF co-founder John Per­ry Bar­low was far more than a Grate­ful Dead lyricist/hippie icon: ” . . . . Indeed, in 2002, a few years before it fund­ed Tor, EFF cofounder [John] Per­ry Bar­low casu­al­ly admit­ted that he had been con­sult­ing for intel­li­gence agen­cies for a decade. It seemed that the worlds of sol­diers, spies, and pri­va­cy weren’t as far apart as they appeared. . . .”
5.–EFF’s grav­i­tas in the online pri­va­cy com­mu­ni­ty lent Tor great cred­i­bil­i­ty: ” . . . . EFF’s sup­port for Tor was a big deal. The orga­ni­za­tion com­mand­ed respect in Sil­i­con Val­ley and was wide­ly seen as the ACLU of the Inter­net Age. The fact that it backed Tor meant that no hard ques­tions would be asked about the anonymi­ty tool’s mil­i­tary ori­gins as it tran­si­tioned to the civil­ian world. And that’s exact­ly what hap­pened. . . .”

In FTR #‘s 891 and 895, we not­ed the pri­ma­ry posi­tion of the Broad­cast­ing Board of Gov­er­nors in the devel­op­ment of the so-called “pri­va­cy” net­works. The BBG is a CIA off­shoot: “. . . .  The BBG might have had a bland sound­ing name and pro­fessed a noble mis­sion to inform the world and spread democ­ra­cy. In truth, the orga­ni­za­tion was an out­growth of the Cen­tral Intel­li­gence Agency. . . . The bulk of the BBG is no longer fund­ed from the CIA’s black bud­get, but the agen­cy’s orig­i­nal cold War goal and purpose—subversion and psy­cho­log­i­cal oper­a­tions direct­ed against coun­tries deemed hos­tile to US interests—remain the same. The only thing that did change about the BBG is that today, more of its broad­casts are tak­ing place online . . . .”

After doc­u­ment­ing Radio Free Europe’s growth from the Nazi/Vichy run Radio France dur­ing World War II and RCA’s David Sarnof­f’s involve­ment with the Tran­sra­dio Con­sor­tium (which com­mu­ni­cat­ed vital intel­li­gence to the Axis dur­ing the war), the pro­gram high­lights the involve­ment of Gehlen oper­a­tives in the oper­a­tions of Radio Free Europe, the sem­i­nal CIA broad­cast­ing out­lets.

The BBG (read “CIA”) became a major backer of the Tor Project: ” . . . . . . . . It was Wednes­day morn­ing, Feb­ru­ary 8, 2006, when Roger Din­gle­dine got the email he had been bad­ly wait­ing for. The Broad­cast­ing Board of Gov­er­nors had final­ly agreed to back the Tor Project. . . . With­in a year, the agency increased Tor’s con­tract to a quar­ter mil­lion dol­lars, and then bumped it up again to almost a mil­lion just a few years lat­er. The rela­tion­ship also led to major con­tracts with oth­er fed­er­al agen­cies, boost­ing Tor’s mea­ger oper­at­ing bud­get to sev­er­al mil­lion dol­lars a year. . . .”

Yasha Levine sums up the essence of the Tor Project: ” . . . . The Tor Project was not a rad­i­cal indie orga­ni­za­tion fight­ing The Man. For all intents and pur­pos­es, it was The Man. Or, at least, The Man’s right hand. . . . inter­nal cor­re­spon­dence reveals Tor’s close col­lab­o­ra­tion with the BBG and mul­ti­ple oth­er wings of the US gov­ern­ment, in par­tic­u­lar those that dealt with for­eign pol­i­cy and soft-pow­er pro­jec­tion. Mes­sages describe meet­ings, train­ings, and con­fer­ences with the NSA, CIA, FBI and State Depart­ment. . . . The fund­ing record tells the sto­ry even more pre­cise­ly. . . . Tor was sub­sist­ing almost exclu­sive­ly on gov­ern­ment con­tracts. By 2008, that includ­ed  con­tracts with DARPA, the Navy, the BBG, and the State Depart­ment as well as Stan­ford Research Insti­tute’s Cyber-Threat Ana­lyt­ics pro­gram. . . .” 

Next, we begin chron­i­cling the career of Jacob Appel­baum. A devo­tee of Ayn Rand, he became one of Tor’s most impor­tant employ­ees and pro­mot­ers. “. . . . With­in months of get­ting the job, he assumed the role of offi­cial Tor Project spokesman and began pro­mot­ing Tor as a pow­er­ful weapon against gov­ern­ment oppres­sion. . . . Over the next sev­er­al years, Din­gledine’s reports back to the BBG [read “CIA”–D.E.] were filled with descrip­tions of Appel­baum’s suc­cess­ful out­reach. . . .”

Intro­duc­ing a top­ic to be more ful­ly explored in our next pro­gram, we note Appel­baum’s piv­otal role in the Wik­iLeaks oper­a­tion and his role in the adop­tion of Tor by Wik­iLeaks: ” . . . . Appel­baum decid­ed to attach him­self to the Wik­iLeaks cause. He spent a few weeks with Assange and the orig­i­nal Wik­iLeaks crew in Ice­land as they pre­pared their first major release and helped secure the site’s anony­mous sub­mis­sions sys­tem using Tor’s hid­den ser­vice fea­ture, which hid the phys­i­cal loca­tion of Wik­iLeaks servers and in the­o­ry made them much less sus­cep­ti­ble to sur­veil­lance and attack. From then on, the Wik­iLeaks site proud­ly adver­tised Tor: ‘secure, anony­mous, dis­trib­uted net­work for max­i­mum secu­ri­ty.’ . . . . Appel­baum did his best to be Assange’s right-hand man. He served as the orga­ni­za­tion’s offi­cial Amer­i­can rep­re­sen­ta­tive and bailed the founder of Wik­iLeaks out of tough spots when the heat from US author­i­ties got too hot. Appel­baum became so inter­twined with Wik­iLeaks that appar­ent­ly some staffers talked about him lead­ing the orga­ni­za­tion if some­thing were to hap­pen to Assange. . . . Assange gave Appel­baum and Tor wide cred­it for help­ing Wik­iLeaks. ‘Jake has been a tire­less pro­mot­er behind the scenes of our cause,’ he told a reporter. ‘Tor’s impor­tance to Wik­iLeaks can­not be under­es­ti­mat­ed.’ With those words, Appel­baum and the Tor Project became cen­tral heroes in the Wik­iLeaks saga, right behind Assange. . . .”


Birds of a Feather: The So-Called Internet “Privacy Activists,” the Intelligence Services and Big Tech

Yasha Levine’s recent book “Sur­veil­lance Val­ley” is a MUST READ! Rel­a­tive­ly short and very much to the point, this volume–subtitled “The Secret Mil­i­tary His­to­ry of the Internet”–chronicles the fact that the Inter­net is a weapon, devel­oped as part of the same group of over­lap­ping DARPA/Pentagon projects as Agent Orange. In posts and pro­grams to come, we will more ful­ly devel­op the basic themes set forth in the excerpt recapped in this post: 1 )The Inter­net is a weapon, devel­oped for counter-insur­gency pur­pos­es. 2) Big Tech firms net­work with the very intel­li­gence ser­vices they pub­licly decry. 3) Big Tech firms that data mine their cus­tomers on a near­ly unimag­in­able scale do so as a direct, oper­a­tional exten­sion of the very sur­veil­lance func­tion upon which the Inter­net is pred­i­cat­ed. 4) The tech­nolo­gies tout­ed by the so-called “Pri­va­cy Activists” such as Edward Snow­den and Jacob Apple­baum were devel­oped by the very intel­li­gence ser­vices they are sup­posed to deflect. 5) The tech­nolo­gies tout­ed by the so-called “Pri­va­cy Activists” such as Edward Snow­den and Jacob Applebaum–such as the Tor Inter­net func­tion and the Sig­nal mobile phone app– are read­i­ly acces­si­ble to the very intel­li­gence ser­vices they are sup­posed to deflect. 6) The orga­ni­za­tions that pro­mote the alleged virtues of Snow­den, Apple­baum, Tor, Sig­nal et al are linked to the very intel­li­gence ser­vices they would have us believe they oppose. 7) Big Tech firms embrace “Inter­net Free­dom” as a dis­trac­tion from their own will­ful and all-embrac­ing data min­ing and their ongo­ing con­scious col­lab­o­ra­tion with the very intel­li­gence ser­vices they pub­licly decry.


Agent Orange and the Internet: The Spawn of Project Agile

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 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!


FTR #997 Summoning the Demon, Part 2: Sorcer’s Apprentice

Devel­op­ing analy­sis pre­sent­ed in FTR #968, this broad­cast explores fright­en­ing devel­op­ments and poten­tial devel­op­ments in the world of arti­fi­cial intelligence–the ulti­mate man­i­fes­ta­tion of what Mr. Emory calls “tech­no­crat­ic fas­cism.”

In order to under­score what we mean by tech­no­crat­ic fas­cism, we ref­er­ence a vital­ly impor­tant arti­cle by David Golum­bia. ” . . . . Such tech­no­cratic beliefs are wide­spread in our world today, espe­cially in the enclaves of dig­i­tal enthu­si­asts, whether or not they are part of the giant cor­po­rate-dig­i­tal leviathan. Hack­ers (‘civic,’ ‘eth­i­cal,’ ‘white’ and ‘black’ hat alike), hack­tivists, Wik­iLeaks fans [and Julian Assange et al–D. E.], Anony­mous ‘mem­bers,’ even Edward Snow­den him­self walk hand-in-hand with Face­book and Google in telling us that coders don’t just have good things to con­tribute to the polit­i­cal world, but that the polit­i­cal world is theirs to do with what they want, and the rest of us should stay out of it: the polit­i­cal world is bro­ken, they appear to think (right­ly, at least in part), and the solu­tion to that, they think (wrong­ly, at least for the most part), is for pro­gram­mers to take polit­i­cal mat­ters into their own hands. . . . [Tor co-cre­ator] Din­gle­dine  asserts that a small group of soft­ware devel­op­ers can assign to them­selves that role, and that mem­bers of demo­c­ra­tic poli­ties have no choice but to accept them hav­ing that role. . . .”

Per­haps the last and most per­ilous man­i­fes­ta­tion of tech­no­crat­ic fas­cism con­cerns Antho­ny  Levandows­ki, an engi­neer at the foun­da­tion of the devel­op­ment of Google Street Map tech­nol­o­gy and self-dri­ving cars. He is propos­ing an AI God­head that would rule the world and would be wor­shipped as a God by the plan­et’s cit­i­zens. Insight into his per­son­al­i­ty was pro­vid­ed by an asso­ciate: “ . . . . ‘He had this very weird moti­va­tion about robots tak­ing over the world—like actu­al­ly tak­ing over, in a mil­i­tary sense…It was like [he want­ed] to be able to con­trol the world, and robots were the way to do that. He talked about start­ing a new coun­try on an island. Pret­ty wild and creepy stuff. And the biggest thing is that he’s always got a secret plan, and you’re not going to know about it’. . . .”

As we saw in FTR #968, AI’s have incor­po­rat­ed many flaws of their cre­ators, augur­ing very poor­ly for the sub­jects of Levandowski’s AI God­head.

It is also inter­est­ing to con­tem­plate what may hap­pen when AI’s are designed by oth­er AI’s- machines design­ing oth­er machines.

After a detailed review of some of the omi­nous real and devel­op­ing AI-relat­ed tech­nol­o­gy, the pro­gram high­lights Antho­ny Levandows­ki, the bril­liant engi­neer who was instru­men­tal in devel­op­ing Google’s Street Maps, Way­mo’s self-dri­ving cars, Otto’s self-dri­ving trucks, the Lidar tech­nol­o­gy cen­tral to self-dri­ving vehi­cles and the Way of the Future, super AI God­head.

Fur­ther insight into Levandowski’s per­son­al­i­ty can be gleaned from e‑mails with Travis Kalan­ick, for­mer CEO of Uber: ” . . . . In Kalan­ick, Levandows­ki found both a soul­mate and a men­tor to replace Sebas­t­ian Thrun. Text mes­sages between the two, dis­closed dur­ing the lawsuit’s dis­cov­ery process, cap­ture Levandows­ki teach­ing Kalan­ick about lidar at late night tech ses­sions, while Kalan­ick shared advice on man­age­ment. ‘Down to hang out this eve and mas­ter­mind some shit,’ texted Kalan­ick, short­ly after the acqui­si­tion. ‘We’re going to take over the world. One robot at a time,’ wrote Levandows­ki anoth­er time. . . .”

Those who view self-dri­ving cars and oth­er AI-based tech­nolo­gies as flaw­less would do well to con­sid­er the fol­low­ing: ” . . . .Last Decem­ber, Uber launched a pilot self-dri­ving taxi pro­gram in San Fran­cis­co. As with Otto in Neva­da, Levandows­ki failed to get a license to oper­ate the high-tech vehi­cles, claim­ing that because the cars need­ed a human over­see­ing them, they were not tru­ly autonomous. The DMV dis­agreed and revoked the vehi­cles’ licens­es. Even so, dur­ing the week the cars were on the city’s streets, they had been spot­ted run­ning red lights on numer­ous occa­sions. . . . .”

Not­ing Levandowski’s per­son­al­i­ty quirks, the arti­cle pos­es a fun­da­men­tal ques­tion: ” . . . . But even the smartest car will crack up if you floor the gas ped­al too long. Once fet­ed by bil­lion­aires, Levandows­ki now finds him­self star­ring in a high-stakes pub­lic tri­al as his two for­mer employ­ers square off. By exten­sion, the whole tech­nol­o­gy indus­try is there in the dock with Levandows­ki. Can we ever trust self-dri­ving cars if it turns out we can’t trust the peo­ple who are mak­ing them? . . . .”

Levandowski’s Otto self-dri­ving trucks might be weighed against the prog­nos­ti­ca­tions of dark horse Pres­i­den­tial can­di­date and for­mer tech exec­u­tive Andrew Wang: “. . . . ‘All you need is self-dri­ving cars to desta­bi­lize soci­ety,’ Mr. Yang said over lunch at a Thai restau­rant in Man­hat­tan last month, in his first inter­view about his cam­paign. In just  a few years, he said, ‘we’re going to have a mil­lion truck dri­vers out of work who are 94 per­cent male, with an  aver­age  lev­el of edu­ca­tion of high school or one year of col­lege.’ ‘That one inno­va­tion,’ he added, ‘will be enough to cre­ate riots in the street. And we’re about to do the  same thing to retail work­ers, call cen­ter work­ers, fast-food work­ers, insur­ance com­pa­nies, account­ing firms.’ . . . .”

The­o­ret­i­cal physi­cist Stephen Hawk­ing warned at the end of 2014 of the poten­tial dan­ger to human­i­ty posed by the growth of AI (arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence) tech­nol­o­gy. His warn­ings have been echoed by tech titans such as Tes­la’s Elon Musk and Bill Gates.

The pro­gram con­cludes with Mr. Emory’s prog­nos­ti­ca­tions about AI, pre­ced­ing Stephen Hawk­ing’s warn­ing by twen­ty years.

Pro­gram High­lights Include:

1.-Levandowski’s appar­ent shep­herd­ing of a com­pa­ny called–perhaps significantly–Odin Wave to uti­lize Lidar-like tech­nol­o­gy.
2.-The role of DARPA in ini­ti­at­ing the self-dri­ving vehi­cles con­test that was Levandowski’s point of entry into his tech ven­tures.
3.-Levandowski’s devel­op­ment of the Ghostrid­er self-dri­ving motor­cy­cles, which expe­ri­enced 800 crash­es in 1,000 miles.


FTR #996 Civilization’s Twilight: Update on Technocratic Fascism

Updat­ing our ongo­ing analy­sis of what Mr. Emory calls “tech­no­crat­ic fas­cism,” we exam­ine how exist­ing tech­nolo­gies are neu­tral­iz­ing and/or ren­der­ing obso­lete foun­da­tion­al ele­ments of our civ­i­liza­tion and demo­c­ra­t­ic gov­ern­men­tal sys­tems.

We begin our descrip­tion by ref­er­enc­ing a vital­ly impor­tant arti­cle by David Golum­bia. ” . . . . Such tech­no­cratic beliefs are wide­spread in our world today, espe­cially in the enclaves of dig­i­tal enthu­si­asts, whether or not they are part of the giant cor­po­rate-dig­i­tal leviathan. Hack­ers (‘civic,’ ‘eth­i­cal,’ ‘white’ and ‘black’ hat alike), hack­tivists, Wik­iLeaks fans [and Julian Assange et al–D. E.], Anony­mous ‘mem­bers,’ even Edward Snow­den him­self walk hand-in-hand with Face­book and Google in telling us that coders don’t just have good things to con­tribute to the polit­i­cal world, but that the polit­i­cal world is theirs to do with what they want, and the rest of us should stay out of it: the polit­i­cal world is bro­ken, they appear to think (right­ly, at least in part), and the solu­tion to that, they think (wrong­ly, at least for the most part), is for pro­gram­mers to take polit­i­cal mat­ters into their own hands. . . . [Tor co-cre­ator] Din­gle­dine  asserts that a small group of soft­ware devel­op­ers can assign to them­selves that role, and that mem­bers of demo­c­ra­tic poli­ties have no choice but to accept them hav­ing that role. . . .”

Begin­ning with a chill­ing opin­ion piece in “The New York Times,” we note that tech­no­log­i­cal devel­op­ment threat­ens to super-charge the Big Lies that dri­ve our world. As any­one who saw the file Star Wars film “Rogue One” knows, the tech­nol­o­gy required to cre­ate a near­ly life-like com­put­er-gen­er­at­ed videos of a real per­son is already a real­i­ty. Once the province of movie stu­dios and oth­er firms with mil­lions to spend, the tech­nol­o­gy is now avail­able for down­load for free.

” . . . . In 2016 Gareth Edwards, the direc­tor of the Star Wars film ‘Rogue One,’ was able to cre­ate a scene fea­tur­ing a young Princess Leia by manip­u­lat­ing images of Car­rie Fish­er as she looked in 1977. Mr. Edwards had the best hard­ware and soft­ware a $200 mil­lion Hol­ly­wood bud­get could buy. Less than two years lat­er, images of sim­i­lar qual­i­ty can be cre­at­ed with soft­ware avail­able for free down­load on Red­dit. That was how a faked video sup­pos­ed­ly of the actress Emma Wat­son in a show­er with anoth­er woman end­ed up on the web­site Celeb Jihad. . . .”

The tech­nol­o­gy has already ren­dered obso­lete selec­tive edit­ing such as that per­formed by James O’Keefe: ” . . . . as the nov­el­ist William Gib­son once said, ‘The street finds its own uses for things.’ So do rogue polit­i­cal actors. The impli­ca­tions for democ­ra­cy are eye-open­ing. The con­ser­v­a­tive polit­i­cal activist James O’Keefe has cre­at­ed a cot­tage indus­try manip­u­lat­ing polit­i­cal per­cep­tions by edit­ing footage in mis­lead­ing ways. In 2018, low-tech edit­ing like Mr. O’Keefe’s is already an anachro­nism: Imag­ine what even less scrupu­lous activists could do with the pow­er to cre­ate ‘video’ fram­ing real peo­ple for things they’ve nev­er actu­al­ly done. One har­row­ing poten­tial even­tu­al­i­ty: Fake video and audio may become so con­vinc­ing that it can’t be dis­tin­guished from real record­ings, ren­der­ing audio and video evi­dence inad­mis­si­ble in court. . . .”

After high­light­ing a sto­ry about AI-gen­er­at­ed “deep­fake” pornog­ra­phy with peo­ple’s faces super­im­posed on oth­ers’ bod­ies in porno­graph­ic lay­outs, we note how robots have altered our polit­i­cal and com­mer­cial land­scapes, through cyber tech­nol­o­gy: ” . . . . Robots are get­ting bet­ter, every day, at imper­son­at­ing humans. When direct­ed by oppor­tunists, male­fac­tors and some­times even nation-states, they pose a par­tic­u­lar threat to demo­c­ra­t­ic soci­eties, which are premised on being open to the peo­ple. Robots pos­ing as peo­ple have become a men­ace. . . . In com­ing years, cam­paign finance lim­its will be (and maybe already are) evad­ed by robot armies pos­ing as ‘small’ donors. And actu­al vot­ing is anoth­er obvi­ous tar­get — per­haps the ulti­mate tar­get. . . .”

Before the actu­al replace­ment of man­u­al labor by robots, devices to tech­no­crat­i­cal­ly “improve”–read “coer­cive­ly engi­neer” work­ers are patent­ed by Ama­zon and have been used on work­ers in some of their facil­i­ties. ” . . . . What if your employ­er made you wear a wrist­band that tracked your every move, and that even nudged you via vibra­tions when it judged that you were doing some­thing wrong? What if your super­vi­sor could iden­ti­fy every time you paused to scratch or fid­get, and for how long you took a bath­room break? What may sound like dystopi­an fic­tion could become a real­i­ty for Ama­zon ware­house work­ers around the world. The com­pa­ny has won two patents for such a wrist­band. . . .”

For some U.K Ama­zon ware­house work­ers, the future is now: ” . . . . Max Craw­ford, a for­mer Ama­zon ware­house work­er in Britain, said in a phone inter­view, ‘After a year work­ing on the floor, I felt like I had become a ver­sion of the robots I was work­ing with.’ He described hav­ing to process hun­dreds of items in an hour — a pace so extreme that one day, he said, he fell over from dizzi­ness. ‘There was no time to go to the loo,’ he said, using the British slang for toi­let. ‘You had to process the items in sec­onds and then move on. If you didn’t meet tar­gets, you were fired.’

“He worked back and forth at two Ama­zon ware­hous­es for more than two years and then quit in 2015 because of health con­cerns, he said: ‘I got burned out.’ Mr. Craw­ford agreed that the wrist­bands might save some time and labor, but he said the track­ing was ‘stalk­er­ish’ and feared that work­ers might be unfair­ly scru­ti­nized if their hands were found to be ‘in the wrong place at the wrong time.’ ‘They want to turn peo­ple into machines,’ he said. ‘The robot­ic tech­nol­o­gy isn’t up to scratch yet, so until it is, they will use human robots.’ . . . .”

Some tech work­ers, well placed at R & D pace­set­ters and giants such as Face­book and Google have done an about-face on the  impact of their ear­li­er efforts and are now strug­gling against the mis­use of the tech­nolo­gies they helped to launch:

” . . . . A group of Sil­i­con Val­ley tech­nol­o­gists who were ear­ly employ­ees at Face­book and Google, alarmed over the ill effects of social net­works and smart­phones, are band­ing togeth­er to chal­lenge the com­pa­nies they helped build. . . . ‘The largest super­com­put­ers in the world are inside of two com­pa­nies — Google and Face­book — and where are we point­ing them?’ Mr. [Tris­tan] Har­ris said. ‘We’re point­ing them at people’s brains, at chil­dren.’ . . . . Mr. [RogerM­c­Namee] said he had joined the Cen­ter for Humane Tech­nol­o­gy because he was hor­ri­fied by what he had helped enable as an ear­ly Face­book investor. ‘Face­book appeals to your lizard brain — pri­mar­i­ly fear and anger,’ he said. ‘And with smart­phones, they’ve got you for every wak­ing moment.’ . . . .”

Tran­si­tion­ing to our next program–updating AI (arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence) tech­nol­o­gy as it applies to tech­no­crat­ic fascism–we note that AI machines are being designed to devel­op oth­er AI’s–“The Rise of the Machine.” ” . . . . Jeff Dean, one of Google’s lead­ing engi­neers, spot­light­ed a Google project called AutoML. ML is short for machine learn­ing, refer­ring to com­put­er algo­rithms that can learn to per­form par­tic­u­lar tasks on their own by ana­lyz­ing data. AutoML, in turn, is a machine learn­ing algo­rithm that learns to build oth­er machine-learn­ing algo­rithms. With it, Google may soon find a way to cre­ate A.I. tech­nol­o­gy that can part­ly take the humans out of build­ing the A.I. sys­tems that many believe are the future of the tech­nol­o­gy indus­try. . . .”