Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.
The tag 'Julian Assange' is associated with 78 posts.

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. . . .”

Peter Thiel’s Political/Philosophical Influences: ” . . . Carl Schmitt . . . a Nazi and the Third Reich’s Preeminent Legal Theorist. . . “

Trump may be appointing Peter Thiel as head of his President’s Intelligence Advisory Board. Thiel is heavily influenced by Carl Schmitt, (on the right in the photograph) “. . . . a Nazi and the Third Reich’s preeminent legal theorist. For Thiel, Schmitt is an inspiring throwback to a pre-Enlightenment age, who exalts struggle and insists that the discovery of enemies is the foundation of politics. . .” We have been warning about Thiel since July of 2010. All of the contents of this website as of 12/19/2014–Dave Emory’s 37+ 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.

The #MeToo Movement Missed This One: “You Fucking Communist Cunt, Get Out of Here!” (Richard Mellon Scaife’s Directive to a “Columbia Journalism Review” Reporter, Related by Al Franken)

Even before becoming a Senator, Al Franken would have been a target for the far right/GOP, having surfaced details such as the stridently misogynistic assault by GOP financial kingpin Richard Mellon Scaife: “You fucking Communist cunt, get out of here,” he said to Karen Rothmyer of the ‘Columbia Journalism Review.’ He went on to tell her that she was ugly and that her teeth were ‘terrible.’ Of Ms. Rothmyer’s mother, who was not present, he said, ‘She’s ugly, too.’ Sensing that it was time to wrap up the interview, Ms. Rothmyer thanked Scaife for his time. He bade her farewell with a cheery ‘Don’t look behind you.’ . . . .” Leeann Tweeden worked for GOP/right-wing echo chamber Fox News [sports] for years, in addition to modeling for Playboy. Franken’s downfall was signaled by long-time GOP and Donald Trump dirty trickster Roger Stone. John Conyers was a leading Congressional critic of the Nazi Azov Battalion. Conyers’ downfall was signaled by “Alt-Right” luminary Mike Cernovich.

Nazis Cash in With Bitcoin

After encountering problems advancing more conventional fund-raising methods, Nazi groups are prospering due to successful mining of Bitcoin. The most successful Nazi miner of Bitcoin is Andrew “Weev” Auerenheimer: ” . . . . One neo-Nazi stands above the rest in his bitcoin usage: Andrew ‘weev’ Auernheimer, who’s received over $1 million in bitcoin, according to one report. Even though Auernheimer has withdrawn roughly $118,620 from his bitcoin wallet between late August and Wednesday, his remaining bitcoin store has been replenishing his wealth throughout the recent bitcoin boom. . . .” It is not surprising that Bitcoin should become a source of Nazi wealth, since its foundations are as far to the right as can be.

FTR #984 Fascism: 2017 European Tour

We begin our tour by examining overtly fascist elements in the governing Bulgarian coalition of Boyko Borisov, evocative of Bulgaria’s past as an ally of Nazi Germany in World War II. ” . . . May 17, Pavel Tenev, Minister of Regional Development, at the time, was forced to resign, after publication of a photo, showing him with his right arm extended in a Nazi salute, standing in front of a wax figure of a Nazi officer in Paris’ Musée Grévin. May 19, another photo was published on the internet, showing the freshly appointed department director in the Ministry of Defense, Ivo Antonov, also giving the Nazi salute in front of a Second World War tank of the Wehrmacht. . . .”

Other coalition partners have made disparaging remarks about Roma (“gypsies”) and Jews. Worth noting that Borisov’s selection of coalition partners: ” . . . .Following the recent March 26, parliamentary elections, Borisov, the winner of the elections (his GERB with 32.7 percent), did not begin negotiations for a government coalition with the Bulgarian Socialist Party (27.2 percent) or with the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (9 percent) representing the Turkish-speaking minority, but rather with the United Patriots (9.1 percent). The United Patriots is an alliance of three extreme right-wing parties. . . .”

In recent weeks, the struggle over the potential secession of Catalonia from Spain has garnered considerable attention

That struggle is framed against a larger political dynamic embracing advocacy of the elimination of formal national borders in Europe in favor of “regionalist plans.” Just such regionalist advocacy was the focal point of a prominent article (with accompanying maps of the projected realignment) in Die Zeit, a major German weekly.

Regionalist advocacy has a significant past, with the early postwar CIA and Allen Dulles having embraced such a dynamic. ” . . . . the federalists had initially been supported and controlled by the CIA predecessor, the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) and [one of its top spies] Alan Dulles, residing in Bern, and later by the CIA itself. . . .”

In addition, the regionalist dyanamic enjoyed the support of long-time German finance minister Wolfgang Schauble, whose advocacy and implementation of brutal fiscal austerity helped beggar much of the EU, including Spain, following the financial crisis of 2008. ” . . . . Wolfgang Schäuble, as President of the Association of European Border Regions (AEBR) in the early 1980’s, was also promoting regionalist plans. Inspired by former Nazi functionaries, the AEBR criticized the ‘nation-state’s barrier effect’ of borders in the interests of large corporations. . . . Former Nazi functionaries were actively participating both on the AEBR’s committees and in the immediate entourage of its planning of the ‘regionalization’ of the border regions, including Gerd Jans, the former member of the Waffen SS in the Netherlands, Konrad Meyer, responsible for the Nazi’s ‘Generalplan Ost,’ Hermann Josef Abs, of the Deutsche Bank, as well as Alfred Toepfer, described by the publicist Hans-Rüdiger Minow as ‘infamous for his border subversion of France’s Alsace.’ In an extensive study, Minow describes the continuities of the Nazi’s concepts. . . .”

Despite an initial impression of “regionalism” that many might see as alien, The Schauble/AEBR/regionalism dyanmic ideology may be seen as something of a subsidiary element of globalization. ” . . . .  .In 1979, Schäuble became president of the Association of European Border Regions (AEBR), an organization with the objective of downgrading the significance of borders in Europe. Business interests played an important role, which is why the AEBR could find reliable supporters in industry. A ‘European Charter on Border and Cross-Border Regions,’ passed by the AEBR in 1981, stipulated that the ‘elimination of economic and infrastructural barriers’ must urgently be pursued. . . .”

The implementation of regionalization would facilitate German domination of Europe, which has met resistance from poorer EU and EMU countries over the austerity doctrine favored by Wolfgang Schauble. ” . . . . Economic maps by the EU’s Eurostat statistics administration show the regions where Europe’s wealth and, therefore, Europe’s economic power is concentrated, a block with its centers in southern and central Germany, to the west, in Flanders and spreading to segments of the Netherlands, and to the South to parts of Austria and Northern Italy and in various separate regions of Western and Northern Europe. A number of these regions maintain close relations to Germany, or to the German regions. (german-foreign-policy.com reported.[11]) This clearly German-dominated block would hardly have any difficulty controlling a ‘Europe of the Regions.’ . . . .”

Also worth noting is the fact that the Catalonian independence movement embraces a Catalonian identity that involves people from France, as well as Spain: ” . . . . The Catalan movement currently pushing for secession is in fact largely defining itself ethnically. The autonomous movement has been closely cooperating with French citizens, who live outside the Spanish region of Catalonia, but also consider themselves ‘ethnic Catalans.’ At their rallies one can hear ‘Neither France nor Spain! Only one country, Catalonia!’ . . . .”

The two Twitter accounts that appear to account for nearly a third of all Twitter traffic with the #Catalonia hashtag, in reference to the Catalonian secession movement belong to Julian Assange and Edward Snowden.

 Of more  than passing interest, under the circumstances, is the Twitter effort by both Julian Assange and Edward Snowden on behalf of Catalonian independence.

 As seen in many past programs and posts, Snowden and Assange are as far to the right as it is possible to be.

 Their cyberlibertarian activism and their support for Catalonian independence is rooted in anarcho-libertarian economic theory. Seeing the dissolution of national governments as desirable, their support for the principle of secession is rooted in what Mussolini termed “corporatism.”

 Snowden and Assange’s ostensibly “liberating” doctrines, if put into effect, would leave citizenry  at the mercy of unfettered economic will, exercised by corporations and their associated elites.

Snowden specifically appears to be advocating that no secession movement anywhere ever can be rejected by the government under the premise that self-determination is a human right, viewing this as a “natural law” issue.

In that context, the right to secede is championed by the Libertarian far-right, all the way down to the right to individuals to secede from all government. As this piece from Libertarian David S. D’Amato demonstrates, extending the right to secede down to the individual facilitates the implementation of an anarcho-capitalist society with no government at all, as seen by figures like Murray Rothbard. This is envisioned as an excellent wayof achieving an anarcho-capitalist utopia.

The Snowden/Assange pro-secessionist movement should also be seen against the background of the Neo-Confederate movement, championed by Ron Paul and the Ludwig Von Mises Institute.

 Following capture of 13 percent of the vote in Germany’s federal elections on Sunday by the Alternative For Germany (AfD), Alexander Gauland, the AfD leader, provoked outrage after suggesting that Germans should no longer be reproached with the Nazi past.

This type of behavior apparently motivated AfD leader Frauke Petry to leave the party, just hours after the election over its extremism.

Program Highlights Include:

1.-Review of Dorothy Thompson’s 1941 article about what a Nazi victory in Europe would look like–a scenario that bears considerable resemblance to the regionalization plan discussed above.
2.-Discussion of the potential fortunes of Austria’s Freedom Party, formed in 1956 as a vehicle for the re-introduction of Austrian Third Reich alumni into that nation’s political process.