Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.
The tag 'NSA' is associated with 91 posts.

FTR #1110 Miscellaneous Articles and Updates

As the title indi­cates, this pro­gram presents a pot­pour­ri of arti­cles cov­er­ing a num­ber of top­ics.

A com­mon thread unit­ing them is the ongo­ing New Cold War and ele­ments fac­tor­ing in the impeach­ment pro­ceed­ings under­way in Wash­ing­ton. 

Reput­ed evi­dence of a new “hack” alleged­ly done by the G.R.U. does­n’t pass the sniffs test. 

Fac­tors to be weighed in con­nec­tion with the lat­est “hack” of the Ukrain­ian nat­ur­al gas com­pa­ny Buris­ma (on whose board Hunter Biden sits–a fact that has been a focal point of the impeach­ment pro­ceed­ings):

1.–Blake Darche, co-founder and Chief Secu­ri­ty offi­cer of Area 1, the firm that “detect­ed” the lat­est “hack” has a strong past asso­ci­a­tion with Crowd­Strike, the firm that helped launch the New Cold War pro­pa­gan­da blitz about sup­posed Russ­ian hacks. Darche was a Prin­ci­pal Con­sul­tant at Crowd­Strike.
2.–CrowdStrike, in turn, has strong links to the Atlantic Coun­cil, one of the think tanks that is part and par­cel to the Inter­mar­i­um Con­ti­nu­ity dis­cussed in FTR #‘s 1098, 1099, 1100, 1101. Dmitri Alper­ovitch, the com­pa­ny’s co-founder and Chief Tech­nol­o­gy Offi­cer is a senior fel­low at the Atlantic Coun­cil.
3.–An iron­ic ele­ment of the “analy­sis” of the hacks attrib­ut­es the acts to “Fan­cy Bear” and the G.R.U., based on alleged lazi­ness on the part of the alleged per­pe­tra­tors of the phish­ing attack. (Phish­ing attacks are very easy for a skilled actor to car­ry out in rel­a­tive anonymi­ty.) Area 1’s con­clu­sion is based on “pat­tern recog­ni­tion,” which is the embod­i­ment of lazi­ness. We are to believe that the G.R.U./Fancy Bear alleged perp used a “cook­ie cut­ter” approach.

As we have not­ed in many pre­vi­ous broad­casts and posts, cyber attacks are eas­i­ly dis­guised. Per­pe­trat­ing a “cyber false flag” oper­a­tion is dis­turbing­ly easy to do. In a world where the ver­i­fi­ably false and phys­i­cal­ly impos­si­ble “con­trolled demolition”/Truther non­sense has gained trac­tion, cyber false flag ops are all the more threat­en­ing and sin­is­ter.

Now, we learn that the CIA’s hack­ing tools are specif­i­cal­ly craft­ed to mask CIA author­ship of the attacks. Most sig­nif­i­cant­ly, for our pur­pos­es, is the fact that the Agen­cy’s hack­ing tools are engi­neered in such a way as to per­mit the authors of the event to rep­re­sent them­selves as Russ­ian.

” . . . . These tools could make it more dif­fi­cult for anti-virus com­pa­nies and foren­sic inves­ti­ga­tors to attribute hacks to the CIA. Could this call the source of pre­vi­ous hacks into ques­tion? It appears that yes, this might be used to dis­guise the CIA’s own hacks to appear as if they were Russ­ian, Chi­nese, or from spe­cif­ic oth­er coun­tries. . . . This might allow a mal­ware cre­ator to not only look like they were speak­ing in Russ­ian or Chi­nese, rather than in Eng­lish, but to also look like they tried to hide that they were not speak­ing Eng­lish . . . .”

This is of para­mount sig­nif­i­cance in eval­u­at­ing the increas­ing­ly neo-McCarthyite New Cold War pro­pa­gan­da about “Russ­ian inter­fer­ence” in the U.S. elec­tion, and Russ­ian author­ship of the high-pro­file hacks.

With Buris­ma at the cen­ter of the impeach­ment pro­ceed­ings in Wash­ing­ton, we note some inter­est­ing rela­tion­ships involv­ing Buris­ma and its board of direc­tors, on which Hunter Biden sits.

Some of the con­sid­er­a­tions to be weighed in that con­text

1.–Burisma formed a pro­fes­sion­al rela­tion­ship with the Atlantic Coun­cil in 2017: ” . . . . In 2017, Buris­ma announced that it faced no active pros­e­cu­tion cas­es, then formed a part­ner­ship with the Atlantic Coun­cil, a US think-tank active in pro­mot­ing anti-cor­rup­tion efforts in Ukraine. Buris­ma donat­ed between $100,000 and $250,000 to the Atlantic Coun­cil last year . . . .  Kari­na Zlochevs­ka, Mr. [Buris­ma founder Myko­la] Zlochevsky’s daugh­ter, attend­ed an Atlantic Coun­cil round­table on pro­mot­ing best busi­ness prac­tices as recent­ly as last week. . . .”
2.–The firm had on its board of Buris­ma of both Alek­sander Kwas­niews­ki and Cofer Black. ” . . . .When pros­e­cu­tors began inves­ti­gat­ing Burisma’s licens­es over self-deal­ing alle­ga­tions, Mr Zlochevsky stacked its board with West­ern lumi­nar­ies. . . .  they includ­ed for­mer Pol­ish pres­i­dent Alek­sander Kwas­niews­ki, who had vis­it­ed Ukraine dozens of times as an EU envoy, and  . . . .  ex-Black­wa­ter direc­tor Cofer Black. In Mona­co, where he report­ed­ly lives, Mr Zlochevsky joint­ly organ­is­es an annu­al ener­gy con­fer­ence with Mr Kwasniewski’s foun­da­tion. . . . ”
3.–Kwasniewski was not only the EU’s envoy seek­ing ful­fill­ment of the EU asso­ci­a­tion agree­ment, but a key mem­ber of Paul Man­afort’s Haps­burg Group. The evi­dence about Man­afort work­ing with that assem­blage to maneu­ver Ukraine into the West­ern orbit is exten­sive. Some of the rel­e­vant pro­grams are: FTR #‘s 1008, 1009 (back­ground about the deep pol­i­tics sur­round­ing the Hapsburg–U.S. intel­li­gence alliance) and 1022.That the actu­al Maid­an Coup itself was sparked by a provo­ca­tion fea­tur­ing the lethal snip­ing by OUN/B suc­ces­sor ele­ments is per­sua­sive. Some of the rel­e­vant pro­grams are: FTR #‘s 982, 1023, 1024.
4.–Kwasniewski’s foun­da­tion’s annu­al ener­gy con­fer­ences bring to mind the Three Seas Ini­tia­tive and the cen­tral role of ener­gy in it. The TSI and the role of ener­gy in same is high­light­ed in the arti­cle at the core of FTR #‘s 1098–1101. In this con­text, note the role of the Atlantic Coun­cil in the TSI and its ener­gy com­po­nent, along with the part­ner­ship between Buris­ma and the Atlantic Coun­cil. The TSI and its ener­gy com­po­nent, in turn, are a fun­da­men­tal ele­ment of the Inter­mar­i­um Con­ti­nu­ity, the mil­i­tary com­po­nent of which is now being cement­ed in the Impeach­ment Cir­cus: ” . . . . Under the men­tor­ship of Jarosław Kaczyńs­ki, the new Pol­ish pres­i­dent, Andrzej Duda, elect­ed in 2015, relaunched the idea of a Baltic-Black Sea alliance on the eve of his inau­gu­ra­tion under the label of ‘Three Seas Ini­tia­tive’ (TSI). Orig­i­nal­ly, the project grew out of a debate sparked by a report co-pub­lished by the Atlantic Coun­cil and the EU ener­gy lob­by group Cen­tral Europe Ener­gy Part­ners (CEEP) with the goal of pro­mot­ing big Cen­tral Euro­pean com­pa­nies’ inter­ests in the EU.[116] The report, enti­tled Com­plet­ing Europe—From the North-South Cor­ri­dor to Ener­gy, Trans­porta­tion, and Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions Union, was co-edit­ed by Gen­er­al James L. Jones, Jr., for­mer Supreme Allied Com­man­der of NATO, U.S. Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Advi­sor, and chair­man of the Atlantic Coun­cil, and Pawel Olech­now­icz, CEO of the Pol­ish oil and gas giant Gru­pa Lotos.[117] It ‘called for the accel­er­at­ed con­struc­tion of a North-South Cor­ri­dor of ener­gy, trans­porta­tion, and com­mu­ni­ca­tions links stretch­ing from the Baltic Sea to the Adri­at­ic and Black Seas,’ which at the time was still referred to as the ‘Adri­at­ic-Baltic-Black Sea Initiative.’[118] The report was pre­sent­ed in Brus­sels in March 2015, where, accord­ing to Fred­er­ick Kempe, pres­i­dent and CEO of the Atlantic Coun­cil, it ‘gen­er­at­ed a huge amount of excite­ment.’ . . . .”
The pres­ence on the Buris­ma board of Cofer Black “ex”-CIA and the for­mer direc­tor of Erik Prince’s Black­wa­ter out­fit is VERY impor­tant. Erik Prince is the broth­er of Trump Edu­ca­tion Sec­re­tary Bet­sy De Vos and the busi­ness part­ner of John­son Cho Kun Sun, the Hong Kong-based oli­garch who sits on the board of Emer­da­ta, the rein­car­nat­ed Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca. Both Cofer Black and Alek­sander Kwas­niews­ki are in a posi­tion to pro­vide detailed intel­li­gence about the oper­a­tions of Buris­ma, includ­ing any data that the sup­posed “Russ­ian hack” might reveal.

With the impeach­ment pro­ceed­ings now head­ing toward their most prob­a­ble conclusion–Trump’s acquit­tal– and with the inces­sant bab­ble about the non-exis­tent “Russ­ian inter­fer­ence” in the U.S. elec­tion, it is worth con­tem­plat­ing Amer­i­can inter­fer­ence in Russ­ian pol­i­tics.

Against the back­ground of decades of Amer­i­can-backed and/or ini­ti­at­ed coups over­throw­ing gov­ern­ments around the world, we high­light U.S. sup­port for Boris Yeltsin. Fol­low­ing the NED’s ele­va­tion of Nazi-allied fas­cists in Lithua­nia and the expan­sion of that Gehlen/CFF/GOP milieu inside the for­mer Sovi­et Union cour­tesy of the Free Con­gress Foun­da­tion, the U.S. hoist­ed Yeltsin into the dri­ver’s seat of the new­ly-mint­ed Rus­sia. (One should nev­er for­get that Jef­frey Sachs, a key eco­nom­ic advis­er to Bernie Sanders and Alexan­dria Oca­sio-Cortez head­ed the team that sent the Russ­ian econ­o­my back to the stone age.)

Key points of con­sid­er­a­tion:

1.–” . . . . . . . . In late 1991, after the fall of the Sovi­et Union, Boris Yeltsin won a year of spe­cial pow­ers from the Russ­ian Par­lia­ment: for one year, he was to be, in effect, the dic­ta­tor of Rus­sia to facil­i­tate the mid­wifery of the birth of a demo­c­ra­t­ic Rus­sia. In March of 1992, under pres­sure from a dis­con­tent­ed pop­u­la­tion, par­lia­ment repealed the dic­ta­to­r­i­al pow­ers it had grant­ed him. Yeltsin respond­ed by declar­ing a state of emer­gency, giv­ing him­self the repealed dic­ta­to­r­i­al pow­ers. Russia’s Con­sti­tu­tion­al Court ruled that Yeltsin was act­ing out­side the con­sti­tu­tion. But the US sided – against the Russ­ian peo­ple and against the Russ­ian Con­sti­tu­tion­al Court – with Yeltsin. . . .”
2.–” . . . . Yeltsin dis­solved the par­lia­ment that had rescind­ed his pow­ers and abol­ished the con­sti­tu­tion of which he was in vio­la­tion. In a 636–2 vote, the Russ­ian par­lia­ment impeached Yeltsin. But Pres­i­dent Bill Clin­ton again sided with Yeltsin against the Russ­ian peo­ple and Russ­ian law, giv­ing him $2.5 bil­lion in aid. . . .”
3.–” . . . . Yeltsin took the mon­ey and sent police offi­cers and elite para­troop­ers to sur­round the par­lia­ment build­ing. Clin­ton ‘praised the Russ­ian Pres­i­dent has (sic) hav­ing done ‘quite well’ in man­ag­ing the stand­off with the Russ­ian Par­lia­ment,’ as The New York Times report­ed at the time. Clin­ton added that he thought ‘the Unit­ed States and the free world ought to hang in there’ with their sup­port of Yeltsin against his peo­ple, their con­sti­tu­tion and their courts, and judged Yeltsin to be ‘on the right side of his­to­ry.’ . . .”
4.–” . . . . On the right side of his­to­ry and armed with machine guns, Yeltsin’s troops opened fire on the crowd of pro­test­ers, killing about 100 peo­ple before set­ting the Russ­ian par­lia­ment build­ing on fire. By the time the day was over, Yeltsin’s troops had killed an uncon­firmed 500 peo­ple and wound­ed near­ly 1,000. Still, Clin­ton stood with Yeltsin. . . .”
5.–” . . . . In 1996, Amer­i­ca would inter­fere yet again. With elec­tions loom­ing, Yeltsin’s pop­u­lar­i­ty was nonex­is­tent, and his approval rat­ing was at about 6 per­cent. Accord­ing to Pro­fes­sor Emer­i­tus of Russ­ian Stud­ies at Prince­ton, Stephen Cohen, Clinton’s inter­fer­ence in Russ­ian pol­i­tics, his ‘cru­sade’ to ‘reform Rus­sia,’ had by now become offi­cial pol­i­cy. And, so, Amer­i­ca bold­ly inter­fered direct­ly in Russ­ian elec­tions. Three Amer­i­can polit­i­cal con­sul­tants, receiv­ing ‘direct assis­tance from Bill Clinton’s White House,’ secret­ly ran Yeltsin’s re-elec­tion cam­paign. As Time mag­a­zine broke the sto­ry, ‘For four months, a group of Amer­i­can polit­i­cal con­sul­tants clan­des­tine­ly par­tic­i­pat­ed in guid­ing Yeltsin’s cam­paign.’ ‘Fund­ed by the U.S. gov­ern­ment,’ Cohen reports, Amer­i­cans ‘gave mon­ey to favored Russ­ian politi­cians, instruct­ed min­is­ters, draft­ed leg­is­la­tion and pres­i­den­tial decrees, under­wrote text­books, and served at Yeltsin’s reelec­tion head­quar­ters in 1996.’ . . . .”
6.–” . . . . Then ambas­sador to Rus­sia Thomas Pick­er­ing even pres­sured an oppos­ing can­di­date to drop out of the elec­tion to improve Yeltsin’s odds of win­ning. . . .”
7.–” . . . . The US not only helped run Yeltsin’s cam­paign, they helped pay for it. The US backed a $10.2 bil­lion Inter­na­tion­al Mon­e­tary Fund (IMF) loan for Rus­sia, the sec­ond-biggest loan the IMF had ever giv­en. The New York Times report­ed that the loan was ‘expect­ed to be help­ful to Pres­i­dent Boris N. Yeltsin in the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion in June.’ . . .”


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 #1045 Interview #14 with Jim DiEugenio About “Destiny Betrayed”

CIA’s Expert on the JFK Assas­si­na­tion Ray Roc­ca: ” . . . . Gar­ri­son would indeed obtain a con­vic­tion of Shaw for con­spir­ing to assas­si­nate Pres­i­dent Kennedy. . . .”

House Select Com­mit­tee on Assas­si­na­tions Assis­tant Coun­sel Jonathan Black­mer: “. . . . ‘We have rea­son to believe Shaw was heav­i­ly involved in the Anti-Cas­tro efforts in New Orleans in the 1960s and [was] pos­si­bly one of the high lev­el plan­ners or ‘cut out’ to the plan­ners of the assas­si­na­tion.’ . . . .”

This is the four­teenth of a planned long series of inter­views with Jim DiEu­ge­nio about his tri­umphal analy­sis of Pres­i­dent Kennedy’s assas­si­na­tion and New Orleans Dis­trict Attor­ney Jim Gar­rison’s hero­ic inves­ti­ga­tion of the killing.

In this pro­gram, we high­light the media hatch­et men who worked hand in glove with the intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty infil­tra­tors set forth in our pre­vi­ous inter­view. Many of the hatch­et men also worked with each oth­er, as well as the intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty.

Most sig­nif­i­cant­ly, both the intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty infil­tra­tors and the media hatch­et men worked with Clay Shaw’s coun­sel and freely broke the law.

In addi­tion to a CBS spe­cial that aired at the same time (1967), NBC broad­cast an out­right hatch­et job on Gar­ri­son presided over by Wal­ter Sheri­dan. A vet­er­an of the intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty, Sheri­dan had worked for the FBI, the Office of Naval Intel­li­gence (ONI) and was a prin­ci­pal fig­ure in counter-intel­li­gence for the Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Agency. As will be seen below, Sheri­dan reput­ed­ly had strong, deep con­nec­tions to CIA itself.

Des­tiny Betrayed by Jim DiEu­ge­nio; Sky­horse Pub­lish­ing [SC]; Copy­right 1992, 2012 by Jim DiEu­ge­nio; ISBN 978–1‑62087–056‑3; p. 255.

. . . . The con­ven­tion­al wis­dom about Wal­ter Sheri­dan places him as a for­mer FBI man; report­ed­ly he worked at the Bureau for about four years. . . .

. . . . Sheri­dan’s ties to the intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty, beyond the FBI, were wide, deep, and com­plex. He him­self said that, like Guy Ban­is­ter, he had been with the Office of Naval Intel­li­gence. Then, after he left the bureau, Sheri­dan did not go direct­ly to the Jus­tice Depart­ment. He moved over to the new­ly estab­lished Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Agency. This was a super-secret body cre­at­ed by Pres­i­dent Tru­man in 1952 both to pro­tect domes­tic codes and com­mu­ni­ca­tions and to gath­er intel­li­gence through crack­ing for­eign codes. It was so clan­des­tine that, for a time, the gov­ern­ment a tempt­ed to deny its exis­tence. There­fore, for along time, it oper­at­ed inal­most total secre­cy. Nei­ther the Con­gress nor any fedreal agency had the effec­tive over­sight to reg­u­late it. . . .

It is worth not­ing that–in addi­tion to Sheri­dan’s deep intel­li­gence background–NBC itself had strong, deep con­nec­tions to the intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty. . . . .

Des­tiny Betrayed by Jim DiEu­ge­nio; Sky­horse Pub­lish­ing [SC]; Copy­right 1992, 2012 by Jim DiEu­ge­nio; ISBN 978–1‑62087–056‑3; p. 255.

. . . . It is rel­e­vant to note here that Gen­er­al David Sarnoff, founder of NBC, worked for the Sig­nal Corps dur­ing World War II as a reserve offi­cer. In 1944, Sarnoff worked for the com­plete restora­tion of the Nazi destroyed Radio France sta­tion in Paris until its sig­nal was able to reach through­out Europe. It was then reti­tled Radio Free Europe. He lat­er lob­bied the White House to expand the range and reach of Radio Free Europe. At about this point, Radio Free Europe became a pet project of Allen Dulles. Sarnoff’s com­pa­ny, Radio Cor­po­ra­tion of Amer­i­ca, became a large part of the tech­no­log­i­cal core of the NSA. Dur­ing the war, David’s son Robert worked in the broad­cast arm of the Office of Strate­gic Ser­vices (OSS), the fore­run­ner of the CIA. Robert was pres­i­dent of RCA, NBC’s par­ent com­pa­ny, at the time Sheridan’s spe­cial aired. David was chair­man. . .

Sheri­dan also presided over an osten­si­bly “pri­vate” inves­tiga­tive insti­tu­tion which was, in fact, a CIA front. It is worth not­ing that Beurt Ser Vas–an alum­nus of the Three Eyes–purchased The Sat­ur­day Evening Post, which pub­lished an anti-Gar­ri­son hit piece by James Phe­lan. (This is high­light­ed below.)

Des­tiny Betrayed by Jim DiEu­ge­nio; Sky­horse Pub­lish­ing [SC]; Copy­right 1992, 2012 by Jim DiEu­ge­nio; ISBN 978–1‑62087–056‑3; p. 256.

. . . The com­pa­ny was Inter­na­tion­al Inves­ti­ga­tors Incor­po­rat­ed, nick­named “Three Eyes.” Accord­ing to a Sen­ate inves­ti­ga­tor, “it was owned lock, stock, and bar­rel by the CIA.” Two of the orig­i­nal prin­ci­pals, George Miller and George Ryan, were, like Ban­is­ter, for­mer G‑men who lat­er went to work for CIA cov­er out­fits. Accord­ing to anoth­er source, not only was Sheri­dan the liai­son to Three Eyes, he “dis­posed over the per­son­nel and cur­ren­cy of whole units of the Cen­tral Intel­li­gence Agency out of the White House.” By 1965 . . . Three Eyes was tak­en over by two for­mer CIA offi­cers. One of them, Beurt Ser Vaas, lat­er pur­chased the Sat­ur­day Evening Post. . . .

Exem­pli­fy­ing Sheri­dan’s method­ol­o­gy was the treat­ment met­ed out to Fred Lee­mans, who was the cli­mac­tic per­son inter­viewed by Sheri­dan in his spe­cial. Note the open intim­i­da­tion of Lee­mans and his fam­i­ly, threat­en­ing them if they did not per­jure them­selves, betray Gar­ri­son, and coop­er­ate with both Sheri­dan and Clay Shaw’s coun­sel!

This is rem­i­nis­cent of the treat­ment of Mar­lene Man­cu­so detailed in our pre­vi­ous inter­view.

Des­tiny Betrayed by Jim DiEu­ge­nio; Sky­horse Pub­lish­ing [SC]; Copy­right 1992, 2012 by Jim DiEu­ge­nio; ISBN 978–1‑62087–056‑3; pp. 240–241.

. . . . One of the more star­tling dec­la­ra­tions that the ARRB uncov­ered was an affi­davit by a man named Fred Lee­mans. Lee­mans was a Turk­ish bath own­er who orig­i­nal­ly told gar­ri­son that a man named Clay Bertrand had fre­quent­ed his estab­lish­ment. Lee­mans was the cli­mac­tic inter­view for Sheri­dan’s spe­cial. He tes­ti­fied on the show that the DA’s office had actu­al­ly approached him first, that he nev­er knew that Shaw used the alias Bertrand, that every­thing he had pre­vi­ous­ly said to the DA’s office were things he was led to say by them, and that they had offered to pay him 2,500 dol­lars for his affi­davit in which in which he would now say that Shaw was Bertrand and that Shaw came into his estab­lish­ment once with Oswald. In oth­er words, all the things Nov­el had been say­ing in his pub­lic dec­la­ra­tions about Gar­ri­son were accu­rate. At the end of his inter­view, Lee­mans told Sheri­dan and the pub­lic that every­thing he had just revealed on cam­era was giv­en to NBC freely and vol­un­tar­i­ly. Lee­mans even said that he had actu­al­ly asked Sheri­dan for some mon­e­tary help but Sheri­dan had said he did not do things like that.

In Jan­u­ary of 1969, Lee­mans signed an affi­davit in which he declared the fol­low­ing as the true chain of events:

“I would like to state the rea­sons for which I appeared on the NBC show and lied about my con­tacts with the Dis­trict Attor­ney’s office. First, I received numer­ous anony­mous threat­en­ing phone calls rel­a­tive to the infor­ma­tion I had giv­en to Mr. Gar­ri­son. The gist of these calls was to the effect that if I did not change my state­ment and state that I had been bribed by Jim Gar­rison’s office, I and my fam­i­ly would be in phys­i­cal dan­ger. In addi­tion to the anony­mous phone calls, I was vis­it­ed by a man who exhib­it­ed a badge and stat­ed that he was a gov­ern­ment agent. This man informed me that the gov­ern­ment was present­ly check­ing the bar own­ers in the Slidell area for pos­si­ble income tax vio­la­tions. This man then inquired whether I was the Mr. Lee­mans involved in the Clay Shaw case. When I informed him that I was, he said that it was not smart to be involved because a lot of peo­ple that had been got hurt and that peo­ple in pow­er­ful places would see to it that I was tak­en care of. One of the anony­mous callers sug­gest­ed that I change my state­ment and state that I had been bribed by Gar­rison’s office to give him the infor­ma­tion about Clay Shaw. He sug­gest­ed that I con­tact Mr. Irvin Dymond, attor­ney for Clay L. Shaw and tell him that I gave Mr. Gar­ri­son the state­ment about Shaw only after Mr. Lee [Gar­rison’s assis­tant DA] offered me 2,500 dol­lars. After con­sult­ing with Mr. Dymond by tele­phone and in per­son, I was intro­duced to Wal­ter Sheri­dan, inves­tiga­tive reporter for NBC, who was then in the process of prepar­ing the NBC show. Mr. Dymond and Mr. Sheri­dan sug­gest­ed that I appear on the show and state what I had orig­i­nal­ly told Mr. Dymond about the bribe offer by the Dis­trict Attor­ney’s office. I was informed by Mr. Dymond that should the Dis­trict Attor­ney’s office charge me with giv­ing false infor­ma­tion as a result of the state­ment I had orig­i­nal­ly giv­en them, he would see to it that I had an attor­ney and that a bond would be post­ed for me. In this con­nec­tion, Mr. Dymond gave me his home and office tele­phone num­bers and and advised me that I could con­tact him at any time of day or night should I be charged by Gar­rison’s office as a result of my appear­ing on the NBC show. My actu­al appear­ance on the show was taped in the office of Aaron Kohn, Man­ag­ing Direc­tor of the Met­ro­pol­i­tan Crime Com­mis­sion, in the pres­ence of Wal­ter Sheri­dan and Irvin Dymond.”

This is one of the most reveal­ing doc­u­ments por­tray­ing the lengths to which Sheri­dan would go in tam­per­ing with wit­ness­es. It also demon­strates that Shaw’s lawyers—Bill and Ed Weg­mann, Irvin Dymond, and Sal Panzeca—knew almost no bound­ary in what kind of help they would accept to win their case. Third, it reveals that Shaw’s lawyers had access to a net­work of attor­neys that they could hire at any time for any wit­ness they could pry loose from Gar­ri­son. Because, as the declas­si­fied ARRB doc­u­ments reveal, there was a CIA cleared attor­ney’s pan­el that was at work in New Orleans. Attor­neys that the Agency vet­ted in advance so they would be suit­able for their covert use and could be trust­ed in their aims. The fact that Shaw’s lawyers were privy to such CIA secret knowl­edge, and wee uti­liz­ing it, shows just how will­ing and eager they were to indulge them­selves in covert help—and then lie about it. . . .

In addi­tion to Sheri­dan, James Phe­lan and Hugh Aynesworth joined the media cho­rus attack­ing Gar­ri­son, and both of them net­worked with the intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty as well. Phe­lan’s hit piece was pub­lished in the Sat­ur­day Evening Post, which was even­tu­al­ly bought by CIA vet­er­an Beurt Ser Vas, an alum­nus of the Sheri­dan-linked Three Eyes intel­li­gence front.


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.


Cyber Attribution, the Macron hacks, and the Existential Threat of Unwarranted Certainty

Did you hear the big new hack­ing news? It’s the The news about ‘Fan­cy Bear’ already get­ting ready to wage a new hack­ing cam­paign against US politi­cians? If not, here’s a brief sum­ma­ry: Trend Micro, a Japan­ese cyber­se­cu­ri­ty firm, just issued a new report pur­port­ing to show that ‘Fan­cy Bear’ has already set up mul­ti­ple phish­ing web­sites intend­ed to cap­ture the login cre­den­tials to the US Sen­ate’s email sys­tem. And Trend Micro is 100 per­cent con­fi­dent this is the work of ‘Fan­cy Bear’, the Russ­ian mil­i­tary intel­li­gence hack­ing team. What led to Trend Micro’s 100 per­cent cer­tain­ty that these phish­ing sites were set up by ‘Fan­cy Bear’? It appears to be based on the sim­i­lar­i­ty of this oper­a­tion to the Macron email hack that impact­ed hit French elec­tion last year. The same hack that the French cyber­se­cu­ri­ty agency said was so unso­phis­ti­cat­ed that any rea­son­ably skilled hack­ers could have pulled them off. And the same hacks com­i­cal­ly includ­ed the name of a Russ­ian gov­ern­ment secu­ri­ty con­trac­tor in the meta-data and were traced back to Andrew ‘weev’ Auern­heimer. That’s the hack that this cur­rent Sen­ate phish­ing oper­a­tion strong­ly mim­ics that led to Trend Micro’s 100 per­cent cer­tain­ty that this is the work of ‘Fan­cy Bear.’ So how cred­i­ble is this 100 per­cent cer­tain cyber attri­bu­tion? Well, it’s pos­si­ble Trend Micro is cor­rect, it’s also extreme­ly pos­si­ble they aren’t cor­rect. That’s going to be the top­ic if this post, because Trend Micro is far from alone in mak­ing cyber attri­bu­tion an exer­cise in gam­bling with exis­ten­tial risks.


FTR #965 Are We Going to Have a Third World War?

Recent devel­op­ments are sug­ges­tive of the omi­nous pos­si­bil­i­ty of an immi­nent Third World War. We present some new infor­ma­tion and recap and fur­ther ana­lyze sto­ries cov­ered in pre­vi­ous pro­grams in order to under­score and high­light the poten­tial dev­as­ta­tion of these events.

As the furor (“fuehrer”?) sur­round­ing the poten­tial­ly lethal polit­i­cal hoax known as “Rus­sia-gate” gains momen­tum, it should be not­ed that the point man for the Trump busi­ness inter­ests in their deal­ings with Rus­sia is Felix Sater. A Russ­ian-born immi­grant, Sater is a pro­fes­sion­al crim­i­nal and a con­vict­ed felon with his­tor­i­cal links to the Mafia. Beyond that, and more impor­tant­ly, Sater is an FBI infor­mant and a CIA con­tract agent: “. . . . There is every indi­ca­tion that the extra­or­di­nar­i­ly lenient treat­ment result­ed from Sater play­ing a get-out-of-jail free card. Short­ly before his secret guilty plea, Sater became a free­lance oper­a­tive of the Cen­tral Intel­li­gence Agency. One of his fel­low stock swindlers, Sal­va­tore Lau­ria, wrote a book about it. The Scor­pi­on and the Frog is described on its cov­er as ‘the true sto­ry of one man’s fraud­u­lent rise and fall in the Wall Street of the nineties.’ Accord­ing to Lauria–and the court files that have been unsealed–Sater helped the CIA buy small mis­siles before they got to ter­ror­ists. He also pro­vid­ed oth­er pur­port­ed nation­al secu­ri­ty ser­vices for a report­ed fee of $300,000. Sto­ries abound as to what else Sater may or may not have done in the are­na of nation­al secu­ri­ty. . . .”

Sater was active on behalf of the Trumps in the fall of 2015: “. . . . Sater worked on a plan for a Trump Tow­er in Moscow as recent­ly as the fall of 2015, but he said that had come to a halt because of Trump’s pres­i­den­tial cam­paign. . . .”

Sater was ini­ti­at­ing con­tact between the Rus­sians and “Team Trump” in Jan­u­ary of this year: “ . . . . Nev­er­the­less, in late Jan­u­ary, Sater and a Ukrain­ian law­mak­er report­ed­ly met with Trump’s per­son­al lawyer, Michael Cohen, at a New York hotel. Accord­ing to the [New York] Times, they dis­cussed a plan that involved the U.S. lift­ing sanc­tions against Rus­sia, and Cohen said he hand-deliv­ered the plan in a sealed enve­lope to then-nation­al secu­ri­ty advi­sor Michael Fly­nn. Cohen lat­er denied deliv­er­ing the enve­lope to any­one in the White House, accord­ing to the Wash­ing­ton Post. . . .”

A stun­ning devel­op­ment con­cerns extreme ret­i­cence on the part of the U.S. intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty:

The Office of the Direc­tor of Nation­al Intel­li­gence had an “inter­est­ing” response to a Free­dom of Infor­ma­tion Act law­suit demand­ing the release of the clas­si­fied report giv­en to Pres­i­dent Oba­ma back in Jan­u­ary pur­port­ing to show the Russ­ian gov­ern­ment was behind the hacks. Accord­ing to the ODNI, the request­ed doc­u­ment would present a risk to human intel­li­gence sources by reveal­ing the com­par­a­tive weight giv­en to human vs tech­ni­cal evi­dence, risk­ing US sources and meth­ods. But the ODNI went fur­ther, sug­gest­ing that even releas­ing a ful­ly redact­ed doc­u­ment would present sim­i­lar risks!

It is NOT easy to see the ODNI’s reluc­tance to release even a ful­ly-redact­ed copy of the report as any­thing but disin­gen­u­ous. In the con­text of poten­tial­ly dev­as­tat­ing dete­ri­o­ra­tion of Russian/U.S. rela­tions over Syr­ia, Ukraine, and the Russ­ian “elec­tion-hack­ing” uproar, the ODNI’s behav­ior can­not be any­thing but dis­qui­et­ing:

” . . . . The intel­li­gence offi­cial argued that a redact­ed ver­sion of the orig­i­nal report would allow a trained eye to assess ‘com­par­a­tive weight’ of human intel­li­gence and sig­nals intel­li­gence report­ing includ­ed in the com­pendi­um. Release of some of the infor­ma­tion the pri­va­cy-focused orga­ni­za­tion wants made pub­lic ‘could prove fatal to U.S. human intel­li­gence sources,’ [Deputy Direc­tor of Nation­al Intel­li­gence for Intel­li­gence Inte­gra­tion Edward] Gis­taro warned.

Gis­taro also appears to argue that even if offi­cials blacked out the whole report, high­ly clas­si­fied infor­ma­tion would be at risk.

‘I agree with the [Nation­al Intel­li­gence Coun­cil] that a heav­i­ly or even ful­ly redact­ed ver­sion of the clas­si­fied report can not be pub­licly released with­out jeop­ar­diz­ing nation­al secu­ri­ty infor­ma­tion prop­er­ly clas­si­fied as SECRET or TOP SECRET,’ he wrote. . . . ‘The ODNI should release the com­plete report to EPIC so that the pub­lic and the Con­gress can under­stand the full extent of the Russ­ian inter­fer­ence with the 2016 Pres­i­den­tial elec­tion,’ EPIC’s Marc Roten­berg told POLITICO Tues­day. ‘It is already clear that gov­ern­ment secre­cy is frus­trat­ing mean­ing­ful over­sight. The FBI, for exam­ple, will not even iden­ti­fy the states that were tar­get­ed by Rus­sia.’ . . . ”

With the high-pro­file hacks being attributed–almost cer­tain­ly falsely–to Rus­sia, there are omi­nous devel­op­ments tak­ing place that may well lead to a Third World War. Dur­ing the clos­ing days of his Pres­i­den­cy, Oba­ma autho­rized the plant­i­ng of cyber weapons on Russ­ian com­put­er net­works. Oba­ma did this after talk­ing with Putin on the Hot Line, estab­lished to pre­vent a Third World War. Putin denied inter­fer­ing in the U.S. elec­tion.

The con­clu­sion that Rus­sia hacked the U.S. elec­tion on Putin’s orders appears to have been based on a CIA source in the Krem­lin. Even when that intel­li­gence was deliv­ered, oth­er agen­cies weren’t ready to accept the CIA’s con­clu­sion and it took intel­li­gence from anoth­er nation (not named) to pro­vide the final intel­li­gence tip­ping point that led to a broad-based con­clu­sion the not only was the Russ­ian gov­ern­ment behind the cyber­at­tacks but that Vladimir Putin him­self ordered it.

That ally’s intel­li­gence is described as “the most crit­i­cal tech­ni­cal intel­li­gence on Rus­sia,” how­ev­er the NSA still wasn’t con­vinced based on what sounds like a lack of con­fi­dence in that source. Thus, it looks like a CIA Krem­lin source and an unnamed for­eign intel­li­gence agency with ques­tion­able cre­den­tials are the basis of what appears to be a like­ly future full-scale US/Russian cyber­war.

Of para­mount sig­nif­i­cance is the fact that IF, on Putin’s orders (and we are to believe such) Rus­sia con­tin­ued to hack U.S. com­put­er sys­tems to influ­ence the elec­tion, Putin would have to have gone utter­ly mad. Those hacks would have pre­clud­ed any rap­proche­ment between Rus­sia and the Unit­ed States under a Pres­i­dent Trump. There is no indi­ca­tion that Putin went off the deep end.

Also augur­ing a pos­si­ble Third World War are two devel­op­ments in Syr­ia. Sey­mour Hersh pub­lished an arti­cle in “Die Welt” reveal­ing that, not only was the April 4 alleged Sarin attack NOT a chem­i­cal weapons attack but there was wide­spread knowl­edge of this in Amer­i­can mil­i­tary and intel­li­gence cir­cles.

What did the intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty know about the attack? The Russ­ian and Syr­i­an air force had informed the US in advance of that airstrike that they had intel­li­gence that top lev­el lead­ers of Ahrar al-Sham and Jab­hat al-Nus­ra were meet­ing in that build­ing and they informed of the US of the attack plan in advance of the attack and that it was on a “high-val­ue” tar­get. And the attack involved the unusu­al use of a guid­ed bomb and Syria’s top pilots. ” . . . . Russ­ian and Syr­i­an intel­li­gence offi­cials, who coor­di­nate oper­a­tions close­ly with the Amer­i­can com­mand posts, made it clear that the planned strike on Khan Sheikhoun was spe­cial because of the high-val­ue tar­get. ‘It was a red-hot change. The mis­sion was out of the ordi­nary – scrub the sked,’ the senior advis­er told me. ‘Every oper­a­tions offi­cer in the region’ – in the Army, Marine Corps, Air Force, CIA and NSA – ‘had to know there was some­thing going on. The Rus­sians gave the Syr­i­an Air Force a guid­ed bomb and that was a rar­i­ty. They’re skimpy with their guid­ed bombs and rarely share them with the Syr­i­an Air Force. And the Syr­i­ans assigned their best pilot to the mis­sion, with the best wing­man.’ The advance intel­li­gence on the tar­get, as sup­plied by the Rus­sians, was giv­en the high­est pos­si­ble score inside the Amer­i­can com­mu­ni­ty. . . .”

Fol­low­ing the attack, US intel­li­gence con­clud­ed that there was no sarin gas attack, Assad wouldn’t have been that polit­i­cal­ly sui­ci­dal. The symp­toms of chem­i­cal poi­son­ing fol­low­ing the bomb­ing was like­ly due to a mix­ture of chlo­rine, fer­til­iz­ers, and oth­er chem­i­cals stored in the build­ing that was tar­get­ed by the Syr­i­an air­force cre­at­ed by sec­ondary explo­sions from the ini­tial bomb­ing. ” . . . ‘This was not a chem­i­cal weapons strike,’ the advis­er said. ‘That’s a fairy tale. . . .”

The symp­toms of chem­i­cal poi­son­ing fol­low­ing the bomb­ing was like­ly due to a mix­ture of chlo­rine, fer­til­iz­ers, and oth­er chem­i­cals stored in the build­ing that was tar­get­ed by the Syr­i­an air­force cre­at­ed by sec­ondary explo­sions from the ini­tial bomb­ing. ” . . . . A Bomb Dam­age Assess­ment (BDA) by the U.S. mil­i­tary lat­er deter­mined that the heat and force of the 500-pound Syr­i­an bomb trig­gered a series of sec­ondary explo­sions that could have gen­er­at­ed a huge tox­ic cloud that began to spread over the town, formed by the release of the fer­til­iz­ers, dis­in­fec­tants and oth­er goods stored in the base­ment, its effect mag­ni­fied by the dense morn­ing air, which trapped the fumes close to the ground. . . .”

The behav­ior of the Trump admin­is­tra­tion was not only in direct con­flict with intel­li­gence on the attack, but rein­forced pro­pa­gan­da by some of the Al-Qae­da-linked jihadists the West has been using as proxy war­riors in Syr­ia and else­where: ” . . . . ‘The Salafists and jihadists got every­thing they want­ed out of their hyped-up Syr­i­an nerve gas ploy,’ the senior advis­er to the U.S. intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty told me, refer­ring to the flare up of ten­sions between Syr­ia, Rus­sia and Amer­i­ca. ‘The issue is, what if there’s anoth­er false flag sarin attack cred­it­ed to hat­ed Syr­ia? Trump has upped the ante and paint­ed him­self into a cor­ner with his deci­sion to bomb. And do not think these guys are not plan­ning the next faked attack. Trump will have no choice but to bomb again, and hard­er. He’s inca­pable of say­ing he made a mis­take.’ . . .”

Pro­gram High­lights Include: Review of a Trump admin­is­tra­tion warn­ing of anoth­er sup­posed, impend­ing “Syr­i­an chem­i­cal weapons strike”–a warn­ing that has since been retract­ed; dis­cus­sion of bril­liant Nazi hack­er Andrew Aueren­heimer’s orches­tra­tion of an “Alt-right” online intim­i­da­tion cam­paign against CNN employ­ees; Aueren­heimer’s cur­rent res­i­dence in Ukraine; the omi­nous pos­si­bil­i­ty of the activation/manipulation of the NSA cyber-weapons installed on Russ­ian com­put­er net­works by a third par­ty (per­haps some­one with the capa­bil­i­ties of the bril­liant Aueren­heimer); review of the obser­va­tions by a Ger­man professor–opposed to Nazism/Hitler–who described the essence of what it was like, sub­jec­tive­ly, to live through the rise of Hitler–his obser­va­tion pre­sent­ed in the con­text of the ODNI’s deci­sion not to release even a ful­ly-redact­ed ver­sion of the intel­li­gence report on “Russ­ian med­dling” in the U.S. elec­tion: ” . . . . . . . . What hap­pened here was the grad­ual habit­u­a­tion of the peo­ple, lit­tle by lit­tle, to being gov­erned by sur­prise, to receiv­ing deci­sions delib­er­at­ed in secret, to believ­ing that the sit­u­a­tion was so com­pli­cat­ed that the gov­ern­ment had to act on infor­ma­tion which the peo­ple could not under­stand because of nation­al­i­ty secu­ri­ty, so dan­ger­ous that even if the peo­ple the peo­ple could under­stand it, it could not be released because of nation­al secu­ri­ty. . . .”