Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.
The tag 'Palantir' is associated with 7 posts.

FTR #1083 AOC and The Immigrant “Psy-Op”: More about Socialists for Trump and Hitler (“The Assistance”)

Resum­ing analy­sis of AOC’s high­ly ques­tion­able cre­den­tials, we note the shady cir­cum­stances of her vic­to­ry over long-time incum­bent Joe Crow­ley: ” . . . . she cap­i­tal­ized on an extreme­ly low pri­ma­ry turnout to eek out a 57% vs. 43% (15,897 vs. 11,761) vic­to­ry. And while it is true that the young can­di­date deployed an impres­sive grass­roots can­vass­ing strat­e­gy, the dev­il is in the details— includ­ing dirty local pol­i­tics, vit­ri­olic cam­paign rhetoric, far left agi­ta­tors, and an inten­sive Face­book adver­tis­ing blitz in the lead up to the pri­ma­ry. . . .”

She drew on the sup­port of dis­graced and con­vict­ed abuser Hiram Mon­ser­rate, and deflect­ed crit­i­cism with her stan­dard retreat into iden­ti­ty pol­i­tics: ” . . . . Part of the local con­tro­ver­sy revolved around the involve­ment of dis­graced ex-Queens politi­cian Hiram Mon­ser­rate. A domes­tic abuser who spent time in prison on a cor­rup­tion con­vic­tion, Mon­ser­rate has feud­ed with Crow­ley for years. Dur­ing their con­tentious pri­ma­ry, Crow­ley accused Oca­sio-Cortez of seek­ing sup­port from the ex-con, even speak­ing at an event held at a Demo­c­rat Club he runs in Queens. . . . Mon­ser­rate told the New York Post ‘there were a group of us, in the (club) and oth­er com­mu­ni­ty activists I have been work­ing with for years who under­stood that we would do our part to get rid of Joe Crowley…We were in sup­port of Alexandria’s cam­paign.’ . . . .”

In our series on Sur­veil­lance Val­ley (FTR #‘s 1075 through 1081) we not­ed that the Inter­net is an infor­ma­tion weapon, con­ceived in the con­text of coun­terin­sur­gency and solid­i­fied in appli­ca­tions of counter-democ­ra­cy. The rise and oper­a­tions of AOC are inex­tri­ca­bly linked with the Inter­net, social media, in par­tic­u­lar.

AOC’s cam­paign drew on Inter­net resources, and inter­ests out­side of her dis­trict: ” . . . . In fact, the vast major­i­ty of Oca­sio-Cortez cam­paign dona­tions have come from out-of-dis­trict and out-of-state. Of par­tic­u­lar note is Blue Amer­i­ca PAC, a “col­lab­o­ra­tion between the authors/publishers of DownWithTyranny.com, Hullabaloo.com and CrooksandLiars.com.” The PAC made an $11,000 inde­pen­dent expen­di­ture in oppo­si­tion to Joe Crow­ley, cre­at­ing the web­site QueensAgainstCrowley.com. . . . The meme-heavy social media pages for the PAC’s var­i­ous web­sites pushed out vit­ri­olic blog and social media posts dur­ing the pri­ma­ry, using bud­get graph­ics with British-Eng­lish copy to pro­mote hash­tags like #Abol­ishICE #Berniewould­have­won and #Mob­Boss­Crow­ley. . . .”

Draw­ing momen­tum, in part, from for­eign trolls and bots, AOC’s sig­na­ture “Abol­ish Ice” cam­paign plays right into the hands of Team Trump and the racist/xenophobic right. ” . . . . . For any­one engag­ing with Oca­sio-Cortez’ social media posts, the for­eign bot and troll activ­i­ty is notice­ably syn­chro­nized and per­va­sive. There’s no bet­ter exam­ple than the #Abol­ishICE cam­paign she cham­pi­oned as her num­ber one pri­ma­ry issue and has helped take nation­al. Much of her social media con­tent has focused on the “Abol­ish ICE solu­tion” to immi­gra­tion reform while accus­ing “Boss Crow­ley” and oth­er Democ­rats of being “Pro-ICE”. In the one month lead up to the June pri­ma­ry, Oca­sio-Cortez’ cam­paign spent over $80,000 on Face­book adver­tis­ing — the largest of her expen­di­tures. . . .”

Next, we note AOC has quot­ed and defend­ed Eva Per­on. Although this may well just be anoth­er man­i­fes­ta­tion of iden­ti­ty pol­i­tics, it is worth not­ing that Eva Per­on (nee Eva Duarte) was a Nazi spy pri­or to, and dur­ing, World War II, and a Bormann/Vatican agent after that:

” . . . . . . . .The all-con­quer­ing Evi­ta left Spain for Rome on June 25, 1947. Father Ben­itez would smooth her way in the Vat­i­can with the aid of Bish­op Alois Hudal [one of the key mem­bers of the Vatican/Nazi “Rat­line”]. Two days after she arrived she was giv­en an audi­ence with pope Pius XII, spend­ing twen­ty min­utes with the Holy Father–“a time usu­al­ly allot­ted by Vat­i­can pro­to­col to queens.” How­ev­er, there was a more sin­is­ter side to the Rome trip. Using Bish­op Hudal as an inter­me­di­ary, she arranged to meet Bor­mann in an Ital­ian vil­la at Rapal­lo pro­vid­ed for her use by [Argen­tine ship­ping bil­lion­aire Alber­to] Dodero. The shipown­er was also present at the meet­ing, as was Eva’s broth­er Juan Duarte. There, she and her for­mer pay­mas­ter cut the deal that guar­an­teed that his Fuhrer’s safe haven would con­tin­ue to remain safe, and allowed Bor­mann to leave Europe at last for a new life in South Amer­i­ca. . . . ”

Next, the dis­cus­sion turns to Peter Thiel and his Palan­tir firm, the alpha preda­tor of the high-tech sur­veil­lance jun­gle. As we have seen and as we will review, there is rea­son to sus­pect that “Mr. AOC”–“Subhas Chan­dra” Chakrabarti–is a Thiel pro­tege.

Palan­tir is one of the firms piv­otal­ly involved with facil­i­tat­ing ICE’s activ­i­ties: ” . . . . The data­base cre­at­ed by Palan­tir uses infor­ma­tion pulled from the DHS, FBI and oth­er sources to build pro­files of peo­ple who have crossed the bor­der, includ­ing ‘school­ing, fam­i­ly rela­tion­ships, employ­ment infor­ma­tion, phone records, immi­gra­tion his­to­ry, for­eign exchange pro­gram sta­tus, per­son­al con­nec­tions, bio­met­ric traits, crim­i­nal records, and home and work address­es,’ the Inter­cept report­ed last year. . . . . Polic­ing soft­ware pro­vid­ed by Palan­tir and Foren­sic Logic’s COPLINK pro­gram enables Infor­ma­tion shar­ing between ICE and state and local law enforce­ment. . . . Palan­tir soft­ware has been imple­ment­ed by DHS fusion cen­ters across Cal­i­for­nia, as well as by police depart­ments in Los Ange­les, Long Beach, and Bur­bank; and sheriff’s depart­ments in Sacra­men­to, Ven­tu­ra, and Los Ange­les coun­ties. The com­pa­ny has received more than $50 mil­lion from these agen­cies since 2009, most­ly financed by DHS grants, the report shows. . . .”

We then review sub­stan­tive evi­dence of Thiel/Palantir/Chakrabarti net­work­ing:

1.–Chakrabarti worked for Bridge­wa­ter Asso­ciates: ” . . . . After grad­u­at­ing from Har­vard, Mr. Chakrabar­ti worked for a year as a tech­nol­o­gy asso­ciate at the hedge fund Bridge­wa­ter Asso­ciates, and then moved to Sil­i­con Val­ley to help found the tech­nol­o­gy com­pa­ny Stripe. . . .”
2.–Bridgewater Asso­ciates was a major source of the ven­ture cap­i­tal to launch Palan­tir.
3.–Former FBI direc­tor James Comey was the chief coun­sel for Bridge­wa­ter Asso­ciates. As FBI direc­tor, Comey was instru­men­tal in han­dling the elec­tion to Trump.
4.–It appears that Chakrabar­ti’s stint as head of prod­uct devel­op­ment at Stripe may well have been as a Thiel pro­tege.

Review­ing infor­ma­tion from past broad­casts, there are indi­ca­tions that the scape­goat­ing of ille­gal immi­grants by Team Trump is part of a “psy-op,” with AOC help­ing to gen­er­ate “black pro­pa­gan­da” by brand­ing the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty as “Ille­gal Immi­grants R Us.”

In FTR #718, we warned [back in 2010] that Face­book was not the cud­dly lit­tle enti­ty it was per­ceived to be but a poten­tial engine of fas­cism enabling. Momen­tum for the remark­ably timed immi­grant car­a­van that became a focal point for Trump/GOP/Fox News pro­pa­gan­da dur­ing the 2018 midterm elec­tions was gen­er­at­ed by a fake Face­book account, which mim­ic­ked a Hon­duran politician/human rights activist, Bar­to­lo Fuentes. Sig­nif­i­cant aspects of the event:

1.–” . . . . Face­book has admit­ted the account was an imposter account imper­son­at­ing a promi­nent Hon­duran politi­cian. But it is refus­ing to release infor­ma­tion about the account, who may have set it up or what coun­try it orig­i­nat­ed from. . . .”
2.–” . . . . In response to a query from Buz­zFeed News, a Face­book spokesper­son said the pho­ny account ‘was removed for vio­lat­ing [the company’s] mis­rep­re­sen­ta­tion pol­i­cy,’ but declined to share any fur­ther infor­ma­tion, such as what coun­try it orig­i­nat­ed from, what email address was used to open it, or any oth­er details that might reveal who was behind it. Face­book added that, bar­ring a sub­poe­na or request from law enforce­ment, it does not share such infor­ma­tion out of respect for the pri­va­cy of its users. Fuentes said he believes it’s impor­tant to find out who was behind the rogue account — but hasn’t got­ten any answers from Face­book. ‘Who knows how many mes­sages could have been sent and who received them?’ . . . .”
4.–” . . . . Fuentes has been unable to get any infor­ma­tion from Face­book about the account, but one small detail stood out. Who­ev­er cre­at­ed it list­ed the Hon­duran cap­i­tal of Tegu­ci­gal­pa as Fuentes’s home­town, rather than the San Pedro Sula sub­urb of El Pro­gre­so. That might seem like a minor error, but it’s the sort of mis­take a for­eign­er — not a Hon­duran — would make about the well-known for­mer law­mak­er, whose left-wing par­ty stands in oppo­si­tion to the cur­rent president’s admin­is­tra­tion. . . . ”
5.–” . . . . It oper­at­ed entire­ly in Span­ish and pre­cise­ly tar­get­ed influ­encers with­in the migrant rights com­mu­ni­ty. And rather than crit­i­cize or under­mine the car­a­van — as oth­er online cam­paigns would lat­er attempt to do — it was used to legit­imize the event, mak­ing a loose­ly struc­tured grass­roots event appear to be a well-orga­nized effort by an estab­lished migrant group with a proven track record of suc­cess­ful­ly bring­ing Cen­tral Amer­i­can peo­ple to the US bor­der. . . .”
6.–” . . . . before the account got start­ed not many peo­ple seemed to be join­ing. Only after the account kicked into gear did enthu­si­asm and par­tic­i­pa­tion spike. The account also claimed false­ly that the car­a­van was being led by a migrant rights orga­ni­za­tion called Pueblo Sin Fron­teras. Lat­er, once the car­a­van swelled to a mas­sive scale, the Pueblo Sin Fron­teras did get involved, though in a sup­port rather than lead­er­ship role. . . .”
7.–” . . . . It appears that this account helped the car­a­van gain key momen­tum to the point where its size became a self-ful­fill­ing prophe­cy, spurring even more to join and groups which hadn’t been sup­port­ive to get involved. . . .”
8.–” . . . . It’s hard to believe one Face­book account could play that deci­sive a role. But the account seems to have been sophis­ti­cat­ed. And it is equal­ly dif­fi­cult to believe that a sophis­ti­cat­ed oper­a­tor or orga­ni­za­tion would have gone to such trou­ble and lim­it­ed their efforts to a sin­gle imposter account. . . .”

In the sum­mer of 2018, we high­light­ed the first degree mur­der charge laid against an “ille­gal” Mex­i­can migrant work­er fol­low­ing the dis­cov­ery of a deceased white Iowa col­lege girl Mol­lie Tib­betts. This became pro­pa­gan­da fod­der for Team Trump.

We note in this con­text that:

1.–The announce­ment of River­a’s arrest for the Tib­betts mur­der hap­pened on the same day that Paul Man­afort’s con­vic­tion was announced and Michael Cohen plead­ed guilty. Might we be look­ing at an “op,” intend­ed to eclipse the neg­a­tive pub­lic­i­ty from the the Manafort/Cohen judi­cial events?
2.–Rivera exhib­it­ed pos­si­ble symp­toms of being sub­ject­ed to mind con­trol, not unlike Sirhan Sirhan. ” . . . . Inves­ti­ga­tors say Rivera fol­lowed Mol­lie in his dark Chevy Mal­ibu as she went for a run around 7.30pm on July 18. He ‘blacked out’ and attacked her after she threat­ened to call the police unless he left her alone, offi­cers said. . . . It is not yet clear how Mol­lie died. . . . Rivera told police that after see­ing her, he pulled over and parked his car to get out and run with her. . . . Mol­lie grabbed her phone and threat­ened to call the police before run­ning off ahead. The sus­pect said that made him ‘pan­ic’ and he chased after her. That’s when he ‘blacked out.’ He claims he remem­bers noth­ing from then until he was back in his car, dri­ving. He then noticed one of her ear­phones sit­ting on his lap and blood in the car then remem­bered he’d stuffed her in the truck. . . . ‘He fol­lowed her and seemed to be drawn to her on that par­tic­u­lar day. For what­ev­er rea­son he chose to abduct her,’ Iowa Depart­ment of Crim­i­nal Inves­ti­ga­tion spe­cial agent Rick Ryan said on Tues­day after­noon. . . . ‘Rivera stat­ed that she grabbed her phone and said: ‘I’m gonna call the police.’ . . . . ‘Rivera said he then pan­icked and he got mad and that he ‘blocked’ his mem­o­ry which is what he does when he gets very upset and does­n’t remem­ber any­thing after that until he came to at an inter­sec­tion.’ . . .”
4.–Just as Sirhan had been in a right-wing milieu pri­or to the Robert Kennedy assas­si­na­tion, so, too, was Rivera: ” . . . . The promi­nent Repub­li­can fam­i­ly which owns the farm where Mol­lie Tib­betts’ alleged killer worked have insist­ed that he passed back­ground checks for migrant work­ers. Christhi­an Rivera, 24, who is from Mex­i­co, was charged with first degree mur­der on Tues­day after lead­ing police to a corn field where Mol­lie’s body was dumped. Dane Lang, co-own­er of Yarrabee Farms along with Eric Lang, con­firmed that Rivera had worked there for four years and was an employ­ee ‘of good stand­ing.’ Dane’s broth­er is Craig Lang, for­mer pres­i­dent of the Iowa Farm Bureau Fed­er­a­tion and the Iowa Board of Regents, and a 2018 Repub­li­can can­di­date for state sec­re­tary of agri­cul­ture. . . .”
5.–Trump cit­ed the Tib­betts mur­der in a Charleston, West Vir­ginia, ral­ly that day: ” . . . . Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump chirped in dur­ing his Tues­day address at a ral­ly in Charleston, West Vir­ginia, blam­ing immi­gra­tion laws for Mol­lie’s death. ‘You heard about today with the ille­gal alien com­ing in very sad­ly from Mex­i­co,’ he said. ‘And you saw what hap­pened to that incred­i­ble beau­ti­ful young woman. ‘Should’ve nev­er hap­pened, ille­gal­ly in our coun­try. We’ve had a huge impact but the laws are so bad. The immi­gra­tion laws are such a dis­grace. ‘We are get­ting them changed but we have to get more Repub­li­cans.’ Gov. Kim Reynolds com­plained about the ‘bro­ken’ immi­gra­tion sys­tem that allowed a ‘preda­tor’ to live in her state. . . .”

In a tran­si­tion to our next pro­gram, we under­score the deci­sive role of Glenn Green­wald in paving the legal road for the real­iza­tion of the “Lead­er­less Resis­tance” strat­e­gy that dom­i­nates the con­tem­po­rary polit­i­cal land­scape.

We note in this con­text:

Cit­i­zen Green­wald’s views on immi­gra­tion echo those of Don­ald Trump: “ . . . . ‘The parade of evils caused by ille­gal immi­gra­tion is wide­ly known,’ Green­wald wrote in 2005. The facts, to him, were indis­putable: ‘ille­gal immi­gra­tion wreaks hav­oc eco­nom­i­cal­ly, social­ly, and cul­tur­al­ly; makes a mock­ery of the rule of law; and is dis­grace­ful just on basic fair­ness grounds alone.’ Defend­ing the nativist con­gress­man Tom Tan­cre­do from charges of racism, Green­wald wrote of ‘unman­age­ably end­less hordes of peo­ple [who] pour over the bor­der in num­bers far too large to assim­i­late, and who con­se­quent­ly have no need, moti­va­tion or abil­i­ty to assim­i­late.’ Those hordes, Green­wald wrote, posed a threat to ‘mid­dle-class sub­ur­ban vot­ers.’ . . . .”


FTR #1082 Funky Resumes: Update on Socialists for Trump and Hitler (“The Assistance”)

In this pro­gram, we high­light the dis­con­cert­ing CV’s of Saikat Chakrabar­ti, Cenk Uygur, Alexan­dria Oca­sio-Cortez, as well as PACs and relat­ed enti­ties cre­at­ed by Chakrabar­ti and under­pin­ning AOC. Chakrabar­ti appears to be a polit­i­cal acolyte of Sub­has Chan­dra Bose, “The Duce of Ben­gal.” In a YouTube seg­ment defend­ing AOC against crit­i­cism, the recent­ly resigned Chakrabar­ti sport­ed a T‑shirt fea­tur­ing the like­ness of that key Indi­an fas­cist.

“Sub­has Chan­dra” Chakrabar­ti ignit­ed the war with­in the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty that he had intend­ed. Note­wor­thy in his “funky resume” is the fact that he worked for Bridge­wa­ter Asso­ciates, the world’s largest hedge fund. James Comey was the fir­m’s chief legal coun­sel, before mov­ing to head the FBI. His reopen­ing of the Hillary Clin­ton e‑mail “non-scan­dal” just before elec­tion day helped give Trump the vic­to­ry.

Fol­low­ing his res­ig­na­tion this past week, “Sub­has Chan­dra” Chakrabar­ti is now under inves­ti­ga­tion for his cam­paign finance activ­i­ties: ” . . . The inquiry cen­ters on two polit­i­cal action com­mit­tees found­ed by Saikat Chakrabar­ti . . . . The two PACs being probed, Brand New Con­gress and Jus­tice Democ­rats, were both set up by Chakrabar­ti to sup­port pro­gres­sive can­di­dates across the coun­try. . . . But they fun­neled more than $1 mil­lion in polit­i­cal dona­tions into two pri­vate com­pa­nies that Chakrabar­ti also incor­po­rat­ed and con­trolled, accord­ing to Fed­er­al Elec­tion Com­mis­sion fil­ings and a com­plaint filed in March with the reg­u­la­to­ry agency. In 2016 and 2017, the PACs raised about $3.3 mil­lion, most­ly from small donors. A third of the cash was trans­ferred to two pri­vate com­pa­nies whose names are sim­i­lar to one of the PACs — Brand New Con­gress LLC and Brand New Cam­paign LLC — fed­er­al cam­paign fil­ings show. . . .”

We sus­pect that the irreg­u­lar­i­ties in Chakrabar­ti’s activ­i­ties and the irreg­u­lar­i­ties in Oca­sio-Cortez’s resume and activ­i­ties were not only delib­er­ate­ly pre­con­ceived, but are part of an elec­toral “Psy-Op” that will get con­sid­er­able cov­er­age in the 2020 cam­paign, pos­si­bly hand­ing vic­to­ry to Trump.

“Team AOC” will of, course, cry “racism” via Twit­ter.

AOC has already been hand­ed Mar­tyr Sta­tus by Don­ald Trump’s attacks, and we believe she may well become the face of the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty, as Team Trump wish­es.

A blog post from “The Medi­um” notes the fishy ele­ments of AOC’s CV, the ques­tion­able activ­i­ties of the Chakrabar­ti enti­ties and the indi­ca­tions that “Team AOC” has more in com­mon with the very right-wing ele­ments and indi­vid­u­als that they decry than any­thing that could be called “pro­gres­sive:” ” . . . . inde­pen­dent research into her back­ground and fund­ing has revealed ‘Demo­c­ra­t­ic Social­ist’ Oca­sio-Cortez is nei­ther a pro­gres­sive Demo­c­rat nor a good faith can­di­date. And for some­one with an eco­nom­ics degree — one of the only claims on her resume that checks out — the 28-year-old can­di­date has a lot to learn about cam­paign finance and elec­tion law. At any oth­er time, Oca­sio-Cortez’ myr­i­ad red flags — her unlike­ly vic­to­ry, antag­o­nis­tic rhetoric, nation­al ampli­fi­ca­tion, and shady fund­ing — would beg media scruti­ny. . . .This new breed of sup­posed “pro­gres­sives” — with their rad­i­cal­ized, anti-estab­lish­ment fer­vor — appear to have more in com­mon with that far-right insur­gency [the Tea Par­ty] than either group has with main­stream Amer­i­can pol­i­tics. . . . But we are not liv­ing in ordi­nary times — a sit­u­a­tion Oca­sio-Cortez and her “pro­gres­sive” posse are all too will­ing to exploit to accom­plish their destruc­tive goals. As nat­ur­al as any evo­lu­tion, the “Bernie or Bust” influ­ence oper­a­tion that infect­ed our 2016 elec­tion is alive, well, and adapt­ed for sur­vival. It’s new use­ful idiots are Oca­sio-Cortez and the murky entan­gle­ment of two new Polit­i­cal Action Com­mit­tees (PACs)— found­ed by The Young Turks’ scan­dal-plagued host Cenk Uygur and a group of tech-savvy ex-Bernie cam­paign staffers. . . .”

Ques­tion­able aspects of Team AOC include:

1.–Her entre­pre­neur­ial pre­tense, which appears to be illu­so­ry.
2.–Her ele­va­tion of undergraduate/internship activ­i­ties to be polit­i­cal posts.
3. –The dubi­ous fab­ric of her Bronx work­ing class cache: ” . . . . Oca­sio-Cortez has claimed to be a ‘third-gen­er­a­tion Bronx­ite’ from a ‘work­ing class’ fam­i­ly. . . . She grad­u­at­ed from the pre­dom­i­nate­ly white York­town High School locat­ed in York­town Heights, NY, where the aver­age house­hold income is $141,254 and aver­age house­hold net worth is $1,192,838. . . .”
4.–The fact that she appears to have vet­ted her­self as a can­di­date: ” . . . . A review of the core staff reveals sig­nif­i­cant crossover and a musi­cal chairs of board mem­bers between the two [PACs]. Oca­sio-Cortez assumed a lead­er­ship role with Jus­tice Democ­rats some­time in 2017 — there­by effec­tive­ly vet­ting her­self for the role of can­di­date. . . .”
5.–Brand New Con­gress recruit­ing can­di­dates to run as Repub­li­cans in red dis­tricts: ” . . . . Brand New Con­gress, the PAC we now see Oca­sio-Cortez criss-cross­ing the coun­try help­ing to pro­mote, has the per­plex­ing mis­sion of ‘attempt­ing to recruit Con­gres­sion­al can­di­dates to run as Repub­li­cans in red dis­tricts.’ . . .”
6.–The con­tra­dic­to­ry nature of Team AOC’s activ­i­ties is encap­su­lat­ed in the fol­low­ing ana­lyt­i­cal syn­op­sis: ” . . . . An analy­sis of FEC fil­ings shows that their net­work of PACs, LLCs, board and staff nav­i­gate in the same legal and eth­i­cal grey area their entire “anti-dark mon­ey” plat­form is based on com­bat­ting. Begin­ning with Jus­tice Democ­rats, the PAC has raised $2,100,399 over the course of the 2017–2018 elec­tion sea­son. Yet over that same time peri­od, the PAC has made zero inde­pen­dent expen­di­tures in sup­port of any can­di­dates. In fact, dozens of can­di­dates have instead made pay­ments to Jus­tice Democ­rats. . . .”
7.–The cen­tral role of the “Bernie Bots” in this unsa­vory activ­i­ty: ” . . . . A review of dis­burse­ments reveals that of the $2,026,298 spent to date, over $600,000 for “strate­gic con­sult­ing” ser­vices was direct­ed to Brand New Con­gress LLC — a busi­ness enti­ty con­trolled by Chakrabar­ti. Anoth­er $1 mil­lion in con­tri­bu­tions has been direct­ed to ex-Bernie staffers or their firms. This includes $222,000 to Mid­dle Seat Con­sult­ing LLC, run by Brand New Con­gress co-Founder Zack Exley, and about $800,000 in salaries and pay­roll costs. Because those LLCs have not dis­closed finan­cial reports, the pub­lic has no way of know­ing what that mon­ey was used for. . . .”
8.–Brand New Con­gress also ben­e­fit­ing the Bernie Bots: ” . . . . A review of Brand New Con­gress PAC fil­ings demon­strate a sim­i­lar move­ment of fundrais­ing dona­tions into the pock­ets of ex-Bernie “con­sul­tants”. Of the $477,688 raised, no inde­pen­dent expen­di­tures to can­di­dates were made, yet $261,000 was paid to Brand New Con­gress LLC and over $100,000 was dis­bursed as salaries or pay­roll costs. . . .”

Pro­gram High­lights Include:

1.–Review of key points of the fas­cist activ­i­ties of “Team Bose.”
2.–Review of Naren­dra Mod­i’s fush­ion of Hin­dut­va fas­cism with Team Bose.
3.–An overview of Cenk Uygur’s curi­ous resume.
9.–A con­stel­la­tion of high­ly ques­tion­able activ­i­ties in con­nec­tion with AOC’s defeat of 10-term Con­gress­man Joe Crow­ley, such as the role of the “Blue Amer­i­ca” PAC, UK Eng­lish copy: ” . . . . The meme-heavy social media pages for the PAC’s var­i­ous web­sites pushed out vit­ri­olic blog and social media posts dur­ing the pri­ma­ry, using bud­get graph­ics with British-Eng­lish copy to pro­mote hash­tags like #Abol­ishICE #Berniewould­have­won and #Mob­Boss­Crow­ley. . . .”

Pro­gram High­lights Include:

Review of key points of the fas­cist activ­i­ties of “Team Bose.”
Review of Naren­dra Mod­i’s fush­ion of Hin­dut­va fas­cism with Team Bose.
An overview of Cenk Uygur’s curi­ous resume.


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.


The Cambridge Analytica Microcosm in Our Panoptic Macrocosm

Let the Great Unfriend­ing Com­mence! Specif­i­cal­ly, the mass unfriend­ing of Face­book, which would be a well deserved unfriend­ing after the scan­dalous rev­e­la­tions in a recent series of arti­cles cen­tered around the claims of Christo­pher Wylie, a Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca whis­tle-blow­er who helped found the firm and worked there until late 2014 until he and oth­ers grew increas­ing­ly uncom­fort­able with the far right goals and ques­tion­able actions of the firm. And those ques­tion­able actions by Cam­bridge involve a larg­er and more scan­dalous Face­book pol­i­cy brought forth by a Fac­book whis­tle-blow­er, Sandy Parak­i­las: Face­book was hand­ing out exact­ly the kind of data col­lect­ed by Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca to all sorts of app devel­op­ers for years. Beyond that, it appears that Face­book real­ly did have an excep­tion­al­ly close rela­tion­ship with Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca’s research part­ner and was only both­ered by its data col­lec­tion when the media got wind of it. It also looks like Steve Ban­non was over­see­ing this entire process, although he claims to know noth­ing. Oh, and Palan­tir appears to have had an infor­mal rela­tion­ship with Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca this whole time. And this state of affairs is an exten­sion of how the inter­net has been used from its very con­cep­tion a half cen­tu­ry ago. And that’s all part of why the Great Unfriend­ing of Face­book real­ly is long over­due, along with a lot of oth­er reforms.