Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.
The tag 'Peter Thiel' is associated with 60 posts.

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

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

Highlights of discussion and analysis include:

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


Facebook’s Public Policy Manager for Ukraine Kateryna Kruk’s Nazi and Fascist Manifestations

In FTR #1074, we highlighted Facebook’s appointment of Kateryna Kruk to be its Public Policy Manager in Ukraine. Kruk is very close to the Atlantic Council, which was effectively positioned by Facebook to handle its management of “Fake News.” The Atlantic Council is a foundational element of the push for a new Cold War and has profound links to both U.S. intelligence and the fascist/Nazi milieu that grew out of the Reinhard Gehlen spy organization. In addition to having worked with Svoboda during the Euromaidan protests, Kruk has manifested other Nazi and fascist affiliations: 1.) In 2014, she tweeted that a man had asked her to convince his grandson not to join the Azov Battalion, a neo-Nazi militia. “I couldn’t do it,” she said. “I thanked that boy and blessed him.” And he then traveled to Luhansk to fight pro-Russian rebels. 2.) In March 2018, a 19-year neo-Nazi named Andriy “Dilly” Krivich was shot and killed by a sniper. Krivich–pictured above, at right–had been fighting with the fascist Ukrainian group Right Sector, and had posted photos on social media wearing Nazi German symbols. After he was killed, Kruk tweeted an homage to the teenage Nazi. (The Nazi was also lionized on Euromaidan Press’ Facebook page.) 3.) Kruk has staunchly defended the use of the slogan “Slava Ukraini,”which was first coined and popularized by Nazi-collaborating fascists, and is now the official salute of Ukraine’s army. 4.) She has also said that the Ukrainian fascist politician Andriy Parubiy, who co-founded a neo-Nazi party before later becoming the chairman of Ukraine’s parliament the Rada, is “acting smart,” writing, “Parubiy touche.” . . . .


FTR #1074 FakeBook: Walkin’ the Snake on the Earth Island with Facebook (FascisBook, Part 2; In Your Facebook, Part 4)

This program supplements past coverage of Facebook in FTR #’s 718, 946, 1021, 1039 noting how Facebook has networked with the very Hindutva fascist Indian elements and OUN/B successor organizations in Ukraine. This networking has been–ostensibly to combat fake news. The reality may well highlight that the Facebook/BJP-RSS/OUN/B links generates fake news, rather than interdicting it. The fake news so generated, however, will be to the liking of the fascists in power in both countries, manifesting as a “Serpent’s Walk” revisionist scenario.

Key elements of discussion and analysis include:

1.–Indian politics has been largely dominated by fake news, spread by social media: ” . . . . In the continuing Indian elections, as 900 million people are voting to elect representatives to the lower house of the Parliament, disinformation and hate speech are drowning out truth on social media networks in the country and creating a public health crisis like the pandemics of the past century. This contagion of a staggering amount of morphed images, doctored videos and text messages is spreading largely through messaging services and influencing what India’s voters watch and read on their smartphones. A recent study by Microsoft found that over 64 percent Indians encountered fake news online, the highest reported among the 22 countries surveyed. . . . These platforms are filled with fake news and disinformation aimed at influencing political choices during the Indian elections. . . . ”
2.–Narendra Modi’s Hindutva fascist BJP has been the primary beneficiary of fake news, and his regime has partnered with Facebook: ” . . . . The hearing was an exercise in absurdist theater because the governing B.J.P. has been the chief beneficiary of divisive content that reaches millions because of the way social media algorithms, especially Facebook, amplify ‘engaging’ articles. . . .”
3.–Rajesh Jain is among those BJP functionaries who serve Facebook, as well as the Hindutva fascists: ” . . . . By the time Rajesh Jain was scaling up his operations in 2013, the BJP’s information technology (IT) strategists had begun interacting with social media platforms like Facebook and its partner WhatsApp. If supporters of the BJP are to be believed, the party was better than others in utilising the micro-targeting potential of the platforms. However, it is also true that Facebook’s employees in India conducted training workshops to help the members of the BJP’s IT cell. . . .”
4.–Dr. Hiren Joshi is another of the BJP operatives who is heavily involved with Facebook. ” . . . . Also assisting the social media and online teams to build a larger-than-life image for Modi before the 2014 elections was a team led by his right-hand man Dr Hiren Joshi, who (as already stated) is a very important adviser to Modi whose writ extends way beyond information technology and social media. . . . Joshi has had, and continues to have, a close and long-standing association with Facebook’s senior employees in India. . . .”
5.–Shivnath Thukral, who was hired by Facebook in 2017 to be its Public Policy Director for India & South Asia, worked with Joshi’s team in 2014. ” . . . . The third team, that was intensely focused on building Modi’s personal image, was headed by Hiren Joshi himself who worked out of the then Gujarat Chief Minister’s Office in Gandhinagar. The members of this team worked closely with staffers of Facebook in India, more than one of our sources told us. As will be detailed later, Shivnath Thukral, who is currently an important executive in Facebook, worked with this team. . . .”
6.–An ostensibly remorseful BJP politician–Prodyut Bora–highlighted the dramatic effect of Facebook and its WhatsApp subsidiary have had on India’s politics: ” . . . . In 2009, social media platforms like Facebook and WhatsApp had a marginal impact in India’s 20 big cities. By 2014, however, it had virtually replaced the traditional mass media. In 2019, it will be the most pervasive media in the country. . . .”
7.–A concise statement about the relationship between the BJP and Facebook was issued by BJP tech office Vinit Goenka: ” . . . . At one stage in our interview with [Vinit] Goenka that lasted over two hours, we asked him a pointed question: ‘Who helped whom more, Facebook or the BJP?’ He smiled and said: ‘That’s a difficult question. I wonder whether the BJP helped Facebook more than Facebook helped the BJP. You could say, we helped each other.’ . . .”

In Ukraine, as well, Facebook and the OUN/B successor organizations function symbiotically:

(Note that the Atlantic Council is dominant in the array of individuals and institutions constituting the Ukrainian fascist/Facebook cooperative effort. We have spoken about the Atlantic Council in numerous programs, including FTR #943. The organization has deep operational links to elements of U.S. intelligence, as well as the OUN/B milieu that dominates the Ukrainian diaspora.)

Overlapping cybersecurity outfit CrowdStrike, the Atlantic Council has been at the forefront of the “Russia” was behind the high-profile hacks meme:

CrowdStrike–at the epicenter of the supposed Russian hacking controversy is noteworthy. Its co-founder and chief technology officer, Dmitry Alperovitch is a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, financed by elements that are at the foundation of fanning the flames of the New Cold War: “In this respect, it is worth noting that one of the commercial cybersecurity companies the government has relied on is Crowdstrike, which was one of the companies initially brought in by the DNC to investigate the alleged hacks. . . . Dmitri Alperovitch is also a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. . . . The connection between [Crowdstrike co-founder and chief technology officer Dmitri] Alperovitch and the Atlantic Council has gone largely unremarked upon, but it is relevant given that the Atlantic Council—which is is funded in part by the US State Department, NATO, the governments of Latvia and Lithuania, the Ukrainian World Congress, and the Ukrainian oligarch Victor Pinchuk—has been among the loudest voices calling for a new Cold War with Russia. As I pointed out in the pages of The Nation in November, the Atlantic Council has spent the past several years producing some of the most virulent specimens of the new Cold War propaganda. . . . ”

In May of 2018, Facebook decided to effectively outsource the work of identifying propaganda and misinformation during elections to the Atlantic Council, so choosing someone like Kruk who already has the Atlantic Council’s stamp of approval is in keeping with that trend:

” . . . . Facebook is partnering with the Atlantic Council in another effort to combat election-related propaganda and misinformation from proliferating on its service. The social networking giant said Thursday that a partnership with the Washington D.C.-based think tank would help it better spot disinformation during upcoming world elections. The partnership is one of a number of steps Facebook is taking to prevent the spread of propaganda and fake news after failing to stop it from spreading on its service in the run up to the 2016 U.S. presidential election. . . .”

Since autumn 2018, Facebook has looked to hire a public policy manager for Ukraine. The job came after years of Ukrainians criticizing the platform for takedowns of its activists’ pages and the spread of [alleged] Russian disinfo targeting Kyiv. Now, it appears to have one: @Kateryna_Kruk.— Christopher Miller (@ChristopherJM) June 3, 2019

Kateryna Kruk:

1.–Is Facebook’s Public Policy Manager for Ukraine as of May of this year, according to her LinkedIn page.
2.–Worked as an analyst and TV host for the Ukrainian ‘anti-Russian propaganda’ outfit StopFake. StopFake is the creation of Irena Chalupa, who works for the Atlantic Council and the Ukrainian government and appears to be the sister of Andrea and Alexandra Chalupa.
3.–Joined the “Kremlin Watch” team at the European Values think-tank, in October of 2017.
4.–Received the Atlantic Council’s Freedom award for her communications work during the Euromaidan protests in June of 2014.
5.–Worked for OUN/B successor organization Svoboda during the Euromaidan protests. “ . . . ‘There are people who don’t support Svoboda because of some of their slogans, but they know it’s the most active political party and go to them for help, said Svoboda volunteer Kateryna Kruk. . . . ”
6.–Also has a number of articles on the Atlantic Council’s Blog. Here’s a blog post from August of 2018 where she advocates for the creation of an independent Ukrainian Orthodox Church to diminish the influence of the Russian Orthodox Church.
7.–According to her LinkedIn page has also done extensive work for the Ukrainian government. From March 2016 to January 2017 she was the Strategic Communications Manager for the Ukrainian parliament where she was responsible for social media and international communications. From January-April 2017 she was the Head of Communications at the Ministry of Health.
8.–Was not only was a volunteer for Svoboda during the 2014 Euromaidan protests, but openly celebrated on twitter the May 2014 massacre in Odessa when the far right burned dozens of protestors alive. Kruk’s twitter feed is set to private now so there isn’t public access to her old tweet, but people have screen captures of it. Here’s a tweet from Yasha Levine with a screenshot of Kruk’s May 2, 2014 tweet where she writes: “#Odessa cleaned itself from terrorists, proud for city fighting for its identity.glory to fallen heroes..” She even threw in a “glory to fallen heroes” at the end of her tweet celebrating this massacre. Keep in mind that it was month after this tweet that the Atlantic Council gave her that Freedom Award for her communications work during the protests.
9.–In 2014, . . . tweeted that a man had asked her to convince his grandson not to join the Azov Battalion, a neo-Nazi militia. “I couldn’t do it,” she said. “I thanked that boy and blessed him.” And he then traveled to Luhansk to fight pro-Russian rebels.
10.–Lionized a Nazi sniper killed in Ukraine’s civil war. In March 2018, a 19-year neo-Nazi named Andriy “Dilly” Krivich was shot and killed by a sniper. Krivich had been fighting with the fascist Ukrainian group Right Sector, and had posted photos on social media wearing Nazi German symbols. After he was killed, Kruk tweeted an homage to the teenage Nazi. (The Nazi was also lionized on Euromaidan Press’ Facebook page.)
11.–Has staunchly defended the use of the slogan “Slava Ukraini,”which was first coined and popularized by Nazi-collaborating fascists, and is now the official salute of Ukraine’s army.
12.–Has also said that the Ukrainian fascist politician Andriy Parubiy, who co-founded a neo-Nazi party before later becoming the chairman of Ukraine’s parliament the Rada, is “acting smart,” writing, “Parubiy touche.” . . . .

In the context of Facebook’s institutional level networking with fascists, it is worth noting that social media themselves have been cited as a contributing factor to right-wing domestic terrorism. ” . . . The first is stochastic terrorism: ‘The use of mass, public communication, usually against a particular individual or group, which incites or inspires acts of terrorism which are statistically probable but happen seemingly at random.’ I encountered the idea in a Friday thread from data scientist Emily Gorcenski, who used it to tie together four recent attacks. . . . .”

The program concludes with review (from FTR #1039) of the psychological warfare strategy adapted by Cambridge Analytica to the political arena. Christopher Wylie–the former head of research at Cambridge Analytica who became one of the key insider whistle-blowers about how Cambridge Analytica operated and the extent of Facebook’s knowledge about it–gave an interview to Campaign Magazine. (We dealt with Cambridge Analytica in FTR #’s 946, 1021.) Wylie recounts how, as director of research at Cambridge Analytica, his original role was to determine how the company could use the information warfare techniques used by SCL Group – Cambridge Analytica’s parent company and a defense contractor providing psy op services for the British military. Wylie’s job was to adapt the psychological warfare strategies that SCL had been using on the battlefield to the online space. As Wylie put it:

“ . . . . When you are working in information operations projects, where your target is a combatant, the autonomy or agency of your targets is not your primary consideration. It is fair game to deny and manipulate information, coerce and exploit any mental vulnerabilities a person has, and to bring out the very worst characteristics in that person because they are an enemy…But if you port that over to a democratic system, if you run campaigns designed to undermine people’s ability to make free choices and to understand what is real and not real, you are undermining democracy and treating voters in the same way as you are treating terrorists. . . . .”

Wylie also draws parallels between the psychological operations used on democratic audiences and the battlefield techniques used to be build an insurgency.


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.


FTR #1029 “The Will to Create Man Anew”: Eugenics, Past, Present and Future

Adolf Hitler: “National Socialism . . . . is more even than a religion: it is the will to create man anew.”

In numerous programs, we have touched on eugenics and some of the outcomes of eugenics philosophy, including the growth of the Nazi extermination programs from the Knauer case. Some of these programs are: FTR #’s 32, 117, 124, 140, 141, 534, 664, and 908. A look at future possibilities of eugenics–something that we discuss in this program–are highlighted in FTR #909 and AFA #39.

Important book on the subject include The War Against the Weak, by Edwin Black and The Nazi Connection by Stephan Kuhl. In FTR #1013, we recapped Peter Levenda’s prescient analysis of the overlap between eugenics and fascist iterations of anti-immigrant sentiment. In this broadcast, eugenics, anti-immigration sentiment, genetic engineering and the “immortality-striving” Transhumanist movement are highlighted, noting the progression from the fascism of the 1930’s to imminent steps that would augment the ascension of a truly “superhuman” elite, to the ultimately lethal detriment of the rest of society.

We begin with prognostications about the future.

Professor Stephen Hawking has predicted that gene-editing techniques will lead to the creation of superhumans, who will supersede those who do not benefit from such technologies. ” . . . . The scientist presented the possibility that genetic engineering could create a new species of superhuman that could destroy the rest of humanity. . . . In ‘Brief Answers to the Big Questions,’ Hawking’s final thoughts on the universe, the physicist suggested wealthy people would soon be able to choose to edit genetic makeup to create superhumans with enhanced memory, disease resistance, intelligence and longevity. . . . ‘Once such superhumans appear, there will be significant political problems with unimproved humans, who won’t be able to compete,’ he wrote. ‘Presumably, they will die out, or become unimportant. Instead, there will be a race of self-designing beings who are improving at an ever-increasing rate.’ . . .”

The observations of Professor Hawking concerning the role of genetic engineering in the ascension of superhumans is the Silicon Valley-based Transhumanist movement. ” . . . . Thiel and other eccentric, wealthy tech-celebrities, such as Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg, have taken the next step to counteract that inequality – by embarking on a quest to live forever. . . .Thiel and many like him have been investing in research on life extension, part of transhumanism. Drawing on fields as diverse as neurotechnology, artificial intelligence, biomedical engineering and philosophy, transhumanists believe that the limitations of the human body and mortality can be transcended by machines and technology. The ultimate aim is immortality. Some believe this is achievable by 2045. . . .”

Michael Anissimov–a previous media officer at the Thiel-funded Machine Intelligence Research Institute–published a white nationalist manifesto. In a 2013 interview. ” . . . . Thiel himself is a Donald Trump supporter. A one-time associate Michael Anissimov, previous media officer at Machine Intelligence Research Institute, a Thiel-funded AI think tank, has published a white nationalist manifesto. In a 2013 interview, Anissimov said that there were already significant differences in intelligence between the races, and that a transhumanist society would inevitably lead to ‘people lording it over others in a way that has never been seen before in history’. It doesn’t take much to guess who would be doing the ‘lording’. . . .”

The identity of the people doing the “lording” may be gleaned from the following: ” . . . . Zoltan Istvan, the transhumanist candidate for governor of California, told Tech Insider that ‘a lot of the most important work in longevity is coming from a handful of the billionaires…around six or seven of them’. . . .”

Benito Mussolini defined fascism as “corporatism,” and labeled his system “The Corporate State.” In that context, it is instructive to weigh transhumanism: ” . . . . You basically can’t separate transhumanism from capitalism. An idea that’s so enthusiastically pursued by Musk and Peter Thiel, and by the founders of Google, is one that needs to be seen as a mutation of capitalism, not a cure for it.’ . . . . If those who form society in the age of transhumanism are men like Musk and Thiel, it’s probable that this society will have few social safety nets. There will be an uneven rate of technological progress globally; even a post-human society can replicate the unequal global wealth distribution which we see today. In some cities and countries, inhabitants may live forever, while in others the residents die of malnutrition. If people don’t die off, the environmental consequences – from widespread natural resource devastation to unsustainable energy demands – would be widespread. . . . ”

These are auguries of a future-to-come. A look at the present suggests that these prognostications are not unrealistic.

Nazis/white supremacists are already distorting genetic research to suit their own ends. Not surprisingly, academics in the field have not been enthusiastic about engaging them. In the past, genetic research has been supportive of eugenics philosophy.

” . . . . Nowhere on the agenda of the annual meeting of the American Society of Human Genetics, being held in San Diego this week, is a topic plaguing many of its members: the recurring appropriation of the field’s research in the name of white supremacy. ‘Sticking your neck out on political issues is difficult,’ said Jennifer Wagner, a bioethicist and president of the group’s social issues committee, who had sought to convene a panel on the racist misuse of genetics and found little traction. But the specter of the field’s ignominious past, which includes support for the American eugenics movement, looms large for many geneticists in light of today’s white identity politics. They also worry about how new tools that are allowing them to home in on the genetic basis of hot-button traits like intelligence will be misconstrued to fit racist ideologies. . . .”

A 14-word posting on the Department of Homeland Security website has raised eyebrows. We believe it is an example of dog-whistling by fascist/Nazi elements inside of the DHS. The “Fourteen Words” were minted by Order member and Alan Berg murder getaway driver David Lane. “88” is a well-known clandestine Nazi salute. In the immediate aftermath of World War II, using the Nazi salute “Heil Hitler” was banned. To circumvent that, Nazis said “88,” because H is the eighth letter in the alphabet.

The numbers 14 and 88 are often combined by Nazis.

The title of the DHS posting is: “We Must Secure The Border And Build The Wall To Make America Safe Again.” The 14 words of David Lane are: “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.”
A 14-word posting on the Department of Homeland Security website has raised eyebrows. We believe it is an example of dog-whistling by fascist/Nazi elements inside of the DHS. The “Fourteen Words” were minted by Order member and Alan Berg murder getaway driver David Lane. “88” is a well-known clandestine Nazi salute. In the immediate aftermath of World War II, using the Nazi salute “Heil Hitler” was banned. To circumvent that, Nazis said “88,” because H is the eighth letter in the alphabet.

The numbers 14 and 88 are often combined by Nazis.

The title of the DHS posting is: “We Must Secure The Border And Build The Wall To Make America Safe Again.” The 14 words of David Lane are: “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.”

It comes as no surprise that Ian M. Smith–a former DHS Trump appointee–had documented links with white supremacists.

Ian Smith was not alone. John Feere and Julie Kirchener–both hard line anti-immigration activists–have been hired by Team Trump. ” . . . . Jon Feere, a former legal policy analyst for the Center for Immigration Studies, or CIS, has been hired as an adviser to Thomas D. Homan, the acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, according to Homeland Security spokesman David Lapan. At Customs and Border Protection, Julie Kirchner, the former executive director of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, or FAIR, has been hired as an adviser to Customs and Border Protection acting Commissioner Kevin McAleenan, said Lapan. The hiring of Feere and Kirchner at the federal agencies has alarmed immigrants’ rights activists. CIS and FAIR are think tanks based in Washington that advocate restricting legal and illegal immigration. The two organizations were founded by John Tanton, a retired Michigan ophthalmologist who has openly embraced eugenics, the science of improving the genetic quality of the human population by encouraging selective breeding and at times, advocating for the sterilization of genetically undesirable groups. . . .”

The Federation for Immigration Reform has been partly funded by the Pioneer Fund, one of many organizations that operated in favor of the eugenics policy of Nazi Germany. “. . . . Between 1985 and 1994, FAIR received around $1.2 million in grants from the Pioneer Fund. The Pioneer Fund is a eugenicist organization that was started in 1937 by men close to the Nazi regime who wanted to pursue “race betterment” by promoting the genetic lines of American whites. Now led by race scientist J. Philippe Rushton, the fund continues to back studies intended to reveal the inferiority of minorities to whites. . . .”


FTR #1021 FascisBook: (In Your Facebook, Part 3–A Virtual Panopticon, Part 3)

This program follows up FTR #’s 718 and 946, we examined Facebook, noting how it’s cute, warm, friendly public facade obscured a cynical, reactionary, exploitative and, ultimately “corporatist” ethic and operation.

The UK’s Channel 4 sent an investigative journalist undercover to work for one of the third-party companies Facebook pays to moderate content. This investigative journalist was trained to take a hands-off approach to far right violent content and fake news because that kind of content engages users for longer and increases ad revenues. ” . . . . An investigative journalist who went undercover as a Facebook moderator in Ireland says the company lets pages from far-right fringe groups ‘exceed deletion threshold,’ and that those pages are ‘subject to different treatment in the same category as pages belonging to governments and news organizations.’ The accusation is a damning one, undermining Facebook’s claims that it is actively trying to cut down on fake news, propaganda, hate speech, and other harmful content that may have significant real-world impact.The undercover journalist detailed his findings in a new documentary titled Inside Facebook: Secrets of the Social Network, that just aired on the UK’s Channel 4. . . . .”

Next, we present a frightening story about AggregateIQ (AIQ), the Cambridge Analytica offshoot to which Cambridge Analytica outsourced the development of its “Ripon” psychological profile software development, and which later played a key role in the pro-Brexit campaign. The article also notes that, despite Facebook’s pledge to kick Cambridge Analytica off of its platform, security researchers just found 13 apps available for Facebook that appear to be developed by AIQ. If Facebook really was trying to kick Cambridge Analytica off of its platform, it’s not trying very hard. One app is even named “AIQ Johnny Scraper” and it’s registered to AIQ.

The article is also a reminder that you don’t necessarily need to download a Cambridge Analytica/AIQ app for them to be tracking your information and reselling it to clients. Security researcher stumbled upon a new repository of curated Facebook data AIQ was creating for a client and it’s entirely possible a lot of the data was scraped from public Facebook posts.

” . . . . AggregateIQ, a Canadian consultancy alleged to have links to Cambridge Analytica, collected and stored the data of hundreds of thousands of Facebook users, according to redacted computer files seen by the Financial Times.The social network banned AggregateIQ, a data company, from its platform as part of a clean-up operation following the Cambridge Analytica scandal, on suspicion that the company could have been improperly accessing user information. However, Chris Vickery, a security researcher, this week found an app on the platform called ‘AIQ Johnny Scraper’ registered to the company, raising fresh questions about the effectiveness of Facebook’s policing efforts. . . .”

In addition, the story highlights a forms of micro-targeting companies like AIQ make available that’s fundamentally different from the algorithmic micro-targeting associated with social media abuses: micro-targeting by a human who wants to specifically look and see what you personally have said about various topics on social media. This is a service where someone can type you into a search engine and AIQ’s product will serve up a list of all the various political posts you’ve made or the politically-relevant “Likes” you’ve made.

Next, we note that Facebook is getting sued by an app developer for acting like the mafia and turning access to all that user data as the key enforcement tool:

“Mark Zuckerberg faces allegations that he developed a ‘malicious and fraudulent scheme’ to exploit vast amounts of private data to earn Facebook billions and force rivals out of business. A company suing Facebook in a California court claims the social network’s chief executive ‘weaponised’ the ability to access data from any user’s network of friends – the feature at the heart of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.  . . . . ‘The evidence uncovered by plaintiff demonstrates that the Cambridge Analytica scandal was not the result of mere negligence on Facebook’s part but was rather the direct consequence of the malicious and fraudulent scheme Zuckerberg designed in 2012 to cover up his failure to anticipate the world’s transition to smartphones,’ legal documents said. . . . . Six4Three alleges up to 40,000 companies were effectively defrauded in this way by Facebook. It also alleges that senior executives including Zuckerberg personally devised and managed the scheme, individually deciding which companies would be cut off from data or allowed preferential access. . . . ‘They felt that it was better not to know. I found that utterly horrifying,’ he [former Facebook executive Sandy Parakilas] said. ‘If true, these allegations show a huge betrayal of users, partners and regulators. They would also show Facebook using its monopoly power to kill competition and putting profits over protecting its users.’ . . . .”

The above-mentioned Cambridge Analytica is officially going bankrupt, along with the elections division of its parent company, SCL Group. Apparently their bad press has driven away clients.

Is this truly the end of Cambridge Analytica?

No.

They’re rebranding under a new company, Emerdata. Intriguingly, Cambridge Analytica’s transformation into Emerdata is noteworthy because  the firm’s directors include Johnson Ko Chun Shun, a Hong Kong financier and business partner of Erik Prince: ” . . . . But the company’s announcement left several questions unanswered, including who would retain the company’s intellectual property — the so-called psychographic voter profiles built in part with data from Facebook — and whether Cambridge Analytica’s data-mining business would return under new auspices. . . . In recent months, executives at Cambridge Analytica and SCL Group, along with the Mercer family, have moved to created a new firm, Emerdata, based in Britain, according to British records. The new company’s directors include Johnson Ko Chun Shun, a Hong Kong financier and business partner of Erik Prince. . . . An executive and a part owner of SCL Group, Nigel Oakes, has publicly described Emerdata as a way of rolling up the two companies under one new banner. . . . ”

In the Big Data internet age, there’s one area of personal information that has yet to be incorporated into the profiles on everyone–personal banking information.  ” . . . . If tech companies are in control of payment systems, they’ll know “every single thing you do,” Kapito said. It’s a different business model from traditional banking: Data is more valuable for tech firms that sell a range of different products than it is for banks that only sell financial services, he said. . . .”

Facebook is approaching a number of big banks – JP Morgan, Wells Fargo, Citigroup, and US Bancorp – requesting financial data including card transactions and checking-account balances. Facebook is joined byIn this by Google and Amazon who are also trying to get this kind of data.

Facebook assures us that this information, which will be opt-in, is to be solely for offering new services on Facebook messenger. Facebook also assures us that this information, which would obviously be invaluable for delivering ads, won’t be used for ads at all. It will ONLY be used for Facebook’s Messenger service.  This is a dubious assurance, in light of Facebook’s past behavior.

” . . . . Facebook increasingly wants to be a platform where people buy and sell goods and services, besides connecting with friends. The company over the past year asked JPMorgan Chase & Co., Wells Fargo & Co., Citigroup Inc. and U.S. Bancorp to discuss potential offerings it could host for bank customers on Facebook Messenger, said people familiar with the matter. Facebook has talked about a feature that would show its users their checking-account balances, the people said. It has also pitched fraud alerts, some of the people said. . . .”

Peter Thiel’s surveillance firm Palantir was apparently deeply involved with Cambridge Analytica’s gaming of personal data harvested from Facebook in order to engineer an electoral victory for Trump. Thiel was an early investor in Facebook, at one point was its largest shareholder and is still one of its largest shareholders. ” . . . . It was a Palantir employee in London, working closely with the data scientists building Cambridge’s psychological profiling technology, who suggested the scientists create their own app — a mobile-phone-based personality quiz — to gain access to Facebook users’ friend networks, according to documents obtained by The New York Times. The revelations pulled Palantir — co-founded by the wealthy libertarian Peter Thiel — into the furor surrounding Cambridge, which improperly obtained Facebook data to build analytical tools it deployed on behalf of Donald J. Trump and other Republican candidates in 2016. Mr. Thiel, a supporter of President Trump, serves on the board at Facebook. ‘There were senior Palantir employees that were also working on the Facebook data,’ said Christopher Wylie, a data expert and Cambridge Analytica co-founder, in testimony before British lawmakers on Tuesday. . . . The connections between Palantir and Cambridge Analytica were thrust into the spotlight by Mr. Wylie’s testimony on Tuesday. Both companies are linked to tech-driven billionaires who backed Mr. Trump’s campaign: Cambridge is chiefly owned by Robert Mercer, the computer scientist and hedge fund magnate, while Palantir was co-founded in 2003 by Mr. Thiel, who was an initial investor in Facebook. . . .”

Program Highlights Include:

1.–Facebook’s project to incorporate brain-to-computer interface into its operating system: ” . . . Facebook wants to build its own “brain-to-computer interface” that would allow us to send thoughts straight to a computer. ‘What if you could type directly from your brain?’ Regina Dugan, the head of the company’s secretive hardware R&D division, Building 8, asked from the stage. Dugan then proceeded to show a video demo of a woman typing eight words per minute directly from the stage. In a few years, she said, the team hopes to demonstrate a real-time silent speech system capable of delivering a hundred words per minute. ‘That’s five times faster than you can type on your smartphone, and it’s straight from your brain,’ she said. ‘Your brain activity contains more information than what a word sounds like and how it’s spelled; it also contains semantic information of what those words mean.’ . . .”
2.–” . . . . Brain-computer interfaces are nothing new. DARPA, which Dugan used to head, has invested heavily in brain-computer interface technologies to do things like cure mental illness and restore memories to soldiers injured in war. But what Facebook is proposing is perhaps more radical—a world in which social media doesn’t require picking up a phone or tapping a wrist watch in order to communicate with your friends; a world where we’re connected all the time by thought alone. . . .”
3.–” . . . . Facebook’s Building 8 is modeled after DARPA and its projects tend to be equally ambitious. . . .”
4.–” . . . . But what Facebook is proposing is perhaps more radical—a world in which social media doesn’t require picking up a phone or tapping a wrist watch in order to communicate with your friends; a world where we’re connected all the time by thought alone. . . .”
5.–” . . . . Facebook hopes to use optical neural imaging technology to scan the brain 100 times per second to detect thoughts and turn them into text. Meanwhile, it’s working on ‘skin-hearing’ that could translate sounds into haptic feedback that people can learn to understand like braille. . . .”
6.–” . . . . Worryingly, Dugan eventually appeared frustrated in response to my inquiries about how her team thinks about safety precautions for brain interfaces, saying, ‘The flip side of the question that you’re asking is ‘why invent it at all?’ and I just believe that the optimistic perspective is that on balance, technological advances have really meant good things for the world if they’re handled responsibly.’ . . . .”
7.–Some telling observations by Nigel Oakes, the founder of Cambridge Analytica parent firm SCL: ” . . . . . . . . The panel has published audio records in which an executive tied to Cambridge Analytica discusses how the Trump campaign used techniques used by the Nazis to target voters. . . .”
8.–Further exposition of Oakes’ statement: ” . . . . Adolf Hitler ‘didn’t have a problem with the Jews at all, but people didn’t like the Jews,’ he told the academic, Emma L. Briant, a senior lecturer in journalism at the University of Essex. He went on to say that Donald J. Trump had done the same thing by tapping into grievances toward immigrants and Muslims. . . . ‘What happened with Trump, you can forget all the microtargeting and microdata and whatever, and come back to some very, very simple things,’ he told Dr. Briant. ‘Trump had the balls, and I mean, really the balls, to say what people wanted to hear.’ . . .”
9.–Observations about the possibilities of Facebook’s goal of having AI governing the editorial functions of its content: As noted in a Popular Mechanics article: ” . . . When the next pow­er­ful AI comes along, it will see its first look at the world by look­ing at our faces. And if we stare it in the eyes and shout ‘we’re AWFUL lol,’ the lol might be the one part it doesn’t understand. . . .”
10.–Microsoft’s Tay Chatbot offers a glimpse into this future: As one Twitter user noted, employing sarcasm: “Tay went from ‘humans are super cool’ to full nazi in <24 hrs and I’m not at all concerned about the future of AI.”


FTR #1017 Supreme Court Trump Card: Family Trump, Family [Anthony] Kennedy and Peter Thiel

 Much has been said about Donald Trump’s nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to become a Supreme Court justice, replacing Anthony Kennnedy.

In this program, we highlight extensive networking between the Trump and Kennedy families and, in turn, some apparent “deep networking” between some of the individuals in the Trump/Kennedy nexus and institutions linked to key elements of the remarkable and deadly Bormann flight capital network.

Deutsche Bank and the shadow of the I.G. Farben chemical complex figure into the latter part of this equation.

The connections between the family of Anthony Kennedy and the Trump milieu run deep. Anthony Kennedy’s son Justin was  Trump’s  banker at Deutsche Bank. In FTR #919, we analyzed a New York Times article highlighting Donald Trump’s altogether opaque real estate developments and evidence that those projects had significant links to elements of the Bormann capital network.

In that program we set forth the primary role of Deutsche Bank in financing Trump’s real estate projects.

” . . . While many big banks have shunned him, Deutsche Bank AG has been a steadfast financial backer of the Republican presidential candidate’s business interests. Since 1998, the bank has led or participated in loans of at least $2.5 billion to companies affiliated with Mr. Trump, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of public records and people familiar with the matter. That doesn’t include at least another $1 billion in loan commitments that Deutsche Bank made to Trump-affiliated entities. The long-standing connection makes Frankfurt-based Deutsche Bank, which has a large U.S. operation and has been grappling with reputational problems and an almost 50% stock-price decline, the financial institution with probably the strongest ties to the controversial New York businessman. . . .”

The fact that Deutsche Bank is the primary financial backer of “Trump Incorporated” is of primary importance. The bank is central to the Bormann capital network.

The connections between the family of Anthony Kennedy and the Trump milieu run deep. Anthony Kennedy’s son Justin was  Trump’s  banker at Deutsche Bank.

Furthermore, jurists who clerked for Anthony Kennedy figure prominently in Trump’s judicial appointments:

1.–” . . . . He [Trump] picked Justice Neil M. Gorsuch, who had served as a law clerk to Justice Kennedy, to fill Justice Scalia’s seat. . . .”
2.–” . . . . Then, after Justice Gorsuch’s nomination was announced, a White House official singled out two candidates for the next Supreme Court vacancy: Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and Judge Raymond M. Kethledge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, in Cincinnati. The two judges had something in common: They had both clerked for Justice Kennedy. . . .”
3.–” . . . . In the meantime, as the White House turned to stocking the lower courts, it did not overlook Justice Kennedy’s clerks. Mr. Trump nominated three of them to federal appeals courts: Judges Stephanos Bibas and Michael Scudder, both of whom have been confirmed, and Eric Murphy, the Ohio solicitor general, whom Mr. Trump nominated to the Sixth Circuit this month. . . .”
4.–” . . . . Justice Kennedy’s son, Justin . . . . spent more than a decade at Deutsche Bank, eventually rising to become the bank’s global head of real estate capital markets, and he worked closely with Mr. Trump when he was a real estate developer, according to two people with knowledge of his role. During Mr. Kennedy’s tenure, Deutsche Bank became Mr. Trump’s most important lender, dispensing well over $1 billion in loans to him for the renovation and construction of skyscrapers in New York and Chicago at a time other mainstream banks were wary of doing business with him because of his troubled business history. . . .”

After Kennedy left Deutsche Bank in 2009 he went on to become co-CEO LNR Property LLC. LNR Property saved Jared Kushner’s midtown Manhattan property in 2011:

1.–” . . . . from 2010–2013 Justin Kennedy was the co-CEO of LNR Property LLC with Tobin Cobb. . . .”
2.–” . . . . According the New York Times, in 2007 Kushner Companies purchased ‘an aluminum-clad office tower in Midtown Manhattan, for a record price of $1.8 billion.’ At the time the NYT wrote that this deal was ‘considered a classic example of reckless underwriting. The transaction was so highly leveraged that the cash flow from rents amounted to only 65 percent of the debt service.’ . . .”
3.– ” . . . Who came to the rescue? None other than LNR Property, the company whose CEO at the time was Justin Kennedy. According to the NYT and the Real Deal, Mr. Kushner and LNR ‘reached a possible agreement with LNR Property, a firm specializing in restructuring troubled debt and which oversees the mortgage, that would allow him to retain control of the tower by modifying the terms of the $1.2 billion mortgage tied to the office portion of the building.’ . . .”

The links between TrumpWorld and Anthony Kennedy’s sons is deeper still. Kennedy’s other son Gregory, has long-standing ties to Trump Silicon Valley adviser Peter Thiel, whom we first analyzed in FTR #718.

” . . . . . . . . Kennedy’s seat, meantime, seemed destined to go to Kavanaugh, thanks in part to the glowing review of Kennedy, whose son, Justin, knows Donald Trump Jr. through New York real estate circles, and whose other adult child has connections to Trump World via the president’s 2016 Silicon Valley adviser Peter Thiel, most recently when the Kennedy firm Disruptive Technology Advisers worked with Thiel’s Palantir Technologies. . . .”

Gregory Kennedy’s DTA has an unusually close relationship with Palantir, a company that has helped the Trump administration.

Kennedy’s DTA has other personal connections to Palantir. Alex Fishman and Alex Davis, two other DTA founders, “enjoyed a very close relationship” with Palantir co-founder Alex Karp, according to the lawsuit.

It should be noted that the alleged secrecy with which Palantir treats its operating and investing information is characteristic of Bormann organizations. A closeted, insiders-only operating ethic serves the need for this consummately powerful organization to maintain a relatively low profile, even as it gains power, influence and wealth.

” . . . . Yet Palantir — whose stock changes hands only through private trades — goes to great lengths to keep any detailed information about its business private. . . .”

A lawsuit by Palantir investor KT4 Partners alleges that Palantir is illegally blocking investors from selling shares in the company and that Kennedy’s Disruptive Technology Advisors (DTA) is a key partner and beneficiary of this strategy.

KT4 claims that when it tried to sell its shares of Palantir to a third-party, Palantir would have DTA contact the third-party and convince them to have Palantir sells them the shares directly instead. DTA would then collect a commission.

The central dynamic in the allegations of plaintiff (and Palantir investor) KT4 is set forth as follows: ” . . . . But remarkably, KT4 claims that when Palantir receives information from an investor about a planned sale, it uses that information to contact the buyer and persuade them instead to buy shares directly from the company or from certain Palantir insiders. One particular broker, Disruptive Technology Advisers, or DTA, repeatedly gets commissions from these sales, even when it ‘performed no legitimate work,’ KT4 claims. KT4 says it experienced interference by Palantir when it tried to sell shares to Highbridge Capital Management, a hedge fund that was owned by JPMorgan Chase, in May 2015. After KT4 notified Palantir of the planned sale, Palantir turned around and instructed DTA to ‘take the opportunity, on Palantir’s behalf,’and arrange a sale from Palantir to Highbridge instead, according to the lawsuit. . . .”

In FTR #946, we examined Cambridge Analytica, its Trump and Steve Bannon-linked tech firm that harvested Facebook data on behalf of the Trump campaign.

Peter Thiel’s Palantir was apparently deeply involved with Cambridge Analytica’s gaming of personal data harvested from Facebook in order to engineer an electoral victory for Trump, setting the GOP campaign to control the Supreme Court in a deeper, broader context.

Thiel was an early investor in Facebook, at one point was its largest shareholder and is still one of its largest shareholders. ” . . . . It was a Palantir employee in London, working closely with the data scientists building Cambridge’s psychological profiling technology, who suggested the scientists create their own app — a mobile-phone-based personality quiz — to gain access to Facebook users’ friend networks, according to documents obtained by The New York Times. The revelations pulled Palantir — co-founded by the wealthy libertarian Peter Thiel — into the furor surrounding Cambridge, which improperly obtained Facebook data to build analytical tools it deployed on behalf of Donald J. Trump and other Republican candidates in 2016. Mr. Thiel, a supporter of President Trump, serves on the board at Facebook. ‘There were senior Palantir employees that were also working on the Facebook data,’ said Christopher Wylie, a data expert and Cambridge Analytica co-founder, in testimony before British lawmakers on Tuesday. . . . The connections between Palantir and Cambridge Analytica were thrust into the spotlight by Mr. Wylie’s testimony on Tuesday. Both companies are linked to tech-driven billionaires who backed Mr. Trump’s campaign: Cambridge is chiefly owned by Robert Mercer, the computer scientist and hedge fund magnate, while Palantir was co-founded in 2003 by Mr. Thiel, who was an initial investor in Facebook. . . .”

Program Highlights Include:

1.–Review of Peter Thiel’s high regard for Carl Schmitt: “. . . . a Nazi and the Third Reich’s preeminent legal theorist. For Thiel, Schmitt is an inspiring throwback to a pre-Enlightenment age, who exalts struggle and insists that the discovery of enemies is the foundation of politics. . .” 
2.–Review of Peter Thiel’s early legal experience with Sullivan & Cromwell, the Dulles law firm.
3.–A recounting of the role of John Foster Dulles and Sullivan & Cromwell’s roles in the formation of I.G. Farben.
4.–Review of Thiel’s German heritage and his father’s probable role with one of the I.G. successor companies.


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.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Program Highlights Include:

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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