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FTR #952 Be Afraid, Be VERY Afraid: Update on Technocratic Fascism

Dave Emory’s entire life­time of work is avail­able on a flash dri­ve that can be obtained HERE [1]. The new dri­ve is a 32-giga­byte dri­ve that is cur­rent as of the pro­grams and arti­cles post­ed by ear­ly win­ter of 2017. The new dri­ve (avail­able for a tax-deductible con­tri­bu­tion of $65.00 or more.) (The pre­vi­ous flash dri­ve was cur­rent through the end of May of 2012.)

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This broad­cast was record­ed in one, 60-minute seg­ment [5].

TriumphWillI [6]PoliticsBitcoin [7]Intro­duc­tion: One of the illu­sions har­bored by many–in par­tic­u­lar, young peo­ple who have grown up with the inter­net, social net­works and mobile technology–sees dig­i­tal activ­i­ty as pri­vate. Noth­ing could be fur­ther from the truth. Even before the cyber-lib­er­tar­i­an poli­cies advo­cat­ed by indi­vid­u­als like John Per­ry Bar­low, Eddie Snow­den, Julian Assange and oth­ers became man­i­fest in the Trump admin­is­tra­tion’s were imple­ment­ed by the Trump admin­is­tra­tion and the GOP-con­trolled con­gress, dig­i­tal affairs were sub­ject to an extra­or­di­nary degree of manip­u­la­tion by a mul­ti­tude of inter­ests.

We begin our exam­i­na­tion of tech­no­crat­ic fas­cism with a look at the cor­po­rate foun­da­tion of Poke­mon Go. Infor­ma­tion about the back­ground of Poke­mon Go’s devel­op­er (Niantic) and the devel­op­ment of the firm is detailed in an arti­cle from Net­work World [8]In addi­tion to the for­mi­da­ble nature of the intel­li­gence agen­cies involved with gen­er­at­ing the cor­po­rate foun­da­tion of Poke­mon Go (Key­hole, Inc.; Niantic), note the unnerv­ing nature of the infor­ma­tion that can be gleaned from the Android phone of any­one who down­loads the “app.”

Poke­mon Go was seen as enhancin [9]g the “Cool Japan Strat­e­gy” of Prime Min­is­ter Shin­zo Abe. The “Cool Japan Pro­mo­tion Fund [10]” was imple­ment­ed by Abe (the grand­son of Nobo­suke Kishi, a Japan­ese war crim­i­nal who signed Japan’s dec­la­ra­tion of war against the U.S. and became the coun­try’s first post­war Prime Min­is­ter) to “raise the inter­na­tion­al pro­file of the country’s mass cul­ture.”

The Finance Min­is­ter of Japan is Taro Aso, one of the enthu­si­asts [11] of Nazi polit­i­cal strat­e­gy high­light­ed below. The “Cool Japan pro­mo­tion Fund” would have been under his admin­is­tra­tion, with Tomo­mi Ina­da func­tion­ing as his admin­is­tra­tor for the pro­gram. Now serv­ing as Japan’s Defense Min­is­ter [12], Ina­da is anoth­er advo­cate of Nazi polit­i­cal strat­e­gy.

The Yamato Dynasty [13]Next, we turn to anoth­er man­i­fes­ta­tion of Poke­mon Go. The “Alt-Right” (read “Nazi”) move­ment is using [14] Poke­mon Go to recruit kids to the Nazi cause. Con­sid­er this against the back­ground of Niantic, the Cool Japan strat­e­gy and the pro-Nazi fig­ures involved with it. Con­sid­er this also, in con­junc­tion with the Naz­i­fied AI devel­oped and deployed by Robert and Rebekah Mer­cer, Steve Ban­non, Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca and the “Alt-Right” milieu with which they asso­ciate.

A recent New York­er [15] arti­cle by Jane May­er con­cern­ing Robert Mer­cer keys some inter­est­ing thoughts about Mer­cer, Ban­non, the Alt-Right Wik­iLeaks and the Naz­i­fied AI we spoke of in FTR #‘s 948 [16] and 949 [17]. In FTR #946 [18], we not­ed this con­cate­na­tion’s cen­tral place in the Face­book con­stel­la­tion, a posi­tion that has posi­tioned them to act deci­sive­ly on the polit­i­cal land­scape.

We note sev­er­al things about the May­er piece:

Next, we return to the sub­ject of Bit­coin and cyber-lib­er­tar­i­an pol­i­cy. We have explored Bit­coin in a num­ber of pro­grams–FTR #‘s 760 [20], 764 [21], 770 [22] and 785 [23].

An impor­tant new book [24] by David Golum­bia sets forth the tech­no­crat­ic fas­cist pol­i­tics under­ly­ing Bit­coin [25]. Known to vet­er­an listeners/readers as the author of an oft-quot­ed arti­cle deal­ing with tech­no­crat­ic fas­cism, Golum­bia has pub­lished a short, impor­tant book about the right-wing extrem­ism under­ly­ing Bit­coin. (Pro­grams on tech­no­crat­ic fas­cism include: FTR #‘s 851 [26], 859 [27], 866 [28], 867 [29].)

In an excerpt from the book, we see dis­turb­ing ele­ments of res­o­nance with the views of Stephen Ban­non [30] and some of the philo­soph­i­cal influ­ences [31] on him. Julius Evola [32], “Men­cius Mold­bug” [31] and Ban­non him­self see our civ­i­liza­tion as in decline, at a crit­i­cal “turn­ing point,” and in need of being “blown up” (as Evola put it) or need­ing a “shock to the sys­tem.”

Note that the Cypher­punk’s Man­i­festo (pub­lished by the Elec­tron­ic Fron­tier Foun­da­tion) and the 1996 “Dec­la­ra­tion of the Inde­pen­dence of Cyber­space” writ­ten by the lib­er­tar­i­an activist, Grate­ful Dead lyri­cist, Elec­tron­ic Fron­tier Foun­da­tion founder John Per­ry Bar­low decry gov­ern­men­tal reg­u­la­tion of the dig­i­tal sys­tem. (EFF is a lead­ing “dig­i­tal rights” and tech­nol­o­gy indus­try advo­ca­cy orga­ni­za­tion.)

The libertarian/fascist eth­ic of the dig­i­tal world was artic­u­lat­ed by Bar­low.

Note how the “free­dom” advo­cat­ed by Bar­low et al has played out: the Trump admin­is­tra­tion (imple­ment­ing the desires of cor­po­rate Amer­i­ca) has “dereg­u­lat­ed” the inter­net. All this in the name of “free­dom.” [33]

In FTR #854 [34], we not­ed the curi­ous pro­fes­sion­al resume of Bar­low [35], con­tain­ing such dis­parate ele­ments as–lyricist for the Grate­ful Dead (“Far Out!”); Dick Cheney’s cam­paign man­ag­er (not so “Far Out!”); a vot­er for white supremacist/segregationist George Wal­lace in the 1968 Pres­i­den­tial cam­paign (very “Un-Far Out!”).

For our pur­pos­es, his most note­wor­thy pro­fes­sion­al under­tak­ing is his found­ing of the EFF–The Elec­tron­ic Fron­tier Foun­da­tion. A lead­ing osten­si­ble advo­cate for inter­net free­dom, the EFF has endorsed tech­nol­o­gy and embraced per­son­nel inex­tri­ca­bly linked with a CIA-derived milieu [36] embod­ied in Radio Free Asi­a’s Open Tech­nol­o­gy Fund. (For those who are, under­stand­ably, sur­prised and/or skep­ti­cal, we dis­cussed this at length and in detail in FTR #‘s 891 [37]  and 895 [38].)

Next, we present an arti­cle [39] that brings to the fore some inter­est­ing ques­tions about Bar­low, the CIA and the very gen­e­sis of social media.

We offer Ms. Sun­der­son­’s obser­va­tions, stress­ing that Bar­low’s fore­shad­ow­ing of the com­mu­ni­ca­tion func­tions inher­ent in social media and his pres­ence at CIA head­quar­ters (by invi­ta­tion!) sug­gest that Bar­low not only has strong ties to CIA but may have been involved in the con­cep­tu­al gen­e­sis that spawned CIA-con­nect­ed enti­ties such as Face­book. [40]

In FTR #951 [41], we observed that Richard B. Spencer, one of Trump’s Nazi back­ers, has begun a web­site [42] with Swedish Alt-Righter Daniel Friberg, part of the Swedish fas­cist milieu [43] to which Carl Lund­strom belongs [44]. In FTR #732 [45] (among oth­er pro­grams), we not­ed that it was Lund­strom who financed the Pirate Bay web­site, on which Wik­iLeaks held forth for quite some time. In FTR #745 [46], we doc­u­ment­ed that top Assange aide and Holo­caust-denier Joran Jer­mas (aka “Israel Shamir”) arranged the Lundstrom/WikiLeaks liai­son. (Jer­mas han­dles Wik­iLeaks Russ­ian oper­a­tions, a point of inter­est in the wake of the 2016 cam­paign.)

It is a good bet that Lundstrom/Pirate Bay/WikiLeaks et al were data min­ing the many peo­ple who vis­it­ed the Wik­iLeaks site.

Might Lundstrom/Jermas/Assange et al have shared the volu­mi­nous data they may well have mined with Mercer/Cambridge Analytica/Bannon’s Naz­i­fied AI?

We con­clude with recap of Microsoft researcher Kate Craw­ford’s obser­va­tions at the SXSW event. Craw­ford gave a speech about her work titled “Dark Days: AI and the Rise of Fas­cism,” the pre­sen­ta­tion high­light­ed  the social impact of machine learn­ing and large-scale data sys­tems. The take home mes­sage? By del­e­gat­ing pow­ers to Bid Data-dri­ven AIs, those AIs could become fascist’s dream: Incred­i­ble pow­er over the lives of oth­ers with min­i­mal account­abil­i­ty: ” . . . .‘This is a fascist’s dream,’ she said. ‘Pow­er with­out account­abil­i­ty.’ . . . .”

We reit­er­ate, in clos­ing, that ” . . . . Palan­tir is build­ing an intel­li­gence sys­tem to assist Don­ald Trump in deport­ing immi­grants [47]. . . .”

In FTR #757 [48] we not­ed that Palan­tir is a firm dom­i­nat­ed by Peter Thiel, a main backer of Don­ald Trump.

Pro­gram High­lights Include: 

1a. Infor­ma­tion about the back­ground of Poke­mon Go’s devel­op­er (Niantic) and the devel­op­ment of the firm is detailed in an arti­cle from Net­work World. In addi­tion to the for­mi­da­ble nature of the intel­li­gence agen­cies involved with gen­er­at­ing the cor­po­rate foun­da­tion of Poke­mon Go (Key­hole, Inc.; Niantic), note the unnerv­ing nature of the infor­ma­tion that can be gleaned from the Android phone of any­one who down­loads the “app.”

“The CIA, NSA and Poke­mon Go” by Lin­ux Tycoon; Net­work World; 7/22/2016. [8]

. . . . Way back in 2001, Key­hole, Inc. was found­ed by John Han­ke (who pre­vi­ous­ly worked in a “for­eign affairs” posi­tion with­in the U.S. gov­ern­ment). The com­pa­ny was named after the old “eye-in-the-sky” mil­i­tary satel­lites. One of the key, ear­ly back­ers of Key­hole was a firm called In-Q-Tel.

In-Q-Tel is the ven­ture cap­i­tal firm of the CIA. Yes, the Cen­tral Intel­li­gence Agency. Much of the fund­ing pur­port­ed­ly came from the Nation­al Geospa­tial-Intel­li­gence Agency (NGA). The NGA han­dles com­bat sup­port for the U.S. Depart­ment of Defense and pro­vides intel­li­gence to the NSA and CIA, among oth­ers.

Keyhole’s note­wor­thy pub­lic prod­uct was “Earth.” Renamed to “Google Earth” after Google acquired Key­hole in 2004.

In 2010, Niantic Labs was found­ed (inside Google) by Keyhole’s founder, John Han­ke.

Over the next few years, Niantic cre­at­ed two loca­tion-based apps/games. The first was Field Trip, a smart­phone appli­ca­tion where users walk around and find things. The sec­ond was Ingress, a sci-fi-themed game where play­ers walk around and between loca­tions in the real world.

In 2015, Niantic was spun off from Google and became its own com­pa­ny. Then Poké­mon Go was devel­oped and launched by Niantic. It’s a game where you walk around in the real world (between loca­tions sug­gest­ed by the ser­vice) while hold­ing your smart­phone.

Data the game can access

Let’s move on to what infor­ma­tion Poké­mon Go has access to, bear­ing the his­to­ry of the com­pa­ny in mind as we do.

When you install Poké­mon Go on an Android phone, you grant it the fol­low­ing access (not includ­ing the abil­i­ty to make in-app pur­chas­es):

Iden­ti­ty

  • Find accounts on the device

Con­tacts

  • Find accounts on the device

Loca­tion

  • Pre­cise loca­tion (GPS and net­work-based)
  • Approx­i­mate loca­tion (net­work-based)

Photos/Media/Files

  • Mod­i­fy or delete the con­tents of your USB stor­age
  • Read the con­tents of your USB stor­age

Stor­age

  • Mod­i­fy or delete the con­tents of your USB stor­age
  • Read the con­tents of your USB stor­age

Cam­era

  • Take pic­tures and videos

Oth­er

  • Receive data from the inter­net
  • Con­trol vibra­tion
  • Pair with Blue­tooth devices
  • Access Blue­tooth set­tings
  • Full net­work access
  • Use accounts on the device
  • View net­work con­nec­tions
  • Pre­vent the device from sleep­ing

Based on the access to your device (and your infor­ma­tion), cou­pled with the design of Poké­mon Go, the game should have no prob­lem dis­cern­ing and stor­ing the fol­low­ing infor­ma­tion (just for a start):

  • Where you are
  • Where you were
  • What route you took between those loca­tions
  • When you were at each loca­tion
  • How long it took you to get between them
  • What you are look­ing at right now
  • What you were look­ing at in the past
  • What you look like
  • What files you have on your device and the entire con­tents of those files

1b. Poke­mon Go was seen as enhanc­ing the “Cool Japan Strat­e­gy” of Prime Min­is­ter Shin­zo Abe. The “Cool Japan Pro­mo­tion Fund [10]” was imple­ment­ed by Abe (the grand­son of Nobo­suke Kishi, a Japan­ese war crim­i­nal who signed Japan’s dec­la­ra­tion of war against the U.S. and became the coun­try’s first post­war Prime Min­is­ter) to “raise the inter­na­tion­al pro­file of the country’s mass cul­ture.”

The Finance Min­is­ter of Japan is Taro Aso, one of the enthu­si­asts of Nazi polit­i­cal strat­e­gy high­light­ed below. The “Cool Japan pro­mo­tion Fund” would have been under his admin­is­tra­tion, with Tomo­mi Ina­da func­tion­ing as his admin­is­tra­tor for the pro­gram. Ina­da is anoth­er advo­cate of Nazi polit­i­cal strat­e­gy.

“Will Poke­mon Go Pow­er Up Japan’s ‘Cool Econ­o­my’” by Hen­ry Lau­rence; The Diplo­mat; 7/29/2016. [9]

Is Poké­mon Go a game chang­er for the Japan­ese econ­o­my? With­in days of its release in ear­ly July, a record 21 mil­lion peo­ple were play­ing at once, track­ing down and cap­tur­ing the cute lit­tle mon­sters on their smart­phones. Cre­ator Nintendo’s shares soared. But the phe­nom­e­nal pop­u­lar­i­ty of the game rais­es impor­tant ques­tions, beyond just “where’s the near­est Poké­gym?” Is it a sign that Sil­i­con Val­ley-style inno­va­tion is rein­vig­o­rat­ing cor­po­rate Japan’s noto­ri­ous­ly insu­lar man­age­ment? Might this be the first big suc­cess sto­ry for Prime Min­is­ter Shin­zo Abe’s “Cool Japan” ini­tia­tive, a key ele­ment in the struc­tur­al reforms promised but so far unde­liv­ered by Abe­nomics . . .

 . . . . In 2013, amid great fan­fare, Prime Min­is­ter Shin­zo Abe announced a “Cool Japan Pro­mo­tion Fund [10]” to raise the inter­na­tion­al pro­file of the country’s mass cul­ture. The need for such a fund, cur­rent­ly set at about $1 bil­lion, is itself an inter­est­ing reflec­tion on how lit­tle faith pol­i­cy­mak­ers seem to have in the eco­nom­ic clout of the nation’s artists. Ques­tions also remain about the help­ful­ness of elder­ly politi­cians dab­bling in the cre­ative sec­tor. [The Finance Min­is­ter of Japan is Taro Aso, one of the enthu­si­asts of Nazi polit­i­cal strat­e­gy high­light­ed below. The “Cool Japan pro­mo­tion Fund” would have been under his admin­is­tra­tion, with Tomo­mi Ina­da fund­tion­ing as his admin­is­tra­tor for the pro­gram. Ina­da is anoth­er advo­cate of Nazi polit­i­cal strategy.–D.E.] . .

1c. Abe is turn­ing back the Japan­ese his­tor­i­cal and polit­i­cal clock. Japan­ese gov­ern­ment offi­cials are open­ly sanc­tion­ing anti-Kore­an racism and net­work­ing with orga­ni­za­tions that pro­mote that doc­trine. Sev­er­al mem­bers of Abe’s gov­ern­ment net­work with Japan­ese neo-Nazis, some of whom advo­cate using the Nazi method for seiz­ing pow­er in Japan. Is Abe’s gov­ern­ment doing just that?

 “For Top Pols In Japan Crime Doesn’t Pay, But Hate Crime Does” by Jake Adel­stein and [11] Angela Eri­ka Kubo; The Dai­ly Beast; 9/26/2014. [11]

 . . . . Accord­ing to the mag­a­zine “Sun­day Mainichi,” Ms. Tomo­mi Ina­da, Min­is­ter Of The “Cool Japan” Strat­egy, also received dona­tions from Masa­ki and oth­er Zaitokukai asso­ciates.

Appar­ently, racism is cool in Japan.

Ina­da made news ear­lier this month after pho­tos cir­cu­lated of her and anoth­er female in the new cab­i­net pos­ing with a neo-Nazi par­ty leader [50]. Both denied know­ing the neo-Nazi well but lat­er were revealed to have con­tributed blurbs for an adver­tise­ment prais­ing the out-of-print book Hitler’s Elec­tion Strateg [51]y. Coin­ci­den­tally, Vice-Prime Min­is­ter [and Finance Minister–D.E.],Taro Aso, is also a long-time admir­er of Nazi polit­i­cal strat­egy [52], and has sug­gested Japan fol­low the Nazi Par­ty tem­plate to sneak con­sti­tu­tional change past the pub­lic. . . .

. . . In August, Japan’s rul­ing par­ty, which put Abe into pow­er orga­nized a work­ing group to dis­cuss laws that would restrict hate-crime [53]although the new laws will prob­a­bly also be used to clamp down on anti-nuclear protests out­side the Diet build­ing.

Of course, it is a lit­tle wor­ri­some that Sanae Takaichi, who was sup­posed to over­see the project, is the oth­er female min­is­ter who was pho­tographed with a neo-Nazi leader and is a fan of Hitler. . .

1d. Devo­tee of Hitler’s polit­i­cal strat­e­gy Tomo­mi Ina­da is now the defense min­is­ter of Japan.

“Japan’s PM Picks Hawk­ish Defense Min­is­ter for New Cab­i­net, Vows Eco­nom­ic Recov­ery” by Elaine Lies and Kiyoshi Tak­e­na­ka; Reuters; 8/3/2016.  [12]

Japan­ese Prime Min­is­ter Shin­zo Abe appoint­ed a con­ser­v­a­tive ally as defense min­is­ter in a cab­i­net reshuf­fle on Wednes­day that left most key posts unchanged, and he promised to has­ten the economy’s escape from defla­tion and boost region­al ties.

New defense min­is­ter Tomo­mi Ina­da, pre­vi­ous­ly the rul­ing par­ty pol­i­cy chief, shares Abe’s goal of revis­ing the post-war, paci­fist con­sti­tu­tion, which some con­ser­v­a­tives con­sid­er a humil­i­at­ing sym­bol of Japan’s World War Two defeat.

She also reg­u­lar­ly vis­its Tokyo’s Yasuku­ni Shrine for war dead, which Chi­na and South Korea see as a sym­bol of Japan’s past mil­i­tarism. Japan’s ties with Chi­na and South Korea have been frayed by the lega­cy of its mil­i­tary aggres­sion before and dur­ing World War Two. . . .

1e. The “Alt-Right” (read “Nazi”) move­ment is using Poke­mon Go to recruit kids to the Nazi cause. Con­sid­er this against the back­ground of Niantic, the Cool Japan strat­e­gy and the pro-Nazi fig­ures involved with it. Con­sid­er this also, in con­junc­tion with the Naz­i­fied AI devel­oped and deployed by Robert and Rebekah Mer­cer, Steve Ban­non, Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca and the “Alt-Right” milieu with which they asso­ciate.

“Alt-Right Recruit­ing Kids With ‘Poké­mon Go Nazi Chal­lenge’” by James King and Adi Cohen; Voca­tiv [14]; 9/7/2016.

Alt-right neo-Nazis are tar­get­ing kids as young as 10 years old with Pikachu dressed as Hitler

The racist fringe of the now-main­stream alt-right move­ment is seiz­ing on the pop­u­lar­i­ty of Poké­mon Go to recruit kids who con­gre­gate at “gyms” to play the mobile game, accord­ing to one of the group’s most out­spo­ken lead­ers.

Andrew Anglin, the neo-Nazi word­smith behind the alt-right Dai­ly Stormer blog, post­ed a sto­ry on Tues­day about an “enter­pris­ing Stormer” (a fol­low­er of Anglin’s blog) who is find­ing Poké­mon Go gyms, which serve as bat­tle grounds for play­ers, and dis­trib­ut­ing recruit­ment fliers to kids with the hope of “con­vert­ing chil­dren and teens to HARDCORE NEO-NAZISM!”

“The Dai­ly Stormer was designed to appeal to teenagers, but I have long thought that we need­ed to get pre-teens involved in the move­ment,” Anglin wrote in the blog post. “At that age, you can real­ly brain­wash some­one eas­i­ly. Any­one who accepts Nazism at the age of 10 or 11 is going to be a Nazi for life.” He added, “And it isn’t hard. It’s just a mat­ter of pulling them in. And what bet­ter way to do it than with Poké­mon fliers at the Poké­mon GO gym???”

Anglin declined to iden­ti­fy the “stormer” behind the fliers by name, nor did he dis­close where these fliers have been distributed—saying only that it is in an “Amer­i­can town.” Voca­tiv could not find any media or law enforce­ment reports of neo-Nazis hand­ing out the fliers in any city. Nor could experts who mon­i­tor peo­ple like Anglin and groups like the alt-right.

The fli­er fea­tures run-of-the-mill neo-Nazi propaganda—it rails on Jews, African-Amer­i­cans, and claims a “white geno­cide” is hap­pen­ing and white peo­ple need to stand up and pre­pare for the impend­ing race war. The first step, the fli­er explains, is elect­ing Don­ald Trump pres­i­dent. Step two is to “get active in the Nazi move­ment” because the “alt-right Nazis are the only ones who can save this coun­try from the kikes.”

“Adolph Hitler was a great man,” the fli­er, under the title “Hey White Boy!” explains. “Just as you want to catch all the Poke­mon, he hunt­ed a dif­fer­ent type of mon­ster: Jews.”

The alt-right move­ment isn’t new but made nation­al head­lines last month when Hillary Clin­ton gave a scathing speech link­ing Trump to the oft-racist move­ment. Alt-righters gen­er­al­ly fall into one of two cat­e­gories: those who dis­guise their racism as “white nation­al­ism” and don’t embrace the racist label in an effort to be tak­en seri­ous­ly, and those—like Anglin and his followers—who wear their big­otry on their sleeves, as Voca­tiv has pre­vi­ous­ly report­ed.

Clinton’s speech came just days after a shake­up in the Trump cam­paign led to the appoint­ment of Stephen Ban­non, the for­mer head of the alt-right web­site Breitbart.com, as the CEO of the cam­paign. As Clin­ton men­tioned in her speech, Breitbart.com is respon­si­ble for white nation­al­ist pro­pa­gan­da like a sto­ry titled “Hoist It High And Proud: The Con­fed­er­ate Flag Pro­claims A Glo­ri­ous Her­itage,” and a sex­ist rant with the head­line, “Birth Con­trol Makes Women Unat­trac­tive And Crazy.”

Anglin has cre­at­ed a PDF file of the fli­er so oth­er “storm­ers” can print them out and dis­trib­ute them at Poké­mon Go gyms and even pro­vid­ed a map show­ing the loca­tions of gyms across the coun­try.

“These hotspots are packed,” he wrote. “No doubt, you’ll be able to hand-out a hun­dred in 30 min­utes easy if you live in a decent-sized urban area. Get in and get out. Take a bud­dy with you.”

TriumphWillII [54]TriumphWillI [6]2. A recent New York­er arti­cle by Jane May­er con­cern­ing Robert Mer­cer keys some inter­est­ing thoughts about Mer­cer, Ban­non, the Alt-Right Wik­iLeaks and the Naz­i­fied AI we spoke of in FTR #‘s 948 [16] and 949 [17]. In FTR #946 [18], we not­ed this con­cate­na­tion’s cen­tral place in the Face­book con­stel­la­tion, a posi­tion that has posi­tioned them to act deci­sive­ly on the polit­i­cal land­scape.

We note sev­er­al things about the May­er piece:

“The Reclu­sive Hedge-Fund Tycoon Behind the Trump Pres­i­den­cy” by Jane May­er; The New York­er; 3/27/2017. [15]

. . . . In Feb­ru­ary, David Mager­man, a senior employ­ee at Renais­sance, spoke out about what he regards as Mercer’s wor­ri­some influ­ence. Mager­man, a Demo­c­rat who is a strong sup­port­er of Jew­ish caus­es, took par­tic­u­lar issue with Mercer’s empow­er­ment of the alt-right, which has includ­ed anti-Semit­ic and white-suprema­cist voic­es. . . .

. . . . Mer­cer, for his part, has argued that the Civ­il Rights Act, in 1964, was a major mis­take. Accord­ing to the one­time Renais­sance employ­ee, Mer­cer has assert­ed repeat­ed­ly that African-Amer­i­cans were bet­ter off eco­nom­i­cal­ly before the civ­il-rights move­ment. (Few schol­ars agree.) He has also said that the prob­lem of racism in Amer­i­ca is exag­ger­at­ed. The source said that, not long ago, he heard Mer­cer pro­claim that there are no white racists in Amer­i­ca today, only black racists. . . .

. . . . Yet, when I.B.M. failed to offer ade­quate sup­port for Mer­cer and Brown’s trans­la­tion project, they secured addi­tion­al fund­ing from DARPA, the secre­tive Pen­ta­gon pro­gram. Despite Mercer’s dis­dain for “big gov­ern­ment,” this fund­ing was essen­tial to his ear­ly suc­cess. . . .

. . . . Many of these [dis­il­lu­sioned Oba­ma] vot­ers became the cen­tral fig­ures of “The Hope & the Change,” an anti-Oba­ma film that Ban­non and Cit­i­zens Unit­ed released dur­ing the 2012 Demo­c­ra­t­ic Nation­al Con­ven­tion. After Cad­dell saw the film, he point­ed out to Ban­non that its open­ing imi­tat­ed that of “Tri­umph of the Will,” the 1935 ode to Hitler, made by the Nazi film­mak­er Leni Riefen­stahl. Ban­non laughed and said, “You’re the only one that caught it!” In both films, a plane flies over a blight­ed land, as omi­nous music swells; then clouds in the sky part, augur­ing a new era. . . .

3a.We have explored Bit­coin in a num­ber of pro­grams–FTR #‘s 760 [20], 764 [21], 770 [22] and 785 [23].

An impor­tant new book [24] by David Golum­bia sets forth the tech­no­crat­ic fas­cist pol­i­tics under­ly­ing Bit­coin [25]. Known to vet­er­an listeners/readers as the author of an oft-quot­ed arti­cle deal­ing with tech­no­crat­ic fas­cism, Golum­bia has pub­lished a short, impor­tant book about the right-wing extrem­ism under­ly­ing Bit­coin. (Pro­grams on tech­no­crat­ic fas­cism include: FTR #‘s 851 [26], 859 [27], 866 [28], 867 [29].)

In the excerpt below, we see dis­turb­ing ele­ments of res­o­nance with the views of Stephen Ban­non [30] and some of the philo­soph­i­cal influ­ences [31] on him. Julius Evola [32], “Men­cius Mold­bug” [31] and Ban­non him­self see our civ­i­liza­tion as in decline, at a crit­i­cal “turn­ing point,” and in need of being “blown up” (as Evola put it) or need­ing a “shock to the sys­tem.”

The Pol­i­tics of Bit­coin: Soft­ware as Right-Wing Extrem­ism by David Golum­bia; Uni­ver­si­ty of Min­neso­ta Press [SC]; pp. 73–75. [24]

. . . . As objects of dis­course, Bit­coin and the blockchain do a remark­able job of rein­forc­ing the view that the entire glob­al his­to­ry of polit­i­cal thought and action needs to be jet­ti­soned, or, even worse, that it has already been jet­ti­soned through the intro­duc­tion of any num­ber of tech­nolo­gies. Thus, in the intro­duc­tion to a bizarrely earnest and destruc­tive vol­ume called From Bit­coin to Burn­ing Man and Beyond (Clip­pinger and Bol­lier 2014), the edi­tors, one of whom is a research sci­en­tist at MIT, write, “Enlight­en­ment ideals of demo­c­ra­t­ic rule seem to have run their course. A con­tin­u­ous flow of sci­en­tif­ic find­ings are under­min­ing many foun­da­tion­al claims about human ratio­nal­i­ty and per­fectibil­i­ty while expo­nen­tial tech­no­log­i­cal changes and explod­ing glob­al demo­graph­ics over­whelm the capac­i­ty of demo­c­ra­t­ic insti­tu­tions to rule effec­tive­ly, and ulti­mate­ly, their very legit­i­ma­cy.” Such abrupt dis­missals of hun­dreds of years of thought, work, and lives fol­lows direct­ly from cyber­lib­er­tar­i­an thought and extrem­ist rein­ter­pre­ta­tions of polit­i­cal insti­tu­tions:” What once required the author­i­ty of a cen­tral bank or a sov­er­eign author­i­ty can now be achieved through open, dis­trib­uted cryp­to-algo­rithms. Nation­al bor­ders, tra­di­tion­al legal regimes, and human inter­ven­tion are increas­ing­ly moot.” Like most ide­o­log­i­cal for­ma­tions, these sen­ti­ments are high­ly resis­tant to being proven false by facts. . . .

. . . . Few atti­tudes typ­i­fy the para­dox­i­cal cyber­lib­er­tar­i­an mind-set of Bit­coin pro­mot­ers (and many oth­ers) more than do those of “San­juro,” the alias of the per­son who cre­at­ed a Bit­coin “assas­si­na­tion mar­ket” (Green­berg 2013). San­juro believes that by incen­tiviz­ing peo­ple to kill politi­cians, he will destroy “all gov­ern­ments, every­where.” This anar­chic apoc­a­lypse “will change the world for the bet­ter,” pro­duc­ing “a world with­out wars, drag­net Panop­ti­con-style sur­veil­lance, nuclear weapons, armies, repres­sion, mon­ey manip­u­la­tion, and lim­its to trade.” Only some­one so blink­ered by their ide­o­log­i­cal tun­nel vision could look at world his­to­ry and imag­ine that mur­der­ing the rep­re­sen­ta­tives of demo­c­ra­t­i­cal­ly elect­ed gov­ern­ments and thus putting the gov­ern­ments them­selves out of exis­tence would do any­thing but make every one of these prob­lems immea­sur­ably worse than they already are. Yet this, in the end, is the extreme rightist–anarcho-capitalist, win­ner-take-all, even neo-feudalist–political vision too many of those in the Bit­coin (along with oth­er cryp­tocur­ren­cy) and blockchain com­mu­ni­ties, what­ev­er they believe their polit­i­cal ori­en­ta­tion to be, are work­ing active­ly to bring about. . . .

3b. Note that the Cypher­punk’s Man­i­festo (pub­lished by the Elec­tron­ic Fron­tier Foun­da­tion) and the 1996 “Dec­la­ra­tion of the Inde­pen­dence of Cyber­space” writ­ten by the lib­er­tar­i­an activist, Grate­ful Dead lyri­cist, Elec­tron­ic Fron­tier Foun­da­tion founder John Per­ry Bar­low decry gov­ern­men­tal reg­u­la­tion of the dig­i­tal sys­tem. (EFF is a lead­ing “dig­i­tal rights” and tech­nol­o­gy indus­try advo­ca­cy orga­ni­za­tion.)

The Pol­i­tics of Bit­coin: Soft­ware as Right-Wing Extrem­ism by David Golum­bia; Uni­ver­si­ty of Min­neso­ta Press [SC]; pp. 31–32. [24]

. . . . Among the clear­est tar­gets of these move­ments (see both the Cypher­punk’s Man­i­festo, Hugh­es 1993; and the close­ly relat­ed Cryp­to-Anar­chist Man­i­festo, May 1992) has always specif­i­cal­ly been gov­ern­men­tal over­sight of finan­cial (and oth­er) trans­ac­tions. No effort is made to dis­tin­guish between legit­i­mate and ille­git­i­mate use of gov­ern­men­tal pow­er; rather, all gov­ern­men­tal pow­er is inher­ent­ly tak­en to be ille­git­i­mate. Fur­ther, despite occa­sion­al rhetor­i­cal nods toward cor­po­rate abus­es, just as in Mur­ray Roth­bard’s work, strict­ly speak­ing no mech­a­nisms what­so­ev­er are posit­ed that actu­al­ly might con­strain cor­po­rate pow­er. Com­bined with either an explic­it com­mit­ment toward, or at best an extreme naivete about, the oper­a­tion of con­cen­trat­ed cap­i­tal, this polit­i­cal the­o­ry works to deprive the peo­ple of their only proven mech­a­nism for that con­straint. This is why an august an antigov­ern­ment thinker as Noam Chom­sky (2015) can have declared that lib­er­tar­i­an the­o­ries, despite sur­face appear­ances, pro­mote “cor­po­rate tyran­ny, mean­ing tyran­ny by unac­count­able pri­vate con­cen­tra­tions of pow­er, the worst kind of tyran­ny you can imag­ine.” . . .

3c. The libertarian/fascist eth­ic of the dig­i­tal world was artic­u­lat­ed by John Per­ry Bar­low.

Note how the “free­dom” advo­cat­ed by John Per­ry Bar­low et al has played out: the Trump admin­is­tra­tion (imple­ment­ing the desires of cor­po­rate Amer­i­ca) has “dereg­u­lat­ed” the inter­net. All this in the name of “free­dom.” [33]

The Pol­i­tics of Bit­coin: Soft­ware as Right-Wing Extrem­ism by David Golum­bia; Uni­ver­si­ty of Min­neso­ta Press [SC]; p. 3. [24]

. . . . In its most basic and lim­it­ed form, cyber­lib­er­tar­i­an­ism is some­times sum­ma­rized as the prin­ci­ple that “gov­ern­ments should not reg­u­late the inter­net” (Mal­com 2013.) This belief was artic­u­lat­ed with par­tic­u­lar force in the 1996 “Dec­la­ra­tion of the Inde­pen­dence of Cyber­space” writ­ten by the lib­er­tar­i­an activist, Grate­ful Dead lyri­cist, Elec­tron­ic Fron­tier Foun­da­tion founder (EFF is a lead­ing “dig­i­tal rights” and tech­nol­o­gy indus­try advo­ca­cy orga­ni­za­tion) John Per­ry Bar­low, which declared that “gov­ern­ments of our indus­tri­al world” are “not wel­come” in and “have no sov­er­eign­ty” over the dig­i­tal sys­tem. . . .

4a. In FTR #854 [34], we not­ed the curi­ous pro­fes­sion­al resume of John Per­ry Bar­low [35], con­tain­ing such dis­parate ele­ments as–lyricist for the Grate­ful Dead (“Far Out!”); Dick Cheney’s cam­paign man­ag­er (not so “Far Out!”); a vot­er for white supremacist/segregationist George Wal­lace in the 1968 Pres­i­den­tial cam­paign (very “Un-Far Out!”).

Bar­low intro­duced the Grate­ful Dead to Tim­o­thy Leary, who was inex­tri­ca­bly linked with the CIA. We dis­cussed this at length in AFA #28 [55].

AFA 28: The CIA, the Mil­i­tary & Drugs, Pt. 5
The CIA & LSD
Part 5a
46:15 | Part 5b [56] 45:52 | Part 5c [57] 42:56 | Part 5d [58] 45:11 | Part 5e [59] 11:25
(Record­ed April 26, 1987)

” . . . . Tim­o­thy Leary’s ear­ly research into LSD was sub­si­dized, to some extent, by the CIA. Lat­er, Leary’s LSD pros­e­ly­ti­za­tion was great­ly aid­ed by William Mel­lon Hitch­cock, a mem­ber of the pow­er­ful Mel­lon fam­i­ly. The financ­ing of the Mel­lon-Leary col­lab­o­ra­tion was effect­ed through the Cas­tle Bank, a Caribbean oper­a­tion that was deeply involved in the laun­der­ing of CIA drug mon­ey.

After mov­ing to the West Coast, Leary hooked up with a group of ex-surfers, the Broth­er­hood of Eter­nal Love. This group became the largest LSD syn­the­siz­ing and dis­trib­ut­ing orga­ni­za­tion in the world. Their “chief chemist” was a curi­ous indi­vid­ual named Ronald Hadley Stark. An enig­mat­ic, mul­ti-lin­gual and well-trav­eled indi­vid­ual, Stark worked for the CIA, and appears to have been with the agency when he was mak­ing the Broth­er­hood’s acid. The qual­i­ty of his prod­uct pro­ject­ed the Broth­er­hood of Eter­nal Love into its lead­er­ship role in the LSD trade. Stark also oper­at­ed in con­junc­tion with the Ital­ian intelligence/fascist milieu described in AFA #‘s 17–21.

The broad­cast under­scores the pos­si­bil­i­ty that LSD and oth­er hal­lu­cino­gens may have been dis­sem­i­nat­ed, in part, in order to dif­fuse the pro­gres­sive polit­i­cal activism of the 1960’s.

Pro­gram High­lights Include: CIA direc­tor Allen Dulles’ pro­mo­tion of psy­cho­log­i­cal research by the Agency; the work of CIA physi­cian Dr. Sid­ney Got­tlieb for the Agen­cy’s Tech­ni­cal Ser­vices Divi­sion; con­nec­tions between Stark and the kid­nap­ping and assas­si­na­tion of Ital­ian Prime Min­is­ter Aldo Moro; Stark’s mys­te­ri­ous death in prison while await­ing tri­al; Leary’s con­nec­tions to the milieu of the “left” CIA and the role those con­nec­tions appear to have played in Leary’s flight from incar­cer­a­tion; the CIA’s intense inter­est in (and involve­ment with) the Haight-Ash­bury scene of the 1960s. . . . .”

For our pur­pos­es, his most note­wor­thy pro­fes­sion­al under­tak­ing is his found­ing of the EFF–The Elec­tron­ic Fron­tier Foun­da­tion. A lead­ing osten­si­ble advo­cate for inter­net free­dom, the EFF has endorsed tech­nol­o­gy and embraced per­son­nel inex­tri­ca­bly linked with a CIA-derived milieu [36] embod­ied in Radio Free Asi­a’s Open Tech­nol­o­gy Fund. (For those who are, under­stand­ably, sur­prised and/or skep­ti­cal, we dis­cussed this at length and in detail in FTR #‘s 891 [37]  and 895 [38].)

Lis­ten­er Tiffany Sun­der­son con­tributed an arti­cle in the “Com­ments” sec­tion that brings to the fore some inter­est­ing ques­tions about Bar­low, the CIA and the very gen­e­sis of social media.

We offer Ms. Sun­der­son­’s obser­va­tions, stress­ing that Bar­low’s fore­shad­ow­ing of the com­mu­ni­ca­tion func­tions inher­ent in social media and his pres­ence at CIA head­quar­ters (by invi­ta­tion!) sug­gest that Bar­low not only has strong ties to CIA but may have been involved in the con­cep­tu­al gen­e­sis that spawned CIA-con­nect­ed enti­ties such as Face­book [40]:

“Fas­ci­nat­ing arti­cle by John Per­ry Bar­low, can’t believe I haven’t seen this before. From Forbes in 2002. Can’t accuse Bar­low of hid­ing his intel ties, he’ll tell you all about it! To me, this is prac­ti­cal­ly a his­tor­i­cal doc­u­ment, as it hints at the think­ing that inevitably lead to Inq­tel, Geofee­dia, Palan­tir, Face­book, etc. Includ­ing whole arti­cle, but here are a few pas­sages that jumped out at me.

http://www.forbes.com/asap/2002/1007/042_print.html [60]

This part cracks me up: it’s “mys­ti­cal super­sti­tion” to imag­ine that wires leav­ing a build­ing are also wires ENTERING a build­ing? Seri­ous­ly? For a guy who nev­er shuts up about net­work­ing, he should get that there is noth­ing “mys­ti­cal” about such a notion. It’s exact­ly how attack­ers get in. If you are con­nect­ed to the inter­net, you are not tru­ly secure. Peri­od.

“All of their prim­i­tive net­works had an ‘air wall,’ or phys­i­cal sep­a­ra­tion, from the Inter­net. They admit­ted that it might be even more dan­ger­ous to secu­ri­ty to remain abstract­ed from the wealth of infor­ma­tion that had already assem­bled itself there, but they had an almost mys­ti­cal super­sti­tion that wires leav­ing the agency would also be wires enter­ing it, a ver­i­ta­ble super­high­way for invad­ing cyber­spooks. ”

Here, JPB brags about his con­nec­tions and who he brought back to CIA. I’ve always had spooky feel­ings about Cerf, Dyson, and Kapor. Don’t know Rutkows­ki. But the oth­er three are seri­ous play­ers, and Cerf and Kapor are heav­i­ly involved with EFF. You know, because the EFF is all about stand­ing up for the lit­tle guy.

“They told me they’d brought Steve Jobs in a few weeks before to indoc­tri­nate them in mod­ern infor­ma­tion man­age­ment. And they were delight­ed when I returned lat­er, bring­ing with me a pla­toon of Inter­net gurus, includ­ing Esther Dyson, Mitch Kapor, Tony Rutkows­ki, and Vint Cerf. They sealed us into an elec­tron­i­cal­ly impen­e­tra­ble room to dis­cuss the rad­i­cal pos­si­bil­i­ty that a good first step in lift­ing their black­out would be for the CIA to put up a Web site”

This next part SCREAMS of intel’s ties to the “social media explo­sion.” I think this pas­sage is what qual­i­fies Barlow’s arti­cle as a his­tor­i­cal doc of some val­ue.

“Let’s cre­ate a process of infor­ma­tion diges­tion in which inex­pen­sive data are gath­ered from large­ly open sources and con­densed, through an open process, into knowl­edge terse and insight­ful enough to inspire wis­dom in our lead­ers.

The enti­ty I envi­sion would be small, high­ly net­worked, and gen­er­al­ly vis­i­ble. It would be open to infor­ma­tion from all avail­able sources and would clas­si­fy only infor­ma­tion that arrived clas­si­fied. It would rely heav­i­ly on the Inter­net, pub­lic media, the aca­d­e­m­ic press, and an infor­mal world­wide net­work of volunteers–a kind of glob­al Neigh­bor­hood Watch–that would sub­mit on-the-ground reports.

It would use off-the-shelf tech­nol­o­gy, and use it less for gath­er­ing data than for col­lat­ing and com­mu­ni­cat­ing them. Being off-the-shelf, it could deploy tools while they were still state-of-the-art.

I imag­ine this enti­ty staffed ini­tial­ly with librar­i­ans, jour­nal­ists, lin­guists, sci­en­tists, tech­nol­o­gists, philoso­phers, soci­ol­o­gists, cul­tur­al his­to­ri­ans, the­olo­gians, econ­o­mists, philoso­phers, and artists‑a lot like the orig­i­nal CIA, the OSS, under “Wild Bill” Dono­van. Its bud­get would be under the direct author­i­ty of the Pres­i­dent, act­ing through the Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Advis­er. Con­gres­sion­al over­sight would reside in the com­mit­tees on sci­ence and tech­nol­o­gy (and not under the con­gres­sion­al Joint Com­mit­tee on Intel­li­gence). ”

http://www.forbes.com/asap/2002/1007/042_2.html [39]

“Why Spy?” by John Per­ry Bar­low; Forbes; 10/07/02. [39]

If the spooks can’t ana­lyze their own data, why call it intel­li­gence?
For more than a year now, there has been a del­uge of sto­ries and op-ed pieces about the fail­ure of the Amer­i­can intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty to detect or pre­vent the Sep­tem­ber 11, 2001, mas­sacre.

Near­ly all of these accounts have expressed aston­ish­ment at the appar­ent incom­pe­tence of America’s watch­dogs.

I’m aston­ished that anyone’s aston­ished.

The visu­al impair­ment of our mul­ti­tudi­nous spook­hous­es has long been the least secret of their secrets. Their short­com­ings go back 50 years, when they were still pre­sum­ably effi­cient but some­how failed to detect sev­er­al mil­lion Chi­nese mil­i­tary “vol­un­teers” head­ing south into Korea. The sur­prise attacks on the World Trade Cen­ter and the Pen­ta­gon were only the most recent over­sight dis­as­ters. And for ser­vice like this we are pay­ing between $30 bil­lion and $50 bil­lion a year. Talk about a faith-based ini­tia­tive.

After a decade of both fight­ing with and con­sult­ing to the intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty, I’ve con­clud­ed that the Amer­i­can intel­li­gence sys­tem is bro­ken beyond repair, self-pro­tec­tive beyond reform, and per­ma­nent­ly fix­at­ed on a world that no longer exists.

I was intro­duced to this world by a for­mer spy named Robert Steele, who called me in the fall of 1992 and asked me to speak at a Wash­ing­ton con­fer­ence that would be “attend­ed pri­mar­i­ly by intel­li­gence pro­fes­sion­als.” Steele seemed inter­est­ing, if unset­tling. A for­mer Marine intel­li­gence offi­cer, Steele moved to the CIA and served three over­seas tours in clan­des­tine intel­li­gence, at least one of them “in a com­bat envi­ron­ment” in Cen­tral Amer­i­ca.

After near­ly two decades of ser­vice in the shad­ows, Steele emerged with a lust for light and a belief in what he calls, in char­ac­ter­is­tic spook-speak, OSINT, or open source intel­li­gence. Open source intel­li­gence is assem­bled from what is pub­licly avail­able, in media, pub­lic doc­u­ments, the Net, wher­ev­er. It’s a giv­en that such materials–and the tech­no­log­i­cal tools for ana­lyz­ing them–are grow­ing expo­nen­tial­ly these days. But while OSINT may be a time­ly notion, it’s not pop­u­lar in a cul­ture where the phrase “infor­ma­tion is pow­er” means some­thing bru­tal­ly con­crete and where sources are “owned.”

At that time, intel­li­gence was awak­en­ing to the Inter­net, the ulti­mate open source. Steele’s con­fer­ence was attend­ed by about 600 mem­bers of the Amer­i­can and Euro­pean intel­li­gence estab­lish­ment, includ­ing many of its senior lead­ers. For some­one whose major claim to fame was hip­pie song-mon­ger­ing, address­ing such an audi­ence made me feel as if I’d sud­den­ly become a char­ac­ter in a Thomas Pyn­chon nov­el.

Nonethe­less, I sal­lied forth, con­fi­dent­ly telling the gray throng that pow­er lay not in con­ceal­ing infor­ma­tion but in dis­trib­ut­ing it, that the Inter­net would endow small groups of zealots with the capac­i­ty to wage cred­i­ble assaults on nation-states, that young hack­ers could eas­i­ly run cir­cles around old spies.

I didn’t expect a warm recep­tion, but it wasn’t as if I was inter­view­ing for a job.

Or so I thought. When I came off­stage, a group of calm, alert men await­ed. They seemed eager, in their undemon­stra­tive way, to pur­sue these issues fur­ther. Among them was Paul Wall­ner, the CIA’s open source coor­di­na­tor. Wall­ner want­ed to know if I would be will­ing to drop by, have a look around, and dis­cuss my ideas with a few folks.

A few weeks lat­er, in ear­ly 1993, I passed through the gates of the CIA head­quar­ters in Lan­g­ley, Vir­ginia, and entered a chilled silence, a zone of par­a­lyt­ic para­noia and obses­sive secre­cy, and a tech­no­log­i­cal time cap­sule straight out of the ear­ly ’60s. The Cold War was offi­cial­ly over, but it seemed the news had yet to pen­e­trate where I now found myself.

If, in 1993, you want­ed to see the Sovi­et Union still alive and well, you’d go to Lan­g­ley, where it was pre­served in the meth­ods, assump­tions, and archi­tec­ture of the CIA.

Where I expect­ed to see com­put­ers, there were tele­type machines. At the nerve core of The Com­pa­ny, five ana­lysts sat around a large, wood­en lazy Susan. Beside each of them was a tele­type, chat­ter­ing in upper­case. When­ev­er a mes­sage came in to, say, the East­ern Europe ana­lyst that might be of inter­est to the one watch­ing events in Latin Amer­i­ca, he’d rip it out of the machine, put it on the turntable, and rotate it to the appro­pri­ate quad­rant.

The most dis­tress­ing dis­cov­ery of my first expe­di­tion was the near­ly uni­ver­sal frus­tra­tion of employ­ees at the intran­si­gence of the beast they inhab­it­ed. They felt forced into incom­pe­tence by infor­ma­tion hoard­ing and non­com­mu­ni­ca­tion, both with­in the CIA and with oth­er relat­ed agen­cies. They hat­ed their prim­i­tive tech­nol­o­gy. They felt unap­pre­ci­at­ed, oppressed, demor­al­ized. “Some­how, over the last 35 years, there was an infor­ma­tion rev­o­lu­tion,” one of them said bleak­ly, “and we missed it.”

They were cut off. But at least they were try­ing. They told me they’d brought Steve Jobs in a few weeks before to indoc­tri­nate them in mod­ern infor­ma­tion man­age­ment. And they were delight­ed when I returned lat­er, bring­ing with me a pla­toon of Inter­net gurus, includ­ing Esther Dyson, Mitch Kapor, Tony Rutkows­ki, and Vint Cerf. They sealed us into an elec­tron­i­cal­ly impen­e­tra­ble room to dis­cuss the rad­i­cal pos­si­bil­i­ty that a good first step in lift­ing their black­out would be for the CIA to put up a Web site.

They didn’t see how this would be pos­si­ble with­out com­pro­mis­ing their secu­ri­ty. All of their prim­i­tive net­works had an “air wall,” or phys­i­cal sep­a­ra­tion, from the Inter­net. They admit­ted that it might be even more dan­ger­ous to secu­ri­ty to remain abstract­ed from the wealth of infor­ma­tion that had already assem­bled itself there, but they had an almost mys­ti­cal super­sti­tion that wires leav­ing the agency would also be wires enter­ing it, a ver­i­ta­ble super­high­way for invad­ing cyber­spooks.

We explained to them how easy it would be to have two net­works, one con­nect­ed to the Inter­net for gath­er­ing infor­ma­tion from open sources and a sep­a­rate intranet, one that would remain ded­i­cat­ed to clas­si­fied data. We told them that infor­ma­tion exchange was a barter sys­tem, and that to receive, one must also be will­ing to share. This was an alien notion to them. They weren’t even will­ing to share infor­ma­tion among them­selves, much less the world.

In the end, they acqui­esced. They put up a Web site, and I start­ed to get email from peo­ple @cia.gov, indi­cat­ing that the Inter­net had made it to Lan­g­ley. But the cul­tur­al ter­ror of releas­ing any­thing of val­ue remains. Go to their Web site today and you will find a lot of press releas­es, as well as descrip­tions of maps and pub­li­ca­tions that you can acquire only by buy­ing them in paper. The unof­fi­cial al Qae­da Web site, http://www.almuhajiroun.com [61], is con­sid­er­ably more reveal­ing.

This dog­ma of secre­cy is prob­a­bly the most per­sis­tent­ly dam­ag­ing fall­out from “the Sovi­et fac­tor” at the CIA and else­where in the intel­li­gence “com­mu­ni­ty.” Our spooks stared so long at what Churchill called “a mys­tery sur­round­ed by a rid­dle wrapped in an enig­ma,” they became one them­selves. They con­tin­ue to be one, despite the evap­o­ra­tion of their old adver­sary, as well as a long series of efforts by elect­ed author­i­ties to loosen the white-knuck­led grip on their secrets.

The most recent of these was the 1997 Com­mis­sion on Pro­tect­ing and Reduc­ing Gov­ern­ment Secre­cy, led by Sen­a­tor Patrick Moyni­han. The Moyni­han Com­mis­sion released a with­er­ing report charg­ing intel­li­gence agen­cies with exces­sive clas­si­fi­ca­tion and cit­ing a long list of adverse con­se­quences rang­ing from pub­lic dis­trust to con­cealed (and there­fore irre­me­di­a­ble) orga­ni­za­tion­al fail­ures.

That same year, Moyni­han pro­posed a bill called the Gov­ern­ment Secre­cy Reform Act. Cospon­sored by con­ser­v­a­tive Repub­li­cans Jesse Helms and Trent Lott, among oth­ers, this leg­is­la­tion was hard­ly out to gut Amer­i­can intel­li­gence. But the spooks fought back effec­tive­ly through the Clin­ton Admin­is­tra­tion and so weak­ened the bill that one of its cospon­sors, Con­gress­man Lee Hamil­ton (D‑Ind.), con­clud­ed that it would be bet­ter not to pass what remained.

A few of its rec­om­men­da­tions even­tu­al­ly were wrapped into the Intel­li­gence Autho­riza­tion Act of 2000. But of these, the only one with any oper­a­tional force–a require­ment that a pub­lic-inter­est declas­si­fi­ca­tion board be estab­lished to advise the Admin­is­tra­tion in these mat­ters-has nev­er been imple­ment­ed. Thanks to the vig­or­ous inter­ven­tions of the Clin­ton White House, the cult of secre­cy remained unmo­lest­ed.

One might be sur­prised to learn that Clin­to­ni­ans were so pro-secre­cy. In fact, they weren’t. But they lacked the force to dom­i­nate their wily sub­or­di­nates. Indeed, in 1994, one high­ly placed White House staffer told me that their incom­pre­hen­si­ble cryp­to poli­cies arose from being “afraid of the NSA.”

In May 2000, I began to under­stand what they were up against. I was invit­ed to speak to the Intel­li­gence Com­mu­ni­ty Col­lab­o­ra­tion Con­fer­ence (a title that con­tained at least four ironies). The oth­er pri­ma­ry speak­er was Air Force Lt. Gen­er­al Mike Hay­den, the new­ly appoint­ed direc­tor of the NSA. He said he felt pow­er­less, though he was deter­mined not to remain that way.

“I had been on the job for a while before I real­ized that I have no staff,” he com­plained. “Every­thing the agency does had been pushed down into the components…it’s all being man­aged sev­er­al lev­els below me.” In oth­er words, the NSA had devel­oped an immune sys­tem against exter­nal inter­ven­tion.

Hay­den rec­og­nized how exces­sive secre­cy had dam­aged intel­li­gence, and he was deter­mined to fix it. “We were America’s infor­ma­tion age enter­prise in the indus­tri­al age. Now we have to do that same task in the infor­ma­tion age, and we find our­selves less adept,” he said.

He also vowed to dimin­ish the CIA’s com­pet­i­tive­ness with oth­er agen­cies. (This is a prob­lem that remains severe, even though it was first iden­ti­fied by the Hoover Com­mis­sion in 1949.) Hay­den decried “the stovepipe men­tal­i­ty” where infor­ma­tion is passed ver­ti­cal­ly through many bureau­crat­ic lay­ers but rarely pass­es hor­i­zon­tal­ly. “We are rid­dled with water­tight infor­ma­tion com­part­ments,” he said. “At the mas­sive agency lev­el, if I had to ask, ‘Do we need blue giz­mos?’ the only per­son I could ask was the per­son whose job secu­ri­ty depend­ed on there being more blue giz­mos.”

Like the CIA I encoun­tered, Hayden’s NSA was also a lot like the Sovi­et Union; secre­tive unto itself, sullen, and gross­ly inef­fi­cient. The NSA was also, by his account, as tech­no­log­i­cal­ly mal­adroit as its rival in Lan­g­ley. Hay­den won­dered, for exam­ple, why the direc­tor of what was sup­pos­ed­ly one of the most sophis­ti­cat­ed agen­cies in the world would have four phones on his desk. Direct elec­tron­ic con­tact between him and the con­sumers of his information–namely the Pres­i­dent and Nation­al Secu­ri­ty staff–was vir­tu­al­ly nil. There were, he said, thou­sands of unlinked, inter­nal­ly gen­er­at­ed oper­at­ing sys­tems inside the NSA, inca­pable of exchang­ing infor­ma­tion with one anoth­er.

Hay­den rec­og­nized the impor­tance of get­ting over the Cold War. “Our tar­gets are no longer con­trolled by the tech­no­log­i­cal lim­i­ta­tions of the Sovi­et Union, a slow, prim­i­tive, under­fund­ed foe. Now [our ene­mies] have access to state-of-the-art….In 40 years the world went from 5,000 stand-alone com­put­ers, many of which we owned, to 420 mil­lion com­put­ers, many of which are bet­ter than ours.”

But there wasn’t much evi­dence that it was going to hap­pen any­time soon. While Hay­den spoke, the 200 or so high-rank­ing intel­li­gence offi­cials in the audi­ence sat with their arms fold­ed defen­sive­ly across their chests. When I got up to essen­tial­ly sing the same song in a dif­fer­ent key, I asked them, as a favor, not to assume that pos­ture while I was speak­ing. I then watched a Strangelov­ian spec­ta­cle when, dur­ing my talk, many arms crept up to cross invol­un­tar­i­ly and were thrust back down to their sides by force of embar­rassed will.

That said, I draw a clear dis­tinc­tion between the insti­tu­tions of intel­li­gence and the folks who staff them.

All of the actu­al peo­ple I’ve encoun­tered in intel­li­gence are, in fact, intel­li­gent. They are ded­i­cat­ed and thought­ful. How then, can the insti­tu­tion­al sum add up to so much less than the parts? Because anoth­er, much larg­er, com­bi­na­tion of fac­tors is also at work: bureau­cra­cy and secre­cy.

Bureau­cra­cies nat­u­ral­ly use secre­cy to immu­nize them­selves against hos­tile inves­ti­ga­tion, from with­out or with­in. This ten­den­cy becomes an autoim­mune dis­or­der when the bureau­cra­cy is actu­al­ly designed to be secre­tive and is whol­ly focused on oth­er, sim­i­lar insti­tu­tions. The coun­ter­pro­duc­tive infor­ma­tion hoard­ing, the tech­no­log­i­cal back­ward­ness, the unac­count­abil­i­ty, the moral lax­i­ty, the sus­pi­cion of pub­lic infor­ma­tion, the arro­gance, the xeno­pho­bia (and result­ing lack of cul­tur­al and lin­guis­tic sophis­ti­ca­tion), the risk aver­sion, the recruit­ing homo­gene­ity, the inward-direct­ed­ness, the pref­er­ence for data acqui­si­tion over infor­ma­tion dis­sem­i­na­tion, and the use­less­ness of what is dis­sem­i­nat­ed-all are the nat­ur­al, and now ful­ly mature, whelps of bureau­cra­cy and secre­cy.

Not sur­pris­ing­ly, peo­ple who work there believe that job secu­ri­ty and pow­er are defined by the amount of infor­ma­tion one can stop from mov­ing. You become more pow­er­ful based on your capac­i­ty to know things that no one else does. The same applies, in con­cen­tric cir­cles of self-pro­tec­tion, to one’s team, depart­ment, sec­tion, and agency. How can data be digest­ed into use­ful infor­ma­tion in a sys­tem like that?

How can we expect the CIA and FBI to share infor­ma­tion with each oth­er when they’re dis­in­clined to share it with­in their own orga­ni­za­tions? The result­ing dif­fer­ences cut deep. One of the rev­e­la­tions of the House Report on Coun­tert­er­ror­ism Intel­li­gence Capa­bil­i­ties and Per­for­mance Pri­or to Sep­tem­ber 11 was that none of the respon­si­ble agen­cies even shared the same def­i­n­i­tion of ter­ror­ism. It’s hard to find some­thing when you can’t agree on what you’re look­ing for.

The infor­ma­tion they do divulge is also flawed in a vari­ety of ways. The “con­sumers” (as they gen­er­al­ly call pol­i­cy­mak­ers) are unable to deter­mine the reli­a­bil­i­ty of what they’re get­ting because the sources are con­cealed. Much of what they get is too undi­gest­ed and volu­mi­nous to be use­ful to some­one already suf­fer­ing from infor­ma­tion over­load. And it comes with strings attached. As one gen­er­al put it, “I don’t want infor­ma­tion that requires three secu­ri­ty offi­cers and a safe to move it in around the bat­tle­field.”

As a result, the con­sumers are increas­ing­ly more inclined to get their infor­ma­tion from pub­lic sources. Sec­re­tary of State Col­in Pow­ell says that he prefers “the Ear­ly Bird,” a com­pendi­um of dai­ly news­pa­per sto­ries, to the President’s Dai­ly Brief (the CIA’s ulti­mate prod­uct).

The same is appar­ent­ly true with­in the agen­cies them­selves. Although their fin­ished prod­ucts rarely make explic­it use of what’s been gleaned from the media, ana­lysts rou­tine­ly turn there for infor­ma­tion. On the day I first vis­it­ed the CIA’s “mis­sion con­trol” room, the ana­lysts around the lazy Susan often turned their atten­tion to the giant video mon­i­tors over­head. Four of these were show­ing the same CNN feed.

Secre­cy also breeds tech­no­log­i­cal stag­na­tion. In the ear­ly ’90s, I was speak­ing to per­son­nel from the Depart­ment of Ener­gy nuclear labs about com­put­er secu­ri­ty. I told them I thought their empha­sis on clas­si­fi­ca­tion might be unnec­es­sary because mak­ing a weapon was less a mat­ter of infor­ma­tion than of indus­tri­al capac­i­ty. The recipe for a nuclear bomb has been gen­er­al­ly avail­able since 1978, when John Aris­to­tle Phillips pub­lished plans in The Pro­gres­sive. What’s not so read­i­ly avail­able is the plu­to­ni­um and tri­tium, which require an entire nation to pro­duce. Giv­en that, I couldn’t see why they were being so secre­tive.

The next speak­er was Dr. Edward Teller, who sur­prised me by not only agree­ing but point­ing out both the role of open dis­course in sci­en­tif­ic progress, as well as the futil­i­ty of most infor­ma­tion secu­ri­ty. “If we made an impor­tant nuclear dis­cov­ery, the Rus­sians were usu­al­ly able to get it with­in a year,” he said. He went on: “After World War II we were ahead of the Sovi­ets in nuclear tech­nol­o­gy and about even with them in elec­tron­ics. We main­tained a closed sys­tem for nuclear design while design­ing elec­tron­ics in the open. Their sys­tems were closed in both regards. After 40 years, we are at par­i­ty in nuclear sci­ence, where­as, thanks to our open sys­tem in the study of elec­tron­ics, we are decades ahead of the Rus­sians.”

There is also the sticky mat­ter of bud­getary account­abil­i­ty. The direc­tor of Cen­tral Intel­li­gence (DCI) is sup­posed to be in charge of all the func­tions of intel­li­gence. In fact, he has con­trol over less than 15% of the total bud­get, direct­ing only the CIA. Sev­er­al of the dif­fer­ent intel­li­gence-reform com­mis­sions that have been con­vened since 1949 have called for con­sol­i­dat­ing bud­getary author­i­ty under the DCI, but it has nev­er hap­pened.

With such hazy over­sight, the intel­li­gence agen­cies nat­u­ral­ly become waste­ful and redun­dant. They spent their mon­ey on toys like satel­lite-imag­ing sys­tems and big-iron com­put­ers (often obso­lete by the time they’re deployed) rather than devel­op­ing the orga­ni­za­tion­al capac­i­ty for ana­lyz­ing all those snap­shots from space, or train­ing ana­lysts in lan­guages oth­er than Eng­lish and Russ­ian, or infil­trat­ing poten­tial­ly dan­ger­ous groups, or invest­ing in the resources nec­es­sary for good HUMINT (as they poet­i­cal­ly call infor­ma­tion gath­ered by humans oper­at­ing on the ground).

In fact, few­er than 10% of the mil­lions of satel­lite pho­tographs tak­en have ever been seen by any­body. Only one-third of the employ­ees at the CIA speak any lan­guage besides Eng­lish. Even if they do, it’s gen­er­al­ly either Russ­ian or some com­mon Euro­pean lan­guage. Of what use are the NSA’s humon­gous code-break­ing com­put­ers if no one can read the plain text extract­ed from the encrypt­ed stream?

Anoth­er sys­temic deficit of intel­li­gence lies, inter­est­ing­ly enough, in the area of good old-fash­ioned spy­ing. Although its inten­tions were noble, the ’70s Church Com­mit­tee had a dev­as­tat­ing effect on this nec­es­sary part of intel­li­gence work. It caught the CIA in a num­ber of dubi­ous covert oper­a­tions and took the guilty to task.

But rather than lis­ten to the committee’s essen­tial mes­sage that they should renounce the sorts of nefar­i­ous deeds the pub­lic would repu­di­ate and lim­it secre­cy to essen­tial secu­ri­ty con­sid­er­a­tions, the lead­er­ship respond­ed by pulling most of its agents out of the field, aside from a few hired trai­tors.

Despite all the efforts aimed at sharp­en­ing their tools, intel­li­gence offi­cials have only become pro­gres­sive­ly duller and more expen­sive. We enter an era of asym­met­ri­cal threats, dis­trib­uted over the entire globe, against which our most effec­tive weapon is under­stand­ing. Yet we are still pro­tect­ed by agen­cies geared to gaz­ing on a sin­gle, cen­tral­ized threat, using meth­ods that opti­mize obfus­ca­tion. What is to be done?

We might begin by ask­ing what intel­li­gence should do. The answer is sim­ple: Intel­li­gence exists to pro­vide deci­sion mak­ers with an accu­rate, com­pre­hen­sive, and unbi­ased under­stand­ing of what’s going on in the world. In oth­er words, intel­li­gence defines real­i­ty for those whose actions could alter it. “Giv­en our basic mis­sion,” one ana­lyst said weari­ly, “we’d do bet­ter to study epis­te­mol­o­gy than mis­sile emplace­ments.”

If we are seri­ous about defin­ing real­i­ty, we might look at the sys­tem that defines real­i­ty for most of us: sci­en­tif­ic dis­course. The sci­en­tif­ic method is straight­for­ward. The­o­ries are open­ly advanced for exam­i­na­tion and tri­al by oth­ers in the field. Sci­en­tists toil to cre­ate sys­tems to make all the infor­ma­tion avail­able to one imme­di­ate­ly avail­able to all. They don’t like secrets. They base their rep­u­ta­tions on their abil­i­ty to dis­trib­ute their con­clu­sions rather than the abil­i­ty to con­ceal them. They rec­og­nize that “truth” is based on the widest pos­si­ble con­sen­sus of per­cep­tions. They are com­mit­ted free mar­ke­teers in the com­merce of thought. This method has worked fab­u­lous­ly well for 500 years. It might be worth a try in the field of intel­li­gence.

Intel­li­gence has been focused on gath­er­ing infor­ma­tion from expen­sive closed sources, such as satel­lites and clan­des­tine agents. Let’s attempt to turn that propo­si­tion around. Let’s cre­ate a process of infor­ma­tion diges­tion in which inex­pen­sive data are gath­ered from large­ly open sources and con­densed, through an open process, into knowl­edge terse and insight­ful enough to inspire wis­dom in our lead­ers.

The enti­ty I envi­sion would be small, high­ly net­worked, and gen­er­al­ly vis­i­ble. It would be open to infor­ma­tion from all avail­able sources and would clas­si­fy only infor­ma­tion that arrived clas­si­fied. It would rely heav­i­ly on the Inter­net, pub­lic media, the aca­d­e­m­ic press, and an infor­mal world­wide net­work of volunteers–a kind of glob­al Neigh­bor­hood Watch–that would sub­mit on-the-ground reports.

It would use off-the-shelf tech­nol­o­gy, and use it less for gath­er­ing data than for col­lat­ing and com­mu­ni­cat­ing them. Being off-the-shelf, it could deploy tools while they were still state-of-the-art.

I imag­ine this enti­ty staffed ini­tial­ly with librar­i­ans, jour­nal­ists, lin­guists, sci­en­tists, tech­nol­o­gists, philoso­phers, soci­ol­o­gists, cul­tur­al his­to­ri­ans, the­olo­gians, econ­o­mists, philoso­phers, and artists‑a lot like the orig­i­nal CIA, the OSS, under “Wild Bill” Dono­van. Its bud­get would be under the direct author­i­ty of the Pres­i­dent, act­ing through the Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Advis­er. Con­gres­sion­al over­sight would reside in the com­mit­tees on sci­ence and tech­nol­o­gy (and not under the con­gres­sion­al Joint Com­mit­tee on Intel­li­gence).

There are, of course, prob­lems with this pro­pos­al. First, it does not address the press­ing need to reestab­lish clan­des­tine human intel­li­gence. Per­haps this new Open Intel­li­gence Office (OIO) could also work close­ly with a Clan­des­tine Intel­li­gence Bureau, also sep­a­rate from the tra­di­tion­al agen­cies, to direct infil­tra­tors and moles who would report their obser­va­tions to the OIO through a tech­no­log­i­cal mem­brane that would strip their iden­ti­ties from their find­ings. The oper­a­tives would be legal­ly restrict­ed to gath­er­ing infor­ma­tion, with harsh penal­ties attached to any engage­ment in covert oper­a­tions.

The oth­er prob­lem is the “Sat­urn” dilem­ma. Once this new enti­ty begins to demon­strate its effec­tive­ness in pro­vid­ing insight to pol­i­cy­mak­ers that is con­cise, time­ly, and accu­rate (as I believe it would), almost cer­tain­ly tra­di­tion­al agen­cies would try to haul it back into the moth­er ship and break it (as has hap­pened to the Sat­urn divi­sion at Gen­er­al Motors). I don’t know how to deal with that one. It’s the nature of bureau­cra­cies to crush com­pe­ti­tion. No one at the CIA would be hap­py to hear that the only thing the Pres­i­dent and cab­i­net read every morn­ing is the OIO report.

But I think we can deal with that prob­lem when we’re lucky enough to have it. Know­ing that it’s like­ly to occur may be suf­fi­cient. A more imme­di­ate prob­lem would be keep­ing exist­ing agen­cies from abort­ing the OIO as soon as some­one with the pow­er to cre­ate it start­ed think­ing it might be a good idea. And, of course, there’s also the unlike­li­hood that any­one who thinks that the Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty is a good idea would ever enter­tain such a pos­si­bil­i­ty.

Right now, we have to do some­thing, and prefer­ably some­thing use­ful. The U.S. has just tak­en its worst hit from the out­side since 1941. Our exist­ing sys­tems for under­stand­ing the world are designed to under­stand a world that no longer exists. It’s time to try some­thing that’s the right kind of crazy. It’s time to end the more tra­di­tion­al insan­i­ty of end­less­ly repeat­ing the same futile efforts.

John Per­ry Bar­low is cofounder of the Elec­tron­ic Fron­tier Foun­da­tion.

4b. We note–again–that Wik­iLeaks is, and always was, an obvi­ous­ly fascist/Nazi insti­tu­tion. (In FTR #‘s 724 [62], 725 [63], 732 [45], 745, [46] 755 [64] and 917 [65] we have detailed the fas­cist and far right-wing ide­ol­o­gy, asso­ci­a­tions and pol­i­tics of Julian Assange and Wik­iLeaks.)

“Inside the Para­noid, Strange World of Julian Assange” by James Ball; Buz­zFeed; 10/23/2016. [49]

. . . . Spend­ing those few months at such close prox­im­i­ty to Assange and his con­fi­dants, and expe­ri­enc­ing first-hand the pres­sures exert­ed on those there, have giv­en me a par­tic­u­lar insight into how Wik­iLeaks has become what it is today.

To an out­sider, the Wik­iLeaks of 2016 looks total­ly unre­lat­ed to the Wik­iLeaks of 2010. . . .

Now it is the dar­ling of the alt-right, reveal­ing hacked emails seem­ing­ly to influ­ence a pres­i­den­tial con­test, claim­ing the US elec­tion is “rigged”, and descend­ing into con­spir­a­cy. Just this week on Twit­ter, it described the deaths by nat­ur­al caus­es of two of its sup­port­ers as a “bloody year for Wik­iLeaks”, and warned of media out­lets “con­trolled by” mem­bers of the Roth­schild fam­i­ly – a com­mon anti-Semit­ic trope. . .

5a. In FTR #951 [41], we observed that Richard B. Spencer, one of Trump’s Nazi back­ers, has begun a web­site [42] with Swedish Alt-Righter Daniel Friberg, part of the Swedish fas­cist milieu to which Carl Lund­strom belongs. In FTR #732 [45] (among oth­er pro­grams), we not­ed that it was Lund­strom who financed the Pirate Bay web­site, on which Wik­iLeaks held forth for quite some time. In FTR #745 [46], we doc­u­ment­ed that top Assange aide and Holo­caust-denier Joran Jer­mas (aka “Israel Shamir”) arranged the Lundstrom/WikiLeaks liai­son. (Jer­mas han­dles Wik­iLeaks Russ­ian oper­a­tions, a point of inter­est in the wake of the 2016 cam­paign.)

It is a good bet that Lundstrom/Pirate Bay/WikiLeaks et al were data min­ing the many peo­ple who vis­it­ed the Wik­iLeaks site.

Might Lundstrom/Jermas/Assange et al have shared the volu­mi­nous data they may well have mined with Mercer/Cambridge Analytica/Bannon’s Naz­i­fied AI?

“Richard Spencer and His Alt-Right Bud­dies Launch a New Web­site” by Osi­ta Nwavenu; Slate; 1/17/2017. [42]

On Mon­day, Richard Spencer, New Jer­sey Insti­tute of Tech­nol­o­gy lec­tur­er Jason Jor­jani, and Swedish New Right fig­ure Daniel Friberg launched altright.com, a site aimed at bring­ing togeth­er “the best writ­ers and ana­lysts from Alt Right, in North Amer­i­ca, Europe, and around the world.” . . .

. . . . As of now, most of the site’s con­tent is recy­cled mate­r­i­al from Friberg’s Ark­tos pub­lish­ing house, Spencer’s oth­er pub­li­ca­tion, Radix Jour­nal, the alt-right online media net­work Red Ice, and Occi­den­tal Dis­sent, a white nation­al­ist blog run by altright.com’s news edi­tor Hunter Wal­lace. . . .

…. Still, Spencer’s intel­lec­tu­al­ism does lit­tle to hide the cen­tral­i­ty of big­otry to his own world­view and the views of those he pub­lish­es. His pre­vi­ous site, Alter­na­tive Right, once ran an essay called, ‘Is Black Geno­cide Right?’” [66] “Instead of ask­ing how we can make repa­ra­tions for slav­ery, colo­nial­ism, and Apartheid or how we can equal­ize aca­d­e­m­ic scores and incomes,” Col­in Lid­dell wrote, “we should instead be ask­ing ques­tions like, ‘Does human civ­i­liza­tion actu­al­ly need the Black race?’ ‘Is Black geno­cide right?’ and, if it is, ‘What would be the best and eas­i­est way to dis­pose of them?’” It remains to be seen whether altright.com will employ sim­i­lar­ly can­did writ­ers. . . .

5b. Pirate Bay sug­ar dad­dy Lund­strom has dis­cussed his polit­i­cal sym­pa­thies. [The excerpt below is from Google trans­la­tions. The Swedish sen­tence is fol­lowed by the Eng­lish trans­la­tion.] Note that he appears on the user/subscriber list for Nordic Pub­lish­ers, the Nazi pub­lish­ing out­fit that han­dles the efforts pro­duced by one of Jer­mas’s [aka “Shamir’s”] pub­lish­ers.

“The Goal: Take over all Pira­cy” by Peter Karls­son; realtid.se; 3/10/2006. [44]

. . . Lund­ström har inte gjort någon hem­lighet av sina sym­pa­ti­er för främ­lings­fientli­ga grup­per, och för­ra året fanns hans namn med på kun­dreg­istret hos det nazis­tiska bok­för­laget Nordiska För­laget. Lund­strom has made no secret of his sym­pa­thy for the xeno­pho­bic groups, and last year was his name with the cus­tomer code of the Nazi pub­lish­ing house Nordic Pub­lish­ers.

– Jag stöder dem genom att köpa böck­er och musik. - I sup­port them by buy­ing books and music. Ni i media vill bara spri­da mis­sak­t­ning om oli­ka per­son­er. You in the media just want to spread con­tempt for dif­fer­ent peo­ple. Ni i media är fyll­da av hat till Pirate Bay, avs­lu­tar en myck­et upprörd Carl Lund­ström. You in the media is full of hatred to the Pirate Bay, fin­ish­ing a very upset Carl Lund­ström.

Nordiska För­laget säl­jer vit makt musik och böck­er som hyl­lar rasis­tiska våld­shan­dlin­gar. Nordic pub­lish­ing com­pa­ny sells white pow­er music and books that cel­e­brates the racist vio­lence. För­laget stöder nazis­ter­nas demon­stra­tion i Salem och bjöd in Ku Klux Klan ledaren till en före­drag­turné i Sverige. Pub­lish­er sup­ports the Nazi demon­stra­tion in Salem and invit­ed the Ku Klux Klan leader [David Duke] for a lec­ture tour in Swe­den. . . .

6c. Expo–found­ed by the late Stieg Larsson–revealed that Friberg’s Nordic Pub­lish­ers has mor­phed into Ark­tos, one of the out­fits asso­ci­at­ed with Spencer, et al.

Right Wing Pub­lic Edu­ca­tion” by Maria-Pia Cabero [Google Trans­la­tion]; Expo; Jan­u­ary of 2014. [43]

. . . . When NF [Nordiska Forlaget–D.E.] were dis­con­tin­ued in 2010 found­ed the pub­lish­er Ark­tos by basi­cal­ly the same peo­ple. Ark­tos pub­lish­es New Right-inspired lit­er­a­ture and CEO Daniel Friberg, who was dri­ving in the NF, has played a key role in the estab­lish­ment of ideas. . . .

7. At the SXSW event, Microsoft researcher Kate Craw­ford gave a speech about her work titled “Dark Days: AI and the Rise of Fas­cism,” the pre­sen­ta­tion high­light­ed  the social impact of machine learn­ing and large-scale data sys­tems. The take home mes­sage? By del­e­gat­ing pow­ers to Bid Data-dri­ven AIs, those AIs could become fascist’s dream: Incred­i­ble pow­er over the lives of oth­ers with min­i­mal account­abil­i­ty: ” . . . .‘This is a fascist’s dream,’ she said. ‘Pow­er with­out account­abil­i­ty.’ . . . .”

We reit­er­ate, in clos­ing, that ” . . . . Palan­tir is build­ing an intel­li­gence sys­tem to assist Don­ald Trump in deport­ing immi­grants [47]. . . .”

In FTR #757 [48] we not­ed that Palan­tir is a firm dom­i­nat­ed by Peter Thiel, a main backer of Don­ald Trump.

“Arti­fi­cial Intel­li­gence Is Ripe for Abuse, Tech Researcher Warns: ‘A Fascist’s Dream’” by Olivia Solon; The Guardian; 3/13/2017. [67]

Microsoft’s Kate Craw­ford tells SXSW that soci­ety must pre­pare for author­i­tar­i­an move­ments to test the ‘pow­er with­out account­abil­i­ty’ of AI

As arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence becomes more pow­er­ful, peo­ple need to make sure it’s not used by author­i­tar­i­an regimes to cen­tral­ize pow­er and tar­get cer­tain pop­u­la­tions, Microsoft Research’s Kate Craw­ford warned on Sun­day.

In her SXSW ses­sion, titled Dark Days: AI and the Rise of Fas­cism [68], Craw­ford, who stud­ies the social impact of machine learn­ing and large-scale data sys­tems, explained ways that auto­mat­ed sys­tems and their encod­ed bias­es can be mis­used, par­tic­u­lar­ly when they fall into the wrong hands.

“Just as we are see­ing a step func­tion increase in the spread of AI, some­thing else is hap­pen­ing: the rise of ultra-nation­al­ism, rightwing author­i­tar­i­an­ism and fas­cism,” she said.

All of these move­ments have shared char­ac­ter­is­tics, includ­ing the desire to cen­tral­ize pow­er, track pop­u­la­tions, demo­nize out­siders and claim author­i­ty and neu­tral­i­ty with­out being account­able. Machine intel­li­gence can be a pow­er­ful part of the pow­er play­book, she said.

One of the key prob­lems with arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence is that it is often invis­i­bly cod­ed with human bias­es. She described a con­tro­ver­sial piece of research [69] from Shang­hai Jiao Tong Uni­ver­si­ty in Chi­na, where authors claimed to have devel­oped a sys­tem that could pre­dict crim­i­nal­i­ty based on someone’s facial fea­tures. The machine was trained on Chi­nese gov­ern­ment ID pho­tos, ana­lyz­ing the faces of crim­i­nals and non-crim­i­nals to iden­ti­fy pre­dic­tive fea­tures. The researchers claimed it was free from bias.

“We should always be sus­pi­cious when machine learn­ing sys­tems are described as free from bias if it’s been trained on human-gen­er­at­ed data,” Craw­ford said. “Our bias­es are built into that train­ing data.”

In the Chi­nese research it turned out that the faces of crim­i­nals were more unusu­al than those of law-abid­ing cit­i­zens. “Peo­ple who had dis­sim­i­lar faces were more like­ly to be seen as untrust­wor­thy by police and judges. That’s encod­ing bias,” Craw­ford said. “This would be a ter­ri­fy­ing sys­tem for an auto­crat to get his hand on.”

Craw­ford then out­lined the “nasty his­to­ry” of peo­ple using facial fea­tures to “jus­ti­fy the unjus­ti­fi­able”. The prin­ci­ples of phrenol­o­gy, a pseu­do­science that devel­oped across Europe and the US in the 19th cen­tu­ry, were used as part of the jus­ti­fi­ca­tion of both slav­ery [70] and the Nazi per­se­cu­tion of Jews [71].

With AI this type of dis­crim­i­na­tion can be masked in a black box of algo­rithms, as appears to be the case with a com­pa­ny called Face­cep­tion [72], for instance, a firm that promis­es to pro­file people’s per­son­al­i­ties based on their faces. In its ownmar­ket­ing mate­r­i­al [73], the com­pa­ny sug­gests that Mid­dle East­ern-look­ing peo­ple with beards are “ter­ror­ists”, while white look­ing women with trendy hair­cuts are “brand pro­mot­ers”.

Anoth­er area where AI can be mis­used is in build­ing reg­istries, which can then be used to tar­get cer­tain pop­u­la­tion groups. Craw­ford not­ed his­tor­i­cal cas­es of reg­istry abuse, includ­ing IBM’s role in enabling Nazi Ger­many [74] to track Jew­ish, Roma and oth­er eth­nic groups with the Hol­lerith Machine [75], and the Book of Life used in South Africa dur­ing apartheid [76]. [We note in pass­ing that Robert Mer­cer, who devel­oped the core pro­grams used by Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca did so while work­ing for IBM. We dis­cussed the pro­found rela­tion­ship between IBM and the Third Reich in FTR #279 [77]–D.E.]

Don­ald Trump has float­ed the idea of cre­at­ing a Mus­lim reg­istry [78]. “We already have that. Face­book has become the default Mus­lim reg­istry of the world,” Craw­ford said, men­tion­ing research from Cam­bridge Uni­ver­si­ty [79] that showed it is pos­si­ble to pre­dict people’s reli­gious beliefs based on what they “like” on the social net­work. Chris­tians and Mus­lims were cor­rect­ly clas­si­fied in 82% of cas­es, and sim­i­lar results were achieved for Democ­rats and Repub­li­cans (85%). That study was con­clud­ed in 2013, since when AI has made huge leaps.

Craw­ford was con­cerned about the poten­tial use of AI in pre­dic­tive polic­ing sys­tems, which already gath­er the kind of data nec­es­sary to train an AI sys­tem. Such sys­tems are flawed, as shown by a Rand Cor­po­ra­tion study of Chicago’s pro­gram [80]. The pre­dic­tive polic­ing did not reduce crime, but did increase harass­ment of peo­ple in “hotspot” areas. Ear­li­er this year the jus­tice depart­ment con­clud­ed that Chicago’s police had for years reg­u­lar­ly used “unlaw­ful force” [81], and that black and His­pan­ic neigh­bor­hoods were most affect­ed.

Anoth­er wor­ry relat­ed to the manip­u­la­tion of polit­i­cal beliefs or shift­ing vot­ers, some­thing Face­book [82] and Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca [83] claim they can already do. Craw­ford was skep­ti­cal about giv­ing Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca cred­it for Brex­it and the elec­tion of Don­ald Trump, but thinks what the firm promis­es – using thou­sands of data points on peo­ple to work out how to manip­u­late their views – will be pos­si­ble “in the next few years”.

“This is a fascist’s dream,” she said. “Pow­er with­out account­abil­i­ty.”

Such black box sys­tems are start­ing to creep into gov­ern­ment. Palan­tir is build­ing an intel­li­gence sys­tem to assist Don­ald Trump in deport­ing immi­grants [47].

“It’s the most pow­er­ful engine of mass depor­ta­tion this coun­try has ever seen,” she said. . . .