Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.
The tag 'Edward Snowden' is associated with 112 posts.

FTR #1081 Surveillance Valley, Part 7: Yasha Levine Gets the Jim Garrison/Gary Webb Treatment

We emphasize the treatment afforded Yasha Levine. As might be expected, Levine received the Jim Garrison/Gary Webb treatment. The retribution directed at Yasha Levine epitomizes why Mr. Emory refers to the so-called progressive sector as “so-called.”

” . . . . The threats and attacks had begun sometime overnight while I slept. By morning, they had reached a vicious and murderous pitch. There were calls for my death—by fire, by suffocation, by having my throat slit by razor blades. People I had never met called me a rapist, and alleged that I took delight in beating women and forcing people to have sex with me. I was accused of homophobia. Anonymous people filed bogus claims with my editor. Allegations that I was a CIA agent poured in, as did claims that I worked with British intelligence. The fact that I had been born in the Soviet Union didn’t do me any favors; naturally, I was accused of being an FSB spy and of working for Russia’s successor to the KGB. I was informed that my name was added to a dark net assassination list—a site where people could place anonymous bids for my murder. The roaming eye of the Internet hate machine had suddenly fixed on me. . . .”

In addition to online bullying, slander and veiled and direct threats, the so-called “privacy activists” joined in pillorying Yasha Levine: ” . . . . Micah Lee, the former EFF technologist who helped Edward Snowden communicate securely with journalists and who now works at The Intercept, attacked me as a conspiracy theorist and accused me and my colleagues at Pando of being sexist bullies, he claimed that my reporting was motivated not by a desire to get at the truth but by a malicious impulse to harass a female Tor developer. Although Lee conceded that my information about Tor’s government funding was correct, he counter intuitively argued that it didn’t matter. . . .

” . . . . Journalists, experts, and technologists from groups like the ACLU, the EFF, Freedom of the Press Foundation and The Intercept and employees of the Tor Project joined in to attack my reporting. Unlike Lee, most did not attempt to engage my reporting but employed a range of familiar PR smear tactics—tactics you usually see used by corporate flacks, not principled privacy activists. They took to social media, telling anyone who showed interest in my articles that they should ignore them instead. Then, when that didn’t work, they tried to discredit my reporting with ridicule, misdirection, and crude insults. . . .

” . . . . A respected ACLU privacy expert, who now works as a congressional staffer, called me “a conspiracy theorist  who sees black helicopters everywhere” and compared my reporting about Tor to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. As someone who escaped state-sponsored anti-Semitism in the Soviet Union, I found the comparison extremely offensive, especially coming from the ACLU. The Protocols were an anti-Semitic forgery disseminated by the Russian Tsar’s secret police that unleashed waves of deadly pogroms against Jews across the Russian Empire in the early twentieth century. Tor employees put forth a torrent of childish insults, calling me a ‘dumb Stalinist state-felcher’ and a ‘fucktard’s fucktard.’ They accused me of being funded by spies to undermine faith in cryptography. One of them claimed that I was a rapist, and hurled homophobic insults about the various ways in which I had supposedly performed sexual favors for a male colleague.

 “In the way that these Internet hazing sessions, go, the campaign evolved and spread. Strange people began threatening me and my colleagues on social media. Some accused me of having blood on my hands and of racking up an “activist body count”–that people were actually dying because of my reporting undermined trust in Tor.The attacks widened to include regular readers and social media users, anyone who had the nerve to ask questions about Tor’s funding sources. An employee of the Tor Project went so far as to dox an anonymous Twitter user, exposing his real identity and contacting his employer in the hopes of getting him fired from his job as a junior pharmacist.

It was bizarre. I watched all this unfold in real time but had no idea how to respond. Even more disconcerting was that the attacks soon expanded to include libelous stories placed in reputable media outlets. The Guardian published a story by a freelancer accusing me of running an online sexual harassment and bullying campaign. The Los Angeles Review of Books, generally a good journal of arts and culture, ran an essay by a freelancer alleging that my reporting was funded by the CIA. Paul Carr, my editor at Pando, lodged official complaints and demanded to know how these reporters came to their conclusions. Both publications ultimately retracted their statements and printed corrections. An editor at the Guardian apologized and described the article as a ‘fuck up.’ But the online attacks continued. . . .”

Program Highlights Include:

1.–The role of Eddie Snowden in misattributing the Shadow Brokers non-hack to Russia.
2.–Snowden’s foreshadowing of the alleged Russian “hack” of the Macron campaign”: ” . . . . ‘That could have significant foreign policy consequences,’ Snowden wrote on Twitter. ‘Particularly if any of those operations targeted US allies. Particularly if any of those operations targeted elections.’ . . .”
3.–James Bamford’s analysis of WikiLeaker/Tor promoter/BBG associate Jacob Apelbaum as the most likely source of the Shadow Brokers non-hack. 
The ludicrous nature of the “Russia-did it” hypothesis concerning the Macron hacks: ” . . . . The hacked documents in the ‘Macron hack’ not only contained Cyrillic text in the metadata, but also contained the name of the last person to modify the documents. That name, ‘Roshka Georgiy Petrovichan’, is an employee at Evrika, a large IT company that does work for the Russian government, including the FSB (Russian intelligence.) Also found in the metadata is the email of the person who uploaded the files to ‘archive.org’, and that email address, frankmacher1@gmx.de, is registered with a German free webmail provider used previously in 2016 phishing attacks against the CDU in Germany that have been attributed to APT28. It would appear that the ‘Russian hackers’ not only left clues suggesting it was Russian hackers behind the hack, but they decided to name names this time–their own names. . . .”
4.–Neo-Nazi and Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras associate Andrew Auerenheimer’s role in modifying the documents in the Macron hack:  ” . . . . Shortly after an anonymous user of the 4chan.org discussion forum posted fake documents purporting to show Mr. Macron had set up an undisclosed shell company in the Caribbean, the user directed people to visit nouveaumartel.com for updates on the French election. That website, according to research by web-security provider Virtualroad.org, is registered by ‘Weevlos,’ a known online alias of Andrew Auernheimer, an American hacker who gained notoriety three years ago when a U.S. appeals court vacated his conviction for computer fraud. The site also is hosted by a server in Latvia that hosts the Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi news site that identifies its administrator as ‘Weev,’ another online alias of Mr. Aeurnheimer, Virtualroad.org says. ‘We strongly believe that the fake offshore documents were created by someone with control of the Daily Stormer server,’ said Tord Lundström, a computer forensics investigator at Virtualroad.org. . . .”
5.–French cybersecurity chief Guillaume Poupard negated the assertion that Russia hacked the Macron campaign: ” . . . . The head of the French government’s cyber security agency, which investigated leaks from President Emmanuel Macron’s election campaign, says they found no trace of a notorious Russian hacking group behind the attack. . . . “


FTR #1080 Surveillance Valley, Part 6: Double Agents, Part 2 (Foxes Guarding the Online Privacy Henhouse, Part 3)

In this program, we resume discussion and analysis of the consummately important recent book Surveillance Valley: The Secret Military History of the Internet by Yasha Levine. In the previous program, we noted, among other points of analysis, the decisive role of Eddie “The Friendly Spook” Snowden in promoting the intelligence-agency crafted Tor network.

In addition to Tor, the Open Technology Fund (read “CIA”) helped finance the Signal app for mobile phones. It, too, is fundamentally compromised. ” . . . . . . . . The Tor project remained the best-known privacy app funded by the Open Technology Fund, but it was quickly joined by another: Signal, an encrypted mobile phone messaging app for the iPhone and Android. . . .”

Not surprisingly, the CIA’s Eddie “The Friendly Spook” Snowden was a big promoter of Signal, as well as Tor: ” . . . . People at the ACLU claimed that Signal made federal agents weep. The Electronic Frontier Foundation added Signal alongside Tor to its Surveillance Self-Defense guide. Fight for the Future, a Silicon Valley-funded privacy activist organization, described Signal and Tor as ‘NSA-proof’ and urged people to use them. Edward Snowden was the combo’s biggest and most famous booster and repeatedly took to Twitter to tell his three million followers that he used Signal and Tor every day, and that they should do the same to protect themselves from government surveillance. ‘Use Tor, Use Signal,’ he tweeted out.

“With endorsements like these, Signal quickly became the go-to app for political activists around the world. Egypt, Russia, Syria, and even the United States—millions downloaded Signal, and it became the communication app of choice for those who hoped to avoid police surveillance. Feminist collectives, anti-President Donald Trump protesters, communists, anarchists, radical animal rights organizations, Black Lives Matter activists—all flocked to Signal. Many were heeding Snowden’s advice: ‘Organize. Compartmentalize to limit compromise. Encrypt everything, from calls to texts (use Signal as a first step.)’ . . . .”

Yasha Levine sums up the fundamental contradictions inherent  in this dynamic: ” . . . . If you stepped back to survey the scene, the entire landscape of this new Internet Freedom privacy movement looked absurd. Cold War-era organizations spun off from the CIA now funding the global movement against government surveillance? Google and Facebook, companies that ran private surveillance networks and worked hand in hand with the NSA, deploying government-funded privacy tech to protect their users from government surveillance? Privacy activists working with Silicon Valley and the US government to fight government surveillance—and with the support of Edward Snowden himself? . . . .”

Following Snowden’s promotion of OTF’s Tor and Signal technologies, OTF was at a zenith: ” . . . . After Edward Snowden, OTF was triumphant. It didn’t mention the leaker by name in its promotional materials, but it profited from the crypto culture he promoted and benefited from his direct endorsement of the crypto tools it financed. It boasted that its partnership with both Silicon Valley and respected privacy activists meant that hundreds of millions of people could use the privacy tools the US government had brought to market. And OTF promised that this was just a start: ‘By leveraging social network effects, we expect to expand to a billion regular users taking advantage of OTF-supported tools and Internet Freedom technologies by 2015. . . .’

As eventually became clear, the Tor network was easily breached. It is a safe bet that the fascists grouped around the Pirate Bay site (on which WikiLeaks held forth), had breached Tor’s “secrecy,” in addition to the obvious fact that intelligence services could penetrate it at will.

With this in mind, John Young’s rumination about WikiLeaks sound more and more substantive.

In all probability, WikiLeaks was a huge data mining operation both by the very intelligence agencies who were ostensibly targeted by WikiLeaks, and the Fascist International network around Carl Lundstrom, Daniel Friberg, David Duke et al.

In FTR #’s 756 and 831 we noted Snowden’s fascist views and connections. Levine merely characterizes him as a “right-wing libertarian,” but there is MUCH MORE TO IT THAN  THAT!

Snowden downplayed the fundamental role of the Big Tech firms in aiding and abetting government surveillance, in addition to their own massive surveillance and resultant data mining. ” . . . . There, while living under state protection at an undisclosed location in Moscow, he swept Silicon Valley’s role in Internet surveillance under the rug. Asked about it by Washington Post reporter Barton Gellman, who had first reported on the NSA’s PRISM program, Snowden shrugged off the danger posed by companies like Google and Facebook. The reason? Because private companies do not have the power to arrest, jail, or kill people. ‘Twitter doesn’t put warheads on foreheads,’ he joked. . . .”

Embodying his “corporatist” and Technocratic Fascist point of view, Snowden championed the Big Tech firms as bulwarks against government Internet surveillance, despite the only-too-obvious fact (reinforced by the documents he leaked) that Big Tech is–and always has been–in bed with, and actively collaborating with, the very government intelligence agencies conducting that surveillance: ” . . . . The only islands of safety were the private data centers controlled by private companies—Google, Apple, Facebook. These were the cyber-fortresses and walled cities that offered sanctuary to the masses. In this chaotic landscape, computer engineers and cryptographers played the role of selfless galloping knights and wizard-warriors whose job was to protect the weak folk of the Internet: the young, the old and infirm, families. It was their duty to ride out, weapons aloft, and convey people and their precious data safely from fortress to fortress, not letting any of the information fall into the hands of government spies. He called on them to start a people’s privacy war, rallying them to go forth and liberate the Internet, to reclaim it from the governments of the world. . . .”

The nauseating head of Facebook–Mark Zuckerberg–has decried the intelligence community’s use of the Internet for data mining. In FTR #1077, we highlighted the Cambridge Analytica affair, and Facebook’s full cooperation with that project at every turn.

Other Big Tech firms had similar reactions. “. . . . . ‘We hadn’t even heard of PRISM before yesterday,’ Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post. He blamed the government and positioned Facebook as a victim. “I’ve called President Obama to express my frustration over the damage the government is creating for all of our future. Unfortunately, it seems like it will take a very long time for true full reform.’ Apple,  Microsoft, Google, and Yahoo! All reacted in much the same way, denying the allegations and painting themselves as the victims of government overreach. ‘It’s tremendously disappointing that the government sort of secretly did all this stuff and didn’t tell us. We can’t have a democracy if we’re having to protect you and our users from the government,’ Larry Page told Charlie Rose in an interview on CBS. . . . .”

We present the conclusion of the main part of the book, with Levine’s summation of the inextricable nature and symbiosis between the Internet, the tech firms and the so-called “privacy community.”

The key points of discussion and analysis of Levine’s book (as a whole) include:

1.–The Internet is a weapon, developed for counter-insurgency purposes.
2.–Big Tech firms network with the very intelligence services they publicly decry.
3.–Big Tech firms that data mine their customers on a nearly unimaginable scale do so as a direct, operational extension of the very surveillance function upon which  the Internet is predicated.
4.–The technologies touted by the so-called “Privacy Activists” such as Edward Snowden and Jacob Applebaum were developed by the very intelligence services they are supposed to deflect.
5.–The technologies touted by the so-called “Privacy Activists” such as Edward Snowden and Jacob Applebaum–such as the Tor Internet function and the Signal mobile phone app– are readily accessible to the very intelligence services they are supposed to deflect.
6.–The organizations that promote the alleged virtues of Snowden, Applebaum, Tor, Signal et al are linked to the very intelligence services they would have us believe they oppose.
7.–Big Tech firms embrace “Internet Freedom” as a distraction from their own willful and all-embracing data mining and their ongoing conscious collaboration with the very intelligence services they publicly decry.

NB: Mr. Levine does not go into the fascistic character of Snowden, Assange, Greenwald et al. Some of those shows: Greenwald–FTR #888, Snowden–FTR #’s 756, 831, Assange and WikiLeaks–FTR #’s 732, 745, 755, 917.

“. . . . Then there was the fact that Signal ran on Amazon’s servers, which meant that all its data were available to a partner in the NSA’s PRISM surveillance program. Equally problematic, Signal needed Apple and Google to install and run the app on people’s mobile phones. Both companies were, and as far as we know still are, partners in PRISM as well. ‘Google usually has root access to the phone, there’s the issue of integrity,’ writes Sander Venema, a respected developer and secure—technology trainer, in a blog post explaining why he no longer recommends people use Signal for encrypted chat. ‘Google is still cooperating with the NSA and other intelligence agencies. PRISM is also still a thing. I’m pretty sure that Google could serve a specially modified update or version of Signal to specific target for surveillance, and they would be none the wiser that they installed malware on their phones.’ . . .

. . . . So, although the app encrypted the content of people’s messages, it also marked them with a flashing red sign: ‘Follow Me, I Have Something to Hide.’ (Indeed, activists protesting at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia in 2016 told me that they were bewildered by the fact that police seemed to know and anticipate their every move despite their having used Signal to organize. . . .”

” . . . . For many Internet companies, including Google and Facebook, surveillance is the business model. It is the base on which their corporate and economic power rests. Disentangle surveillance and profit, and these companies would collapse. Limit data collection, an the companies would see investors flee and their stock prices plummet. [Italics are mine–D.E.]

“Silicon Valley fears a political solution to privacy. Internet Freedom and crypto offer an acceptable alternative. Tools like Signal and Tor provide a false solution to the privacy problem, focusing people’s attention on government surveillance and distracting them from the private spying carried out by the Internet companies they use every day. All the while, crypto tools give people a [false] sense that they’re doing something to protect themselves, a feeling of personal empowerment and control. And all those crypto radicals? Well, they just enhance the illusion, heightening the impression of risk and danger. With Signal or Tor installed, using an iPhone or Android suddenly becomes edgy and radical. So instead of pushing for political and democratic solutions to surveillance, we outsource our privacy politics to crypto apps–software made by the very same powerful entities that these apps are supposed to protect us from. . . .”


FTR #1079 Surveillance Valley, Part 5: Double Agents (Foxes Guarding the Online Privacy Henhouse, Part 2)

Continuing with our examination of Yasha Levine’s seminal volume Surveillance Valley, we continue our analysis of the individuals, institutions and technologies central to the so-called “online privacy” effort. The Tor Project, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Broadcasting Board of Governors and its Open Technology Fund and Jacob Appelbaum are all the opposite of what they have been represented as being.

We begin with information overlapped from our last program, highlighting how Jacob Appelbaum and the Tor network hooked up with WikiLeaks.

Tor, Appelbaum, Assange and WikiLeaks:

1.–Became increasingly intertwined, enjoying accolades from many, apparently unsuspecting, groups: ” . . . .  His [Appelbaum’s] association with WikiLeaks and Assange boosted the Tor Project’s public profile and radical credentials. Support and accolades poured in from journalists, privacy organizations, and government watchdogs. The American Civil Liberties Union partnered with Appelbaum on an Internet privacy project, and New York’s Whitney Museum—one of the leading modern art museums in the world—invited him for a ‘Surveillance Teach-In.’ The Electronic Frontier Foundation gave Tor its Pioneer Award, and Roger Dingledine made in on Foreign Policy magazine’s Top 100 Global Thinkers for protecting ‘anyone and everyone from the dangers of Big Brother.’ . . . .”
2.– Differed fundamentally from the accepted text: ” . . . . With Julian Assange endorsing Tor, reporters assumed that the US government saw the anonymity nonprofit as a threat. But internal documents obtained through FOIA from the Broadcasting Board of Governors, as well as analysis of Tor’s government contracts paint a different picture. They reveal that Appelbaum and Dingledine worked with Assange on securing WikiLeaks with Tor since late 2008 and that they kept their handlers at the BBG informed about their relationship and even provided information about the inner workings of WikiLeaks’s secure submission system. . . .”
3.–Did not adversely affect the government funding of Tor at all, as might be expected by the superficial apparent reality of the situation: ” . . . . Perhaps most telling was that support from the BBG [read “CIA”–D.E.] continued even after WikiLeaks began publishing classified government information and Appelbaum became the target of a larger Department of Justice investigation into WikiLeaks. For example, on July 31, 2010, CNET reported that Appelbaum had been detained at the Las Vegas airport and questioned about his relationship with WikiLeaks. News of the detention made headlines around the world, once again highlighting Appelbaum’s close ties to Julian Assange. And a week later, Tor’s executive director Andrew Lewman, clearly worried that this might affect Tor’s funding, emailed Ken Berman at the BBG in the hopes of smoothing things over and answering ‘any questions you may have about the recent press regarding Jake and WikiLeaks.’ But Lewman was in for a pleasant surprise: Roger Dingledine had been keeping folks at the BBG in the loop, and everything seemed to be okay. ‘Great stuff, thx. Roger answered a number of questions when he met us this week in DC,’ Berman replied. . . .”
4.–” . . . . In 2011 contracts came in without a hitch–$150,000 from the Broadcasting Board of Governors and $227,118 from the State Department. Tor was even able to snag a big chunk of money from the Pentagon: a new $503,706 annual contract from the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, an elite information and intelligence unit that houses a top-secret cyber-warfare division.The Navy was passed through SRI, the old Stanford military contractor that had done counterinsurgency, networking, and chemical weapons work for ARPA back in the 1960s and 1970s. The funds were part of a larger Navy ‘Command, Control, Communcations, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance’ program to improve military operations. A year later, Tor would see its government contracts more than double to $2.2 million: $353,000 from the State Department, $876,099 from the US Navy, and $937,800 from the Broadcasting Board of Governors. . . .”

In this context, we recall some earlier observations about WikiLeaks. John Young, one of WikiLeaks’ founders turned critic of the organization harbors deep suspicions concerning the group. ” . . . they’re acting like a cult. They’re acting like a religion. They’re acting like a government. They’re acting like a bunch of spies. They’re hiding their identity. They don’t account for the money. They promise all sorts of good things. They seldom let you know what they’re really up to. . .There was suspicion from day one that this was entrapment run by someone unknown to suck a number of people into a trap. So we actually don’t know. But it’s certainly a standard counterintelligence technique. And they’re usually pretty elaborate and pretty carefully run. They’ll even prosecute people as part of the cover story. That actually was talked about at (Sunday’s) panel. They’ll try to conceal who was informing and betraying others by pretending to prosecute them. . . .” The Tor/Appelbaum/BBG (read “CIA”)/WikiLeaks nexus may very well be proof of Young’s suspicions.

Appelbaum, WikiLeaks and Tor became fundamental to the operations of Eddie “The Friendly Spook” Snowden. In past discussion, we have noted that in the summer of 2009, when Snowden made his decision to disclose the NSA documents, he was working for the very same CIA from which the Broadcasting Board of Governors and its Open Technology Fund were derived. Jacob Appelbaum was funded by BBG, as was Tor. ” . . . . From the start, the Tor Project stood at the center of Snowden’s story. The leaker’s endorsement and promotion introduced the project to a global audience, boosting Tor’s worldwide user base from one million to six million almost overnight and injecting it into the heart of a burgeoning privacy movement. In Russia, where the BBG and Dingledine had tried but failed to recruit activists for their Tor deployment plan, use of the software increased from twenty thousand daily connections to somewhere around two hundred thousand.

“During a promotional campaign for the Tor Project, Snowden said: ‘Without Tor, the streets of the Internet become like the streets of a very heavily surveilled city. There are surveillance cameras everywhere, and if the adversary simply takes enough time, they can follow the tapes back and see everything you’ve done. With Tor, we have private spaces and private lives, where we can choose who we want to associate with and how, without the fear of what that is going to look like if it is abused. The design of the Tor system is structured in such a way that even if the US Government wanted to subvert it, it couldn’t.’ Snowden didn’t talk about Tor’s continued government funding, nor did he address an apparent contradiction: why the US government would fund a program that supposedly limited its own power. Whatever Snowden’s private thought on the matter, his endorsement gave Tor the highest possible seal of approval. It was like a Hacker’s Medal of Valor. With Snowden’s backing, no one even thought to question Tor’s radical antigovernment bona fides. . . .”

Next, we review information about the so-called “Arab Spring.” In FTR #’s 733 through 739, we presented our view that the so-called Arab Spring was a U.S. intelligence operation, aimed at placing the Brotherhood in power in Muslim countries dominated either by a secular dictator or absolute monarchy.

Yasha Levine has highlighted the role of U.S. tech personnel in training and prepping the Arab Spring online activists. As we have noted in the past, the so-called Arab Spring might have been better thought of as “The Muslim Brotherhood Spring,” as the neo-liberal, privatization ideology of Brotherhood economic icon Ibn Khaldun was fundamental to the operation.

The economic goals of the Arab Spring “op” were reviewed in, among other programs, FTR #’s 1025 and 1026.

Recall while reading the following excerpts of this remarkable and important book, that:

1.–The Tor network was developed by, and used and compromised by, elements of U.S. intelligence.
2.–One of the primary advocates and sponsors of the Tor network is the Broadcasting Board of Governors. As we saw in FTR #’s 891, 895, is an extension of the CIA.
3.–Jacob Appelbaum has been financed by the Broadcasting Board of Governors, advocates use of the Tor network, has helped WikiLeaks with its extensive use of the Tor network, and is an ideological acolyte of Ayn Rand.

The Arab Spring provided motivation for enhanced U.S. funding for Internet Freedom. The Open Technology Fund, like the BBG a CIA “derivative,” was at the center of this: ” . . . . The motivation for this expansion came out of the Arab Spring. The idea was to make sure the US government would maintain its technological advantage in the censorship arms race that began in the early 2000s, but the funds were also going into developing a new generation of tools aimed at leveraging the power of the Internet to help foreign opposition activists organize into cohesive political movements. The BBG’s $25.5 million cut of the cash more than doubled the agency’s anticensorship technology budget from the previous year, and the BBG funneled the money into the Open Technology Fund, a new organization it had created within Radio Free Asia to fund Internet Freedom technologies in the wake of the Arab Spring. . . .”

The fundamental position of BBG and OTF (read “CIA”) to the so-called online privacy community was concisely expressed by Yasha Levine: ” . . . . From behind this hip and connected exterior, BBG and Radio Free Asia built a vertically integrated incubator for Internet Freedom technologies, pouring millions into projects big and small, including everything from evading censorship to helping political organizing, protests, and movement building. With its deep pockets and its recruitment of big-name privacy activists, the Open Technology Fund didn’t just thrust itself into the privacy movement. In many ways, it WAS the privacy movement. . . .”


FTR #1078 Surveillance Valley, Part 4: Tor Up (Foxes Guarding the Online Privacy Henhouse, Part 1.)

Yasha Levine’s summation of the inextricable nature and symbiosis between the Internet, the tech firms and the so-called “privacy community” include:

1.–The Internet is a weapon, developed for counter-insurgency purposes.
2.–Big Tech firms network with the very intelligence services they publicly decry.
3.–Big Tech firms that data mine their customers on a nearly unimaginable scale do so as a direct, operational extension of the very surveillance function upon which  the Internet is predicated.
4.–The technologies touted by the so-called “Privacy Activists” such as Edward Snowden and Jacob Applebaum were developed by the very intelligence services they are supposed to deflect.
5.–The technologies touted by the so-called “Privacy Activists” such as Edward Snowden and Jacob Applebaum–such as the Tor Internet function and the Signal mobile phone app– are readily accessible to the very intelligence services they are supposed to deflect.
6.–The organizations that promote the alleged virtues of Snowden, Applebaum, Tor, Signal et al are linked to the very intelligence services they would have us believe they oppose.
7.–Big Tech firms embrace “Internet Freedom” as a distraction from their own willful and all-embracing data mining and their ongoing conscious collaboration with the very intelligence services they publicly decry.

After detailing the history of the development of the Internet by the national security establishment, Levine presents the story of the development of the Tor network.

Key points of analysis and discussion:

1.–Tor’s Silicon Valley backing: ” . . . . Privacy groups funded by companies like Google and Facebook, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Fight for the Future, were some of Tor’s biggest and most dedicated backers. Google had directly bankrolled its development, paying out generous grants to college students who worked at Tor during their summer vacations. Why would an Internet company whose entire business rested on tracking people online promote and help develop a powerful privacy tool? Something didn’t add up. . . .”
2.–Not surprisingly, Tor does not shield users from orgiastic data mining by Silicon Valley tech giants: ” . . . . Tor works only if people are dedicated to maintaining a strict anonymous Internet routine: using only dummy email addresses and bogus accounts, carrying out all financial transactions in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, and never mentioning their real name in emails or messages. For the vast majority of people on the Internet—those who use Gmail, interact with Facebook friends, and shop on Amazon—you reveal your identity. These companies know who you are. They know your name, your shipping address, your credit card information. They continue to scan your emails, map your social networks, and compile dossiers. Tor or not, once you enter your account name and password, Tor’s anonymity technology becomes useless. . . .”
3.–Silicon Valley’s support for Tor is something of a “false bromide”: ” . . . . After all, Snowden’s leaked documents revealed that anything Internet companies had, the NSA had as well. I was puzzled, but at least I understood why Tor had backing from Silicon Valley: it offered a false sense of privacy, while not posing a threat to the industry’s underlying surveillance model. . . .”
4.–Tor is, in fact, financed by elements of the very same intelligence community and national security establishment that supposedly frustrated/”locked out” by Tor! ” . . . . But as I analyzed the organization’s financial documents, I found that the opposite was true. Tor had come out of a joint US Navy—DARPA military project in the early 2000s and continued to rely on a series of federal contracts after it was spun off into a private nonprofit. This funding came from the Pentagon, the State Department, and at least one organization that derived from the CIA. These contracts added up to several million dollars a year and, most years,  accounted for more than 90 percent of Tor’s operating budget. Tor was a federal military contractor. It even had its own federal contracting number. . . This included Tor’s founder, Roger Dingledine, who spent a summer working at the NSA and who had brought Tor to life under a series of DARPA and Navy contracts. . . .”

Widely regarded as a champion of Internet freedom and privacy, the Electronic Frontier Foundation helped finance Tor and championed its use.

Key elements of discussion and analysis of the EFF/Tor alliance include:

1.–EFF’s early financing of Tor: ” . . . . . . . . In 2004, [Roger] Dingledine struck out on his own, spinning the military onion routing project into a non-profit corporation called the Tor Project and, while still funded by DARPA and the Navy, began scratching around for private funding. He got help from an unexpected ally: the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), which gave Tor almost a quarter million dollars to keep it going while Dingledine looked for other private sponsors. The EFF even hosted Tor’s website. . . .”
2.–The EFF’s effusive praise for the fundamentally compromised Tor Project: ” . . . . ‘The Tor Project is a perfect fit for EFF, because one of our primary goals is to protect the privacy and anonymity of Internet users. Tor can help people exercise their First Amendment right to free, anonymous speech online.’ EFF’s technology manager Chris Palmer explained in a 2004 press release, which curiously failed to mention that Tor was developed primarily for military intelligence use and was still actively funded by the Pentagon. . . .”
3.–The EFF’s history of working with elements of the national security establishment: ” . . . . In 1994, EFF worked with the FBI to pass the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, which required all telecommunications companies to build their equipment so that it could be wiretapped by the FBI. In 1999, EFF worked to support NATO’s bombing campaign in Kosovo with something called the ‘Kosovo Privacy Support,’ which aimed to keep the region’s Internet access open during military action. Selling a Pentagon intelligence project as a grassroots privacy tool—it didn’t seem all that wild. . . .”
4.–In FTR #854, we noted that EFF co-founder John Perry Barlow was far more than a Grateful Dead lyricist/hippie icon: ” . . . . Indeed, in 2002, a few years before it funded Tor, EFF cofounder [John] Perry Barlow casually admitted that he had been consulting for intelligence agencies for a decade. It seemed that the worlds of soldiers, spies, and privacy weren’t as far apart as they appeared. . . .”
5.–EFF’s gravitas in the online privacy community lent Tor great credibility: ” . . . . EFF’s support for Tor was a big deal. The organization commanded respect in Silicon Valley and was widely seen as the ACLU of the Internet Age. The fact that it backed Tor meant that no hard questions would be asked about the anonymity tool’s military origins as it transitioned to the civilian world. And that’s exactly what happened. . . .”

In FTR #’s 891 and 895, we noted the primary position of the Broadcasting Board of Governors in the development of the so-called “privacy” networks. The BBG is a CIA offshoot: “. . . .  The BBG might have had a bland sounding name and professed a noble mission to inform the world and spread democracy. In truth, the organization was an outgrowth of the Central Intelligence Agency. . . . The bulk of the BBG is no longer funded from the CIA’s black budget, but the agency’s original cold War goal and purpose—subversion and psychological operations directed against countries deemed hostile to US interests—remain the same. The only thing that did change about the BBG is that today, more of its broadcasts are taking place online . . . .”

After documenting Radio Free Europe’s growth from the Nazi/Vichy run Radio France during World War II and RCA’s David Sarnoff’s involvement with the Transradio Consortium (which communicated vital intelligence to the Axis during the war), the program highlights the involvement of Gehlen operatives in the operations of Radio Free Europe, the seminal CIA broadcasting outlets.

The BBG (read “CIA”) became a major backer of the Tor Project: ” . . . . . . . . It was Wednesday morning, February 8, 2006, when Roger Dingledine got the email he had been badly waiting for. The Broadcasting Board of Governors had finally agreed to back the Tor Project. . . . Within a year, the agency increased Tor’s contract to a quarter million dollars, and then bumped it up again to almost a million just a few years later. The relationship also led to major contracts with other federal agencies, boosting Tor’s meager operating budget to several million dollars a year. . . .”

Yasha Levine sums up the essence of the Tor Project: ” . . . . The Tor Project was not a radical indie organization fighting The Man. For all intents and purposes, it was The Man. Or, at least, The Man’s right hand. . . . internal correspondence reveals Tor’s close collaboration with the BBG and multiple other wings of the US government, in particular those that dealt with foreign policy and soft-power projection. Messages describe meetings, trainings, and conferences with the NSA, CIA, FBI and State Department. . . . The funding record tells the story even more precisely. . . . Tor was subsisting almost exclusively on government contracts. By 2008, that included  contracts with DARPA, the Navy, the BBG, and the State Department as well as Stanford Research Institute’s Cyber-Threat Analytics program. . . .” 

Next, we begin chronicling the career of Jacob Appelbaum. A devotee of Ayn Rand, he became one of Tor’s most important employees and promoters. “. . . . Within months of getting the job, he assumed the role of official Tor Project spokesman and began promoting Tor as a powerful weapon against government oppression. . . . Over the next several years, Dingledine’s reports back to the BBG [read “CIA”–D.E.] were filled with descriptions of Appelbaum’s successful outreach. . . .”

Introducing a topic to be more fully explored in our next program, we note Appelbaum’s pivotal role in the WikiLeaks operation and his role in the adoption of Tor by WikiLeaks: ” . . . . Appelbaum decided to attach himself to the WikiLeaks cause. He spent a few weeks with Assange and the original WikiLeaks crew in Iceland as they prepared their first major release and helped secure the site’s anonymous submissions system using Tor’s hidden service feature, which hid the physical location of WikiLeaks servers and in theory made them much less susceptible to surveillance and attack. From then on, the WikiLeaks site proudly advertised Tor: ‘secure, anonymous, distributed network for maximum security.’ . . . . Appelbaum did his best to be Assange’s right-hand man. He served as the organization’s official American representative and bailed the founder of WikiLeaks out of tough spots when the heat from US authorities got too hot. Appelbaum became so intertwined with WikiLeaks that apparently some staffers talked about him leading the organization if something were to happen to Assange. . . . Assange gave Appelbaum and Tor wide credit for helping WikiLeaks. ‘Jake has been a tireless promoter behind the scenes of our cause,’ he told a reporter. ‘Tor’s importance to WikiLeaks cannot be underestimated.’ With those words, Appelbaum and the Tor Project became central heroes in the WikiLeaks saga, right behind Assange. . . .”


Birds of a Feather: The So-Called Internet “Privacy Activists,” the Intelligence Services and Big Tech

Yasha Levine’s recent book “Surveillance Valley” is a MUST READ! Relatively short and very much to the point, this volume–subtitled “The Secret Military History of the Internet”–chronicles the fact that the Internet is a weapon, developed as part of the same group of overlapping DARPA/Pentagon projects as Agent Orange. In posts and programs to come, we will more fully develop the basic themes set forth in the excerpt recapped in this post: 1 )The Internet is a weapon, developed for counter-insurgency purposes. 2) Big Tech firms network with the very intelligence services they publicly decry. 3) Big Tech firms that data mine their customers on a nearly unimaginable scale do so as a direct, operational extension of the very surveillance function upon which the Internet is predicated. 4) The technologies touted by the so-called “Privacy Activists” such as Edward Snowden and Jacob Applebaum were developed by the very intelligence services they are supposed to deflect. 5) The technologies touted by the so-called “Privacy Activists” such as Edward Snowden and Jacob Applebaum–such as the Tor Internet function and the Signal mobile phone app– are readily accessible to the very intelligence services they are supposed to deflect. 6) The organizations that promote the alleged virtues of Snowden, Applebaum, Tor, Signal et al are linked to the very intelligence services they would have us believe they oppose. 7) Big Tech firms embrace “Internet Freedom” as a distraction from their own willful and all-embracing data mining and their ongoing conscious collaboration with the very intelligence services they publicly decry.


Agent Orange and the Internet: The Spawn of Project Agile

In his book–one of the most important in recent memory–Yasha Levine sets forth vital, revelatory information about the development and functioning of the Internet. Born of the same DARPA project that spawned Agent Orange, the Internet was never intended to be something good. Its generative function and purpose is counter-insurgency. In this landmark volume, Levine makes numerous points, including: The harvesting of data by intelligence services is PRECISELY what the Internet was designed to do in the first place. The harvesting of data engaged in by the major tech corporations is an extension of the data gathering/surveillance that was–and is–the raison d’etre for the Internet in the first place. The big tech companies all collaborate with the various intelligence agencies they publicly scorn and seek to ostensibly distance themselves from. Edward Snowden, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Jacob Appelbaum and WikiLeaks are complicit in the data harvesting and surveillance. Snowden and other privacy activists are double agents, consciously channeling people fearful of having their communications monitored into technologies that will facilitate that surveillance!


FTR #1026 The So-Called “Arab Spring” Revisited, Part 2

In FTR #’s 733 through 739, we presented our view that the so-called Arab Spring was a U.S. intelligence operation, aimed at placing the Brotherhood in power in Muslim countries dominated either by a secular dictator or absolute monarchy.

Continuing analysis from our previous program, this broadcast delves further into the networking between the Muslim Brotherhood and Al-Qaeda. Against the background of the occupation of Idlib Province in Syria by Al-Qaeda, we highlight the apparent role of Morsi’s government and the Muslim Brotherhood in the events surrounding the 2012 attack on the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi, Libya.

The overthrow of Khadafy in Libya was an outgrowth of the so-called Arab Spring, as was the precipitation of the civil war in Syria. Of particular significance is the fact that the GOP-led investigations of the Benghazi attack led directly to both the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s e-mails and the decisively significant FBI tampering with the 2016 election, as well as the alleged “hack” of Hillary’s e-mails!

An Egyptian newspaper published what were said to be intercepted recordings of Morsi communicating conspiratorially with Muhammad al-Zawahiri, the the brother of Ayman al-Zawahiri, the head of Al-Qaeda. Much of this checks out with information that is already on the public record.

Note the networking of GOP Senators John McCain and Lindsay Graham with Khairat El-Shater of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood while he was in prison, as well as the alleged links between the Egyptian Brotherhood and the cells involved in attacking the U.S. Embassy in Libya.

What we may well be looking at is a gambit along the lines of what has become known as the October Surprise–collusion between the Iranian Islamists and George H.W. Bush/CIA/GOP to (among other things) destabilize the Carter administration and 1980 re-election campaign.

In addition, we wonder about a deal having been struck to have Al-Qaeda fight against Bashar Assad in Syria, while avoiding attacks inside the U.S.?

Of primary focus in the material below is Khairat El-Shater (transliterated spellings of his name differ.) El-Shater:

1.–Was the number two man in the Muslim Brotherhood, though not formerly a member of Morsi’s government.
2.–Networked with U.S. Ambassador Anne Patterson and GOP Senators John McCain and Lindsay Graham and Khairat El-Shater (alternatively transliterated with two “t’s” and/or an “al”), shortly after Morsi was deposed. ” . . . . It is interesting to note here that, prior to these revelations, U.S. ambassador Anne Patterson was seen visiting with Khairat El-Shater—even though he held no position in the Morsi government—and after the ousting and imprisonment of Morsi and leading Brotherhood members, Sens. John McCain and Lindsay Graham made it a point to visit the civilian Shater in his prison cell and urged the Egyptian government to release him. . . .”
3.–Was deeply involved in mobilizing Al-Qaeda on behalf of Morsi and the Brotherhood: ” . . . . Also on that same first day of the revolution, Khairat al-Shater, Deputy Leader of the Brotherhood, had a meeting with a delegate of jihadi fighters and reiterated Morsi’s request that all jihadis come to the aid of the presidency and the Brotherhood. . . . ”
4.–Was the apparent source of a $50 million contribution by the Brotherhood to Al Qaeda: ” . . . . That the Muslim Brotherhood’s international wing, including through the agency of Khairat al-Shater, had provided $50 million to al-Qaeda in part to support the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. . . .”
5.–Had the passport of the alleged leader of the Benghazi attack in his home when he was arrested: ” . . . . Most recently, on July 29, 2013, Ahmed Musa, a prominent Egyptian political insider and analyst made several assertions on Tahrir TV that further connected the dots. . . . Musa insisted that he had absolute knowledge that the murderer of Chris Stevens was Mohsin al-‘Azzazi, whose passport was found in Brotherhood leader Khairat El-Shater’s home, when the latter was arrested. . . .”
6.–Epitomized the GOP-beloved, corporatist economic ideology and lifestyle: ” . . . . Arguably the most powerful man in the Muslim Brotherhood is Khairat El-Shater, a multimillionaire tycoon whose financial interests extend into electronics, manufacturing and retail. A strong advocate of privatization, Al-Shater is one of a cadre of Muslim Brotherhood businessmen who helped finance the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party’s impressive electoral victory this winter and is now crafting the FJP’s economic agenda. . . . . . . . the Brotherhood’s ideology actually has more in common with America’s Republican Party than with al-Qaida. Few Americans know it but the Brotherhood is a free-market party led by wealthy businessmen whose economic agenda embraces privatization and foreign investment while spurning labor unions and the redistribution of wealth. Like the Republicans in the U.S., the financial interests of the party’s leadership of businessmen and professionals diverge sharply from those of its poor, socially conservative followers. . . .”

This broadcast begins with conclusion of reading of a key article that was featured in our last program.

Key points of analysis in discussion of the Morsi/Zawahiri/Brotherhood connection include:

1.–Muhamed Zawahiri’s promise to bolster Morsi’s government with military support, in exchange for Morsi steering Egypt in the direction of Sharia law. ” . . . . The call ended in agreement that al-Qaeda would support the Brotherhood, including its international branches, under the understanding that Morsi would soon implement full Sharia in Egypt.  After this, Muhammad Zawahiri and Khairat al-Shater, the number-two man of the Muslim Brotherhood organization, reportedly met regularly. . . .”
2.–Morsi’s agreement with Zawahiri’s proposal. ” . . . . Zawahiri further requested that Morsi allow them to develop training camps in Sinai in order to support the Brotherhood through trained militants. Along with saying that the Brotherhood intended to form a ‘revolutionary guard’ to protect him against any coup, Morsi added that, in return for al-Qaeda’s and its affiliates’ support, not only would he allow them to have such training camps, but he would facilitate their development in Sinai and give them four facilities to use along the Egyptian-Libyan border. . . .”
3.–The networking between U.S. Ambassador Anne Patterson and GOP Senators John McCain and Lindsay Graham and Khairat El-Shater (alternatively transliterated with two “t’s”), shortly after Morsi was deposed. ” . . . . It is interesting to note here that, prior to these revelations, U.S. ambassador Anne Patterson was seen visiting with Khairat al-Shater—even though he held no position in the Morsi government—and after the ousting and imprisonment of Morsi and leading Brotherhood members, Sens. John McCain and Lindsay Graham made it a point to visit the civilian Shater in his prison cell and urged the Egyptian government to release him. . . .”
4.–Note that Morsi sanctioned and Brotherhood-aided Al-Qaeda militants were apparently involved in the Behghazi attacks that led to the Benghazi investigation, the Hillary e-mails non-scandal and all that followed: ” . . . . According to a Libyan Arabic report I translated back in June 2013, those who attacked the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, killing Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, were from jihadi cells that had been formed in Libya through Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood support.  Those interrogated named Morsi and other top Brotherhood leadership as accomplices. . . . ”
5.–Khairat El-Shater was deeply involved in mobilizing Al-Qaeda on behalf of Morsi and the Brotherhood: ” . . . . Also on that same first day of the revolution, Khairat al-Shater, Deputy Leader of the Brotherhood, had a meeting with a delegate of jihadi fighters and reiterated Morsi’s request that all jihadis come to the aid of the presidency and the Brotherhood. . . . ”
6.–Khairat El-Shater was the apparent source of a $50 million contribution by the Brotherhood to Al Qaeda: ” . . . . That the Muslim Brotherhood’s international wing, including through the agency of Khairat al-Shater, had provided $50 million to al-Qaeda in part to support the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. . . .”
7.–Next, we highlight another important article from Raymond Ibrahim about the Morsi/Al-Qaeda connection to the Benghazi attack. Supplementing the information about networking between U.S. Ambassador to Egypt Anne Patterson, John McCain, Lindsay Graham and Khairat al-Shater, we note that:

1.–The Benghazi attackers were apparently linked to Morsi and the Brotherhood: ” . . . . days after the Benghazi attack back in September 2012, Muslim Brotherhood connections appeared.  A video made during the consulate attack records people approaching the beleaguered U.S. compound; one of them yells to the besiegers in an Egyptian dialect, ‘Don’t shoot—Dr. Morsi sent us!’ apparently a reference to the former Islamist president. . . .”
2.–The passport of the alleged leader of the Benghazi attack was found in the home of McCain/Graham contact Kharat al-Shater’s home when he was arrested: ” . . . . Most recently, on July 29, 2013, Ahmed Musa, a prominent Egyptian political insider and analyst made several assertions on Tahrir TV that further connected the dots. . . . Musa insisted that he had absolute knowledge that the murderer of Chris Stevens was Mohsin al-‘Azzazi, whose passport was found in Brotherhood leader Khairat El-Shater’s home, when the latter was arrested. . . .”
3.–The attack on the U.S. Embassy may well have been intended to take Chris Stevens hostage, in order to use him as potential barter for the Blind Sheikh: ” . . . . The day before the embassy attacks, based on little known but legitimate Arabic reports, I wrote an article titled ‘Jihadis Threaten to Burn U.S. Embassy in Cairo,’ explaining how Islamists—including al-Qaeda—were threatening to attack the U.S. embassy in Cairo unless the notorious Blind Sheikh—an Islamist hero held in prison in the U.S. in connection to the first World Trade Center bombing—was released.  The date September 11 was also deliberately chosen to attack the embassy to commemorate the ‘heroic’ September 11, 2001 al-Qaeda strikes on America. . . .”
4.–The United States: ” . . . . first with Anne Patterson, and now with Senators John McCain and Lindsay Graham, keep pressuring Egypt to release Brotherhood leaders; McCain personally even visited the civilian El-Shater, whose raided home revealed the passport of Azzazi, whom Musa claims is the murderer of Stevens. . . .”

Following the Benghazi discussion, we recap an article about the Brotherhood and apparent Al-Qaeda/Benghazi collaborator Khairat El-Shater, noting the powerful resonance between his and the Muslim Brotherhood’s values and those of the GOP and the corporate community:

1.–” . . . . the Brotherhood’s ideology actually has more in common with America’s Republican Party than with al-Qaida. Few Americans know it but the Brotherhood is a free-market party led by wealthy businessmen whose economic agenda embraces privatization and foreign investment while spurning labor unions and the redistribution of wealth. Like the Republicans in the U.S., the financial interests of the party’s leadership of businessmen and professionals diverge sharply from those of its poor, socially conservative followers. . . .”
2.–” . . . . Arguably the most powerful man in the Muslim Brotherhood is Khairat El-Shater, a multimillionaire tycoon whose financial interests extend into electronics, manufacturing and retail. A strong advocate of privatization, Al-Shater is one of a cadre of Muslim Brotherhood businessmen who helped finance the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party’s impressive electoral victory this winter and is now crafting the FJP’s economic agenda. . . .”

We conclude with information about the training of activists in high-tech and social media in order to launch the Arab Spring.

In a remarkable and very important new book, Yasha Levine has highlighted the role of U.S. tech personnel in training and prepping the Arab Spring online activists.

Note while reading the following excerpts of this remarkable and important book, that:

1.–The Tor network was developed by, and used and compromised by, elements of U.S. intelligence.
2.–One of the primary advocates and sponsors of the Tor network is the Broadcasting Board of Governors. As we saw in FTR #’s 891, 895, is an extension of the CIA.
3.–Jacob Appelbaum has been financed by the Broadcasting Board of Governors, advocates use of the Tor network, has helped WikiLeaks with its extensive use of the Tor network, and is a theoretical accolyte of Ayn Rand.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Program Highlights Include:

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Trump may be appointing Peter Thiel as head of his President’s Intelligence Advisory Board. Thiel is heavily influenced by Carl Schmitt, (on the right in the photograph) “. . . . a Nazi and the Third Reich’s preeminent legal theorist. For Thiel, Schmitt is an inspiring throwback to a pre-Enlightenment age, who exalts struggle and insists that the discovery of enemies is the foundation of politics. . .” We have been warning about Thiel since July of 2010. All of the contents of this website as of 12/19/2014–Dave Emory’s 37+ years of research and broadcasting–as well as hours of videotaped lectures are available on a 32GB flash drive. Dave offers his programs and articles for free–your support is very much appreciated.