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

FTR #1110 Miscellaneous Articles and Updates

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some of the con­sid­er­a­tions to be weighed in that con­text

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

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

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

Key points of con­sid­er­a­tion:

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Tor, Appel­baum, Assange and Wik­iLeaks:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Key points of analy­sis and dis­cus­sion:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


Agent Orange and the Internet: The Spawn of Project Agile

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pro­gram High­lights Include:

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Books for Download

The New Germany and The Old Nazis Book written in 1961 asks: Has Germany really changed? If so, where are the hundreds of thousands who once faithfully and eagerly served Hitler's reign of terror? And what is life like today for the Jews who are still in Germany? Read more »