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The tag 'Peter Thiel' is associated with 70 posts.

FTR #1134 Bio-Psy-Op Apocalypse Now, Part 9: Covid-19 Updates

As indi­cat­ed by the title of the pro­gram, this broad­cast updates var­i­ous arti­cles and book excerpts con­cern­ing Covid-19.

A Dai­ly Mail Online [UK] arti­cle sets forth two bogus papers con­tend­ing that the SARS CoV‑2 virus was genet­i­cal­ly engi­neered by the Chi­nese as a bioweapon in a lab­o­ra­to­ry and that it “escaped.” Note the cham­pi­oning of one of the papers by a for­mer head of MI6 and the author­ship of the sec­ond by The Epoch Times, the paper of the Falun Gong cult. Linked to CIA, Steve Ban­non’s anti-Chi­na milieu and the Trump admin­is­tra­tion, the orga­ni­za­tion is a fas­cist mind con­trol cult dis­cussed in numer­ous shows, includ­ing FTR #‘s 1089 and 1090. 

1.–“A for­mer MI6 chief was yes­ter­day accused by Gov­ern­ment offi­cials of ped­dling ‘fan­ci­ful claims’ that coro­n­avirus was acci­den­tal­ly cre­at­ed in a Chi­nese lab­o­ra­to­ry. British secu­ri­ty agen­cies believe Covid-19 is not a man-made virus and is ‘high­ly like­ly’ to have occurred nat­u­ral­ly and spread to humans through ani­mals. And Health Sec­re­tary Matt Han­cock has said there is ‘no evi­dence’ to back up the the­o­ry that it orig­i­nat­ed in a lab­o­ra­to­ry. But Sir Richard Dearlove, who was head of the MI6 from 1999 to 2004, cit­ed a recent report claim­ing the dis­ease was acci­den­tal­ly man­u­fac­tured by Chi­nese sci­en­tists.
2.–“ ‘I do think that this start­ed as an acci­dent,’ Sir Richard told The Dai­ly Telegraph’s ‘Plan­et Nor­mal’ pod­cast. ‘It rais­es the issue: if Chi­na ever were to admit respon­si­bil­i­ty, does it pay repa­ra­tions? I think it will make every coun­try in the world rethink how it treats its rela­tion­ship with Chi­na.’ He added: ‘Look at the sto­ries... of attempts by the [Bei­jing] lead­er­ship to lock down any debate about the ori­gins of the pan­dem­ic and the way peo­ple have been arrest­ed or silenced.’ . . . . The paper – co-authored by Pro­fes­sor Angus Dal­gleish, a renowned oncol­o­gist and vac­cine researcher who works at St George’s Hos­pi­tal, Uni­ver­si­ty of Lon­don, and Birg­er Sorensen, a Nor­we­gian virol­o­gist – con­tains none of the stark alle­ga­tions that orig­i­nal­ly stunned its review­ers.
3..–“The ini­tial paper that trig­gered wild rumours failed strin­gent tests of ver­i­fi­ca­tion and is under­stood to have been reject­ed in April by emi­nent inter­na­tion­al jour­nals such as Nature and the Jour­nal of Virol­o­gy. Bio­med­ical experts from the Fran­cis Crick Insti­tute and Impe­r­i­al Col­lege Lon­don are said to have refut­ed its con­clu­sions. Then one of the paper’s co-authors, Dr John Fredrik Moxnes, chief sci­en­tif­ic advis­er to the Nor­we­gian mil­i­tary, asked for his name to be with­drawn. This week, after numer­ous rewrites, the paper was pub­lished by the Quar­ter­ly Review of Bio­physics Dis­cov­ery. And those orig­i­nal world-shak­ing con­clu­sions have now with­ered to innu­en­do. No accu­sa­tion of Chi­nese manip­u­la­tion appears. . . .”
4.–”. . . . Back in April, a slick­ly pro­duced inves­tiga­tive doc­u­men­tary, Track­ing Down The Ori­gin Of The Wuhan Coro­n­avirus, was released online. It claimed con­clu­sive proof that the Covid-19 virus had been cre­at­ed as a bio­log­i­cal ‘weapon of mass destruc­tion’ in a Chi­nese lab. . . .”
5.–“At first sight, it seemed a shock­ing­ly con­vinc­ing piece of jour­nal­ism. On behalf of this news­pa­per, I cross-checked every claim: The experts it cit­ed and the fac­tu­al evi­dence unearthed. I also researched the back­grounds of its mak­ers. I then approached some of the world’s best inde­pen­dent sci­en­tif­ic author­i­ties to ask their opin­ion. They all agreed – this entic­ing­ly spicy sto­ry just did­n’t stand up.”
6.–“It had been pro­duced by a US based anti-Chi­nese gov­ern­ment media organ­i­sa­tion called the Epoch Times. Its ‘experts’ were vet­er­an hard-Right­ists. Most damn­ing­ly, its sci­en­tif­ic ‘facts’ were twist­ed out of shape.So much, then, for the Chi­nese-man­u­fac­tured coro­n­avirus con­spir­a­cy . . .”

Steve Ban­non is at the epi­cen­ter of the anti-Chi­na effort and–to no one’s surprise–never real­ly left the Trump White House.

When assess­ing Ban­non as a polit­i­cal ani­mal, one should nev­er for­get that among the impor­tant ide­o­log­i­cal influ­ences on him is Julius Evola, an Ital­ian fas­cist who found Mus­soli­ni too mod­er­ate and ulti­mate­ly took his cues from the Nazi SS, who were financ­ing his work by the end of World War II.

” . . . . Don­ald Trump’s light­ning-rod 2016 cam­paign boss and for­mer White House chief strate­gist who was ban­ished from the West Wing in 2017 has qui­et­ly crept back into 1600 Penn­syl­va­nia Ave., reestab­lish­ing ties to staffers, par­tic­u­lar­ly with regard to his pet issues of Chi­na and immi­gra­tion. . . . Anoth­er for­mer admin­is­tra­tion offi­cial told The Post that Ban­non nev­er real­ly left the White House after he was fired, main­tain­ing con­tacts and keep­ing up reg­u­lar chan­nels of com­mu­ni­ca­tions with offi­cials there. . . .”

In addi­tion, as dis­cussed in FTR #‘s 1111 and 1112, Ban­non is part of a net­work that includes J. Kyle Bass and Tom­my Hicks, Jr. This nexus involves asym­met­ri­cal invest­ing with regard to the Hong Kong and Chi­nese economies and the inter-agency gov­ern­men­tal net­works involved in both overt and covert anti-Chi­na poli­cies imple­ment­ed by Team Trump. As will be seen below, they also are net­work­ing with the mis-named “Sci­en­tists to Stop Covid-19.” In that regard, they are also help­ing steer pol­i­cy that con­trols devel­op­ment of treat­ment and vac­cines for Covid-19. The man­age­ment of drug and vac­cine devel­op­ment, in turn, dou­bles back to mar­ket-dri­ving invest­ment dynam­ics.

An inter­est­ing sum­ma­tion of char­ac­ter­is­tics of a “delib­er­ate” epi­dem­ic are eval­u­at­ed against the find­ing that New York City was the epi­cen­ter of the U.S. Covid-19 out­break: 

Bit­ten: The Secret His­to­ry of Lyme Dis­ease and Bio­log­i­cal Weapons by Kris New­by; Harper­Collins [HC]; Copy­right 2019 by Kris New­by; ISBN 9780062896728; p. 185.

Poten­tial epi­demi­o­log­i­cal clues to a delib­er­ate epi­dem­ic:

Clue no. 1–A high­ly unusu­al event with large num­bers of casu­al­ties: Check!

Clue no. 2–Higher mor­bid­i­ty or mor­tal­i­ty than is expect­ed. Check!

Clue no. 3–Uncommon dis­ease. Check!

Clue no. 4–Point-source out­break. Check!

Clue no. 5–Multiple epi­demics. Check! (Glob­al pan­dem­ic)

                      –Z. F. Dem­bek, et al., “Dis­cern­ment Between Delib­er­ate and Nat­ur­al Infec­tious Dis­ease Out­breaks”

The pre­vail­ing view of the Covid-19 out­break con­tends that the Amer­i­can out­break spread out­ward from New York City. The strain of SARS CoV‑2 that appeared in New York came, in turn, from Europe. 

This does­n’t make sense. There were con­firmed cas­es of the virus on the West Coast that did not come from New York. A Euro­pean strain of the virus trans­mit­ted to New York City would have come in via air. In such an event, there would have been a well-doc­u­ment­ed out­break of Covid-19 among flight atten­dants, who oper­ate in close con­tact with pas­sen­gers in cramped cir­cum­stances, as well as expe­ri­enc­ing jet lag, which com­pro­mis­es the immune sys­tem.

Next, we review an aspect of the 2001 anthrax attacks. We high­light­ed the 2001 anthrax attacks in con­nec­tion with the Covid-19 out­break in New York City in FTR #1128.

We note that the Anthrax attacks appear to have oper­at­ed in over­lap­ping con­texts, includ­ing jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for the war in Iraq. 

The 2001 anthrax attacks appear to have served as a provo­ca­tion that jus­ti­fied a ten-fold increase in spend­ing for bio­log­i­cal war­fare devel­op­ment. The num­ber of BSL‑4 labs (hav­ing dual civil­ian and mil­i­tary use) increased from two in 2001, to a dozen in 2007.

This increase occurred while Don­ald Rums­feld was George W. Bush’s sec­re­tary of defense. He went to that posi­tion from being Chair­man of the Board of Direc­tors for Gilead Sci­ences, the man­u­fac­tur­er of remde­sivir.

We will delve into the pol­i­tics of the anthrax attacks in the future.

In the con­text of the above arti­cle, note that the Nation­al Insti­tutes of Health have also part­nered with CIA and the Pen­ta­gon, as under­scored by an arti­cle about a BSL‑4 lab at Boston Uni­ver­si­ty. Note that Europe and the U.S. have twelve BSL4 labs apiece. Tai­wan has two. Chi­na has one:

1.–As the arti­cle notes, as of 2007, the U.S. had “more than a dozen” BSL4 labs–China com­mis­sioned its first as of 2017. a ten­fold increase in fund­ing for BSL4 labs occurred because of the anthrax attacks of 2001. Those attacks might be seen as some­thing of a provo­ca­tion, spurring a dra­mat­ic increase in “dual use” biowar­fare research, under the cov­er of “legit­i­mate” medical/scientific research. In FTR #1128, we hypoth­e­sized about the milieu of Stephen Hat­fill and apartheid-linked inter­ests as pos­si­ble authors of a vec­tor­ing of New York City with Sars COV2: ” . . . . Before the anthrax mail­ings of 2001, the Unit­ed States had just two BSL4 labs—both with­in the razor-wire con­fines of gov­ern­ment-owned cam­pus­es. Now, thanks to a ten­fold increase in funding—from $200 mil­lion in 2001 to $2 bil­lion in 2006—more than a dozen such facil­i­ties can be found at uni­ver­si­ties and pri­vate com­pa­nies across the coun­try. . . .”
2.–The Boston Uni­ver­si­ty lab exem­pli­fies the Pen­ta­gon and CIA pres­ence in BSL‑4 facil­i­ty “dual use”: ” . . . . But some sci­en­tists say that argu­ment obscures the true pur­pose of the cur­rent biode­fense boom: to study poten­tial bio­log­i­cal weapons. ‘The uni­ver­si­ty por­trays it as an emerg­ing infec­tious dis­ease lab,’ says David Ozonoff, a Boston Uni­ver­si­ty epi­demi­ol­o­gist whose office is right across the street from the new BSL4 facil­i­ty. ‘But they are talk­ing about study­ing things like small pox and inhala­tion anthrax, which pose no pub­lic health threat oth­er than as bioweapons.’ . . . The orig­i­nal NIH man­date for the lab indi­cat­ed that many groups—including the CIA and Depart­ment of Defense—would be allowed to use the lab for their own research, the nature of which BU might have lit­tle con­trol over. . . .”

Piv­ot­ing to dis­cus­sion and review of the polit­i­cal, finan­cial and cor­po­rate con­nec­tions to the devel­op­ment of med­i­c­i­nal treat­ments for, and vac­cines to pre­vent, Covid-19, we recap details rel­e­vant to the extra­or­di­nary tim­ing of a 4/29 announce­ment of favor­able results for a tri­al of remde­sivir. That announce­ment drove equi­ties mar­kets high­er and was ben­e­fi­cial to the stock of Gilead Sci­ences.

We present a Stat News arti­cle on the inter­nal delib­er­a­tions behind the deci­sions to mod­i­fy the NIAID study. Of par­tic­u­lar sig­nif­i­cance is the DSMB delib­er­a­tion. Note the time­line of the DSMB delib­er­a­tion, com­bined with the announce­ment on 4/29 that drove the mar­kets high­er.

1.–The deci­sion was made to cut it short before the ques­tion of remdesivir’s impact on mor­tal­i­ty could be answered: ” . . . .The Nation­al Insti­tute of Aller­gy and Infec­tious Dis­eases has described to STAT in new detail how it made its fate­ful deci­sion: to start giv­ing remde­sivir to patients who had been assigned to receive a place­bo in the study, essen­tial­ly lim­it­ing researchers’ abil­i­ty to col­lect more data about whether the drug saves lives — some­thing the study, called ACTT‑1, sug­gests but does not prove. In the tri­al, 8% of the par­tic­i­pants giv­en remde­sivir died, com­pared with 11.6% of the place­bo group, a dif­fer­ence that was not sta­tis­ti­cal­ly sig­nif­i­cant. A top NIAID offi­cial said he had no regrets about the deci­sion. ‘There cer­tain­ly was una­nim­i­ty with­in the insti­tute that this was the right thing to do,’ said H. Clif­ford Lane, NIAID’s clin­i­cal direc­tor. . . .”
2.–In addi­tion, patients sched­uled to receive place­bo received remde­sivir, instead. ” . . . . Steven Nis­sen, a vet­er­an tri­al­ist and car­di­ol­o­gist at the Cleve­land Clin­ic, dis­agreed that giv­ing place­bo patients remde­sivir was the right call. ‘I believe it is in society’s best inter­est to deter­mine whether remde­sivir can reduce mor­tal­i­ty, and with the release of this infor­ma­tion doing a place­bo-con­trolled tri­al to deter­mine if there is a mor­tal­i­ty ben­e­fit will be very dif­fi­cult,’ he said. ‘The ques­tion is: Was there a route, or is there a route, to deter­mine if the drug can pre­vent death?’ The deci­sion is ‘a lost oppor­tu­ni­ty,’ he said. . . .”
3.–Steven Nis­sen was not alone in his crit­i­cism of the NIAID’s deci­sion. ” . . . .Peter Bach, the direc­tor of the Cen­ter for Health Pol­i­cy and Out­comes at Memo­r­i­al Sloan Ket­ter­ing Can­cer Cen­ter, agreed with Nis­sen. ‘The core under­stand­ing of clin­i­cal research par­tic­i­pa­tion and clin­i­cal research con­duct is we run the tri­al rig­or­ous­ly to pro­vide the most accu­rate infor­ma­tion about the right treat­ment,’ he said. And that answer, he argued, should ide­al­ly have deter­mined whether remde­sivir saves lives. The rea­son we have shut our whole soci­ety down, Bach said, is not to pre­vent Covid-19 patients from spend­ing a few more days in the hos­pi­tal. It is to pre­vent patients from dying. ‘Mor­tal­i­ty is the right end­point,’ he said. . . .”
4.–Not only was the admin­is­tra­tion of remde­sivir instead of place­bo pri­or­i­tized, but the NIAID study itself was atten­u­at­ed! ” . . . . But the change in the study’s main goal also changed the way the study would be ana­lyzed. Now, the NIAID decid­ed, the analy­sis would be cal­cu­lat­ed when 400 patients out of the 1,063 patients the study enrolled had recov­ered. If remde­sivir turned out to be much more effec­tive than expect­ed, ‘inter­im’ analy­ses would be con­duct­ed at a third and two-thirds that number.The job of review­ing these analy­ses would fall to a com­mit­tee of out­side experts on what is known as an inde­pen­dent data and safe­ty mon­i­tor­ing board, or DSMB. . . .”
5.–The per­for­mance of the DSMB for the remde­sivir study is note­wor­thy: ” . . . . But the DSMB for the remde­sivir study did not ever meet for an inter­im effi­ca­cy analy­sis, Lane said. All patients had been enrolled by April 20. The data for a DSMB meet­ing was cut off on April 22. The DSMB met and, on April 27, it made a rec­om­men­da­tion to the NIAID. . . .”
The DSMB meet­ing on 4/27 deter­mined the switch from place­bo to remde­sivir. Of para­mount impor­tance is the fact that this was JUST BEFORE the 4/29 announce­ment that drove the mar­kets high­er and the same day on which key Trump aide–and for­mer Gilead Sci­ences lob­by­ist Joe Gro­gan resigned! ” . . . . . That deci­sion, Lane said, led the NIAID to con­clude that patients who had been giv­en place­bo should be offered remde­sivir, some­thing that start­ed hap­pen­ing after April 28. . . .”
6.–Dr. Ethan Weiss gave an accu­rate eval­u­a­tion of the NIAID study: ” . . . . ‘We’ve squan­dered an incred­i­ble oppor­tu­ni­ty to do good sci­ence,’ [Dr. Ethan] Weiss said. ‘If we could ever go back and do some­thing all over, it would be the infra­struc­ture to actu­al­ly learn some­thing. Because we’re not learn­ing enough.’ . . . .”

The remark­able han­dling of the NIAID study, the tim­ing of the announce­ment of the alto­geth­er lim­it­ed suc­cess of the atten­u­at­ed tri­al and the rise in equi­ties as a result of the announce­ment may be best under­stood in the con­text of the role played in Trump pan­dem­ic deci­sion-mak­ing by an elite group of bil­lion­aires and scientists–including con­vict­ed felon Michael Milken (the “junk bond king”).

1.–” . . . . Call­ing them­selves ‘Sci­en­tists to Stop COVID-19,’ the col­lec­tion of top researchers, bil­lion­aires and indus­try cap­tains will act as an ‘ad hoc review board’ for the tor­rent of coro­n­avirus research, ‘weed­ing out’ flawed data before it reach­es pol­i­cy­mak­ers, the Wall Street Jour­nal report­ed on Mon­day. They are also act­ing as a go-between for phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pa­nies seek­ing to build a com­mu­ni­ca­tion chan­nel with Trump admin­is­tra­tion offi­cials. The group . . . . has advised Nick Ayers, an aide to Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence, as well as oth­er agency heads, in the past month. Pence is head­ing up the White House coro­n­avirus task force. . . .”
2.–” . . . The brainy bunch is led by Thomas Cahill, a 33-year-old doc­tor who became a ven­ture cap­i­tal­ist . . . . Cahill’s clout comes from build­ing con­nec­tions through his invest­ment firm, New­path Part­ners, with Sil­i­con Valley’s Peter Thiel, the founder of Pay­Pal, and bil­lion­aire busi­ness­men Jim Palot­ta and Michael Milken. . . .”

Note that Peter Thiel played a dom­i­nant role in bankrolling New­path Part­ners, and the oth­er finan­cial angel who ele­vat­ed Cahill–Brian Sheth–introduced him to Tom­my Hicks, Jr., the co-chair­man of the RNC. In FTR #‘s 1111 and 1112, we looked at Hicks’ net­work­ing with Steve Ban­non asso­ciate J. Kyle Bass, as well as his role in the inter-agency net­works dri­ving the anti-Chi­na effort.

” . . . . At the helm of the effort: The 33-year-old and very-much-under-the-radar ven­ture cap­i­tal­ist Tom Cahill, who leads life sci­ences-focused New­path Part­ners. Cahill com­plet­ed his M.D. and PhD at Duke Uni­ver­si­ty a mere two years ago before land­ing at blue-chip invest­ment firm Rap­tor Group through a friend. He went on to found New­path with some $125 mil­lion after impress­ing well-con­nect­ed names like ven­ture cap­i­tal­ist Peter Thiel and Vista Equi­ty Part­ners co-founder Bri­an Sheth. . . . It was through Sheth, for exam­ple, that Sci­en­tists to Stop Covid-19 con­nect­ed with the co-chair­man of the Repub­li­can Nation­al Com­mit­tee, Thomas Hicks Jr. . . .”

The fed­er­al gov­ern­men­t’s extreme focus on remde­sivir has been shaped, in large mea­sure, by the influ­ence of “Sci­en­tists to Stop COVID-19”:

1.–“Scientists to Stop Covid-19” is shep­herd­ing remde­sivir: ” . . . . Sci­en­tists to Stop COVID-19 rec­om­mends that in this phase, the U.S. Food and Drug Admin­is­tra­tion (FDA) should work to coor­di­nate with Gilead phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals to focus on expe­dit­ing the results of clin­i­cal tri­als of remde­sivir, a drug iden­ti­fied as a poten­tial treat­ment for COVID-19. The group also rec­om­mends admin­is­ter­ing dos­es of the drug to patients in an ear­ly stage of infec­tion, and notes remde­sivir will essen­tial­ly be a place­hold­er until a more effec­tive treat­ment is pro­duced.
2.–The group is doing so by atten­u­at­ing the reg­u­la­to­ry process for coro­n­avirus drugs: “Gov­ern­ment enti­ties and agen­cies appear to adhere to the rec­om­men­da­tions out­lined by the group, with the Jour­nal report­ing that the FDA and the Depart­ment of Vet­er­ans Affairs (VA) have imple­ment­ed some of the sug­ges­tions, name­ly relax­ing drug man­u­fac­tur­er reg­u­la­tions and require­ments for poten­tial coro­n­avirus treat­ment drugs. . . .”

We con­clude dis­cus­sion of the remde­sivir machi­na­tions with a piece about the tim­ing of the announce­ment of Grogan’s depar­ture.

” . . . . Gro­gan has served as the direc­tor of the White House Domes­tic Pol­i­cy Coun­cil since Feb­ru­ary 2019, over­see­ing a broad array of pol­i­cy issues includ­ing health care and reg­u­la­tion. . . . Gro­gan was one of the orig­i­nal mem­bers of the White House coro­n­avirus task force launched in late Jan­u­ary. . . . Gro­gan worked as a lob­by­ist for drug com­pa­ny Gilead Sci­ences before join­ing the Trump admin­is­tra­tion. . . .”

The depar­ture was announced in the Wall Street Jour­nal on the morn­ing of Wednes­day, April 29, the same day we got our first pub­lic reports of the NIAID clin­i­cal tri­al of remde­sivir that was pos­i­tive enough to show it short­ened the time to recov­ery and the same day the FDA grant­ed remde­sivir emer­gency use sta­tus. 

Note, again, the tim­ing of the DSM­B’s actions, as well as the influ­ence of “Sci­en­tists to Stop Covid-19.”

In FTR #1130, we not­ed that Mon­cef Slaoui–formerly in charge of prod­uct devel­op­ment for Moderna–was cho­sen to head Trump’s “Oper­a­tion Warp Speed.” He will be work­ing with Four-Star Gen­er­al Gus­tave Per­na, cho­sen by Chair­man of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen­er­al Mark Mil­ley.

Even after agree­ing to sell his Mod­er­na stock, Mon­cef Slaoui’s invest­ments raise alarm­ing questions–note that he is a “ven­ture cap­i­tal­ist” and a long­time for­mer exec­u­tive at Glaxo-Smithk­line:

The cir­cum­stances of his appoint­ment will per­mit him to avoid scruti­ny: ” . . . . In agree­ing to accept the posi­tion, Dr. Slaoui did not come on board as a gov­ern­ment employ­ee. Instead, he is on a con­tract, receiv­ing $1 for his ser­vice. That leaves him exempt from fed­er­al dis­clo­sure rules that would require him to list his out­side posi­tions, stock hold­ings and oth­er poten­tial con­flicts. And the con­tract posi­tion is not sub­ject to the same con­flict-of-inter­est laws and reg­u­la­tions that exec­u­tive branch employ­ees must fol­low. . . .”
He will retain a great deal of Glaxo-Smithk­line stock: ” . . . . He did not say how much his GSK shares were worth. When he left the com­pa­ny in 2017, he held about [500,000 in West­ern Print Edi­tion] 240,000 shares and share equiv­a­lents, accord­ing to the drug company’s annu­al report and an analy­sis by the exec­u­tive com­pen­sa­tion firm Equi­lar. . . .”
Fur­ther analy­sis of Slaoui’s posi­tion deep­ens con­cern about the integri­ty of the process: ” . . . . ‘This is basi­cal­ly absurd,’ said Vir­ginia Can­ter, who is chief ethics coun­sel for Cit­i­zens for Respon­si­bil­i­ty and Ethics in Wash­ing­ton. ‘It allows for no pub­lic scruti­ny of his con­flicts of inter­est.’ Ms. Can­ter also said fed­er­al law barred gov­ern­ment con­trac­tors from super­vis­ing gov­ern­ment employ­ees. . . . Ms. Can­ter, a for­mer ethics lawyer in the Oba­ma and Clin­ton admin­is­tra­tions, the Secu­ri­ties and Exchange Com­mis­sion and oth­er agen­cies, point­ed out that GSK’s vac­cine can­di­date with Sanofi could wind up com­pet­ing with oth­er man­u­fac­tur­ers vying for gov­ern­ment approval and sup­port. ‘If he retains stock in com­pa­nies that are invest­ing in the devel­op­ment of a vac­cine, and he’s involved in over­see­ing this process to select the safest vac­cine to com­bat Covid-19, regard­less of how won­der­ful a per­son he is, we can’t be con­fi­dent of the integri­ty of any process in which he is involved,’ Ms. Can­ter said.In addi­tion, his affil­i­a­tion with Medicxi could com­pli­cate mat­ters: Two of its investors are GSK and a divi­sion of John­son & John­son, which is also devel­op­ing a poten­tial vac­cine. . . .”

Next, we turn to Mod­er­na’s ani­mal tri­al for the mes­sen­ger RNA vac­cine it is devel­op­ing. There are sev­er­al con­sid­er­a­tions to be weighed in con­nec­tion with the Mod­er­na vac­cine.

1.–Again, the chair­man of Trump’s “Warp Speed” vac­cine devel­op­ment program–Moncef Slaoui–was in charge of Mod­er­na’s prod­uct devel­op­ment oper­a­tion.
2.–Moderna’s tri­al with mice was pos­i­tive with regard to gen­er­at­ing anti­body lev­els high enough to pre­vent ADE.
3.–Antibody Depen­dent Enhance­ment (ADE),  is a phe­nom­e­na where low lev­els of inef­fec­tive anti­bod­ies latch onto the virus and exac­er­bate an over­ac­tive immune response that leads to the dead­liest symp­toms likes cytokine-storms. This dan­ger was seen with SARS and attempts to cre­ate a SARS vac­cine so it’s a rea­son­able fear with SARS-CoV­‑2.
4.–The Phase III (human) tri­al is going to be start­ed in July, involv­ing 30,000 peo­ple. Alarm­ing­ly, those 30,000 peo­ple will all be receiv­ing the exact same dosage, 100 micro­grams, and that means the phase III tri­al won’t be test­ing sub-opti­mal dosages. The big Phase III tri­al won’t be test­ing for ADE in humans. 
5.–We may have a night­mare sit­u­a­tion where polit­i­cal pres­sure gives undo weight to ani­mal safe­ty results, leapfrog­ging over the neces­si­ty of test­ing for side effects. 
6.–The ani­mal tri­als have been severe­ly crit­i­cized: ” . . . . ‘This is the barest begin­ning of pre­lim­i­nary infor­ma­tion,’ said Dr. Gre­go­ry Poland, an immu­nol­o­gist and vac­cine researcher at the Mayo Clin­ic who has seen the paper, which has yet to under­go peer-review. Poland said the paper was incom­plete, dis­or­ga­nized and the num­bers of ani­mals test­ed were small. . . . Poland, who was not involved with the research, said the paper leaves out ‘impor­tant para­me­ters’ that could help sci­en­tists judge the work. . . .”
7.–We MIGHT cre­ate a vac­cine that pro­tects those who get a strong immune response while endan­ger­ing those with sub-pro­tec­tive responses–a “eugenic” vac­cine.
8.–The ani­mal tri­als have been severe­ly crit­i­cized: ” . . . . ‘This is the barest begin­ning of pre­lim­i­nary infor­ma­tion,’ said Dr. Gre­go­ry Poland, an immu­nol­o­gist and vac­cine researcher at the Mayo Clin­ic who has seen the paper, which has yet to under­go peer-review. Poland said the paper was incom­plete, dis­or­ga­nized and the num­bers of ani­mals test­ed were small. . . . Poland, who was not involved with the research, said the paper leaves out ‘impor­tant para­me­ters’ that could help sci­en­tists judge the work. . . .”
9.–The phase II clin­i­cal tri­als on humans are still under­way and won’t be com­plet­ed before Novem­ber.  Phase III is going to be get­ting under­way in July. The Human clin­i­cal tri­als are already under­way at the same time the ani­mal safe­ty tri­als have yet to be com­plet­ed.
10.–Side effects can take a while to man­i­fest.

We pro­vid­ed detailed crit­i­cal com­ments on Mod­er­na’s Phase I tri­al in FTR #1132.

We con­clude with a New York Times arti­cle sets forth a “Vac­cine Octo­ber Sur­prise” sce­nario for this fall.

” . . . . In a des­per­ate search for a boost, he could release a coro­n­avirus vac­cine that has not been shown to be safe and effec­tive as an Octo­ber sur­prise. Oct. 23, 2020, 9 a.m., with 10 days before the elec­tion, Fox New releas­es a poll show­ing Pres­i­dent Trump trail­ing Joe Biden by eight per­cent­age points. Oct. 23, 2020, 3 p.m., at a hasti­ly con­vened news con­fer­ence, Pres­i­dent Trump announces that the Food and Drug Admin­is­tra­tion has just issued an Emer­gency Use Autho­riza­tion for a coro­n­avirus vac­cine. Mr. Trump declares vic­to­ry over Covid-19, demands that all busi­ness­es reopen imme­di­ate­ly and pre­dicts a rapid eco­nom­ic recov­ery. Giv­en how this pres­i­dent has behaved, this incred­i­bly dan­ger­ous sce­nario is not far-fetched. In a des­per­ate search for a polit­i­cal boost, he could release a coro­n­avirus vac­cine before it had been thor­ough­ly test­ed and shown to be safe and effec­tive. . . .”


FTR #1132 Bio-Psy-Op Apocalypse Now, Part 8: Remdesivir Uber Alles

This broad­cast details the process of vet­ting the anti-Covid-19 drug remde­sivir, high­light­ing the insti­tu­tion­al short­cuts tak­en in test­ing the prod­uct, as well as the dubi­ous nature of the bil­lion­aires net­work­ing with offi­cials involved in the approval process.

Before ana­lyz­ing remde­sivir, how­ev­er, we update dis­cus­sion about the SARS CoV‑2 virus hav­ing been engi­neered, not­ing joint U.S.-Chinese projects in which bat-borne coro­n­avirus­es were genet­i­cal­ly engi­neered. The process­es used to mod­i­fy the virus­es would not show any overt evi­dence of human manip­u­la­tion.

Most impor­tant­ly, these projects received financ­ing from insti­tu­tions with doc­u­ment­ed links to U.S. intel­li­gence and mil­i­tary inter­ests.

Research into the his­to­ry of GOF (gain-of-func­tion) work on bat coro­n­avirus­es at the Wuhan Insti­tute of Virol­o­gy indi­cates mul­ti­ple areas of U.S. intel­li­gence pres­ence in that work. 

It was pub­licly dis­closed in a 2017 paper that the US and Chi­na col­lab­o­rat­ed on “gain-of-func­tion” research on bat coro­n­avirus­es to infect humans and that the work received fund­ing from the Unit­ed States Agency for Inter­na­tion­al Development–a fre­quent cut-out for the CIA.

In addi­tion, the work was also fund­ed in part by the Nation­al Insti­tutes of Health, which have col­lab­o­rat­ed with both CIA and the Pen­ta­gon in BSL‑4 (Bio-Safe­ty-Lev­el 4) projects. 

The Wuhan Insti­tute of Virol­o­gy has also part­nered with the USAMRIID since the mid-1980’s.

Impor­tant to note is the fact that it was pub­lic infor­ma­tion that some of this work was done in a biosafe­ty-lev­el 2 lab­o­ra­to­ry, giv­ing an observ­er intent on under­tak­ing a bio­log­i­cal war­fare covert oper­a­tion against Chi­na use­ful field intel­li­gence about the vul­ner­a­bil­i­ty of WIV for such an “op.”

1.–The inves­ti­ga­tion of infec­tiv­i­ty used unde­tectable meth­ods, negat­ing arti­cles claim­ing the virus could not have been genet­i­cal­ly engi­neered: ” Evi­dence has emerged that researchers at the Wuhan Insti­tute of Virol­o­gy (WIV) in Chi­na, work­ing in col­lab­o­ra­tion with sci­en­tists in the USA, have been genet­i­cal­ly engi­neer­ing bat virus­es for the past sev­er­al years to inves­ti­gate infec­tiv­i­ty – using unde­tectable meth­ods. . . . The evi­dence rebuts claims by jour­nal­ists and some sci­en­tists that the SARS-CoV­‑2 virus respon­si­ble for the cur­rent COVID-19 pan­dem­ic could not have been genet­i­cal­ly engi­neered because it lacks the ‘signs’ or ‘sig­na­tures’ that sup­pos­ed­ly would be left behind by genet­ic engi­neer­ing tech­niques. . . .”

2.–Dr. Richard Ebright not­ed that the research was joint­ly fund­ed by the U.S. and Chi­na, that Peter Daszak (about whom we have voiced reser­va­tions in the past) was one of the Amer­i­can col­lab­o­ra­tors. Fur­ther­more, the research was fund­ed in part by USAID, a com­mon U.S. intel­li­gence cut-out. ” . . . . Dr Richard Ebright, an infec­tious dis­ease expert at Rut­gers Uni­ver­si­ty (USA), has alert­ed the pub­lic to evi­dence that WIV and US-based researchers were genet­i­cal­ly engi­neer­ing bat virus­es to inves­ti­gate their abil­i­ty to infect humans, using com­mon­ly used meth­ods that leave no sign or sig­na­ture of human manip­u­la­tion. Ebright flagged up a sci­en­tif­ic paper pub­lished in 2017 by WIV sci­en­tists, includ­ing Shi Zhengli, the virol­o­gist lead­ing the research into bat coro­n­avirus­es, work­ing in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Peter Daszak of the US-based Eco­Health Alliance. Fund­ing was shared between Chi­nese and US insti­tu­tions, the lat­ter includ­ing the US Nation­al Insti­tutes of Health and USAID. The researchers report hav­ing con­duct­ed virus infec­tiv­i­ty exper­i­ments where genet­ic mate­r­i­al is com­bined from dif­fer­ent vari­eties of SARS-relat­ed coro­n­avirus­es to form nov­el ‘chimeric’ ver­sions. This formed part of their research into what muta­tions were need­ed to allow cer­tain bat coro­n­avirus­es to bind to the human ACE2 recep­tor – a key step in the human infec­tiv­i­ty of SARS-CoV­‑2. . . .”

3.–Furthermore, the researchers used a type of genet­ic engi­neer­ing that leaves no sig­na­ture of human manip­u­la­tion: ” . . . . The WIV sci­en­tists did this, Ebright points out, ‘using ‘seam­less lig­a­tion’ pro­ce­dures that leave no sig­na­tures of human manip­u­la­tion’. This is note­wor­thy because it is a type of genet­ic engi­neer­ing that Ander­sen and his team exclud­ed from their inves­ti­ga­tion into whether SARS-CoV­‑2 could have been engi­neered – and it was in use at the very lab that is the prime sus­pect for a lab escape. . . .”

4.–In addi­tion, Ebright high­lights the 2015 work done by Ralph Bar­ic in col­lab­o­ra­tion with WIV’s Shi Zhengli–a project we have dis­cussed at length in the past: ” . . . . A group of sci­en­tists from the Uni­ver­si­ty of North Car­oli­na in the USA, with the WIV’s Shi Zhengli as a col­lab­o­ra­tor, pub­lished a study in 2015 describ­ing sim­i­lar exper­i­ments involv­ing chimeric coro­n­avirus­es, which were also cre­at­ed using stan­dard unde­tectable genet­ic engi­neer­ing tech­niques. . . .”

5.–Ebright also cites work done in a bio-safe­ty lev­el 2 lab­o­ra­to­ry. : ” . . . . Ebright points out that the paper states, ‘All work with the infec­tious virus was per­formed under biosafe­ty lev­el 2 con­di­tions’. This lev­el is suit­able for work involv­ing agents of only ‘mod­er­ate poten­tial haz­ard to per­son­nel and the envi­ron­ment’. . . .But they are not at fault in fail­ing to use BSL‑4 for this work, as SARS coro­n­avirus­es are not aerosol-trans­mit­ted. The work does, how­ev­er, fall under biosafe­ty lev­el 3, which is for work involv­ing microbes that can cause seri­ous and poten­tial­ly lethal dis­ease via inhala­tion. . . .”

6.–Dr. Jonathan Lath­am under­scored the reser­va­tions expressed by many con­cern­ing “gain-of-func­tion” exper­i­ments on these kinds of coro­n­avirus­es: ” . . . . The bio­sci­en­tist Dr Jonathan Lath­am crit­i­cised the kind of research on bat coro­n­avirus­es that has been tak­ing place in Wuhan and the USA as ‘pro­vid­ing an evo­lu­tion­ary oppor­tu­ni­ty’ for such virus­es ‘to jump into humans’. Lath­am, who has a doc­tor­ate in virol­o­gy, argues that this kind of work is sim­ply ‘pro­vid­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties for con­t­a­m­i­na­tion events and leak­ages from labs, which hap­pen on a rou­tine basis’. . . .”

U.S. Army Med­ical Research Insti­tute of Infec­tious Disease–located at Ft. Det­rick and closed by the CDC for safe­ty vio­la­tions in August, 2019.

Note, again, that the whole world was informed back in 2017 that  dan­ger­ous research involv­ing the cre­ation of bat coro­n­avirus­es to infect humans was being car­ried out in Chi­na.  Note again, that the research was fund­ed in part by the US, includ­ing USAID–a fre­quent U.S. intel­li­gence cut-out; the NIH–which has active­ly col­lab­o­rat­ed with both CIA and Pen­ta­gon. The WIV has also part­nered with the USAMRIID.

Flash for­ward a cou­ple of years and we have a night­mare virus that ini­tial­ly appeared to pop up near­by the WIV, with the Trump admin­is­tra­tion aggres­sive­ly push­ing the idea that it escaped from that lab.

In that con­text, we note the fol­low­ing:

1.–In 2017, Chi­na got approval for its first BSL‑4 lab in Wuhan, the first of sev­er­al planned BSL‑4 labs. “A lab­o­ra­to­ry in Wuhan is on the cusp of being cleared to work with the world’s most dan­ger­ous pathogens. The move is part of a plan to build between five and sev­en biosafe­ty level‑4 (BSL‑4) labs across the Chi­nese main­land by 2025, and has gen­er­at­ed much excite­ment, as well as some con­cerns. . . . Some sci­en­tists out­side Chi­na wor­ry about pathogens escap­ing, and the addi­tion of a bio­log­i­cal dimen­sion to geopo­lit­i­cal ten­sions between Chi­na and oth­er nations. . . .”

2.–As will be seen below, the pro­lif­er­a­tion of BSL‑4 labs has sparked wor­ries about “dual use” tech­nol­o­gy: ” . . . . The expan­sion of BSL-4-lab net­works in the Unit­ed States and Europe over the past 15 years — with more than a dozen now in oper­a­tion or under con­struc­tion in each region — also met with resis­tance, includ­ing ques­tions about the need for so many facil­i­ties. . . .”

3.–The above-men­tioned Richard Ebright notes that the pro­lif­er­a­tion of BSL‑4 labs will spur sus­pi­cion of “dual use” tech­nol­o­gy, in which osten­si­ble med­ical research masks bio­log­i­cal war­fare research: ” . . . . But Ebright is not con­vinced of the need for more than one BSL‑4 lab in main­land Chi­na. He sus­pects that the expan­sion there is a reac­tion to the net­works in the Unit­ed States and Europe, which he says are also unwar­rant­ed. He adds that gov­ern­ments will assume that such excess capac­i­ty is for the poten­tial devel­op­ment of bioweapons. ‘These facil­i­ties are inher­ent­ly dual use,’ he says. . . .”

In the con­text of the above arti­cles, note that the Nation­al Insti­tutes of Health have also part­nered with CIA and the Pen­ta­gon, as under­scored by an arti­cle about a BSL‑4 lab at Boston Uni­ver­si­ty. Note that the U.S. and Europe have twelve BSL4 labs apiece, Tai­wan has two, while Chi­na has one:

1.–As the arti­cle notes, as of 2007, the U.S. had “more than a dozen” BSL4 labs–China com­mis­sioned its first as of 2017. a ten­fold increase in fund­ing for BSL4 labs occurred because of the anthrax attacks of 2001. Those attacks might be seen as some­thing of a provo­ca­tion, spurring a dra­mat­ic increase in “dual use” biowar­fare research, under the cov­er of “legit­i­mate” medical/scientific research. In FTR #1128, we hypoth­e­sized about the milieu of Stephen Hat­fill and apartheid-linked inter­ests as pos­si­ble authors of a vec­tor­ing of New York City with Sars COV2: ” . . . . Before the anthrax mail­ings of 2001, the Unit­ed States had just two BSL4 labs—both with­in the razor-wire con­fines of gov­ern­ment-owned cam­pus­es. Now, thanks to a ten­fold increase in funding—from $200 mil­lion in 2001 to $2 bil­lion in 2006—more than a dozen such facil­i­ties can be found at uni­ver­si­ties and pri­vate com­pa­nies across the coun­try. . . .”

2.–The Boston Uni­ver­si­ty lab exem­pli­fies the Pen­ta­gon and CIA pres­ence in BSL‑4 facil­i­ty “dual use”: ” . . . . But some sci­en­tists say that argu­ment obscures the true pur­pose of the cur­rent biode­fense boom: to study poten­tial bio­log­i­cal weapons. ‘The uni­ver­si­ty por­trays it as an emerg­ing infec­tious dis­ease lab,’ says David Ozonoff, a Boston Uni­ver­si­ty epi­demi­ol­o­gist whose office is right across the street from the new BSL4 facil­i­ty. ‘But they are talk­ing about study­ing things like small pox and inhala­tion anthrax, which pose no pub­lic health threat oth­er than as bioweapons.’ . . . The orig­i­nal NIH man­date for the lab indi­cat­ed that many groups—including the CIA and Depart­ment of Defense—would be allowed to use the lab for their own research, the nature of which BU might have lit­tle con­trol over. . . .”

Note, also that:

1.–The WIV has part­nered with the U.S. Army’s Med­ical Research Insti­tute of Infec­tious Dis­eases, locat­ed at Ft. Det­rick.

2.–In ear­ly August of 2019, short­ly before the record­ed start of the out­break in Wuhan, Chi­na, the U.S. Army Med­ical Research Insti­tute of Infec­tious Dis­eases at that facil­i­ty was closed down by the CDC due to mul­ti­ple safe­ty violations.“All research at a Fort Det­rick lab­o­ra­to­ry that han­dles high-lev­el dis­ease-caus­ing mate­r­i­al, such as Ebo­la, is on hold indef­i­nite­ly after the Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion found the orga­ni­za­tion failed to meet biosafe­ty stan­dards. . . . The CDC sent a cease and desist order in July. After USAMRIID received the order from the CDC, its reg­is­tra­tion with the Fed­er­al Select Agent Pro­gram, which over­sees dis­ease-caus­ing mate­r­i­al use and pos­ses­sion, was sus­pend­ed. That sus­pen­sion effec­tive­ly halt­ed all bio­log­i­cal select agents and tox­in research at USAMRIID . . . .”

Fol­low­ing the update on the WIV and BSL‑4 lab­o­ra­to­ries, we piv­ot to analy­sis of the ele­va­tion of remde­sivir as the “go-to” treat­ment du jour for Covid-19. Of para­mount impor­tance is the remark­able time­line: The DSMB (data safe­ty and mon­i­tor­ing board) ” . . . . the DSMB for the remde­sivir study did not ever meet for an inter­im effi­ca­cy analy­sis, Lane said. All patients had been enrolled by April 20. The data for a DSMB meet­ing was cut off on April 22. The DSMB met and, on April 27, it made a rec­om­men­da­tion to the NIAID. . . . That deci­sion, Lane said, led the NIAID to con­clude that patients who had been giv­en place­bo should be offered remde­sivir, some­thing that start­ed hap­pen­ing after April 28. . . .” 

As will be seen, it was on 4/29 that Joe Gro­gan resigned. (See below.)

When pos­i­tive news on a NIAID study on the drug remde­sivir were released–on 4/29–it drove broad gains in the stock mar­ket. In FTR #1131, we not­ed that dis­clo­sures con­cern­ing pos­i­tive news about Mod­er­na’s exper­i­men­tal Covid-19 vac­cine also proved to be a sim­i­lar dri­ver of the stock mar­ket, as well as of Mod­er­na’s stock.

Dis­cus­sion of the hard details of sev­er­al remde­sivir tri­als begins with dis­cus­sion of an NIAID tri­al that helped move the mar­kets, as seen above. The tri­al was a mod­est suc­cess, indi­cat­ing that recov­ery for recent­ly infect­ed patients was about 31% faster than for place­bo. There was no sig­nif­i­cant sta­tis­ti­cal dif­fer­ence in mortality–the most impor­tant mea­sure of effec­tive­ness accord­ing to many experts.

” . . . . Dur­ing an appear­ance along­side Pres­i­dent Trump in the Oval Office, Antho­ny Fau­ci, the direc­tor of NIAID, part of the Nation­al Insti­tutes of Health, said the data are a ‘very impor­tant proof of con­cept’ and that there was rea­son for opti­mism. He cau­tioned the data were not a ‘knock­out.’ At the same time, the study achieved its pri­ma­ry goal, which was to improve the time to recov­ery, which was reduced by four days for patients on remde­sivir. The pre­lim­i­nary data showed that the time to recov­ery was 11 days on remde­sivir com­pared to 15 days for place­bo, a 31% decrease. The mor­tal­i­ty rate for the remde­sivir group was 8%, com­pared to 11.6% for the place­bo group; that mor­tal­i­ty dif­fer­ence was not sta­tis­ti­cal­ly sig­nif­i­cant. . . .”

Next we present a Stat News arti­cle on the inter­nal delib­er­a­tions behind the deci­sions to mod­i­fy the NIAID study. Of par­tic­u­lar sig­nif­i­cance is the DSMB delib­er­a­tion. Note the time­line of the DSMB delib­er­a­tion, com­bined with the announce­ment on 4/29 that drove the mar­kets high­er.

1.–The deci­sion was made to cut it short before the ques­tion of remdesivir’s impact on mor­tal­i­ty could be answered: ” . . . .The Nation­al Insti­tute of Aller­gy and Infec­tious Dis­eases has described to STAT in new detail how it made its fate­ful deci­sion: to start giv­ing remde­sivir to patients who had been assigned to receive a place­bo in the study, essen­tial­ly lim­it­ing researchers’ abil­i­ty to col­lect more data about whether the drug saves lives — some­thing the study, called ACTT‑1, sug­gests but does not prove. In the tri­al, 8% of the par­tic­i­pants giv­en remde­sivir died, com­pared with 11.6% of the place­bo group, a dif­fer­ence that was not sta­tis­ti­cal­ly sig­nif­i­cant. A top NIAID offi­cial said he had no regrets about the deci­sion. ‘There cer­tain­ly was una­nim­i­ty with­in the insti­tute that this was the right thing to do,’ said H. Clif­ford Lane, NIAID’s clin­i­cal direc­tor. . . .”

2.–In addi­tion, patients sched­uled to receive place­bo received remde­sivir, instead. ” . . . . Steven Nis­sen, a vet­er­an tri­al­ist and car­di­ol­o­gist at the Cleve­land Clin­ic, dis­agreed that giv­ing place­bo patients remde­sivir was the right call. ‘I believe it is in society’s best inter­est to deter­mine whether remde­sivir can reduce mor­tal­i­ty, and with the release of this infor­ma­tion doing a place­bo-con­trolled tri­al to deter­mine if there is a mor­tal­i­ty ben­e­fit will be very dif­fi­cult,’ he said. ‘The ques­tion is: Was there a route, or is there a route, to deter­mine if the drug can pre­vent death?’ The deci­sion is ‘a lost oppor­tu­ni­ty,’ he said. . . .”

3.–Steven Nis­sen was not alone in his crit­i­cism of the NIAID’s deci­sion. ” . . . .Peter Bach, the direc­tor of the Cen­ter for Health Pol­i­cy and Out­comes at Memo­r­i­al Sloan Ket­ter­ing Can­cer Cen­ter, agreed with Nis­sen. ‘The core under­stand­ing of clin­i­cal research par­tic­i­pa­tion and clin­i­cal research con­duct is we run the tri­al rig­or­ous­ly to pro­vide the most accu­rate infor­ma­tion about the right treat­ment,’ he said. And that answer, he argued, should ide­al­ly have deter­mined whether remde­sivir saves lives. The rea­son we have shut our whole soci­ety down, Bach said, is not to pre­vent Covid-19 patients from spend­ing a few more days in the hos­pi­tal. It is to pre­vent patients from dying. ‘Mor­tal­i­ty is the right end­point,’ he said. . . .”

4.–Not only was the admin­is­tra­tion of remde­sivir instead of place­bo pri­or­i­tized, but the NIAID study itself was atten­u­at­ed! ” . . . . But the change in the study’s main goal also changed the way the study would be ana­lyzed. Now, the NIAID decid­ed, the analy­sis would be cal­cu­lat­ed when 400 patients out of the 1,063 patients the study enrolled had recov­ered. If remde­sivir turned out to be much more effec­tive than expect­ed, ‘inter­im’ analy­ses would be con­duct­ed at a third and two-thirds that number.The job of review­ing these analy­ses would fall to a com­mit­tee of out­side experts on what is known as an inde­pen­dent data and safe­ty mon­i­tor­ing board, or DSMB. . . .”

5.–The per­for­mance of the DSMB for the remde­sivir study is note­wor­thy: ” . . . . But the DSMB for the remde­sivir study did not ever meet for an inter­im effi­ca­cy analy­sis, Lane said. All patients had been enrolled by April 20. The data for a DSMB meet­ing was cut off on April 22. The DSMB met and, on April 27, it made a rec­om­men­da­tion to the NIAID. . . .”

6.–The DSMB meet­ing on 4/27 deter­mined the switch from place­bo to remde­sivir. Of para­mount impor­tance is the fact that this was JUST BEFORE the 4/29 announce­ment that drove the mar­kets high­er and the same day on which key Trump aide–and for­mer Gilead Sci­ences lob­by­ist Joe Gro­gan resigned! ” . . . . . That deci­sion, Lane said, led the NIAID to con­clude that patients who had been giv­en place­bo should be offered remde­sivir, some­thing that start­ed hap­pen­ing after April 28. . . .”

7.–Dr. Ethan Weiss gave an accu­rate eval­u­a­tion of the NIAID study: ” . . . . ‘We’ve squan­dered an incred­i­ble oppor­tu­ni­ty to do good sci­ence,’ [Dr. Ethan] Weiss said. ‘If we could ever go back and do some­thing all over, it would be the infra­struc­ture to actu­al­ly learn some­thing. Because we’re not learn­ing enough.’ . . . .”

Next, we ana­lyze a STAT News excerpt that goes into more of the con­cerns about the Gilead study design.

The Gilead study was designed with­out any con­trol group, so the ques­tion of how much remde­sivir actu­al­ly helps sick patients (or doesn’t help) can’t be defin­i­tive­ly answered by that study.

The arti­cle also gives Gilead’s expla­na­tion for why they left out a con­trol group: due to the lim­it­ed sup­plies of the drug the com­pa­ny decid­ed to pri­or­i­tize on pro­duc­ing more of the drug itself rather than a place­bo con­trol. It’s an expla­na­tion that only makes sense if pro­duc­ing place­bo dos­es was some­how a sig­nif­i­cant tech­ni­cal chal­lenge, which seems dubi­ous.

Due to a lack of a con­trol group, the study instead focus­es on answer­ing the ques­tion of whether or not the recov­ery times for patients dif­fers between groups receiv­ing a 10-day course of the drug vs a 5‑day course. The patients were severe­ly ill but not on ven­ti­la­tors when enrolled in the study (so the patients that need the drug most weren’t test­ed). The pre­lim­i­nary results released Wednes­day sug­gest there is no dif­fer­ence between the recov­ery times for the two groups.

1.–The Gilead study lacked a con­trol group: ” . . . .  But out­side experts in clin­i­cal tri­al design wor­ry that the results, instead of lead­ing to a clear pic­ture of whether the med­i­cine is effec­tive, will instead mud­dy the waters fur­ther. The main con­cern, they say, stems from the fact that the Gilead tri­al expect­ed to read out this week, which was con­duct­ed among patients with severe dis­ease, lacks a con­trol group — that is, patients who are ran­dom­ly assigned to receive the best treat­ment avail­able, but not remde­sivir. As designed, the only ran­dom­iza­tion is the dura­tion of treat­ment: either five days or 10 days of drug. With­out a true con­trol group of patients, many experts say, it will be dif­fi­cult to deter­mine whether remde­sivir is effec­tive. . . .”

2.–The above-men­tioned Steven Nis­sen summed up the use­ful­ness of the Gilead tri­al. ” . . . . ‘The over­all study itself has lit­tle or no sci­en­tif­ic val­ue since all patients are receiv­ing the drug,’ said Steven Nis­sen, the chief aca­d­e­m­ic offi­cer at the Cleve­land Clin­ic and lead inves­ti­ga­tor of many tri­als for heart drugs that have been approved by the Food and Drug Admin­is­tra­tion. ‘The study, as designed, is essen­tial­ly use­less and can­not be used by the FDA for con­sid­er­a­tion of remde­sivir for approval to treat coro­n­avirus,’ Nis­sen said. . . .”

3.–Gilead’s spokesper­son alleged that the com­pa­ny had a lim­it­ed sup­ply of place­bo and remde­sivir. ” . . . . ‘In the ear­ly stages of the pan­dem­ic, we not only had a lim­it­ed sup­ply of remde­sivir but also a lim­it­ed sup­ply of the matched place­bo required for place­bo-con­trolled stud­ies,’ said Amy Flood, a Gilead spokesper­son. ‘We chose to pri­or­i­tize man­u­fac­tur­ing active drug over place­bo, and we pro­vid­ed our sup­ply of place­bo to Chi­na and NIAID for their stud­ies of remde­sivir.’ . . .”

5.–A num­ber of crit­ics shared Steven Nis­sen’s opin­ion about the sci­en­tif­ic val­ue of the study. ” . . . . Crit­ics point to Gilead’s deci­sion to com­pare two groups giv­en remde­sivir for either five days or 10 days. The prob­lem with this strat­e­gy, they say, is that an inef­fec­tive drug that did noth­ing and a very effec­tive drug that con­sis­tent­ly helped patients over­come the virus would look the same in such a study. Only if the 10-day course were more effec­tive, or if it was worse because of side effects, would the study have any clear result. . . .”

6.–Nissen was more opti­mistic about a sec­ond forth­com­ing Gilead tri­al. Sloan Ket­ter­ing’s Peter Bach did not share that opti­mism. ” . . . .Yet anoth­er tri­al in less sick patients, also run by Gilead, does have a con­trol group and may give a clear­er answer. Nis­sen sees ‘a rea­son­able study design.’ But Bach was more crit­i­cal, say­ing that even though that study has a con­trol group, the lack of a place­bo means the study might not be trust­wor­thy. That’s because its main goal, time to improve­ment of symp­toms, could be affect­ed by the per­cep­tions of clin­i­cians and the patients them­selves. Bach said the hos­pi­tals con­duct­ing the study ‘are eas­i­ly capa­ble of wrap­ping syringes in brown paper and blind­ing the whole thing. I don’t under­stand why you would run a tri­al like this.’ . . . .”

Although it was cut short due to the wan­ing of the pan­dem­ic in Chi­na, a WHO-leaked study was not encour­ag­ing with regard to remde­sivir’s effi­ca­cy as a treat­ment for Covid-19.

1.–The Chi­nese study was a ram­dom­ized con­trolled tri­al: ” . . . . Encour­ag­ing data from patients in that study at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Chica­go were described by researchers at a vir­tu­al town hall and obtained by STAT last week. How­ev­er, unlike those data, these new results are from a ran­dom­ized con­trolled tri­al, the med­ical gold stan­dard. . . .”

2.–The Chi­nese study found that remde­sivir was of no val­ue in pre­vent­ing Covid-19 deaths. As not­ed above, the effect of the drug on mor­tal­i­ty was the main con­sid­er­a­tion. Our soci­ety has not been shut down to afford peo­ple short­er stays in the hos­pi­tal, but to pre­vent death. ” . . . . Accord­ing to the sum­ma­ry of the Chi­na study, remde­sivir was ‘not asso­ci­at­ed with a dif­fer­ence in time to clin­i­cal improve­ment’ com­pared to a stan­dard of care con­trol. After one month, it appeared 13.9% of the remde­sivir patients had died com­pared to 12.8% of patients in the con­trol arm. The dif­fer­ence was not sta­tis­ti­cal­ly sig­nif­i­cant. . . .”

3.–The Chi­nese study pro­duced a grim assess­ment of remde­sivir: ” . . . . ‘In this study of hos­pi­tal­ized adult patients with severe COVID-19 that was ter­mi­nat­ed pre­ma­ture­ly, remde­sivir was not asso­ci­at­ed with clin­i­cal or viro­log­i­cal ben­e­fits,’ the sum­ma­ry states. The study was ter­mi­nat­ed pre­ma­ture­ly because it was dif­fi­cult to enroll patients in Chi­na, where the num­ber of Covid-19 cas­es was decreas­ing. An out­side researcher said that the results mean that any ben­e­fit from remde­sivir is like­ly to be small. ‘If there is no ben­e­fit to remde­sivir in a study this size, this sug­gests that the over­all ben­e­fit of remde­sivir in this pop­u­la­tion with advanced infec­tion is like­ly to be small in the larg­er Gilead tri­al,’ said Andrew Hill, senior vis­it­ing research fel­low at Liv­er­pool Uni­ver­si­ty. . . .”

After dis­cussing a num­ber of prob­lems that Gilead Sci­ences may encounter in the pro­duc­tion of sig­nif­i­cant quan­ti­ties of remde­sivir to be effec­tive, the broad­cast con­cludes with dis­cus­sion of the inap­pro­pri­ate­ly-named “Sci­en­tists to Stop Covid-19.”

The remark­able han­dling of the NIAID study, the tim­ing of the announce­ment of the alto­geth­er lim­it­ed suc­cess of the atten­u­at­ed tri­al, and the rise in equi­ties as a result of the announce­ment may be best under­stood in the con­text of the role played in Trump pan­dem­ic deci­sion-mak­ing by an elite group of bil­lion­aires and scientists–including Peter Thiel and con­vict­ed felon Michael Milken (the “junk bond king”).

1.–” . . . . Call­ing them­selves ‘Sci­en­tists to Stop COVID-19,’ the col­lec­tion of top researchers, bil­lion­aires and indus­try cap­tains will act as an ‘ad hoc review board’ for the tor­rent of coro­n­avirus research, ‘weed­ing out’ flawed data before it reach­es pol­i­cy­mak­ers, the Wall Street Jour­nal report­ed on Mon­day. They are also act­ing as a go-between for phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pa­nies seek­ing to build a com­mu­ni­ca­tion chan­nel with Trump admin­is­tra­tion offi­cials. The group . . . . has advised Nick Ayers, an aide to Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence, as well as oth­er agency heads, in the past month. Pence is head­ing up the White House coro­n­avirus task force. . . .”

2.–” . . . The brainy bunch is led by Thomas Cahill, a 33-year-old doc­tor who became a ven­ture cap­i­tal­ist . . . . Cahill’s clout comes from build­ing con­nec­tions through his invest­ment firm, New­path Part­ners, with Sil­i­con Valley’s Peter Thiel, the founder of Pay­Pal, and bil­lion­aire busi­ness­men Jim Palot­ta and Michael Milken. . . .”

Note that Thiel played a dom­i­nant role in bankrolling New­path Part­ners, and the oth­er finan­cial angel who ele­vat­ed Cahill–Brian Sheth–introduced him to Tom­my Hicks, Jr., the co-chair­man of the RNC. In FTR #‘s 1111 and 1112, we looked at Hicks’ net­work­ing with Steve Ban­non asso­ciate J. Kyle Bass, as well as his role in the inter-agency net­works dri­ving the anti-Chi­na effort.

1.–” . . . . At the helm of the effort: The 33-year-old and very-much-under-the-radar ven­ture cap­i­tal­ist Tom Cahill, who leads life sci­ences-focused New­path Part­ners. Cahill com­plet­ed his M.D. and PhD at Duke Uni­ver­si­ty a mere two years ago before land­ing at blue-chip invest­ment firm Rap­tor Group through a friend. He went on to found New­path with some $125 mil­lion after impress­ing well-con­nect­ed names like ven­ture cap­i­tal­ist Peter Thiel and Vista Equi­ty Part­ners co-founder Bri­an Sheth. . . . It was through Sheth, for exam­ple, that Sci­en­tists to Stop Covid-19 con­nect­ed with the co-chair­man of the Repub­li­can Nation­al Com­mit­tee, Thomas Hicks Jr. . . .”

The fed­er­al gov­ern­men­t’s extreme focus on remde­sivir has been shaped, in large mea­sure, by the influ­ence of “Sci­en­tists to Stop COVID-19”:

1.–“Scientists to Stop Covid-19” is shep­herd­ing remde­sivir: ” . . . . Sci­en­tists to Stop COVID-19 rec­om­mends that in this phase, the U.S. Food and Drug Admin­is­tra­tion (FDA) should work to coor­di­nate with Gilead phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals to focus on expe­dit­ing the results of clin­i­cal tri­als of remde­sivir, a drug iden­ti­fied as a poten­tial treat­ment for COVID-19. The group also rec­om­mends admin­is­ter­ing dos­es of the drug to patients in an ear­ly stage of infec­tion, and notes remde­sivir will essen­tial­ly be a place­hold­er until a more effec­tive treat­ment is pro­duced.

2.–The group is doing so by atten­u­at­ing the reg­u­la­to­ry process for coro­n­avirus drugs: “Gov­ern­ment enti­ties and agen­cies appear to adhere to the rec­om­men­da­tions out­lined by the group, with the Jour­nal report­ing that the FDA and the Depart­ment of Vet­er­ans Affairs (VA) have imple­ment­ed some of the sug­ges­tions, name­ly relax­ing drug man­u­fac­tur­er reg­u­la­tions and require­ments for poten­tial coro­n­avirus treat­ment drugs. . . .”

We con­clude with a piece about the announce­ment of Grogan’s depar­ture.

” . . . . Gro­gan has served as the direc­tor of the White House Domes­tic Pol­i­cy Coun­cil since Feb­ru­ary 2019, over­see­ing a broad array of pol­i­cy issues includ­ing health care and reg­u­la­tion. . . . Gro­gan was one of the orig­i­nal mem­bers of the White House coro­n­avirus task force launched in late Jan­u­ary. . . . Gro­gan worked as a lob­by­ist for drug com­pa­ny Gilead Sci­ences before join­ing the Trump admin­is­tra­tion. . . .”

The depar­ture was announced in the Wall Street Jour­nal on the morn­ing of Wednes­day, April 29, the same day we got our first pub­lic reports of the NIAID clin­i­cal tri­al of remde­sivir that was pos­i­tive enough to show it short­ened the time to recov­ery and the same day the FDA grant­ed remde­sivir emer­gency use sta­tus. 

Note, again, the tim­ing of the DSM­B’s actions, as well as the imflu­ence of “Sci­en­tists to Stop Covid-19.”


FTR #1126 Bio-Psy-Op Apocalypse Now, Part 2: The Democracy-Killing Virus

We begin a series of pro­grams high­light­ing var­i­ous aspects of the “three-dimen­sion­al chess” aspect of the Covid-19 “bio-psy-op” we feel is under­way. Actu­al­ly six or sev­en dimen­sion­al chess might be a bet­ter way of express­ing this ana­lyt­i­cal con­cept.

It is of para­mount impor­tance for listeners/readers to under­stand that the con­cep­tu­al break­down is for cog­ni­tive clar­i­ty only. The bio-psy-op” is mul­ti-dimen­sion­al in its entire­ty and must be under­stood to be a type of “fascist/totalitarian lasagna” with many lay­ers to be con­sumed.

In this pro­gram, we present ways in which the Covid-19 out­break is sub­vert­ing democ­ra­cy, both inside and out­side of the Unit­ed States.

Although he has only flirt­ed with exer­cis­ing them, to date, Trump does indeed have some emer­gency pow­ers that can be invoked to fur­ther his agen­da” ” . . . . The most notable aspect of pres­i­den­tial emer­gency action doc­u­ments might be their extreme secre­cy. It’s not uncom­mon for the gov­ern­ment to clas­si­fy its plans or activ­i­ties in the area of nation­al secu­ri­ty. . . . By con­trast, we know of no evi­dence that the exec­u­tive branch has ever con­sult­ed with Con­gress — or even informed any of its mem­bers — regard­ing the con­tents of pres­i­den­tial emer­gency action doc­u­ments. . . . That is a dan­ger­ous state of affairs. The coro­n­avirus pan­dem­ic is fast becom­ing the most seri­ous cri­sis to face this coun­try since World War II. And it is hap­pen­ing under the watch of a pres­i­dent who has claimed that Arti­cle II of the Con­sti­tu­tion gives him ‘the right to do what­ev­er I want.’ It is not far-fetched to think that we might see the deploy­ment of these doc­u­ments for the first time and that they will assert pres­i­den­tial pow­ers beyond those grant­ed by Con­gress or rec­og­nized by the courts as flow­ing from the Con­sti­tu­tion. . . .”

Next, we add that the Bio-Psy-Op Apoc­a­lypse is spawn­ing total­i­tar­i­an manifestations–not surprisingly–at the Depart­ment of Jus­tice head­ed by “ex” CIA offi­cer William Barr. ” . . . . The request raised eye­brows because of its poten­tial impli­ca­tions for habeas cor­pus — the con­sti­tu­tion­al right to appear before a judge after arrest and seek release. ‘Not only would it be a vio­la­tion of that, but it says ‘affect­ing pre-arrest,’” said Nor­man L. Reimer, exec­u­tive direc­tor of the Nation­al Asso­ci­a­tion of Crim­i­nal Defense Lawyers. ‘So that means you could be arrest­ed and nev­er brought before a judge until they decide that the emer­gency or the civ­il dis­obe­di­ence is over. I find it absolute­ly ter­ri­fy­ing. Espe­cial­ly in a time of emer­gency, we should be very care­ful about grant­i­ng new pow­ers to the gov­ern­ment.’ . . .”

It will come as no sur­prise to vet­er­an lis­ten­ers, the Pen­ta­gon has con­tin­gency plans for vary­ing degrees of gov­ern­men­tal and/or civic dis­abil­i­ty. ” . . . . But Coro­n­avirus is also new ter­ri­to­ry, where the mil­i­tary itself is vul­ner­a­ble and the dis­as­ter sce­nar­ios being con­tem­plat­ed — includ­ing the pos­si­bil­i­ty of wide­spread domes­tic vio­lence as a result of food short­ages — are forc­ing plan­ners to look at what are called ‘extra­or­di­nary cir­cum­stances’. Above-Top Secret con­tin­gency plans already exist for what the mil­i­tary is sup­posed to do if all the Con­sti­tu­tion­al suc­ces­sors are inca­pac­i­tat­ed. Stand­by orders were issued more than three weeks ago to ready these plans, not just to pro­tect Wash­ing­ton but also to pre­pare for the pos­si­bil­i­ty of some form of mar­tial law. . . .”

The mil­i­tary’s con­tin­gency plans have been par­tial­ly acti­vat­ed: ” . . . . While being hit with coro­n­avirus at rates equiv­a­lent to the civil­ian pop­u­la­tion, the U.S. mil­i­tary has acti­vat­ed its ‘defense sup­port of civ­il author­i­ties’ appa­ra­tus, estab­lish­ing liaisons in all 50 states, acti­vat­ing units and com­mand posts, and mov­ing forces to pro­vide med­ical, trans­porta­tion, logis­tics, and com­mu­ni­ca­tions sup­port in New York and Wash­ing­ton states. Lt. Gen. Lau­ra Richard­son, the com­mand of Army North (ARNORTH), has request­ed and received approval for the deploy­ment of ground units in response to the now declared nation­al emer­gency. . . .”

We note, in pass­ing, that, although not in effect at this point, dis­cus­sion of “mar­tial law” are far more than just social media fod­der, to coin a term. ” . . . . Because of so many rumors fly­ing in social media, the Pen­ta­gon estab­lished a ‘rumor con­trol’ web­site to beat down sto­ries of mil­i­tary-imposed quar­an­tines and even mar­tial law. And it said it was going to lim­it details of both the spe­cif­ic num­bers of coro­n­avirus cas­es and oper­a­tional details. . . .”

Mar­tial law dis­cus­sion has been spurred by, among oth­er things, Trump’s rumi­na­tions about what he can and will do: “. . . . Ear­li­er Sat­ur­day, Mr. Trump said that he is con­sid­er­ing declar­ing an ‘enforce­able’ quar­an­tine affect­ing some res­i­dents of the New York met­ro­pol­i­tan area, pos­si­bly includ­ing New Jer­sey and Con­necti­cut. He called the region a ‘hot spot’ of the coro­n­avirus out­break sweep­ing the coun­try. . . . Mr. Trump reit­er­at­ed in his remarks before the send off of the USNS Com­fort that he was con­sid­er­ing a quar­an­tine of the area. The Com­fort is a naval hos­pi­tal boat which is car­ry­ing over 1,000 beds and 1,200 med­ical per­son­nel to New York City. . . . Using active duty troops to enforce a quar­an­tine would require the pres­i­dent to sus­pend the Posse Comi­ta­tus Act, which for­bids the use of the armed ser­vices for law enforce­ment. . . .”

Trump has plen­ty of com­pa­ny: ” . . . . In Hun­gary, a new law has grant­ed Prime Min­is­ter Vik­tor Orban the pow­er to side­step Par­lia­ment and sus­pend exist­ing laws. Mr. Orban, who declared a state of emer­gency this month, now has the sole pow­er to end the emer­gency. Par­lia­ment, where two-thirds of the seats are con­trolled by his par­ty, approved the leg­is­la­tion on Mon­day. . . .‘The draft law is alarm­ing,’ said Daniel Kar­sai, a lawyer in Budapest who said the new leg­is­la­tion had cre­at­ed ‘a big fear’ among Hun­gar­i­ans that ‘the Orban admin­is­tra­tion will be a real dic­ta­tor­ship.’ . . .”

Orban’s Hun­gary has been joined by, among oth­ers, the long-stand­ing British democ­ra­cy: ” . . . . some of the pro­vi­sions . . . . will give the gov­ern­ment unchecked con­trol. The leg­is­la­tion gives sweep­ing pow­ers to bor­der agents and the police, which could lead to indef­i­nite deten­tion and rein­force ‘hos­tile envi­ron­ment’ poli­cies against immi­grants, crit­ics said. ‘Each clause could have had months of debate, and instead it’s all being debat­ed in a few days,’ said Adam Wag­n­er, a lawyer who advis­es a par­lia­men­tary com­mit­tee on human rights. . . . ‘These are eye-water­ing pow­ers that would have not been real­ly imag­in­able in peace­time in this coun­try before,’ said Silkie Car­lo, the direc­tor of Big Broth­er Watch, a rights group. She called the mea­sures ‘dra­con­ian.’ . . . .”

Pri­va­cy is being dra­mat­i­cal­ly cur­tailed under cov­er of com­bat­ting the virus: ” . . . . As Thomas Gaulkin of the Bul­letin of the Atom­ic Sci­en­tists not­ed ear­li­er this month, many Amer­i­cans— often fierce in their objec­tions to per­ceived gov­ern­ment over­reach into their lives—might nor­mal­ly object to dystopi­an images of fly­ing robots polic­ing lock­downs. But these, of course, are not nor­mal times. ‘If drones do begin to hov­er over U.S. streets to help con­trol this pan­dem­ic,’ Gaulkin wrote, ‘it will be yet anoth­er vis­i­ble reminder that we’ve entered a pub­lic health Twi­light Zone where Amer­i­cans have no bet­ter option than to embrace what was once only imag­in­able, and nev­er real.’ . . . ”

The alpha preda­tor of the elec­tron­ic sur­veil­lance land­scape is Peter Thiel’s Palan­tir. They have land­ed two key gov­ern­ment con­tracts in con­nec­tion with the Covid-19 out­break:” . . . . Palan­tir, the $20 bil­lion-val­ued Palo Alto tech com­pa­ny backed by Face­book-fun­der Peter Thiel, has been hand­ed a $17.3 mil­lion con­tract with one of the lead­ing health bod­ies lead­ing the charge against COVID-19. It’s the biggest con­tract hand­ed to a Sil­i­con Val­ley com­pa­ny to assist America’s COVID-19 response, accord­ing to Forbes’ review of pub­lic con­tracts, and comes as oth­er Cal­i­forn­ian giants like Apple and Google try to fig­ure out how best to help gov­ern­ments fight the dead­ly virus. . . . The mon­ey, from the fed­er­al government’s COVID-19 relief fund, is for Palan­tir Gotham licens­es, accord­ing to a con­tract record reviewed by Forbes. That tech­nol­o­gy is designed to draw in data from myr­i­ad sources and, regard­less of what form or size, turn the infor­ma­tion into a coher­ent whole. The ‘plat­form’ is cus­tomized for each client, so it meets with their mis­sion needs, accord­ing to Palan­tir. . . . Palan­tir Gotham is slight­ly dif­fer­ent to Foundry, a new­er prod­uct that’s aimed more at gen­er­al users rather than data sci­ence whizzes, with more automa­tion than Gotham. As Forbes pre­vi­ous­ly report­ed, Foundry is being used by the Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion (CDC) to ingest infor­ma­tion from all man­ner of hos­pi­tals across Amer­i­ca to see where best to pro­vide more or less resource. . . . Palan­tir is now work­ing with at least 12 gov­ern­ments on their respons­es to coro­n­avirus, accord­ing to two sources with knowl­edge of its COVID-19 work. That includes the U.K.’s Nation­al Health Ser­vice, which is using Foundry for sim­i­lar pur­pos­es as the CDC. . . .”

Exem­pli­fy­ing the mul­ti-dimen­sion­al chess sce­nario in con­nec­tion with the “bio-psy-op” is the GOP’s plan to use the Covid-19 out­break to scape­goat Chi­na and tar the Democ­rats and Joe Biden with the same brush. Of par­tic­u­lar note in this regard is the Steve Bannon‑J. Kyle Bass-Tom­my Hicks, Jr. tri­umvi­rate dis­cussed in–among oth­er programs–FTR #‘s 1111 and 1112.

At the epi­cen­ter of the anti-Chi­na effort, Ban­non is net­worked with Bass, who is asym­met­ri­cal­ly invest­ed with regard to the Hong Kong and Chi­nese economies. Hicks, in turn, is a co-investor with Bass, co-chair­man of the RNC, and one of the prime movers of the inter­a­gency gov­ern­men­tal net­works involved in the anti-Chi­na desta­bi­liza­tion oper­a­tion. This net­worked rela­tion­ship affords investors like Bass and Hicks the ulti­mate posi­tion from which to prof­it from “insid­er” infor­ma­tion. 

The syn­the­sis of covert oper­a­tions and elec­toral pol­i­tics reminds us of the 1952 elec­tion, in which Arthur Bliss Lane occu­pied a key posi­tion in the Cru­sade For Free­dom, as well as the GOP. (We dis­cussed this in AFA #37, and uti­lized infor­ma­tion from, among oth­er sources, Blow­back by Christo­pher Simp­son.

Exem­plary, as well, of the bio-psy-op as syn­the­sis of covert oper­a­tion and polit­i­cal cru­sad­ing is the GOP’s cyn­i­cal manip­u­la­tion of emer­gency appro­pri­a­tions to achieve their long­stand­ing objec­tive of crip­pling state and local gov­ern­ments, as well as dri­ving the Postal Ser­vice into bank­rupt­cy. Pri­va­tiz­ing postal ser­vice has been a right-wing/­GOP objec­tive for a long time. ” . . . . Every­one, and I mean every­one, knows what is real­ly hap­pen­ing: McConnell is try­ing to get more mon­ey for busi­ness­es while con­tin­u­ing to short­change state and local gov­ern­ments. After all, “starve the beast” — forc­ing gov­ern­ments to cut ser­vices by depriv­ing them of resources — has been Repub­li­can strat­e­gy for decades. This is just more of the same. . . . Oh, and Trump per­son­al­ly has ruled out aid for the Postal Ser­vice. . . .”


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We note in this con­text that:

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

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

We note in this con­text:

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ques­tion­able aspects of Team AOC include:

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

Pro­gram High­lights Include:

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

Pro­gram High­lights Include:

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


FTR #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. . . .”


FTR #1077 Surveillance Valley, Part 3: Cambridge Analytica, Democracy and Counterinsurgency

Con­tin­u­ing the dis­cus­sion from FTR #1076, the broad­cast recaps key aspects of analy­sis of the Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca scan­dal.

In our last pro­gram, we not­ed that both the inter­net (DARPA projects includ­ing Project Agile) and the Ger­man Nazi Par­ty had their ori­gins as coun­terin­sur­gency gam­bits. Not­ing Hitler’s speech before The Indus­try Club of Dus­sel­dorf, in which he equat­ed com­mu­nism with democ­ra­cy, we high­light how the Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca scan­dal reflects the coun­terin­sur­gency ori­gins of the Inter­net, and how the Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca affair embod­ies anti-Democ­ra­cy/as coun­terin­sur­gency.

Key aspects of the Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca affair include:

1.–The use of psy­cho­graph­ic per­son­al­i­ty test­ing on Face­book that is used for polit­i­cal advan­tage: ” . . . . For sev­er­al years, a data firm even­tu­al­ly hired by the Trump cam­paign, Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca, has been using Face­book as a tool to build psy­cho­log­i­cal pro­files that rep­re­sent some 230 mil­lion adult Amer­i­cans. A spin­off of a British con­sult­ing com­pa­ny and some­time-defense con­trac­tor known for its coun­tert­er­ror­ism ‘psy ops’ work in Afghanistan, the firm does so by seed­ing the social net­work with per­son­al­i­ty quizzes. Respon­dents — by now hun­dreds of thou­sands of us, most­ly female and most­ly young but enough male and old­er for the firm to make infer­ences about oth­ers with sim­i­lar behav­iors and demo­graph­ics — get a free look at their Ocean scores. Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca also gets a look at their scores and, thanks to Face­book, gains access to their pro­files and real names. . . .”
2.–The par­ent com­pa­ny of Cam­bridge Analytica–SCL–was deeply involved with coun­tert­er­ror­ism “psy-ops” in Afghanistan, embody­ing the essence of the coun­terin­sur­gency dynam­ic at the root of the devel­op­ment of the Inter­net. The use of online data to sub­vert democ­ra­cy recalls Hitler’s speech to the Indus­try Club of Dus­sel­dorf, in which he equat­ed democ­ra­cy with com­mu­nism: ” . . . . Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca was a com­pa­ny spun out of SCL Group, a British mil­i­tary con­trac­tor that worked in infor­ma­tion oper­a­tions for armed forces around the world. It was con­duct­ing research on how to scale and digi­tise infor­ma­tion war­fare – the use of infor­ma­tion to con­fuse or degrade the effi­ca­cy of an ene­my. . . . As direc­tor of research, Wylie’s orig­i­nal role was to map out how the com­pa­ny would take tra­di­tion­al infor­ma­tion oper­a­tions tac­tics into the online space – in par­tic­u­lar, by pro­fil­ing peo­ple who would be sus­cep­ti­ble to cer­tain mes­sag­ing. This mor­phed into the polit­i­cal are­na. After Wylie left, the com­pa­ny worked on Don­ald Trump’s US pres­i­den­tial cam­paign . . . .”
3.–Cambridge Ana­lyt­i­ca whistle­blow­er Christo­pher Wylie’s obser­va­tions on the anti-demo­c­ra­t­ic nature of the fir­m’s work: ” . . . . It was this shift from the bat­tle­field to pol­i­tics that made Wylie uncom­fort­able. ‘When you are work­ing in infor­ma­tion oper­a­tions projects, where your tar­get is a com­bat­ant, the auton­o­my or agency of your tar­gets is not your pri­ma­ry con­sid­er­a­tion. It is fair game to deny and manip­u­late infor­ma­tion, coerce and exploit any men­tal vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties a per­son has, and to bring out the very worst char­ac­ter­is­tics in that per­son because they are an ene­my,’ he says. ‘But if you port that over to a demo­c­ra­t­ic sys­tem, if you run cam­paigns designed to under­mine people’s abil­i­ty to make free choic­es and to under­stand what is real and not real, you are under­min­ing democ­ra­cy and treat­ing vot­ers in the same way as you are treat­ing ter­ror­ists.’ . . . .”
4.–Wylie’s obser­va­tions on how Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca’s method­ol­o­gy can be used to build a fas­cist polit­i­cal move­ment: ” . . . . One of the rea­sons these tech­niques are so insid­i­ous is that being a tar­get of a dis­in­for­ma­tion cam­paign is ‘usu­al­ly a plea­sur­able expe­ri­ence’, because you are being fed con­tent with which you are like­ly to agree. ‘You are being guid­ed through some­thing that you want to be true,’ Wylie says. To build an insur­gency, he explains, you first tar­get peo­ple who are more prone to hav­ing errat­ic traits, para­noia or con­spir­a­to­r­i­al think­ing, and get them to ‘like’ a group on social media. They start engag­ing with the con­tent, which may or may not be true; either way ‘it feels good to see that infor­ma­tion’. When the group reach­es 1,000 or 2,000 mem­bers, an event is set up in the local area. Even if only 5% show up, ‘that’s 50 to 100 peo­ple flood­ing a local cof­fee shop’, Wylie says. This, he adds, val­i­dates their opin­ion because oth­er peo­ple there are also talk­ing about ‘all these things that you’ve been see­ing online in the depths of your den and get­ting angry about’. Peo­ple then start to believe the rea­son it’s not shown on main­stream news chan­nels is because ‘they don’t want you to know what the truth is’. As Wylie sums it up: ‘What start­ed out as a fan­ta­sy online gets port­ed into the tem­po­ral world and becomes real to you because you see all these peo­ple around you.’ . . . .”
5.–Wylie’s obser­va­tion that Face­book was “All In” on the Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca machi­na­tions: ” . . . . ‘Face­book has known about what Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca was up to from the very begin­ning of those projects,” Wylie claims. “They were noti­fied, they autho­rised the appli­ca­tions, they were giv­en the terms and con­di­tions of the app that said explic­it­ly what it was doing. They hired peo­ple who worked on build­ing the app. I had legal cor­re­spon­dence with their lawyers where they acknowl­edged it hap­pened as far back as 2016.’ . . . .”
6.–The deci­sive par­tic­i­pa­tion of “Spy Tech” firm Palan­tir in the Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca oper­a­tion: Peter Thiel’s sur­veil­lance firm Palan­tir was appar­ent­ly deeply involved with Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca’s gam­ing of per­son­al data har­vest­ed from Face­book in order to engi­neer an elec­toral vic­to­ry for Trump. Thiel was an ear­ly investor in Face­book, at one point was its largest share­hold­er and is still one of its largest share­hold­ers. In addi­tion to his oppo­si­tion to democ­ra­cy because it alleged­ly is inim­i­cal to wealth cre­ation, Thiel does­n’t think women should be allowed to vote and holds Nazi legal the­o­reti­cian Carl Schmitt in high regard. ” . . . . It was a Palan­tir employ­ee in Lon­don, work­ing close­ly with the data sci­en­tists build­ing Cambridge’s psy­cho­log­i­cal pro­fil­ing tech­nol­o­gy, who sug­gest­ed the sci­en­tists cre­ate their own app — a mobile-phone-based per­son­al­i­ty quiz — to gain access to Face­book users’ friend net­works, accord­ing to doc­u­ments obtained by The New York Times. The rev­e­la­tions pulled Palan­tir — co-found­ed by the wealthy lib­er­tar­i­an Peter Thiel — into the furor sur­round­ing Cam­bridge, which improp­er­ly obtained Face­book data to build ana­lyt­i­cal tools it deployed on behalf of Don­ald J. Trump and oth­er Repub­li­can can­di­dates in 2016. Mr. Thiel, a sup­port­er of Pres­i­dent Trump, serves on the board at Face­book. ‘There were senior Palan­tir employ­ees that were also work­ing on the Face­book data,’ said Christo­pher Wylie, a data expert and Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca co-founder, in tes­ti­mo­ny before British law­mak­ers on Tues­day. . . . The con­nec­tions between Palan­tir and Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca were thrust into the spot­light by Mr. Wylie’s tes­ti­mo­ny on Tues­day. Both com­pa­nies are linked to tech-dri­ven bil­lion­aires who backed Mr. Trump’s cam­paign: Cam­bridge is chiefly owned by Robert Mer­cer, the com­put­er sci­en­tist and hedge fund mag­nate, while Palan­tir was co-found­ed in 2003 by Mr. Thiel, who was an ini­tial investor in Face­book. . . .”
7.–The use of “dark posts” by the Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca team. (We have not­ed that Brad Parscale has reassem­bled the old Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca team for Trump’s 2020 elec­tion cam­paign. It seems prob­a­ble that AOC’s mil­lions of online fol­low­ers, as well as the “Bernie Bots,” will be get­ting “dark posts” craft­ed by AI’s scan­ning their online efforts.) ” . . . . One recent adver­tis­ing prod­uct on Face­book is the so-called ‘dark post’: A news­feed mes­sage seen by no one aside from the users being tar­get­ed. With the help of Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca, Mr. Trump’s dig­i­tal team used dark posts to serve dif­fer­ent ads to dif­fer­ent poten­tial vot­ers, aim­ing to push the exact right but­tons for the exact right peo­ple at the exact right times. . . .”

Sup­ple­ment­ing the dis­cus­sion about Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca, the pro­gram reviews infor­ma­tion from FTR #718 about Face­book’s appar­ent involve­ment with ele­ments and indi­vid­u­als linked to CIA and DARPA: ” . . . . Face­book’s most recent round of fund­ing was led by a com­pa­ny called Grey­lock Ven­ture Cap­i­tal, who put in the sum of $27.5m. One of Grey­lock­’s senior part­ners is called Howard Cox, anoth­er for­mer chair­man of the NVCA, who is also on the board of In-Q-Tel. What’s In-Q-Tel? Well, believe it or not (and check out their web­site), this is the ven­ture-cap­i­tal wing of the CIA. After 9/11, the US intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty became so excit­ed by the pos­si­bil­i­ties of new tech­nol­o­gy and the inno­va­tions being made in the pri­vate sec­tor, that in 1999 they set up their own ven­ture cap­i­tal fund, In-Q-Tel, which ‘iden­ti­fies and part­ners with com­pa­nies devel­op­ing cut­ting-edge tech­nolo­gies to help deliv­er these solu­tions to the Cen­tral Intel­li­gence Agency and the broad­er US Intel­li­gence Com­mu­ni­ty (IC) to fur­ther their mis­sions’. . . .”

More about the CIA/DARPA links to the devel­op­ment of Face­book: ” . . . . The sec­ond round of fund­ing into Face­book ($US12.7 mil­lion) came from ven­ture cap­i­tal firm Accel Part­ners. Its man­ag­er James Brey­er was for­mer­ly chair­man of the Nation­al Ven­ture Cap­i­tal Asso­ci­a­tion, and served on the board with Gilman Louie, CEO of In-Q-Tel, a ven­ture cap­i­tal firm estab­lished by the Cen­tral Intel­li­gence Agency in 1999. One of the com­pa­ny’s key areas of exper­tise are in ‘data min­ing tech­nolo­gies’. Brey­er also served on the board of R&D firm BBN Tech­nolo­gies, which was one of those com­pa­nies respon­si­ble for the rise of the inter­net. Dr Ani­ta Jones joined the firm, which includ­ed Gilman Louie. She had also served on the In-Q-Tel’s board, and had been direc­tor of Defence Research and Engi­neer­ing for the US Depart­ment of Defence. She was also an advis­er to the Sec­re­tary of Defence and over­see­ing the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which is respon­si­ble for high-tech, high-end devel­op­ment. . . .”

Pro­gram High­lights Include: Review of Face­book’s plans to use brain-to-com­put­er tech­nol­o­gy to oper­ate its plat­form, there­by the enabling of record­ing and data­bas­ing peo­ple’s thoughts; Review of Face­book’s employ­ment of for­mer DARPA head Regi­na Dugan to imple­ment the brain-to-com­put­er tech­nol­o­gy; Review of Face­book’s build­ing 8–designed to dupli­cate DARPA; Review of Face­book’s hir­ing of the Atlantic Coun­cil to police the social medi­um’s online con­tent; Review of Face­book’s part­ner­ing with Naren­dra Mod­i’s Hin­dut­va fas­cist gov­ern­ment in India; Review of Face­book’s emloy­ment of Ukrain­ian fas­cist Katery­na Kruk to man­age the social medi­um’s Ukrain­ian con­tent.