Aletho News

ΑΛΗΘΩΣ

How Do You Tell If The Earth’s Climate System “Is Warming”?

By Francis Menton | Manhattan Contrarian | August 9, 2018

The earth’s climate system “is warming.” True or false? The answer is that there is no definitive answer. And if someone tells you there is, then that person doesn’t know what he or she is talking about.

A more precise answer to the question is that whether the earth’s climate system “is warming” or “is cooling” entirely depends on who gets to pick the start date for the analysis. If you are the one who gets to pick the start date, then you can make it so that the system is either warming or cooling, whichever you would like for your purpose of the moment.

But of course, there are many people out there today with a lot invested in the proposition that the climate system “is warming.” That proposition is a key tenet of global warming alarmism. To “prove” the point that the system “is warming,” advocates use the simple trick of picking a start point to their liking, making for a presentation that appears to support their position. Have you been fooled by this simple trick? The advocates leave it up to you to figure out that if you picked a different start point, you could just as easily make an equally convincing presentation showing that the climate system “is cooling.” A lot of seemingly intelligent people can’t figure that out, and get taken in by the scam.

I raise this point today because it appears that, as part of the campaign to suppress disfavored political speech, Google has begun within the past few days adding a legend at the bottom of YouTube videos that express politically incorrect views in the field of climate science. For example, here is the legend that they have added to a video made for Prager University by eminent MIT atmospheric physicist and climate skeptic Richard Lindzen:

Lindzen YouTube Video.jpg

“Multiple lines of scientific evidence show that the climate system is warming.

The quote comes from the first two sentences of this Wikipedia entry with the title “Global warming.” Well, Wikipedia says it, so I guess it must be true!

According to this post at BuzzFeed on August 7, others who have been subject to having the same legend affixed to their work include Tony Heller of the Deplorable Climate Science Blog, Mark Morano of Climate Depot, and the Heartland Institute. (So far, nothing comparable has happened to the Manhattan Contrarian; but then, I don’t make YouTube videos.)

So let’s investigate the question of whether the earth’s “climate system” is or is not warming. You could, for example, look at the chart presented by Wikipedia in that entry. Here it is:

Wikipedia GAST trend.png

That looks rather dramatic. On the other hand, the whole vertical scale of the chart is only about 1.5 deg C; and they picked 1880 as their start date. (The slope here is also greatly accentuated by some very large and questionable “adjustments” that have made earlier years cooler and more recent years warmer. You can read my eighteen part series “The Greatest Scientific Fraud Of All Time” for much more detail. But those details are not critical for understanding the current issue.)

Does your skeptical mind possibly think, when they use that phrase “century scale,” is that just a bias-free description of the issue at hand, or is it instead a hand-wave to provide a fake justification for picking a preferred start date? Why do we need to go back 138 years when we are considering a question phrased in the present tense — whether the climate “is” warming? Wouldn’t the present tense normally be used to cover a much shorter period, like a year or two or three at most?  So you ask, what has the climate system been doing during that time? For the answer, how about looking for temperature data to the far more accurate UAH satellite-based series which provides monthly data points going back to 1979. Here is the latest chart from that source:

UAH_LT_1979_thru_July_2018_v6-550x317.jpg

This time, you get to pick the start date. To cover the last few years, how about picking early 2016?  After all, these last couple of years should be a much better indicator of whether the climate “is” warming or cooling than the entire last 138 years. Really, what do temperatures more than 100 years ago, or even 30 or 40 years ago, have to do with the question of whether the earth’s climate “is” warming? So we look at the UAH chart, and we find our answer: since early 2016 temperatures have fallen by more than 0.5 deg C. Thus, once we get to pick our preferred start time, it is obvious that the climate system “is cooling.”

Or, you can pick a different start date to your liking. How about 1998? That will give you an entire 20 year run. It’s hard to say that the verb “is” should cover a period of more than 20 years. On the UAH series you can see that temperatures have also fallen about 0.4 deg C since early 1998. Again, even on this substantially longer scale, the earth “is cooling.” (Note, however, that there is a significant difference between the Wikipedia chart and the UAH satellite series as to what has happened since 1998. On the Wikipedia chart the latest reading (2017?) is up about 0.3 deg C from 1998; while on the UAH series, the latest reading (July 2018) is down about 0.4 deg C from the then-records set in 1998. That’s those “adjustments” in the surface temperature record that I was talking about. I would say that there is no credible position that the heavily adjusted surface temperature record that Wikipedia relies on should be used for this purpose over the far more accurate and un-tampered UAH satellite record.)

But how about if we decide that there is something to this “century-scale” thing? Let’s agree that we’re going to go back many, many decades to determine if the earth “is warming.” But if we’re going to do that, where do we stop? If you want, you can go back a hundred million years; or even a billion. And if you follow this subject a little, you probably know that the 1700s and 1800s are a very suspect era to start a series like this, because those centuries are a known cold period sometimes referred to as the “Little Ice Age.” Picking a date in the “Little Ice Age” as the start point to prove warming is what’s called “cheating.” Let’s pick something more fair.  How about going back a nice round millennium?  Was that time warmer or cooler than now?

OK, they didn’t have networks of thermometers set up around the globe in the 11th century, let alone the highly accurate satellites that we have today. But scores of scientists have done hundreds of studies based on many sorts of “proxies” to determine at least whether it was warmer or cooler at that time than today. It turns out that the evidence is rather overwhelming that it was warmer. Actually, this is what is known as the “Medieval Warm Period.” But picking a date in that period as your start date for deciding whether the earth “is warming” is no more fair or unfair than picking a date in the “Little Ice Age.”

Here is a compilation of dozens of studies reaching the conclusion that the Medieval Warm Period was warmer than the present:  “More than 700 scientists from 400 institutions in 40 countries have contributed peer-reviewed papers providing evidence that the Medieval Warm Period was real, global, & warmer than the present.”  Examples:

There are literally dozens more, if you follow the links.  The conclusion is inescapable: on a centuries-scale basis, the earth’s climate system “is cooling.”

And by the way, if you want to keep going back farther and farther, you can keep finding time periods that were warmer than the present.  Examples: the Roman Warm Period, from around 250 BC to 450 AD; and the Holocene Climate Optimum, about 5000 to 3000 BC.

So here’s the real answer to the question of whether the earth’s ciimate system “is warming”:

  • If your start date is June 2018, it “is warming.”
  • If your start date is January 2016, it “is cooling.”
  • If your start date is January 1998, it “is cooling.”
  • If your start date is 1880, it “is warming.”
  • If your start date is the year 1000, it “is cooling.”
  • If your start date is the Dark Ages, it “is warming.”
  • If your start date is Roman times, it “is cooling.”

In short, the question is completely meaningless.

It’s hard to believe that the supposed geniuses at Google could be taken in by a scam so obvious and so transparent. But that’s the world we live in.

August 12, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Science and Pseudo-Science | , , | Leave a comment

The Real “Fake News” From Government Media

By Scott Lazarowitz | ActivistPost | July 31, 2018

Facebook has announced its campaign against “fake news.” But, according to some workers’ own admission, conservatives are being censored.

And Google also wants to censor “fake news.” But Google also was shown to treat conservative websites, but not liberal ones, as “fake news.”

The same thing seems to be going on with Twitter. And again, conservatives are complaining.

But who is to decide what is “fake news”? Who will be Facebook and Google’s sources for real news?

In 2013 the U.S. Senate considered a new a shield law to protect journalists. In the lawmakers’ attempts to narrow the definition of a journalist, some Senators including Sen. Dianne Feinstein only wanted to include reporters with “professional qualifications.”

“Professional” publications such as the New York Times, the “Paper of Record,” would apparently be protected.

So one can conclude that the New York Times can be a source of “real” news for Facebook or Google, despite all the Times‘ errorsscrew-ups, and corrections, right?

According to one NYT former reporter, the Times has been a “propaganda megaphone” for war. Also a partner with the CIA to promote Obama’s reelection bid.

Or CNN, “The Most Trusted Name in News” which wins its own “fake news” awards with its errorsscrew-ups and corrections.

During the 2016 U.S. Presidential campaign, there were collusions between then-CNN contributor and DNC operative Donna Brazile, who was outed by WikiLeaks in her giving candidate Hillary Clinton questions in advance for a CNN Town Hall.

Other emails that were leaked to WikiLeaks informed us that reporters obediently followed instructions from the Hillary Clinton campaign on how to cover the campaign. These include reporters from the New York Times such as Maggie Haberman who said the campaign would “tee up stories for us,” and Mark Leibovich, who would email Clinton flunky Jennifer Palmieri for editing recommendations.

And Politico reporter Glenn Thrush asked Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta for approval of stories on Clinton. Thrush was then hired by the New York Times. After Thrush was then suspended from NYT over allegations of sexual misconduct, the Times ended the suspension, stating that while Thrush had “acted offensively,” he would be trained to behave himself. Hmm.

But all this from the 2016 campaign reminded me of the “JournoLists,” the group of news journalists who participated in a private forum online from 2007-2010. The forum was to enable news reporters to discuss news reporting and political issues in private and with candor, but also, it was revealed, to discuss ways to suppress negative news on then-2008 presidential candidate Barack Obama.

For instance, according to the Daily Caller, some members of the group discussed their criticism of a 2008 debate in which Obama was questioned on his association with the controversial Rev. Jeremiah Wright. The Nation‘s Richard Kim wrote that George Stephanopoulos was “being a disgusting little rat snake.” The Guardian‘s Michael Tomasky wrote that “we all have to do what we can to kill ABC and this idiocy.”

Spencer Ackerman, then with the Washington Independent and now of the Daily Beastwrote, “If the right forces us all to either defend Wright or tear him down, no matter what we choose, we lose the game they’ve put upon us. Instead, take one of them — Fred Barnes, Karl Rove, who cares — and call them racists.”

The Nation‘s Chris Hayes wrote, “Our country disappears people. It tortures people. It has the blood of as many as one million Iraqi civilians — men, women, children, the infirmed — on its hands. You’ll forgive me if I just can’t quite dredge up the requisite amount of outrage over Barack Obama’s pastor.”

(But has Hayes criticized Obama’s assassination program, or Obama’s bombings or the blood on Obama’s hands? Just askin’)

In an open letter, according to the Daily Caller, several of the JournoList members called the ABC debate a “revolting descent into tabloid journalism,” because of the moderators’ legitimate questions on Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

So, in today’s Bizarro World, objectively questioning a candidate on a controversial issue is now “tabloid journalism,” but making things up like “Trump-Russia collusions” and repeating the propaganda over and over – that’s not “tabloid journalism.”

The JournoLists also included reporters from Time, the Baltimore Sun, the New Republic, Politico, and Huffington Post.

Now, are those the sources of “real news” that Facebook, Google and Twitter want to rely upon to combat “fake news”?

And who exactly were the “JournoLists” promoting? Obama?

Regarding Obama’s own crackdown on actual journalism, Fox News reporter James Rosen was accused by the feds of being a “co-conspirator” with State Department leaker Stephen Jin-Woo Kim in violating the Espionage Act. Rosen’s correspondences with Kim were seized by Obama’s FBI, along with Rosen’s personal email and phone records. The FBI also used records to track Rosen’s visits to the State Department.

Apparently, then-attorney general Eric Holder went “judge-shopping” to find a judge who would approve subpoenaing Rosen’s private records, after two judges rejected the request.

Commenting on James Rosen and the FBI’s abuse of powers, Judge Andrew Napolitano observed that “this is the first time that the federal government has moved to this level of taking ordinary, reasonable, traditional, lawful reporter skills and claiming they constitute criminal behavior.”

And there was the Obama administration’s going after then-CBS News investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson, possibly for her reporting on Benghazi and Fast and Furious. Attkisson finally resigned from CBS news out of frustration with the company’s alleged pro-Obama bias and with CBS’s apparently not airing her subsequent reports.

In 2013 CBS News confirmed that Attkisson’s computers had been “accessed by an unauthorized, external, unknown party on multiple occasions.” In 2015 Attkisson sued the Obama administration, claiming to have evidence which proves the computer intrusions were connected to the Obama DOJ.

In Attkisson’s latest lawsuit update, after her computer was returned to her following the DOJ Inspector General’s investigation, her forensics team now believes her computer’s hard drive was replaced by a different one.

Now back to “fake news.”

After Donald Trump locked up the Republican Presidential nomination in May, 2016, there were significant events in the next two months. Fusion GPS and former British spy Christopher Steele colluded to get opposition research on behalf of Hillary Clinton, the FBI applied for a FISA warrant to spy on Trump campaign associates, and Donald Trump, Jr., Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner had a possibly set-up meeting with a Russian lawyer at Trump Tower.

Also within that same period, the DNC claimed that its computers were hacked but the DNC wouldn’t let FBI investigate. The Washington Post published an article claiming, with no evidence presented, that “Russian government hackers” took DNC opposition research on Trump.

It was very shortly after the November, 2016 Presidential election that the Washington Post published an article on a “Russian propaganda effort to spread ‘fake news’ during the election.” To escalate the media’s censorship campaign perhaps?

The campaign against “fake news” coincided with Obama minions at FBI, DOJ and CIA apparently panicking over a possible Trump presidency and their allegedly abusing their powers to attempt to take down Trump.

So the news media seem to be on a crusade to fabricate “Trump-Russia collusions” and repeat it over and over, and to vilify, ignore and squash actual investigative research and reporting on what exactly the FBI and DOJ bureaucrats have been doing. Call such real investigative reporting “fake news,” “conspiracy theory,” and so forth.

In the end, Facebook, Twitter and Google might want to reconsider relying on the mainstream news media led by the New York Times, the Washington Post and CNN, and instead include citizen journalists and non-government-sycophant media to provide news and information.

UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh has noted that the Founders generally viewed the freedom of the Press to apply to every citizen to print, publish or express accounts of events. We really need to highlight that kind of old-fashioned, honest journalism.

August 3, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hardcore Hitler on Hitler in Helsinki

CJ Hopkins | Consent Factory | July 10, 2018

Here it comes, the moment we’ve been waiting for, when Trump and Putin meet in Helsinki to officially launch the Destruction of Democracy, and very possibly the Apocalypse itself. That’s right, folks, once again, it appears we’re looking at the end of everything, because according to the corporate media, on July 16, 2018, Trump is probably going to disband NATO so that Putin can invade the Baltic states, then Germany, then the rest of Europe, and then presumably order an all-out thermonuclear strike on the United States, which will pretty much end civilization as we know it. Or perhaps the plan is to do away with NATO, withdraw all American troops from Poland, let Putin rape and pillage Western Europe, and then have North Korea nuke both coasts of the US mainland (and Canada, of course) so that a Putin-Nazified Middle Amerika will have carte blanche to exterminate the Mexicans and make women wear those “Handmaid” costumes, or some other ridiculously paranoid scenario, possibly involving Susan Sarandon as some kind of Putin-Nazi triple agent.

Tragically, the global neoliberal establishment is completely powerless to stop Trump and Putin from carrying out this evil scheme (whatever it turns out to be in the end), because even the US Intelligence Community has to obey the law, after all, and not do anything sneaky, or unethical, not even with the fate of democracy at stake. No, unlike the Russians, who go around blatantly poisoning people with novichok oatmeal more or less whenever they like, the global capitalist ruling classes’ hands are tied by their own integrity. All they can do is watch in horror as these two Hitlerian megalomaniacs destroy their entire global empire and establish a thousand-year Putin-Nazi Reich.

Thank God at least the corporate media are raising their collective voices in protest. In a recent piece in The Washington Post, Max Bergmann of the Center for American Progress warns that “this is a summit about appeasement, and we should be terrified that Trump is going to sell out America and its allies.” According to Bergmann, Trump might “accidentally” share state secrets with Putin, or promise to reduce support for our freedom-loving Ukrainian Nazis, or stop trying to overthrow the Syrian government so that Syria, with the help of Russia and Iran, can launch a sneak attack on Israel and drive “the Jews” into the sea. Worse still, Bergmann speculates, he might make “secret agreements” with Putin without telling the editors of The Washington Post, which … God help us all if that ever happened.

Not to be out-apocalypsed by The Post, Roger Cohen of The New York Times published a full-blown dystopian vision wherein Trump, Putin, Marine Le Pen, the AfD, and a variety of other globalist-hating Hitler-alikes form “the Alliance of Authoritarian and Reactionary States” (the “AARS”), disband the European Union and NATO, impose international martial law, and start ethnically cleansing the West of immigrants. Matteo Salvini and Horst Seehofer, decked out in full Putin-Nazi regalia, personally supervise the genocidal purges, which frightened Europeans come to support after Putin’s irresistible “fake news” bots brainwash them into believing that a little Russian girl named “Tatiana” has been abducted by Moroccan migrants off a beach along the Costa del Sol.

And as if that wasn’t horrifying enough to whip folks up into a mindless frenzy, The New York Times (which, let’s remember, is an extremely distinguished and respected newspaper, and not at all a cheap propaganda rag) produced this charming little animated film depicting Putin and Trump as … well, a couple of tongue-sucking, titty-pinching homos. I found this kind of weird at first, as I had thought such ugly anti-gay sentiment had disappeared from liberal society, but apparently it’s fine in Resistance circles to stigmatize your enemies as butt-humping queers in order to render them more repulsive in the eyes of your sophisticated, liberal audience. I did a little research, and it appears this “Hitler on Hitler” porno The Times produced is just the latest in a rather long line of Trump on Putin “homo” jokes, which are perfectly harmless when told by liberals, but when told by conservatives are homophobic hate crimes.

Look, I’m not a fan of poofter humor, or the corporate media, or the so-called “Resistance,” but neither am I a fan of Trump, nor am I, technically, an employee of Putin. What I am is a student of propaganda, media manipulation, and mass hysteria, and though I experienced the roll-out of the War on Terror, and assorted other propaganda campaigns (like Obama’s “Hope and Change” routine, Reagan’s “Morning in America” schtick, George H.W. Bush’s “New World Order,” and Bill Clinton’s “Third Way” happy horseshit), I have never witnessed anything like this. Most of those other propaganda campaigns at least bore some vague resemblance to reality. What we’re experiencing now is more akin to the kind of behavior that goes on in cults … where people are conditioned to surrender their reason (and, ultimately, to conform their perception) to whatever paranoid official narrative the leader of the cult has invented, and eventually to direct their fear and hatred, not only at the cult’s official enemy, but at anyone who questions the cult’s “reality.”

If you believe cults work because people are gullible, or stupid, you need to do some research. Cults work because their members are gradually conditioned to detach from “society” (i.e., the social body that conditioned them as children) and conform to the social body of the cult. This conditioning happens systematically, often over the course of years. Scientology cult members are not introduced to the “body thetans” story the day they walk in. Nor were the Manson girls ready to butcher a house full of people for Charlie at first … it took months of orgies, acid trips, and other de- and re-programming techniques to get them to buy into his paranoid prophecy of Imminent Racist Hippie Apocalypse.

Which is what I find so disturbing, presently. The ease with which the neoliberal ruling classes have programmed millions of Western consumers to believe a narrative no less ridiculous than Scientology’s “body thetans,” Manson’s “Helter Skelter” … or take your pick of any number of other cult narratives. The speed at which they switched from the War on Terror narrative to the Putin-Nazi narrative attests to the power of the corporate media and the neoliberal propaganda machine, generally. It really is an amazing achievement. In less than two years, they managed to condition a significant portion of the Western masses to forget about “the Islamic terrorists” that they had been conditioned to live in fear of, and to transfer their fear and hatred to Trump, and Putin, and anyone who appears to support them, or doesn’t sufficiently hate and fear them.

The ruling classes have achieved this feat by generating an ongoing series of episodes of mass hysteria. Most of them last a week or two, but their cumulative effect is powerful and enduring. Fake news, bots, travel bans, Confederate statues, neo-Nazi rallies, “novichok” attacks, kids in cages … anything the corporate media can use to channel more hatred toward Trump and Putin. None of these episodes are generated out of whole cloth. Obviously, the Russians are pursuing their interests, there is a white supremacist subculture in the United States, as there always has been, those kids were put in those cages, and so on … none of which began with Trump, or has anything exclusively to do with Putin, or triggered mass protests and widespread outrage until the neoliberal ruling classes and corporate media decided it should.

The upcoming summit is next on the list. It won’t be as juicy as the baby concentration camps, but it will do as far as reminding people that Trump is a secret Russian operative, or traitor (or quisling, as Paul Krugman would have it), conspiring with Putin to destroy democracy … that is, when they’re not fellating each other. Once the summit has come and gone, and democracy has miraculously survived, they will generate another round of Hitler hysteria, and Resistance cultists will spring into action like salivating Pavlov’s dogs, denouncing whatever unspeakable horror they had completely ignored for the previous eight years, jabbering about concentration camps, and ripping MAGA hats off teenagers. Purely for the sake of entertainment, I’m hoping it will be the secret Nazi code the Department of Homeland Security is embedding in its press materials, presumably to alert the Underground Network of Putin-Nazi Militias to stand by for imminent government takeover, the “securing of the future for white people and their children,” and the weeks of homosexual Odinist orgies that are sure to follow.

Seriously, though, the absolute genius of the ruling classes’ Putin-Nazi narrative (which rational people are underestimating) is that it is virtually impossible to criticize it without being labeled a Trump supporter, a Putin apologist, or a crypto-Nazi. Like Scientology’s Suppressive Persons (i.e., those who criticize Scientology), Putin-Nazi narrative deniers “seek to upset, continuously undermine, spread bad news about and denigrate” the cult. These are typically ex-cult members who no longer subscribe to official cult teachings, and are thus an existential ideological threat. Such persons are to be stigmatized and shunned, “so that others will know not to associate with them.” (Those quotes are from the Scientology website, but the same rules apply in every cult.)

Glenn Greenwald is probably the best example of a prominent Putin-Nazi narrative denier (and he is harassed for it on an daily basis), but an hour or two of research on Twitter will reveal the same dynamic at work against much less famous “pillow biting traitors.” Nor is it just fanatical cultists on Twitter. If you happened to google your humble narrator at any point during the last nine months, and were concerned that the people “People Also Search For” in my “Knowledge Panel” are mostly anti-Semites and “alt-right” types … well, I wrote about that in November of last year. (I have since repeatedly written to Google and advised them to occasionally alternate the anti-Semites they are associating me with, as using the exactly the same ones for months is lazy, and makes it rather difficult to blame their “search results” on some innocent algorithm.)

But what do I know? Maybe I’m just paranoid, and Google isn’t out to get me. Or maybe they know me better than myself, and I really am a crypto-Nazi, or some other kind of Suppressive Person, and democracy really is on the brink of disaster. After all, Glenn Greenwald just flew over to Moscow, and was selfied in the company of Edward Snowden, and Putin is poisoning random people in Amesbury for no apparent reason, and Susan Sarandon hacked the election, or dropped a Sarin bomb on Douma, or else Putin did, or maybe it was Xenu, or the Russians are about to take down the entire American fiberoptic network, and I almost forgot those four hundred white supremacist idiots who are planning to gather and bellow Nazi slogans at each other in Lafayette Square on August 12, and who are already receiving international coverage, because we can’t afford to ignore a few hundred racist morons in polo shirts … if we did, well, who knows what that might lead to? People might actually have a moment to pause and think about what’s going on, and why it’s going on, and who it serves, and try to put it all into some kind of perspective, before they react to the next Pavlovian stimulus the media waves in their faces. Ready? Good. Because here it comes …

C. J. Hopkins is an award-winning American playwright, novelist and satirist based in Berlin. His plays are published by Bloomsbury Publishing (UK) and Broadway Play Publishing (USA). His debut novel, ZONE 23, is published by Snoggsworthy, Swaine & Cormorant.

July 10, 2018 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment

Google, Big Tech and the US War Machine in the Global South

By Michael Kwet | CounterPunch | April 27, 2018

The recent Facebook and Cambridge Analytica fiasco deepened public concern about the political power and allegiances of Big Tech corporations. Soon after the story went viral, 3,100 Google employees submitted a petition to Google CEO Sundar Pichai protesting Google’s involvement in a Pentagon program called “Project Maven”.

Last week, the Tech Worker’s Coalition launched a petition protesting tech industry participation in development for war, urging Google to break its contract with the Department of Defense (DoD). Will Pichai respond?

Google has a lot to answer for. In March 2016, then US Secretary of Defense, Ash Carter, tapped then Alphabet CEO Eric Schmidt to chair the DoD’s new Innovation Advisory Board. The Board would give the Pentagon access to “the brightest technical minds focused on innovation” –  culled from Silicon Valley.

More recently, details about Project Maven emerged. The project uses machine learning and deep learning to develop an AI-based computer vision solution for military drone targeting. This innovative system turns reams of visual data – obtained from surveillance drones – into “actionable intelligence at insight speed.”

Because there are many more hours of surveillance footage than a team of humans can view, most of the footage cannot be evaluated by Pentagon workers. Using AI, Project Maven steps in to make sure no footage goes unwatched. The AI performs analytics of drone footage to categorize, sift and identify the items the DoD is looking for – cars, people, objects and so on – and flag the sought-after items for a human to review.  The project has been successful, and the Pentagon is now looking to make a “Project Maven factory”.

Reports of Google’s participation in Project Maven comes amidst news they are bidding alongside Amazon, IBM and Microsoft for a $10 billion “one big cloud” servicing contract with the Pentagon. Eric Schmidt, who is no longer CEO of Google or Alphabet, but who remains a technical advisor and board member at Google’s parent company Alphabet, claims to recuse himself of all information about Google AI projects for the Pentagon, because he also chairs the DoD’s Innovation Advisory Board.

Schmidt’s central role in this story underscores controversy about Google’s close relationship to the US military. In 2013, Julian Assange penned an essay highlighting Google’s sympathy for the US military empire in his essay, The Banality of ‘Don’t Be Evil’– a criticism of Schmidt and Jared Cohen’s co-authored book, The New Digital Age.

In 2015, Schmidt hosted Henry Kissinger for a fireside chat at Google. He introduced Kissinger as a “foremost expert on the future of the physical world, how the world really works” and stated Kissinger’s “contributions to America and the world are without question.”

For many, Henry Kissinger’s “contributions” are drenched in the blood of the Global South. Declassified documents show that during the Vietnam/Indochina War, Kissinger, then a national security advisor, transmitted Nixon’s orders to General Alexander Haig: use “anything that flies on anything that moves” in Cambodia. According to a study by Taylor Owen and Ben Kiernan (Director of Genocide Studies at Yale University), the United States dropped more tons of bombs on Cambodia than all of the Allies during World War II combined. Cambodia, they conclude, may be the most bombed country in history. By all reason, Kissinger should be tried for genocide.

Carpet bombing Cambodia is just one of many crimes carried out by Dr. Kissinger. During his time in government, he bolstered “moderate” white settler-colonial forces in Southern Africa to subvert the black liberation struggle for independence and self-determination. The US deemed Nelson Mandela, the African National Congress and other, less-recognized black liberation groups as “terrorist” and “communist” threats to US interests. The apartheid regime subjugated the black majority not only inside South Africa, but in brutal wars across the border in countries like Angola and Mozambique.  More than 500,000 Africans died in Angola alone.

US corporations profited from business in the region, and provided white supremacists the arms, vehicles, energy resources, financial support and computer technology used to systematically oppress black people. IBM was a primary culprit, supplying the apartheid state with the bulk of computers used to denationalize the black African population and administer the state, banks, police, intelligence and military forces.

On April 6, 2018, Kissinger welcomed one of today’s new tech leaders, Eric Schmidt, to keynote the annual Kissinger Conference at Yale University. This year’s theme was Understanding Cyberwarfare and Artificial Intelligence. After praising the ROTC and Ash Carter (both in attendance), Schmidt told the audience it is a “tremendous honor to be on the same stage as Dr. Kissinger, and we all admire him for all the reasons we all know.” In his speech, he spoke of how the US must develop AI to defend against today’s familiar adversaries: the “nasty” North Koreans, the Russians, the Chinese. A couple of Yale students were kicked out for protesting.

In decades past, human rights advocates famously challenged the development of technology for racial capitalism. Activists, including students and workers, pressured IBM, General Motors and other corporations to stop aiding and abetting apartheid and war.

Today, a new wave of technology is being tapped by military and police forces. IBM has partnered with the City of Johannesburg for early efforts at “smart” policing, while Africa and the Middle East are targets of the US drone empire. Activists advocating democracy and equality inside Africa and the Middle East are staunchly opposed to these developments.

The bi-partisan effort to police Trump-designated “shithole” countries with advanced weaponry has Big Tech on its side. Google’s involvement with Project Maven constitutes active collaboration in this endeavor.

An activist campaign about Silicon Valley’s collaboration with the US military could be unfolding. However, it’s going to take grassroots pressure across the world to make technology work for humanity.

Michael Kwet is a Visiting Fellow of the Information Society Project at Yale Law School.

April 30, 2018 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blocked By Facebook and the Vulnerability of New Media

By Craig Murray | April 26, 2018

This site’s visitor numbers are currently around one third normal levels, stuck at around 20,000 unique visitors per day. The cause is not hard to find. Normally over half of our visitors arrive via Facebook. These last few days, virtually nothing has come from Facebook:

What is especially pernicious is that Facebook deliberately imposes this censorship in a secretive way. The primary mechanism when a block is imposed by Facebook is that my posts to Facebook are simply not sent into the timelines of the large majority of people who are friends or who follow. I am left to believe the post has been shared with them, but in fact it has only been shown to a tiny number. Then, if you are one of the few recipients and do see the post and share it, it will show to you on your timeline as shared, but in fact the vast majority of your own friends will also not receive it. Facebook is not doing what it is telling you it is doing – it shows you it is shared – and Facebook is deliberately concealing that fact from you.

Twitter have a similar system known as “shadow banning”. Again it is secretive and the victim is not informed. I do not appear to be shadow banned at the moment, but there has been an extremely sharp drop – by a factor of ten – in the impressions my tweets are generating.

I am among those who argue that the strength of the state and corporate media is being increasingly and happily undermined by our ability to communicate via social media. But social media has developed in such a way that the channels of communication are dominated by corporations – Facebook, Twitter and Google – which can in effect turn off the traffic to a citizen journalism site in a second. The site is not taken down, and the determined person can still navigate directly to it, but the vast bulk of the traffic is cut off. What is more this is done secretly, without your being informed, and in a manner deliberately hard to detect. The ability to simply block the avenues by which people get to see dissenting opinions, is terrifying.

Furthermore neither Facebook nor Twitter contact you when they block traffic to your site to tell you this is happening, let alone tell you why, and let alone give you a chance to counter whatever argument they make. I do not know if I am blocked by Facebook as an alleged Russian bot, or for any other reason. I do know that it appears to have happened shortly after I published the transcript of the Israeli general discussing the procedures for shooting children.

April 26, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , | 5 Comments

Pentagon Capitalism and Silicon Valley: Google’s Drone War Project Shows Big Data’s Military Roots

By Elliott GABRIEL | Mint Press News | April 6, 2018

Google — the advertising and search engine monolith that once touted its official commitment, “Don’t be evil” — has thrown its full weight behind the U.S. military-industrial complex’s fast-advancing unmanned drone program – and more than three thousand of its employees will have none of it.

In a letter to Google CEO Sundar Pichai, over 3,100 employees invoked the now-discarded slogan in an appeal demanding that the company not allow its artificial intelligence technology to be used to improve the targeting capabilities of the United States’ deadly drone fleet. Google’s Project Maven is an AI surveillance engine that uses footage captured by the U.S. Armed Forces’ unmanned aerial vehicles to detect and track objects such as vehicles, while combing through, organizing, and feeding the processed data to the Pentagon.

Watch | Project Maven: The Pentagon’s New Artificial Intelligence

The letter, which is fast making the rounds on Google campuses and internal communication servers, demands the cancellation of the project and the public adoption of a policy pledging that neither Google nor its contractors produce technology for warfare. The letter states:

“This plan will irreparably damage Google’s brand and its ability to compete for talent. Amid growing fears of biased and weaponized AI, Google is already struggling to keep the public’s trust. By entering into this contract, Google will join the ranks of companies like Palantir, Raytheon, and General Dynamics. The argument that other firms, like Microsoft and Amazon, are also participating doesn’t make this any less risky for Google. Google’s unique history, its motto Don’t Be Evil, and its direct reach into the lives of billions of users set it apart.”

However, journalist and author Yasha Levine has explained in his new book Surveillance Valley: The Secret Military History of the Internet that Google has long been a leading Silicon Valley vendor to the U.S. repressive state:

“Over the years, [Google] supplied mapping technology used by the U.S. Army in Iraq, hosted data for the Central Intelligence Agency, indexed the National Security Agency’s vast intelligence databases, built military robots, co-launched a spy satellite with the Pentagon, and leased its cloud computing platform to help police departments predict crime. And Google is not alone. From Amazon to eBay to Facebook … Some parts of these companies are so thoroughly intertwined with America’s security services that it is hard to tell where they end and the U.S. government begins.

The grim calculus of remote-controlled warfare

An Air Force RPA reconnaissance drone is retrofitted for use in attack squadron. (Photo: U.S. Air Force)

Thousands of alleged “combatants” have been killed in U.S. drone strikes since the start of the post-9/11 “War on Terror.” Former President Barack Obama ramped up the targeted killing program using drones in 2009, pledging that the use of unmanned aerial platforms was part of a “just war—a war waged proportionally, in last resort, and in self-defense.”

Reports have shown that the use of drones in such locales as Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Syria, Yemen and other theaters of operations have claimed a vast number of civilian lives — over 15,000 in 2017, according to surveys. According to New York Times Magazine, which surveyed 150 Coalition drone strikes carried out in Iraq over an 18-month period, one out of every five strikes kills civilians.

Watch | Suffering in Silence: a documentary about the war on terror in Pakistan

The American Civil Liberties Union has denounced the use of such tactics as contrary to international law:

“A program of targeted killing far from any battlefield, without charge or trial … violates international law, under which lethal force may be used outside armed conflict zones only as a last resort to prevent imminent threats, when non-lethal means are not available.

There is very little information available to the public about the U.S. targeting of people far from any battlefield, so we don’t know when, where and against whom targeted killing can be authorized … The secrecy and lack of standards for sentencing people to death, resulting in a startling lack of oversight and safeguards, is one of our prime concerns with this program.”

In 2007 at the height of George W. Bush’s “troop surge” in Iraq, Google enlisted in the “Global War on Terror” in a discrete partnership with Lockheed Martin. While enhanced versions of Google Earth were already at the disposal of government agencies, the tech firm helped to design a Google Earth product for the Pentagon’s National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency that displayed a visual representation of U.S. and Iraqi military bases in Iraq as well as the location of Sunni and Shiite neighborhoods in Baghdad, allowing occupation forces to oversee and manage the bloody fratricidal warfare between the groups as well as the possible location of insurgent organizations within their ranks.

It was during this same year that the development and use of Air Force drones in the Iraqi quagmire dramatically increased, nearly doubling between January and October of 2007.

Google defends its public image (and low-profile military ties)

Claiming that it values the input of its employees as an “important part” of its company culture, Google has promised to address the AI-drone issue without making specific comments on the employees’ demands. In a statement Tuesday, the company said:

“Any military use of machine learning naturally raises valid concerns. We’re actively engaged across the company in a comprehensive discussion of this important topic and also with outside experts, as we continue to develop our policies around the development and use of our machine learning technologies.”

Google has also defended its participation in the Pentagon program with the claim that its usage is specifically for non-offensive purposes and uses open-source object-recognition software based on non-classified data that’s freely available to any users of the Google Cloud, and could in fact save lives while saving labor through the use of AI.

Google’s own top corporate chiefs are quite close to the Pentagon: Google vice president Milo Medin serves on the Department of Defense’s tech advisory body, the Defense Innovation Board, which is also chaired by former Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt, who remains an executive board member at Google’s parent company, Alphabet Inc.

Google itself has long been interested in developing its own line of drone products, including private delivery drones.

The company is also a leader in AI and machine-learning technology. Its subsidiary DeepMind Technologies, Inc. has recently developed a program based on Google Street View that allows AI-based platforms to take part in long-range navigation and cross complicated urban environments. The navigator AI system is capable of steering everything from autonomous, self-driving cars to robotic vacuums and even unmanned drones.

Watch | Eric Schmidt at the Artificial Intelligence and Global Security Summit

Last November in a keynote address on artificial intelligence in warfare before Washington-based think-tank the Center for a New American Security, Schmidt pinned anxiety about his company’s acquisition of DeepMind on “a general concern in the tech community of somehow the military-industrial complex using their stuff to kill people incorrectly, if you will.”

“It comes from a, it’s essentially related to the history of the Vietnam War and the founding of the tech industry,” Schmidt added.

Indeed, Levine argues:

“In the 1960s, America was a global power overseeing an increasingly volatile world: conflicts and regional insurgencies against U.S.-allied governments from South America to Southeast Asia and the Middle East. These were not traditional wars that involved big armies but guerrilla campaigns and local rebellions, frequently fought in regions where Americans had little previous experience. Who were these people? Why were they rebelling? What could be done to stop them? In military circles, it was believed that these questions were of vital importance to America’s pacification efforts, and some argued that the only effective way to answer them was to develop and leverage computer-aided information technology.”

Surveillance capitalism’s military-industrial roots

In a 2014 essay for Monthly Review magazine titled “Surveillance Capitalism: Monopoly-Finance Capital, the Military-Industrial Complex, and the Digital Age,” authors John Bellamy Foster and Robert W. McChesney coined the phrase surveillance capitalism, tracing its origins to the inception of a post-World War II “new Pentagon capitalism” that came to be known as the military-industrial complex.

Under the model – revolutionized by then-Army Chief of Staff and later President Dwight D. Eisenhower – the U.S. technological, scientific research and industrial capacity were to become “organic parts of our military structure” in conditions of national emergency, effectively giving the civilian economy a dual-use purpose. In a 1946 memorandum, Eisenhower noted:

“The future security of the nation… demands that all those civilian resources which by conversion or redirection constitute our main support in time of emergency be associated closely with the activities of the Army in time of peace.”

The model became a permanent feature of the U.S. economy, giving birth to a sprawling military-civilian economic base Eisenhower famously criticized in his 1961 farewell address to the nation. Civilian industry, science, and academia were used alongside an exorbitant and perpetually-expanding war budget to underwrite the Defense Department’s never-ending state of conflict with Cold War enemies and unruly populations, making the world safe for the unchallenged reign of U.S. monopoly capitalism (imperialism) and “pump-priming” the economy whenever an additional surge of “military Keynesian” government spending was required.

Watch | Richard Wolff On Trump’s Defence Spending

According to the popular history of the internet’s origin, it was conceived in 1969 by scientists at the Defense Department’s Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA), who sought to create a means of “internetworking” Pentagon-sponsored computer mainframes belonging to government agencies, universities and defense contractors across the United States and NATO bloc. Known as Arpanet, the decentralized system allowed for military nodes – down to a battlefield level – to network and share data quickly and wirelessly. In the event of a nuclear strike or major war where swathes of the network were destroyed, the Arpanet would remain operational.

Levine posits that a primary purpose of conceiving the “information superhighway” was the need for a computerized counterinsurgency tool that could predict and check the “perceived global spread of communism” and provide real-time surveillance of potential threat groups:

“The Internet came out of this effort: an attempt to build computer systems that could collect and share intelligence, watch the world in real time, and study and analyze people and political movements with the ultimate goal of predicting and preventing social upheaval. Some even dreamed of creating a sort of early warning radar for human societies: a networked computer system that watched for social and political threats and intercepted them in much the same way that traditional radar did for hostile aircraft. In other words, the Internet was hardwired to be a surveillance tool from the start. No matter what we use the network for today — dating, directions, encrypted chat, email, or just reading the news — it always had a dual-use nature rooted in intelligence gathering and war.”

The Arpanet system formed the backbone of U.S. military communications from 1969 until 1989, when the World Wide Web was introduced to civilian consumers. The unveiling of the World Wide Web opened the floodgates to the use of the internet by users across the globe, as well as its subsequent commercialization and the resulting dot com boom of the mid-to-late 1990s, when Google was founded.

Watch | Yasha Levine on why we lost our fear of computers as tools of social control

The rapid advance of digital technology has ensured that the U.S. economy — and social life itself — is now dominated by big-data giants like Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon (GAFA), as well as Microsoft, Intel, Cisco Systems, IBM and Hewlett-Packard. This new technology-dominated market environment, where private user info is parsed, monetized, packaged and sold, has been encapsulated by the well-worn cliché: “data is the new gold.”

Vast strides in biometrics, analytics research, AI, and deep-learning technology – perfected not only by Google but by academic researchers and technology firms across the globe – have vastly boosted the state’s ability to surveil and control populations and police dissent across the globe. Many of the technologies developed by global arms, surveillance, and data-analysis firms are supplied to countries requiring tailor-made solutions to unrest such as India, China, Myanmar, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, and Azerbaijan.

The extent of Silicon Valley’s integration with the U.S. government was laid bare to the public in 2013, when Edward Snowden provided evidence proving that the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had direct access to the internal servers of nine major tech firms – AOL, Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, PalTalk, Skype, YouTube, and Yahoo – each of which provided direct access through major internet service providers to the NSA through its secret projects like Boundless Informant and Prism.

Foster and McChesney explained:

“These monopolistic corporate entities readily cooperate with the repressive arm of the state in the form of its military, intelligence, and police functions. The result is to enhance enormously the secret national security state, relative to the government as a whole.

Edward Snowden’s revelations of the NSA’s Prism program, together with other leaks, have shown a pattern of a tight interweaving of the military with giant computer-Internet corporations, creating what has been called a ‘military-digital complex.’ Indeed, Beatrice Edwards, the executive director of the Government Accountability Project, argues that what has emerged is a ‘government-corporate surveillance complex.”

Information superiority and the modern battlefield

At present, the digitalization of the military-industrial complex gives the United States a commanding edge in terms of military technology and high-tech warfare, which is augmented by optical spy satellites capable of capturing remarkably detailed ground-level imagery, successive generations of wireless networking technologies, pattern-recognition and machine-learning systems, and unmanned warfighting platforms.

As a matter of survival, however, all modern militaries – both regular and irregular, large and small – are being forced to adapt to the digitization of warfare. China, Russia, and even non-state actors like Lebanese resistance group Hezbollah are fast making technological advances to keep pace in the informationized battlefield.

The weaponized nature of digital technology is a pandora’s box that may prove impossible to close. Be that as it may, Google’s employees are livid about their participation in these developments:

“We cannot outsource the moral responsibility of our technologies to third parties … Building this technology to assist the U.S. Government in military surveillance – and potentially lethal outcomes – is not acceptable.”

While the tech conglomerate workers’ attempt to decouple Google from the Pentagon may be in vain, one can only applaud their efforts to protest the tech conglomerate’s complicity in the bloodshed wrought by U.S. imperialism through its array of increasingly high-tech implements of death.

April 9, 2018 Posted by | Book Review, Militarism, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular, Video, War Crimes | , | Leave a comment

Google Should Not Help the U.S. Military Build Unaccountable AI Systems

By Peter Eckersley and Cindy Cohn | EFF | April 5, 2018

Thousands of Google staff have been speaking out against the company’s work for “Project Maven,” according to a New York Times report this week. The program is a U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) initiative to deploy machine learning for military purposes. There was a small amount of public reporting last month that Google had become a contractor for that project, but those stories had not captured how extensive Google’s involvement was, nor how controversial it has become within the company.

Outcry from Google’s own staff is reportedly ongoing, and the letter signed by employees asks Google to commit publicly to not assisting with warfare technology. We are sure this is a difficult decision for Google’s leadership; we hope they weigh it carefully.

This post outlines some of the questions that people inside and outside of the company should be mulling about whether it’s a good idea for companies with deep machine learning expertise to be assisting with military deployments of artificial intelligence (AI).

What we don’t know about Google’s work on Project Maven

According to Google’s statement last month, the company provided “open source TensorFlow APIs” to the DoD. But it appears that this controversy was not just about the company giving the DoD a regular Google cloud account on which to train TensorFlow models. A letter signed by Google employees implies that the company also provided access to its state-of-the-art machine learning expertise, as well as engineering staff to assist or work directly on the DoD’s efforts. The company has said that it is doing object recognition “for non-offensive uses only,” though reading some of the published documents and discussions about the project suggest that the situation is murkier. The New York Times says that “the Pentagon’s video analysis is routinely used in counterinsurgency and counterterrorism operations, and Defense Department publications make clear that the project supports those operations.”

If our reading of the public record is correct, systems that Google is supporting or building would flag people or objects seen by drones for human review, and in some cases this would lead to subsequent missile strikes on those people or objects. Those are hefty ethical stakes, even with humans in the loop further along the “kill chain”.

We’re glad that Google is now debating the project internally. While there aren’t enough published details for us to comment definitively, we share many of the concerns we’ve heard from colleagues within Google, and we have a few suggestions for any AI company that’s considering becoming a defense contractor.

What should AI companies ask themselves before accepting military contracts?

We’ll start with the obvious: it’s incredibly risky to be using AI systems in military situations where even seemingly small problems can result in fatalities, in the escalation of conflicts, or in wider instability. AI systems can often be difficult to control and may fail in surprising ways. In military situations, failure of AI could be grave, subtle, and hard to address. The boundaries of what is and isn’t dangerous can be difficult to see. More importantly, society has not yet agreed upon necessary rules and standards for transparency, risk, and accountability for non-military uses of AI, much less for military uses.

Companies, and the individuals who work inside them, should be extremely cautious about working with any military agency where the application involves potential harm to humans or could contribute to arms races or geopolitical instability. Those risks are substantial and difficult to predict, let alone mitigate.

If a company nevertheless is determined to use its AI expertise to aid some nation’s military, it must start by recognizing that there are no settled public standards for safety and ethics in this sector yet. It cannot just assume that the contracting military agency has fully assessed the risks or that it doesn’t have a responsibility to do so independently.

At a minimum, any company, or any worker, considering whether to work with the military on a project with potentially dangerous or risky AI applications should be asking:

  1. Is it possible to create strong and binding international institutions or agreements that define acceptable military uses and limitations in the use of AI? While this is not an easy task, the current lack of such structures is troubling. There are serious and potentially destabilizing impacts from deploying AI in any military setting not clearly governed by settled rules of war. The use of AI in potential target identification processes is one clear category of uses that must be governed by law.
  2. Is there a robust process for studying and mitigating the safety and geopolitical stability problems that could result from the deployment of military AI? Does this process apply before work commences, along the development pathway and after deployment? Could it incorporate the sufficient expertise to address subtle and complex technical problems? And would those leading the process have sufficient independence and authority to ensure that it can check companies’ and military agencies’ decisions?
  3. Are the contracting agencies willing to commit to not using AI for autonomous offensive weapons? Or to ensuring that any defensive autonomous systems are carefully engineered to avoid risks of accidental harm or conflict escalation? Are present testing and formal verification methods adequate for that task?
  4. Can there be transparent, accountable oversight from an independently constituted ethics board or similar entity with both the power to veto aspects of the program and the power to bring public transparency to issues where necessary or appropriate? For example, while Alphabet’s AI-focused subsidiary DeepMind has committed to independent ethics review, we are not aware of similar commitments from Google itself. Given this letter, we are concerned that the internal transparency, review, and discussion of Project Maven inside Google was inadequate. Any project review process must be transparent, informed, and independent. While it remains difficult to ensure that that is the case, without such independent oversight, a project runs real risk of harm.

These are just starting points. Other specific questions will surely need answering, both for future proposals and even this one, since many details of the Project Maven collaboration are not public. Nevertheless, even with the limited information available, EFF is deeply worried that Google’s collaboration with the Department of Defense does not have these kinds of safeguards. It certainly does not have them in a public, transparent, or accountable way.

The use of AI in weapons systems is a crucially important topic and one that deserves an international public discussion and likely some international agreements to ensure global safety. Companies like Google, as well as their counterparts around the world, must consider the consequences and demand real accountability and standards of behavior from the military agencies that seek their expertise—and from themselves.

April 6, 2018 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , | Leave a comment

Never mind Facebook, Google is the all-seeing ‘big brother’ you should know about

RT | March 30, 2018

The Cambridge Analytica scandal put Facebook through the wringer in recent weeks, losing the company $100 billion in stock value and prompting a global debate on internet privacy.

The social media giant was forced to apologize and overhaul its privacy and data sharing practices, but it still remains in the media spotlight and in the crosshairs of the Federal Trade Commission, which says it may be liable for hundreds of millions of dollars worth of fines.

But amid all the furor, one monolithic entity has continued to harvest data from billions of people worldwide. The data gathered includes a precise log of your every move and every internet search you’ve ever made, every email you’ve ever sent, your workout routine, your favourite food, and every photo you’ve ever taken. And you have allowed it to happen to yourself, for the sake of better service and more relevant advertising.

Google is a ‘Big Brother’ with capabilities beyond George Orwell’s wildest nightmares. These capabilities are all the more chilling after Google’s parent company, Alphabet Inc., cut its famous “don’t be evil” line from its code of conduct in 2015.

Everything you’ve ever searched for on any of your devices is recorded and stored by Google. It’s done to better predict your future searches and speed up and streamline your browsing. You can clear your search history, but it only works for that particular device. Google still keeps a record of everything. Click here to see everything you’ve ever searched on a Google device.

The same goes for every app and extension you use. If it’s connected to Google, your data is stored. That means that your Facebook messages are not only farmed out to companies like Cambridge Analytica, Google also has them from the Facebook app you use.

YouTube, which is a Google subsidiary, also stores a history of every video you watch. It will know if you’ve listened to Linkin Park’s ‘In the End’ 3,569 times, or watched hours of flat-earth conspiracy theory videos.

Likewise, any file you’ve ever stored on Google Drive, any Google Calendar event you’ve attended, any photo you’ve stored on Google Photos, and every email you’ve ever sent are all stored. You can access a copy of all of this data by requesting a link from Google here.

Perhaps what hits home the hardest, though, is that Google keeps track of where you are and how you got there, at all times. If you have a smartphone, there’s a good chance it runs the Android operating system, considering Android phones account for 82 percent of the global market share. That’s over 2 billion monthly active users.

And, unless you’ve disabled this feature, clicking here will show you a list of every journey you’ve ever made with your phone, including an estimate of how you traveled there. If you’re back and forth between work and home at the same time every day, Google knows this is your commute. That heavy traffic warning Google maps gives you on your drive home; Google knows there’s a traffic jam because it knows that every Android phone in every car is moving slower than they usually do at that time of day.

Google doesn’t do this behind your back. On a desktop, Google Chrome allows sites to access your computer’s camera and microphone by default. On a smartphone, agreeing to an app’s terms of service allows the app to do nearly anything, from accessing your phone’s camera and location, to recording your calls and log your messages. The Facebook app, for example, requires 44 such permissions.

It is possible to opt out of most of Google’s tracking – including search history, location timeline and targeted advertising – but it takes a bit of rooting around in settings menus, and you have to know about the option first. And of course, Google says it’s not associating the data with you, as a person – instead, it’s linked to your “advertising ID,” and never shared unless you want it to be. Or unless a government requests that Google hands it over – which US government agencies alone have done almost 17,000 times in just the first half of 2017, with over 80 percent of requests fulfilled, at least to some extent.

March 30, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , | 1 Comment

Tell Me More About How Google Isn’t Part Of The Government And Can Therefore Censor Whoever It Wants?

By Caitlyn Johnstone | March 8, 2018

When you tell an establishment Democrat that Google’s hiding and removal of content is a dangerous form of censorship, they often magically transform into Ayn Rand right before your eyes.

“It’s a private company and they can do what they like with their property,” they will tell you. “It’s insane to say that a private company regulating its own affairs is the same as government censorship!”

This is absurd on its surface, because Google is not separate from the government in any meaningful way. It has been financially intertwined with US intelligence agencies since its very inception when it received research grants from the CIA and NSA for mass surveillance, pours massive amounts of money into federal lobbying and DC think tanks, has a cozy relationship with the NSA and multiple defense contracts.

“Some of Google’s partnerships with the intelligence community are so close and cooperative, and have been going on for so long, that it’s not easy to discern where Google Inc ends and government spook operations begin,” wrote journalist Yasha Levine in a 2014 Pando Daily article titled “Oakland emails give another glimpse into the Google-Military-Surveillance Complex”.

“The purchase of Keyhole was a major milestone for Google, marking the moment the company stopped being a purely consumer-facing Internet company and began integrating with the US government,” Levine wrote in a recent blog post about his book Surveillance Valley. “While Google’s public relations team did its best to keep the company wrapped in a false aura of geeky altruism, company executives pursued an aggressive strategy to become the Lockheed Martin of the Internet Age.”

And now we learn from Gizmodo that Google has also been helping with AI for the Pentagon’s drone program.

A Google spokesperson reportedly told Gizmodo that the innovations it is bringing to the Defense Department’s Project Maven are “for non-offensive uses only,” which is kind of like saying the beer kegs you delivered to the frat house are for “non-intoxicating use only.” The DoD and its drone program exist to find and kill enemies of the US empire, and Google will be helping them do it.

“The department announced last year that the AI initiative, just over six months after being announced, was used by intelligence analysts for drone strikes against ISIS in an undisclosed location in the Middle East,” reports The Intercept on this story.

Google is not any more separable from the US government than Lockheed Martin or Raytheon are, yet it has been given an unprecedented degree of authority over human speech and the way people communicate and share information. Would you feel comfortable allowing Northrop Grumman or Boeing to determine what political speech is permissible and giving them the authority to remove political Youtube content and hide leftist and anti-establishment outlets from visibility like Google does?

How is this a thing? How is it considered acceptable for a force which has intimately interwoven itself with government power to censor and manipulate political speech in ways the official government would never be allowed to?

The notion that Google is a private company, separate from the government and thus unburdened by obligations of free speech, is not a legitimate one. You don’t get to create a power system where money translates directly into political influence and privatization creates symbiotic relationships between corporations and government agencies, create a beefed up Silicon Valley giant with research grants and contracts to prevent any competition from ever having a chance against it, involve that Silicon Valley giant in the agendas of the US war machine after you’ve helped it dominate the globe, and then legitimately claim it’s just a poor widdle private business that shouldn’t be subject to the legal limitations placed on the US government.

If you believe the government shouldn’t be able to regulate speech, then there’s no legitimate reason to believe that Google should be, because Google is part of the government. You shouldn’t want there to be a loophole where government power can get around constitutional restrictions on its ability to silence dissent by funneling all speech into institutions it created and collaborates with and then quash anti-establishment voices under the pretense of protecting the public from “fake news” and “Russian propaganda”.

There needs to be some sort of measure in place which protects the public from such manipulations. Either remove corporate power from government power or acknowledge that they are fully meshed and expand constitutional protections to the users of any media giant which has enmeshed itself in government power. Pretending corporate power and government power are separate when they are not while exploiting that inseparable symbiosis to silence political dissent is not acceptable.

Government should be a tool of the people to help the people, not a tool of the powerful to oppress and exploit the people. Something’s going to have to change, and we’re going to have to stop asking nicely.

March 8, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , | 1 Comment

All-Seeing Eye: Google working with Pentagon on using AI for drone improvement

MQ-9 Reaper Drone. FILE PHOTO: © Gene Blevins / Global Look Press
RT | March 7, 2018

Ubiquitous IT giant Google has silently inked a partnership with the Department of Defense to militarize artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies, reinvigorating fears of a Terminator-style apocalyptic scenario.

Google has been secretly working with the Pentagon in order to help its 1,100-strong fleet of drones to detect images, faces, and behavioral patterns, and plans to scour through massive amounts of video footage in order to improve bombing accuracy for autonomous drones. The endgame is to improve combat performance by automating the decision-making process in locating and targeting combatants, The Intercept reported on Tuesday.

Project Maven was launched in April 2017 to establish an “Algorithmic Warfare Cross-Functional Team,” which advocates using sophisticated algorithm-based technologies to combat rising “competitors and adversaries”.

According to a Pentagon memo, dated April 26, 2017, its objective is to accelerate the process of using big data and machine learning together during combat situations and speed up the process of analyzing collected data. Former Secretary of Defense Robert Work signed off on the initiative.

Project Maven also aims to “augment or automate Processing, Exploitation and Dissemination (PED) for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)” in order to “reduce the human factors burden of [full motion video] analysis, increase actionable intelligence, and enhance military decision-making,” he wrote.

The Pentagon has become increasingly worried that it will become displaced as the world’s top AI developer. At a February 13 hearing, Senators Jack Reed (D-Rhode Island), Mark Warner (D-Virginia) and others lamented Chinese efforts to develop artificial intelligence (AI) and quantum computing, leaving the US behind.

Another DOD report, “Unmanned Systems Integrated Roadmap”, notes that there are three primary impetuses driving the push towards AI, which are “department budgetary challenges, evolving security requirements, and a changing military environment.” The report reflects another US Government Accountability Office (GAO) report which addressed problems with human-piloted drones, including fatigue, human error, and demoralization.

“Downward economic forces will continue to constrain Military Department budgets for the foreseeable future. Achieving affordable and cost-effective technical solutions is imperative in this fiscally constrained environment,” it also pointed out.

“People and computers will work symbiotically to increase the ability of weapon systems to detect objects,” Marine Corps Colonel Drew Cukor said during a 2017 Defense One Tech summit. “Eventually we hope that one analyst will be able to do twice as much work, potentially three times as much, as they’re doing now. That’s our goal.”

Cukor also mentioned the program would help to identify 38 classes of objects essential to detect in warfare, especially when “fighting” Islamic State militants. He also addressed plans to carry out Project Maven by the end of last year.

“We are in an AI arms race […] It’s happening in industry [and] the big five Internet companies are pursuing this heavily. Many of you will have noted that Eric Schmidt […] is calling Google an AI company now, not a data company,” he said.

Google is no stranger to the Department of Defense. Eric Schmidt, former CEO of its parent company Alphabet, chaired the DOD Defense Innovation Board under the Obama administration.

Some Google employees were outraged that the company would share its technology with the military, according to Gizmodo, while others said the project raised ethical questions about machine learning.

A company spokeswoman told Bloomberg that Google was sharing TensorFlow API with the military for “non-offensive uses only.”

“Military use of machine learning naturally raises valid concerns. We’re actively discussing this important topic internally and with others,” the unnamed spokeswoman said.

Read more:

US drone pilots are ‘stressed’ and ‘demoralized’ – official report

March 8, 2018 Posted by | Militarism, War Crimes | , | 3 Comments

Social media bow to pressure and censor dissident voices

By Nebojsa Malic | RT | February 27, 2018

Twitter, YouTube and Facebook, accused of enabling US President Donald Trump’s rise to power through “Russian meddling,” are facing pressure to de-platform heretics. This has raised fears for the safety of free speech in the US.

At the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) this past weekend, media crusader James O’Keefe headlined an hour-long panel on social media censorship, arguing that it targeted mostly conservatives.

“They really make sure you don’t see any differing views,” O’Keefe said at the panel.

Last week, the blogging platform Medium deleted a number of accounts, including those of Mike Cernovich, Jack Posobiec and Laura Loomer, described by The Hill as “prominent far-right figures.” The purge took place after Medium replaced a commitment to free speech in its terms of service in favor of fighting “online hate, abuse, harassment, and disinformation.”

Though Medium would not comment on individual account bans, it is notable that Cernovich’s account was deleted after he was named in a Newsweek article that blamed the “alt-right,” overseas social media bots and “Russians” for the ouster of Senator Al Franken (D-Minnesota) over sexual misconduct. Newsweek retracted the story after criticism that it could not be substantiated.

A number of YouTube creators have complained that the video platform has demonetized basically anything that isn’t deemed “family friendly,” including political dissent. Another crackdown followed the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, after the top-ranking video on the site featured accusations that some of the students were “crisis actors.”

Yet if YouTube simply censored any videos even referring to conspiracy theories, that would surely present a new problem.  After all, wouldn’t it also undermine efforts to debunk them?

Conservative critics accuse the social media giants of being run by Democrats. There is certainly evidence pointing in that direction, from the involvement of Alphabet (Google’s parent company) CEO Eric Schmidt with Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign and the Obama presidency, to Twitter’s admission it censored the hashtags about WikiLeaks’ publication of revealing emails from Clinton’s campaign chief John Podesta in the run-up to the November 2016 vote. Those emails also revealed the commitment of several Facebook executives to get Clinton elected.

After Clinton lost to Trump, however, the three social media giants found themselves in the crosshairs of Congress. Many Republicans joined the chorus of Democrats accusing the social networks of enabling alleged “Russian” activity.

“You created these platforms… and now they’re being misused,” Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California) told the executives of Facebook, Google, and Twitter during a hearing in October 2017. “And you have to be the ones who do something about it — or we will.”

So far, “doing something” seems to consist mostly of purging “Russian bots,” as identified by the either the social media companies themselves or an alliance of Democrats and neo-conservatives ousted from power by Trump, and now seeing Russians behind every hashtag.

Censorious actions also include what activists call “de-platforming” of people singled out for unacceptable or offensive opinions by the ad-hoc online mobs. For example, after the Florida school shooting angry Twitterati have successfully badgered a number of businesses into canceling discounts they previously offered to members of the National Rifle Association (NRA). Amazon also found itself under pressure to drop the “NRA TV” channel from its platform.

In a recent interview, former Google engineer James Damore speculated that the climate at social media companies have an atmosphere which resembles college campuses. Such locations which have also seen crackdowns on freedom of expression in recent times.

“It was very much like a college campus,” Damore told the Washington Examiner. “And they tried to make it like a college campus where you would live at Google essentially, where they have all your food and all the amenities, and once you start living there you aren’t able to disconnect, and so you feel like my words were a threat against your family. That was part of the fervor, I think.”

Damore was purged from Mountain View over a memo in which he questioned the company’s  practices when it came to diversity.

While the social media companies may hope the lawmakers would be appeased by an occasional purge of unpopular voices, another danger is headed their way: the legacy media, is aiming to recapture its hold on audiences.

On Monday, CNN president Jeff Zucker addressed the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. His thrust was that government should look into Google and Facebook “monopolies” if journalism is to survive.

“In a Google and Facebook world, monetization of digital and mobile continues to be more difficult than we would have expected or liked,” Zucker said, according to Variety. “I think we need help from the advertising world and from the technology world to find new ways to monetize digital content, otherwise good journalism will go away.”

Tempting as it would be to quip about CNN’s tenuous relationship with “good journalism.” At this time, doing so would be self-defeating as the chances are it would get one quicklybe a short-cut to getting purged from Google, Twitter or Facebook.

February 27, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , | 4 Comments

YouTube Is Using Artificial Intelligence To Delete Channels & To Handle Subsequent Appeals

By Richie Allen | February 25, 2018

Hello,

Thank you for your account suspension appeal. We have decided to keep your account suspended based on our Community Guidelines and Terms of Service. Please visit http://www.youtube.com/t/community_guidelines for more information.

Sincerely,
The YouTube Team

Short and sweet from Google. I wrote to them (using their appeal form) last Thursday evening, asking for an explanation for the deletion of my channel. I was polite but firm and asked for a contact, a name, someone who I could speak with, just for the record mind as I know their subscriber interaction is run by AI now. Stop and think about that for a minute. A machine decided to delete the channel. I am then reduced to appealing to the same machine to have my intellectual property restored to me. We’re now living Blade Runner, Judge Dredd, Demolition Man and any other sci-fi flick about a dystopian future. Google denies this of course. The corporation admits using AI to scour videos for harmful content, but claims that decisions on banning channels are made by a person. I don’t believe them. My second strike was issued for an interview I did with Michael Rivero back in August 2015. Michael was telling me why he DID NOT believe that the shooting of two journalists in Virginia was a false flag attack. The interview was harmless. I immediately appealed (you can appeal community strikes). I pressed SUBMIT to send the appeal and was promptly emailed by Google to say that the appeal was rejected! That took seconds, it was like the email came back from them at the very second I submitted the appeal.

There could not have been any human involvement, it was so instantaneous. I am certain that nobody reviewed my appeal. It was undoubtedly a program. Just before writing this, I wrote to Google again, to challenge the above response. This time I was a little less cordial and reminded them/it, whatever the fuck it is, that I have legal remedies at my disposal. I insisted that the channel be restored and asked for the name and department of the person who a) took the decision to delete the channel and b) the name of the person who handled the appeal. They will not be able to provide me with any name of course. Maybe it’s HAL or Ed-209 or T-1000…….

I’m not going to flog a dead horse in terms of banging on and on about this. I won’t be boring the shite out of you constantly about Google, I promise. I just wanted to let you know that I had received a response of sorts from them. Anyway, enjoy the rest of your Sunday. Speak tomorrow. Sunday View can be heard on the homepage. It wasn’t a bad show today, there are some interesting stories in there.

Richie is the host of The Richie Allen Show and has enjoyed a long, and varied, broadcasting career.

February 27, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , | Leave a comment