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Google Nest Hub surveillance system lets you bring Big Brother home with you

RT | September 10, 2019

Google’s Nest Hub surveillance system is constantly looking for its owner’s face and technically can’t be shut off, raising privacy concerns and questions about data misuse by the company that brags it toes the “creepy line.”

The latest “smart-home” device from Mountain View comes equipped with a constantly-scanning facial-recognition-enabled camera that can’t be shut off, only ‘disabled’ with a switch that also (supposedly) deactivates the microphone. Just as the device is constantly listening for its “wake word,” it is prepared to leap into action at the sight of its owner’s visage.

The Nest Hub, as its name suggests, serves as a “hub” for other internet-of-things devices like thermostats, surveillance cameras, and doorbells – which also come equipped with facial recognition, in case the user misses that feeling of being constantly spied on when they finally come home after a long day of surveillance outside. It also uploads video from phone calls and camera footage accessed remotely into the cloud and provides a window into your home for anyone with access to your Google or Nest account.

Surely Google learned its lesson after its Google Home AI voice assistant was discovered to be feeding audio of users’ private moments to third-party contractors for “grading” purposes. The company couldn’t possibly make the mistake of allowing that scandal to repeat itself, this time with video.

Google admits it may “use your face data to test future features and recognition algorithms before pushing them to your device,” CNET reported on Monday, citing a statement from the company, which also claimed “no pixels leave the Nest Hub Max” – except when they’re “temporarily processed at Google from time to time to improve the quality of your experience with this device.”

Google will “occasionally use the images you provide during setup to generate a face model in the cloud for a couple of reasons” related to “improving product experience” and “motivated by the fact that we have more computing power available in the cloud,” a company spokesperson told the outlet.
Also on rt.com Outsourced spying: Google admits ‘language experts’ listen to ‘some’ assistant recordings

The doublespeak echoes excuses Google made for sharing Home audio snippets, like claiming the use of “language experts” was “necessary to creating products like the Google Assistant.” Unlike Google Home, which neglected to inform the users of that key fact until after it was discovered by a Belgian broadcaster, Nest Hub informs users they’re being surveilled and tracked right up front, when they set up “Face Match.”

A home surveillance system with facial recognition capabilities, capable of detecting the user’s emotions and remotely accessible – what could possibly go wrong? If nothing else, it should inspire a generation of horror filmmakers.

September 10, 2019 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance | | Leave a comment

How the CIA, Mossad and “the Epstein Network” are exploiting mass shootings to create an Orwellian nightmare

Graphic by Claudio Cabrera
By Whitney Webb | MintPress News | September 6, 2019

Following the arrest and subsequent death in prison of alleged child sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, a little-known Israeli tech company began to receive increased publicity, but for all the wrong reasons. Not long after Epstein’s arrest, and his relationships and finances came under scrutiny, it was revealed that the Israeli company Carbyne911 had received substantial funding from Jeffrey Epstein as well as Epstein’s close associate and former Prime Minister of Israel Ehud Barak, and Silicon Valley venture capitalist and prominent Trump backer Peter Thiel.

Carbyne911, or simply Carbyne, develops call-handling and identification capabilities for emergency response services in countries around the world, including the United States, where it has already been implemented in several U.S. counties and has partnered with major U.S. tech companies like Google. It specifically markets its product as a way of mitigating mass shootings in the United States without having to change existing U.S. gun laws.

Yet, Carbyne is no ordinary tech company, as it is deeply connected to the elite Israeli military intelligence division, Unit 8200, whose “alumni” often go on to create tech companies — Carbyne among them — that frequently maintain their ties to Israeli intelligence and, according to Israeli media reports and former employees, often “blur the line” between their service to Israel’s defense/intelligence apparatus and their commercial activity. As this report will reveal, Carbyne is but one of several Israeli tech companies marketing themselves as a technological solution to mass shootings that has direct ties to Israeli intelligence agencies. 

In each case, these companies’ products are built in such a way that they can easily be used to illegally surveil the governments, institutions and civilians that use them, a troubling fact given Unit 8200’s documented prowess in surveillance as a means of obtaining blackmail and Israel’s history of using tech companies to aggressively spy on the U.S. government. This is further compounded by the fact that Unit 8200-linked tech companies have previously received U.S. government contracts to place “backdoors” into the U.S.’ entire telecommunications system as well as into the popular products of major American tech companies including Google, Microsoft and Facebook, many of whose key managers and executives are now former Unit 8200 officers.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made it no secret that placing Unit 8200 members in top positions in multinational tech companies is a “deliberate policy” meant to ensure Israel’s role as the dominant global “cyber power”, while also combating non-violent boycott movements targeting Israel’s violations of international law and stifling the United Nations’ criticisms of Israeli government policy and military operations abroad.

As Jeffrey Epstein’s links to intelligence in both the United States and Israel — the subject of a recent four-part series exclusive to MintPress — began to be revealed in full, his financing of Carbyne came under scrutiny, particularly for the company’s deep ties to Israeli intelligence as well as to certain Americans with known connections to U.S. intelligence. Ehud Barak’s own role as both financier and chairman of Carbyne has also added to that concern, given his long history of involvement in covert intelligence operations for Israel and his long-standing ties to Israeli military intelligence.

Another funder of Carbyne, Peter Thiel, has his own company that, like Carbyne, is set to profit from the Trump administration’s proposed hi-tech solutions to mass shootings. Indeed, after the recent shooting in El Paso, Texas, President Trump — who received political donations from and has been advised by Thiel following his election — asked tech companies to “detect mass shooters before they strike,” a service already perfected by Thiel’s company Palantir, which has developed “pre-crime software” already in use throughout the country. Palantir is also a contractor for the U.S. intelligence community and also has a branch based in Israel.

Perhaps most disturbing of all, whatever technological solution is adopted by the Trump administration, it is set to use a controversial database first developed as part of a secretive U.S. government program that involved notorious Iran-Contra figures like Oliver North as a means of tracking and flagging potential American dissidents for increased surveillance and detention in the event of a vaguely defined “national emergency.”

As this report will reveal, this database — often referred to as “Main Core” — was created with the involvement of Israeli intelligence and Israel remained involved years after it was developed, and potentially to the present. It was also used by at least one former CIA official on President Reagan’s National Security Council to blackmail members of Congress, Congressional staffers and journalists, among others.

Given recent reports on the Trump administration’s plan to create a new government agency to use “advanced technology” to identify “neurobehavioral signs” of “someone headed toward a violent explosive act” using data collected by consumer electronic devices, the picture painted by the technology currently being promoted and implemented under the guise of “keeping Americans safe” is deeply Orwellian. In fact, it points directly to the genesis of a far-reaching surveillance state far more extensive than anything yet seen in American history and it is being jointly developed by individuals connected to both American and Israeli intelligence.

Demystifying Carbyne

Carbyne911, which will be referred to simply as Carbyne in this report, is an Israeli tech-startup that promises to revolutionize how calls are handled by emergency service providers, as well as by governments, corporations and educational institutions. Not long after it was founded in 2014 by veterans of Israeli military intelligence, Carbyne began to be specifically marketed as a solution to mass shootings in the United States that goes “beyond the gun debate” and improves the “intelligence that armed emergency responders receive before entering an armed shooter situation” by providing video-streaming and acoustic input from civilian smartphones and other devices connected to the Carbyne network.

Prior to Jeffrey Epstein’s arrest in July, Carbyne had been receiving high praise from U.S. and Israeli media, with Fox News hailing the company’s services as the answer to the U.S.’ “aging 911 systems” and the Jerusalem Post writing that the company’s platform offers “hi-tech protection to social workers and school principals.” Other reports claimed that Carbyne’s services result in “a 65% reduction in time-to-dispatch.”

Carbyne’s call-handling/crisis management platform has already been implemented in several U.S. counties and the company has offices not only in the U.S. but also in Mexico, Ukraine and Israel. Carbyne’s expansion to more emergency service provider networks in the U.S. is likely, given that federal legislation seeks to offer grants to upgrade 911 call centers throughout the country with the very technology of which Carbyne is the leading provider. One of the main lobby groups promoting this legislation, the National Emergency Number Association (NENA), has a “strong relationship” with Carbyne, according to Carbyne’s website. In addition, Carbyne has also begun marketing its platform for non-emergency calls to governments, educational institutions and corporations.

Yet, what seemed like the inevitability of Carbyne’s widespread adoption in the U.S. hit a snag following the recent arrest and subsequent death of sex trafficker and pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, who exploited underage girls for the purpose of obtaining “blackmail” on the rich and poweful, an operation that had clear ties to intelligence. Epstein, after his first arrest and light sentence for soliciting sex from a minor in 2007, was tapped by former Israeli Prime Minister and former head of Israeli military intelligence Ehud Barak, to become a key financial backer of Carbyne.

Ehud Barak, center, poses with Carbyne co-founders Alex Dizengof, Amir Elichai and Lital Leshem. Photo | Yossi Seliger

As a result of increased scrutiny of Epstein’s business activities and his ties to Israel, particularly to Barak, Epstein’s connection to Carbyne was revealed and extensively reported on by the independent media outlet Narativ, whose exposé on Carbyne revealed not only some of the key intelligence connections of the start-up company but also how the architecture of Carbyne’s product itself raises “serious privacy concerns.”

MintPress detailed many of Carbyne’s main intelligence connections in Part III of the investigative series “Inside the Jeffrey Epstein Scandal: Too Big to Fail.” In addition to Barak — former Israeli prime minister and former head of Israeli military intelligence — serving as Carbyne’s chairman and a key financer, the company’s executive team are all former members of Israeli intelligence, including the elite military intelligence unit, Unit 8200, which is often compared to the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA).

Carbyne’s current CEO, Amir Elichai, served in Unit 8200 and tapped former Unit 8200 commander and current board member of AIPAC Pinchas Buchris to serve as the company’s director and on its board. In addition to Elichai, another Carbyne co-founder, Lital Leshem, also served in Unit 8200 and later worked for Israeli private spy company Black Cube. The only Carbyne co-founder that didn’t serve in Unit 8200 is Alex Dizengof, who previously worked for Israel’s Prime Minister’s office.

As MintPress noted in a past report detailing Israeli military intelligence’s deep ties to American tech giant Microsoft, Unit 8200 is an elite unit of the Israeli Intelligence corps that is part of the IDF’s Directorate of Military Intelligence and is involved mainly in signal intelligence (i.e., surveillance), cyberwarfare and code decryption. It is frequently described as the Israeli equivalent of the NSA and Peter Roberts, senior research fellow at Britain’s Royal United Services Institute, characterized the unit in an interview with the Financial Times as “probably the foremost technical intelligence agency in the world and stand[ing] on a par with the NSA in everything except scale.”

Notably, the NSA and Unit 8200 have collaborated on numerous projects, most infamously on the Stuxnet virus as well as the Duqu malware. In addition, the NSA is known to work with veterans of Unit 8200 in the private sector, such as when the NSA hired two Israeli companies, to create backdoors into all the major U.S. telecommunications systems and major tech companies, including Facebook, Microsoft and Google. Both of those companies, Verint and Narus, have top executives with ties to Israeli intelligence and one of those companies, Verint (formerly Comverse Infosys), has a history of aggressively spying on U.S. government facilities. Unit 8200 is also known for spying on civilians in the occupied Palestinian territories for “coercion purposes” — i.e., gathering info for blackmail — and also for spying on Palestinian-Americans via an intelligence-sharing agreement with the NSA.

Unlike many other Unit 8200-linked start-ups, Carbyne also boasts several tie-ins to the Trump administration, including Palantir founder and Trump ally Peter Thiel — another investor in Carbyne. In addition, Carbyne’s board of advisers includes former Palantir employee Trae Stephens, who was a member of the Trump transition team, as well as former Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff. Trump donor and New York real-estate developer Eliot Tawill is also on Carbyne’s board, alongside Ehud Barak and Pinchas Buchris.

Yet, privacy concerns with Carbyne go beyond the company’s ties to Israeli intelligence and U.S. intelligence contractors like Peter Thiel. For instance, Carbyne’s smartphone app extracts the following information from the phones on which it is installed:

Device location, video live-streamed from the smartphone to the call center, text messages in a two-way chat window, any data from a user’s phone if they have the Carbyne app and ESInet, and any information that comes over a data link, which Carbyne opens in case the caller’s voice link drops out.” (emphasis added)

According to Carbyne’s website, this same information can also be obtained from any smartphone, even if it does not have Carbyne’s app installed, if that phone calls a 911 call center that uses Carbyne or merely any other number connected to Carbyne’s network.

Carbyne gathers data points from users’ phones as well as a myriad of other web-connected devices.

Carbyne is a Next-Generation 9-11 (NG911) platform and the explicit goal of NG911 is for all 911 systems nationwide to become interconnected. Thus, even if Carbyne is not used by all 911 call centers using an NG911 platform, Carbyne will ostensibly have access to the data used by all emergency service providers and devices connected to those networks. This guiding principle of NG911 also makes it likely that one platform will be favored at the federal level to foster such interconnectivity and, given that it has already been adopted by several counties and has ties to the Trump administration, Carbyne is the logical choice.

Another cause for concern is how other countries have used platforms like Carbyne, which were first marketed as emergency response tools, for the purpose of mass surveillance. Narativ noted the following in its investigation of Carbyne:

In May, Human Rights Watch revealed Chinese authorities use a platform not unlike Carbyne to illegally surveil Uyghurs. China’s Integrated Joint Operations Platform brings in a much bigger data-set and sources of video, which includes an app on people’s phones. Like Carbyne, the platform was designed to report emergencies. Chinese authorities have turned it into a tool of mass surveillance.

Human Rights Watch reverse-engineered the app. The group discovered the app automatically profiles a user under 36 “person types” including “followers of Six Lines” which is the term used to identify Uyghurs. Another term refers to “Hajj,” the annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca. The app monitors every aspect of a user’s life, including personal conversations [and] power usage, and tracks a user’s movement.”

Such technology is currently used by Israeli military intelligence and Israel’s domestic intelligence agency Shin Bet to justify “pre-crime” detentions of Palestinians in the occupied West Bank. As will be noted in greater detail later in this report, Palestinians’ comments on social media are tracked by artificial intelligence algorithms that flag them for indefinite detention if they write social media posts that contain “tripwire” phrases such as “the sword of Allah.”

Carbyne’s platform has its own “pre-crime” elements, such as it’s c-Records component, which stores and analyzes information on past calls and events that pass through its network. This information “enables decision makers to accurately analyze the past and present behavior of their callers, react accordingly, and in time predict future patterns.” (emphasis added)

Concerns have recently been raised that “pre-crime” technology may soon become more widely adopted in the U.S., after President Trump stated that one of his planned solutions to mass shootings in the wake of the recent tragedy in El Paso was for big tech companies to detect potential shooters before they strike.

Israeli intelligence, Blackmail and Silicon Valley

Though many of the individuals involved in funding or managing Carbyne have proven ties to intelligence, a closer look into several of these players reveals even deeper connections to both Israeli and U.S. intelligence.

One of Carbyne’s clearest connections to Israeli intelligence is through its chairman and one of its funders, Ehud Barak. Though Barak is best known for being a former prime minister of Israel, he is also a former minister of defense and the former head of Israeli military intelligence. He oversaw Unit 8200’s operations, as well as other units of Israeli military intelligence, in all three of those positions. For most of his military and later political career, Barak has been closely associated with covert operations.

Prior to the public scrutiny of Barak’s relationship to Jeffrey Epstein, following the latter’s arrest this past July and subsequent death, Barak had come under fire for his ties to disgraced film mogul Harvey Weinstein. Indeed, it was Ehud Barak who put Weinstein in contact with the Israeli private intelligence outfit Black Cube, which employs former Mossad agents and Israeli military intelligence operatives, as Weinstein sought to intimidate the women who had accused him of sexual assault and sexual harassment. Former Mossad director Meir Dagan led Black Cube’s board until his death in 2016 and Carbyne co-founder Lital Leshem is Black Cube’s former director of marketing.

After Barak put him in contact with Black Cube’s leadership, Weinstein, according to The New Yorker, used the private spy firm to “‘target,’ or collect information on, dozens of individuals, and compile psychological profiles that sometimes focused on their personal or sexual histories.” In addition, The New Yorker noted that “Weinstein monitored the progress of the investigations personally” and “also enlisted former employees from his film enterprises to join in the effort, collecting names and placing calls that, according to some sources who received them, felt intimidating.”

Yet, more recently, it has been Barak’s close relationship to Epstein that has raised eyebrows and opened him up to political attacks from his rivals. Epstein and Barak were first introduced by former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres in 2002, a time when Epstein’s pedophile blackmail and sex trafficking operation was in full swing.

Barak was a frequent visitor to Epstein’s residences in New York, so often that The Daily Beast reported that numerous residents of an apartment building linked to Epstein “had seen Barak in the building multiple times over the last few years, and nearly half a dozen more described running into his security detail,” adding that “the building is majority-owned by Epstein’s younger brother, Mark, and has been tied to the financier’s alleged New York trafficking ring.” Specifically, several apartments in the building were “being used to house underage girls from South America, Europe and the former Soviet Union,” according to a former bookkeeper employed by one of Epstein’s main procurers of underage girls, Jean Luc Brunel.

Barak is also known to have spent the night at one of Epstein’s residences at least once, was photographed leaving Epstein’s residence as recently as 2016, and has admitted to visiting Epstein’s island, which has sported nicknames including “Pedo Island,” “Lolita Island” and “Orgy Island.” In 2004, Barak received $2.5 million from Leslie Wexner’s Wexner Foundation, where Epstein was a trustee as well as one of the foundation’s top donors, officially for unspecified “consulting services” and “research” on the foundation’s behalf.

In 2015, Barak formed a limited partnership company in Israel for the explicit purpose of investing in Carbyne (then known as Reporty) and invested millions of dollars in the company, quickly becoming a major shareholder and subsequently the company’s public face and the chairman of its board. At least $1 million of the money invested in this Barak-created company that was later used to invest in Carbyne came from the Southern Trust Company, which was owned by Jeffrey Epstein.

In a statement to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Barak asserted:

I saw the business opportunity and registered a partnership in my control in Israel. A small number of people I know invest in it… Since these are private investments, it wouldn’t be proper or right for me to expose the investors’ details.”

However, Barak later admitted that Epstein had been one of the investors.

MintPress’ recent series on the Jeffrey Epstein scandal noted in detail Epstein’s ties to CIA/Mossad intelligence assets, such as Adnan Khashoggi; CIA front companies, such as Southern Air Transport; and organized crime, through his close association with Leslie Wexner. In addition, Epstein’s long-time “girlfriend” and alleged madam, Ghislaine Maxwell, has family links to Israeli intelligence through her father, Robert Maxwell. While it appears that Epstein may have been working for more than one intelligence agency, Zev Shalev, former executive producer for CBS News and journalist at Narativ, recently stated that he had independently confirmed with two unconnected sources “closely connected to the Epstein story and in a position to know” that Epstein had “worked for Israeli military intelligence.”

Notably, Epstein, who was known for his interest in obtaining blackmail through the sexual abuse of the underaged girls he exploited, also claimed to have “damaging information” on prominent figures in Silicon Valley. In a conversation last year with New York Times reporter James Stewart, Epstein claimed to have “potentially damaging or embarrassing” information on Silicon Valley’s elite and told Stewart that these top figures in the American tech industry “were hedonistic and regular users of recreational drugs.” Epstein also told Stewart that he had “witnessed prominent tech figures taking drugs and arranging for sex” and claimed to know “details about their supposed sexual proclivities.”

In the lead-up to his recent arrest, Jeffrey Epstein appeared to have been attempting to rebrand as a “tech investor,” as he had done interviews with several journalists including Stewart about technology investing in the months before he was hit with federal sex trafficking charges.

Jessica Lessin, editor-in-chief of The Information, told Business Insider that a journalist working for The Information had interviewed Epstein a month before his recent arrest because “he was believed to be an investor in venture capital funds.” However, Lessin claimed that the interview was not “newsworthy” and said the site had no plans to publish its contents. Business Insider claimed that the way the interviews with Epstein had been arranged “suggests that someone in Silicon Valley may have been trying to help Epstein connect with reporters.”

Though it is unknown exactly which Silicon Valley figures were most connected to Epstein and which tech executives were potentially being blackmailed by Epstein, it is known that Epstein associated with several prominent tech executives, including Google co-founder Sergey Brin, Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg, Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, and LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman.

Last year, Epstein claimed to be advising Tesla and Elon Musk, who had been previously photographed with Epstein’s alleged madam Ghislaine Maxwell. A few years ago, Epstein also attended a dinner hosted by LinkedIn’s Reid Hoffman, where Musk had allegedly introduced Epstein to Mark Zuckerberg. Google’s Sergey Brin is known to have attended a dinner hosted by Epstein at his New York residence where Donald Trump was also in attendance.

Elon Musk with Epstein’s alleged madam Ghislaine Maxwell at an Oscars after-party on March 2, 2014. Kevin Mazur | VF14

These associations suggest that the person in Silicon Valley who was trying to boost Epstein’s image as a tech investor before his arrest may have been Peter Thiel, whose Founders Fund had also invested in Carbyne. Thiel was an early investor in Facebook and is still on its board, connecting him to Zuckerberg; he is also a funder of Elon Musk’s SpaceX and a former colleague of Musk’s through PayPal. In addition, Thiel has ties to Reid Hoffman and both Thiel and Hoffman are prominent backers of Facebook.

It is unknown whether Epstein’s “damaging information” and apparent blackmail on notable individuals in the American technology industry were used to advance the objectives of Carbyne, which recently partnered with tech giants Google and Cisco Systems — and, more broadly, the expansion of Israeli intelligence-linked tech companies into the American tech sector, particularly through the acquisition of Israeli tech start-ups linked to Unit 8200 by major U.S. tech companies.

The latter seems increasingly likely given that the father of Ghislaine Maxwell — one of Epstein’s chief co-conspirators in his intelligence-linked sexual blackmail operation involving minors — was a Mossad operative who helped sell software that had been bugged by Israeli intelligence to government agencies and sensitive facilities around the world, including in the United States.

As will be noted later in this report, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — to whom all of Israel’s intelligence agencies answer by virtue of his position — has stated on more than one occasion that the acquisition of Israeli intelligence-linked start-ups by foreign tech giants, especially in Silicon Valley, is a current and “deliberate policy” of the state of Israel.

Carbyne’s ties to U.S. intelligence

While Epstein and Barak are the two financiers of Carbyne whose ties to intelligence are clearest, another funder of Carbyne, Peter Thiel, has ties to U.S. intelligence and a history of investing in other companies founded by former members of Unit 8200. Thiel co-founded and still owns a controlling stake in the company Palantir, which was initially funded with a $2 million investment from the CIA’s venture capital fund In-Q-Tel and quickly thereafter became a contractor for the CIA.

After the success of its contract with the CIA, Palantir became a contractor for a variety of federal agencies, including the FBI, the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), the National Security Agency (NSA), the Department of Homeland Security(DHS) and the military’s Special Operations Command, among others. Last year, it won a contract to create a new battlefield intelligence system for the U.S. Army. Palantir is also in demand for its “pre-crime technology,” which has been used by several U.S. police departments. According to the Guardian, “Palantir tracks everyone from potential terrorist suspects to corporate fraudsters, child traffickers and what they refer to as ‘subversives’… it is all done using prediction.”

Thiel has gained attention in recent years for his support of President Trump and for becoming an adviser to Trump following the 2016 election, when he was “a major force in the transition,” according to Politico, and “helped fill positions in the Trump administration with former staff.” One of those former staffers was Trae Stephens, who is also on Carbyne’s board of advisers. Thiel also has business ties to Trump’s son-in-law and influential adviser, Jared Kushner, as well as to Kushner’s brother Josh. A senior Trump campaign aide told Politico in 2017 that “Thiel is immensely powerful within the administration through his connection to Jared.”

Thiel has also backed some prominent Israeli tech start-ups connected to Unit 8200, such as BillGuard, which Thiel funded along with former Google CEO Eric Schmidt and other investors. BillGuard was founded by Raphael Ouzan, a former officer in Unit 8200, who serves on the board of directors of Start-Up Nation Central (SUNC) alongside neoconservative American hedge fund manager Paul Singer, neoconservative political operative and adviser Dan Senor, and Terry Kassel, who works for Singer at his hedge fund, Elliott Management.

Peter Thiel greets Netanyahu during a 2017 meeting in Israel. Photo | Israel PM

SUNC is an organization founded by Paul Singer, who has donated heavily to both President Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. Since it was founded in 2012, SUNC has sought to integrate Unit 8200-connected Israeli tech start-ups into foreign companies, primarily American companies, and has helped oversee the shift of thousands of high-paying tech jobs from the U.S. to Israel.

Another Carbyne-connected individual worth noting is the former head of the Department of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff, who serves on Carbyne’s board of advisers. In addition to Chertoff’s ties to DHS, Chertoff’s company, The Chertoff Group, employees several prominent former members of the U.S. intelligence community as principals, including Michael Hayden, former director of the CIA and former director of the NSA; and Charles Allen, former assistant director of Central Intelligence for Collection at the CIA, who worked at the agency for over 40 years.

The Chertoff Group has a long-standing and lucrative contract with the company OSI Systems, which produces full-body scanners and markets itself as a solution to mass shootings and crisis events, not unlike Carbyne. While Chertoff’s company was advising OSI Systems, Chertoff went on a media blitz to promote the widespread use of the machines produced by OSI Systems and even called on Congress to “fund a large-scale deployment of next-generation systems.” Chertoff did not disclose his conflict of interest while publicly promoting OSI’s full-body scanners.

Some have also alleged that Chertoff’s mother, Livia Eisen, had links to Israeli intelligence. According to her 1998 obituary, cited by both researcher/author Christopher Bollyn and journalist Jonathan Cook, Eisen participated in the Mossad operation code-named “Magic Carpet” while working for Israel’s El Al Airlines. Both Bollyn and Cook have suggested that Eisen’s participation in this covert Israeli intelligence operation strongly indicates that she had ties to the Mossad.

Melding into Silicon Valley

Beyond its troubling connections to Silicon Valley oligarchs, Israeli military intelligence and the U.S.-military industrial complex, Carbyne’s recent partnerships with two specific technology companies — Google and Cisco Systems — raise even more red flags.

Carbyne announced its partnership with Cisco Systems this past April, with the latter announcing that it would begin “aligning its unified call manager with Carbyne’s call-handling platform, allowing emergency call centers to collect data from both 911 callers and nearby government-owned IoT [Internet of Things] devices.” A report on the partnership published by Government Technology magazine stated that “Carbyne’s platform will be integrated into Cisco Kinetic for Cities, an IoT data platform that shares data across community infrastructure, smart city solutions, applications and connected devices.” The report also noted that “Carbyne will also be the only 911 solution in the Cisco Marketplace.”

As part of the partnership, Carbyne’s President of North American Operations Paul Tatro told Government Technology that the Carbyne platform would combine the data it obtains from smartphones and other Carbyne-connected devices with “what’s available through nearby Cisco-connected road cameras, roadside sensors, smart streetlamps, smart parking meters or other devices.” Tatro further asserted that “Carbyne can also analyze data that’s being collected by Cisco IoT devices … and alert 911 automatically, without any person making a phone call, if there appears to be a worthy problem,” and expressed his view that soon most emergency calls will not be made by human beings but “by smart cars, telematics or other smart city devices.”

A few months after partnering with Cisco Systems, Carbyne announced its partnership with Google on July 10, just three days after Carbyne funder Jeffrey Epstein was arrested in New York on federal sex trafficking charges. Carbyne’s press release of the partnership described how the company and Google would be teaming up in Mexico “to offer advanced mobile location to emergency communications centers (ECCs) throughout Mexico” following the conclusion of a successful four-week pilot program between Carbyne and Google in the Central American nation.

Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt meets Netanyahu at his Jerusalem office. Israel PM | YouTube

The press release also stated:

Carbyne will provide Google’s Android ELS (Emergency Location Service) in real time from emergency calls made on AndroidTM devices. Deployment for any ECC in the country won’t require any integration, with Carbyne providing numerous options for connection to their secure ELS Gateway once an ECC is approved. The Carbyne automated platform, requiring no human interaction, has the potential to save thousands of lives each year throughout Mexico.”

The reason Carybne’s partnerships with Cisco Systems and Google are significant lies in the role that Cisco and former Google CEO Eric Schmidt have played in the creation of a controversial “incubator” for Israeli tech start-ups with deep ties to Israeli military intelligence, American neoconservative donor Paul Singer, and the U.S.’ National Security Agency (NSA).

This company, called Team8, is an Israeli company-creation platform whose CEO and co-founder is Nadav Zafrir, former commander of Unit 8200. Two of the company’s other three co-founders are also “alumni” of Unit 8200. Among Team8’s top investors is Schmidt, the former CEO of Google, who also joined Peter Thiel in funding the Unit 8200-linked BillGuard, as well as major tech companies including Cisco Systems and Microsoft.

Last year, Team8 controversially hired the former head of the NSA and U.S. Cyber Command, Retired Admiral Mike Rogers, and Zafrir stated that his interest in hiring Rogers was that Rogers would be “instrumental in helping strategize” Team8’s expansion in the United States. Jake Williams, a veteran of NSA’s Tailored Access Operations (TAO) hacking unit, told CyberScoop:

Rogers is not being brought into this role because of his technical experience. … It’s purely because of his knowledge of classified operations and his ability to influence many in the U.S. government and private-sector contractors.”

Team8 has also been heavily promoted by Start-Up Nation Central (SUNC). SUNC prominently features Team8 and Zafrir on the cybersecurity section of its website and also sponsored a talk by Zafrir and an Israeli government economist at the World Economic Forum, often referred to as “Davos,” that was attended personally by Paul Singer.

SUNC itself has deep ties to Israeli military intelligence, with former Unit 8200 officer Raphael Ouzan serving on its board of directors. Another example of SUNC-Unit 8200 ties can be seen with Inbal Arieli, who served as SUNC’s Vice President of Strategic Partnerships from 2014 to 2017 and continues to serve as a senior adviser to the organization. Arieli, a former lieutenant in Unit 8200, is the founder and head of the 8200 Entrepreneurship and Innovation Support Program (EISP), which was the first start-up accelerator in Israel aimed at harnessing “the vast network and entrepreneurial DNA of [Unit] 8200 alumni” and is currently one of the top company accelerators in Israel, alongside Team8. Arieli was the top executive at 8200 EISP while working at SUNC and several other top SUNC staffers are also connected to Israeli military intelligence.

Thus, Google and Cisco’s connections to Team8 suggests that their partnerships with another Israeli military intelligence-connected firm like Carbyne is a deepening of those two companies’ links to the growing bi-national security state that is uniting key players in the U.S. military-industrial complex and Israeli intelligence.

Mossad-backed Panic Buttons, coming to a school near you

Carbyne is hardly the only Israeli intelligence-linked tech company marketing itself in the United States as a solution to mass shootings. Another Israeli start-up, known as Gabriel, was founded in 2016 in response to a shooting in Tel Aviv and the Pulse Nightclub shooting in the United States, which took place just days apart.

Created by Israeli-American Yoni Sherizen and Israeli citizen Asaf Adler, Gabriel is similar to Carbyne in the sense that elements of its crisis response platform require installation on civilian smartphones as well as devices used by crisis responders. The main difference is that Gabriel also installs one or a series of physical “panic buttons,” depending on the size of the building to be secured, that also double as video and audio communication devices connected to the Gabriel network.

As with Carbyne, the ties between Gabriel and Israeli intelligence are obvious. Indeed, Gabriel’s four-person advisory board includes Ram Ben-Barak, former deputy director of the Mossad and former director-general of Israel’s intelligence ministry; Yohanan Danino, former chief of police for the state of Israel; and Kobi Mor, former director of overseas missions for the Israeli intelligence agency Shin Bet. The only American on the advisory board is Ryan Petty, the father of a Parkland shooting victim and friend of former Florida Governor Rick Scott.

Gabriel’s only disclosed funder is U.S.-based MassChallenge, a start-up accelerator non-profit. Gabriel is funded by MassChallenge’s Israel branch, which was opened six months prior to Gabriel’s creation and is partnered with the Israeli government and the Kraft Group. The Kraft Group is managed by Robert Kraft, who is currently embroiled in a prostitution scandal and is also a close friend of President Trump.

Notably, one of MassChallenge Israel’s featured experts is Wendy Singer, the executive director of SUNC, the organization created and funded by neoconservative Trump backer Paul Singer with the explicit purpose of promoting Israel’s tech start-ups and their integration into foreign, chiefly American, businesses. As was noted in a recent MintPress report on SUNC, Wendy Singer is the sister of neoconservative political operative Dan Senor, who founded the now-defunct Foreign Policy Initiative with Robert Kagan and Bill Kristol, and was previously the director of AIPAC’s Israel office for 16 years.

Gabriel’s founders have been quite upfront about the fact that the uptick in shootings in the U.S. has greatly aided their company’s growth and success. Last November, Sherizen told The Jerusalem Post that new mass shootings in the U.S. not only increased U.S. demand for his company’s product but also were opportunities to show the effectiveness of Gabriel’s approach:

Unfortunately every month there seems to be another high-profile event of this nature. After the Vegas shooting, we were able to show [that] our system would have managed to identify the location of the shooter much quicker.”

The Jerusalem Post noted that Gabriel is set to make considerable profits if concern over mass shootings continues to build in the U.S., writing:

With more than 475,000 soft targets across the US and amid increasing security fears, the potential market for Gabriel is huge. The company could gain revenues of almost $1 billion if only 10% of soft targets were to invest around $20,000 in its alert systems.”

Sherizen told the Jerusalem Post:

Our starter kit costs $10,000. Depending on the size and makeup of the community building, it would cost between $20-30,000 to fully outfit the location. We have made it very affordable. This is a game-changer for the lock-down and active shooter drills that are now a standard part of any child’s upbringing in the States.”

Much more than just a start-up

While it is certainly possible that numerous former officials and commanders of elite Israeli intelligence agencies may have no ulterior motive in advising or founding technology start-up companies, it is worth pointing out that top figures in Israel’s military intelligence agencies and the Mossad don’t see it that way.

Last March, Israeli media outlet Calcalist Tech published a report entitled “Israel Blurs the Line Between Defense Apparatus and Local Cybersecurity Hub,” which noted that “since 2012, cyber-related and intelligence projects that were previously carried out in-house in the Israeli military and Israel’s main intelligence arms are transferred to companies that in some cases were built for this exact purpose.” (emphasis added)

The article notes that beginning in 2012, Israel’s intelligence and military intelligence agencies began to outsource “activities that were previously managed in-house, with a focus on software and cyber technologies.” (emphasis added)

It continues:

In some cases, managers of development projects in the Israeli military and intelligence arms were encouraged to form their own companies, which then took over the project,’ an Israeli venture capitalist familiar with the matter told Calcalist Tech.”

Notably, Calcalist Tech states that the controversial company Black Cube was created this way and that Black Cube had been contracted, and is likely still contracted, by Israel’s Ministry of Defense. The private security agency Black Cube is known to have two separate divisions for corporations and governments. The firm was recently caught attempting to undermine the Iran nuclear deal — then also a top political objective of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — by attempting to obtain information on the “financial or sexual impropriety” (i.e., blackmail) of top U.S. officials involved in drafting the accord. NBC News noted last year that “Black Cube’s political work frequently intersects with Israel’s foreign policy priorities.” As previously mentioned, one of Carbyne’s co-founders — Lital Leshem, also a veteran of Unit 8200 — worked for Black Cube prior to starting Carbyne.

One of the main companies profiled in the Calcalist Tech report appeared to be a front for Israeli intelligence, as its registered owner was found not to exist: even high-level employees at the company had never heard of him; his registered addresses were for nonexistent locations in Israel’s capital of Tel Aviv; and the three people with that name in Tel Aviv denied any association with the business.

This company — which Calcalist Tech was unable to name after the Israeli military censor determined that doing so could negatively impact Israeli “national security” — was deliberately created to service the Israeli military and Israeli intelligence. It is also “focused on cyber technologies with expertise in research and development of advanced products and applications suitable for defense and commercial entities.” (emphases added) In addition, the company’s management consists largely of “veterans of Israeli military technology units.”

Notably, a former employee of this company told Calcalist Tech that “crossing the lines between military service and employment at the commercial outfit was ‘commonplace’ while he was working at the company.”

It’s not exactly clear why Israel’s military intelligence and other intelligence agencies decided to begin outsourcing its operations in 2012, though Calcalist Tech suggests the reasoning was related to the difference in wages between the private sector and the public sector, with pay being much higher in the former. However, it is notable that 2012 was also the year that Paul Singer — together with Netanyahu’s long-time economic adviser and former chair of the Israeli National Economic Council, Eugene Kandel — decided to create Start-Up Nation Central.

As MintPress noted earlier this year, SUNC was founded as part of a deliberate Israeli government effort to counter the nonviolent Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS) movement and to make Israel the dominant global “cyber power.” This policy is aimed at increasing Israel’s diplomatic power and specifically undermining BDS as well as the United Nations, which has repeatedly condemned Israel’s government for war crimes and violations of international law in relation to the Palestinians.

Last year, Netanyahu was asked by Fox News host Mark Levin whether the large growth seen in recent years in Israel’s technology sector, specifically tech start-ups, was part of Netanyahu’s plan. Netanyahu responded, “That’s very much my plan … It’s a very deliberate policy.” He later added that “Israel had technology because the military, especially military intelligence, produced a lot of capabilities. These incredibly gifted young men and women who come out of the military or the Mossad, they want to start their start-ups.”

Netanyahu again outlined this policy at the 2019 Cybertech Conference in Tel Aviv, where he stated that Israel’s emergence as one of the top five “cyber powers” had “required allowing this combination of military intelligence, academia and industry to converge in one place” and that this further required allowing “our graduates of our military and intelligence units to merge into companies with local partners and foreign partners.”

The direct tie-ins of SUNC to Israel’s government and the successful effort led by SUNC and other companies and organizations to place former military intelligence and intelligence operatives in strategic positions in major multinational technology companies reveal that this “deliberate policy” has had a major and undeniable impact on the global tech industry, especially in Silicon Valley.

Mossad gets its own In-Q-Tel

This “deliberate policy” of Netanyahu’s also recently resulted in the creation of a Mossad-run venture capital fund that is specifically focused on financing Israeli tech start-ups. The venture capital fund, called Libertad, was first announced by Israel’s Prime Minister’s Office and was created with the explicit purpose of “increasing the Israeli intelligence agency’s knowledge base and fostering collaboration with Israel’s vibrant startup scene” It was modeled after the CIA’s venture capital fund In-Q-Tel, which invested in several Silicon Valley companies turned government and intelligence contractors — including Google and Palantir — with a similar goal in mind.

Libertad declines to reveal the recipients of its funding, but announced last December that it had chosen five companies in the fields of robotics, energy, encryption, web intelligence, and natural language processing and text analysis. In regard to its interest in web intelligence, a Mossad employee told the Jerusalem Post that the intelligence agency was specifically interested in “innovative technologies for [the] automatic identification of personality characteristics – personality profiling – based on online behavior and activity, using methods based on statistics, machine learning, and other areas.” (emphasis added)

According to Libertad’s website, in return for its investment, now set at NIS 2 million (~$580,000) per year per company, “the Mossad will receive access to the IP [initial product] developed during R&D [Research and Development] while under contract, and a non-commercial, non-exclusive license to use it. Libertad’s contract with the company will not provide it with any additional rights.” In an interview with Calcalist Tech, Mossad Director Yossi Cohen told the paper that the Mossad’s partnership with civilian companies in Israel is “excellent” and that the agency will continue to strengthen those ties.

Israeli intelligence has a documented history in placing “backdoors” into technology products for the purpose of surveillance, with one well-known case being Israel’s repurposing of the PROMIS software, discussed in Part III of MintPress’ series on Jeffrey Epstein. Furthermore, given that U.S. intelligence, specifically the NSA, had “backdoors” placed into the products of major Silicon Valley companies (a service performed by Israeli intelligence-linked tech companies no less), Mossad may very well plan on doing the same with the technology products of companies it backs through Libertad.

Tim Shorrock, investigative journalist and author of Spies For Hire: The Secret World of Intelligence Outsourcing, told MintPress that the Mossad’s continuation of such practices through Libertad was definitely plausible, especially given what Shorrock described as the “unusual” choice of Libertad choosing not to release the identities of the companies in which it invests.

“The Mossad is trying to hide what they are investing in,” Shorrock stated, adding that Libertad’s secrecy “raises a lot of questions” particularly given that it was modeled after the CIA’s In-Q-Tel. Shorrock noted that In-Q-Tel and other venture capital funds with ties to U.S. intelligence or the U.S. military rarely, if ever, hide the identities of the companies they finance.

However, Libertad is merely the latest and most public expression of the Mossad’s interest in Israeli tech start-ups, the lion’s share of which are created by veterans of Unit 8200 or other Israeli intelligence agencies. Indeed, former Mossad Director Tamir Pardo stated in 2017 that “everyone” in the Israeli cybertechnology sector is an “alumni” of either Israeli intelligence, like the Mossad, or Israeli military intelligence, like Unit 8200. Pardo even went as far as to say that the Mossad itself is “like a start-up.”

Pardo himself, after leaving his post as Mossad director in 2016, dove straight into the world of Israeli tech start-ups, becoming chairman of Sepio Systems, whose two CEOs are former Unit 8200 officers. Sepio Systems’ advisory board includes the former chief information security officer of the CIA, Robert Bigman; former member of the U.S. Military’s Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), Geoff Hancock; and former head of the Israel National Cyber Bureau and veteran of Israeli military intelligence, Rami Efrati. Sepio Systems’ cybersecurity software has been adopted by several banks, telecom and insurance companies, including in the U.S. and Brazil.

Pardo is not the only prominent figure in Israel’s intelligence community to compare Israeli intelligence agencies to tech start-ups. Shin Bet Director Nadav Argaman described Israel’s domestic spy agency in similar terms. “The Shin Bet is like an evolving start-up, with unmatched strength,” Argaman stated in a June 2017 speech, as he extolled the agency’s use of “pre-crime” technology to detain Palestinians based on their social media activity.

Argaman, at the time, claimed that more than 2,000 Palestinians, whom he described as “potential lone-wolf terrorists,” had been arrested as a result of these “breakthrough technological advances” that use artificial-intelligence algorithms to monitor the social media accounts of Palestinians, especially younger Palestinians, for the use of “tripwire” phrases that have been used by Palestinians who later committed acts of violence. In the case of those who use such terms, “their phones are tracked to see if they meet other suspects, or leave their districts to move towards potential Israeli targets. In such cases, security forces detain the suspect,” according to a 2017 report on the practice by The Economist.

The road to fascism, paved by a corrupted PROMIS

Though Israeli intelligence’s interest in tech companies goes back several years, there is a well-documented history of Israeli intelligence using bugged software to surveil and gain “backdoor” access to government databases around the world, particularly in the United States.

As was mentioned in Part III of MintPress’ Epstein series, a sinister yet cunning plan was executed to place a backdoor for Israeli intelligence into the Prosecutor’s Management Information System (PROMIS) software, which was then being used by the U.S. Department of Justice and was the envy of government agencies, particularly intelligence agencies, around the world. This bugged version of PROMIS — born out of the collusion between Earl Brian, Ronald Reagan’s then-envoy to Iran, and Rafi Eitan, then-director of the now-defunct Israeli intelligence agency Lekem — was seeded around the world by Brian’s company Hadron as well as by Mossad-linked media mogul Robert Maxwell, father of Jeffrey Epstein’s long-time girlfriend and alleged madam, Ghislaine Maxwell.

After this first PROMIS “backdoor” was discovered, Israel would again gain access to sensitive U.S. government communications, as well as civilian communications, thanks to the collusion between Israeli intelligence and Israeli telecom and tech companies, especially Amdocs and Comverse Infosys (now Verint), that were operating throughout the United States. Today, Unit 8200-linked start-ups appear to have taken up the torch.

While the PROMIS software is perhaps best known for offering Israeli intelligence a backdoor into as many as 80 intelligence agencies and other sensitive locations around the world for nearly a decade, it was also used for a very different purpose by prominent officials linked to Iran-Contra.

One key Iran-Contra figure — Lt. Col. Oliver North, then serving on the National Security Council — decided to use PROMIS neither for espionage nor for foreign policy. Instead, North turned PROMIS’ power against Americans, particularly perceived dissidents, a fact that remained unknown for years.

Beginning in 1982, as part of the highly classified Continuity of Government (COG) program, North used the PROMIS software at a 6,100-square-foot “command center” in the Department of Justice, as well as at a smaller operations room at the White House, to compile a list of American dissidents and “potential troublemakers” if the COG protocol was ever invoked.

According to a senior government official with a high-ranking security clearance and service in five presidential administrations who spoke to Radar in 2008, this was:

A database of Americans, who, often for the slightest and most trivial reason, are considered unfriendly, and who, in a time of panic might be incarcerated. The database can identify and locate perceived ‘enemies of the state’ almost instantaneously.”

In 1993, Wired described North’s use of PROMIS in compiling this database as follows:

Using PROMIS, sources point out, North could have drawn up lists of anyone ever arrested for a political protest, for example, or anyone who had ever refused to pay their taxes. Compared to PROMIS, Richard Nixon’s enemies list or Sen. Joe McCarthy’s blacklist look downright crude.”

The COG program defined this “time of panic” as “a national crisis, such as nuclear war, violent and widespread internal dissent, or national opposition to a US military invasion abroad,” whereby the government would suspend the Constitution, declare martial law, and incarcerate perceived dissidents and other “unfriendlies” in order to prevent the government’s (or then-serving administration’s) overthrow.

This secretive database has often been referred to as “Main Core” by government insiders and, most troubling of all, it still exists today. Journalist Christ Ketcham, citing senior government officials, reported in 2008 that, at that time, Main Core was believed to contain the names of as many as 8 million Americans. Eleven years later, it is highly likely that the number of Americans included in the Main Core database has grown considerably.

Author and investigative journalist Tim Shorrock also covered other disturbing aspects of the evolution of Main Core back in 2008 for Salon. At the time, Shorrock reported that the George W. Bush administration was believed to have used Main Core to guide its domestic surveillance activities following the September 11 attacks.

Citing “several former U.S. government officials with extensive knowledge of intelligence operations,” Shorrock further noted that Main Core — as it was 11 years ago at the time his report was published — was said to contain “a vast amount of personal data on Americans, including NSA intercepts of bank and credit card transactions and the results of surveillance efforts by the FBI, the CIA and other agencies.”

Bill Hamilton, former NSA intelligence officer and the original creator of the PROMIS software, told Shorrock at the time that he believed that “U.S. intelligence uses PROMIS as the primary software for searching the Main Core database” and had been told as much by an intelligence official in 1992 and an NSA official in 1995. Dan Murphy, former deputy director at the CIA, had told Hamilton that the NSA’s use of PROMIS was “so seriously wrong that money alone cannot cure the problem.” “I believe in retrospect that Murphy was alluding to Main Core,” Hamilton had told Shorrock.

Though most reporting on Main Core, from the time its existence was first revealed to the present, has treated the database as something used by the U.S. government and U.S. intelligence for domestic purposes, MintPress has learned that Israeli intelligence was also involved with the creation of the Main Core database. According to a former U.S. intelligence official with direct knowledge of the U.S. intelligence community’s use of PROMIS and Main Core from the 1980s to 2000s, Israeli intelligence played a role in the U.S. government’s deployment of PROMIS as the software used for the Main Core domestic surveillance database system.

Israeli intelligence remained involved with Main Core at the time of the August 1991 death of journalist Danny Casolaro, who was investigating not only the government’s misuse of the stolen PROMIS software but also the Main Core database. This same official, who chose to remain anonymous, told MintPress that, shortly before his death, Casolaro had obtained copies of computer printouts from the PROMIS-based Main Core domestic surveillance database system from NSA whistleblower Alan Standorf, who was found murdered a few months before Casolaro’s lifeless body would be found in a West Virginia hotel room.

The source also stated that Main Core’s contents had been used for the political blackmail of members of Congress and their staff, journalists, and others by Walter Raymond, a senior CIA covert operator in psyops and disinformation who served on President Reagan’s National Security Council during and after Main Core’s creation. If used for this purpose by Raymond in the 1980s, Main Core has also likely been used by other individuals with access to the database for blackmailing purposes in the years since.

Given that Israeli intelligence was known to have placed a backdoor into the PROMIS software, before it was marketed and sold around the world by Earl Brian and Robert Maxwell, its role in the U.S. government’s decision to use PROMIS in the creation of Main Core suggests that Israeli intelligence likely advocated for the version of PROMIS containing this backdoor, thereby giving Israeli intelligence access to Main Core. Given that Reagan aides and officials colluded with Israeli “spymaster” Rafi Eitan in his efforts to create a backdoor into the software for Israeli military intelligence, the use of this version of PROMIS in the Main Core database is certainly plausible.

Furthermore, the fact that Israeli intelligence was known to be involved in Main Core nearly a decade after its creation suggests that Israeli intelligence may have played a role in certain aspects of the database, such as the criteria used to flag Americans as “unfriendly,” and — like Walter Raymond — may have used information in the database to blackmail Americans. In addition, the fact that the cooperation between U.S. and Israeli intelligence, particularly between Unit 8200 and the NSA, has only grown since 1991 further suggests that Israeli involvement in Main Core continues to the present.

While Main Core’s very existence is troubling for many reasons, the alleged involvement of a foreign intelligence service in the creation, expansion and maintenance of a database with personal details and potentially damaging information on millions of Americans targeted for detention or increased surveillance in times of crisis is chilling. It is especially so considering that the Trump administration’s latest proposals to prevent mass shootings before they occur are likely to use Main Core to flag certain Americans for increased surveillance or potentially detention, as was done by the George W. Bush administration following the September 11 attacks.

It appears that Main Core serves a dual purpose; first as a mass targeted surveillance system to crush dissent during times of “national crisis” — whether spontaneous or engineered — and, second, as a massive blackmail database used to keep every potential opponent in line during non-emergencies.

Peter Thiel’s Seeing Stone

As was mentioned earlier in this report, Palantir — the company co-founded by Peter Thiel — is set to profit handsomely from the Trump administration’s plans to use its “pre-crime” technology, which is already used by police departments throughout the country and also used to track Americans based on the company’s integrative data-mining approach. Palantir, named for the “seeing stones” in the Lord of the Rings novels, also markets software to foreign (and domestic) intelligence agencies that predicts the likelihood that an individual will commit an act of terrorism or violence.

Aside from its “pre-crime” products, Palantir has come under fire in recent years as a result of the company’s contracts with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), where it created an intelligence system known as Investigative Case Management (ICM). The IB Times described ICM as “a vast ‘ecosystem’ of data to help immigration officials in identifying targets and creating cases against them” and also “provides ICE agents with access to databases managed by other federal agencies.” ICM further gives ICE access to “targets’ personal and sensitive information, such as background on schooling, employment, family relationships, phone records, immigration history, biometrics data, criminal records as well as home and work addresses.” In other words, Palantir’s ICM is essentially a “Main Core” for immigrants.

Notably, part of Oliver North’s original intentions in “Main Core” was to track immigrants then coming from Central America as well as Americans who opposed Reagan era policy with respect to Central America. At that time, Main Core was believed to be controlled by the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA), which is now part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

VICE News reported in July that the Northern California Regional Intelligence Center, which is run by DHS, “serves around 300 communities in northern California and is what is known as a ‘fusion center,’ a Department of Homeland Security intelligence center that aggregates and investigates information from state, local, and federal agencies, as well as some private entities, into large databases that can be searched using software like Palantir. “ VICE further noted that this center alone used Palantir to surveil as many as 8 million Ameicans. There are many more such DHS “fusion centers” throughout the United States.

If the Trump administration moves forward with its proposal of employing technology to detect potential mass shooters before they strike, Palantir’s technology is set to be used, given that it has already been used by U.S. law enforcement and U.S. intelligence to determine which people run “the highest risk of being involved in gun violence,” according to an investigation of Palantir by The Verge. Furthermore, Palantir’s close ties to the Trump administration make the company’s role in a future nationwide “pre-crime” prevention system based on technology appear inevitable.

Worse still is the apparent overlap between Palantir and Main Core. Palantir — which has obvious similarities to PROMIS — is already known to use its software to track potential terror threats, including domestic terror threats, and a category of people it refers to as “subversives.” Palantir’s tracking of these individuals “is all done using prediction.” Palantir’s close ties to the U.S. intelligence community suggest that Palantir may already have access to the Main Core database. Tim Shorrock told MintPress that Palantir’s use of Main Core is “certainly possible,” particularly in light of the company’s use of the term “subversive” to describe a category of people that its software tracks.

Palantir also has alleged ties to Israeli intelligence, as there have long been suspicions that Israeli intelligence has used Palantir as part of its AI “pre-crime” algorithms targeting Palestinians after Palantir opened a research and development (R&D) center in Israel in 2013. The current head of Palantir Israel, Hamultal Meridor, previously founded a brain-machine interface organization and was senior director of web intelligence at Verint (formerly Comverse Infosys), which has deep connections to Unit 8200, a history of espionage in the United States and was one of the two companies contracted by the NSA to insert a “backdoor” into the U.S. telecommunications system and popular products of major American tech companies.

Given the above, Peter Thiel’s 2018 decision to fund Carbyne, the Unit 8200-linked start-up that markets itself as a technological solution to mass shootings in the U.S., strongly suggests that Thiel has been anticipating for some time the now-public efforts of the Trump administration to employ “pre-crime” technology to track and target Americans who show signs of “mental illness” and “violent tendencies.”

A nightmare even Orwell could not have predicted

In early August, in the wake of the shooting at an El Paso Walmart, President Trump called on big tech companies to collaborate with the Justice Department in the creation of software that “stops mass murders before they start” by detecting potential mass shooters before they cnm act. Though Trump’s ideas were short on specifics, there is now a new proposal that would create a new government agency that will use data gathered from civilian electronic devices to identify “neurobehavioral” warning signs, thereby flagging “potential shooters” for increased surveillance and potentially detention.

This new agency, as proposed by the foundation led by former NBC Universal president and vice chairman of General Electric Robert Wright, would be known as the Health Advanced Research Projects Agency (HARPA) and would be modeled after the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Per the proposal, recently detailed by the Washington Post, the flagship program of HARPA would be “Safe Home” (Stopping Aberrant Fatal Events by Helping Overcome Mental Extremes), which would use “breakthrough technologies with high specificity and sensitivity for early diagnosis of neuropsychiatric violence,” specifically “advanced analytical tools based on artificial intelligence and machine learning.”

The program would cost an estimated $60 million over four years and would use data from “Apple Watches, Fitbits, Amazon Echo and Google Home” and other consumer electronic devices, as well as information provided by health-care providers to identify who may be a threat.

The Washington Post reported that President Trump has reacted “very positively” to the proposal and that he was “sold on the concept.” The Post also noted that Wright sees the president’s daughter, Ivanka, as “the most effective champion of the proposal and has previously briefed her on HARPA himself.” Ivanka has previously been cited as a driving force behind some of her father’s policy decisions, including his decision to bomb Syria after an alleged chemical weapons attack in 2017.

Liz Fed — president of the Susan Wright Foundation, which is led by Robert Wright and created the proposal for HARPA and “Safe Home” — told the Post that the proposal emulated DARPA because “DARPA is a brilliant model that works. They have developed the most transformational capabilities in the world for national security…We’re not leveraging the tools and technologies available to us to improve and save lives.” Fed further asserted that DARPA’s technological approach had yet to be applied to the field of healthcare.

For anyone familiar with DARPA, such claims should immediately sound loud alarm bells, especially since DARPA is already developing its own solution to “mental health” issues in the form of a “brain-machine interface” as part of its N3 program. That program, according to reports, involves “noninvasive and ‘minutely’ invasive neural interfaces to both read and write into the brain,” help distance soldiers “from the emotional guilt of warfare” by “clouding their perception” and “to program artificial memories of fear, desire, and experiences directly into the brain.” Though N3 is intended to improve the prowess of American soldiers, it is also set to be used as a means of pursuing DARPA’s Systems-Based Neurotechnology for Emerging Therapies (SUBNETS) project, which aims to “to develop a tiny, implanted chip in the skull to treat psychiatric disorders such as anxiety, PTSD and major depression.”

Given that HARPA’s lead scientific adviser is Dr. Geoffrey Ling, former director and founder of DARPA’s Biological Technologies Office (BTO), which “merges biology, engineering, and computer science to harness the power of natural systems for national security,” it seems likely that DARPA’s neurological-focused research programs, like SUBNETS and N3, would be folded into HARPA’s portfolio, making the proposed agency’s approach to mental health very questionable indeed.

Aside from the dystopian nature of both DARPA and potentially HARPA’s approach to mental health, there is grave cause for concern regarding the Trump administration’s moves to address U.S. mass shooting events by implementing pre-crime technology based on artificial intelligence, data-mining and mass surveillance, technologies already laying in wait thanks to companies like Palantir and numerous Israeli tech start-ups led by former Unit 8200 officers.

With companies like Carbyne — with its ties to both the Trump administration and to Israeli intelligence — and the Mossad-linked Gabriel also marketing themselves as “technological” solutions to mass shootings while also doubling as covert tools for mass data collection and extraction, the end result is a massive surveillance system so complete and so dystopian that even George Orwell himself could not have predicted it.

Following another catastrophic mass shooting or crisis event, aggressive efforts will likely follow to foist these “solutions” on a frightened American public by the very network connected, not only to Jeffrey Epstein, but to a litany of crimes and a frightening history of plans to crush internal dissent and would-be dissenters in the United States.

Whitney Webb is a MintPress News journalist based in Chile. She has contributed to several independent media outlets including Global Research, EcoWatch, the Ron Paul Institute and 21st Century Wire, among others. She has made several radio and television appearances and is the 2019 winner of the Serena Shim Award for Uncompromised Integrity in Journalism.

September 6, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Big Tech & Big Brother meet at Facebook HQ to discuss how to ‘secure’ US elections

RT | September 5, 2019

Security teams for Facebook, Google, Twitter and Microsoft met with the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and the Director of National Intelligence’s office to coordinate a strategy to win – er, secure – the 2020 elections.

The tech platforms met with government officials at Facebook’s Menlo Park headquarters on Wednesday, the company has confirmed, boasting that Big Tech and Big Brother have developed a “comprehensive strategy” to get control of previous election-related “vulnerabilities” while “analyzing and getting ahead of new threats.”

Facebook has scrambled to get in front of the 2020 election after being blamed for Trump’s 2016 electoral victory over merely allowing the “Russian trolls” to buy a bunch of ads, most of which appeared after the vote and had nothing to do with the election. But the company insisted last week it had tightened its rules for verifying purchasers of “political” ads, for real this time, after the 2018 contest showed they could still be duped into running obviously-fake ads “paid for by” the Islamic State terror group and Cambridge Analytica.

Aside from the occasional purge of accounts accused of being linked to countries like Russia, Iran, and China on the US’ ever-lengthening enemies’ list, however, it’s hard to tell what exactly any platform has done to make itself immune to ‘manipulation’. Twitter banned state-owned media from buying ads on its platform last month, holding the move up as a victory against the dreaded “foreign meddling,” but its own founder’s account was hacked last week, suggesting it has bigger security issues than a few wrongthink-prone advertisers.

And Google’s potential to sway elections has been the subject of Senate hearings – yet the company has remained silent on addressing the problem, suggesting it doesn’t see it as a bug at all, but a feature. Subsidiary YouTube, meanwhile, conducted another round of deplatforming last month even while declaring it was an open platform for controversial ideas.

The electoral meeting of the minds came less than a week after the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Projects Research Agency (DARPA) declared war on deepfakes and other potentially discord-sowing information, promising to neutralize all “malicious” content within four years – if not for this election, then certainly for the next.

Until then, there’s Microsoft’s ElectionGuard software, which the company announced in July it would provide to all the nation’s voting machines, free of charge, out of the goodness of its (and the Pentagon-owned contractor that helped develop the program’s) heart. And if Microsoft’s act of selfless charity doesn’t convince a district their democracy is worth protecting, there’s always Cyberdome, the election security nonprofit advised by half a dozen former intel agency heads who want what’s best for your vote (when they’re not authorizing torture or warrantless wiretapping).

Getting the DHS involved was a nice touch, too, after that agency was accused of attempting to hack electoral systems in multiple states thousands of times during the period surrounding the 2016 election. Unlike the “Russian hacking” allegations that remain unproven, multiple officials from Idaho, Georgia, Indiana, West Virginia, and Kentucky claim the agency attempted to access their systems after they opposed its efforts to “secure” those systems. After initially denying any involvement, the DHS claimed the attempted breach alarms were set off accidentally, during routine “legitimate work.”

September 5, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Google’s Power to Shift Elections—Zachary Vorhies, Greg Coppola and Dr. Robert Epstein

American Thought Leaders – The Epoch Times – August 23, 2019

According to Google whistleblower Zachary Vorhies, how is Google suppressing certain viewpoints, promoting others, and altering public perception?

Is there evidence of active intent on the part of Google staff or executives?

And in the eyes of Dr. Robert Epstein, what are the broader implications of Google bias—whether intentional or unintentional—for America and beyond?

This is American Thought Leaders 🇺🇸, and I’m Jan Jekielek.

In this special episode, we sit down with Google whistleblower Zachary Vorhies, a former senior Google engineer, who recently leaked nearly 1000 pages of documents that he says suggest Google has been secretly acting as a publisher, selectively boosting or demoting content, while publicly claiming to be a neutral platform.

We sent Google some questions regarding each specific allegation that Vorhies made in our interview. Google has not responded to our requests for comments.

We also spoke to another Google whistleblower Greg Coppola, who has also called out big tech bias, and Dr. Robert Epstein, a leading expert on Google search engine bias, to get their take on the leaked documents and Vorhies’ allegations against Google.

August 30, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance | | Leave a comment

Google Is Not a Search Engine, It Is a Social Engineering Program

By Helen Buyniski – Helen of Destroy – August 28, 2019

If you had the opportunity to interview a whistleblower from one of the world’s most powerful companies after he’d leaked nearly 1,000 pages of internal company documents revealing the company is not only manipulating US politics, but working hard to alter the very fabric of society and mold humanity in its preferred image, surely you would take it. We all would. Unless that whistleblower is Zach Vorhies, whom the Daily Beast – which the media has apparently declared the arbiter of who can and cannot be taken seriously – smeared in a comprehensive hit-job, cobbling together out-of-context tweets to portray the eight-year Google vet as an unhinged conspiracy theorist talking to himself and smearing (rhetorical) feces on the walls. Somehow, the media was convinced of the reality of this portrayal – even many of the outlets that had gleefully reported on Vorhies’ leaks when the first tranche was dumped anonymously via conservative muckraking outlet Project Veritas chose to pass on an interview. Perhaps there was a threat from Google behind their reluctance, and the Beast smear was only a cover. Regardless, society can’t pick and choose its whistleblowers. A software engineer who worked at Google for eight years is going to have a lot of interesting things to say about what goes on at that company, and we would be fools not to listen. Besides – as Vorhies himself said – his supposedly “fringe” views are held by many more people than the media would like us to believe, and we’d be wise to consult trends.google.com before dismissing them as unhinged tinfoil hattery.

I interviewed Vorhies for Progressive Radio Network, because Google already blacklists my site, so I haven’t got far to fall. Google is not a search company, not an email company, not even an ad sales company. It is a surveillance and social engineering project. No one knows that better than the people who work there. Reading the internal documents a massive behavioral-control matrix starts to take shape, complete with “nudges” in the proper direction and Orwellian linguistic gymnastics (“machine learning fairness,” “badness vector”) to frame this social control scheme as a bloodless, AI-directed utopia. We must never forget that there are people who program the algorithms we’ve entrusted with our data, and those people do not work for us. Google’s origins are intertwined with the CIA and DARPA. Google is Big Brother.

August 30, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular, Video | | 1 Comment

‘My Work is Rock Solid’: Researcher Defends Google Electioneering Findings Bashed by Clinton

Sputnik – August 30, 2019

When US President Donald Trump cited a report on Google’s election manipulation last week, Hillary Clinton and the mainstream media attacked both the study and its author as inaccurate. However, the author told Sputnik not only is his research “rock solid,” its damning indictment of Google includes Clinton and the Democrats, too.

“I have concerns about three big areas: one is surveillance, the second is censorship, and the third, which is the one I focus on in my research, is manipulation,” Dr. Robert Epstein, senior research psychologist at the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology, told Radio Sputnik’s Fault Lines [Interview begins at 132:30] Thursday. His findings were cited in August 19 tweets by both Clinton and Trump in their continuing spat over the results of the 2016 election, when they found themselves at odds over who would become the 45th US president.

“Both of those assertions are completely false; my work is rock solid,” he told Sputnik, referring to Clinton’s claim that his work was debunked and had relied on a tiny data selection. “It adheres to the very highest standards of scientific research; it always has.”

“We have this false impression that Google provides a bunch of free services and that that’s all Google is,” he said. “They’re not free services! Those services are all just … gussied-up surveillance platforms. And then they take the information and they sell it to advertisers, and that has produced almost 90% of their revenue for almost 20 years. They’re an advertising company.”

Epstein first sought to dispel the idea that he had it out for either Clinton or Google.

“I’ve been a supporter of the Clintons, period, for decades,” he clarified to hosts Garland Nixon and Lee Stranahan, also noting, “I admire Google. They’re an amazing, amazing company.”

Remarking about his research into the impact of search result placement on the opinions of the information-seekers, Epstein said, “I’ve learned not just about search results but about all kinds of new ways in which these big tech platforms, particularly Google, can shift opinions about anything, can shift millions of votes, without anyone knowing they’re being influenced and without leaving a paper trail for authorities to trace.”

“My first big, big report, on what I call SEME – Search Engine Manipulation Effect – the power that search results have to shift opinions and votes massively around the world, that report was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,” he said, noting it was ranked in the top 1% of the academy’s papers.

Epstein said Clinton got the assertion that his study had been debunked and that it relied on 21 people, instead of tens of thousands, “from Google,” noting that she obviously didn’t look into his research.

“I kinda get it: she has a very cozy relationship with Google. I could talk for an hour about just that issue: I mean, her number 1 donor in 2016 was Google; her chief technology officer, Stephanie Hannon, was a former Google executive; the head of Google, Eric Schmidt, offered to run her tech campaign in writing,” Epstein said. “And he set up a secretive tech company called ‘The Groundwork,’ that he ran and he financed, as the head of Google, the sole purpose of which was to put Hillary Clinton into office.”

However, Clinton’s criticisms of Epstein soon grabbed the attention of the mainstream media, and through a mix of ‘telephone game’ and dramatic amplification soon reached absurd proportions. “I mean, everywhere, I’ve been slaughtered, I’ve been crucified,” he said.

“My research has opened up a Pandora’s Box, because my research shows that if the platform itself – Google – if the platform itself wants to favor one music service or one comparative shopping service or one candidate or one party, guess what? There’s no way you can counteract that. And it turns out that those search rankings are so powerful in shifting opinions that they can easily flip elections,” he said.

A recent Google casualty might be anti-monopolist presidential candidate Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), who has opened a $50 million lawsuit alleging that Google arbitrarily suspended her presidential campaign’s advertising account during a key fundraising period following the first Democratic debate in late June, when she was the most-searched among all candidates in the debate. Now that she has failed to qualify for the third debate, for which one of the key requirements was meeting certain fundraising goals, the damage done to the candidate by Google’s suspension is palpable.

Epstein admitted that Google’s “ephemeral” search results, uniquely generated for each person, were impossible to track – at first. That made it hard to prove in practice that such a biased influence exists. “In 2016, I built the first-ever system for monitoring search results, and I captured 13,207 election-related searches – not just on Google, [but on] Google, Bing and Yahoo – and the 98,000 web pages to which the search results linked, analyzed the data, found tremendous pro-Hillary Clinton bias on Google, but not on Bing or Yahoo.”

“I believe in democracy and our country and the free and fair election more than I believe in any particular candidate or party, period,” Epstein told Sputnik, noting he’d said the same in his testimony before Congress earlier this month. “So I am reporting what I have found, and it’s very disturbing, and it’s a serious threat to the free and fair election, to democracy, to human autonomy … I’m just speaking the truth about what I have found, and what I have found is rock solid and extremely, extremely frightening.”

“And it’s affected not just the United States: Google, and to a lesser extent Facebook, are impacting the opinions, attitudes, purchases, beliefs, votes, of more than 2-and-a-half billion people in virtually every country in the world,” he said. “That number will soon be over 4 billion people.”

August 30, 2019 Posted by | Deception | , , | Leave a comment

‘Absolutely Hypocritical’: Social Media Hunt for Pro-Beijing Accounts Ignores US Influence Ops

Sputnik – August 24, 2019

In the last week, social media giants moved to silence critics of the anti-Beijing protests in Hong Kong, disabling thousands of accounts, pages and channels by claiming they’re promoting “disinformation” and “sowing discord.” But the move is deeply hypocritical, a technologist told Sputnik, because these companies do the same thing constantly.

Since Monday, Facebook, Twitter and Google have between them disabled hundreds of thousands of accounts judged to be behaving “in a coordinated manner,” as Google said, and “deliberately and specifically attempting to sow political discord in Hong Kong, including undermining the legitimacy and political positions of the protest movement on the ground,” as Twitter put it. The three tech giants noted they each relied on tips from the others and that their reasoning was identical.

“‘In a coordinated manner,’ or all these phrases that Twitter, Facebook and Google use – ‘inauthentic coordinated behavior’ – they mean whatever those companies want it to mean,” web developer and technologist Chris Garaffa told Radio Sputnik’s By Any Means Necessary Friday. “They mean absolutely nothing to the rest of us.”

“These companies are doing the bidding of the US State Department and, in general, of Western capitalism. Their previous targets have been Russian accounts, they have been Iranian accounts, they have been Venezuelan accounts,” he noted. “And also, independent accounts and news sources that report a different perspective than the mainstream Western-spaced narrative. I mean, Google has delisted RT and Sputnik from news results. Facebook and Twitter have taken down the pages of VenezuelAnalysis and, at one point, TeleSUR English, even. Those, thankfully, have been reinstated after mass outrage.”

“Even if these accounts were being planned and coordinated with their tweets and their posts, it’s absolutely hypocritical, because the US does the same thing through Voice of America and other agencies; through the National Endowment for Democracy they do that. The Israel Defense Forces have an entire social media operations wing where they have people do the same thing whenever there’s news about Israel. They actually go out and basically combat anything they see as negative about Israel.”

“First of all, we have to consider the fact that we’re giving all these companies – or, these companies have this absolute free reign to shut down accounts and to do all of these things. They’re private companies,” Garaffa noted. “They are beholden to shareholders, but they are also beholden to the interests of capital, and so is the US government as the executive, so to say, of the capitalist market.”

The technologist said our consciousness “is absolutely being manipulated” by our use of these sites.

“There are many, many studies showing how just what the results from a Google search can do to an election. You want to talk about election interference, let’s talk about the way Google manipulated search results, or the way Facebook will show you what it thinks you want to see, even if those stories are absolutely fake. They often create echo chambers,” Garaffa explained.

August 24, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , | Leave a comment

YouTube axes anti-protest channels as US Ministry of Truth battles China over Hong Kong

RT | August 23, 2019

YouTube has disabled 210 channels for posting content related to the Hong Kong protests “in a coordinated manner,” following in the footsteps of Facebook and Twitter in restricting its arbitrary censorship to pro-China accounts.

“Channels in this network behaved in a coordinated manner while uploading videos related to the ongoing protests in Hong Kong,” Google threat analyst Shane Huntley claimed in a blog post on Thursday, adding that the Google team’s “discovery” was “consistent with recent observations and actions related to China announced by Facebook and Twitter.”

Translation? The channels were “sowing political discord” on behalf of the Chinese government, and had to be stopped. How did Google know it was the Chinese nefariously attempting to poison the minds against the protesters? The “use of VPNs” and “other methods of disguise” – widespread in the era of mass surveillance – was all the proof required to wipe the channels out of existence.

Twitter got the anti-China censorship ball rolling earlier this week, in perhaps the first-ever social media preemptive strike “proactively” deplatforming hundreds of thousands of accounts for the capital crime of “sowing discord.” Their crimes included “undermining the legitimacy and political positions of the protest movement on the ground.” One could argue that the protests themselves are a form of political discord, but resistance is futile when charged with such an inchoate offense.

None of the social media platforms have ever defined what exactly constitutes “attempting to sow discord,” though a common thread running through the mass deplatformings of the past year suggests it involves posting in support of a government the US doesn’t like – whether Russia, Iran, Venezuela, or China.

The social media Ministry of Truth has become increasingly open about the irrelevance of truth in what constitutes actionable disinformation. One group of “experts” in the spread of disinfo online even published a paper this week explaining that true statements could constitute disinformation if they were arranged to serve a purpose, calling for platforms to expand their definition of “inauthentic behavior” to include anyone reposting information portraying the “good guys” in a negative light.

The Chinese government challenged Twitter to explain its decision to ban state-owned media from advertising, asking “Why is it that China’s official media’s presentation is surely negative or wrong?”

Beijing has pointed to a US role in fanning the flames of unrest, a charge that grows more plausible with every day the protests continue despite having succeeded in forcing the Hong Kong government to withdraw a bill that would have allowed criminal suspects to be extradited to China. Armies of pro-protest tweeters swarm any post by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo with pleas to intervene in their plight, even as US lawmakers threaten to rain down fire and fury should anyone harm a hair on a protester’s head. And photos of the protest leaders meeting with US diplomats suggest there is certainly some “coordinated inauthentic behavior” at play on the other side.

YouTube, as a subsidiary of Google, has been exposed as even more partisan than Twitter’s arbiters of truth. A whistleblower released nearly 1,000 pages of internal documentation earlier this month showing YouTube’s algorithms were aimed more at shaping reality than at accurately portraying it. The platform removed Iranian state media channels as Washington ramped up tensions with Tehran in the Strait of Hormuz, and its deactivation of pro-China channels now suggests the protests – despite achieving their initially stated goal – are far from over.

August 23, 2019 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , | Leave a comment

Google, Groupthink & the Media

The media fosters intellectual conformity. Is Google taking the same path?

By Donna Laframboise | Big Picture News | August 7, 2019

Two days ago I wrote about Google Camp, a secretive, high-security, annual extravaganza involving the hyper wealthy and the world famous. This year’s theme was climate change. Ironic, given that participants arrived aboard more than 100 private airplanes.

While the UK press judged this event to be newsworthy, most of the US and Canadian media said not one word about it. Making climate warriors look bad isn’t what North American journalists do.

But there are other reasons it should have been reported on aggressively. Google is the kind of multinational tech giant that may be getting too big and too powerful for society’s good. It wields enormous influence, yet is subject to few checks and balances.

There are many ways in which companies such as Google can covertly influence elections, undermining democracy itself (see here and here). From this perspective, sustained scrutiny of Google may be even more important than scrutiny of a particular government or a particular political leader. Presidents come and go. Google remains, accreting and accumulating.

What is the purpose, one wonders, of throwing a no-expense-spared party for the massively privileged each year? What does Google get out of it? What does it expect in return?

It seems to me this is a soft way of encouraging conformity of opinion amongst film stars, musicians, and athletes who all have their own Twitter and Instagram accounts. Not sure climate change is a big deal? For heaven’s sake, don’t say so publicly. You wouldn’t want to get on Google’s ‘naughty’ list and never be invited back.

But conformity of opinion is not a social good. If one of the world’s most powerful corporations is nurturing groupthink, what are the consequences for the larger community?

This isn’t a new concern. Back in 1978, when future Google founders Sergely Brin and Larry Page were cute five-year-olds, legendary Soviet human rights activist Alexandr Solzhenitsyn delivered a commencement address at Harvard.

By then he’d been in the West long enough to compare and contrast with the totalitarian East Bloc. In his view, Western journalists were incredibly influential. Yet rather than using their freedom to ignite wide-ranging debate, their everyday choices produced narrow conformity. Strangely, people who should have been endlessly curious about the world, chose not to be:

the press has become the greatest power within the Western countries, more powerful than the legislature, the executive and the judiciary. One would then like to ask: by what law has it been elected and to whom is it responsible?

… someone coming from the East…gradually discovers a common trend of preferences within the Western press as a whole. It is a fashion; there are generally accepted patterns of judgment…the sum effect being not competition but unification.

… Without any censorship, in the West fashionable trends of thought and ideas are carefully separated from those which are not fashionable; nothing is forbidden, but what is not fashionable will hardly ever find its way into periodicals or books or be heard in colleges. Legally your researchers are free, but they are conditioned by the fashion of the day.

… There is a dangerous tendency to form a herd, shutting off successful development. I have received letters in America from highly intelligent persons, maybe a teacher in a faraway small college who could do much for the renewal and salvation of his country, but his country cannot hear him because the media are not interested in him. This gives birth to strong mass prejudices, blindness, which is most dangerous in our dynamic era. [bold added]

The world needs fearless, original thinkers – not conformist androids singing from the same chapter of the same hymn book.

August 7, 2019 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science | | 9 Comments

Tulsi Gabbard vs Google Goliath

By Rick Sterling | Dissident Voice | July 31, 2019

Introduction

The Tulsi Gabbard presidential campaign has filed a major law suit against Google. This article outlines the main points of the law suit and evidence the the social media giant Google has quietly acquired enormous influence on public perceptions and has been actively censoring alternative viewpoints.

Tulsi Now vs Google

Tulsi Now, Inc vs Google, LLC was filed on July 25 in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. The attorneys demand a jury trial and seek compensation and punitive damages of “no less than $50 million”. Major points and allegations in the 36 page complaint include:

* Google has monopolistic control of online searches and related advertising.

“Google creates, operates, and controls its platform and services, including but not limited to Google Search, Google Ads, and Gmail as a public forum or its functional equivalent by intentionally and openly dedicating its platform for public use and public benefit, inviting the public to utilize Google as a forum for free speech. Google serves as a state actor by performing an exclusively and traditionally public function by regulating free speech within a public forum and helping to run elections.” (p. 22)

“Google has used its control over online political speech to silence Tulsi Gabbard, a candidate millions of Americans want to hear from. With this lawsuit, Tulsi seeks to stop Google from further intermeddling in the 2020 United States Presidential Election….. Google plays favorites, with no warning, no transparency – and no accountability (until now).” (p. 2)

* At a critical moment Google undercut the Tulsi Gabbard campaign.

“On June 28, 2019 – at the height of Gabbard’s popularity among internet researchers in the immediate hours after the debate ended, and in the thick of the critical post-debate period… Google suspended Tulsi’s Google Ads account without warning.” (p. 3)

* Google has failed to provide a credible explanation.

The Tulsi campaign quickly sought to restore the account but “In response, the Campaign got opacity and an inconsistent series of answers from Google… To this day, Google has not provided a straight answer – let alone a credible one – as to why Tulsi’s political speech was silence right when millions of people wanted to hear from her.” (p. 4)

Google started by falsely claiming “problems with billing”. Later, as reported in the NY Times story  a Google spokesperson claimed, “Google has automated systems that flag unusual activity on advertiser accounts – including large spending changes – to prevent fraud…. In this case, ‘our system triggered a suspension.’ ”

* Google has a corporate profit motive to oppose Tulsi Gabbard.

“Google has sought to silence Tulsi Gabbard, a presidential candidate who has vocally called for greater regulation and oversight of (you guessed it) Google.” (p. 5)

“During her career in Congress, Gabbard has moved to limit the powers of big tech companies like Google and has fought to keep the internet open and available to all. Gabbard has co-sponsored legislation that prohibits multi-tiered pricing agreements for the privileged few, and she has spoken in favor of reinstating and expanding net neutrality to apply to Internet firms like Google.” (p. 8)

* Google’s Actions have caused significant harm to the Gabbard campaign and violate the U.S. and California constitutions and California business law.

“Through its illegal actions targeting Tulsi Gabbard, Google has caused the Campaign significant harm, both monetary (including potentially millions of dollars in forgone donations) and nonmonetary (the ability to provide Tulsi’s important message with Americans looking to hear it).” (p. 6)

“Google engages in a pattern and practice of intentional discrimination in the provision of its services, including discriminating and censoring the Campaign’s speech based not on the content of the censored speech but on the Campaign’s political identity and viewpoint.” (p. 27)

* The public has an interest in this case.

“Unless the court issues an appropriate injunction, Google’s illegal and unconstitutional behavior will continue, harming both the Campaign and the general public, which has an overwhelming interest in a fair, unmanipulated 2020 United States Election cycle. (p. 34)

Google Explanation is Not Credible

The Tulsi Gabbard Google Ads account was abruptly suspended at a crucial time. The question is why. Was it the result of “unusual activity” triggering an “automatic suspension” as claimed by Google? Or was it because someone at Google changed the software or otherwise intervened to undermine the Tulsi campaign?

Google’s explanation of an “automatic suspension” from “unusual activity” is dubious. First, the timing does not make sense. The sudden rise in searches on “Tulsi Gabbard” began the day before the suspension. Gabbard participated in the first debate, on June 26. Her presence and performance sparked interest among many viewers. Next morning, June 27, media reported that, “Tulsi Gabbard was the most searched candidate on Google after the Democratic debate in Miami“. The second debate took place in the evening of June 27. With discussion of the Democratic candidates continuing, Tulsi Gabbard continued to attract much interest. Around 9:30 pm (ET) on June 27 the Google Ads account was suddenly suspended. If the cause was “unusual activity”, the “automatic trigger” should have occurred long before.

Second, Google was fully aware of the “unusual activity”. In fact, Google was the source of the news reports on the morning of June 27. Reports said:

According to Google Trends, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren was the most searched candidate heading into the debate… After the debate, Gabbard vaulted into first.

Third, it is hard to believe that Google does not have any human or more sophisticated review before suspending a major Ads account on a politically intense night. It should have been obvious that the cause of increased interest in Gabbard was the nationally televised Democratic candidates debate and media coverage.

Fourth, the changing explanation for the sudden suspension, starting with a false claim that there were “problems with billing”, raises questions about the integrity of Google’s response.

Google Secretly Manipulates  Public Opinion

Unknown to most of the public, there is compelling evidence that Google has been secretly manipulating search results to steer public perception and election voting for years.

Dr. Robert Epstein, former editor-in-chief of Psychology Today, has been studying and reporting on this for the past six years. Recently, on June 16, 2019 he testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the Constitution. His testimony is titled “Why Google Poses a Serious Threat to Democracy, and How to End That Threat”.

Epstein has published 15 books and over 300 scientific and mainstream media articles on artificial intelligence and related topics. “Since 2012, some of my research and writings have focused on Google LLC, specifically on the company’s power to suppress content – the censorship problem, if you will – as well as on the massive surveillance the company conducts, and also on the company’s unprecedented ability to manipulate the thoughts and behavior of more than 2.5 billion people worldwide.”

As shown by Dr. Epstein, Google uses several techniques to manipulate public opinion. The results of an online search are biased. Search “suggestions” are skewed. Messages such as “Go Vote” are sent to some people but not to others.

Epstein’s written testimony to Congress includes links to over sixty articles documenting his research published in sites ranging from Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences to Huffington Post. Epstein’s testimony describes “disturbing findings” including:

“In 2016, biased search results generated by Google’s search algorithm likely impacted undecided voters in a way that gave at least 2.6 million votes to Hillary Clinton”. (Epstein notes that he supported Clinton.)

“On Election Day in 2018, the ‘Go Vote’ reminder Google displayed on its home page gave one political party between 800,000 and 4.6 million more votes than it gave the other party.”

“My recent research demonstrates that Google’s ‘autocomplete’ search suggestions can turn a 50/50 split among undecided voters into a 90/10 split without people’s awareness.”

“Google has likely been determining the outcomes of upwards of 25 percent of the national elections worldwide since at least 2015. This is because many races are very close and because Google’s persuasive technologies are very powerful.”

Google is Censoring Alternative Media  

In August 2017 TruePublica reported their experience and predictions in an article titled The Truth War is Being Lost to a Global Censorship Apparatus Called Google“. The article says:

60 percent of people now get their news from search engines, not traditional human editors in the media. It is here where the new information war takes place – the algorithm. Google now takes 81.2 percent of all search engine market share globally…. Google has the ability to drive demand and set the narrative, create bias and swing opinion.

In 2017, the World Socialist Web Site (wsws.org) reported that:

In April, under the guise of combating ‘fake news’, Google introduced new procedures that give extraordinary powers to unnamed ‘evaluators’ to demote web pages and websites. These procedures have been used to exclude the WSWS and other anti-war and oppositional sites. Over the past three months, traffic originating from Google to the WSWS has fallen by approximately 70%…. In key searches relevant to a wide range of topics the WSWS regularly covers – including the U.S. military operations and the threat of war, social conditions, inequality and even socialism – the number of search impressions … has fallen dramatically.

In essence, Google has “de-ranked” and is screening searchers from seeing alternative and progressive websites such as truepublica, globalresearch, consortiumnews, commondreams, Wikileaks, truth-out and many more. WSWS reported numerous specific examples such as this one: “Searches for the term ‘Korean war’ produced 20,932 impressions in May. In July, searches using the same words produced zero WSWS impressions.”

“The policy guiding these actions is made absolutely clear in the April 25, 2017 blog post by Google’s Vice President for Engineering, Ben Gomes, and the updated ‘Search Quality Rater Guidelines’ published at the same time. The post refers to the need to flag and demote ‘unexpected offensive results, hoaxes and conspiracy theories’ – broad and amorphous language used to exclude any oppositional content…. “The ‘lowest’ rating is also to be given to a website that ‘presents unsubstantiated conspiracy theories or hoaxes as if the information were factual.’”

Tulsi Gabbard has not only called for much stricter regulations on high tech and social media giants. She has also challenged the Democratic Party and foreign policy establishment.  In late February 2016 she resigned as vice-chair of the Democratic National Committee to support candidate Bernie Sanders against the establishment favorite, Hillary Clinton. Gabbard has issued sharp criticisms of US foreign policy.  Recently she said:

We hear a lot of politicians say the same argument that we’ve got to stay engaged in the world otherwise we’ll be isolationists as though the only way the United States can engage with other countries is by blowing them up or strangling them with economic sanctions by smashing them and trying to overthrow their governments. This is exactly what’s wrong with this whole premise and the whole view in which too many politicians, too many leaders in this country are viewing the United States role in the world.

Conclusion

Did Google take the next step from silently censoring websites the corporation does not like to undercutting a presidential candidate the corporation does not like?

This is a David vs Goliath story. Google/Alphabet is the 37th largest corporation in the world with enormous political influence in Washington. Whether or not the law suit succeeds, it may serve the public interest by exposing Google’s immense monopolistic power and illustrate the need for much more regulation, transparency and accountability. It may also generate more interest in Gabbard’s message and campaign in the face of efforts to silence her.

Investigative Journalist Rick Sterling can be reached at rsterling1@gmail.com.

August 1, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , | 2 Comments

Israeli Spyware Can Steal Private Data From Apple, Google, Facebook – Reports

Sputnik – July 20, 2019

Israel-based NSO Group became the focus of public attention this spring, when the media reported that its software products are being used to hack WhatsApp messenger, as well as spy on the owners of Android and iOS smartphones.

Spyware from NSO Group can obtain user data from Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft servers, according to an article in The Financial Times.

While NSO has consistently rejected any espionage or hacking allegations, the company has never denied the development of such technology, prompting many questions among experts.

According to the Financial Times, the infected smartphone provides NSO’s Pegasus software with authentication keys for Google Drive, Facebook Messenger and iCloud cloud services. With this technology, Pegasus manages to bypass two-step authentication and email notification.

Users are not notified of suspicious activity.

Some information security experts doubt the effectiveness of Pegasus, but representatives of Amazon and Facebook have already promised to investigate and strengthen the security measures of their cloud services, if necessary.

It was revealed in May that WhatsApp had been targeted by NSO, according to Forbes.

July 20, 2019 Posted by | Corruption, Deception | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Secrets of Silicon Valley: What Big Tech Doesn’t Want You to Know

Corbett • 07/05/2019

Once a sleepy farming region, Silicon Valley is now the hub of a global industry that is transforming the economy, shaping our political discourse, and changing the very nature of our society. So what happened? How did this remarkable change take place? Why is this area the epicenter of this transformation? Discover the dark secrets behind the real history of Silicon Valley and the Big Tech giants in this important edition of The Corbett Report.
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Silicon Valley. Nestled in the southern San Francisco Bay Area of Northern California, the Valley is not just a geographical location. It’s an idea. It’s an expression of the urge to digitize all of the information in the world, and to database, track and store that information. And as we are now beginning to learn, the result of that digitization of everything is a world without privacy. A world where our ability to participate in public debate is subject to the whims of big tech billionaires. A world where freedom is a thing of the past and no one is outside the reach of Big Brother.

For many, this is just a happy coincidence for the intelligence agencies that are seeking to capture and store every detail about every moment of our lives. It is just happenstance that the information-industrial complex now has enough information to track our every move, listen in on our every conversation, map our social networks, and, increasingly, predict our future plans. It is just a series of random events that led to the world of today.

But what the masses do not know is that Silicon Valley has a very special history. One that explains how we came to our current predicament, and one that speaks to the future that we are sleepwalking into. A future of total surveillance and total control by the Big Tech billionaires and their shadowy backers.

These are The Secrets of Silicon Valley: What Big Tech Doesn’t Want You to Know.

You’re tuned into The Corbett Report.

Once known as “The Valley of Heart’s Delight,” the Santa Clara Valley was a bucolic, agrarian area known for its mild climate and blooming fruit trees. Until the 1960s, it was the largest fruit-producing-and-packing region in the world.

Today there are few reminders of the valley’s sleepy farming past. Now dubbed “Silicon Valley,” it is home to many of the world’s largest technology and social media companies, from Google and Facebook to Apple and Oracle, from Netflix and Cisco Systems to PayPal and Hewlett-Packard. It is the hub of a global industry that is transforming the economy, shaping our political discourse, and changing the very nature of our society.

So what happened? How did this remarkable change take place? Why is Silicon Valley the epicenter of this transformation?

The answer is surprisingly simple: WWII happened.

The influx of high-tech research and industry to the region is the direct result of the advent of WWII and the actions of one man: Frederick Terman.

Frederick was the son of Lewis Terman, a pioneer of educational psychology at the Stanford Graduate School of Education. An avowed eugenicist, Lewis Terman popularized IQ testing in America, helping to conduct the first mass administration of an IQ test for the US Army during America’s entry into the First World War.

Frederick Terman attended Stanford, earning an undergraduate degree in chemistry and a master’s degree in electrical engineering before heading to MIT to earn his doctorate in electrical engineering under Vannevar Bush. This connection came into play at the outbreak of World War II, when Bush—now heading up the US Office of Research and Development, which managed nearly all research and development for the US military during wartime—asked Terman to run the top-secret Radio Research Laboratory at Harvard University. There, Terman directed 800 of the country’s top researchers in the emerging field of electronic warfare. Their work included the development of some of the earliest signals intelligence and electronic intelligence equipment, including radar detectors, radar jammers and aluminum chaff to be used as countermeasures against German anti-air defenses.

The Valley as we know it today was born in the post-World War II era when Terman returned to Stanford as dean of the School of Engineering and set about transforming the school into the “MIT of the West.”

STEVE BLANK: Terman, with his war experience, decided to build Stanford into a center of excellence on microwaves and electronics, and he was the guy to do it. The Harvard Radio Research Lab was the pinnacle in the United States of every advanced microwave transmitter and receiver you could think of. And what he does is he recruits eleven former members of the radio research lab and says, “You know, we really don’t have a lab, but congratulations! You’re all now Stanford faculty!” “Oh great, thanks.” They joined Stanford and they set up their own lab: the Electronics Research Lab for basic and unclassified research. And they get the Office of Naval Research to give them their first contract—to actually fund in the post-war Stanford research into microwaves. By 1950, Terman turns Stanford’s engineering department into the MIT of the West, basically by taking all the war innovative R&D in microwaves, by moving it to Stanford, by taking the department heads and key staff.

SOURCE: Secret History of Silicon Valley

With the military research funds flowing into the region, Terman began transforming the San Francisco Bay Area into a high-tech research hot spot. In 1951, he spearheaded the creation of Stanford Industrial Park—now known as Stanford Research Park—a joint venture between Stanford and the City of Palo Alto to attract big technology corporations to the area. The park was a huge success, eventually luring Hewlett-Packard, General Electric, Kodak and other important technology firms, and cementing Silicon Valley as a nexus between Stanford, big tech and government-sponsored research.

And this connection was not tangential. As researcher Steve Blank writes in his own history of Silicon Valley’s military roots:

“During the 1950s Fred Terman was an advisor to every major branch of the US military. He was on the Army Signal Corps R&D Advisory Council, the Air Force Electronic Countermeasures Scientific Advisory Board, a Trustee of the Institute of Defense Analysis, the Naval Research Advisory Committee, the Defense Science Board, and a consultant to the President’s Science Advisory Committee. His commercial activities had him on the board of directors of HP, Watkins-Johnson, Ampex, and Director and Vice Chairman of SRI.  It’s amazing this guy ever slept. Terman was the ultimate networking machine for Stanford and its military contracts.”

It is no secret that Silicon Valley has thrived since the very beginning on Pentagon research dollars and DoD connections. From William Shockley (a rabid eugenicist who spent WWII as a director of Columbia University’s Anti-Submarine Warfare Operations Group and who is sometimes cited as Silicon Valley’s other founding father for his work on silicon semiconductors) to the Stanford Research Institute (a key military contractor that had close ties to the Advanced Research Projects Agency [ARPA]) the US Defense Department has had a key role in shaping the development of the region.

The Stanford Research Institute (SRI) was spearheaded by Terman and created by the trustees of Stanford University in 1946. From its inception, the SRI was instructed to avoid pursuing federal contracts that might embroil Stanford in political matters. But within six months it had already broken this directive, pursuing contracts with the Office of Naval Intelligence. In the 1960s, at the same time that the institute’s Artificial Intelligence Center was creating “Shakey,” the “first mobile robot that could reason about its surroundings,” SRI was targeted by Vietnam War protesters for its contract work with ARPA, the Pentagon arm devoted to developing cutting edge technology. The pressure caused Stanford University to formally cut its ties with SRI in the 1970s, but the institute’s military-funded research did not stop there.

The Stanford Research Institute was to become the second node in the ARPANET, the Pentagon-created packet-switching network that gave birth to the modern-day internet. The first message ever sent between two computers was sent on the ARPANET between a computer at UCLA and one at SRI.

It was the head of ARPA’s command and control division, Robert Kahn, who set up the first experimental mobile network (known as “PRNET”) around Silicon Valley and formed the initial satellite network (“SATNET”) that connected the early internet internationally. In 1973, Kahn enlisted the help of Vint Cerf, an assistant professor at Stanford University, to develop—as a Department of Defense project—the TCP/IP protocol suite that would help make the internet possible.

In a recent panel discussion hosted by DARPA, the latest moniker for what was originally ARPA, Vint Cerf admitted that the entire ARPANET project was dictated by the Pentagon’s needs for a command and control system that would be responsive to military requirements:

VINT CERF: The internet was motivated by a belief that command and control could make use of computers in order to enable the Defense Department to use its resources better than an opponent. In that particular case—Bob in particular started the program at DARPA in the early 1970s—[we] realized that we had to have the computers in ships at sea, and in aircraft, and in mobile vehicles, and the ARPANET had only done dedicated, fixed . . . You know, machines that were in air-conditioned rooms connected together—you know, roughly speaking, dedicated telephone circuits. So you can’t connect the tanks together with wires because they run over them and they break, and the airplanes, they’ll never make it off the ground, you know, you can see all . . . So this led to the need for mobile radio communication and satellite communication in a networked environment.

The question about global nature here is easily answered. At least I thought we were doing this for the Defense Department, which would have to operate everywhere in the world. And so it could not be as a design that in some way was limited to CONUS, for example. And it also could not be a design that depended at all on the cooperation of other countries allocating, for example, address space. I mean, the sort of silly model of this is if we use country codes to indicate different networks . . . different network identifiers. Imagine that you’ve got to invade country B and before you do that you have to go and say, “Hi, we’re gonna invade your country in a couple of weeks and we need some address space to run another call system.” Yeah, you know, it probably wasn’t gonna work. So we knew it had to be global in scope.

SOURCE: From ARPAnet to the Internet, Web, Cloud, and Beyond: What’s Next?

One of the first demonstrations of the protocol—a 1977 test involving a van equipped with radio gear by SRI that is now dubbed the birth of the modern internet—even simulated “a mobile unit in the field, let’s say in Europe, in the middle of some kind of action trying to communicate through a satellite network to the United States.”

But while direct investment in this technological revolution suited the purposes of the Pentagon, the US intelligence community was pursuing other, more covert avenues for harnessing the incredible potential of Silicon Valley and its surveillance technologies. With the advent of the Cold War and the increased tensions between the US and the USSR in a new, highly technological game of “spy vs. spy,” the funding for research and development of cutting edge technology was placed under a cover of national security and classified.

BLANK: But in the early 1950s, the Korean War changes the game. Post-World War II—those who know your history—we basically demobilized our troops, mothballed our bombers and our fighters, and said, “We’re going to enjoy the post-war benefits.” 1949, the Soviets explode their first nuclear weapon. The Cold War, with the Korean War, becomes hot. All of a sudden, the United States realizes that the world’s changed again, and spook work comes to Stanford.

The military approaches Terman and asks him to set up the Applied Electronics Lab to do classified military programs, and doubles the size of the electronics program at Stanford. They said, “Well, we’ll keep this separate from the unclassified Electronics Research Lab.” But for the first time it made Stanford University a full partner with the military in government R&D.

SOURCE: Secret History of Silicon Valley

The arrival of intelligence agency investment money created a new relationship between the government and the researchers in the Valley. Rather than directly hiring the technology companies to produce the technology, consumer electronics would increasingly be regulated, directed, overseen and infiltrated by government workers, who could then use that technology as the basis for a worldwide signals intelligence operation, directed not only at the militaries of foreign countries, but at the population of the world as a whole.

Now cloaked in a shroud of national security, the government’s role in the development of Big Tech has been largely obscured. But, if you know where to look, the fingerprints of the intelligence agencies are still visible on nearly every major company and technology to emerge from Silicon Valley.

Take Oracle Corporation, for instance. The third-largest software corporation in the world, Oracle is famed for its eponymous database software. What many do not know is that the “Oracle” name itself comes from the firm’s first customer: the CIA. “Project Oracle” was the CIA codename for a giant relational database that was being constructed on contract by Ampex, a Silicon Valley firm. Assigned to the project were Larry Ellison, Bob Miner and Ed Oates. Although Project Oracle “was something of a disaster” it did lead Ellison and his partners to spin off Oracle Corporation, which to this day gets 25% of its business from government contracts.

Or take Sun Microsystems. Founded in 1982, the Silicon Valley software and hardware giant’s flagship Unix workstation, the “Sun-1”, as ComputerWorld explains, “owes its origins rather directly to a half-dozen major technologies developed at multiple universities and companies, all funded by ARPA.” Sun was acquired by Oracle in 2010 for $7.4 billion.

But to an entire generation growing up today, this is ancient history. Sure, the intelligence agencies and the Defense Department were involved in the founding of these Silicon Valley stalwarts. But what about the Silicon Valley of today? What does this have to do with Google or Facebook or PayPal or the Big Tech giants that have become synonymous with computing in the age of the internet?

The modern era of Silicon Valley began in the 1990s, when the advent of the World Wide Web brought the full potential of the computing revolution into homes across America and around the globe. This was the era of the dotcom bubble, when small start-ups with no business plan and no revenue could become million-dollar companies overnight. And behind it all, steering the revolution from the shadows, were the intelligence agencies, who helped fund the core technologies and platforms of the modern internet.

One of the first problems confronting early users of the web was how to search through the dizzying array of personal web sites, corporate web pages, government sites and other content that was coming online every day. In order for the web to turn from a playground for tech geeks and hobbyists into a ubiquitous communication tool, there would need to be a way to quickly sort through the vast amount of information available and return a relevant list of websites to lead users to useful information. Early iterations of online search, including personally curated lists of interesting sites and primitive search engines that relied on simple keyword matching, failed to live up to the task.

By happy coincidence, the problem of cataloguing, indexing, sorting and querying vast troves of information was one that the intelligence agencies were also working on. As the masses of data flowing through the internet gave rise to the era of Big Data, the NSA, the CIA and other members of the US intelligence community recruited the best and the brightest young minds in the country to help them store, search and analyze this information . . . and those searching for it. And, as usual, they turned to Stanford University and the Silicon Valley whiz kids for help.

Google—as the now familiar story goes—started out as a research project of Larry Page and Sergey Brin, two graduate students at Stanford University. Unsurprisingly, one does not have to dig very deep to find the connection to the Defense Department. DARPA—the current name of the oft-rebranded ARPA—was one of the seven military, civilian and law enforcement sponsors of the “Stanford Digital Libraries Project,” which helped fund Page and Brin’s research. DARPA was even thanked by name in the white paper where the idea for Google was first laid out: “The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine.”

Less well-known is the “Massive Digital Data Systems” project spearheaded by the US intelligence community and funded through unclassified agencies like the National Science Foundation. As an email introducing the project to researchers at major US universities in 1993 explains, it was designed to help the intelligence agencies take “a proactive role in stimulating research in the efficient management of massive databases and ensuring that I[ntelligence] C[ommunity] requirements can be incorporated or adapted into commercial products.”

As Jeff Nesbit—former director of legislative and public affairs for the National Science Foundation—detailed in a revealing 2017 article for qz.com on Google’s true origin:

“The research arms of the CIA and NSA hoped that the best computer-science minds in academia could identify what they called ‘birds of a feather:'[sic] Just as geese fly together in large V shapes, or flocks of sparrows make sudden movements together in harmony, they predicted that like-minded groups of humans would move together online.[. . .]

“Their research aim was to track digital fingerprints inside the rapidly expanding global information network, which was then known as the World Wide Web. Could an entire world of digital information be organized so that the requests humans made inside such a network be tracked and sorted? Could their queries be linked and ranked in order of importance? Could ‘birds of a feather’ be identified inside this sea of information so that communities and groups could be tracked in an organized way?”

The project dispersed more than a dozen grants of several million dollars each to help realize this goal of tracking, sorting and mining online behavior in order to identify and categorize communities and track groups in real life. And one of the first recipients of this grant money? Sergey Brin’s team at Stanford and their research into search query optimization.

From its very founding and continuing right through to the present day, Google has maintained close ties to America’s intelligence, military and law enforcement apparatuses. As with all matters of so-called “national security,” however, we only get a window into that relationship from the public and declassified record of contracts and agreements that the tech giant has left in its wake.

In 2003, Google signed a $2.1 million contract with the National Security Agency, the US intelligence community’s shadowy surveillance arm that is responsible for collecting, storing and analyzing signals intelligence in foreign intelligence and counterintelligence operations. Google built the agency a customized search tool “capable of searching 15 million documents in twenty-four languages.” So important was this relationship to Google that when the contract expired in April 2004, they extended it for another year at no cost to the government.

In 2005, it was revealed that In-Q-Tel—the CIA’s venture capital arm and itself the perfect encapsulation of the intelligence agencies’ relationship with Silicon Valley—had sold over 5,000 shares of Google stock. It is not exactly clear how the CIA’s venture capital firm ended up with 5,000 shares of Google stock, but it is believed to have come when Google bought out Keyhole Inc., the developer of the software that later become Google Earth. The company’s name, “Keyhole,” is a none-too-subtle reference to the Keyhole class of reconnaissance satellites that the US intelligence agencies have been using for decades to commit 3D imaging and mapping analysis. Keyhole, Inc. worked closely with the US intelligence community and even bragged that its technology was being used by the Pentagon to support the invasion of Iraq. To this day, the CIA itself describes Google Earth as “CIA-assisted technology” on its own page dedicated to “CIA’s Impact on Technology.”

In 2010, details of a formal NSA-Google relationship began to emerge, but both parties refused to divulge any further information about the relationship. Subsequent reporting suggested that Google had “agreed to provide information about traffic on its networks in exchange for intelligence from the NSA about what it knew of foreign hackers.” More details emerged from a Freedom of Information Act request in 2014, which revealed that Sergey Brin and Eric Schmidt were not only on a first name basis with then-NSA chief General Keith Alexander, but that Google was part of a “secretive government initiative known as the Enduring Security Framework,” and that this initiative involved Silicon Valley partnering with the Pentagon and the US intelligence community to share information “at network speed.”

The Enduring Security Freedom initiative is just one window into how Big Tech can reap big dollars from their relationship with the NSA. In 2013, it emerged that the participants in the PRISM program—the illegal surveillance program which allowed the NSA backdoor access to all information and user data of all of the Big Tech companies—were reimbursed for the program’s expenses by a shadowy arm of the agency known as “Special Source Operations.”

MARINA PORTNAYA: The entire process reportedly cost PRISM participants millions of dollars to implement each successful extension, and those costs, according to US documents, were covered by an arm of the NSA known as “Special Source Operations.” According to The Guardian newspaper, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has described Special Source Operations as the “crown jewel” of the agency that handles all surveillance programs that rely on corporate partnership with telecoms and internet providers to access communication data. Now, this revelation is being considered evidence that a financial relationship between tech companies and the NSA has existed. And as The Guardian newspaper put it, the disclosure that taxpayers money was used to cover the company’s compliance costs raises new questions surrounding the relationship between Silicon Valley and the NSA.

SOURCE: NSA Paid Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Yahoo To Spy On You

The PRISM program itself proves that the military and intelligence agency ties to modern day Silicon Valley do not end with Google. In fact, every one of the Silicon Valley stalwarts that dominate the web today have similar ties to the shadowy world of spooks and spies.

In June 2003, the Information Processing Techniques Office—the information technology wing of DARPA that had overseen the original ARPANET project in the 1960s—quietly posted a “Broad Agency Announcement” to its website to request proposals for an ambitious new project. Labeled “BAA # 03-30,” this “proposer information pamphlet” requested proposals from developers to build an “an ontology-based (sub)system” called LifeLog that “captures, stores, and makes accessible the flow of one person’s experience in and interactions with the world.”

The idea, which seemed somewhat fantastic in 2003, was that users of LifeLog would wear a device that would capture and record all of their transactions and interactions, physical movements, email and phone calls, and a variety of other information. The LifeLog would be presented to users “as a stand-alone system to serve as a powerful automated multimedia diary and scrapbook,” but, as the announcement goes on to reveal, the data collected would be used to help DARPA create a new class of truly ‘cognitive’ systems that can reason in a variety of ways.”

If it had gone ahead, LifeLog would have been a virtual diary of everywhere that its users went, everything they did, everyone they talked to, what they talked about, what they bought, what they saw and listened to, and what they planned to do in the future. It immediately drew criticism as an obvious attempt by the government to create a tool for profiling enemies of the state, and even supporters of the plan were forced to admit that LifeLog “could raise eyebrows if [DARPA] didn’t make it clear how privacy concerns would be met.”

But then, without explanation, the announcement was withdrawn and the project was dropped. DARPA spokesman Jan Walker chalked the cancellation up to “A change in priorities” at the agency, but researchers close to the project admitted that they were baffled by the sudden stopping of the program. “I am sure that such research will continue to be funded under some other title,” wrote one MIT researcher whose colleague had spent weeks working on the proposal. “I can’t imagine DARPA ‘dropping out’ of such a key research area.”

The cancellation of LifeLog was reported by Wired.com on February 4, 2004. That very same day, a Harvard undergrad named Mark Zuckerberg officially launched “TheFacebook.com,” the first incarnation of Facebook, which collects vast amounts of data on its users, offering them the promise of “a powerful automated multimedia diary and scrapbook,” but, as has become more and more evident in recent years, using and selling that data for ulterior motives.

But it is not just this interesting coincidence that connects Facebook to DARPA. Once again, the money that helped “TheFacebook” go from a Harvard “student project” to a multi-billion user internet giant involved a relocation to Silicon Valley and copious injections of venture capital from intelligence-connected insiders. Facebook moved to Palo Alto, California, in 2004 and received its first investment of $500,000 from Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal. But the real money, and the real interest in Facebook, arrived in 2005, in the form of a $12.7 million investment from Accel Partners and an additional $1 million from Accel’s Jim Breyer. Breyer, it turns out, had some interesting connections of his own.

NARRATOR: First venture capital money totaling $500,000 came to The Facebook from venture capitalist Peter Thiel, founder and former CEO of PayPal. He also serves on the board of radical conservative group Vanguard DAC. Further funding came in the form of $12.7 million dollars from venture capital firm Accel Partners. Accel’s manager, James Breyer, was former chair of the National Venture Capital Association. Breyer served on the National Venture Capital Association’s board with Gilman Louie, CEO of In-Q-Tel, a venture capital firm established by the Central Intelligence Agency in 1999. This firm works in various aspects of information technology and intelligence, including, most notably, nurturing data mining technologies. Breyer has also served on the board of BBN Technologies, a research and development firm known for spearheading the ARPANET, or what we know today as the internet.

In October of 2004, Dr. Anita Jones climbed on board BBN along with Gilman Louie, but what is most interesting is Dr. Jones’ experience prior to joining BBN. Jones herself served on the board of directors for In-Q-Tel and was previously the director of defense research and engineering for the US Department of Defense. Her responsibilities included serving as an advisor to the Secretary of Defense and overseeing the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

This goes farther than just the initial appearances. DARPA shot to national fme in 2002, when knowledge of the existence of the Information Awareness Office (IAO) came to light. The IAO stated its mission was to gather as much information as possible about everyone in a centralized location for easy perusal by the United States government, including but not limited to: internet activity; credit card purchase history; airline ticket purchases; car rentals; medical records; educational transcripts; driver’s licenses; utility bills; tax returns; and any other available data.

SOURCE: Facebook CIA connection

It should come as no surprise, then, that the ex-director of DARPA, Regina Dugan, was hired by Google in 2012 to head its Advanced Technology and Projects group, and that she was then hired by Facebook in 2016 to head their “Building 8” research group focusing on experimental technologies like brain sensors and artificial intelligence. Nor is it a surprise to learn that DARPA is already working to weaponize Facebook’s Oculus virtual reality technology for fighting cyberwar.

Nor is it a surprise that Facebook seed money investor Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal, developed Palantir—a data-mining and analysis tool used by the NSA, FBI, CIA and other intelligence, counterterrorism and military agencies—from PayPal’s own fraud-detection algorithm. Or that In-Q-Tel was one of the first outside investors in the Palantir technology, which has gained notoriety in recent years for “using War on Terror tools to track American citizens.”

Nor is it a surprise to learn that Eric Schmidt, the former CEO of Google and current technical advisor to Google parent company Alphabet, is now the chairman of the Pentagon’s “Defense Innovation Board,” which seeks to bring the efficiency and vision of Silicon Valley to the Defense Department’s high-tech innovation initiatives.

Nor is it surprising that Schmidt, in addition to being a member of the elitist Trilateral Commission, is on the steering committee of the Bilderberg Group, a cabal of financiers, industrialists, high-ranking public officials, military brass and royalty that has been meeting annually in nearly total secrecy since 1954. Nor is it surprising that the Bilderberg Group now counts a number of Silicon Valley stalwarts among its ranks, from Schmidt and Thiel to Palantir CEO Alex Karp and former Electronic Frontiers Foundation chair Esther Dyson.

In fact, it would be more surprising to find a major Silicon Valley company that was not connected to the US military or to the US intelligence agencies one way or another. This is not an accident of history or a mere coincidence. The very origins of the internet were in shadowy Pentagon programs for developing the perfect command and control technologies. From the earliest attempts to form electronic databases of information on counterinsurgents in Vietnam right through to today, this technology—as Yasha Levine, author of Surveillance Valley: The Secret Military History of the Internet, explains—was intended to be used as a tool of warfare against target populations.

YASHA LEVINE: To understand what the internet is and what the internet has become, you have to go back to the very beginning. Back to the 1960s, when the internet was being created by the Pentagon. Back then, America was a relatively new global empire facing an increasingly chaotic and violent world. There was the Vietnam War—that was central—but the US was facing insurgencies all around the world, from Latin America to Southeast Asia. It was also facing an increasingly volatile and violent domestic environment. You had the anti-war movement. You had militant black activism. You had groups like The Weather Underground that were setting off bombs seemingly daily in cities all across the country. You had race riots in major cities.

And America’s paranoid generals looked at this, right, and they saw a vast communist conspiracy, of course. They saw the Soviet Union expanding globally, underwriting insurgencies all around the world, backing countries that were opposed to America. At the same time they were underwriting opposition movements in America, and they saw this as a new kind of war that was happening. This is not a traditional war that you could fight with traditional weapons. This is not a war that you could drop a nuke on. It was not a war that you could send a tank division into, because the combatants did not wear uniforms and they did not march in formation. They were part of the civilian population of the conflict that they were taking part in.

So it was as a new kind of war and new kind of global insurgency. And in certain rarefied circles in the military, people who were familiar with the new kind of computer technology being developed, they believe that the only way to fight and win this new war was to develop new information weapons—computer technology that could: ingest data on people and political movements; that could combine opinion surveys, economic data, criminal histories, draft histories, photographs, telephone conversations intercepted by security services; and put that all into databases that could allow analysts to perform sophisticated analysis on it and run predictive surveys. The idea was you have to find out who the enemy is and isolate it from the general population, and then take that enemy out. And at the time some even dreamed of one day creating a global system of management that could watch the world in real-time and intercept threats before they happened in much the same way that America’s early warning radar defense system did for hostile aircraft.

This is the general background from which the internet emerged. Today the counterinsurgency origins of the internet have been obscured. They’ve been lost for the most part. Very few histories even mention it, even in a little bit. But at the time that it was being created in the 1960s, the origins of the internet and the origins of this technology as a tool of surveillance and as a tool of control were very obvious to people back then. At the time people did not see computers and computer networks as tools of liberation or utopian technologies, they saw them as tools of political and social control—and that specifically included the ARPANET, the network that would later grow into the internet.

SOURCE: Yasha Levine: Surveillance Valley: The Secret Military History of the Internet

The internet was never intended as a tool of liberation. It was from its very inception intended to be a tool for tracking, surveilling and, ultimately, controlling a target population. And in the volatile environment of the 1960s, that “target population” quickly morphed from the Viet Cong counterinsurgents into the American public itself and anyone else who could pose a threat to the Pentagon’s ambitions at home or abroad.

Seen in the light of this history, recent developments on the internet make more sense. Silicon Valley did not spring out of the California soil by itself. It was carefully seeded there by the military and intelligence agencies that require this technology to fight the information warfare of the 21st century.

The Department of Defense did not announce in 2003 that they were going to “fight the net” as if it were an enemy weapons system because they were afraid the internet could be weaponized by their enemies. They knew it was already a weapon because they themselves had weaponized it.

The US government is not afraid of the Russians and their ability to “undermine American democracy” by purchasing thousands of dollars of advertising on Facebook. They were the ones who envisioned a LifeLog system to observe and control the population in the first place.

The Pentagon does not fret about the security vulnerabilities of the internet. It exploits those vulnerabilities to develop some of the most destructive cyberweapons yet unleashed, including the US/Israeli-developed Stuxnet.

And, as the next generation of networking technologies threatens to add not just our Facebook data and our Google searches and our tweets and our purchases to the government’s databases, but actually to connect every object in the world directly to those databases, the military is once again at the cutting edge of the next internet revolution.

SEAN O’KEEFE: Internet of Things is penetrating an ever0wider swath of daily life and the global economy. Our good friends and helpful proliferators of information at Wikipedia define the Internet of Things as the network of physical objects—things embedded with electronics (software sensors, network connectivity)—which enables these objects to collect and exchange data. Essentially it allows objects to be sensed and control remotely, creating an integration between physical world and computer systems. Think smart grid: energy systems related to each other to maximize efficiency and all tied to that objective. Internet of Things is transforming modern business, leveraging embedded sensors, connectivity, digital analytics, and the automation to deliver greater efficiency and effectiveness on a wide range of market fronts.

The military has been a leader in developing many of the Internet of Things component technologies, but can do more to leverage the benefits of Internet of Things solutions. The broader national security establishment also faces unique challenges in adopting Internet of Things technologies ranging from security and mission assurance to infrastructure and cost constraints and cultural hurdles. Now, in September, just a couple of months ago, the CSIS Strategic Technologies Program released a report: Leveraging the Internet of Things for a More Efficient and Effective Military, which outlines how the military can adopt lessons from the private sector to take advantage of these broader benefits of Internet of Things.

SOURCE: Leveraging the Internet of Things for a More Efficient and Effective Military – Opening Keynote

From the earliest days of networked computing—when the ARPANET was still just a twinkle in its engineers’ eyes and famed ARPA computer scientist J. C. R. Licklider was writing memos to his colleagues in Palo Alto updating them on his vision for an “Intergalactic Computer Network”—to today, when DARPA scientists are plotting military uses for the Internet of Things,the technology underpinning the US government’s plans for full-spectrum dominance of the cyber world has advanced by leaps and bounds. But the vision itself remains the same.

In this vision, every person is tracked, their conversations recorded, their purchases monitored, their social networks mapped, their habits studied, and, ultimately, their behaviours predicted, so that the Pentagon and the spies of Silicon Valley can better control the human population. And, with the advent of technologies that ensure that every item we own will be spying on us and broadcasting that data through networks that are compromised by the intelligence agencies, that vision is closer than ever to a reality.

And there, helping that vision to come to reality, are the giants of Big Tech who were founded, funded, aided and, when needed, compromised by the spooks, spies and soldiers who desire complete control over the cyber world.

This is the secret of Silicon Valley. In a key sense, the Big Tech giants are the Pentagon and the intelligence community. The DoD and the intelligence agencies are the Big Tech giants. It was this way from the very dawn of modern computing, and it remains this way today.

We should not be surprised that the world of the internet—the world bequeathed to us by the ARPANET—is increasingly looking like an always-on surveillance device. That was what it was intended to be.

Yet the public, blissfully unaware of this reality (or willfully ignorant of it) continues to record their every move in their Facebook LifeLog, flock like birds of a feather to ask their most intimate questions of Google, and feed their personal data into the gaping maw of the PRISM beast.

It may be too late to pull back from the brink of this always-on, always-surveilled, wireless networked precipice . . . but until we look squarely at the facts showing that Big Tech is a front for the US government, we will never hope to escape the silicon trap that they have laid for us.

July 9, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular, Video | , | Leave a comment