Softpanorama

May the source be with you, but remember the KISS principle ;-)
Contents Bulletin Scripting in shell and Perl Network troubleshooting History Humor

Privacy is Dead – Get Over It

Mass surveillance is equal to totalitarism with classic slogan of Third Reich
"if you have nothing to hide, then you have nothing to fear"

News Social Sites as intelligence collection tools Recommended Links

National Security State / Surveillance State: Review of Literature

Big Uncle is Watching You Edward Snowden as Symbol of Resistance to National Security State
Big Brother is Watching You Search engines privacy Email Privacy Blocking Facebook Many faces of Facebook Facebook as Giant Database about Users
Nephophobia: avoiding cloud to reclaim bits of your privacy What Surveillance Valley knows about you Neoliberalism as a New Form of Corporatism Nineteen Eighty-Four Interception of "in-transit" traffic as violation of human rights Government security paranoia
Cyberstalking Total control: keywords in your posts that might trigger surveillance The Real War on Reality How to collect and analyse your own metadata Humor Etc

"None are more enslaved than those who
falsely believe they are free."

- Goethe

It’s not so disturbing that the aggregation occurs, it’s disturbing
that people don’t seem to understand just how “public” the Internet really is.
Steve Rambam
at The Last Hope conference, 2008

"One thing I find amusing is the absolute terror of Big Brother,
when we’ve all already gone and said, ‘Cuff me,’ to Little Brother,”

-- John Arquilla, an intelligence expert
at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif.

It is important to understand that any networked computer is an insecure computer and it should be treated as such. It’s not so disturbing that that social sites, government, insurance companies, etc collect our data; it’s disturbing that people don’t seem to understand just how “public” the Internet really is and how much their personal information they volunteer. Anybody who answered honestly question about their annual income and other confidential information while registering product (Logitech like to ask this information ;-) or enrolling into some stupid social site like Facebook, is an idiot, plain and simple. And he/'she gets what they deserve. Also if after reading this individual does not suspend his/her Facebook account for at least a month to see whether he/she need it or not, he/she does not care about his privacy one bit. For anybody with IQ above 100 it is clear that Facebook does not serve any useful purpose, other then collecting information about you and reselling it to the higher bidder. That's their business model.

After revelation of Prism program, an excessive usage of cloud services from a fashionable trend instantly became an indication of a person stupidity.

If you join Google or Facebook you should have no expectations of privacy

In Australia any expectations of privacy isn't legally recognized by the Supreme Court once people voluntarily offered data to the third party. Here is a relevant Slashdot post:

General Counsel of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence Robert S. Litt explained that our expectation of privacy isn't legally recognized by the Supreme Court once we've offered it to a third party.

Thus, sifting through third party data doesn't qualify 'on a constitutional level' as invasive to our personal privacy. This he brought to an interesting point about volunteered personal data, and social media habits. Our willingness to give our information to companies and social networking websites is baffling to the ODNI.

'Why is it that people are willing to expose large quantities of information to private parties but don't want the Government to have the same information?,' he asked."

... ... ...

While Snowden's leaks have provoked Jimmy Carter into labeling this government a sham, and void of a functioning democracy, Litt presented how these wide data collection programs are in fact valued by our government, have legal justification, and all the necessary parameters.

Litt, echoing the president and his boss James Clapper, explained thusly:

"We do not use our foreign intelligence collection capabilities to steal the trade secrets of foreign companies in order to give American companies a competitive advantage. We do not indiscriminately sweep up and store the contents of the communications of Americans, or of the citizenry of any country. We do not use our intelligence collection for the purpose of repressing the citizens of any country because of their political, religious or other beliefs. We collect metadata—information about communications—more broadly than we collect the actual content of communications, because it is less intrusive than collecting content and in fact can provide us information that helps us more narrowly focus our collection of content on appropriate targets. But it simply is not true that the United States Government is listening to everything said by every citizen of any country."

It's great that the U.S. government behaves better than corporations on privacy—too bad it trusts/subcontracts corporations to deal with that privacy—but it's an uncomfortable thing to even be in a position of having to compare the two. This is the point Litt misses, and it's not a fine one.

In a very profound way Facebook was never a "social site". It was always anti-social site. Facebook exploits people's own sense of vanity and desire to invade other people's privacy. There is no requirement to plaster your life all over the internet.

In a very profound way Facebook was never a "social site". It was always anti-social site. Facebook exploits people's own sense of vanity and desire to invade other people's privacy. There is no requirement to plaster your life all over the internet.

Facebook has been a personal information sucking device since its inception. It is a toxic, faceless suburban wasteland which actually makes people more lonely (Suburbanization of Friendships and Solitude)

April 18, 2012

Facebook may be making us lonely, giving users the information age equivalent of a faceless suburban wasteland, claims the fantastic cover story of The Atlantic. Key excerpts:

We were promised a global village; instead we inhabit the drab cul-de-sacs and endless freeways of a vast suburb of information.

At the forefront of all this unexpectedly lonely interactivity is Facebook.

Facebook makes real relationships harder:

That one little phrase, Your real friends—so quaint, so charmingly mothering—perfectly encapsulates the anxieties that social media have produced: the fears that Facebook is interfering with our real friendships, distancing us from each other, making us lonelier; and that social networking might be spreading the very isolation it seemed designed to conquer.

Here’s why:

Our omnipresent new technologies lure us toward increasingly superficial connections at exactly the same moment that they make avoiding the mess of human interaction easy. The beauty of Facebook, the source of its power, is that it enables us to be social while sparing us the embarrassing reality of society—the accidental revelations we make at parties, the awkward pauses, the farting and the spilled drinks and the general gaucherie of face-to-face contact. Instead, we have the lovely smoothness of a seemingly social machine. Everything’s so simple: status updates, pictures, your wall.

Finally, FB fosters a retreat into narcissism:

Self-presentation on Facebook is continuous, intensely mediated, and possessed of a phony nonchalance that eliminates even the potential for spontaneity. (“Look how casually I threw up these three photos from the party at which I took 300 photos!”) Curating the exhibition of the self has become a 24/7 occupation.

Facebook users retreat from “messy” human interaction and spend too much of their time curating fantasy avatars of themselves to actually to out and meet real people:

The relentlessness is what is so new, so potentially transformative. Facebook never takes a break. We never take a break. Human beings have always created elaborate acts of self-presentation. But not all the time, not every morning, before we even pour a cup of coffee.

The always-on effects are profound:

What Facebook has revealed about human nature—and this is not a minor revelation—is that a connection is not the same thing as a bond, and that instant and total connection is no salvation, no ticket to a happier, better world or a more liberated version of humanity. Solitude used to be good for self-reflection and self-reinvention. But now we are left thinking about who we are all the time, without ever really thinking about who we are. Facebook denies us a pleasure whose profundity we had underestimated: the chance to forget about ourselves for a while, the chance to disconnect.

One of the deepest and best researched meditations on FB 2012.

This is inverted totalitarism

In any case we should be aware that your Internet communications are under total surveillance. And that does not mean that people in hard boots will come and take you. Just realization of that this under surveillance is enough. See Inverted Totalitarism:

The key ingredient of classical totalitarism is violence toward opponents. Also in all classic totalitarian states such as Nazi Germany and the USSR, the citizenry were kept mobilized to support the state. Sometimes wipe up to the state of frenzy by ideological purity campaigns or purges. Opponents were sent to concentration camps or exiled. Here the idea different: a passive but thoroughly monitored and thoroughly brainwashed populace is the goal that can be achieve with just two of three component of traditional totalitarism (ideology, propaganda and violence). Ideology and propaganda components are enough. That why the name "inverted totalitarism".

The term "liberal fascism" is also used and is a synonym, but it has "politically incorrect" flavor. The term "managed democracy" is also used, but more rarely.

It goes without saying that inverted totalitarism is much better then classic variants as close acquaintance with Gestapo or KGB is harmful for one's health. And that's what opponents of the regime faced. Here they just ignore the opponents and cut oxygen, in indirect way. Voice of opponents of the regime is just drown in the see of official propaganda and they are never invited to TV programs with significant popularity and influence on public opinion. As Orwell aptly noted "ignorance is strength" ;-). Net result is very similar, but for dissidents in case of inverted totalitarism teeth remain in place.

This includes recordings of phone calls, the content of email messages, entries on Facebook and the history of any internet user's access to websites (Web logs). That does not mean that those data are abused, but they are definitely recorded and some of them are stored for several years. In the article Edward Snowden Is Completely Wrong by Michael Hirsh and Sara Sorcher (Jun 15, 2013, NationalJournal.com) the authors warn:

Another problem for the alarmists: No evidence suggests that the worst fears of people like Snowden have ever been realized. In his interview with The Guardian, which broke the story along with The Washington Post, Snowden warned that the NSA’s accumulation of personal data

"increases every year consistently by orders of magnitude to where it’s getting to the point where you don’t have to have done anything wrong. You simply have to eventually fall under suspicion from somebody.”

In a state with no checks and balances, that is a possibility. But even the American Civil Liberties Union, which has called NSA surveillance “a stone’s throw away from an Orwellian state,” admits it knows of no cases where anything even remotely Orwellian has happened. Nor can any opponent of NSA surveillance point to a Kafkaesque Joseph K. who has appeared in an American courtroom on mysterious charges trumped up from government surveillance. Several civil-liberties advocates, asked to cite a single case of abuse of information, all paused for long seconds and could not cite any.

There is also great misunderstanding about how the NSA system works and whether such abuse could even happen in the future. It’s unclear if the government will be capable of accessing and misusing the vast array of personal data it is accumulating, as Snowden predicts. The NSA appears primarily to use computer algorithms to sift through its database for patterns that may be possible clues to terrorist plots. The government says it is not eavesdropping on our phone calls or voyeuristically reading our e-mails. Instead, it tracks the “metadata” of phone calls—whom we call and when, the duration of those conversations—and uses computer algorithms to trawl its databases for phone patterns or e-mail and search keywords that may be clues to terrorist plots. It can also map networks by linking known operatives with potential new suspects. If something stands out as suspicious, agents are still required by law to obtain a court order to look into the data they have in their storehouses. Officials must show “probable cause” and adhere to the principle of “minimization,” by which the government commits to reducing as much as possible the inadvertent vacuuming up of information on citizens instead of foreigners—the real target of the NSA’s PRISM program. The program, according to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, has had success. He told NBC that tracking a suspicious communication from Pakistan to a person in Colorado allowed officials to identify a terrorist cell in New York City that wanted to bomb its subway system in the fall of 2009.

Replace the word "terrorist" by the word "dissident" and you will get truer meaning of the collection and mining of metadata by three letter agencies. Here is an insightful post by Chris On February 16, 2010 ( christopherkois.com):

Today, there was an Ask Slashdot Story called: “Did We Lose the Privacy War?” In the story, the user was trying to do things like use NoScript and block Google Analytics, disabling third party cookies, and encrypting IM “to keep data-miners at bay”.

While I think some of these things are a good idea and individually protect against potential threats that may reside on the Internet, in the grand scheme of things, they do not help to protect your privacy on the Internet. The story and the comments on Slashdot that followed remind me of a great talk that was presented by Steve Rambam at the The Last Hope conference in 2008.

Steve Rambam is the Founder and CEO of Pallorium, Inc. Pallorium is a licensed Investigative Agency with offices and affiliates worldwide. In 2008, at The Last Hope conference, Steve Rambam gave a talk called “Privacy is Dead – Get Over It”. I originally heard this talk in 2008, as a podcast that is distributed on The Last Hope website.

This talk is by far one of the best talks I’ve ever heard on the topic of privacy on the Internet. The talk contains information about how an individual person’s information is retrieved, gathered, and correlated to obtain everything about an individual. Even more of a disturbing trend, the aggregation of social networking sites with other data stored by government and other private entities. It’s not so disturbing that the aggregation occurs, it’s disturbing that people don’t seem to understand just how “public” the Internet really is. The amount of information given away on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, etc. is absolutely amazing. To top it off, an individual has no recourse against an entity collecting information about them. To quote the talk, “the genie is out of the bottle and you can’t stuff it back in.” The talk aims to spread awareness of data gathering on the Internet and how it is used in the past, present, and future.

From the talk: “This is the current state of affairs. There is no more sense of privacy. Not because it’s been ripped away from you in some Orwellian way, but because you flushed it down the toilet”. It’s not just private investigators that use this information, it’s also corporate entities that profit from your information. Take Amazon.com for example, from the talk:

“think for a second what Amazon knows about you: they know where you live, where you work, they know about your finances, they know what you like to read, what music you like to listen to, they know every interest of yours, every like, every dislike… all of things that make you, you. Essentially, they’ve got a database of everyone in America’s soul.”

Rambam points out that EBay, Paypal, and Skype (which is all one company now) have a very similar database of information. Satellite TV/Cable TV/DVR/Tivo all know what you watch on TV, and Tivo is actually selling elements of your data. Furthermore, you don’t know what they have and there is NOTHING that you can do about it.

From the talk:

“What you need to know is that these are “private” companies. Freedom of information does NOT apply. And you’re screwed 2 ways. You go to Choicepoint and you say ‘What’s in your files about me?’. ‘None of your business. It’s our business records. Tough.’ You go to the government and you say ‘This is my Freedom of Information Act request. I know you pulled a Choicepoint report on me. I want to know what was in that report.’ ‘Sorry, we can’t give it to you. It’s a private business record.’ FOIA is dead, buried. It tried to come back to life. Choicepoint hammered a big stake in it’s heart and now it’s gone…”

So, what does this all mean? This isn’t just about people or entities knowing everything there is to know about you: what you do, what you like, where you go, who you talk to, what you buy, what you are interested in buying, interests that you have, etc., etc., etc… It’s how those entities are using the data that they gather. You don’t have to be paranoid to be interested in this. Companies are profiting from the data that they are collecting on you, and you pay them for it. You are paying for their services, but they are still collecting the information and selling it to someone else. In essence, they are “double-dipping” into the profits from selling consumers a product or a service and then, aggregating the data and selling it to advertisers behind the scenes. The advertisers selling you information know more about you then you could ever imagine.

From the talk:

“If you don’t take anything else from my talk today, here’s what I need you to take away. Google is a private company that you have no control over. You have no right and no ability to influence what they gather about you and what they do with that information. And the truth is, most people when they think of Google, they think of a great utility that solved all the problems of finding things on the Internet a few years ago. … Google is photos, blogs, media … Gmail, how many people here use Gmail? … Do you know that your email is searched by bots? … How many of you know that your email is searched, indexed, and categorized? … How many of you care? None of you!

Now the same people, how many would be running out and hiring a lawyer if somebody was opening the mail at your mailbox, reading it, pasting it back shut, and putting it back in the box? Every single one of you. Much worse, but you don’t get it or you don’t care.”

One last quote from the talk that I feel really sums up all of the data collection, mining, and aggregation that many of the Internet Web Services companies do on a daily basis: This quote comes from the EFF, but is referenced in the talk: “This is analogous to AT&T listening to your phone calls all day in order to figure out what to sell you at dinner.”

Steve Rambam does a great job in conveying the current state of affairs. He states the case as to why much of this information can be used in a good way by law enforcement and private investigators to do their job efficiently, but also how the information obtained can and is being abused. The aim of the talk is to make people aware of what data is gathered, what you can do about it (which is not much), and what those entities that are gathering the information are doing with it.

The talk is just over 3 hours. The video is nice so you can see the slides, but you can always download the audio and listen to it on your portable music player.

The guant sucking sound

In his article What Surveillance Valley knows about you (Crooks and Liars) Yasha Levine noted:

Google is very secretive about the exact nature of its for-profit intel operation and how it uses the petabytes of data it collects on us every single day for financial gain. Fortunately, though, we can get a sense of the kind of info that Google and other Surveillance Valley megacorps compile on us, and the ways in which that intel might be used and abused, by looking at the business practices of the “data broker” industry.

Thanks to a series of Senate hearings, the business of data brokerage is finally being understood by consumers, but the industry got its start back in the 1970s as a direct outgrowth of the failure of telemarketing. In its early days, telemarketing had an abysmal success rate: only 2 percent of people contacted would become customers. In his book, “The Digital Perso,” Daniel J. Solove explains what happened next:

To increase the low response rate, marketers sought to sharpen their targeting techniques, which required more consumer research and an effective way to collect, store, and analyze information about consumers. The advent of the computer database gave marketers this long sought-after ability — and it launched a revolution in targeting technology.

Data brokers rushed in to fill the void. These operations pulled in information from any source they could get their hands on — voter registration, credit card transactions, product warranty information, donations to political campaigns and non-profits, court records — storing it in master databases and then analyzing it in all sorts of ways that could be useful to direct-mailing and telemarketing outfits. It wasn’t long before data brokers realized that this information could be used beyond telemarketing, and quickly evolved into a global for-profit intelligence business that serves every conceivable data and intelligence need.

Today, the industry churns somewhere around $200 billion in revenue annually. There are up to 4,000 data broker companies — some of the biggest are publicly traded — and together, they have detailed information on just about every adult in the western world.

No source of information is sacred: transaction records are bought in bulk from stores, retailers and merchants; magazine subscriptions are recorded; food and restaurant preferences are noted; public records and social networks are scoured and scraped. What kind of prescription drugs did you buy? What kind of books are you interested in? Are you a registered voter? To what non-profits do you donate? What movies do you watch? Political documentaries? Hunting reality TV shows?

That info is combined and kept up to date with address, payroll information, phone numbers, email accounts, social security numbers, vehicle registration and financial history. And all that is sliced, isolated, analyzed and mined for data about you and your habits in a million different ways.

The dossiers are not restricted to generic market segmenting categories like “Young Literati” or “Shotguns and Pickups” or “Kids & Cul-de-Sacs,” but often contain the most private and intimate details about a person’s life, all of it packaged and sold over and over again to anyone willing to pay.

Take MEDbase200, a boutique for-profit intel outfit that specializes in selling health-related consumer data. Well, until last week, the company offered its clients a list of rape victims (or “rape sufferers,” as the company calls them) at the low price of $79.00 per thousand. The company claims to have segmented this data set into hundreds of different categories, including stuff like the ailments they suffer, prescription drugs they take and their ethnicity:

These rape sufferers are family members who have reported, or have been identified as individuals affected by specific illnesses, conditions or ailments relating to rape. Medbase200 is the owner of this list. Select from families affected by over 500 different ailments, and/or who are consumers of over 200 different Rx medications. Lists can be further selected on the basis of lifestyle, ethnicity, geo, gender, and much more. Inquire today for more information.

MEDbase promptly took its “rape sufferers” list off line last week after its existence was revealed in a Senate investigation into the activities of the data-broker industry. The company pretended like the list was a huge mistake. A MEDbase rep tried convincing a Wall Street Journal reporter that its rape dossiers were just a “hypothetical list of health conditions/ailments.” The rep promised it was never sold to anyone. Yep, it was a big mistake. We can all rest easy now. Thankfully, MEDbase has hundreds of other similar dossier collections, hawking the most private and sensitive medical information.

For instance, if lists of rape victims aren’t your thing, MEDbase can sell dossiers on people suffering from anorexia, substance abuse, AIDS and HIV, Alzheimer’s Disease, Asperger Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Bedwetting (Enuresis), Binge Eating Disorder, Depression, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, Genital Herpes, Genital Warts, Gonorrhea, Homelessness, Infertility, Syphilis… the list goes on and on and on and on.

Normally, such detailed health information would fall under federal law and could not be disclosed or sold without consent. But because these data harvesters rely on indirect sources of information instead of medical records, they’re able to sidestep regulations put in place to protect the privacy of people’s health data.

MEBbase isn’t the only company exploiting these loopholes. By the industry’s own estimates, there are something like 4,000 for-profit intel companies operating in the United States. Many of them sell information that would normally be restricted under federal law. They offer all sorts of targeted dossier collections on every population segments of our society, from the affluent to the extremely vulnerable:

If you want to see how this kind of profile data can be used to scam unsuspecting individuals, look no further than a Richard Guthrie, an Iowa retiree who had his life savings siphoned out of his bank account. Their weapon of choice: databases bought from large for-profit data brokers listing retirees who entered sweepstakes and bought lottery tickets.

Here’s a 2007 New York Times story describing the racket:

Mr. Guthrie, who lives in Iowa, had entered a few sweepstakes that caused his name to appear in a database advertised by infoUSA, one of the largest compilers of consumer information. InfoUSA sold his name, and data on scores of other elderly Americans, to known lawbreakers, regulators say.

InfoUSA advertised lists of “Elderly Opportunity Seekers,” 3.3 million older people “looking for ways to make money,” and “Suffering Seniors,” 4.7 million people with cancer or Alzheimer’s disease. “Oldies but Goodies” contained 500,000 gamblers over 55 years old, for 8.5 cents apiece. One list said: “These people are gullible. They want to believe that their luck can change.”

Data brokers argue that cases like Guthrie are an anomaly — a once-in-a-blue-moon tragedy in an industry that takes privacy and legal conduct seriously. But cases of identity thieves and sophistical con-rings obtaining data from for-profit intel businesses abound. Scammers are a lucrative source of revenue. Their money is just as good as anyone else’s. And some of the profile “products” offered by the industry seem tailored specifically to fraud use.

As Royal Canadian Mounted Police Sergeant Yves Leblanc told the New York Times: “Only one kind of customer wants to buy lists of seniors interested in lotteries and sweepstakes: criminals. If someone advertises a list by saying it contains gullible or elderly people, it’s like putting out a sign saying ‘Thieves welcome here.’”

So what is InfoUSA, exactly? What kind of company would create and sell lists customized for use by scammers and cons?

As it turns out, InfoUSA is not some fringe or shady outfit, but a hugely profitable politically connected company. InfoUSA was started by Vin Gupta in the 1970s as a basement operation hawking detailed lists of RV and mobile home dealers. The company quickly expanded into other areas and began providing business intel services to thousands of businesses. By 2000, the company raised more than $30 million in venture capital funding from major Silicon Valley venture capital firms.

By then, InfoUSA boasted of having information on 230 million consumers. A few years later, InfoUSA counted the biggest Valley companies as its clients, including Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and AOL. It got involved not only in raw data and dossiers, but moved into payroll and financial, conducted polling and opinion research, partnered with CNN, vetted employees and provided customized services for law enforcement and all sorts of federal and government agencies: processing government payments, helping states locate tax cheats and even administrating President Bill Clinton “Welfare to Work” program. Which is not surprising, as Vin Gupta is a major and close political supporter of Bill and Hillary Clinton.

In 2008, Gupta was sued by InfoUSA shareholders for inappropriately using corporate funds. Shareholders accused of Gupta of illegally funneling corporate money to fund an extravagant lifestyle and curry political favor. According to the Associated Press, the lawsuit questioned why Gupta used private corporate jets to fly the Clintons on personal and campaign trips, and why Gupta awarded Bill Clinton a $3.3 million consulting gig.

As a result of the scandal, InfoUSA was threatened with delisting from Nasdaq, Gupta was forced out and the company was snapped up for half a billion dollars by CCMP Capital Advisors, a major private equity firm spun off from JP Morgan in 2006. Today, InfoUSA continues to do business under the name Infogroup, and has nearly 4,000 employees working in nine countries.

As big as Infogroup is, there are dozens of other for-profit intelligence businesses that are even bigger: massive multi-national intel conglomerates with revenues in the billions of dollars. Some of them, like Lexis-Nexis and Experian, are well known, but mostly these are outfits that few Americans have heard of, with names like Epsilon, Altegrity and Acxiom.

These for-profit intel behemoths are involved in everything from debt collection to credit reports to consumer tracking to healthcare analysis, and provide all manner of tailored services to government and law enforcement around the world. For instance, Acxiom has done business with most major corporations, and boasts of intel on “500 million active consumers worldwide, with about 1,500 data points per person. That includes a majority of adults in the United States,” according to the New York Times.

This data is analyzed and sliced in increasingly sophisticated and intrusive ways to profile and predict behavior. Merchants are using it customize shopping experience— Target launched a program to figure out if a woman shopper was pregnant and when the baby would be born, “even if she didn’t want us to know.” Life insurance companies are experimenting with predictive consumer intel to estimate life expectancy and determine eligibility for life insurance policies. Meanwhile, health insurance companies are raking over this data in order to deny and challenge the medical claims of their policyholders.

Even more alarming, large employers are turning to for-profit intelligence to mine and monitor the lifestyles and habits of their workers outside the workplace. Earlier this year, the Wall Street Journal described how employers have partnered with health insurance companies to monitor workers for “health-adverse” behavior that could lead to higher medical expenses down the line:

Your company already knows whether you have been taking your meds, getting your teeth cleaned and going for regular medical checkups. Now some employers or their insurance companies are tracking what staffers eat, where they shop and how much weight they are putting on — and taking action to keep them in line.

But companies also have started scrutinizing employees’ other behavior more discreetly. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina recently began buying spending data on more than 3 million people in its employer group plans. If someone, say, purchases plus-size clothing, the health plan could flag him for potential obesity — and then call or send mailings offering weight-loss solutions.

…”Everybody is using these databases to sell you stuff,” says Daryl Wansink, director of health economics for the Blue Cross unit. “We happen to be trying to sell you something that can get you healthier.”

“As an employer, I want you on that medication that you need to be on,” says Julie Stone, a HR expert at Towers Watson told the Wall Street Journal.

Companies might try to frame it as a health issue. I mean, what kind of asshole could be ag caring about the wellbeing of their workers? But their ultimate concern has nothing to do with the employee health. It’s all about the brutal bottom line: keeping costs down.

An employer monitoring and controlling your activity outside of work? You don’t have to be union agitator to see the problems with this kind of mindset and where it could lead. Because there are lots of things that some employers might want to know about your personal life, and not only to “keep costs down.” It could be anything: to weed out people based on undesirable habits or discriminate against workers based on sexual orientation, regulation and political beliefs.

It’s not difficult to imagine that a large corporation facing a labor unrest or a unionization drive would be interested in proactively flagging potential troublemakers by pinpointing employees that might be sympathetic to the cause. But the technology and data is already here for wide and easy application: did a worker watch certain political documentaries, donate to environmental non-profits, join an animal rights Facebook group, tweet out support for Occupy Wall Street, subscribe to the Nation or Jacobin, buy Naomi Klein’s “Shock Doctrine”? Or maybe the worker simply rented one of Michael Moore’s films? Run your payroll through one of the massive consumer intel databases and look if there is any matchup. Bound to be plenty of unpleasant surprises for HR!

This has happened in the past, although in a cruder and more limited way. In the 1950s, for instance, some lefty intellectuals had their lefty newspapers and mags delivered to P.O. boxes instead of their home address, worrying that otherwise they’d get tagged as Commie symps. That might have worked in the past. But with the power of private intel companies, today there’s nowhere to hide.

FTC Commissioner Julie Brill has repeatedly voiced concern that unregulated data being amassed by for-profit intel companies would be used to discriminate and deny employment, and to determine consumer access to everything from credit to insurance to housing. “As Big Data algorithms become more accurate and powerful, consumers need to know a lot more about the ways in which their data is used,” she told the Wall Street Journal.

Pam Dixon, executive director of the Privacy World Forum, agrees. Dixon frequently testifies on Capitol Hill to warn about the growing danger to privacy and civil liberties posed by big data and for-profit intelligence. In Congressional testimony back in 2009, Dixon called this growing mountain of data the “modern permanent record” and explained that users of these new intel capabilities will inevitably expand to include not just marketers and law enforcement, but insurance companies, employers, landlords, schools, parents, scammers and stalkers. “The information – like credit reports – will be used to make basic decisions about the ability of individual to travel, participate in the economy, find opportunities, find places to live, purchase goods and services, and make judgments about the importance, worthiness, and interests of individuals.”


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[Sep 19, 2017] Time for a Conservative Anti-Monopoly Movement by Daniel Kishi

Sep 19, 2017 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Amazon, Facebook and Google: The new robber barons?

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos in 2010. Credit: /CreativeCommons/SteveJurvetson Earlier this month Amazon, announced its plans to establish a second headquarters in North America. Rather than simply reveal which city would become its second home, the Seattle-based tech company opted instead to open a bidding war. In an eight page document published on its website, Amazon outlined the criteria for prospective suitors, and invited economic developers to submit proposals advocating for why their city or region should be the host of the new location.

Its potential arrival comes with the claim that the company will invest more than $5 billion in construction and generate up to 50,000 "high paying jobs." Mayors and governors, hard at work crafting their bids, are no doubt salivating at the mere thought of such economic activity. Journalists and editorial teams in eligible metropolises are also playing their parts, as newspapers have published a series of articles and editorials making the case for why their city should be declared the winner.

Last Tuesday Bloomberg reported that Boston was the early frontrunner, sending a wave of panic across the continent. Much to the relief of the other contenders, Amazon quickly discredited the report as misinformation, announcing in a series of tweets on Wednesday that it is "energized by the response from cities across [North America]" and that, contrary to the rumors, there are currently no front-runners on their "equal playing field."

That Amazon is "energized" should come as no surprise. Most companies would also be energized by the taxpayer-funded windfall that is likely coming its way. Reporters speculate that the winner of the sweepstakes!in no small part to the bidding war format!could be forced to cough up hundreds of millions of dollars in state and local subsidies for the privilege of hosting Amazon's expansion.

Amazon has long been the beneficiary of such subsidies, emerging in recent years as a formidable opponent to Walmart as the top recipient of corporate welfare. According to Good Jobs First, a Washington, D.C. organization dedicated to corporate and government accountability, Amazon has received more than $1 billion in local and state subsidies since 2000. With a business plan dedicated to amassing long-term market share in lieu of short-term profits, Amazon, under the leadership of its founder and chief executive, Jeff Bezos, operates on razor-thin profit margins in most industries, while actually operating at a loss in others. As such, these state and local subsidies have played an instrumental role in Amazon's growth

Advocates of free market enterprise should be irate over the company's crony capitalist practices and the cities and states that enable it. But more so than simply ruffling the feathers of the libertarian-minded, Amazon's shameless solicitation for subsidies capped off a series of summer skirmishes in the Democratic left's emerging war against monopolies.

Earlier this summer when Amazon announced its $13.7 billion purchase of Whole Foods, antitrust advocates called upon the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission's Antitrust Division to block the sale and update the United States government's legal definition of monopoly. Although the acquisition!which was approved in August!only gives Amazon a 1.5 percent market share in the grocery industry, it more importantly provides the tech giant with access to more than 450 brick-and-mortar Whole Foods locations. Critics say that these physical locations will prove invaluable to its long term plan of economic dominance, and that it is but the latest advance in the company's unprecedented control of the economy's underlying infrastructure.

Google also found itself in the crosshairs of the left's anti-monopoly faction when, in late June, the European Union imposed a $2.7 billion fine against the tech company for anti-competitive search engine manipulation in violation of its antitrust laws. The Open Markets Program of the New America Foundation subsequently published a press release applauding the EU's decision. Two months later, the Open Markets Program was axed . The former program director Barry Lynn claims that his employers caved to pressure from a corporation that has donated more than $21 million to the New America Foundation. The fallout emboldened journalists to share their experiences of being silenced by the tech giant, and underscores the influence Google exerts over think tanks and academics

Most recently, Facebook faced criticism after it was discovered that a Russian company with ties to the Kremlin purchased $100,000 in ads from the social media company in an effort to influence the 2016 presidential election. Facebook, as a result, has become the latest subject of interest in Robert Mueller's special investigation into Russian interference in last fall's election. But regardless of whether the ads influenced the outcome, the report elicited demands for transparency and oversight in a digital ad marketplace that Facebook, along with Google, dominates . By using highly sophisticated algorithms, Facebook and Google receive more than 60 percent of all digital ad revenue, threatening the financial solvency of publishers and creating a host of economic incentives that pollute editorial autonomy.

While the Democratic left!in an effort to rejuvenate its populist soul !has been at the front lines in the war against these modern-day robber barons, Stacy Mitchell, co-director of the Institute of Local Self-Reliance, suggests that opposition to corporate consolidation need not be a partisan issue. In a piece published in The Atlantic , Mitchell traces the bipartisan history of anti-monopoly sentiment in American politics. She writes :

If "monopoly" sounds like a word from another era, that's because, until recently, it was. Throughout the middle of the 20th century, the term was frequently used in newspaper headlines, campaign speeches, and State of the Union addresses delivered by Republican and Democratic presidents alike. Breaking up too-powerful companies was a bipartisan goal and on the minds of many voters. But, starting in the 1970s, the word retreated from the public consciousness. Not coincidentally, at the same time, the enforcement of anti-monopoly policy grew increasingly toothless.

Although the modern Republican Party stands accused of cozying up with corporate interests, the history of conservative thought has a rich intellectual tradition of being skeptical!if not hostile!towards economic consolidation. For conservatives and libertarians wedded to the tenets of free market orthodoxy!or for Democrats dependent on campaign contributions from a donor class of Silicon Valley tycoons!redefining the legal definition of monopoly and rekindling a bipartisan interest in antitrust enforcement are likely non-starters.

But for conservatives willing to break from the principles of free market fundamentalism, the papal encyclicals of the Roman Catholic Church, the distributist thought of Hilaire Belloc and G.K. Chesterton, the social criticism of Christopher Lasch, and the observations of agrarian essayist Wendell Berry provide an intellectual framework from which conservatives can critique and combat concentrated economic power. With a respect for robust and resilient localities and a keen understanding of the moral dangers posed by an economy perpetuated by consumerism and convenience, these writers appeal to the moral imaginations of the reader, issuing warnings about the detrimental effects that economic consolidation has on the person, the family, the community, and society at large.

The events of this summer underscore the immense political power wielded by our economy's corporate giants. To those who recognize the dangers posed by our age of consolidation, the skirmishes from this summer could serve as a rallying cry in a bipartisan war for independence from our corporate crown.

Daniel Kishi is an editorial assistant at The American Conservative . Follow him on Twitter at @DanielMKishi

[Sep 18, 2017] Google was seed funded by the US National Security Agency (NSA) and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The company now enjoys lavish partnerships with military contractors like SAIC, Northrop Grumman and Blackbird.

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... In addition to funding Bellingcat and joint ventures with the CIA, Brin's Google is heavily invested in Crowdstrike, an American cybersecurity technology firm based in Irvine, California. ..."
"... Crowdstrike is the main "source" of the "Russians hacked the DNC" story. ..."
"... Allegations of Russian perfidy are routinely issued by private companies with lucrative US Department of Defense (DoD) contracts. The companies claiming to protect the nation against "threats" have the ability to manufacture "threats". ..."
"... US offensive cyber operations have emphasized political coercion and opinion shaping, shifting public perception in NATO countries as well as globally in ways favorable to the US, and to create a sense of unease and distrust among perceived adversaries such as Russia and China. ..."
"... The Snowden revelations made it clear that US offensive cyber capabilities can and have been directed both domestically and internationally. The notion that US and NATO cyber operations are purely defensive is a myth. ..."
"... The perception that a foreign attacker may have infiltrated US networks, is monitoring communications, and perhaps considering even more damaging actions, can have a disorienting effect. ..."
"... In the world of US "hybrid warfare" against Russia, offensive cyber operations work in tandem with NATO propaganda efforts, perhaps best exemplified by the "online investigation" antics of the Atlantic Council's Eliot Higgins and his Bellingcat disinformation site. ..."
consortiumnews.com

Abe , September 16, 2017 at 7:00 pm

There is no reason to assume that the trollish rants of "Voytenko" are from some outraged flag-waving "patriot" in Kiev. There are plenty of other "useful idiots" ready, willing and able to make mischief.

For example, about a million Jews emigrated to Israel ("made Aliyah") from the post-Soviet states during the 1990s. Some 266,300 were Ukrainian Jews. A large number of Ukrainian Jews also emigrated to the United States during this period. For example, out of an estimated 400 thousand Russian-speaking Jews in Metro New York, the largest number (thirty-six percent) hail from Ukraine. Needless to say, many among them are not so well disposed toward the nations of Russia or Ukraine, and quite capable of all manner of mischief.

A particularly "useful idiot" making mischief the days is Sergey Brin of Google. Brin's parents were graduates of Moscow State University who emigrated from the Soviet Union in 1979 when their son was five years old.

Google, the company that runs the most visited website in the world, the company that owns YouTube, is very snugly in bed with the US military-industrial-surveillance complex.

In fact, Google was seed funded by the US National Security Agency (NSA) and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The company now enjoys lavish "partnerships" with military contractors like SAIC, Northrop Grumman and Blackbird.

Google's mission statement from the outset was "to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful".

In a 2004 letter prior to their initial public offering, Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin explained their "Don't be evil" culture required objectivity and an absence of bias: "We believe it is important for everyone to have access to the best information and research, not only to the information people pay for you to see."

The corporate giant appears to have replaced the original motto altogether. A carefully reworded version appears in the Google Code of Conduct: "You can make money without doing evil".

This new gospel allows Google and its "partners" to make money promoting propaganda and engaging in surveillance, and somehow manage to not "be evil". That's "post-truth" logic for you.

Google has been enthusiastically promoting Eliot Higgins "arm chair analytics" since 2013
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qbWhcWizSFY

Indeed, a very cozy cross-promotion is happening between Google and Bellingcat.

In November 2014, Google Ideas and Google For Media, partnered the George Soros-funded Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) to host an "Investigathon" in New York City. Google Ideas promoted Higgins' "War and Pieces: Social Media Investigations" song and dance via their YouTube page.

Higgins constantly insists that Bellingcat "findings" are "reaffirmed" by accessing imagery in Google Earth.

Google Earth, originally called EarthViewer 3D, was created by Keyhole, Inc, a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) funded company acquired by Google in 2004. Google Earth uses satellite images provided by the company Digital Globe, a supplier of the US Department of Defense (DoD) with deep connections to both the military and intelligence communities.

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) is both a combat support agency under the United States Department of Defense, and an intelligence agency of the United States Intelligence Community. Robert T. Cardillo, director of the NGA, lavishly praised Digital Globe as "a true mission partner in every sense of the word". Examination of the Board of Directors of Digital Globe reveals intimate connections to DoD and CIA.

Google has quite the history of malicious behavior. In what became known as the "Wi-Spy" scandal, it was revealed that Google had been collecting hundreds of gigabytes of payload data, including personal and sensitive information. First names, email addresses, physical addresses, and a conversation between two married individuals planning an extra-marital affair were all cited by the FCC. In a 2012 settlement, the Federal Trade Commission announced that Google will pay $22.5 million for overriding privacy settings in Apple's Safari browser. Though it was the largest civil penalty the Federal Trade Commission had ever imposed for violating one of its orders, the penalty as little more than symbolic for a company that had $2.8 billion in earnings the previous quarter.

Google is a joint venture partner with the CIA. In 2009, Google Ventures and In-Q-Tel invested "under $10 million each" into Recorded Future shortly after the company was founded. The company developed technology that strips information from web pages, blogs, and Twitter accounts.

In addition to funding Bellingcat and joint ventures with the CIA, Brin's Google is heavily invested in Crowdstrike, an American cybersecurity technology firm based in Irvine, California.

Crowdstrike is the main "source" of the "Russians hacked the DNC" story.

Dmitri Alperovitch, co-founder and chief technology officer of CrowdStrike, is a Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council "regime change" think tank. Alperovitz said that Crowdstrike has "high confidence" it was "Russian hackers". "But we don't have hard evidence," Alperovitch admitted in a June 16, 2016 Washington Post interview.

Allegations of Russian perfidy are routinely issued by private companies with lucrative US Department of Defense (DoD) contracts. The companies claiming to protect the nation against "threats" have the ability to manufacture "threats".

The US and UK possess elite cyber capabilities for both cyberspace espionage and offensive operations.

Both the US National Security Agency (NSA) and the British Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) are intelligence agencies with a long history of supporting military operations. US military cyber operations are the responsibility of US Cyber Command, whose commander is also the head of the NSA.

US offensive cyber operations have emphasized political coercion and opinion shaping, shifting public perception in NATO countries as well as globally in ways favorable to the US, and to create a sense of unease and distrust among perceived adversaries such as Russia and China.

The Snowden revelations made it clear that US offensive cyber capabilities can and have been directed both domestically and internationally. The notion that US and NATO cyber operations are purely defensive is a myth.

Recent US domestic cyber operations have been used for coercive effect, creating uncertainty and concern within the American government and population.

The perception that a foreign attacker may have infiltrated US networks, is monitoring communications, and perhaps considering even more damaging actions, can have a disorienting effect.

In the world of US "hybrid warfare" against Russia, offensive cyber operations work in tandem with NATO propaganda efforts, perhaps best exemplified by the "online investigation" antics of the Atlantic Council's Eliot Higgins and his Bellingcat disinformation site.

Abe , September 16, 2017 at 1:58 pm

Higgins and Bellingcat receives direct funding from the Open Society Foundations (OSF) founded by business magnate George Soros, and from Google's Digital News Initiatives (DNI).

Google's 2017 DNI Fund Annual Report describes Higgins as "a world–leading expert in news verification".

Higgins claims the DNI funding "allowed us to push this to the next level".
https://digitalnewsinitiative.com/news/case-study-codifying-social-conflict-data/

In their zeal to propagate the story of Higgins as a courageous former "unemployed man" now busy independently "Codifying social conflict data", Google neglects to mention Higgins' role as a "research fellow" for the NATO-funded Atlantic Council "regime change" think tank.

Despite their claims of "independent journalism", Eliot Higgins and the team of disinformation operatives at Bellingcat depend on the Atlantic Council to promote their "online investigations".

The Atlantic Council donors list includes:

– US government and military entities: US State Department, US Air Force, US Army, US Marines.

– The NATO military alliance

– Large corporations and major military contractors: Chevron, Google, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, BP, ExxonMobil, General Electric, Northrup Grumman, SAIC, ConocoPhillips, and Dow Chemical

– Foreign governments: United Arab Emirates (UAE; which gives the think tank at least $1 million), Kingdom of Bahrain, City of London, Ministry of Defense of Finland, Embassy of Latvia, Estonian Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Defense of Georgia

– Other think tanks and think tankers: Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Nicolas Veron of Bruegel (formerly at PIIE), Anne-Marie Slaughter (head of New America Foundation), Michele Flournoy (head of Center for a New American Security), Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings Institution.

Higgins is a Research Associate of the Department of War Studies at King's College, and was principal co-author of the Atlantic Council "reports" on Ukraine and Syria.

Damon Wilson, Executive Vice President of Programs and Strategy at the Atlantic Council, a co-author with Higgins of the report, effusively praised Higgins' effort to bolster anti-Russian propaganda:

Wilson stated, "We make this case using only open source, all unclassified material. And none of it provided by government sources. And it's thanks to works, the work that's been pioneered by human rights defenders and our partner Eliot Higgins, uh, we've been able to use social media forensics and geolocation to back this up." (see Atlantic Council video presentation minutes 35:10-36:30)

However, the Atlantic Council claim that "none" of Higgins' material was provided by government sources is an obvious lie.

Higgins' primary "pieces of evidence" are a video depicting a Buk missile launcher and a set of geolocation coordinates that were supplied by the SBU (Security Service of Ukraine) and the Ukrainian Ministry of Interior via the Facebook page of senior-level Ukrainian government official Arsen Avakov, the Minister of Internal Affairs.

Higgins and the Atlantic Council are working in support of the Pentagon and Western intelligence's "hybrid war" against Russia.

The laudatory bio of Higgins on the Kings College website specifically acknowledges his service to the Atlantic Council:

"an award winning investigative journalist and publishes the work of an international alliance of fellow investigators using freely available online information. He has helped inaugurate open-source and social media investigations by trawling through vast amounts of data uploaded constantly on to the web and social media sites. His inquiries have revealed extraordinary findings, including linking the Buk used to down flight MH17 to Russia, uncovering details about the August 21st 2013 Sarin attacks in Damascus, and evidencing the involvement of the Russian military in the Ukrainian conflict. Recently he has worked with the Atlantic Council on the report "Hiding in Plain Sight", which used open source information to detail Russia's military involvement in the crisis in Ukraine."

While it honors Higgins' enthusiastic "trawling", King's College curiously neglects to mention that Higgins' "findings" on the Syian sarin attacks were thoroughly debunked.

King's College also curiously neglects to mention the fact that Higgins, now listed as a Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council's "Future Europe Initiative", was principal co-author of the April 2016 Atlantic Council "report" on Syria.

The report's other key author was John E. Herbst, United States Ambassador to Ukraine from September 2003 to May 2006 (the period that became known as the Orange Revolution) and Director of the Atlantic Council's Eurasia Center.

Other report authors include Frederic C. Hof, who served as Special Adviser on Syrian political transition to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2012. Hof was previously the Special Coordinator for Regional Affairs in the US Department of State's Office of the Special Envoy for Middle East Peace, where he advised Special Envoy George Mitchel. Hof had been a Resident Senior Fellow in the Atlantic Council's Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East since November 2012, and assumed the position as Director in May 2016.

There is no daylight between the "online investigations" of Higgins and Bellingcat and the "regime change" efforts of the NATO-backed Atlantic Council.

Thanks to the Atlantic Council, Soros, and Google, it's a pretty well-funded gig for fake "citizen investigative journalist" Higgins.

[Sep 18, 2017] Why Petraeus, Obama And Brennan Should Face 5,000 Years In Prison

Notable quotes:
"... add Bush. Glenn Greenwald on John Brennan . It is interesting that the empire sues the little people. ..."
"... "It is a perfect illustration of the Obama legacy that a person who was untouchable as CIA chief in 2008 because of his support for Bush's most radical policies is not only Obama's choice for the same position now, but will encounter very little resistance. Within this change one finds one of the most significant aspects of the Obama presidency: his conversion of what were once highly contentious right-wing policies into harmonious dogma of the DC bipartisan consensus. Then again, given how the CIA operates, one could fairly argue that Brennan's eagerness to deceive and his long record of supporting radical and unaccountable powers make him the perfect person to run that agency. It seems clear that this is Obama's calculus." ..."
"... one more quote from your newest link to the NYT: "The job Mr. Brennan once held in Riyadh is, more than the ambassador's, the true locus of American power in the kingdom. Former diplomats recall that the most important discussions always flowed through the C.I.A. station chief." The Saudis bought the CIA. From station chief in Riyadh to Director Tenet's chief of staff to Deputy Executive Director of the CIA and finally, under Obama, to Director of the CIA. ..."
"... Best background article I've come across on how the Arab Spring pro-democracy uprisings were either suppressed (in the U.S. client oil monarchies like Bahrain) or hijacked for regime change purposes (as in Libya and Syria): http://www.japantimes.co.jp/opinion... how-the-arab-spring-was-hijacked/ (Feb 2012) ..."
"... The best explanation is that despite the effort to "woo" Assad into the Saudi-Israeli axis (c.2008-2010), Assad refused to cut economic ties with Iran, which was setting up rail lines, air traffic and oil pipeline deals with Assad on very good terms. This led Hillary Clinton, Leon Panetta, etc. to lobby Obama to support a regime change program: ..."
"... Replace "plan" with "ongoing project". The main point would be that Panetta and Clinton also belong on that "illegal arms transfer" charge sheet. Civil damages for the costs Europe, Turkey, Lebanon etc. bore due to millions of fleeing refugees should also be assessed (let alone damage in Syria, often to priceless historical treasures destroyed by ISIS). ..."
"... Then there's the previous regime and its deliberate lies about non-existent WMDs in Iraq, claims used to start a war of aggression that killed thousand of U.S. soldiers and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians - Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Woolsey, Tenet, Powell - they should have their own separate charge sheet. ..."
"... But it wasn't just anti-arms trafficking laws that were broken, was it? Wouldn't a conspiracy to use extremists as a weapon of state amount to a crime against humanity? David Stockman thinks so, but he pins the 'crime' on old, sick McCain. (see: 'Moderate Rebels' Cheerleader McCain is Fall Guy But Neocon Cancer Lives ..."
"... I classify attempts at regime change as terrorism, too, since it's essentially the waging of aggressive war via different means, which is the #1 War Crime also violating domestic law as well ..."
"... What of the US bases being established in N. Syria that were helpfully marked by the Turks? Within the context that the SF force multiplier model has varied success but hasn't worked AFAIK since the Resistance in WW2. What, short of an explicit invasion, is an option for the US+? US-hired mercenaries failed to do the job, and the US as mercenaries for the Arabs are not willing to commit. Maybe if the USIC offered up more "wives" they'd acquire more psychopathic murderers to spread the joy. ..."
"... Trump may have put Pompeo in to present the facade of housecleaning, but who here believes that there is any serious move to curtail the Syrian misadventure? Just a change in the marketing plan. ..."
"... As the Brits came out with blocking the release of 30-yr-old official records on the basis that "personal information" and "national security" would be compromised? More like the criminal activity at 10 Downing St. and the misappropriation of public money for international crime would be brought to light. https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/4159032/whitehall-refuses-documents-release/ ..."
"... While I do agree with some of the things Trump has done so far, I cannot agree that he makes for a good "leader" of our rapidly devolving nation. As much "good" that Trump has done, he's probably done much worse on other issues and levels. It's really pretty awful all around. ..."
"... That said, when some people say how much they "miss Obama," I want to either pound my head into a brick wall and/or throw up. The damage that Obama and his hench men/women did is incalculable. ..."
"... Not so much with "No drama Obama" the smooth talking viper that we - either unwittingly or wittingly - clutche to our collective bosom. Obama's many many many lies - all told with smooth suave assurance - along with his many sins of omission served as cover for what he was doing. Trump's buffoonery and incessant Twitting at least put his idiocies out on the stage for all to see (of course, the Republicans do use that as cover for their nefarious deeds behind Trump's doofus back). ..."
"... I likened a Trump presidency to sticking the landing of a crashing US empire. ..."
"... Remember this, The prosecution of a Swedish national accused of terrorist activities in Syria has collapsed at the Old Bailey after it became clear Britain's security and intelligence agencies would have been deeply embarrassed had a trial gone ahead, the Guardian can reveal. ..."
"... His lawyers argued that British intelligence agencies were supporting the same Syrian opposition groups as he was, and were party to a secret operation providing weapons and non-lethal help to the groups, including the Free Syrian Army. https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/jun/01/trial-swedish-man-accused-terrorism-offences-collapse-bherlin-gildo ..."
"... John McCain was neck deep in supporting Terrorists in Syria he wanted to give them manpads. ..."
"... WASHINGTON (Sputnik) ! Media reported earlier in October that Syrian rebels asked Washington for Stinger missiles to use them against Russia's military jets. "Absolutely Absolutely I would," McCain said when asked whether he would support the delivery of Stinger missiles to the opposition in Syria. ..."
"... The US were into regime change in Syria a long time ago..... Robert Ford was US Ambassador to Syria when the revolt against Syrian president Assad was launched. He not only was a chief architect of regime change in Syria, but actively worked with rebels to aid their overthrow of the Syrian government. ..."
"... Ambassador Ford talked himself blue in the face reassuring us that he was only supporting moderates in Syria. As evidence mounted that the recipients of the largesse doled out by Washington was going to jihadist groups, Ford finally admitted early last year that most of the moderates he backed were fighting alongside ISIS and al-Qaeda. ..."
"... b asked : "When will the FBI investigate Messrs Petraeus, Obama and Brennan? Duh, like never... Most here understand this, I'm sure. The wealthy and the connected puppets never face justice, for their crimes, committed in the service of their owners. ..."
"... NYT never saw a war (rather an attack by the US, NATO, Israel, UK, on any defenseless nation) that it did not support. Wiki uses the word "allegedly" in explaining the CIA and Operation Mockingbird. It just isn't feasible that a secret government agency - gone rogue - with unlimited funding and manpower could write/edit the news for six media owners with similar war-profiteering motives. ..."
"... Brennan : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WBG81dXgM0Q ..."
"... Seymour Hersh, in his 'Victoria NULAND moment' audio, states categorically BRENNAN conceived and ran the 'Russian Hack' psyop after Seth RICH DNC leaks. ..."
Aug 04, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

California CEO Allegedly Smuggled Rifle Scopes to Syria - Daily Beast, August 1 2017

Rasheed Al Jijakli,[the CEO of a check-cashing business who lives in Walnut,] along with three co-conspirators, allegedly transported day and night vision rifle scopes, laser boresighters used to adjust sights on firearms for accuracy when firing, flashlights, radios, a bulletproof vest, and other tactical equipment to Syrian fighters.
...
If Jijakli is found guilty, he could face 50 years in prison . Jijakli's case is being prosecuted by counterintelligence and Terrorism and Export Crimes Section attorneys. An FBI investigation, in coordination with other agencies, is ongoing.
---

Under Trump, a Hollowed-Out Force in Syria Quickly Lost C.I.A. Backing - NY Times * , August 2, 2017

C.I.A. director, Mike Pompeo, recommended to President Trump that he shut down a four-year-old effort to arm and train Syrian rebels
...
Critics in Congress had complained for years about the costs [...] and reports that some of the C.I.A.-supplied weapons had ended up in the hands of a rebel group tied to Al Qaeda
...
In the summer of 2012, David H. Petraeus , who was then C.I.A. director, first proposed a covert program of arming and training rebels
...
[ Mr. Obama signed] a presidential finding authorizing the C.I.A. to covertly arm and train small groups of rebels
-...
John O. Brennan , Mr. Obama's last C.I.A. director, remained a vigorous defender of the program ...

When will the FBI investigate Messrs Petraeus, Obama and Brennan? Where are the counterintelligence and Terrorism and Export Crimes Section attorneys prosecuting them? Those three men engaged in the exactly same trade as Mr. Jijakil did, but on a much larger scale. They should be punished on an equally larger scale.

* Note:

The NYT story is largely a whitewash. It claims that the CIA paid "moderate" FSA rebels stormed Idleb governate in 2015. In fact al-Qaeda and Ahrar al Sham were leading the assault. It says that costs of the CIA program was "more than $1 billion over the life of the program" when CIA documents show that it was over $1 billion per year and likely much more than $5 billion in total. The story says that the program started in 2013 while the CIA has been providing arms to the Wahhabi rebels since at least fall 2011.

Posted by b on August 3, 2017 at 05:15 AM | Permalink

nmb | Aug 3, 2017 5:31:09 AM | 1

Easy: because they are war criminals.
V. Arnold | Aug 3, 2017 5:47:16 AM | 4
But, but, b; you're dealing with a rogue government of men; not laws. Should have been obvious in 2003, March 19th...
Igor Bundy | Aug 3, 2017 5:47:28 AM | 5
In case there is any doubt, North Korea has already said arming "rebels" to over throw the government would face nuclear retaliation.
Igor Bundy | Aug 3, 2017 5:52:50 AM | 6
India and Pakistan spends insane amounts of money because Pakistan arms "rebels" both countries could use that money for many other things. Especially Pakistan which has a tenth the economy of India. BUT Pakistan is controlled by the military or MIC so arming terrorists is more important than such things as schools and power supplies etc. Their excuse is India is spending so much on arms. Which India says is because in large part due to Pakistan. US says well move those 2 million troops to attack China instead. Everyone is happy except the population in those 3 countries which lack most things except iphones. Which makes US extremely happy.
Emily | Aug 3, 2017 5:54:48 AM | 7
It would interesting to get to the truth about Brennan. Is he an islamist himself? Did he actually convert to islam in Saudi Arabia? Lots of stories out there.
Has he been acting as a covert agent against his own country for years?Selling out the entire west and every christian on the planet. Time to find this out, methinks.

Is treason in the USA a death penalty issue?. Its certainly what he deserves.

Mina | Aug 3, 2017 5:55:21 AM | 8
http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/2/8/274688/World/Region/,-Syrian-refugees-and-fighters-return-home-from-Le.aspx
V. Arnold | Aug 3, 2017 6:25:03 AM | 9
Mina | Aug 3, 2017 5:55:21 AM | 8

Informative link; thanks.

Peter AU 1 | Aug 3, 2017 6:30:12 AM | 10
"a four-year-old effort to arm and train Syrian rebels."

A four year effort to arm the f**kers? Doubtful it was an effort to arm them, but training them to act in the hegemon's interests... like upholders of democracy and humanitarian... headchopping is just too much of an attraction

somebody | Aug 3, 2017 6:52:48 AM | 12
add Bush. Glenn Greenwald on John Brennan . It is interesting that the empire sues the little people.
Anonymous | Aug 3, 2017 6:54:31 AM | 13
Mina @3. The title of the article is deceptive.

"7,000 Syrian refugees and fighters return home from Lebanon"

The 'al-Qaeda linked' fighters are mostly foreigners, paid mercenaries. They have been dumped in Idlib along with the other terrorists. In the standard reconciliation process, real Syrians are given the option of returning home if they renounce violence and agree to a political solution. Fake Syrians are dumped in with the foreigners. The real Syrian fighters who reconcile have to join the SAA units to fight against ISIS etc.

ISIS fighters were encouraged to bring their families with them (for use as human shields and to provide settlers for the captured territory). ISIS documents recovered from Mosul indicate that unmarried foreign mercenaries fighting with them were provided with a wife (how does that work? do the women volunteer or are they 'volunteered'?), a car and other benefits. These families and hangers-on would probably be the 'Syrian refugees'.

On a side note, the Kurds have released a video showing the training of special forces belonging to their allies, the 'Syrian Defense Force' (composed largely of foreigners again). The SDF fighters fly the FSA flag, ie they are the carefully vetted moderate head chopping rebels beloved of the likes of McCain.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nHBFkZZ1y40

librul | Aug 3, 2017 8:20:55 AM | 14
somebody @12,

Thanks for the link, it is a keeper.

"It is a perfect illustration of the Obama legacy that a person who was untouchable as CIA chief in 2008 because of his support for Bush's most radical policies is not only Obama's choice for the same position now, but will encounter very little resistance. Within this change one finds one of the most significant aspects of the Obama presidency: his conversion of what were once highly contentious right-wing policies into harmonious dogma of the DC bipartisan consensus. Then again, given how the CIA operates, one could fairly argue that Brennan's eagerness to deceive and his long record of supporting radical and unaccountable powers make him the perfect person to run that agency. It seems clear that this is Obama's calculus."

My own addition to the Brennan record:

Brennan was station chief for the CIA in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia during the planning period for 9/11. The Saudi rulers do not use the US embassy as their first point of contact with Washington, they use the CIA. Brennan moved back to the US some time in (late?) 1999. The first 9/11 Saudi hijackers arrived on US shores in January 2000. Brennan was made CIA chief of staff to Director Tenet in 1999 and Deputy Executive Director of the CIA in March 2001.

somebody | Aug 3, 2017 8:36:06 AM | 15
14 add this New York Times link: U.S. Relies Heavily on Saudi Money to Support Syrian Rebels
The support for the Syrian rebels is only the latest chapter in the decades long relationship between the spy services of Saudi Arabia and the United States, an alliance that has endured through the Iran-contra scandal, support for the mujahedeen against the Soviets in Afghanistan and proxy fights in Africa. Sometimes, as in Syria, the two countries have worked in concert. In others, Saudi Arabia has simply written checks underwriting American covert activities. ... Although the Saudis have been public about their help arming rebel groups in Syria, the extent of their partnership with the C.I.A.'s covert action campaign and their direct financial support had not been disclosed. Details were pieced together in interviews with a half-dozen current and former American officials and sources from several Persian Gulf countries. Most spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the program.

From the moment the C.I.A. operation was started, Saudi money supported it.

...

The roots of the relationship run deep. In the late 1970s, the Saudis organized what was known as the "Safari Club" ! a coalition of nations including Morocco, Egypt and France ! that ran covert operations around Africa at a time when Congress had clipped the C.I.A.'s wings over years of abuses.

...

Prince Bandar pledged $1 million per month to help fund the contras, in recognition of the administration's past support to the Saudis. The contributions continued after Congress cut off funding to the contras. By the end, the Saudis had contributed $32 million, paid through a Cayman Islands bank account.

When the Iran-contra scandal broke, and questions arose about the Saudi role, the kingdom kept its secrets. Prince Bandar refused to cooperate with the investigation led by Lawrence E. Walsh, the independent counsel.

In a letter, the prince declined to testify, explaining that his country's "confidences and commitments, like our friendship, are given not just for the moment but the long run."

michaelj72 | Aug 3, 2017 8:43:35 AM | 16

"Many commit the same crime with a very different result. One bears a cross for his crime; another a crown." ― Juvenal, The Satires

librul | Aug 3, 2017 9:09:59 AM | 17
somebody @15

one more quote from your newest link to the NYT: "The job Mr. Brennan once held in Riyadh is, more than the ambassador's, the true locus of American power in the kingdom. Former diplomats recall that the most important discussions always flowed through the C.I.A. station chief." The Saudis bought the CIA. From station chief in Riyadh to Director Tenet's chief of staff to Deputy Executive Director of the CIA and finally, under Obama, to Director of the CIA.

Greenbean950 | Aug 3, 2017 9:47:03 AM | 18
NYT's article was a white wash. It was cover. NYT = CIA
paul | Aug 3, 2017 9:47:16 AM | 19
The art of limited hangout as practiced by the NYT
nonsense factory | Aug 3, 2017 10:15:14 AM | 20
Best background article I've come across on how the Arab Spring pro-democracy uprisings were either suppressed (in the U.S. client oil monarchies like Bahrain) or hijacked for regime change purposes (as in Libya and Syria): http://www.japantimes.co.jp/opinion... how-the-arab-spring-was-hijacked/ (Feb 2012)
In particular:
A fourth trend is that the Arab Spring has become a springboard for playing great-power geopolitics.

Syria, at the center of the region's sectarian fault lines, has emerged as the principal battleground for such Cold War-style geopolitics. Whereas Russia is intent on keeping its only military base outside the old Soviet Union in Syria's Mediterranean port of Tartus, the U.S. seems equally determined to install a pro-Western regime in Damascus.

This goal prompted Washington to set up a London-based television station that began broadcasting to Syria a year before major protests began there. The U.S. campaign, which includes assembling a coalition of the willing, has been boosted by major Turkish, Saudi, Qatari and UAE help, including cross-border flow of arms into Syria and the establishment of two new petrodollar-financed, jihad-extolling television channels directed at Syria's majority Sunni Arabs.

The best explanation is that despite the effort to "woo" Assad into the Saudi-Israeli axis (c.2008-2010), Assad refused to cut economic ties with Iran, which was setting up rail lines, air traffic and oil pipeline deals with Assad on very good terms. This led Hillary Clinton, Leon Panetta, etc. to lobby Obama to support a regime change program:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk...Leon-Panetta-supports-Hillary-Clinton-plan-to-arm-Syrian-rebels.html (Feb 2013)

Replace "plan" with "ongoing project". The main point would be that Panetta and Clinton also belong on that "illegal arms transfer" charge sheet. Civil damages for the costs Europe, Turkey, Lebanon etc. bore due to millions of fleeing refugees should also be assessed (let alone damage in Syria, often to priceless historical treasures destroyed by ISIS).

Then there's the previous regime and its deliberate lies about non-existent WMDs in Iraq, claims used to start a war of aggression that killed thousand of U.S. soldiers and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians - Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Woolsey, Tenet, Powell - they should have their own separate charge sheet.

Send the lot to Scheveningen Prison - for the most notorious war criminals. Pretty luxurious as prisons go, by all accounts.

Jackrabbit | Aug 3, 2017 10:36:48 AM | 21
But it wasn't just anti-arms trafficking laws that were broken, was it? Wouldn't a conspiracy to use extremists as a weapon of state amount to a crime against humanity? David Stockman thinks so, but he pins the 'crime' on old, sick McCain. (see: 'Moderate Rebels' Cheerleader McCain is Fall Guy But Neocon Cancer Lives
karlof1 | Aug 3, 2017 10:45:27 AM | 22
Within the Outlaw US Empire alone, there're several thousand people deserving of those 5,000 year sentences, not just the three b singled out. But b does provide a great service for those of us who refuse to support terrorists and terrorism by not paying federal taxes by providing proof of that occurring. I classify attempts at regime change as terrorism, too, since it's essentially the waging of aggressive war via different means, which is the #1 War Crime also violating domestic law as well. Thanks b!
james | Aug 3, 2017 12:07:05 PM | 23
it's the usa!!!! no one in gov't is held accountable.. obama wants to move on, lol... look forward, not backward... creating a heaping pile of murder, mayhem and more in other parts of the world, but never examine any of it, or hold anyone accountable.. it is the amerikkkan way...
stumpy | Aug 3, 2017 12:46:57 PM | 26
What of the US bases being established in N. Syria that were helpfully marked by the Turks? Within the context that the SF force multiplier model has varied success but hasn't worked AFAIK since the Resistance in WW2. What, short of an explicit invasion, is an option for the US+? US-hired mercenaries failed to do the job, and the US as mercenaries for the Arabs are not willing to commit. Maybe if the USIC offered up more "wives" they'd acquire more psychopathic murderers to spread the joy.

Trump may have put Pompeo in to present the facade of housecleaning, but who here believes that there is any serious move to curtail the Syrian misadventure? Just a change in the marketing plan.

As the Brits came out with blocking the release of 30-yr-old official records on the basis that "personal information" and "national security" would be compromised? More like the criminal activity at 10 Downing St. and the misappropriation of public money for international crime would be brought to light. https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/4159032/whitehall-refuses-documents-release/

RUKidding | Aug 3, 2017 12:56:29 PM | 27
While I do agree with some of the things Trump has done so far, I cannot agree that he makes for a good "leader" of our rapidly devolving nation. As much "good" that Trump has done, he's probably done much worse on other issues and levels. It's really pretty awful all around.

That said, when some people say how much they "miss Obama," I want to either pound my head into a brick wall and/or throw up. The damage that Obama and his hench men/women did is incalculable.

At least with Trump, we can clearly witness his idiocy and grasp the level of at least some of his damage.

Not so much with "No drama Obama" the smooth talking viper that we - either unwittingly or wittingly - clutche to our collective bosom. Obama's many many many lies - all told with smooth suave assurance - along with his many sins of omission served as cover for what he was doing. Trump's buffoonery and incessant Twitting at least put his idiocies out on the stage for all to see (of course, the Republicans do use that as cover for their nefarious deeds behind Trump's doofus back).

Agree with b. NYT is worthless. Limited hangout for sure.

stumpy | Aug 3, 2017 1:15:55 PM | 28
Speaking of who DID get arrested, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2017/08/03/fbi-arrests-wannacry-hero-marcus-hutchins-las-vegas-reports/

Gee, wouldn't we like to see the arrest warrant?

NemesisCalling | Aug 3, 2017 1:16:29 PM | 29
@27 beating a dead horse, but I agree.

I likened a Trump presidency to sticking the landing of a crashing US empire. He'll bring it down without going true believer on us, a la Clinton and ilk who were busy scheduling the apocalypse.

Trump has not been tested yet with a rapidly deteriorating economy which as we all know is coming. Something is in the air and Trump will have to face it sooner or later. The weight of the anger of millions will be behind it...will it be too late? Will Trump finally go MAGA in what he promised: Glas-Steagall, making trade fair for US interests, dialing back NATO...etc. etc. I fear he can not articulate the issues at hand, like Roosevelt or Hitler. He is too bumbling. I guess really we can only hope for an avoidance of WW. Will the world even weep for a third world USA?

Mina | Aug 3, 2017 1:23:53 PM | 30
http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/1/64/274706/Egypt/Politics-/Egypt-and-Russia-broker-truce-between-Syrian-regim.aspx
harrylaw | Aug 3, 2017 2:14:24 PM | 31
Remember this, The prosecution of a Swedish national accused of terrorist activities in Syria has collapsed at the Old Bailey after it became clear Britain's security and intelligence agencies would have been deeply embarrassed had a trial gone ahead, the Guardian can reveal.

His lawyers argued that British intelligence agencies were supporting the same Syrian opposition groups as he was, and were party to a secret operation providing weapons and non-lethal help to the groups, including the Free Syrian Army. https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/jun/01/trial-swedish-man-accused-terrorism-offences-collapse-bherlin-gildo

John McCain was neck deep in supporting Terrorists in Syria he wanted to give them manpads.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) ! Media reported earlier in October that Syrian rebels asked Washington for Stinger missiles to use them against Russia's military jets. "Absolutely Absolutely I would," McCain said when asked whether he would support the delivery of Stinger missiles to the opposition in Syria.

"We certainly did that in Afghanistan. After the Russians invaded Afghanistan, we provided them with surface-to-air capability. It'd be nice to give people that we train and equip and send them to fight the ability to defend themselves. That's one of the fundamental principles of warfare as I understand it," McCain said. https://sputniknews.com/us/201510201028835944-us-stingers-missiles-syrian-rebels-mccain/

virgile | Aug 3, 2017 2:23:20 PM | 32
They will pay sooner or later for their crimes against the Syrians. Add Sarkozy, Cameron and Holland to the list of criminals hiding under their position.
harrylaw | Aug 3, 2017 2:44:11 PM | 33
The US were into regime change in Syria a long time ago..... Robert Ford was US Ambassador to Syria when the revolt against Syrian president Assad was launched. He not only was a chief architect of regime change in Syria, but actively worked with rebels to aid their overthrow of the Syrian government.

Ford assured us that those taking up arms to overthrow the Syrian government were simply moderates and democrats seeking to change Syria's autocratic system. Anyone pointing out the obviously Islamist extremist nature of the rebellion and the foreign funding and backing for the jihadists was written off as an Assad apologist or worse.

Ambassador Ford talked himself blue in the face reassuring us that he was only supporting moderates in Syria. As evidence mounted that the recipients of the largesse doled out by Washington was going to jihadist groups, Ford finally admitted early last year that most of the moderates he backed were fighting alongside ISIS and al-Qaeda. Witness this incredible Twitter exchange with then-ex Ambassador Ford: http://www.globalresearch.ca/you-wont-believe-what-former-us-ambassador-robert-s-ford-said-about-al-qaedas-syrian-allies/5504906

Noirette | Aug 3, 2017 2:48:20 PM | 34
Specially Petraeus. A US Army General, and director of the CIA You don't get more 'pillar' of the State than that! And off he goes doing illegal arms trades, in the billions, see for ex. Meyssan, as an ex.:

http://www.voltairenet.org/article197144.html

In other countries / times, he'd be shot at dawn as a traitor. But all it shows really is that the USA does not really have a Gvmt. in the sense of a 'political structure of strong regulatory importance with 'democratic' participation..' to keep it vague.. It has an elaborate public charade, a kind of clumsy theatre play, that relies very heavily on the scripted MSM, on ritual, and various distractions. Plus natch' very vicious control mechanisms at home.. another story.

Meanwhile, off stage, the actors participate and fight and ally in a whole other scene where 'disaster capitalism', 'rapine', 'mafia moves' and the worst impulses in human nature not only bloom but are institutionalised and deployed world-wide! Covering all this up is getting increasingly difficult -Trump presidency - one would hope US citizens no not for now.

The other two of course as well, I just find Petraeus emblematic, probably because of all the BS about his mistress + he once mis-treated classified info or something like that, total irrelevance spun by the media, which works.

OJS | Aug 3, 2017 2:49:46 PM | 35
@virgile, 32

"They will pay sooner or later for their crimes against the Syrians. Add Sarkozy, Cameron and Holland to the list of criminals hiding under their position."

I humbly disagree, and they sincerely believe they are helping the Syrians (plus other states) - freedom and democracy against the brutality of Dr. Assad. I believe all these murderers are sincere doing god works and will all go to heaven. That is one of the reasons why I refuse to go to heaven even if gods beg me. Fuck it!

My apologies if I offend you or anyone. It's about time we look carefully beside politic and wealth, what religion does to a human?

karlof1 | Aug 3, 2017 3:26:11 PM | 36
OJS @35--

Have you read Reg Morrison's Spirit in the Gene ? Here's a link to one of his related essays with many more of relevance on his website, https://regmorrison.edublogs.org/1999/07/20/plague-species-the-spirit-in-the-gene/

ben | Aug 3, 2017 3:35:09 PM | 37
b asked : "When will the FBI investigate Messrs Petraeus, Obama and Brennan? Duh, like never... Most here understand this, I'm sure. The wealthy and the connected puppets never face justice, for their crimes, committed in the service of their owners.

You can include ALL the POTUS's and their minions, since the turn of the century. " It's just business, get over it."

john | Aug 3, 2017 4:16:52 PM | 38
ben says:

Duh, like never..Most here understand this, I'm sure right. like voyeurs, we like to watch , and watch , and watch .

somebody | Aug 3, 2017 4:23:25 PM | 39
35 Religion has nothing to do with it.

How to spot a Sociopath

6 Look for signs of instigating violent behavior. As children some sociopaths torture defenseless people and animals. This violence is always instigating, and not defensive violence. They will create drama out of thin air, or twist what others say. They will often overreact strongly to minor offenses. If they are challenged or confronted about it, they will point the finger the other way, counting on the empathic person's empathy and consideration of people to protect them, as long as they can remain undetected. Their attempt to point the finger the other way, is both a smokescreen to being detected, and an attempt to confuse the situation.

The link is a pretty good summary. It is easy to find more respectable psychological sources for the disorder on the internet.

fast freddy | Aug 3, 2017 5:45:24 PM | 40
NYT never saw a war (rather an attack by the US, NATO, Israel, UK, on any defenseless nation) that it did not support. Wiki uses the word "allegedly" in explaining the CIA and Operation Mockingbird. It just isn't feasible that a secret government agency - gone rogue - with unlimited funding and manpower could write/edit the news for six media owners with similar war-profiteering motives. /s
OJS | Aug 3, 2017 8:12:07 PM | 42
@karlof1, 36

" Here, evolution had hit on the sweetest of solutions. Such perceptions were guaranteed to produce a faith-dependent species that believed itself to be thoroughly separate from the rest of the animal kingdom, ...."

Interesting article, but stop reading years ago when struggled to raise a family, make a living to survive. Debatable Is "sociopath" (Antisocial Personality Disorder) or the genes make humanly so brutally? Very often hard to fathom the depth of human suffering be it USA, Syria or elsewhere. Thanks sharing you thought.

falcemartello | Aug 3, 2017 9:03:06 PM | 43
What most of the msm and the echo chamber seem to be deliberately missing is all intentional. The whole Assad must go meme is dead and buried. The western cabal has not acheived their regime change in Syria. The Russian economy has not sunk to the bottom of the Black sea, the Russians hacked into my fridge meme has all been debunked and is falling apart. The collusion of all anglo antlantacist secret agency and governments to destabalize the ME has all come out with an ever turbulant flow. Iran being the threat of the world ,debunked. Russia invading and hacking the free world ,debunked.

Hence I expect that the western oligarchs along with their pressitute and compromised politicians will be bying up alot of bleach. They will be whitewashing for the next three months all semblance of anything related to their fraudulent existence.

Nurenberg 2, the Hague would be to soft for these vile criminals of humanity. Look how they had to back track on the Milosevic conviction mind u post death.
Just another day in the office for these criminals of humanity. Gee can't wait until this petro-dollar ponzi scheme crashes hopefully we can get back o being human again. The emperor has no clothes.

runaway robot | Aug 3, 2017 9:07:30 PM | 44
karlof1@36:
Thanks for reminding me about Reg Morrison! I need to re-read that book, slowly.
fast freddy | Aug 3, 2017 9:20:33 PM | 45
43 The whole Assad must go meme is dead and buried. The western cabal has not acheived their regime change in Syria. The Russian economy has not sunk to the bottom of the Black sea, the Russians hacked into my fridge meme has all been debunked and is falling apart. The collusion of all anglo antlantacist secret agency and governments to destabalize the ME has all come out with an ever turbulant flow. Iran being the threat of the world ,debunked. Russia invading and hacking the free world,debunked.

Optimistic. Has Trump been instrumental in these? Perhaps. This would be a good reason for Zionists to hate him. But how is it that Trump is such a bumbling idiot? Now the Senate has ratfcked him with recess appointments. And he signed that stupid Russia Sanctions bill.

Temporarily Sane | Aug 4, 2017 12:06:50 AM | 46
@45 fast freddy
This would be a good reason for Zionists to hate him.

Except they don't hate him. Quite the opposite in fact. Looking to Trump as some sort of savior figure is absolutely ridiculous.

rm | Aug 4, 2017 12:17:56 AM | 47
Brennan : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WBG81dXgM0Q

Seymour Hersh, in his 'Victoria NULAND moment' audio, states categorically BRENNAN conceived and ran the 'Russian Hack' psyop after Seth RICH DNC leaks.

[Sep 17, 2017] The Only Safe Email is Text Only Email

Notable quotes:
"... The real issue is that today's web-based email systems are electronic minefields filled with demands and enticements to click and engage in an increasingly responsive and interactive online experience. It's not just Gmail, Yahoo mail and similar services: Desktop-computer-based email programs like Outlook display messages in the same unsafe way. ..."
"... Simply put, safe email is plain-text email -- showing only the plain words of the message exactly as they arrived, without embedded links or images ..."
"... Even the federal government's top cybersecurity experts have come to the startling, but important, conclusion that any person, organization or government serious about web security should return to plain-text email (PDF). ..."
Sep 12, 2017 | yro.slashdot.org

(theconversation.com)

Posted by msmash on Tuesday September 12, 2017

Sergey Bratus, Research Associate Professor of Computer Science, Dartmouth College, and Anna Shubina, Post-doctoral Associate in Computer Science, Dartmouth College write: The real issue is that today's web-based email systems are electronic minefields filled with demands and enticements to click and engage in an increasingly responsive and interactive online experience. It's not just Gmail, Yahoo mail and similar services: Desktop-computer-based email programs like Outlook display messages in the same unsafe way.

Simply put, safe email is plain-text email -- showing only the plain words of the message exactly as they arrived, without embedded links or images. Webmail is convenient for advertisers (and lets you write good-looking emails with images and nice fonts), but carries with it unnecessary -- and serious -- danger, because a webpage (or an email) can easily show one thing but do another. Returning email to its origins in plain text may seem radical, but it provides radically better security .

Even the federal government's top cybersecurity experts have come to the startling, but important, conclusion that any person, organization or government serious about web security should return to plain-text email (PDF).

fahrbot-bot ( 874524 ) , Tuesday September 12, 2017 @02:03PM ( #55182113 )

Thunderbird, viewing in Plain Text ... Score: , Insightful)

I use Thunderbird and POP3, view my messages in Plain Text, have Javascript and all plugins disabled -- for those cases where I have to view the message body as HTML because (for some reason) nothing (or not everything) displays in Plain Text mode (which annoys me to no end, anyone have a workaround?).

I'm confident that I'm not missing out on anything by viewing in Plain Text, 'cause it's freaking email, not art

[Sep 16, 2017] Equifax Breach Provokes Calls For Serious Data Protection Reforms

Sep 16, 2017 | it.slashdot.org

(wired.com)

Posted by EditorDavid on Sunday September 10, 2017

Equifax's data breach was colossal -- but what should happen next? The Guardian writes: The problem is that companies like Equifax are able to accumulate -- essentially, without limit -- as much sensitive, personal data as they can get their hands on. There is an urgent need for strict regulations on what types of data companies can collect and how much data a company can possess, both in aggregate and about individuals. At the very least, this will lessen the severity and size of (inevitable) data breaches... Without putting hard limits on the data capitalists who extract and exploit our personal information, they will continue to reap the benefit while we bear the risks.

Marc Rotenberg, president of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, adds, "we need to penalize companies that collect SSNs but can't protect [them]." Wired reports: Experts across numerous privacy and security fields agree that the solution to the over-collection and over-use of SSNs isn't one particular replacement, but a diverse array of authentications like individual codes (similar to passwords), biometrics, and even physical tokens to create more variation in the ID process. Some also argue that the government likely won't be the driving force behind the shift. "We have a government that works at a glacial pace in the best of times," says Brenda Sharton, who chairs the Privacy & Cybersecurity practice at the Goodwin law firm, which has worked on data privacy breach investigations since the early 2000s. "There will reach a point where SSN [exposure] becomes untenable. And it may push us in the direction of having companies require multi-factor authentication."

Meanwhile TechCrunch argues, "This crass, callow, and lazy treatment of our digital data cannot stand...": We must create new, secure methods for cryptographically securing our data ... These old organizations -- Equifax was founded in 1899 and hasn't changed much since inception -- must die, to be replaced by solutions that (and I shudder to say this) are blockchain-based.

[Sep 16, 2017] Equifax Breach is Very Possibly the Worst Leak of Personal Info Ever

Sep 16, 2017 | yro.slashdot.org

(arstechnica.com)

Posted by msmash on Friday September 08, 2017

The breach Equifax reported Thursday is very possibly is the most severe of all for a simple reason: the breath-taking amount of highly sensitive data it handed over to criminals.

Dan Goodin of ArsTechnica writes: By providing full names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, and, in some cases, driver license numbers , it provided most of the information banks, insurance companies, and other businesses use to confirm consumers are who they claim to be.

The theft, by criminals who exploited a security flaw on the Equifax website, opens the troubling prospect the data is now in the hands of hostile governments, criminal gangs, or both and will remain so indefinitely. Hacks hitting Yahoo and other sites, by contrast, may have breached more accounts, but the severity of the personal data was generally more limited. And in most cases the damage could be contained by changing a password or getting a new credit card number.

What's more, the 143 million US people Equifax said were potentially affected accounts for roughly 44 percent of the population. When children and people without credit histories are removed, the proportion becomes even bigger. That means well more than half of all US residents who rely the most on bank loans and credit cards are now at a significantly higher risk of fraud and will remain so for years to come.

Besides being used to take out loans in other people's names, the data could be abused by hostile governments to, say, tease out new information about people with security clearances, especially in light of the 2015 hack on the US Office of Personnel Management, which exposed highly sensitive data on 3.2 million federal employees, both current and retired.

Meanwhile, if you accept Equifax's paltry "help" you forfeit the right to sue the company, it has said. In its policy, Equifax also states that it won't be helping its customers fix hack-related problems .

UPDATE (9/9/17): Equifax has now announced that "the arbitration clause and class action waiver included in the Equifax and TrustedID Premier terms of use does not apply to this cybersecurity incident ."

Bloomberg reported on Friday that a class action seeking to represent 143 million consumers has been filed, and it alleges the company didn't spend enough on protecting data. The class-action -- filed by the firm Olsen Daines PC along with Geragos & Geragos, a celebrity law firm known for blockbuster class actions -- will seek as much as $70 billion in damages nationally.

[Sep 16, 2017] Equifax Blames Open-Source Software For Its Record-Breaking Security Breach

Sep 16, 2017 | news.slashdot.org

(zdnet.com)

Posted by BeauHD on Monday September 11, 2017

The blame for the record-breaking cybersecurity breach that affects at least 143 million people falls on the open-source server framework, Apache Struts , according to an unsubstantiated report by equity research firm Baird . The firm's source, per one report , is believed to be Equifax.

ZDNet reports:

Apache Struts is a popular open-source software programming Model-View-Controller (MVC) framework for Java. It is not, as some headlines have had it, a vendor software program. It's also not proven that Struts was the source of the hole the hackers drove through. In fact, several headlines -- some of which have since been retracted -- all source a single quote by a non-technical analyst from an Equifax source. Not only is that troubling journalistically, it's problematic from a technical point of view. In case you haven't noticed, Equifax appears to be utterly and completely clueless about their own technology.

Equifax's own data breach detector isn't just useless: it's untrustworthy. Adding insult to injury, the credit agency's advice and support site looks, at first glance, to be a bogus, phishing-type site: " equifaxsecurity2017.com ." That domain name screams fake. And what does it ask for if you go there? The last six figures of your social security number and last name. In other words, exactly the kind of information a hacker might ask for. Equifax's technical expertise, it has been shown, is less than acceptable. Could the root cause of the hack be a Struts security hole?

Two days before the Equifax breach was reported, ZDNet reported a new and significant Struts security problem . While many jumped on this as the security hole, Equifax admitted hackers had broken in between mid-May through July, long before the most recent Struts flaw was revealed. "It's possible that the hackers found the hole on their own, but zero-day exploits aren't that common," reports ZDNet.

"It's far more likely that -- if the problem was indeed with Struts -- it was with a separate but equally serious security problem in Struts , first patched in March." The question then becomes: is it the fault of Struts developers or Equifax's developers, system admins, and their management?

"The people who ran the code with a known 'total compromise of system integrity' should get the blame," reports ZDNet.

[Sep 16, 2017] Thousands of Job Applicants Citing Top Secret US Government Work Exposed In Amazon Server Data Breach

Sep 16, 2017 | yro.slashdot.org

(gizmodo.com)

Posted by BeauHD on Sunday September 03, 2017

According to Gizmodo, "Thousands of files containing the personal information and expertise of Americans with classified and up to Top Secret security clearances have been exposed by an unsecured Amazon server , potentially for most of the year."

From the report:

The files have been traced back to TigerSwan, a North Carolina-based private security firm. But in a statement on Saturday, TigerSwan implicated TalentPen, a third-party vendor apparently used by the firm to process new job applicants. "At no time was there ever a data breach of any TigerSwan server," the firm said. "All resume files in TigerSwan's possession are secure. We take seriously the failure of TalentPen to ensure the security of this information and regret any inconvenience or exposure our former recruiting vendor may have caused these applicants. TigerSwan is currently exploring all recourse and options available to us and those who submitted a resume."

Found on an insecure Amazon S3 bucket without the protection of a password, the cache of roughly 9,400 documents reveal extraordinary details about thousands of individuals who were formerly and may be currently employed by the U.S. Department of Defense and within the U.S. intelligence community.

The files, unearthed this summer by a security analyst at the California-based cybersecurity firm UpGuard, were discovered in a folder labeled "resumes" containing the curriculum vitae of thousands of U.S. citizens holding Top Secret security clearances -- a prerequisite for their jobs at the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, and the U.S. Secret Service, among other government agencies.

[Sep 16, 2017] Credit Reporting Firm Equifax Announces Cybersecurity Incident Impacting Approximately 143 Million US Consumers

Sep 16, 2017 | news.slashdot.org

(cnbc.com)

Posted by BeauHD on Thursday September 07, 2017

Equifax, which supplies credit information and other information services, said Thursday that a cybersecurity incident discovered on July 29 could have potentially affected 143 million consumers in the U.S . "The leaked data includes names, birth dates, social security numbers, addresses and potentially drivers licenses," reports CNBC. "209,000 U.S. credit card numbers were also obtained, in addition to 'certain dispute documents with personal identifying information for approximately 182,000 U.S. consumers."

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Richard F. Smith said in a statement: "This is clearly a disappointing event for our company, and one that strikes at the heart of who we are and what we do. I apologize to consumers and our business customers for the concern and frustration this causes. We pride ourselves on being a leader in managing and protecting data, and we are conducting a thorough review of our overall security operations. We also are focused on consumer protection and have developed a comprehensive portfolio of services to support all U.S. consumers, regardless of whether they were impacted by this incident."

Equifax is now alerting customers whose information was included in the breach via mail, and is working with state and federal authorities.

UPDATE (9/7/17) : According to Bloomberg , "three Equifax senior executives sold shares worth almost $1.8 million" in the days after the company discovered the security breach. Regulatory filings show that three days after the breach was discovered on July 29th, Chief Financial Officer John Gamble sold shares worth $946,374 and Joseph Loughran, president of U.S. information solutions, exercised options to dispose of stock worth $584,099."

Meanwhile, "Rodolfo Ploder, president of workforce solutions, sold $250,458 of stock on Aug. 2."

[Sep 13, 2017] Chelsea Manning: The Dystopia We Signed Up for

Notable quotes:
"... The real power of mass data collection lies in the hand-tailored algorithms capable of sifting, sorting and identifying patterns within the data itself. When enough information is collected over time, governments and corporations can use or abuse those patterns to predict future human behavior. ..."
Sep 13, 2017 | www.nytimes.com

...We file our taxes. We make phone calls. We send emails. Tax records are used to keep us honest. We agree to broadcast our location so we can check the weather on our smartphones. Records of our calls, texts and physical movements are filed away alongside our billing information. Perhaps that data is analyzed more covertly to make sure that we're not terrorists "" but only in the interest of national security, we're assured.

Our faces and voices are recorded by surveillance cameras and other internet-connected sensors, some of which we now willingly put inside our homes. Every time we load a news article or page on a social media site, we expose ourselves to tracking code, allowing hundreds of unknown entities to monitor our shopping and online browsing habits. We agree to cryptic terms-of-service agreements that obscure the true nature and scope of these transactions.

Biometric information such as fingerprints, retinal scans and DNA helps governments and corporations track people around the world. In Iraq, United States Army soldiers scan a man's eye to see whether he is a known insurgent. Credit Michael Kamber for The New York Times

According to a 2015 study from the Pew Research Center, 91 percent of American adults believe they've lost control over how their personal information is collected and used. Just how much they've lost, however, is more than they likely suspect.

The real power of mass data collection lies in the hand-tailored algorithms capable of sifting, sorting and identifying patterns within the data itself. When enough information is collected over time, governments and corporations can use or abuse those patterns to predict future human behavior. Our data establishes a "pattern of life "¯ from seemingly harmless digital residue like cellphone tower pings, credit card transactions and web browsing histories.

The consequences of our being subjected to constant algorithmic scrutiny are often unclear. For instance, artificial intelligence Silicon Valley's catchall term for deepthinking and deep-learning algorithms is touted by tech companies as a path to the high-tech conveniences of the so-called internet of things. This includes digital home assistants, connected appliances and self-driving cars.

Simultaneously, algorithms are already analyzing social media habits, determining creditworthiness, deciding which job candidates get called in for an interview and judging whether criminal defendants should be released on bail . Other machine-learning systems use automated facial analysis to detect and track emotions, or claim the ability to predict whether someone will become a criminal based only on their facial features .

Every weekday, get thought-provoking commentary from Op-Ed columnists, the Times editorial board and contributing writers from around the world.

... ... ...

Such programmatic, machine-driven thinking has become especially dangerous in the hands of governments and the police.

In recent years our military, law enforcement and intelligence agencies have merged in unexpected ways. They harvest more data than they can possibly manage, and wade through the quantifiable world side by side in vast, usually windowless buildings called fusion centers .

Such powerful new relationships have created a foundation for, and have breathed life into, a vast police and surveillance state. Advanced algorithms have made this possible on an unprecedented level. Relatively minor infractions, or "microcrimes,"¯ can now be policed aggressively. And with national databases shared among governments and corporations, these minor incidents can follow you forever, even if the information is incorrect or lacking context.

At the same time, the United States military uses the metadata of countless communications for drone attacks , using pings emitted from cellphones to track and eliminate targets.

In literature and pop culture, concepts such as "thoughtcrime"¯ and "precrime"¯ have emerged out of dystopian fiction. They are used to restrict and punish anyone who is flagged by automated systems as a potential criminal or threat, even if a crime has yet to be committed. But this science fiction trope is quickly becoming reality. Predictive policing algorithms are already being used to create automated heat maps of future crimes, and like the "manual"¯ policing that came before them, they overwhelmingly target poor and minority neighborhoods .

The world has become like an eerily banal dystopian novel. Things look the same on the surface, but they are not. With no apparent boundaries on how algorithms can use and abuse the data that's being collected about us, the potential for it to control our lives is ever-growing.

Our drivers' licenses, our keys, our debit and credit cards are all important parts of our lives. Even our social media accounts could soon become crucial components of being fully functional members of society. Now that we live in this world, we must figure out how to maintain our connection with society without surrendering to automated processes that we can neither see nor control.

Follow The New York Times Opinion section on Facebook and Twitter , and sign up for the Opinion Today newsletter .

This is an article from World Review: The State of Democracy , a special section that examines global policy and affairs through the perspectives of thought leaders and commentators. A version of this op-ed appears in print on September 14, 2017, on Page S3, in The International New York Times.

[Sep 01, 2017] New Think Tank Emails Show How Google Wields its Power in Washington

Notable quotes:
"... Seems that Eric Schmidt is as thin-skinned as Lloyd Blankfein, unless these CEOs think that the interested people, especially their consumers, have no clue that they are a monopoly and there's no way to find out about them OR the EU fine. ..."
Sep 01, 2017 | theintercept.com
Best September 1 2017, 8:15 p.m.

Try the word this way: Go-Ogle

Joshua88 September 1 2017, 3:11 p.m.

Google – but specifically not Alphabet – signed on to the tech letter to the UN about the dangers of autonomous – people-less – killing machines. For years, I thought that Google was designing their army of robots for warfare or some other dastardly enterprise. Am I wrong?

Almost the entire pile of people working in DC are disgusting whores.

At least Elizabeth Warren is consistent

Seems that Eric Schmidt is as thin-skinned as Lloyd Blankfein, unless these CEOs think that the interested people, especially their consumers, have no clue that they are a monopoly and there's no way to find out about them OR the EU fine.

These stories are so delicious.

Thank you for the treat, David Dayen.

GhostofTeddyRoosevelt September 1 2017, 11:59 a.m.

As a libertarian, i am pretty much hands off the market. However, many tech firms have gotten to a point of no return. At some point the Sherman Act needs to be enlisted.
In the 70s Standard Oil was busted for a lot less. Google, Amazon, Fakebook, Apple, need strutiny and likely busted as well.
I also would put a few large ag & chemical interests into this mix.
The control they wield is no longer acceptable.

Joe September 1 2017, 11:10 a.m.

This goes to show you how Google is using its monopoly power to crush dissent and destroy its rivals. If there was ever a textbook case of monopolistic abuse that calls out for antitrust action, this is it.

Darren Douglas September 1 2017, 10:04 a.m.

Time to split up Google (search, Gmail, YouTube, etc.) and maybe Amazon (Washington Post, Whole Foods, etc.). Google in particular is a potentially harmful monopoly for freedom of speech.

Benito Mussolini September 1 2017, 9:45 a.m.

Washington is a marketplace for buying and selling influence. If you drain the swamp, it doesn't make the marketplace disappear, just renders it transparent. Google's behavior does not seem exceptional, at least when compared with the machinations of Big Oil and the Military-Industrial complex. As far as I know, Google isn't agitating for the invasion of any foreign countries.

[Aug 30, 2017] Why Google Made The NSA by Nafeez Ahmed

Aug 39, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored via Medium.com,

Inside the secret network behind mass surveillance, endless war, and Skynet...

INSURGE INTELLIGENCE , a new crowd-funded investigative journalism project, breaks the exclusive story of how the United States intelligence community funded, nurtured and incubated Google as part of a drive to dominate the world through control of information. Seed-funded by the NSA and CIA, Google was merely the first among a plethora of private sector start-ups co-opted by US intelligence to retain 'information superiority.'

The origins of this ingenious strategy trace back to a secret Pentagon-sponsored group, that for the last two decades has functioned as a bridge between the US government and elites across the business, industry, finance, corporate, and media sectors. The group has allowed some of the most powerful special interests in corporate America to systematically circumvent democratic accountability and the rule of law to influence government policies, as well as public opinion in the US and around the world.

The results have been catastrophic: NSA mass surveillance, a permanent state of global war, and a new initiative to transform the US military into Skynet.

This exclusive is being released for free in the public interest, and was enabled by crowdfunding. I'd like to thank my amazing community of patrons for their support, which gave me the opportunity to work on this in-depth investigation. Please support independent, investigative journalism for the global commons .

* * *

Read Part 1 here...

* * *

Mass surveillance is about control. It's promulgators may well claim, and even believe, that it is about control for the greater good, a control that is needed to keep a cap on disorder, to be fully vigilant to the next threat. But in a context of rampant political corruption, widening economic inequalities, and escalating resource stress due to climate change and energy volatility, mass surveillance can become a tool of power to merely perpetuate itself, at the public's expense.

A major function of mass surveillance that is often overlooked is that of knowing the adversary to such an extent that they can be manipulated into defeat. The problem is that the adversary is not just terrorists. It's you and me. To this day, the role of information warfare as propaganda has been in full swing, though systematically ignored by much of the media.

Here, INSURGE INTELLIGENCE exposes how the Pentagon Highlands Forum's co-optation of tech giants like Google to pursue mass surveillance, has played a key role in secret efforts to manipulate the media as part of an information war against the American government, the American people, and the rest of the world: to justify endless war, and ceaseless military expansionism.

The war machine

In September 2013, the website of the Montery Institute for International Studies' Cyber Security Initiative (MIIS CySec ) posted a final version of a paper on 'cyber-deterrence' by CIA consultant Jeffrey Cooper, vice president of the US defense contractor SAIC and a founding member of the Pentagon's Highlands Forum. The paper was presented to then NSA director Gen. Keith Alexander at a Highlands Forum session titled 'Cyber Commons, Engagement and Deterrence' in 2010.

Gen. Keith Alexander (middle), who served as director of the NSA and chief of the Central Security Service from 2005 to 2014, as well as commander of the US Cyber Command from 2010 to 2014, at the 2010 Highlands Forum session on cyber-deterrence

MIIS CySec is formally partnered with the Pentagon's Highlands Forum through an MoU signed between the provost and Forum president Richard O'Neill, while the initiative itself is funded by George C. Lee: the Goldman Sachs executive who led the billion dollar valuations of Facebook, Google, eBay, and other tech companies.

Cooper's eye-opening paper is no longer available at the MIIS site, but a final version of it is available via the logs of a public national security conference hosted by the American Bar Association. Currently, Cooper is chief innovation officer at SAIC/Leidos, which is among a consortium of defense technology firms including Booz Allen Hamilton and others contracted to develop NSA surveillance capabilities.

The Highlands Forum briefing for the NSA chief was commissioned under contract by the undersecretary of defense for intelligence, and based on concepts developed at previous Forum meetings. It was presented to Gen. Alexander at a "closed session" of the Highlands Forum moderated by MIIS Cysec director, Dr. Itamara Lochard, at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington DC.

SAIC/Leidos' Jeffrey Cooper (middle), a founding member of the Pentagon's Highlands Forum, listening to Phil Venables (right), senior partner at Goldman Sachs, at the 2010 Forum session on cyber-deterrence at the CSIS

Like Rumsfeld's IO roadmap, Cooper's NSA briefing described "digital information systems" as both a "great source of vulnerability" and "powerful tools and weapons" for "national security." He advocated the need for US cyber intelligence to maximize "in-depth knowledge" of potential and actual adversaries, so they can identify "every potential leverage point" that can be exploited for deterrence or retaliation. "Networked deterrence" requires the US intelligence community to develop "deep understanding and specific knowledge about the particular networks involved and their patterns of linkages, including types and strengths of bonds," as well as using cognitive and behavioural science to help predict patterns. His paper went on to essentially set out a theoretical architecture for modelling data obtained from surveillance and social media mining on potential "adversaries" and "counterparties."

A year after this briefing with the NSA chief, Michele Weslander Quaid?!?another Highlands Forum delegate?!?joined Google to become chief technology officer, leaving her senior role in the Pentagon advising the undersecretary of defense for intelligence. Two months earlier, the Defense Science Board (DSB) Task Force on Defense Intelligence published its report on Counterinsurgency (COIN), Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (IRS) Operations. Quaid was among the government intelligence experts who advised and briefed the Defense Science Board Task Force in preparing the report. Another expert who briefed the Task Force was Highlands Forum veteran Linton Wells. The DSB report itself had been commissioned by Bush appointee James Clapper, then undersecretary of defense for intelligence?!?who had also commissioned Cooper's Highlands Forum briefing to Gen. Alexander. Clapper is now Obama's Director of National Intelligence, in which capacity he lied under oath to Congress by claiming in March 2013 that the NSA does not collect any data at all on American citizens.

Michele Quaid's track record across the US military intelligence community was to transition agencies into using web tools and cloud technology. The imprint of her ideas are evident in key parts of the DSB Task Force report, which described its purpose as being to "influence investment decisions" at the Pentagon "by recommending appropriate intelligence capabilities to assess insurgencies, understand a population in their environment, and support COIN operations."

The report named 24 countries in South and Southeast Asia, North and West Africa, the Middle East and South America, which would pose "possible COIN challenges" for the US military in coming years. These included Pakistan, Mexico, Yemen, Nigeria, Guatemala, Gaza/West Bank, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, among other "autocratic regimes." The report argued that "economic crises, climate change, demographic pressures, resource scarcity, or poor governance could cause these states (or others) to fail or become so weak that they become targets for aggressors/insurgents." From there, the "global information infrastructure" and "social media" can rapidly "amplify the speed, intensity, and momentum of events" with regional implications. "Such areas could become sanctuaries from which to launch attacks on the US homeland, recruit personnel, and finance, train, and supply operations."

The imperative in this context is to increase the military's capacity for "left of bang" operations?!?before the need for a major armed forces commitment?!?to avoid insurgencies, or pre-empt them while still in incipient phase. The report goes on to conclude that "the Internet and social media are critical sources of social network analysis data in societies that are not only literate, but also connected to the Internet." This requires "monitoring the blogosphere and other social media across many different cultures and languages" to prepare for "population-centric operations."

The Pentagon must also increase its capacity for "behavioral modeling and simulation" to "better understand and anticipate the actions of a population" based on "foundation data on populations, human networks, geography, and other economic and social characteristics." Such "population-centric operations" will also "increasingly" be needed in "nascent resource conflicts, whether based on water-crises, agricultural stress, environmental stress, or rents" from mineral resources. This must include monitoring "population demographics as an organic part of the natural resource framework."

Other areas for augmentation are "overhead video surveillance," "high resolution terrain data," "cloud computing capability," "data fusion" for all forms of intelligence in a "consistent spatio-temporal framework for organizing and indexing the data," developing "social science frameworks" that can "support spatio-temporal encoding and analysis," "distributing multi-form biometric authentication technologies ["such as fingerprints, retina scans and DNA samples"] to the point of service of the most basic administrative processes" in order to "tie identity to all an individual's transactions." In addition, the academy must be brought in to help the Pentagon develop "anthropological, socio-cultural, historical, human geographical, educational, public health, and many other types of social and behavioral science data and information" to develop "a deep understanding of populations."

A few months after joining Google, Quaid represented the company in August 2011 at the Pentagon's Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) Customer and Industry Forum . The forum would provide "the Services, Combatant Commands, Agencies, coalition forces" the "opportunity to directly engage with industry on innovative technologies to enable and ensure capabilities in support of our Warfighters." Participants in the event have been integral to efforts to create a "defense enterprise information environment," defined as "an integrated platform which includes the network, computing, environment, services, information assurance, and NetOps capabilities," enabling warfighters to "connect, identify themselves, discover and share information, and collaborate across the full spectrum of military operations." Most of the forum panelists were DoD officials, except for just four industry panelists including Google's Quaid.

DISA officials have attended the Highlands Forum, too?!?such as Paul Friedrichs , a technical director and chief engineer of DISA's Office of the Chief Information Assurance Executive.

Knowledge is Power

Given all this it is hardly surprising that in 2012, a few months after Highlands Forum co-chair Regina Dugan left DARPA to join Google as a senior executive, then NSA chief Gen. Keith Alexander was emailing Google's founding executive Sergey Brin to discuss information sharing for national security. In those emails, obtained under Freedom of Information by investigative journalist Jason Leopold, Gen. Alexander described Google as a "key member of [the US military's] Defense Industrial Base," a position Michele Quaid was apparently consolidating. Brin's jovial relationship with the former NSA chief now makes perfect sense given that Brin had been in contact with representatives of the CIA and NSA, who partly funded and oversaw his creation of the Google search engine, since the mid-1990s.

In July 2014, Quaid spoke at a US Army panel on the creation of a "rapid acquisition cell" to advance the US Army's "cyber capabilities" as part of the Force 202 5 transformation initiative. She told Pentagon officials that "many of the Army's 2025 technology goals can be realized with commercial technology available or in development today," re-affirming that "industry is ready to partner with the Army in supporting the new paradigm." Around the same time, most of the media was trumpeting the idea that Google was trying to distance itself from Pentagon funding, but in reality, Google has switched tactics to independently develop commercial technologies which would have military applications the Pentagon's transformation goals.

Yet Quaid is hardly the only point-person in Google's relationship with the US military intelligence community.

One year after Google bought the satellite mapping software Keyhole from CIA venture capital firm In-Q-Tel in 2004, In-Q-Tel's director of technical assessment Rob Painter?!?who played a key role in In-Q-Tel's Keyhole investment in the first place?!?moved to Google. At In-Q-Tel, Painter's work focused on identifying, researching and evaluating "new start-up technology firms that were believed to offer tremendous value to the CIA, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, and the Defense Intelligence Agency." Indeed, the NGA had confirmed that its intelligence obtained via Keyhole was used by the NSA to support US operations in Iraq from 2003 onwards .

A former US Army special operations intelligence officer, Painter's new job at Google as of July 2005 was federal manager of what Keyhole was to become: Google Earth Enterprise. By 2007, Painter had become Google's federal chief technologist.

That year, Painter told the Washington Post that Google was "in the beginning stages" of selling advanced secret versions of its products to the US government. "Google has ramped up its sales force in the Washington area in the past year to adapt its technology products to the needs of the military, civilian agencies and the intelligence community," the Post reported. The Pentagon was already using a version of Google Earth developed in partnership with Lockheed Martin to "display information for the military on the ground in Iraq," including "mapping out displays of key regions of the country" and outlining "Sunni and Shiite neighborhoods in Baghdad, as well as US and Iraqi military bases in the city. Neither Lockheed nor Google would say how the geospatial agency uses the data." Google aimed to sell the government new "enhanced versions of Google Earth" and "search engines that can be used internally by agencies."

White House records leaked in 2010 showed that Google executives had held several meetings with senior US National Security Council officials. Alan Davidson, Google's government affairs director, had at least three meetings with officials of the National Security Council in 2009, including White House senior director for Russian affairs Mike McFaul and Middle East advisor Daniel Shapiro. It also emerged from a Google patent application that the company had deliberately been collecting 'payload' data from private wifi networks that would enable the identification of "geolocations." In the same year, we now know, Google had signed an agreement with the NSA giving the agency open-ended access to the personal information of its users, and its hardware and software, in the name of cyber security?!?agreements that Gen. Alexander was busy replicating with hundreds of telecoms CEOs around the country.

Thus, it is not just Google that is a key contributor and foundation of the US military-industrial complex: it is the entire Internet, and the wide range of private sector companies?!?many nurtured and funded under the mantle of the US intelligence community (or powerful financiers embedded in that community)?!?which sustain the Internet and the telecoms infrastructure; it is also the myriad of start-ups selling cutting edge technologies to the CIA's venture firm In-Q-Tel, where they can then be adapted and advanced for applications across the military intelligence community. Ultimately, the global surveillance apparatus and the classified tools used by agencies like the NSA to administer it, have been almost entirely made by external researchers and private contractors like Google, which operate outside the Pentagon.

This structure, mirrored in the workings of the Pentagon's Highlands Forum, allows the Pentagon to rapidly capitalize on technological innovations it would otherwise miss, while also keeping the private sector at arms length, at least ostensibly, to avoid uncomfortable questions about what such technology is actually being used for.

But isn't it obvious, really? The Pentagon is about war, whether overt or covert. By helping build the technological surveillance infrastructure of the NSA, firms like Google are complicit in what the military-industrial complex does best: kill for cash.

As the nature of mass surveillance suggests, its target is not merely terrorists, but by extension, 'terrorism suspects' and 'potential terrorists,' the upshot being that entire populations?!?especially political activists?!?must be targeted by US intelligence surveillance to identify active and future threats, and to be vigilant against hypothetical populist insurgencies both at home and abroad. Predictive analytics and behavioural profiles play a pivotal role here.

Mass surveillance and data-mining also now has a distinctive operational purpose in assisting with the lethal execution of special operations, selecting targets for the CIA's drone strike kill lists via dubious algorithms, for instance, along with providing geospatial and other information for combatant commanders on land, air and sea, among many other functions. A single social media post on Twitter or Facebook is enough to trigger being placed on secret terrorism watch-lists solely due to a vaguely defined hunch or suspicion; and can potentially even land a suspect on a kill list.

The push for indiscriminate, comprehensive mass surveillance by the military-industrial complex?!?encompassing the Pentagon, intelligence agencies, defense contractors, and supposedly friendly tech giants like Google and Facebook?!?is therefore not an end in itself, but an instrument of power, whose goal is self-perpetuation. But there is also a self-rationalizing justification for this goal: while being great for the military-industrial complex, it is also, supposedly, great for everyone else.

The 'long war'

No better illustration of the truly chauvinistic, narcissistic, and self-congratulatory ideology of power at the heart of the military-industrial complex is a book by long-time Highlands Forum delegate, Dr. Thomas Barnett, The Pentagon's New Map. Barnett was assistant for strategic futures in the Pentagon's Office of Force Transformation from 2001 to 2003, and had been recommended to Richard O'Neill by his boss Vice Admiral Arthur Cebrowski. Apart from becoming a New York Times bestseller, Barnett's book had been read far and wide in the US military, by senior defense officials in Washington and combatant commanders operating on the ground in the Middle East.

Barnett first attended the Pentagon Highlands Forum in 1998, then was invited to deliver a briefing about his work at the Forum on December 7th 2004, which was attended by senior Pentagon officials, energy experts, internet entrepreneurs, and journalists. Barnett received a glowing review in the Washington Post from his Highlands Forum buddy David Ignatius a week later, and an endorsement from another Forum friend, Thomas Friedman, both of which helped massively boost his credibility and readership.

Barnett's vision is neoconservative to the root. He sees the world as divided into essentially two realms : The Core, which consists of advanced countries playing by the rules of economic globalization (the US, Canada, UK, Europe and Japan) along with developing countries committed to getting there (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and some others); and the rest of the world, which is The Gap, a disparate wilderness of dangerous and lawless countries defined fundamentally by being "disconnected" from the wonders of globalization. This includes most of the Middle East and Africa, large swathes of South America, as well as much of Central Asia and Eastern Europe. It is the task of the United States to "shrink The Gap," by spreading the cultural and economic "rule-set" of globalization that characterizes The Core, and by enforcing security worldwide to enable that "rule-set" to spread.

These two functions of US power are captured by Barnett's concepts of "Leviathan" and "System Administrator." The former is about rule-setting to facilitate the spread of capitalist markets, regulated via military and civilian law. The latter is about projecting military force into The Gap in an open-ended global mission to enforce security and engage in nation-building. Not "rebuilding," he is keen to emphasize, but building "new nations."

For Barnett, the Bush administration's 2002 introduction of the Patriot Act at home, with its crushing of habeas corpus, and the National Security Strategy abroad, with its opening up of unilateral, pre-emptive war, represented the beginning of the necessary re-writing of rule-sets in The Core to embark on this noble mission. This is the only way for the US to achieve security, writes Barnett, because as long as The Gap exists, it will always be a source of lawless violence and disorder. One paragraph in particular sums up his vision:

"America as global cop creates security. Security creates common rules. Rules attract foreign investment. Investment creates infrastructure. Infrastructure creates access to natural resources. Resources create economic growth. Growth creates stability. Stability creates markets. And once you're a growing, stable part of the global market, you're part of the Core. Mission accomplished."

Much of what Barnett predicted would need to happen to fulfill this vision, despite its neoconservative bent, is still being pursued under Obama. In the near future, Barnett had predicted, US military forces will be dispatched beyond Iraq and Afghanistan to places like Uzbekistan, Djibouti, Azerbaijan, Northwest Africa, Southern Africa and South America.

Barnett's Pentagon briefing was greeted with near universal enthusiasm. The Forum had even purchased copies of his book and had them distributed to all Forum delegates, and in May 2005, Barnett was invited back to participate in an entire Forum themed around his "SysAdmin" concept.

The Highlands Forum has thus played a leading role in defining the Pentagon's entire conceptualization of the 'war on terror.' Irving Wladawsky-Berger, a retired IMB vice president who co-chaired the President's Information Technology Advisory Committee from 1997 to 2001, described his experience of one 2007 Forum meeting in telling terms:

"Then there is the War on Terror, which DoD has started to refer to as the Long War, a term that I first heard at the Forum. It seems very appropriate to describe the overall conflict in which we now find ourselves. This is a truly global conflict the conflicts we are now in have much more of the feel of a battle of civilizations or cultures trying to destroy our very way of life and impose their own."

The problem is that outside this powerful Pentagon-hosted clique, not everyone else agrees. "I'm not convinced that Barnett's cure would be any better than the disease," wrote Dr. Karen Kwiatowski, a former senior Pentagon analyst in the Near East and South Asia section, who blew the whistle on how her department deliberately manufactured false information in the run-up to the Iraq War. "It would surely cost far more in American liberty, constitutional democracy and blood than it would be worth."

Yet the equation of "shrinking The Gap" with sustaining the national security of The Core leads to a slippery slope. It means that if the US is prevented from playing this leadership role as "global cop," The Gap will widen, The Core will shrink, and the entire global order could unravel. By this logic, the US simply cannot afford government or public opinion to reject the legitimacy of its mission. If it did so, it would allow The Gap to grow out of control, undermining The Core, and potentially destroying it, along with The Core's protector, America. Therefore, "shrinking The Gap" is not just a security imperative: it is such an existential priority, that it must be backed up with information war to demonstrate to the world the legitimacy of the entire project.

Based on O'Neill's principles of information warfare as articulated in his 1989 US Navy brief, the targets of information war are not just populations in The Gap, but domestic populations in The Core, and their governments: including the US government. That secret brief, which according to former senior US intelligence official John Alexander was read by the Pentagon's top leadership, argued that information war must be targeted at: adversaries to convince them of their vulnerability; potential partners around the world so they accept "the cause as just"; and finally, civilian populations and the political leadership so they believe that "the cost" in blood and treasure is worth it.

Barnett's work was plugged by the Pentagon's Highlands Forum because it fit the bill, in providing a compelling 'feel good' ideology for the US military-industrial complex.

But neoconservative ideology, of course, hardly originated with Barnett, himself a relatively small player, even though his work was extremely influential throughout the Pentagon. The regressive thinking of senior officials involved in the Highlands Forum is visible from long before 9/11, which was ceased upon by actors linked to the Forum as a powerful enabling force that legitimized the increasingly aggressive direction of US foreign and intelligence policies.

Yoda and the Soviets

The ideology represented by the Highlands Forum can be gleaned from long before its establishment in 1994, at a time when Andrew 'Yoda' Marshall's ONA was the primary locus of Pentagon activity on future planning.

A widely-held myth promulgated by national security journalists over the years is that the ONA's reputation as the Pentagon's resident oracle machine was down to the uncanny analytical foresight of its director Marshall. Supposedly, he was among the few who made the prescient recognition that the Soviet threat had been overblown by the US intelligence community. He had, the story goes, been a lone, but relentless voice inside the Pentagon, calling on policymakers to re-evaluate their projections of the USSR's military might.

Except the story is not true. The ONA was not about sober threat analysis, but about paranoid threat projection justifying military expansionism. Foreign Policy's Jeffrey Lewis points out that far from offering a voice of reason calling for a more balanced assessment of Soviet military capabilities, Marshall tried to downplay ONA findings that rejected the hype around an imminent Soviet threat. Having commissioned a study concluding that the US had overestimated Soviet aggressiveness, Marshall circulated it with a cover note declaring himself "unpersuaded" by its findings. Lewis charts how Marshall's threat projection mind-set extended to commissioning absurd research supporting staple neocon narratives about the (non-existent) Saddam-al-Qaeda link, and even the notorious report by a RAND consultant calling for re-drawing the map of the Middle East, presented to the Pentagon's Defense Policy Board on the invitation of Richard Perle in 2002.

Investigative journalist Jason Vest similarly found from Pentagon sources that during the Cold War, Marshall had long hyped the Soviet threat, and played a key role in giving the neoconservative pressure group, the Committee on the Present Danger, access to classified CIA intelligence data to re-write the National Intelligence Estimate on Soviet Military Intentions. This was a precursor to the manipulation of intelligence after 9/11 to justify the invasion and occupation of Iraq. Former ONA staffers confirmed that Marshall had been belligerent about an imminent Soviet threat "until the very end." Ex-CIA sovietologist Melvin Goodman, for instance, recalled that Marshall was also instrumental in pushing for the Afghan mujahideen to be provided with Stinger missiles?!?a move which made the war even more brutal, encouraging the Russians to use scorched earth tactics.

Enron, the Taliban and Iraq

The post-Cold War period saw the Pentagon's creation of the Highlands Forum in 1994 under the wing of former defense secretary William Perry?!?a former CIA director and early advocate of neocon ideas like preventive war. Surprisingly, the Forum's dubious role as a government-industry bridge can be clearly discerned in relation to Enron's flirtations with the US government. Just as the Forum had crafted the Pentagon's intensifying policies on mass surveillance, it simultaneously fed directly into the strategic thinking that culminating in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

On November 7th 2000, George W. Bush ' won ' the US presidential elections. Enron and its employees had given over $1 million to the Bush campaign in total. That included contributing $10,500 to Bush's Florida recount committee, and a further $300,000 for the inaugural celebrations afterwards. Enron also provided corporate jets to shuttle Republican lawyers around Florida and Washington lobbying on behalf of Bush for the December recount. Federal election documents later showed that since 1989, Enron had made a total of $5.8 million in campaign donations, 73 percent to Republicans and 27 percent to Democrats?!?with as many as 15 senior Bush administration officials owning stock in Enron, including defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld, senior advisor Karl Rove, and army secretary Thomas White.

Yet just one day before that controversial election, Pentagon Highlands Forum founding president Richard O'Neill wrote to Enron CEO, Kenneth Lay, inviting him to give a presentation at the Forum on modernizing the Pentagon and the Army. The email from O'Neill to Lay was released as part of the Enron Corpus, the emails obtained by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, but has remained unknown until now.

The email began "On behalf of Assistant Secretary of Defense (C3I) and DoD CIO Arthur Money," and invited Lay "to participate in the Secretary of Defense's Highlands Forum," which O'Neill described as "a cross-disciplinary group of eminent scholars, researchers, CEO's/CIO's/CTO's from industry, and leaders from the media, the arts and the professions, who have met over the past six years to examine areas of emerging interest to all of us." He added that Forum sessions include "seniors from the White House, Defense, and other agencies of government (we limit government participation to about 25%)."

Here, O'Neill reveals that the Pentagon Highlands Forum was, fundamentally, about exploring not just the goals of government, but the interests of participating industry leaders like Enron. The Pentagon, O'Neill went on, wanted Lay to feed into "the search for information/ transformation strategies for the Department of Defense (and government in general)," particularly "from a business perspective (transformation, productivity, competitive advantage)." He offered high praise of Enron as "a remarkable example of transformation in a highly rigid, regulated industry, that has created a new model and new markets."

O'Neill made clear that the Pentagon wanted Enron to play a pivotal role in the DoD's future, not just in the creation of "an operational strategy which has information superiority," but also in relation to the DoD's "enormous global business enterprise which can benefit from many of the best practices and ideas from industry."

"ENRON is of great interest to us," he reaffirmed. "What we learn from you may help the Department of Defense a great deal as it works to build a new strategy. I hope that you have time on your busy schedule to join us for as much of the Highlands Forum as you can attend and speak with the group."

That Highlands Forum meeting was attended by senior White House and US intelligence officials, including CIA deputy director Joan A. Dempsey, who had previously served as assistant defense secretary for intelligence, and in 2003 was appointed by Bush as executive director of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, in which capacity she praised extensive information sharing by the NSA and NGA after 9/11. She went on to become executive vice president at Booz Allen Hamilton , a major Pentagon contractor in Iraq and Afghanistan that, among other things, created the Coalition Provisional Authority's database to track what we now know were highly corrupt reconstruction projects in Iraq.

Enron's relationship with the Pentagon had already been in full swing the previous year. Thomas White, then vice chair of Enron energy services, had used his extensive US military connections to secure a prototype deal at Fort Hamilton to privatize the power supply of army bases. Enron was the only bidder for the deal. The following year, after Enron's CEO was invited to the Highlands Forum, White gave his first speech in June just "two weeks after he became secretary of the Army," where he "vowed to speed up the awarding of such contracts," along with further "rapid privatization" of the Army's energy services. "Potentially, Enron could benefit from the speedup in awarding contracts, as could others seeking the business," observed USA Today.

That month, on the authority of defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld?!?who himself held significant shares in Enron?!?Bush's Pentagon invited another Enron executive and one of Enron's senior external financial advisors to attend a further secret Highlands Forum session.

An email from Richard O'Neill dated June 22nd, obtained via the Enron Corpus, showed that Steven Kean, then executive vice president and chief of staff of Enron, was due to give another Highlands presentation on Monday 25th. "We are approaching the Secretary of Defense-sponsored Highlands Forum and very much looking forward to your participation," wrote O'Neill, promising Kean that he would be "the centerpiece of discussion. Enron's experience is quite important to us as we seriously consider transformative change in the Department of Defense."

Steven Kean is now president and COO (and incoming CEO) of Kinder Morgan, one of the largest energy companies in North America, and a major supporter of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline project.

Due to attend the same Highlands Forum session with Kean was Richard Foster, then a senior partner at the financial consultancy McKinsey. "I have given copies of Dick Foster's new book, Creative Destruction , to the Deputy Secretary of Defense as well as the Assistant Secretary," said O'Neill in his email, "and the Enron case that he outlines makes for important discussion. We intend to hand out copies to the participants at the Forum."

Foster's firm, McKinsey, had provided strategic financial advice to Enron since the mid-1980s. Joe Skilling, who in February 2001 became Enron CEO while Kenneth Lay moved to chair, had been head of McKinsey's energy consulting business before joining Enron in 1990.

McKinsey and then partner Richard Foster were intimately involved in crafting the core Enron financial management strategies responsible for the company's rapid, but fraudulent, growth. While McKinsey has always denied being aware of the dodgy accounting that led to Enron's demise, internal company documents showed that Foster had attended an Enron finance committee meeting a month before the Highlands Forum session to discuss the "need for outside private partnerships to help drive the company's explosive growth"?!?the very investment partnerships responsible for the collapse of Enron.

McKinsey documents showed that the firm was "fully aware of Enron's extensive use of off-balance-sheet funds." As The Independent 's economics editor Ben Chu remarks, "McKinsey fully endorsed the dubious accounting methods," which led to the inflation of Enron's market valuation and "that caused the company to implode in 2001."

Indeed, Foster himself had personally attended six Enron board meetings from October 2000 to October 2001. That period roughly coincided with Enron's growing influence on the Bush administration's energy policies, and the Pentagon's planning for Afghanistan and Iraq.

But Foster was also a regular attendee at the Pentagon Highlands Forum?!?his LinkedIn profile describes him as member of the Forum since 2000, the year he ramped up engagement with Enron. He also delivered a presentation at the inaugural Island Forum in Singapore in 2002.

Enron's involvement in the Cheney Energy Task Force appears to have been linked to the Bush administration's 2001 planning for both the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, motivated by control of oil. As noted by Prof. Richard Falk, a former board member of Human Rights Watch and ex-UN investigator, Enron's Kenneth Lay "was the main confidential consultant relied upon by Vice President Dick Cheney during the highly secretive process of drafting a report outlining a national energy policy, widely regarded as a key element in the US approach to foreign policy generally and the Arab world in particular."

The intimate secret meetings between senior Enron executives and high-level US government officials via the Pentagon Highlands Forum, from November 2000 to June 2001, played a central role in establishing and cementing the increasingly symbiotic link between Enron and Pentagon planning. The Forum's role was, as O'Neill has always said, to function as an ideas lab to explore the mutual interests of industry and government.

Enron and Pentagon war planning

In February 2001, when Enron executives including Kenneth Lay began participating concertedly in the Cheney Energy Task Force , a classified National Security Council document instructed NSC staffers to work with the task force in "melding" previously separate issues: "operational policies towards rogue states" and "actions regarding the capture of new and existing oil and gas fields."

According to Bush's treasury secretary Paul O'Neill, as quoted by Ron Suskind in The Price of Loyalty (2004) , cabinet officials discussed an invasion of Iraq in their first NSC meeting, and had even prepared a map for a post-war occupation marking the carve-up of Iraq's oil fields. The message at that time from President Bush was that officials must "find a way to do this."

Cheney Energy Task Force documents obtained by Judicial Watch under Freedom of Information revealed that by March, with extensive industry input, the task force had prepared maps of Gulf state and especially Iraqi oilfields, pipelines, and refineries, along with a list titled 'Foreign Suitors for Iraqi Oilfield Contracts.' By April, a think-tank report commissioned by Cheney, overseen by former secretary of state James Baker, and put together by a committee of energy industry and national security experts, urged the US government "to conduct an immediate policy review toward Iraq including military, energy, economic and political/diplomatic assessments," to deal with Iraq's "destabilizing influence" on oil flows to global markets. The report included recommendations from Highlands Forum delegate and Enron chair, Kenneth Lay .

But Cheney's Energy Task Force was also busily pushing forward plans for Afghanistan involving Enron, that had been in motion under Clinton. Through the late 1990s, Enron was working with California-based US energy company Unocal to develop an oil and gas pipeline that would tap Caspian basin reserves, and carry oil and gas across Afghanistan, supplying Pakistan, India and potentially other markets. The endeavor had the official blessing of the Clinton administration, and later the Bush administration, which held several meetings with Taliban representatives to negotiate terms for the pipeline deal throughout 2001. The Taliban, whose conquest of Afghanistan had received covert assistance under Clinton, was to receive formal recognition as the legitimate government of Afghanistan in return for permitting the installation of the pipeline. Enron paid $400 million for a feasibility study for the pipeline, a large portion of which was siphoned off as bribes to Taliban leaders, and even hired CIA agents to help facilitate.

Then in summer 2001, while Enron officials were liaising with senior Pentagon officials at the Highlands Forum, the White House's National Security Council was running a cross-departmental 'working group' led by Rumsfeld and Cheney to help complete an ongoing Enron project in India, a $3 billion power plant in Dabhol. The plant was slated to receive its energy from the Trans-Afghan pipeline . The NSC's 'Dabhol Working Group,' chaired by Bush's national security adviser Condoleeza Rice, generated a range of tactics to enhance US government pressure on India to complete the Dabhol plant?!?pressure that continued all the way to early November. The Dabhol project, and the Trans-Afghan pipeline, was by far Enron's most lucrative overseas deal.

Throughout 2001, Enron officials, including Ken Lay, participated in Cheney's Energy Task Force, along with representatives across the US energy industry. Starting from February, shortly after the Bush administration took office, Enron was involved in about half a dozen of these Energy Task Force meetings . After one of these secret meetings, a draft energy proposal was amended to include a new provision proposing to dramatically boost oil and natural gas production in India in a way that would apply only to Enron's Dabhol power plant. In other words, ensuring the flow of cheap gas to India via the Trans-Afghan pipeline was now a matter of US 'national security.'

A month or two after this, the Bush administration gave the Taliban $43 million, justified by its crackdown on opium production, despite US-imposed UN sanctions preventing aid to the group for not handing over Osama bin Laden.

Then in June 2001, the same month that Enron's executive vice president Steve Kean attended the Pentagon Highlands Forum, the company's hopes for the Dabhol project were dashed when the Trans-Afghan pipeline failed to materialize, and as a consequence, construction on the Dabhol power plant was shut down. The failure of the $3 billion project contributed to Enron's bankruptcy in December. That month, Enron officials met with Bush's commerce secretary, Donald Evans, about the plant, and Cheney lobbied India's main opposition party about the Dhabol project. Ken Lay had also reportedly contacted the Bush administration around this time to inform officials about the firm's financial troubles.

By August, desperate to pull off the deal, US officials threatened Taliban representatives with war if they refused to accept American terms: namely, to cease fighting and join in a federal alliance with the opposition Northern Alliance; and to give up demands for local consumption of the gas. On the 15th of that month, Enron lobbyist Pat Shortridge told then White House economic advisor Robert McNally that Enron was heading for a financial meltdown that could cripple the country's energy markets.

The Bush administration must have anticipated the Taliban's rejection of the deal, because they had planned a war on Afghanistan from as early as July. According to then Pakistani foreign minister Niaz Naik, who had participated in the US-Taliban negotiations, US officials told him they planned to invade Afghanistan in mid-October 2001. No sooner had the war commenced, Bush's ambassador to Pakistan, Wendy Chamberlain, called Pakistani's oil minister Usman Aminuddin to discuss "the proposed Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan gas pipeline project," according to the Frontier Post , a Pakistani English-language broadsheet. They reportedly agreed that the "project opens up new avenues of multi-dimensional regional cooperation particularly in view of the recent geo-political developments in the region."

Two days before 9/11, Condoleeza Rice received the draft of a formal National Security Presidential Directive that Bush was expected to sign immediately. The directive contained a comprehensive plan to launch a global war on al-Qaeda , including an "imminent" invasion of Afghanistan to topple the Taliban. The directive was approved by the highest levels of the White House and officials of the National Security Council, including of course Rice and Rumsfeld. The same NSC officials were simultaneously running the Dhabol Working Group to secure the Indian power plant deal for Enron's Trans-Afghan pipeline project. The next day, one day before 9/11, the Bush administration formally agreed on the plan to attack the Taliban.

The Pentagon Highlands Forum's background link with the interests involved in all this, show they were not unique to the Bush administration?!?which is why, as Obama was preparing to pull troops out of Afghanistan, he re-affirmed his government's support for the Trans-Afghan pipeline project, and his desire for a US firm to construct it.

The Pentagon's propaganda fixer

Throughout this period, information war played a central role in drumming up public support for war?!?and the Highlands Forum led the way.

In December 2000, just under a year before 9/11 and shortly after George W. Bush's election victory, key Forum members participated in an event at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace to explore "the impact of the information revolution, globalization, and the end of the Cold War on the US foreign policy making process." Rather than proposing "incremental reforms," the meeting was for participants to "build from scratch a new model that is optimized to the specific properties of the new global environment."

Among the issues flagged up in the meeting was the 'Global Control Revolution': the "distributed" nature of the information revolution was altering "key dynamics of world politics by challenging the primacy of states and inter-state relations." This was "creating new challenges to national security, reducing the ability of leading states to control global policy debates, challenging the efficacy of national economic policies, etc."

In other words, how can the Pentagon find a way to exploit the information revolution to "control global policy debates," particularly on "national economic policies"?

The meeting was co-hosted by Jamie Metzl, who at the time served on Bill Clinton's National Security Council, where he had just led the drafting of Clinton's Presidential Decision Directive 68 on International Public Information (IPI), a new multiagency plan to coordinate US public information dissemination abroad. Metzl went on to coordinate IPI at the State Department.

The preceding year, a senior Clinton official revealed to the Washington Times that Metz's IPI was really aimed at "spinning the American public," and had "emerged out of concern that the US public has refused to back President Clinton's foreign policy." The IPI would plant news stories favorable to US interests via TV, press, radio and other media based abroad, in hopes it would get picked up in American media. The pretext was that "news coverage is distorted at home and they need to fight it at all costs by using resources that are aimed at spinning the news." Metzl ran the IPI's overseas propaganda operations for Iraq and Kosovo.

Other participants of the Carnegie meeting in December 2000, included two founding members of the Highlands Forum, Richard O'Neill and SAIC's Jeff Cooper?!?along with Paul Wolfowitz, another Andrew Marshall acolyte who was about to join the incoming Bush administration as Rumsfelds' deputy defense secretary. Also present was a figure who soon became particularly notorious in the propaganda around Afghanistan and Iraq War 2003: John W. Rendon, Jr., founding president of The Rendon Group (TRG) and another longtime Pentagon Highlands Forum member.

John Rendon (right) at the Highlands Forum, accompanied by BBC anchor Nik Gowing (left) and Jeff Jonas, IBM Entity Analytics chief engineer (middle)

TRG is a notorious communications firm that has been a US government contractor for decades. Rendon played a pivotal role in running the State Department's propaganda campaigns in Iraq and Kosovo under Clinton and Metzl. That included receiving a Pentagon grant to run a news website, the Balkans Information Exchange, and a US Agency for International Development (USAID) contract to promote "privatization."

Rendon's central role in helping the Bush administration hype up the non-existent threat of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) to justify a US military invasion is now well-known. As James Bamford famously exposed in his seminal Rolling Stone investigation, Rendon played an instrumental role on behalf of the Bush administration in deploying "perception management" to "create the conditions for the removal of Hussein from power" under multi-million dollar CIA and Pentagon contracts.

Among Rendon's activities was the creation of Ahmed Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress (INC) on behalf of the CIA, a group of Iraqi exiles tasked with disseminating propaganda, including much of the false intelligence about WMD . That process had begun concertedly under the administration of George H W. Bush, then rumbled along under Clinton with little fanfare, before escalating after 9/11 under George W. Bush. Rendon thus played a large role in the manufacture of inaccurate and false news stories relating to Iraq under lucrative CIA and Pentagon contracts?!?and he did so in the period running up to the 2003 invasion as an advisor to Bush's National Security Council: the same NSC, of course, that planned the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, achieved with input from Enron executives who were simultaneously engaging the Pentagon Highlands Forum.

But that is the tip of iceberg. Declassified documents show that the Highlands Forum was intimately involved in the covert processes by which key officials engineered the road to war on Iraq, based on information warfare.

A redacted 2007 report by the DoD's Inspector General reveals that one of the contractors used extensively by the Pentagon Highlands Forum during and after the Iraq War was none other than The Rendon Group. TRG was contracted by the Pentagon to organize Forum sessions, determine subjects for discussion, as well as to convene and coordinate Forum meetings. The Inspector General investigation had been prompted by accusations raised in Congress about Rendon's role in manipulating information to justify the 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq. According to the Inspector General report:

" the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Networks and Information Integration/Chief Information Officer employed TRG to conduct forums that would appeal to a cross-disciplinary group of nationally regarded leaders. The forums were in small groups discussing information and technologies and their effects on science, organizational and business processes, international relations, economics, and national security. TRG also conducted a research program and interviews to formulate and develop topics for the Highlands Forum focus group. The Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Networks and Information Integration would approve the subjects, and TRG would facilitate the meetings."

TRG, the Pentagon's private propaganda arm, thus played a central role in literally running the Pentagon Highlands Forum process that brought together senior government officials with industry executives to generate DoD information warfare strategy.

The Pentagon's internal investigation absolved Rendon of any wrongdoing. But this is not surprising, given the conflict of interest at stake: the Inspector General at the time was Claude M. Kicklighter, a Bush nominee who had directly overseen the administration's key military operations. In 2003, he was director of the Pentagon's Iraq Transition Team, and the following year he was appointed to the State Department as special advisor on stabilization and security operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The surveillance-propaganda nexus

Even more telling, Pentagon documents obtained by Bamford for his Rolling Stone story revealed that Rendon had been given access to the NSA's top-secret surveillance data to carry out its work on behalf of the Pentagon. TRG, the DoD documents said, is authorized "to research and analyze information classified up to Top Secret/SCI/SI/TK/G/HCS."

'SCI' means Sensitive Compartmented Information, data classified higher than Top Secret, while 'SI' designates Special Intelligence, that is, highly secret communications intercepted by the NSA. 'TK' refers to Talent/Keyhole, code names for imagery from reconnaissance aircraft and spy satellites, while 'G' stands for Gamma, encompassing communications intercepts from extremely sensitive sources, and 'HCS' means Humint Control System?!?information from a very sensitive human source. In Bamford's words:

"Taken together, the acronyms indicate that Rendon enjoys access to the most secret information from all three forms of intelligence collection: eavesdropping, imaging satellites and human spies."

So the Pentagon had:

1. contracted Rendon, a propaganda firm;

2. given Rendon access to the intelligence community's most classified information including data from NSA surveillance;

3. tasked Rendon to facilitating the DoD's development of information operations strategy by running the Highlands Forum process;

4. and further, tasked Rendon with overseeing the concrete execution of this strategy developed through the Highlands Forum process, in actual information operations around the world in Iraq, Afghanistan and beyond.

TRG chief executive John Rendon remains closely involved in the Pentagon Highlands Forum, and ongoing DoD information operations in the Muslim world. His November 2014 biography for the Harvard Kennedy School 'Emerging Leaders' course describes him as "a participant in forward-thinking organizations such as the Highlands Forum," "one of the first thought-leaders to harness the power of emerging technologies in support of real time information management," and an expert on "the impact of emerging information technologies on the way populations think and behave." Rendon's Harvard bio also credits him with designing and executing "strategic communications initiatives and information programs related to operations, Odyssey Dawn (Libya), Unified Protector (Libya), Global War on Terrorism (GWOT), Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan), Allied Force and Joint Guardian (Kosovo), Desert Shield, Desert Storm (Kuwait), Desert Fox (Iraq) and Just Cause (Panama), among others."

Rendon's work on perception management and information operations has also "assisted a number of US military interventions" elsewhere, as well as running US information operations in Argentina, Colombia, Haiti, and Zimbabwe?!?in fact, a total of 99 countries. As a former executive director and national political director of the Democratic Party, John Rendon remains a powerful figure in Washington under the Obama administration.

Pentagon records show that TRG has received over $100 million from the DoD since 2000. In 2009, the US government cancelled a 'strategic communications' contract with TRG after revelations it was being used to weed out reporters who might write negative stories about the US military in Afghanistan, and to solely promote journalists supportive of US policy. Yet in 2010, the Obama administration re-contracted Rendon to supply services for "military deception" in Iraq.

Since then, TRG has provided advice to the US Army's Training and Doctrine Command, the Special Operations Command, and is still contracted to the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the US Army's Communications Electronic Command, as well as providing "communications support" to the Pentagon and US embassies on counter-narcotics operations.

TRG also boasts on its website that it provides "Irregular Warfare Support," including "operational and planning support" that "assists our government and military clients in developing new approaches to countering and eroding an adversary's power, influence and will." Much of this support has itself been fine-tuned over the last decade or more inside the Pentagon Highlands Forum.

Irregular war and pseudo-terrorism

The Pentagon Highlands Forum's intimate link, via Rendon, to the propaganda operations pursued under Bush and Obama in support of the 'Long War,' demonstrate the integral role of mass surveillance in both irregular warfare and 'strategic communications.'

One of the major proponents of both is Prof John Arquilla of the Naval Postgraduate School, the renowned US defense analyst credited with developing the concept of 'netwar,' who today openly advocates the need for mass surveillance and big data mining to support pre-emptive operations to thwart terrorist plots. It so happens that Arquilla is another "founding member" of the Pentagon's Highlands Forum.

Much of his work on the idea of 'networked warfare,' 'networked deterrence,' 'information warfare,' and 'swarming,' largely produced for RAND under Pentagon contract, was incubated by the Forum during its early years and thus became integral to Pentagon strategy. For instance, in Arquilla's 1999 RAND study, The Emergence of Noopolitik: Toward an American Information Strategy , he and his co-author David Ronfeldt express their gratitude to Richard O'Neill "for his interest, support and guidance," and to "members of the Highlands Forum" for their advance comments on the study. Most of his RAND work credits the Highlands Forum and O'Neill for their support.

Prof. John Arquilla of the Naval Postgraduate School, and a founding member of the Pentagon Highlands Forum

Arquilla's work was cited in a 2006 National Academy of Sciences study on the future of network science commissioned by the US Army, which found based on his research that: "Advances in computer-based technologies and telecommunications are enabling social networks that facilitate group affiliations, including terrorist networks." The study conflated risks from terror and activist groups: "The implications of this fact for criminal, terror, protest and insurgency networks has been explored by Arquilla and Ronfeldt (2001) and are a common topic of discussion by groups like the Highlands Forum, which perceive that the United States is highly vulnerable to the interruption of critical networks." Arquilla went on to help develop information warfare strategies "for the military campaigns in Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq," according to military historian Benjamin Shearer in his biographical dictionary, Home Front Heroes (2007)? !?once again illustrating the direct role played by certain key Forum members in executing Pentagon information operations in war theatres.

In his 2005 New Yorker investigation, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Seymour Hersh referred to a series of articles by Arquilla elaborating on a new strategy of "countering terror" with pseudo-terror. "It takes a network to fight a network," said Arquilla, drawing on the thesis he had been promoting in the Pentagon through the Highlands Forum since its founding:

"When conventional military operations and bombing failed to defeat the Mau Mau insurgency in Kenya in the 1950s, the British formed teams of friendly Kikuyu tribesmen who went about pretending to be terrorists. These 'pseudo gangs', as they were called, swiftly threw the Mau Mau on the defensive, either by befriending and then ambushing bands of fighters or by guiding bombers to the terrorists' camps."

Arquilla went on to advocate that western intelligence services should use the British case as a model for creating new "pseudo gang" terrorist groups, as a way of undermining "real" terror networks:

"What worked in Kenya a half-century ago has a wonderful chance of undermining trust and recruitment among today's terror networks. Forming new pseudo gangs should not be difficult."

Essentially, Arquilla's argument was that as only networks can fight networks, the only way to defeat enemies conducting irregular warfare is to use techniques of irregular warfare against them. Ultimately, the determining factor in victory is not conventional military defeat per se , but the extent to which the direction of the conflict can be calibrated to influence the population and rally their opposition to the adversary. Arquilla's 'pseudo-gang' strategy was, Hersh reported, already being implemented by the Pentagon:

"Under Rumsfeld's new approach, I was told, US military operatives would be permitted to pose abroad as corrupt foreign businessmen seeking to buy contraband items that could be used in nuclear-weapons systems. In some cases, according to the Pentagon advisers, local citizens could be recruited and asked to join up with guerrillas or terrorists

The new rules will enable the Special Forces community to set up what it calls 'action teams' in the target countries overseas which can be used to find and eliminate terrorist organizations. 'Do you remember the right-wing execution squads in El Salvador?' the former high-level intelligence official asked me, referring to the military-led gangs that committed atrocities in the early nineteen-eighties. 'We founded them and we financed them,' he said. 'The objective now is to recruit locals in any area we want. And we aren't going to tell Congress about it.' A former military officer, who has knowledge of the Pentagon's commando capabilities, said, 'We're going to be riding with the bad boys.'"

Official corroboration that this strategy is now operational came with the leak of a 2008 US Army special operations field manual. The US military, the manual said, can conduct irregular and unconventional warfare by using surrogate non-state groups such as "paramilitary forces, individuals, businesses, foreign political organizations, resistant or insurgent organizations, expatriates, transnational terrorism adversaries, disillusioned transnational terrorism members, black marketers, and other social or political 'undesirables.'" Shockingly, the manual specifically acknowledged that US special operations can involve both counterterrorism and "Terrorism," as well as: "Transnational criminal activities, including narco-trafficking, illicit arms-dealing, and illegal financial transactions." The purpose of such covert operations is, essentially, population control?!?they are "specifically focused on leveraging some portion of the indigenous population to accept the status quo," or to accept "whatever political outcome" is being imposed or negotiated.

By this twisted logic, terrorism can in some cases be defined as a legitimate tool of US statecraft by which to influence populations into accepting a particular "political outcome"?!?all in the name fighting terrorism.

Is this what the Pentagon was doing by coordinating the nearly $1 billion of funding from Gulf regimes to anti-Assad rebels, most of which according to the CIA's own classified assessments ended up in the coffers of violent Islamist extremists linked to al-Qaeda, who went on to spawn the 'Islamic State'?

The rationale for the new strategy was first officially set out in an August 2002 briefing for the Pentagon's Defense Science Board, which advocated the creation of a ' Proactive, Preemptive Operations Group ' (P2OG) within the National Security Council. P2OG, the Board proposed, must conduct clandestine operations to infiltrate and "stimulate reactions" among terrorist networks to provoke them into action, and thus facilitate targeting them.

The Defense Science Board is, like other Pentagon agencies, intimately related with the Highlands Forum, whose work feeds into the Board's research, which in turn is regularly presented at the Forum.

According to the US intelligence sources who spoke to Hersh, Rumsfeld had ensured that the new brand of black operations would be conducted entirely under Pentagon jurisdiction, firewalled off from the CIA and regional US military commanders, and executed by its own secret special operations command. That chain of command would include, apart from the defense secretary himself, two of his deputies including the undersecretary of defense for intelligence: the position overseeing the Highlands Forum.

Strategic communications: war propaganda at home and abroad

Within the Highlands Forum, the special operations techniques explored by Arquilla have been taken up by several others in directions focused increasingly on propaganda?!?among them, Dr. Lochard, as seen previously, and also Dr. Amy Zalman, who focuses particularly on the idea of the US military using 'strategic narratives' to influence public opinion and win wars.

Like her colleague, Highlands Forum founding member Jeff Cooper, Zalman was schooled in the bowels of SAIC/Leidos. From 2007 to 2012, she was a senior SAIC strategist, before becoming Department of Defense Information Integration Chair at the US Army's National War College, where she focused on how to fine-tune propaganda to elicit the precise responses desired from target groups, based on complete understanding of those groups. As of summer last year, she became CEO of the World Futures Society.

Dr. Amy Zalman, an ex-SAIC strategist, is CEO of the World Futures Society, and a long-time Pentagon Highlands Forum delegate consulting for the US government on strategic communications in irregular warfare

In 2005, the same year Hersh reported that the Pentagon strategy of "stimulating reactions" among terrorists by provoking them was underway, Zalman delivered a briefing to the Pentagon Highlands Forum titled, 'In Support of a Narrative Theory Approach to US Strategic Communication.' Since then, Zalman has been a long-time Highlands Forum delegate , and has presented her work on strategic communications to a range of US government agencies, NATO forums, as well as teaching courses in irregular warfare to soldiers at the US Joint Special Operations University.

Her 2005 Highlands Forum briefing is not publicly available, but the thrust of Zalman's input into the information component of Pentagon special operations strategies can be gleaned from some of her published work. In 2010, when she was still attached to SAIC, her NATO paper noted that a key component of irregular war is "winning some degree of emotional support from the population by influencing their subjective perceptions." She advocated that the best way of achieving such influence goes far further than traditional propaganda and messaging techniques. Rather, analysts must "place themselves in the skins of the people under observation."

Zalman released another paper the same year via the IO Journal, published by the Information Operations Institute, which describes itself as a "special interest group" of the Associaton of Old Crows. The latter is a professional association for theorists and practitioners of electronic warfare and information operations, chaired by Kenneth Israel, vice president of Lockheed Martin, and vice chaired by David Himes, who retired last year from his position as senior advisor in electronic warfare at the US Air Force Research Laboratory.

In this paper, titled 'Narrative as an Influence Factor in Information Operations,' Zalman laments that the US military has "found it difficult to create compelling narratives?!?or stories?!?either to express its strategic aims, or to communicate in discrete situations, such as civilian deaths." By the end, she concludes that "the complex issue of civilian deaths" should be approached not just by "apologies and compensation"?!?which barely occurs anyway?!?but by propagating narratives that portray characters with whom the audience connects (in this case, 'the audience' being 'populations in war zones'). This is to facilitate the audience resolving struggles in a "positive way," defined, of course, by US military interests. Engaging emotionally in this way with "survivors of those dead" from US military action might "prove to be an empathetic form of influence." Throughout, Zalman is incapable of questioning the legitimacy of US strategic aims, or acknowledging that the impact of those aims in the accumulation of civilian deaths, is precisely the problem that needs to change?!?as opposed to the way they are ideologically framed for populations subjected to military action.

'Empathy,' here, is merely an instrument by which to manipulate.

In 2012, Zalman wrote an article for The Globalist seeking to demonstrate how the rigid delineation of 'hard power' and 'soft power' needed to be overcome, to recognize that the use of force requires the right symbolic and cultural effect to guarantee success:

"As long as defense and economic diplomacy remain in a box labeled 'hard power,' we fail to see how much their success relies on their symbolic effects as well as their material ones. As long as diplomatic and cultural efforts are stored in a box marked 'soft power,' we fail to see the ways in which they can be used coercively or produce effects that are like those produced by violence."

Given SAIC's deep involvement in the Pentagon Highlands Forum, and through it the development of information strategies on surveillance, irregular warfare, and propaganda, it is hardly surprising that SAIC was the other key private defense firm contracted to generate propaganda in the run up to Iraq War 2003, alongside TRG.

"SAIC executives have been involved at every stage of the war in Iraq," reported Vanity Fair , ironically, in terms of deliberately disseminating false claims about WMD, and then investigating the 'intelligence failure' around false WMD claims. David Kay, for instance, who had been hired by the CIA in 2003 to hunt for Saddam's WMD as head of the Iraq Survey Group, was until October 2002 a senior SAIC vice president hammering away "at the threat posed by Iraq" under Pentagon contract. When WMD failed to emerge, President Bush's commission to investigate this US 'intelligence failure' included three SAIC executives, among them Highlands Forum founding member Jeffrey Cooper. The very year of Kay's appointment to the Iraq Survey Group, Clinton's defense secretary William Perry?!?the man under whose orders the Highlands Forum was set-up?!?joined the board of SAIC. The investigation by Cooper and all let the Bush administration off the hook for manufacturing propaganda to legitimize war?!?unsurprisingly, given Cooper's integral role in the very Pentagon network that manufactured that propaganda.

SAIC was also among the many contractors that profited handsomely from Iraqi reconstruction deals, and was re-contracted after the war to promote pro-US narratives abroad. In the same vein as Rendon's work, the idea was that stories planted abroad would be picked up by US media for domestic consumption.

Delegates at the Pentagon's 46th Highlands Forum in December 2011, from right to left: John Seely Brown, chief scientist/director at Xerox PARC from 1990–2002 and an early board member of In-Q-Tel; Ann Pendleton-Jullian, co-author with Brown of a manuscript, Design Unbound; Antonio and Hanna Damasio, a neurologist and neurobiologist respectively who are part of a DARPA-funded project on propaganda

But the Pentagon Highlands Forum's promotion of advanced propaganda techniques is not exclusive to core, longstanding delegates like Rendon and Zalman. In 2011, the Forum hosted two DARPA-funded scientists, Antonio and Hanna Damasio, who are principal investigators in the 'Neurobiology of Narrative Framing' project at the University of Southern California. Evoking Zalman's emphasis on the need for Pentagon psychological operations to deploy "empathetic influence," the new DARPA-backed project aims to investigate how narratives often appeal "to strong, sacred values in order to evoke an emotional response," but in different ways across different cultures. The most disturbing element of the research is its focus on trying to understand how to increase the Pentagon's capacity to deploy narratives that influence listeners in a way that overrides conventional reasoning in the context of morally-questionable actions.

The project description explains that the psychological reaction to narrated events is "influenced by how the narrator frames the events, appealing to different values, knowledge, and experiences of the listener." Narrative framing that "targets the sacred values of the listener, including core personal, nationalistic, and/or religious values, is particularly effective at influencing the listener's interpretation of narrated events," because such "sacred values" are closely tied with "the psychology of identity, emotion, moral decision making, and social cognition." By applying sacred framing to even mundane issues, such issues "can gain properties of sacred values and result in a strong aversion to using conventional reasoning to interpret them." The two Damasios and their team are exploring what role "linguistic and neuropsychological mechanisms" play in determining "the effectiveness of narrative framing using sacred values in influencing a listener's interpretation of events."

The research is based on extracting narratives from millions of American, Iranian and Chinese weblogs, and subjecting them to automated discourse analysis to compare them quantitatively across the three languages. The investigators then follow up using behavioral experiments with readers/listeners from different cultures to gauge their reaction different narratives "where each story makes an appeal to a sacred value to explain or justify a morally-questionable behavior of the author." Finally, the scientists apply neurobiological fMRI scanning to correlate the reactions and personal characteristics of subjects with their brain responses.

Why is the Pentagon funding research investigating how to exploit people's "sacred values" to extinguish their capacity for logical reasoning, and enhance their emotional openness to "morally-questionable behavior"?

The focus on English, Farsi and Chinese may also reveal that the Pentagon's current concerns are overwhelmingly about developing information operations against two key adversaries, Iran and China, which fits into longstanding ambitions to project strategic influence in the Middle East, Central Asia and Southeast Asia. Equally, the emphasis on English language, specifically from American weblogs, further suggests the Pentagon is concerned about projecting propaganda to influence public opinion at home.

Rosemary Wenchel (left) of the US Department of Homeland Security with Jeff 'Skunk' Baxter, a former musician and now US defense consultant who has worked for contractors like SAIC and Northrup Grumman. SAIC/Leidos executive Jeff Cooper is behind them

Lest one presume that DARPA's desire to mine millions of American weblogs as part of its 'neurobiology of narrative framing' research is a mere case of random selection, an additional co-chair of the Pentagon Highlands Forum in recent years is Rosemary Wenchel, former director of cyber capabilities and operations support at the Office of the Secretary of Defense. Since 2012, Wenchel has been deputy assistant secretary for strategy and policy in the Department of Homeland Security.

As the Pentagon's extensive funding of propaganda on Iraq and Afghanistan demonstrates, population influence and propaganda is critical not just in far-flung theatres abroad in strategic regions, but also at home, to quell the risk of domestic public opinion undermining the legitimacy of Pentagon policy. In the photo above, Wenchel is talking to Jeff Baxter, a long-time US defense and intelligence consultant. In September 2005, Baxter was part of a supposedly "independent" study group (chaired by NSA-contractor Booz Allen Hamilton) commissioned by the Department of Homeland Security, which recommended a greater role for US spy satellites in monitoring the domestic population .

Meanwhile, Zalman and Rendon, while both remaining closely involved in the Pentagon Highlands Forum, continue to be courted by the US military for their expertise on information operations. In October 2014, both participated in a major Strategic Multi-Layer Assessment conference sponsored by the US Department of Defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, titled 'A New Information Paradigm? From Genes to "Big Data" and Instagram to Persistent Surveillance Implications for National Security.' Other delegates represented senior US military officials, defense industry executives, intelligence community officials, Washington think-tanks, and academics.

John Rendon, CEO of The Rendon Group, at a Highlands Forum session in 2010

Rendon and SAIC/Leidos, two firms that have been central to the very evolution of Pentagon information operations strategy through their pivotal involvement in the Highlands Forum, continue to be contracted for key operations under the Obama administration. A US General Services Administration document , for instance, shows that Rendon was granted a major 2010–2015 contract providing general media and communications support services across federal agencies. Similarly, SAIC/Leidos has a $400 million 2010–2015 contract with the US Army Research Laboratory for "Expeditionary Warfare; Irregular Warfare; Special Operations; Stabilization and Reconstruction Operations"?!?a contract which is "being prepared now for recomplete."

The empire strikes back

Under Obama, the nexus of corporate, industry, and financial power represented by the interests that participate in the Pentagon Highlands Forum has consolidated itself to an unprecedented degree.

Coincidentally, the very day Obama announced Hagel's resignation, the DoD issued a media release highlighting how Robert O. Work, Hagel's deputy defense secretary appointed by Obama in 2013, planned to take forward the Defense Innovation Initiative that Hagel had just announced a week earlier. The new initiative was focused on ensuring that the Pentagon would undergo a long-term transformation to keep up with leading edge disruptive technologies across information operations.

Whatever the real reasons for Hagel's ejection, this was a symbolic and tangible victory for Marshall and the Highlands Forum vision. Highlands Forum co-chair Andrew Marshall, head of the ONA, may indeed be retiring. But the post-Hagel Pentagon is now staffed with his followers.

Robert Work, who now presides over the new DoD transformation scheme, is a loyal Marshall acolyte who had previously directed and analyzed war games for the Office of Net Assessment. Like Marshall, Wells, O'Neill and other Highlands Forum members, Work is also a robot fantasist who lead authored the study, Preparing for War in the Robotic Age , published early last year by the Center for a New American Security (CNAS).

Work is also pitched to determine the future of the ONA , assisted by his strategist Tom Ehrhard and DoD undersecretary for intelligence Michael G. Vickers, under whose authority the Highlands Forum currently runs. Ehrard, an advocate of " integrating disruptive technologies in DoD," previously served as Marshall's military assistant in the ONA, while Mike Vickers?!?who oversees surveillance agencies like the NSA?!?was also previously hired by Marshall to consult for the Pentagon.

Vickers is also a leading proponent of irregular warfare . As assistant defense secretary for special operations and low intensity conflict under former defense secretary Robert Gates in both the Bush and Obama administrations, Vickers's irregular warfare vision pushed for "distributed operations across the world," including "in scores of countries with which the US is not at war," as part of a program of "counter network warfare" using a "network to fight a network"?!?a strategy which of course has the Highlands Forum all over it. In his previous role under Gates, Vickers increased the budget for special operations including psychological operations, stealth transport, Predator drone deployment and "using high-tech surveillance and reconnaissance to track and target terrorists and insurgents."

To replace Hagel, Obama nominated Ashton Carter, former deputy defense secretary from 2009 to 2013, whose expertise in budgets and procurement according to the Wall Street Journal is "expected to boost some of the initiatives championed by the current Pentagon deputy, Robert Work, including an effort to develop new strategies and technologies to preserve the US advantage on the battlefield."

Back in 1999, after three years as Clinton's assistant defense secretary, Carter co-authored a study with former defense secretary William J. Perry advocating a new form of 'war by remote control' facilitated by "digital technology and the constant flow of information." One of Carter's colleagues in the Pentagon during his tenure at that time was Highlands Forum co-chair Linton Wells; and it was Perry of course that as then-defense secretary appointed Richard O'Neill to set-up the Highlands Forum as the Pentagon's IO think-tank back in 1994.

Highlands Forum overlord Perry went on to join the board of SAIC, before eventually becoming chairman of another giant defense contractor, Global Technology Partners (GTP). And Ashton Carter was on GTP's board under Perry, before being nominated to defense secretary by Obama. During Carter's previous Pentagon stint under Obama, he worked closely with Work and current undersecretary of defense Frank Kendall. Defense industry sources rejoice that the new Pentagon team will "dramatically improve" chances to "push major reform projects" at the Pentagon "across the finish line."

Indeed, Carter's priority as defense chief nominee is identifying and acquiring new commercial "disruptive technology" to enhance US military strategy?!?in other words, executing the DoD Skynet plan .

The origins of the Pentagon's new innovation initiative can thus be traced back to ideas that were widely circulated inside the Pentagon decades ago, but which failed to take root fully until now. Between 2006 and 2010, the same period in which such ideas were being developed by Highlands Forum experts like Lochard, Zalman and Rendon, among many others, the Office of Net Assessment provided a direct mechanism to channel these ideas into concrete strategy and policy development through the Quadrennial Defense Reviews, where Marshall's input was primarily responsible for the expansion of the "black" world: "special operations," "electronic warfare" and "information operations."

Andrew Marshall, now retired head of the DoD's Office of Net Assessment and Highlands Forum co-chair, at a Forum session in 2008

Marshall's pre-9/11 vision of a fully networked and automated military system found its fruition in the Pentagon's Skynet study released by the National Defense University in September 2014, which was co-authored by Marshall's colleague at the Highlands Forum, Linton Wells. Many of Wells' recommendations are now to be executed via the new Defense Innovation Initiative by veterans and affiliates of the ONA and Highlands Forum.

Given that Wells' white paper highlighted the Pentagon's keen interest in monopolizing AI research to monopolize autonomous networked robot warfare, it is not entirely surprising that the Forum's sponsoring partners at SAIC/Leidos display a bizarre sensitivity about public use of the word 'Skynet.'

On a Wikipedia entry titled 'Skynet (fictional)', people using SAIC computers deleted several paragraphs under the 'Trivia' section pointing out real-world 'Skynets', such as the British military satellite system, and various information technology projects.

Hagel's departure paved the way for Pentagon officials linked to the Highlands Forum to consolidate government influence. These officials are embedded in a longstanding shadow network of political, industry, media and corporate officials that sit invisibly behind the seat of government, yet literally write its foreign and domestic national security policies whether the administration is Democrat of Republican, by contributing 'ideas' and forging government-industry relationships.

It is this sort of closed-door networking that has rendered the American vote pointless. Far from protecting the public interest or helping to combat terrorism, the comprehensive monitoring of electronic communications has been systematically abused to empower vested interests in the energy, defense, and IT industries.

The state of permanent global warfare that has resulted from the Pentagon's alliances with private contractors and unaccountable harnessing of information expertise, is not making anyone safer, but has spawned a new generation of terrorists in the form of the so-called 'Islamic State'?!?itself a Frankenstein by-product of the putrid combination of Assad's brutality and longstanding US covert operations in the region. This Frankenstein's existence is now being cynically exploited by private contractors seeking to profit exponentially from expanding the national security apparatus, at a time when economic volatility has pressured governments to slash defense spending.

According to the Securities and Exchange Commission, from 2008 to 2013, the five largest US defense contractors lost 14 percent of their employees, as the winding down of US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan led to lack of business and squeezed revenues. The continuation of the 'Long War' triggered by ISIS has, for now, reversed their fortunes. Companies profiting from the new war include many connected to the Highlands Forum, such as Leidos, Lockheed Martin, Northrup Grumman, and Boeing. War is, indeed, a racket.

No more shadows

Yet in the long-run, the information imperialists have already failed . This investigation is based entirely on open source techniques, made viable largely in the context of the same information revolution that enabled Google. The investigation has been funded entirely by members of the public, through crowd-funding. And the investigation has been published and distributed outside the circuits of traditional media, precisely to make the point that in this new digital age, centralized top-down concentrations of power cannot overcome the power of people, their love of truth and justice, and their desire to share.

What are the lessons of this irony? Simple, really: The information revolution is inherently decentralized, and decentralizing. It cannot be controlled and co-opted by Big Brother. Efforts to do so will in the end invariably fail, in a way that is ultimately self-defeating.

The latest mad-cap Pentagon initiative to dominate the world through control of information and information technologies, is not a sign of the all-powerful nature of the shadow network, but rather a symptom of its deluded desperation as it attempts to ward off the acceleration of its hegemonic decline.

But the decline is well on its way. And this story, like so many before it, is one small sign that the opportunities to mobilize the information revolution for the benefit of all, despite the efforts of power to hide in the shadows, are stronger than ever.

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[Aug 26, 2017] Why Google made the NSA Part 2

Notable quotes:
"... Washington Post ..."
Aug 26, 2017 | medium.com
Knowledge is Power

Given all this it is hardly surprising that in 2012, a few months after Highlands Forum co-chair Regina Dugan left DARPA to join Google as a senior executive, then NSA chief Gen. Keith Alexander was emailing Google's founding executive Sergey Brin to discuss information sharing for national security. In those emails, obtained under Freedom of Information by investigative journalist Jason Leopold, Gen. Alexander described Google as a "key member of [the US military's] Defense Industrial Base," a position Michele Quaid was apparently consolidating. Brin's jovial relationship with the former NSA chief now makes perfect sense given that Brin had been in contact with representatives of the CIA and NSA, who partly funded and oversaw his creation of the Google search engine, since the mid-1990s.

In July 2014, Quaid spoke at a US Army panel on the creation of a "rapid acquisition cell" to advance the US Army's "cyber capabilities" as part of the Force 202 5 transformation initiative. She told Pentagon officials that "many of the Army's 2025 technology goals can be realized with commercial technology available or in development today," re-affirming that "industry is ready to partner with the Army in supporting the new paradigm." Around the same time, most of the media was trumpeting the idea that Google was trying to distance itself from Pentagon funding, but in reality, Google has switched tactics to independently develop commercial technologies which would have military applications the Pentagon's transformation goals.

Yet Quaid is hardly the only point-person in Google's relationship with the US military intelligence community.

One year after Google bought the satellite mapping software Keyhole from CIA venture capital firm In-Q-Tel in 2004, In-Q-Tel's director of technical assessment Rob Painter ! who played a key role in In-Q-Tel's Keyhole investment in the first place ! moved to Google. At In-Q-Tel, Painter's work focused on identifying, researching and evaluating "new start-up technology firms that were believed to offer tremendous value to the CIA, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, and the Defense Intelligence Agency." Indeed, the NGA had confirmed that its intelligence obtained via Keyhole was used by the NSA to support US operations in Iraq from 2003 onwards .

A former US Army special operations intelligence officer, Painter's new job at Google as of July 2005 was federal manager of what Keyhole was to become: Google Earth Enterprise. By 2007, Painter had become Google's federal chief technologist.

That year, Painter told the Washington Post that Google was "in the beginning stages" of selling advanced secret versions of its products to the US government. "Google has ramped up its sales force in the Washington area in the past year to adapt its technology products to the needs of the military, civilian agencies and the intelligence community," the Post reported. The Pentagon was already using a version of Google Earth developed in partnership with Lockheed Martin to "display information for the military on the ground in Iraq," including "mapping out displays of key regions of the country" and outlining "Sunni and Shiite neighborhoods in Baghdad, as well as US and Iraqi military bases in the city. Neither Lockheed nor Google would say how the geospatial agency uses the data." Google aimed to sell the government new "enhanced versions of Google Earth" and "search engines that can be used internally by agencies."

White House records leaked in 2010 showed that Google executives had held several meetings with senior US National Security Council officials. Alan Davidson, Google's government affairs director, had at least three meetings with officials of the National Security Council in 2009, including White House senior director for Russian affairs Mike McFaul and Middle East advisor Daniel Shapiro. It also emerged from a Google patent application that the company had deliberately been collecting 'payload' data from private wifi networks that would enable the identification of "geolocations." In the same year, we now know, Google had signed an agreement with the NSA giving the agency open-ended access to the personal information of its users, and its hardware and software, in the name of cyber security ! agreements that Gen. Alexander was busy replicating with hundreds of telecoms CEOs around the country.

Thus, it is not just Google that is a key contributor and foundation of the US military-industrial complex: it is the entire Internet, and the wide range of private sector companies ! many nurtured and funded under the mantle of the US intelligence community (or powerful financiers embedded in that community) ! which sustain the Internet and the telecoms infrastructure; it is also the myriad of start-ups selling cutting edge technologies to the CIA's venture firm In-Q-Tel, where they can then be adapted and advanced for applications across the military intelligence community. Ultimately, the global surveillance apparatus and the classified tools used by agencies like the NSA to administer it, have been almost entirely made by external researchers and private contractors like Google, which operate outside the Pentagon.

This structure, mirrored in the workings of the Pentagon's Highlands Forum, allows the Pentagon to rapidly capitalize on technological innovations it would otherwise miss, while also keeping the private sector at arms length, at least ostensibly, to avoid uncomfortable questions about what such technology is actually being used for.

But isn't it obvious, really? The Pentagon is about war, whether overt or covert. By helping build the technological surveillance infrastructure of the NSA, firms like Google are complicit in what the military-industrial complex does best: kill for cash.

As the nature of mass surveillance suggests, its target is not merely terrorists, but by extension, 'terrorism suspects' and 'potential terrorists,' the upshot being that entire populations ! especially political activists ! must be targeted by US intelligence surveillance to identify active and future threats, and to be vigilant against hypothetical populist insurgencies both at home and abroad. Predictive analytics and behavioural profiles play a pivotal role here.

Mass surveillance and data-mining also now has a distinctive operational purpose in assisting with the lethal execution of special operations, selecting targets for the CIA's drone strike kill lists via dubious algorithms, for instance, along with providing geospatial and other information for combatant commanders on land, air and sea, among many other functions. A single social media post on Twitter or Facebook is enough to trigger being placed on secret terrorism watch-lists solely due to a vaguely defined hunch or suspicion; and can potentially even land a suspect on a kill list.

The push for indiscriminate, comprehensive mass surveillance by the military-industrial complex ! encompassing the Pentagon, intelligence agencies, defense contractors, and supposedly friendly tech giants like Google and Facebook ! is therefore not an end in itself, but an instrument of power, whose goal is self-perpetuation. But there is also a self-rationalizing justification for this goal: while being great for the military-industrial complex, it is also, supposedly, great for everyone else.

[Aug 26, 2017] Exploring the Shadows of America's Security State Or How I Learned Not to Love Big Brother

Notable quotes:
"... This piece has been adapted and expanded from the introduction to Alfred W. McCoy's new book, ..."
"... Washington Post ..."
"... The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia ..."
"... Atlantic Monthly ..."
"... Washington Post ..."
"... Social Register ..."
"... New York Times ..."
"... Washington Post ..."
"... New York Times Book Review ..."
"... In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of U.S. Global Power ..."
"... Scientific American ..."
"... Alfred W. McCoy, a ..."
"... , is the Harrington professor of history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is the author of the now-classic book ..."
"... , which probed the conjuncture of illicit narcotics and covert operations over 50 years, and the forthcoming ..."
"... (Dispatch Books, September) from which this piece is adapted. ..."
Aug 26, 2017 | www.unz.com

Alfred McCoy August 24, 2017

[ This piece has been adapted and expanded from the introduction to Alfred W. McCoy's new book, In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of U.S. Global Power .]

In the wake of the 2001 terrorist attacks, Washington pursued its elusive enemies across the landscapes of Asia and Africa, thanks in part to a massive expansion of its intelligence infrastructure, particularly of the emerging technologies for digital surveillance, agile drones, and biometric identification. In 2010, almost a decade into this secret war with its voracious appetite for information, the Washington Post reported that the national security state had swelled into a "fourth branch" of the federal government ! with 854,000 vetted officials, 263 security organizations, and over 3,000 intelligence units, issuing 50,000 special reports every year.

Though stunning, these statistics only skimmed the visible surface of what had become history's largest and most lethal clandestine apparatus. According to classified documents that Edward Snowden leaked in 2013, the nation's 16 intelligence agencies alone had 107,035 employees and a combined "black budget" of $52.6 billion, the equivalent of 10% percent of the vast defense budget.

By sweeping the skies and probing the worldwide web's undersea cables, the National Security Agency (NSA) could surgically penetrate the confidential communications of just about any leader on the planet, while simultaneously sweeping up billions of ordinary messages. For its classified missions, the CIA had access to the Pentagon's Special Operations Command, with 69,000 elite troops (Rangers, SEALs, Air Commandos) and their agile arsenal. In addition to this formidable paramilitary capacity, the CIA operated 30 Predator and Reaper drones responsible for more than 3,000 deaths in Pakistan and Yemen.

While Americans practiced a collective form of duck and cover as the Department of Homeland Security's colored alerts pulsed nervously from yellow to red, few paused to ask the hard question: Was all this security really directed solely at enemies beyond our borders? After half a century of domestic security abuses ! from the "red scare" of the 1920s through the FBI's illegal harassment of antiwar protesters in the 1960s and 1970s ! could we really be confident that there wasn't a hidden cost to all these secret measures right here at home? Maybe, just maybe, all this security wasn't really so benign when it came to us.

From my own personal experience over the past half-century, and my family's history over three generations, I've found out in the most personal way possible that there's a real cost to entrusting our civil liberties to the discretion of secret agencies. Let me share just a few of my own "war" stories to explain how I've been forced to keep learning and relearning this uncomfortable lesson the hard way.

On the Heroin Trail

After finishing college in the late 1960s, I decided to pursue a Ph.D. in Japanese history and was pleasantly surprised when Yale Graduate School admitted me with a full fellowship. But the Ivy League in those days was no ivory tower. During my first year at Yale, the Justice Department indicted Black Panther leader Bobby Seale for a local murder and the May Day protests that filled the New Haven green also shut the campus for a week. Almost simultaneously, President Nixon ordered the invasion of Cambodia and student protests closed hundreds of campuses across America for the rest of the semester.

In the midst of all this tumult, the focus of my studies shifted from Japan to Southeast Asia, and from the past to the war in Vietnam. Yes, that war. So what did I do about the draft? During my first semester at Yale, on December 1, 1969, to be precise, the Selective Service cut up the calendar for a lottery. The first 100 birthdays picked were certain to be drafted, but any dates above 200 were likely exempt. My birthday, June 8th, was the very last date drawn, not number 365 but 366 (don't forget leap year) ! the only lottery I have ever won, except for a Sunbeam electric frying pan in a high school raffle. Through a convoluted moral calculus typical of the 1960s, I decided that my draft exemption, although acquired by sheer luck, demanded that I devote myself, above all else, to thinking about, writing about, and working to end the Vietnam War.

During those campus protests over Cambodia in the spring of 1970, our small group of graduate students in Southeast Asian history at Yale realized that the U.S. strategic predicament in Indochina would soon require an invasion of Laos to cut the flow of enemy supplies into South Vietnam. So, while protests over Cambodia swept campuses nationwide, we were huddled inside the library, preparing for the next invasion by editing a book of essays on Laos for the publisher Harper & Row. A few months after that book appeared, one of the company's junior editors, Elizabeth Jakab, intrigued by an account we had included about that country's opium crop, telephoned from New York to ask if I could research and write a "quickie" paperback about the history behind the heroin epidemic then infecting the U.S. Army in Vietnam.

I promptly started the research at my student carrel in the Gothic tower that is Yale's Sterling Library, tracking old colonial reports about the Southeast Asian opium trade that ended suddenly in the 1950s, just as the story got interesting. So, quite tentatively at first, I stepped outside the library to do a few interviews and soon found myself following an investigative trail that circled the globe. First, I traveled across America for meetings with retired CIA operatives. Then I crossed the Pacific to Hong Kong to study drug syndicates, courtesy of that colony's police drug squad. Next, I went south to Saigon, then the capital of South Vietnam, to investigate the heroin traffic that was targeting the GIs, and on into the mountains of Laos to observe CIA alliances with opium warlords and the hill-tribe militias that grew the opium poppy. Finally, I flew from Singapore to Paris for interviews with retired French intelligence officers about their opium trafficking during the first Indochina War of the 1950s.

The drug traffic that supplied heroin for the U.S. troops fighting in South Vietnam was not, I discovered, exclusively the work of criminals. Once the opium left tribal poppy fields in Laos, the traffic required official complicity at every level. The helicopters of Air America, the airline the CIA then ran, carried raw opium out of the villages of its hill-tribe allies. The commander of the Royal Lao Army, a close American collaborator, operated the world's largest heroin lab and was so oblivious to the implications of the traffic that he opened his opium ledgers for my inspection. Several of Saigon's top generals were complicit in the drug's distribution to U.S. soldiers. By 1971, this web of collusion ensured that heroin, according to a later White House survey of a thousand veterans, would be "commonly used" by 34% of American troops in South Vietnam.

None of this had been covered in my college history seminars. I had no models for researching an uncharted netherworld of crime and covert operations. After stepping off the plane in Saigon, body slammed by the tropical heat, I found myself in a sprawling foreign city of four million, lost in a swarm of snarling motorcycles and a maze of nameless streets, without contacts or a clue about how to probe these secrets. Every day on the heroin trail confronted me with new challenges ! where to look, what to look for, and, above all, how to ask hard questions.

Reading all that history had, however, taught me something I didn't know I knew. Instead of confronting my sources with questions about sensitive current events, I started with the French colonial past when the opium trade was still legal, gradually uncovering the underlying, unchanging logistics of drug production. As I followed this historical trail into the present, when the traffic became illegal and dangerously controversial, I began to use pieces from this past to assemble the present puzzle, until the names of contemporary dealers fell into place. In short, I had crafted a historical method that would prove, over the next 40 years of my career, surprisingly useful in analyzing a diverse array of foreign policy controversies ! CIA alliances with drug lords, the agency's propagation of psychological torture, and our spreading state surveillance.

The CIA Makes Its Entrance in My Life

Those months on the road, meeting gangsters and warlords in isolated places, offered only one bit of real danger. While hiking in the mountains of Laos, interviewing Hmong farmers about their opium shipments on CIA helicopters, I was descending a steep slope when a burst of bullets ripped the ground at my feet. I had walked into an ambush by agency mercenaries.

While the five Hmong militia escorts whom the local village headman had prudently provided laid down a covering fire, my Australian photographer John Everingham and I flattened ourselves in the elephant grass and crawled through the mud to safety. Without those armed escorts, my research would have been at an end and so would I. After that ambush failed, a CIA paramilitary officer summoned me to a mountaintop meeting where he threatened to murder my Lao interpreter unless I ended my research. After winning assurances from the U.S. embassy that my interpreter would not be harmed, I decided to ignore that warning and keep going.

Six months and 30,000 miles later, I returned to New Haven. My investigation of CIA alliances with drug lords had taught me more than I could have imagined about the covert aspects of U.S. global power. Settling into my attic apartment for an academic year of writing, I was confident that I knew more than enough for a book on this unconventional topic. But my education, it turned out, was just beginning.

Within weeks, a massive, middle-aged guy in a suit interrupted my scholarly isolation. He appeared at my front door and identified himself as Tom Tripodi , senior agent for the Bureau of Narcotics, which later became the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). His agency, he confessed during a second visit, was worried about my writing and he had been sent to investigate. He needed something to tell his superiors. Tom was a guy you could trust. So I showed him a few draft pages of my book. He disappeared into the living room for a while and came back saying, "Pretty good stuff. You got your ducks in a row." But there were some things, he added, that weren't quite right, some things he could help me fix.

Best of all, there was the one about how the Bureau of Narcotics caught French intelligence protecting the Corsican syndicates smuggling heroin into New York City. Some of his stories, usually unacknowledged, would appear in my book, The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia . These conversations with an undercover operative, who had trained Cuban exiles for the CIA in Florida and later investigated Mafia heroin syndicates for the DEA in Sicily, were akin to an advanced seminar, a master class in covert operations.

In the summer of 1972, with the book at press, I went to Washington to testify before Congress. As I was making the rounds of congressional offices on Capitol Hill, my editor rang unexpectedly and summoned me to New York for a meeting with the president and vice president of Harper & Row, my book's publisher. Ushered into a plush suite of offices overlooking the spires of St. Patrick's Cathedral, I listened to those executives tell me that Cord Meyer, Jr., the CIA's deputy director for covert operations, had called on their company's president emeritus, Cass Canfield, Sr. The visit was no accident, for Canfield, according to an authoritative history , "enjoyed prolific links to the world of intelligence, both as a former psychological warfare officer and as a close personal friend of Allen Dulles," the ex-head of the CIA. Meyer denounced my book as a threat to national security. He asked Canfield, also an old friend, to quietly suppress it.

I was in serious trouble. Not only was Meyer a senior CIA official but he also had impeccable social connections and covert assets in every corner of American intellectual life. After graduating from Yale in 1942, he served with the marines in the Pacific, writing eloquent war dispatches published in the Atlantic Monthly . He later worked with the U.S. delegation drafting the U.N. charter. Personally recruited by spymaster Allen Dulles, Meyer joined the CIA in 1951 and was soon running its International Organizations Division, which, in the words of that same history , "constituted the greatest single concentration of covert political and propaganda activities of the by now octopus-like CIA," including " Operation Mockingbird " that planted disinformation in major U.S. newspapers meant to aid agency operations. Informed sources told me that the CIA still had assets inside every major New York publisher and it already had every page of my manuscript.

As the child of a wealthy New York family, Cord Meyer moved in elite social circles, meeting and marrying Mary Pinchot, the niece of Gifford Pinchot, founder of the U.S. Forestry Service and a former governor of Pennsylvania. Pinchot was a breathtaking beauty who later became President Kennedy's mistress, making dozens of secret visits to the White House. When she was found shot dead along the banks of a canal in Washington in 1964, the head of CIA counterintelligence, James Jesus Angleton, another Yale alumnus, broke into her home in an unsuccessful attempt to secure her diary. Mary's sister Toni and her husband, Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee, later found the diary and gave it to Angleton for destruction by the agency. To this day, her unsolved murder remains a subject of mystery and controversy.

Cord Meyer was also in the Social Register of New York's fine families along with my publisher, Cass Canfield, which added a dash of social cachet to the pressure to suppress my book. By the time he walked into Harper & Row's office in that summer of 1972, two decades of CIA service had changed Meyer (according to that same authoritative history) from a liberal idealist into "a relentless, implacable advocate for his own ideas," driven by "a paranoiac distrust of everyone who didn't agree with him" and a manner that was "histrionic and even bellicose." An unpublished 26-year-old graduate student versus the master of CIA media manipulation. It was hardly a fair fight. I began to fear my book would never appear.

To his credit, Canfield refused Meyer's request to suppress the book. But he did allow the agency a chance to review the manuscript prior to publication. Instead of waiting quietly for the CIA's critique, I contacted Seymour Hersh, then an investigative reporter for the New York Times . The same day the CIA courier arrived from Langley to collect my manuscript, Hersh swept through Harper & Row's offices like a tropical storm, pelting hapless executives with incessant, unsettling questions. The next day, his exposé of the CIA's attempt at censorship appeared on the paper's front page . Other national media organizations followed his lead. Faced with a barrage of negative coverage, the CIA gave Harper & Row a critique full of unconvincing denials . The book was published unaltered.

My Life as an Open Book for the Agency

I had learned another important lesson: the Constitution's protection of press freedom could check even the world's most powerful espionage agency. Cord Meyer reportedly learned the same lesson. According to his obituary in the Washington Post , "It was assumed that Mr. Meyer would eventually advance" to head CIA covert operations, "but the public disclosure about the book deal apparently dampened his prospects." He was instead exiled to London and eased into early retirement.

Meyer and his colleagues were not, however, used to losing. Defeated in the public arena, the CIA retreated to the shadows and retaliated by tugging at every thread in the threadbare life of a graduate student. Over the next few months, federal officials from the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare turned up at Yale to investigate my graduate fellowship. The Internal Revenue Service audited my poverty-level income. The FBI tapped my New Haven telephone (something I learned years later from a class-action lawsuit).

In August 1972, at the height of the controversy over the book, FBI agents told the bureau's director that they had "conducted [an] investigation concerning McCoy," searching the files they had compiled on me for the past two years and interviewing numerous "sources whose identities are concealed [who] have furnished reliable information in the past" ! thereby producing an 11-page report detailing my birth, education, and campus antiwar activities.

A college classmate I hadn't seen in four years, who served in military intelligence, magically appeared at my side in the book section of the Yale Co-op, seemingly eager to resume our relationship. The same week that a laudatory review of my book appeared on the front page of the New York Times Book Review , an extraordinary achievement for any historian, Yale's History Department placed me on academic probation. Unless I could somehow do a year's worth of overdue work in a single semester, I faced dismissal.

In those days, the ties between the CIA and Yale were wide and deep. The campus residential colleges screened students, including future CIA Director Porter Goss, for possible careers in espionage. Alumni like Cord Meyer and James Angleton held senior slots at the agency. Had I not had a faculty adviser visiting from Germany, the distinguished scholar Bernhard Dahm who was a stranger to this covert nexus, that probation would likely have become expulsion, ending my academic career and destroying my credibility.

During those difficult days, New York Congressman Ogden Reid, a ranking member of the House Foreign Relations Committee, telephoned to say that he was sending staff investigators to Laos to look into the opium situation. Amid this controversy, a CIA helicopter landed near the village where I had escaped that ambush and flew the Hmong headman who had helped my research to an agency airstrip. There, a CIA interrogator made it clear that he had better deny what he had said to me about the opium. Fearing, as he later told my photographer, that "they will send a helicopter to arrest me, or soldiers to shoot me," the Hmong headman did just that.

At a personal level, I was discovering just how deep the country's intelligence agencies could reach, even in a democracy, leaving no part of my life untouched: my publisher, my university, my sources, my taxes, my phone, and even my friends.

Although I had won the first battle of this war with a media blitz, the CIA was winning the longer bureaucratic struggle. By silencing my sources and denying any culpability, its officials convinced Congress that it was innocent of any direct complicity in the Indochina drug trade. During Senate hearings into CIA assassinations by the famed Church Committee three years later, Congress accepted the agency's assurance that none of its operatives had been directly involved in heroin trafficking (an allegation I had never actually made). The committee's report did confirm the core of my critique, however, finding that "the CIA is particularly vulnerable to criticism" over indigenous assets in Laos "of considerable importance to the Agency," including "people who either were known to be, or were suspected of being, involved in narcotics trafficking." But the senators did not press the CIA for any resolution or reform of what its own inspector general had called the "particular dilemma" posed by those alliances with drug lords ! the key aspect, in my view, of its complicity in the traffic.

During the mid-1970s, as the flow of drugs into the United States slowed and the number of addicts declined, the heroin problem receded into the inner cities and the media moved on to new sensations. Unfortunately, Congress had forfeited an opportunity to check the CIA and correct its way of waging covert wars. In less than 10 years, the problem of the CIA's tactical alliances with drug traffickers to support its far-flung covert wars was back with a vengeance.

During the 1980s, as the crack-cocaine epidemic swept America's cities, the agency, as its own Inspector General later reported , allied itself with the largest drug smuggler in the Caribbean, using his port facilities to ship arms to the Contra guerrillas fighting in Nicaragua and protecting him from any prosecution for five years. Simultaneously on the other side of the planet in Afghanistan, mujahedeen guerrillas imposed an opium tax on farmers to fund their fight against the Soviet occupation and, with the CIA's tacit consent , operated heroin labs along the Pakistani border to supply international markets. By the mid-1980s, Afghanistan's opium harvest had grown 10-fold and was providing 60% of the heroin for America's addicts and as much as 90% in New York City.

Almost by accident, I had launched my academic career by doing something a bit different. Embedded within that study of drug trafficking was an analytical approach that would take me, almost unwittingly, on a lifelong exploration of U.S. global hegemony in its many manifestations, including diplomatic alliances, CIA interventions, developing military technology, recourse to torture, and global surveillance. Step by step, topic by topic, decade after decade, I would slowly accumulate sufficient understanding of the parts to try to assemble the whole. In writing my new book, In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of U.S. Global Power , I drew on this research to assess the overall character of U.S. global power and the forces that might contribute to its perpetuation or decline.

In the process, I slowly came to see a striking continuity and coherence in Washington's century-long rise to global dominion. CIA torture techniques emerged at the start of the Cold War in the 1950s; much of its futuristic robotic aerospace technology had its first trial in the Vietnam War of the 1960s; and, above all, Washington's reliance on surveillance first appeared in the colonial Philippines around 1900 and soon became an essential though essentially illegal tool for the FBI's repression of domestic dissent that continued through the 1970s.

Surveillance Today

In the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks, I dusted off that historical method, and used it to explore the origins and character of domestic surveillance inside the United States.

After occupying the Philippines in 1898, the U.S. Army, facing a difficult pacification campaign in a restive land, discovered the power of systematic surveillance to crush the resistance of the country's political elite. Then, during World War I, the Army's "father of military intelligence," the dour General Ralph Van Deman, who had learned his trade in the Philippines, drew upon his years pacifying those islands to mobilize a legion of 1,700 soldiers and 350,000 citizen-vigilantes for an intense surveillance program against suspected enemy spies among German-Americans, including my own grandfather. In studying Military Intelligence files at the National Archives, I found "suspicious" letters purloined from my grandfather's army locker. In fact, his mother had been writing him in her native German about such subversive subjects as knitting him socks for guard duty.

In the 1950s, Hoover's FBI agents tapped thousands of phones without warrants and kept suspected subversives under close surveillance, including my mother's cousin Gerard Piel, an anti-nuclear activist and the publisher of Scientific American magazine. During the Vietnam War, the bureau expanded its activities with an amazing array of spiteful, often illegal, intrigues in a bid to cripple the antiwar movement with pervasive surveillance of the sort seen in my own FBI file.

Memory of the FBI's illegal surveillance programs was largely washed away after the Vietnam War thanks to Congressional reforms that required judicial warrants for all government wiretaps. The terror attacks of September 2001, however, gave the National Security Agency the leeway to launch renewed surveillance on a previously unimaginable scale. Writing for TomDispatch in 2009, I observed that coercive methods first tested in the Middle East were being repatriated and might lay the groundwork for "a domestic surveillance state." Sophisticated biometric and cyber techniques forged in the war zones of Afghanistan and Iraq had made a "digital surveillance state a reality" and so were fundamentally changing the character of American democracy.

Four years later, Edward Snowden's leak of secret NSA documents revealed that, after a century-long gestation period, a U.S. digital surveillance state had finally arrived. In the age of the Internet, the NSA could monitor tens of millions of private lives worldwide, including American ones, via a few hundred computerized probes into the global grid of fiber-optic cables.

And then, as if to remind me in the most personal way possible of our new reality, four years ago, I found myself the target yet again of an IRS audit, of TSA body searches at national airports, and ! as I discovered when the line went dead ! a tap on my office telephone at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Why? Maybe it was my current writing on sensitive topics like CIA torture and NSA surveillance, or maybe my name popped up from some old database of suspected subversives left over from the 1970s. Whatever the explanation, it was a reasonable reminder that, if my own family's experience across three generations is in any way representative, state surveillance has been an integral part of American political life far longer than we might imagine.

At the cost of personal privacy, Washington's worldwide web of surveillance has now become a weapon of exceptional power in a bid to extend U.S. global hegemony deeper into the twenty-first century. Yet it's worth remembering that sooner or later what we do overseas always seems to come home to haunt us, just as the CIA and crew have haunted me this last half-century. When we learn to love Big Brother, the world becomes a more, not less, dangerous place.

Alfred W. McCoy, a TomDispatch regular , is the Harrington professor of history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is the author of the now-classic book The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade , which probed the conjuncture of illicit narcotics and covert operations over 50 years, and the forthcoming In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of U.S. Global Power (Dispatch Books, September) from which this piece is adapted. (Republished from TomDispatch by permission of author or representative)

Grandpa Charlie > , August 24, 2017 at 8:13 pm GMT

"In the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks, I dusted off that historical method, and used it to explore the origins and character of domestic surveillance inside the United States." ! Alfred McCoy

What about using the historical method to explore the nature of USA's reducing EU nations to "vassals" – and keeping them in the status of vassals, such that they can be depended on to undermine their own economies and sovereignty for the sake of USA's global initiatives?

An interesting question might be whether the NATO-to-Afghanistan highway (truck route for munitions, etc.), c. 2010, was also, on the back-haul – Afghanistan to EU – the major supply route for heroin throughout the EU and thus the key to corruption of EU governments (and of Russia) and domination of those governments by USA's neocon operatives? (E.g., was/is the distribution system of the "Chocolate King" Petro Poroshenko, President of Ukraine, delivering something besides just chocolate?)

"Just over one third of all cargo goes on routes dubbed the "northern distribution network" through Central Asia, and the Caucasus or Russia. " ! Reuters, 2011

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-afghanistan-pakistan-isaf-idUSTRE7AR0XK20111128

Just a thought, speculative, based in part on the assumption that such trucks would not be subject to narcotics search-and-seizure going across borders.

Anon > , Disclaimer August 25, 2017 at 1:10 pm GMT

Thanks for this serious, high-quality content, Mr. Unz.

hyperbola > , August 25, 2017 at 4:12 pm GMT

@Grandpa Charlie

The Puppet Masters Behind Georgia President Saakashvili http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article20569.htm

WikiLeaks exposes US cover-up of Georgian attack on South Ossetia

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2010/12/geor-d06.html one of the suggestions was that drugs were involved.

Myth, Meth and the Georgian Invasion https://www.thenation.com/article/myth-meth-and-georgian-invasion/

Soros, drugs, British Empire and Saakashvili http://www.vijayvaani.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?aid=64

[Aug 26, 2017] How the CIA made Google by Nafeez Ahmed

Aug 26, 2017 | medium.com
Nafeez Ahmed Investigative journalist, recovering academic, tracking the Crisis of Civilization patreon.com/nafeez Jan 22, 2015
Inside the secret network behind mass surveillance, endless war, and Skynet -- part 1


.... ... ...

Google: seeded by the Pentagon

In 1994  --  the same year the Highlands Forum was founded under the stewardship of the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the ONA, and DARPA  --  two young PhD students at Stanford University, Sergey Brin and Larry Page, made their breakthrough on the first automated web crawling and page ranking application. That application remains the core component of what eventually became Google's search service. Brin and Page had performed their work with funding from the Digital Library Initiative (DLI), a multi-agency programme of the National Science Foundation (NSF), NASA and DARPA.

But that's just one side of the story.

Throughout the development of the search engine, Sergey Brin reported regularly and directly to two people who were not Stanford faculty at all: Dr. Bhavani Thuraisingham and Dr. Rick Steinheiser. Both were representatives of a sensitive US intelligence community research programme on information security and data-mining.

Thuraisingham is currently the Louis A. Beecherl distinguished professor and executive director of the Cyber Security Research Institute at the University of Texas, Dallas, and a sought-after expert on data-mining, data management and information security issues. But in the 1990s, she worked for the MITRE Corp., a leading US defense contractor, where she managed the Massive Digital Data Systems initiative, a project sponsored by the NSA, CIA, and the Director of Central Intelligence, to foster innovative research in information technology.

"We funded Stanford University through the computer scientist Jeffrey Ullman, who had several promising graduate students working on many exciting areas," Prof. Thuraisingham told me. "One of them was Sergey Brin, the founder of Google. The intelligence community's MDDS program essentially provided Brin seed-funding, which was supplemented by many other sources, including the private sector."

This sort of funding is certainly not unusual, and Sergey Brin's being able to receive it by being a graduate student at Stanford appears to have been incidental. The Pentagon was all over computer science research at this time. But it illustrates how deeply entrenched the culture of Silicon Valley is in the values of the US intelligence community.

In an extraordinary document hosted by the website of the University of Texas, Thuraisingham recounts that from 1993 to 1999, "the Intelligence Community [IC] started a program called Massive Digital Data Systems (MDDS) that I was managing for the Intelligence Community when I was at the MITRE Corporation." The program funded 15 research efforts at various universities, including Stanford. Its goal was developing "data management technologies to manage several terabytes to petabytes of data," including for "query processing, transaction management, metadata management, storage management, and data integration."

At the time, Thuraisingham was chief scientist for data and information management at MITRE, where she led team research and development efforts for the NSA, CIA, US Air Force Research Laboratory, as well as the US Navy's Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) and Communications and Electronic Command (CECOM). She went on to teach courses for US government officials and defense contractors on data-mining in counter-terrorism.

In her University of Texas article, she attaches the copy of an abstract of the US intelligence community's MDDS program that had been presented to the "Annual Intelligence Community Symposium" in 1995. The abstract reveals that the primary sponsors of the MDDS programme were three agencies: the NSA, the CIA's Office of Research & Development, and the intelligence community's Community Management Staff (CMS) which operates under the Director of Central Intelligence. Administrators of the program, which provided funding of around 3–4 million dollars per year for 3–4 years, were identified as Hal Curran (NSA), Robert Kluttz (CMS), Dr. Claudia Pierce (NSA), Dr. Rick Steinheiser (ORD  --  standing for the CIA's Office of Research and Devepment), and Dr. Thuraisingham herself.

Thuraisingham goes on in her article to reiterate that this joint CIA-NSA program partly funded Sergey Brin to develop the core of Google, through a grant to Stanford managed by Brin's supervisor Prof. Jeffrey D. Ullman:

"In fact, the Google founder Mr. Sergey Brin was partly funded by this program while he was a PhD student at Stanford. He together with his advisor Prof. Jeffrey Ullman and my colleague at MITRE, Dr. Chris Clifton [Mitre's chief scientist in IT], developed the Query Flocks System which produced solutions for mining large amounts of data stored in databases. I remember visiting Stanford with Dr. Rick Steinheiser from the Intelligence Community and Mr. Brin would rush in on roller blades, give his presentation and rush out. In fact the last time we met in September 1998, Mr. Brin demonstrated to us his search engine which became Google soon after."

Brin and Page officially incorporated Google as a company in September 1998, the very month they last reported to Thuraisingham and Steinheiser. 'Query Flocks' was also part of Google's patented ' PageRank ' search system, which Brin developed at Stanford under the CIA-NSA-MDDS programme, as well as with funding from the NSF, IBM and Hitachi. That year, MITRE's Dr. Chris Clifton, who worked under Thuraisingham to develop the 'Query Flocks' system, co-authored a paper with Brin's superviser, Prof. Ullman, and the CIA's Rick Steinheiser. Titled 'Knowledge Discovery in Text,' the paper was presented at an academic conference.

"The MDDS funding that supported Brin was significant as far as seed-funding goes, but it was probably outweighed by the other funding streams," said Thuraisingham. "The duration of Brin's funding was around two years or so. In that period, I and my colleagues from the MDDS would visit Stanford to see Brin and monitor his progress every three months or so. We didn't supervise exactly, but we did want to check progress, point out potential problems and suggest ideas. In those briefings, Brin did present to us on the query flocks research, and also demonstrated to us versions of the Google search engine."

Brin thus reported to Thuraisingham and Steinheiser regularly about his work developing Google.

==

UPDATE 2.05PM GMT [2nd Feb 2015]:

Since publication of this article, Prof. Thuraisingham has amended her article referenced above. The amended version includes a new modified statement, followed by a copy of the original version of her account of the MDDS. In this amended version, Thuraisingham rejects the idea that CIA funded Google, and says instead:

"In fact Prof. Jeffrey Ullman (at Stanford) and my colleague at MITRE Dr. Chris Clifton together with some others developed the Query Flocks System, as part of MDDS, which produced solutions for mining large amounts of data stored in databases. Also, Mr. Sergey Brin, the cofounder of Google, was part of Prof. Ullman's research group at that time. I remember visiting Stanford with Dr. Rick Steinheiser from the Intelligence Community periodically and Mr. Brin would rush in on roller blades, give his presentation and rush out. During our last visit to Stanford in September 1998, Mr. Brin demonstrated to us his search engine which I believe became Google soon after
There are also several inaccuracies in Dr. Ahmed's article (dated January 22, 2015). For example, the MDDS program was not a 'sensitive' program as stated by Dr. Ahmed; it was an Unclassified program that funded universities in the US. Furthermore, Sergey Brin never reported to me or to Dr. Rick Steinheiser; he only gave presentations to us during our visits to the Department of Computer Science at Stanford during the 1990s. Also, MDDS never funded Google; it funded Stanford University."

Here, there is no substantive factual difference in Thuraisingham's accounts, other than to assert that her statement associating Sergey Brin with the development of 'query flocks' is mistaken. Notably, this acknowledgement is derived not from her own knowledge, but from this very article quoting a comment from a Google spokesperson.

However, the bizarre attempt to disassociate Google from the MDDS program misses the mark. Firstly, the MDDS never funded Google, because during the development of the core components of the Google search engine, there was no company incorporated with that name. The grant was instead provided to Stanford University through Prof. Ullman, through whom some MDDS funding was used to support Brin who was co-developing Google at the time. Secondly, Thuraisingham then adds that Brin never "reported" to her or the CIA's Steinheiser, but admits he "gave presentations to us during our visits to the Department of Computer Science at Stanford during the 1990s." It is unclear, though, what the distinction is here between reporting, and delivering a detailed presentation  --  either way, Thuraisingham confirms that she and the CIA had taken a keen interest in Brin's development of Google. Thirdly, Thuraisingham describes the MDDS program as "unclassified," but this does not contradict its "sensitive" nature. As someone who has worked for decades as an intelligence contractor and advisor, Thuraisingham is surely aware that there are many ways of categorizing intelligence, including 'sensitive but unclassified.' A number of former US intelligence officials I spoke to said that the almost total lack of public information on the CIA and NSA's MDDS initiative suggests that although the progam was not classified, it is likely instead that its contents was considered sensitive, which would explain efforts to minimise transparency about the program and the way it fed back into developing tools for the US intelligence community. Fourthly, and finally, it is important to point out that the MDDS abstract which Thuraisingham includes in her University of Texas document states clearly not only that the Director of Central Intelligence's CMS, CIA and NSA were the overseers of the MDDS initiative, but that the intended customers of the project were "DoD, IC, and other government organizations": the Pentagon, the US intelligence community, and other relevant US government agencies.

In other words, the provision of MDDS funding to Brin through Ullman, under the oversight of Thuraisingham and Steinheiser, was fundamentally because they recognized the potential utility of Brin's work developing Google to the Pentagon, intelligence community, and the federal government at large.

==

The MDDS programme is actually referenced in several papers co-authored by Brin and Page while at Stanford, specifically highlighting its role in financially sponsoring Brin in the development of Google. In their 1998 paper published in the Bulletin of the IEEE Computer Society Technical Committeee on Data Engineering , they describe the automation of methods to extract information from the web via "Dual Iterative Pattern Relation Extraction," the development of "a global ranking of Web pages called PageRank," and the use of PageRank "to develop a novel search engine called Google." Through an opening footnote, Sergey Brin confirms he was "Partially supported by the Community Management Staff's Massive Digital Data Systems Program, NSF grant IRI-96–31952"  --  confirming that Brin's work developing Google was indeed partly-funded by the CIA-NSA-MDDS program.

This NSF grant identified alongside the MDDS, whose project report lists Brin among the students supported (without mentioning the MDDS), was different to the NSF grant to Larry Page that included funding from DARPA and NASA. The project report, authored by Brin's supervisor Prof. Ullman, goes on to say under the section 'Indications of Success' that "there are some new stories of startups based on NSF-supported research." Under 'Project Impact,' the report remarks: "Finally, the google project has also gone commercial as Google.com."

Thuraisingham's account, including her new amended version, therefore demonstrates that the CIA-NSA-MDDS program was not only partly funding Brin throughout his work with Larry Page developing Google, but that senior US intelligence representatives including a CIA official oversaw the evolution of Google in this pre-launch phase, all the way until the company was ready to be officially founded. Google, then, had been enabled with a "significant" amount of seed-funding and oversight from the Pentagon: namely, the CIA, NSA, and DARPA.

The DoD could not be reached for comment.

When I asked Prof. Ullman to confirm whether or not Brin was partly funded under the intelligence community's MDDS program, and whether Ullman was aware that Brin was regularly briefing the CIA's Rick Steinheiser on his progress in developing the Google search engine, Ullman's responses were evasive: "May I know whom you represent and why you are interested in these issues? Who are your 'sources'?" He also denied that Brin played a significant role in developing the 'query flocks' system, although it is clear from Brin's papers that he did draw on that work in co-developing the PageRank system with Page.

When I asked Ullman whether he was denying the US intelligence community's role in supporting Brin during the development of Google, he said: "I am not going to dignify this nonsense with a denial. If you won't explain what your theory is, and what point you are trying to make, I am not going to help you in the slightest."

The MDDS abstract published online at the University of Texas confirms that the rationale for the CIA-NSA project was to "provide seed money to develop data management technologies which are of high-risk and high-pay-off," including techniques for "querying, browsing, and filtering; transaction processing; accesses methods and indexing; metadata management and data modelling; and integrating heterogeneous databases; as well as developing appropriate architectures." The ultimate vision of the program was to "provide for the seamless access and fusion of massive amounts of data, information and knowledge in a heterogeneous, real-time environment" for use by the Pentagon, intelligence community and potentially across government.

These revelations corroborate the claims of Robert Steele, former senior CIA officer and a founding civilian deputy director of the Marine Corps Intelligence Activity, whom I interviewed for The Guardian last year on open source intelligence. Citing sources at the CIA, Steele had said in 2006 that Steinheiser, an old colleague of his, was the CIA's main liaison at Google and had arranged early funding for the pioneering IT firm. At the time, Wired founder John Batelle managed to get this official denial from a Google spokesperson in response to Steele's assertions:

"The statements related to Google are completely untrue."

This time round, despite multiple requests and conversations, a Google spokesperson declined to comment.

UPDATE: As of 5.41PM GMT [22nd Jan 2015], Google's director of corporate communication got in touch and asked me to include the following statement:

"Sergey Brin was not part of the Query Flocks Program at Stanford, nor were any of his projects funded by US Intelligence bodies."

This is what I wrote back:

My response to that statement would be as follows: Brin himself in his own paper acknowledges funding from the Community Management Staff of the Massive Digital Data Systems (MDDS) initiative, which was supplied through the NSF. The MDDS was an intelligence community program set up by the CIA and NSA. I also have it on record, as noted in the piece, from Prof. Thuraisingham of University of Texas that she managed the MDDS program on behalf of the US intelligence community, and that her and the CIA's Rick Steinheiser met Brin every three months or so for two years to be briefed on his progress developing Google and PageRank. Whether Brin worked on query flocks or not is neither here nor there.
In that context, you might want to consider the following questions:
1) Does Google deny that Brin's work was part-funded by the MDDS via an NSF grant?
2) Does Google deny that Brin reported regularly to Thuraisingham and Steinheiser from around 1996 to 1998 until September that year when he presented the Google search engine to them?
Total Information Awareness

A call for papers for the MDDS was sent out via email list on November 3rd 1993 from senior US intelligence official David Charvonia, director of the research and development coordination office of the intelligence community's CMS. The reaction from Tatu Ylonen (celebrated inventor of the widely used secure shell [SSH] data protection protocol) to his colleagues on the email list is telling: "Crypto relevance? Makes you think whether you should protect your data." The email also confirms that defense contractor and Highlands Forum partner, SAIC, was managing the MDDS submission process, with abstracts to be sent to Jackie Booth of the CIA's Office of Research and Development via a SAIC email address.

By 1997, Thuraisingham reveals, shortly before Google became incorporated and while she was still overseeing the development of its search engine software at Stanford, her thoughts turned to the national security applications of the MDDS program. In the acknowledgements to her book, Web Data Mining and Applications in Business Intelligence and Counter-Terrorism (2003) , Thuraisingham writes that she and "Dr. Rick Steinheiser of the CIA, began discussions with Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency on applying data-mining for counter-terrorism," an idea that resulted directly from the MDDS program which partly funded Google. "These discussions eventually developed into the current EELD (Evidence Extraction and Link Detection) program at DARPA."

So the very same senior CIA official and CIA-NSA contractor involved in providing the seed-funding for Google were simultaneously contemplating the role of data-mining for counter-terrorism purposes, and were developing ideas for tools actually advanced by DARPA.

Today, as illustrated by her recent oped in the New York Times , Thuraisingham remains a staunch advocate of data-mining for counter-terrorism purposes, but also insists that these methods must be developed by government in cooperation with civil liberties lawyers and privacy advocates to ensure that robust procedures are in place to prevent potential abuse. She points out, damningly, that with the quantity of information being collected, there is a high risk of false positives.

In 1993, when the MDDS program was launched and managed by MITRE Corp. on behalf of the US intelligence community, University of Virginia computer scientist Dr. Anita K. Jones  --  a MITRE trustee  --  landed the job of DARPA director and head of research and engineering across the Pentagon. She had been on the board of MITRE since 1988. From 1987 to 1993, Jones simultaneously served on SAIC's board of directors. As the new head of DARPA from 1993 to 1997, she also co-chaired the Pentagon's Highlands Forum during the period of Google's pre-launch development at Stanford under the MDSS.

Thus, when Thuraisingham and Steinheiser were talking to DARPA about the counter-terrorism applications of MDDS research, Jones was DARPA director and Highlands Forum co-chair. That year, Jones left DARPA to return to her post at the University of Virgina. The following year, she joined the board of the National Science Foundation, which of course had also just funded Brin and Page, and also returned to the board of SAIC. When she left DoD, Senator Chuck Robb paid Jones the following tribute : "She brought the technology and operational military communities together to design detailed plans to sustain US dominance on the battlefield into the next century."

Dr. Anita Jones, head of DARPA from 1993–1997, and co-chair of the Pentagon Highlands Forum from 1995–1997, during which officials in charge of the CIA-NSA-MDSS program were funding Google, and in communication with DARPA about data-mining for counterterrorism

On the board of the National Science Foundation from 1992 to 1998 (including a stint as chairman from 1996) was Richard N. Zare. This was the period in which the NSF sponsored Sergey Brin and Larry Page in association with DARPA. In June 1994, Prof. Zare, a chemist at Stanford, participated with Prof. Jeffrey Ullman (who supervised Sergey Brin's research), on a panel sponsored by Stanford and the National Research Council discussing the need for scientists to show how their work "ties to national needs." The panel brought together scientists and policymakers, including "Washington insiders."

DARPA's EELD program, inspired by the work of Thuraisingham and Steinheiser under Jones' watch, was rapidly adapted and integrated with a suite of tools to conduct comprehensive surveillance under the Bush administration.

According to DARPA official Ted Senator , who led the EELD program for the agency's short-lived Information Awareness Office, EELD was among a range of "promising techniques" being prepared for integration "into the prototype TIA system." TIA stood for Total Information Awareness, and was the main global electronic eavesdropping and data-mining program deployed by the Bush administration after 9/11. TIA had been set up by Iran-Contra conspirator Admiral John Poindexter, who was appointed in 2002 by Bush to lead DARPA's new Information Awareness Office.

The Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) was another contractor among 26 companies (also including SAIC) that received million dollar contracts from DARPA (the specific quantities remained classified) under Poindexter, to push forward the TIA surveillance program in 2002 onwards. The research included "behaviour-based profiling," "automated detection, identification and tracking" of terrorist activity, among other data-analyzing projects. At this time, PARC's director and chief scientist was John Seely Brown. Both Brown and Poindexter were Pentagon Highlands Forum participants  --  Brown on a regular basis until recently.

TIA was purportedly shut down in 2003 due to public opposition after the program was exposed in the media, but the following year Poindexter participated in a Pentagon Highlands Group session in Singapore, alongside defense and security officials from around the world. Meanwhile, Ted Senator continued to manage the EELD program among other data-mining and analysis projects at DARPA until 2006, when he left to become a vice president at SAIC. He is now a SAIC/Leidos technical fellow.

Google, DARPA and the money trail

Long before the appearance of Sergey Brin and Larry Page, Stanford University's computer science department had a close working relationship with US military intelligence. A letter dated November 5th 1984 from the office of renowned artificial intelligence (AI) expert, Prof Edward Feigenbaum, addressed to Rick Steinheiser, gives the latter directions to Stanford's Heuristic Programming Project, addressing Steinheiser as a member of the "AI Steering Committee." A list of attendees at a contractor conference around that time, sponsored by the Pentagon's Office of Naval Research (ONR), includes Steinheiser as a delegate under the designation "OPNAV Op-115"  --  which refers to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations' program on operational readiness, which played a major role in advancing digital systems for the military.

From the 1970s, Prof. Feigenbaum and his colleagues had been running Stanford's Heuristic Programming Project under contract with DARPA, continuing through to the 1990s. Feigenbaum alone had received around over $7 million in this period for his work from DARPA, along with other funding from the NSF, NASA, and ONR.

Brin's supervisor at Stanford, Prof. Jeffrey Ullman, was in 1996 part of a joint funding project of DARPA's Intelligent Integration of Information program . That year, Ullman co-chaired DARPA-sponsored meetings on data exchange between multiple systems.

In September 1998, the same month that Sergey Brin briefed US intelligence representatives Steinheiser and Thuraisingham, tech entrepreneurs Andreas Bechtolsheim and David Cheriton invested $100,000 each in Google. Both investors were connected to DARPA.

As a Stanford PhD student in electrical engineering in the 1980s, Bechtolsheim's pioneering SUN workstation project had been funded by DARPA and the Stanford computer science department  --  this research was the foundation of Bechtolsheim's establishment of Sun Microsystems, which he co-founded with William Joy.

As for Bechtolsheim's co-investor in Google, David Cheriton, the latter is a long-time Stanford computer science professor who has an even more entrenched relationship with DARPA. His bio at the University of Alberta, which in November 2014 awarded him an honorary science doctorate, says that Cheriton's "research has received the support of the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) for over 20 years."

In the meantime, Bechtolsheim left Sun Microsystems in 1995, co-founding Granite Systems with his fellow Google investor Cheriton as a partner. They sold Granite to Cisco Systems in 1996, retaining significant ownership of Granite, and becoming senior Cisco executives.

An email obtained from the Enron Corpus (a database of 600,000 emails acquired by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and later released to the public) from Richard O'Neill, inviting Enron executives to participate in the Highlands Forum, shows that Cisco and Granite executives are intimately connected to the Pentagon. The email reveals that in May 2000, Bechtolsheim's partner and Sun Microsystems co-founder, William Joy  --  who was then chief scientist and corporate executive officer there  --  had attended the Forum to discuss nanotechnology and molecular computing.

In 1999, Joy had also co-chaired the President's Information Technology Advisory Committee, overseeing a report acknowledging that DARPA had:

" revised its priorities in the 90's so that all information technology funding was judged in terms of its benefit to the warfighter."

Throughout the 1990s, then, DARPA's funding to Stanford, including Google, was explicitly about developing technologies that could augment the Pentagon's military intelligence operations in war theatres.

The Joy report recommended more federal government funding from the Pentagon, NASA, and other agencies to the IT sector. Greg Papadopoulos, another of Bechtolsheim's colleagues as then Sun Microsystems chief technology officer, also attended a Pentagon Highlands' Forum meeting in September 2000.

In November, the Pentagon Highlands Forum hosted Sue Bostrom, who was vice president for the internet at Cisco, sitting on the company's board alongside Google co-investors Bechtolsheim and Cheriton. The Forum also hosted Lawrence Zuriff, then a managing partner of Granite, which Bechtolsheim and Cheriton had sold to Cisco. Zuriff had previously been an SAIC contractor from 1993 to 1994, working with the Pentagon on national security issues, specifically for Marshall's Office of Net Assessment. In 1994, both the SAIC and the ONA were, of course, involved in co-establishing the Pentagon Highlands Forum. Among Zuriff's output during his SAIC tenure was a paper titled 'Understanding Information War' , delivered at a SAIC-sponsored US Army Roundtable on the Revolution in Military Affairs.

After Google's incorporation, the company received $25 million in equity funding in 1999 led by Sequoia Capital and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. According to Homeland Security Today , "A number of Sequoia-bankrolled start-ups have contracted with the Department of Defense, especially after 9/11 when Sequoia's Mark Kvamme met with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to discuss the application of emerging technologies to warfighting and intelligence collection." Similarly, Kleiner Perkins had developed "a close relationship" with In-Q-Tel, the CIA venture capitalist firm that funds start-ups "to advance 'priority' technologies of value" to the intelligence community.

John Doerr, who led the Kleiner Perkins investment in Google obtaining a board position, was a major early investor in Becholshtein's Sun Microsystems at its launch. He and his wife Anne are the main funders behind Rice University's Center for Engineering Leadership (RCEL), which in 2009 received $16 million from DARPA for its platform-aware-compilation-environment (PACE) ubiquitous computing R&D program. Doerr also has a close relationship with the Obama administration, which he advised shortly after it took power to ramp up Pentagon funding to the tech industry. In 2013, at the Fortune Brainstorm TECH conference , Doerr applauded "how the DoD's DARPA funded GPS, CAD, most of the major computer science departments, and of course, the Internet."

From inception, in other words, Google was incubated, nurtured and financed by interests that were directly affiliated or closely aligned with the US military intelligence community: many of whom were embedded in the Pentagon Highlands Forum.

Google captures the Pentagon

In 2003, Google began customizing its search engine under special contract with the CIA for its Intelink Management Office, "overseeing top-secret, secret and sensitive but unclassified intranets for CIA and other IC agencies," according to Homeland Security Today. That year, CIA funding was also being "quietly" funneled through the National Science Foundation to projects that might help create "new capabilities to combat terrorism through advanced technology."

The following year, Google bought the firm Keyhole , which had originally been funded by In-Q-Tel. Using Keyhole, Google began developing the advanced satellite mapping software behind Google Earth. Former DARPA director and Highlands Forum co-chair Anita Jones had been on the board of In-Q-Tel at this time, and remains so today.

Then in November 2005, In-Q-Tel issued notices to sell $2.2 million of Google stocks. Google's relationship with US intelligence was further brought to light when an IT contractor told a closed Washington DC conference of intelligence professionals on a not-for-attribution basis that at least one US intelligence agency was working to "leverage Google's [user] data monitoring" capability as part of an effort to acquire data of "national security intelligence interest."

A photo on Flickr dated March 2007 reveals that Google research director and AI expert Peter Norvig attended a Pentagon Highlands Forum meeting that year in Carmel, California. Norvig's intimate connection to the Forum as of that year is also corroborated by his role in guest editing the 2007 Forum reading list.

The photo below shows Norvig in conversation with Lewis Shepherd, who at that time was senior technology officer at the Defense Intelligence Agency, responsible for investigating, approving, and architecting "all new hardware/software systems and acquisitions for the Global Defense Intelligence IT Enterprise," including "big data technologies." Shepherd now works at Microsoft. Norvig was a computer research scientist at Stanford University in 1991 before joining Bechtolsheim's Sun Microsystems as senior scientist until 1994, and going on to head up NASA's computer science division.

Lewis Shepherd (left), then a senior technology officer at the Pentagon's Defense Intelligence Agency, talking to Peter Norvig (right), renowned expert in artificial intelligence expert and director of research at Google. This photo is from a Highlands Forum meeting in 2007.

Norvig shows up on O'Neill's Google Plus profile as one of his close connections. Scoping the rest of O'Neill's Google Plus connections illustrates that he is directly connected not just to a wide range of Google executives, but also to some of the biggest names in the US tech community.

Those connections include Michele Weslander Quaid, an ex-CIA contractor and former senior Pentagon intelligence official who is now Google's chief technology officer where she is developing programs to "best fit government agencies' needs"; Elizabeth Churchill, Google director of user experience; James Kuffner, a humanoid robotics expert who now heads up Google's robotics division and who introduced the term 'cloud robotics'; Mark Drapeau, director of innovation engagement for Microsoft's public sector business; Lili Cheng, general manager of Microsoft's Future Social Experiences (FUSE) Labs; Jon Udell, Microsoft 'evangelist'; Cory Ondrejka, vice president of engineering at Facebook; to name just a few.

In 2010, Google signed a multi-billion dollar no-bid contract with the NSA's sister agency, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA). The contract was to use Google Earth for visualization services for the NGA. Google had developed the software behind Google Earth by purchasing Keyhole from the CIA venture firm In-Q-Tel.

Then a year after, in 2011, another of O'Neill's Google Plus connections, Michele Quaid  --  who had served in executive positions at the NGA, National Reconnaissance Office and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence  --  left her government role to become Google 'innovation evangelist' and the point-person for seeking government contracts. Quaid's last role before her move to Google was as a senior representative of the Director of National Intelligence to the Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Task Force, and a senior advisor to the undersecretary of defense for intelligence's director of Joint and Coalition Warfighter Support (J&CWS). Both roles involved information operations at their core. Before her Google move, in other words, Quaid worked closely with the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence, to which the Pentagon's Highlands Forum is subordinate. Quaid has herself attended the Forum, though precisely when and how often I could not confirm.

In March 2012, then DARPA director Regina Dugan   --  who in that capacity was also co-chair of the Pentagon Highlands Forum  --  followed her colleague Quaid into Google to lead the company's new Advanced Technology and Projects Group. During her Pentagon tenure, Dugan led on strategic cyber security and social media, among other initiatives. She was responsible for focusing "an increasing portion" of DARPA's work "on the investigation of offensive capabilities to address military-specific needs," securing $500 million of government funding for DARPA cyber research from 2012 to 2017.

Regina Dugan, former head of DARPA and Highlands Forum co-chair, now a senior Google executive  --  trying her best to look the part

By November 2014, Google's chief AI and robotics expert James Kuffner was a delegate alongside O'Neill at the Highlands Island Forum 201 4 in Singapore, to explore 'Advancement in Robotics and Artificial Intelligence: Implications for Society, Security and Conflict.' The event included 26 delegates from Austria, Israel, Japan, Singapore, Sweden, Britain and the US, from both industry and government. Kuffner's association with the Pentagon, however, began much earlier. In 1997, Kuffner was a researcher during his Stanford PhD for a Pentagon-funded project on networked autonomous mobile robots, sponsored by DARPA and the US Navy.

Rumsfeld and persistent surveillance

In sum, many of Google's most senior executives are affiliated with the Pentagon Highlands Forum, which throughout the period of Google's growth over the last decade, has surfaced repeatedly as a connecting and convening force. The US intelligence community's incubation of Google from inception occurred through a combination of direct sponsorship and informal networks of financial influence, themselves closely aligned with Pentagon interests.

The Highlands Forum itself has used the informal relationship building of such private networks to bring together defense and industry sectors, enabling the fusion of corporate and military interests in expanding the covert surveillance apparatus in the name of national security. The power wielded by the shadow network represented in the Forum can, however, be gauged most clearly from its impact during the Bush administration, when it played a direct role in literally writing the strategies and doctrines behind US efforts to achieve 'information superiority.'

In December 2001, O'Neill confirmed that strategic discussions at the Highlands Forum were feeding directly into Andrew Marshall's DoD-wide strategic review ordered by President Bush and Donald Rumsfeld to upgrade the military, including the Quadrennial Defense Review  --  and that some of the earliest Forum meetings "resulted in the writing of a group of DoD policies, strategies, and doctrine for the services on information warfare." That process of "writing" the Pentagon's information warfare policies "was done in conjunction with people who understood the environment differently  --  not only US citizens, but also foreign citizens, and people who were developing corporate IT."

The Pentagon's post-9/11 information warfare doctrines were, then, written not just by national security officials from the US and abroad: but also by powerful corporate entities in the defense and technology sectors.

In April that year, Gen. James McCarthy had completed his defense transformation review ordered by Rumsfeld. His report repeatedly highlighted mass surveillance as integral to DoD transformation. As for Marshall, his follow-up report for Rumsfeld was going to develop a blueprint determining the Pentagon's future in the 'information age.'

O'Neill also affirmed that to develop information warfare doctrine, the Forum had held extensive discussions on electronic surveillance and "what constitutes an act of war in an information environment." Papers feeding into US defense policy written through the late 1990s by RAND consultants John Arquilla and David Rondfeldt, both longstanding Highlands Forum members, were produced "as a result of those meetings," exploring policy dilemmas on how far to take the goal of 'Information Superiority.' "One of the things that was shocking to the American public was that we weren't pilfering Milosevic's accounts electronically when we in fact could," commented O'Neill.

Although the R&D process around the Pentagon transformation strategy remains classified, a hint at the DoD discussions going on in this period can be gleaned from a 2005 US Army School of Advanced Military Studies research monograph in the DoD journal, Military Review , authored by an active Army intelligence officer.

"The idea of Persistent Surveillance as a transformational capability has circulated within the national Intelligence Community (IC) and the Department of Defense (DoD) for at least three years," the paper said, referencing the Rumsfeld-commissioned transformation study.

The Army paper went on to review a range of high-level official military documents, including one from the Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, showing that "Persistent Surveillance" was a fundamental theme of the information-centric vision for defense policy across the Pentagon.

We now know that just two months before O'Neill's address at Harvard in 2001, under the TIA program, President Bush had secretly authorized the NSA's domestic surveillance of Americans without court-approved warrants, in what appears to have been an illegal modification of the ThinThread data-mining project  --  as later exposed by NSA whistleblowers William Binney and Thomas Drake.

The surveillance-startup nexus

From here on, Highlands Forum partner SAIC played a key role in the NSA roll out from inception. Shortly after 9/11, Brian Sharkey, chief technology officer of SAIC's ELS3 Sector (focusing on IT systems for emergency responders), teamed up with John Poindexter to propose the TIA surveillance program. SAIC's Sharkey had previously been deputy director of the Information Systems Office at DARPA through the 1990s.

Meanwhile, around the same time, SAIC vice president for corporate development, Samuel Visner , became head of the NSA's signals-intelligence programs. SAIC was then among a consortium receiving a $280 million contract to develop one of the NSA's secret eavesdropping systems. By 2003, Visner returned to SAIC to become director of strategic planning and business development of the firm's intelligence group.

That year, the NSA consolidated its TIA programme of warrantless electronic surveillance, to keep "track of individuals" and understand "how they fit into models" through risk profiles of American citizens and foreigners. TIA was doing this by integrating databases on finance, travel, medical, educational and other records into a "virtual, centralized grand database."

This was also the year that the Bush administration drew up its notorious Information Operations Roadmap . Describing the internet as a "vulnerable weapons system," Rumsfeld's IO roadmap had advocated that Pentagon strategy "should be based on the premise that the Department [of Defense] will 'fight the net' as it would an enemy weapons system." The US should seek "maximum control" of the "full spectrum of globally emerging communications systems, sensors, and weapons systems," advocated the document.

The following year, John Poindexter, who had proposed and run the TIA surveillance program via his post at DARPA, was in Singapore participating in the Highlands 2004 Island Forum . Other delegates included then Highlands Forum co-chair and Pentagon CIO Linton Wells; president of notorious Pentagon information warfare contractor, John Rendon; Karl Lowe, director of the Joint Forces Command (JFCOM) Joint Advanced Warfighting Division; Air Vice Marshall Stephen Dalton, capability manager for information superiority at the UK Ministry of Defense; Lt. Gen. Johan Kihl, Swedish army Supreme Commander HQ's chief of staff; among others.

As of 2006, SAIC had been awarded a multi-million dollar NSA contract to develop a big data-mining project called ExecuteLocus , despite the colossal $1 billion failure of its preceding contract, known as 'Trailblazer.' Core components of TIA were being "quietly continued" under "new code names," according to Foreign Policy's Shane Harris , but had been concealed "behind the veil of the classified intelligence budget." The new surveillance program had by then been fully transitioned from DARPA's jurisdiction to the NSA.

This was also the year of yet another Singapore Island Forum led by Richard O'Neill on behalf of the Pentagon, which included senior defense and industry officials from the US, UK, Australia, France, India and Israel. Participants also included senior technologists from Microsoft, IBM, as well as Gilman Louie , partner at technology investment firm Alsop Louie Partners.

Gilman Louie is a former CEO of In-Q-Tel  --  the CIA firm investing especially in start-ups developing data mining technology. In-Q-Tel was founded in 1999 by the CIA's Directorate of Science and Technology, under which the Office of Research and Development (ORD)  --  which was part of the Google-funding MDSS program  --  had operated. The idea was to essentially replace the functions once performed by the ORD, by mobilizing the private sector to develop information technology solutions for the entire intelligence community.

Louie had led In-Q-Tel from 1999 until January 2006  --  including when Google bought Keyhole, the In-Q-Tel-funded satellite mapping software. Among his colleagues on In-Q-Tel's board in this period were former DARPA director and Highlands Forum co-chair Anita Jones (who is still there), as well as founding board member William Perry : the man who had appointed O'Neill to set-up the Highlands Forum in the first place. Joining Perry as a founding In-Q-Tel board member was John Seely Brown, then chief scientist at Xerox Corp and director of its Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) from 1990 to 2002, who is also a long-time senior Highlands Forum member since inception.

In addition to the CIA, In-Q-Tel has also been backed by the FBI, NGA, and Defense Intelligence Agency, among other agencies. More than 60 percent of In-Q-Tel's investments under Louie's watch were "in companies that specialize in automatically collecting, sifting through and understanding oceans of information," according to Medill School of Journalism's News2 1, which also noted that Louie himself had acknowledged it was not clear "whether privacy and civil liberties will be protected" by government's use of these technologies "for national security."

The transcript of Richard O'Neill's late 2001 seminar at Harvard shows that the Pentagon Highlands Forum had first engaged Gilman Louie long before the Island Forum, in fact, shortly after 9/11 to explore "what's going on with In-Q-Tel." That Forum session focused on how to "take advantage of the speed of the commercial market that wasn't present inside the science and technology community of Washington" and to understand "the implications for the DoD in terms of the strategic review, the QDR, Hill action, and the stakeholders." Participants of the meeting included "senior military people," combatant commanders, "several of the senior flag officers," some "defense industry people" and various US representatives including Republican Congressman William Mac Thornberry and Democrat Senator Joseph Lieberman.

Both Thornberry and Lieberman are staunch supporters of NSA surveillance, and have consistently acted to rally support for pro-war, pro-surveillance legislation. O'Neill's comments indicate that the Forum's role is not just to enable corporate contractors to write Pentagon policy, but to rally political support for government policies adopted through the Forum's informal brand of shadow networking.

Repeatedly, O'Neill told his Harvard audience that his job as Forum president was to scope case studies from real companies across the private sector, like eBay and Human Genome Sciences, to figure out the basis of US 'Information Superiority'  --  "how to dominate" the information market  --  and leverage this for "what the president and the secretary of defense wanted to do with regard to transformation of the DoD and the strategic review."

By 2007, a year after the Island Forum meeting that included Gilman Louie, Facebook received its second round of $12.7 million worth of funding from Accel Partners. Accel was headed up by James Breyer, former chair of the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) where Louie also served on the board while still CEO of In-Q-Tel. Both Louie and Breyer had previously served together on the board of BBN Technologies   --  which had recruited ex-DARPA chief and In-Q-Tel trustee Anita Jones.

Facebook's 2008 round of funding was led by Greylock Venture Capital, which invested $27.5 million. The firm's senior partners include Howard Cox, another former NVCA chair who also sits on the board of In-Q-Tel. Apart from Breyer and Zuckerberg, Facebook's only other board member is Peter Thiel, co-founder of defense contractor Palantir which provides all sorts of data-mining and visualization technologies to US government, military and intelligence agencies, including the NSA and FBI , and which itself was nurtured to financial viability by Highlands Forum members.

Palantir co-founders Thiel and Alex Karp met with John Poindexter in 2004, according to Wired , the same year Poindexter had attended the Highlands Island Forum in Singapore. They met at the home of Richard Perle, another Andrew Marshall acolyte. Poindexter helped Palantir open doors, and to assemble "a legion of advocates from the most influential strata of government." Thiel had also met with Gilman Louie of In-Q-Tel, securing the backing of the CIA in this early phase.

And so we come full circle. Data-mining programs like ExecuteLocus and projects linked to it, which were developed throughout this period, apparently laid the groundwork for the new NSA programmes eventually disclosed by Edward Snowden. By 2008, as Facebook received its next funding round from Greylock Venture Capital, documents and whistleblower testimony confirmed that the NSA was effectively resurrecting the TIA project with a focus on Internet data-mining via comprehensive monitoring of e-mail, text messages, and Web browsing.

We also now know thanks to Snowden that the NSA's XKeyscore 'Digital Network Intelligence' exploitation system was designed to allow analysts to search not just Internet databases like emails, online chats and browsing history, but also telephone services, mobile phone audio, financial transactions and global air transport communications  --  essentially the entire global telecommunications grid. Highlands Forum partner SAIC played a key role, among other contractors, in producing and administering the NSA's XKeyscore, and was recently implicated in NSA hacking of the privacy network Tor.

The Pentagon Highlands Forum was therefore intimately involved in all this as a convening network -- but also quite directly. Confirming his pivotal role in the expansion of the US-led global surveillance apparatus, then Forum co-chair, Pentagon CIO Linton Wells, told FedTech magazine in 2009 that he had overseen the NSA's roll out of "an impressive long-term architecture last summer that will provide increasingly sophisticated security until 2015 or so."

The Goldman Sachs connection

When I asked Wells about the Forum's role in influencing US mass surveillance, he responded only to say he would prefer not to comment and that he no longer leads the group.

As Wells is no longer in government, this is to be expected  --  but he is still connected to Highlands. As of September 2014, after delivering his influential white paper on Pentagon transformation, he joined the Monterey Institute for International Studies (MIIS) Cyber Security Initiative (CySec) as a distinguished senior fellow.

Sadly, this was not a form of trying to keep busy in retirement. Wells' move underscored that the Pentagon's conception of information warfare is not just about surveillance, but about the exploitation of surveillance to influence both government and public opinion.

The MIIS CySec initiative is now formally partnered with the Pentagon Highlands Forum through a Memorandum of Understanding signed with MIIS provost Dr Amy Sands , who sits on the Secretary of State's International Security Advisory Board. The MIIS CySec website states that the MoU signed with Richard O'Neill:

" paves the way for future joint MIIS CySec-Highlands Group sessions that will explore the impact of technology on security, peace and information engagement. For nearly 20 years the Highlands Group has engaged private sector and government leaders, including the Director of National Intelligence, DARPA, Office of the Secretary of Defense, Office of the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Singaporean Minister of Defence, in creative conversations to frame policy and technology research areas."

Who is the financial benefactor of the new Pentagon Highlands-partnered MIIS CySec initiative? According to the MIIS CySec site , the initiative was launched "through a generous donation of seed funding from George Lee." George C. Lee is a senior partner at Goldman Sachs, where he is chief information officer of the investment banking division, and chairman of the Global Technology, Media and Telecom (TMT) Group.

But here's the kicker. In 2011, it was Lee who engineered Facebook's $50 billion valuation , and previously handled deals for other Highlands-connected tech giants like Google, Microsoft and eBay. Lee's then boss, Stephen Friedman, a former CEO and chairman of Goldman Sachs, and later senior partner on the firm's executive board, was a also founding board member of In-Q-Tel alongside Highlands Forum overlord William Perry and Forum member John Seely Brown.

In 2001, Bush appointed Stephen Friedman to the President's Intelligence Advisory Board, and then to chair that board from 2005 to 2009. Friedman previously served alongside Paul Wolfowitz and others on the 1995–6 presidential commission of inquiry into US intelligence capabilities, and in 1996 on the Jeremiah Panel that produced a report to the Director of the National Reconnaisance Office (NRO)  --  one of the surveillance agencies plugged into the Highlands Forum. Friedman was on the Jeremiah Panel with Martin Faga, then senior vice president and general manager of MITRE Corp's Center for Integrated Intelligence Systems  --  where Thuraisingham, who managed the CIA-NSA-MDDS program that inspired DARPA counter-terrorist data-mining, was also a lead engineer.

In the footnotes to a chapter for the book, Cyberspace and National Security ( Georgetown University Press), SAIC/Leidos executive Jeff Cooper reveals that another Goldman Sachs senior partner Philip J. Venables  --  who as chief information risk officer leads the firm's programs on information security  --  delivered a Highlands Forum presentation in 2008 at what was called an 'Enrichment Session on Deterrence.' Cooper's chapter draws on Venables' presentation at Highlands "with permission." In 2010, Venables participated with his then boss Friedman at an Aspen Institute meeting on the world economy. For the last few years, Venables has also sat on various NSA cybersecurity award review boards.

In sum, the investment firm responsible for creating the billion dollar fortunes of the tech sensations of the 21st century, from Google to Facebook, is intimately linked to the US military intelligence community; with Venables, Lee and Friedman either directly connected to the Pentagon Highlands Forum, or to senior members of the Forum.

Fighting terror with terror

The convergence of these powerful financial and military interests around the Highlands Forum, through George Lee's sponsorship of the Forum's new partner, the MIIS Cysec initiative, is revealing in itself.

MIIS Cysec's director, Dr, Itamara Lochard, has long been embedded in Highlands. She regularly "presents current research on non-state groups, governance, technology and conflict to the US Office of the Secretary of Defense Highlands Forum," according to her Tufts University bio. She also , "regularly advises US combatant commanders" and specializes in studying the use of information technology by "violent and non-violent sub-state groups."

Dr Itamara Lochard is a senior Highlands Forum member and Pentagon information operations expert. She directs the MIIS CyberSec initiative that now supports the Pentagon Highlands Forum with funding from Goldman Sachs partner George Lee, who led the valuations of Facebook and Google.

Dr Lochard maintains a comprehensive database of 1,700 non-state groups including "insurgents, militias, terrorists, complex criminal organizations, organized gangs, malicious cyber actors and strategic non-violent actors," to analyze their "organizational patterns, areas of cooperation, strategies and tactics." Notice, here, the mention of "strategic non-violent actors"  --  which perhaps covers NGOs and other groups or organizations engaged in social political activity or campaigning, judging by the focus of other DoD research programs.

As of 2008, Lochard has been an adjunct professor at the US Joint Special Operations University where she teaches a top secret advanced course in 'Irregular Warfare' that she designed for senior US special forces officers. She has previously taught courses on 'Internal War' for senior "political-military officers" of various Gulf regimes.

Her views thus disclose much about what the Highlands Forum has been advocating all these years. In 2004, Lochard was co-author of a study for the US Air Force's Institute for National Security Studies on US strategy toward 'non-state armed groups.' The study on the one hand argued that non-state armed groups should be urgently recognized as a 'tier one security priority,' and on the other that the proliferation of armed groups "provide strategic opportunities that can be exploited to help achieve policy goals. There have and will be instances where the United States may find collaborating with armed group is in its strategic interests." But "sophisticated tools" must be developed to differentiate between different groups and understand their dynamics, to determine which groups should be countered, and which could be exploited for US interests. "Armed group profiles can likewise be employed to identify ways in which the United States may assist certain armed groups whose success will be advantageous to US foreign policy objectives."

In 2008, Wikileaks published a leaked restricted US Army Special Operations field manual, which demonstrated that the sort of thinking advocated by the likes of Highlands expert Lochard had been explicitly adopted by US special forces.

Lochard's work thus demonstrates that the Highlands Forum sat at the intersection of advanced Pentagon strategy on surveillance, covert operations and irregular warfare: mobilizing mass surveillance to develop detailed information on violent and non-violent groups perceived as potentially threatening to US interests, or offering opportunities for exploitation, thus feeding directly into US covert operations.

That, ultimately, is why the CIA, the NSA, the Pentagon, spawned Google. So they could run their secret dirty wars with even greater efficiency than ever before.

READ PART TWO


Dr Nafeez Ahmed is an investigative journalist, bestselling author and international security scholar. A former Guardian writer, he writes the 'System Shift' column for VICE's Motherboard, and is also a columnist for Middle East Eye. He is the winner of a 2015 Project Censored Award for Outstanding Investigative Journalism for his Guardian work.

Nafeez has also written for The Independent, Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, The Scotsman, Foreign Policy, The Atlantic, Quartz, Prospect, New Statesman, Le Monde diplomatique, New Internationalist, Counterpunch, Truthout, among others. He is the author of A User's Guide to the Crisis of Civilization: And How to Save It (2010), and the scifi thriller novel ZERO POINT , among other books. His work on the root causes and covert operations linked to international terrorism officially contributed to the 9/11 Commission and the 7/7 Coroner's Inquest.

This exclusive is being released for free in the public interest, and was enabled by crowdfunding. I'd like to thank my amazing community of patrons for their support, which gave me the opportunity to work on this in-depth investigation. Please support independent, investigative journalism for the global commons

[Aug 26, 2017] Even dating apps like Tinder used in industrial espionage like a honey trap to match an operative with a target.

Aug 26, 2017 | www.unz.com

Delinquent Snail > , August 25, 2017 at 9:40 pm GMT

@Erebus Thierry Meyssan thinks the world doesn't yet understand the US' Imperial Strategy following 9/11. It is jauntily summarized by Pepe as "Empire of Chaos", as if it was trying to be an Empire, but somehow prevented from properly becoming one because of the bumbling fools that are running it. Much more sinister than that, American Imperial Strategy has chaos at its core, and it's deadly serious about it.


This strategy, radically new, was taught by Thomas P. M. Barnett following 11-September 2001. It was publicly revealed and exposed in March 2003 – that is, just before the war against Iraq! in an article in Esquire, then in the eponym book, The Pentagon's New Map. However, such a strategy appears so cruel in design, that no one imagined it could be implemented.
Imperialism seeks to divide the world in two. One part will be a stable area which profits from the system while in the other part a terrifying chaos will reign. This other will be a zone, where all thought of resisting has been wiped it; where every thought is fixated on surviving; an area where the multinationals can extract raw materials which they need without any duty to account to anyone.
Translated from the French, Parts 1 & 2 are here:

He goes on to maintain that Assad was the first leader to understand this strategy, and his development of a counter strategy is the principle reason for his continued, indeed enhanced reign. If they didn't then, I have a feeling that Putin & Xi now also understand, and that some of their counter-strategies are becoming visible.

I linked an article that talks about barnett's role in our current predicament. Its a rather large article and covers a lot, but its a MUST READ to understand whats going on in the world.

https://medium.com/insurge-intelligence/how-the-cia-made-google-e836451a959e

Delinquent Snail > , August 25, 2017 at 9:34 pm GMT

@DESERT FOX ... ... ... https://medium.com/insurge-intelligence/how-the-cia-made-google-e836451a959e

You would find this article worthy of your time.

suspicious > , August 25, 2017 at 10:10 pm GMT

I'm more concerned about the invisible war being waged by tech giants run by a certain tribe. Have you noticed how they force you to login with a Google or Facebook account. Even dating apps are skewed to match left leaning people with conservatives or like Tinder used in industrial espionage like a honey trap to match an operative with a target. There is invisible social engineering going on by the globalists to ID everyone and target them through subtle means.

Erebus > , August 26, 2017 at 12:18 am GMT

@Delinquent Snail I linked an article that talks about barnett's role in our current predicament. Its a rather large article and covers a lot, but its a MUST READ to understand whats going on in the world.

https://medium.com/insurge-intelligence/how-the-cia-made-google-e836451a959e
Understanding the world through the prism of this new strategy is to realize how little currently stands between them and success. Orwell's hour has come round at last, it seems.
Of course, should they fail, a world of hurt will come to America's homeland and any allies that stick with them. Madness. They can't imagine a world not ruled by them.

[Aug 25, 2017] A large more universally imprisoning threat looms that far surpasses war with bombs. Is it the use of technology and media ownership to reverse 1st amendment infringement against target people, to remove their writings and sayings and to deny others not only to access the expressions and documentations of the target person, but also to deny all others from even knowing such information and such person is even available?

Aug 25, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

Posted by: fudmier | Aug 24, 2017 4:15:00 PM | 42

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-08-21/one-statistics-professor-was-just-banned-google-here-his-story

A large more universally imprisoning threat looms that far surpasses war with bombs. Is it the use of technology and media ownership to reverse 1st amendment infringement against target people, to remove their writings and sayings and to deny others not only to access the expressions and documentations of the target person, but also to deny all others from even knowing such information and such person is even available? The first amendment guaranteed freedom to speech, but may have failed to guarantee that audiences seeking to hear that speech be guaranteed access to hear the expressions and speech of target persons. This is happening in scientific articles and journals,as well..

The world is moving to a fully controlled Information society where the lower classes will be treated like rats in a psychiatrist controlled cage. karlof1 says it well. the empire took democracy from the people of America in 1788..

Posted by: fudmier |

[Aug 25, 2017] In the case of Information monopolies, removing available information and omitting it from search engine searches and public indexes, often start as a means to offer access in exchange for money, but soon evolves into using technology to control the entire information environment.

Notable quotes:
"... the biggest danger to democracy I see is not trade corruption between leaders of nation states, but on-going removal of available information from view of the common ordinary people (denial of access is one thing, but denial of awareness that certain information might exist is quite another ). ..."
"... Gating access to information and controlling one's information environment allows to engineer a persons culture, sense of self, and level of satisfaction (as in pacification) this is done much the same way a psychiatrist might do to a rat caged in a research lab. . ..."
Aug 25, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

re: 37 .. get Tor Browswer use Duckduckgo.com which I believe is free from tracking .

Google Facebook MSN, and Twitter are all highly suspect.. as is email that is secretly maintained by our largest communications giant. IMHO.

the biggest danger to democracy I see is not trade corruption between leaders of nation states, but on-going removal of available information from view of the common ordinary people (denial of access is one thing, but denial of awareness that certain information might exist is quite another ).

At the moment the American Disabilities act is forcing colleges and educational institutions to remove educational materials from public access and denying the public the use of such educational materials.

When monopolies are allowed flourish, giants develops. Giants tend to covet the source of their monopolies. In the case of Information monopolies, removing available information and omitting it from search engine searches and public indexes, often start as a means to offer access in exchange for money , but soon evolves into using technology to control the entire information environment .

Gating access to information and controlling one's information environment allows to engineer a persons culture, sense of self, and level of satisfaction (as in pacification) this is done much the same way a psychiatrist might do to a rat caged in a research lab. .

Posted by: fudmier | Aug 24, 2017 5:27:02 AM | 65

[Aug 24, 2017] The biggest danger to democracy I see is not trade corruption between leaders of nation states, but on-going removal of available information from view of the common ordinary people (denial of access is one thing, but denial of awareness that certain information might exist is quite another ).

Aug 24, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

fudmier | Aug 24, 2017 5:27:02 AM | 65

re: 37 .. get Tor Browswer use Duckduckgo.com which I believe is free from tracking .

Google Facebook MSN, and Twitter are all highly suspect.. as is email that is secretly maintained by our largest communications giant. IMHO.

the biggest danger to democracy I see is not trade corruption between leaders of nation states, but on-going removal of available information from view of the common ordinary people (denial of access is one thing, but denial of awareness that certain information might exist is quite another ).

At the moment the American Disabilities act is forcing colleges and educational institutions to remove educational materials from public access and denying the public the use of such educational materials.

When monopolies are allowed flourish, giants develops. Giants tend to covet the source of their monopolies. In the case of Information monopolies, removing available information and omitting it from search engine searches and public indexes, often start as a means to offer access in exchange for money , but soon evolves into using technology to control the entire information environment .

Gating access to information and controlling one's information environment allows to engineer a persons culture, sense of self, and level of satisfaction (as in pacification) this is done much the same way a psychiatrist might do to a rat caged in a research lab. .

[Aug 24, 2017] The use of intrusive technical collection and surveillance on diplomats, which sometimes causes harm in its own right

Aug 24, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

Yul | Aug 24, 2017 1:36:51 PM | 23

No one is talking much about this except to point the finger at Cuba:

https://www.justsecurity.org/44289/sonic-attacks-diplomats-cuba-dont-rush-conclusions/

While I have not served in Cuba, my experience in a number of similar hostile, high counterintelligence threat countries suggests that this is more likely a surveillance effort gone wrong, than the use of an offensive sonic weapon.

We have very little experience anywhere in the world with directed attacks designed to physically harm to our diplomats. However, the use of intrusive technical collection and surveillance which sometimes causes harm in its own right, is consistent with past practice in Cuba and elsewhere.

Why don't I believe this was an attack intended to harm diplomats?

[Aug 12, 2017] Googles new search protocol is restricting access to 13 leading socialist, progressive and anti-war web sites

Could it also be that Presidential elections are over and people became tiered of politics ?
Notable quotes:
"... World Socialist Web Site ..."
"... World Socialist Web Site ..."
"... World Socialist Web Site ..."
"... This would explain why the World ..."
"... World Socialist Web Site ..."
"... New York Times ..."
"... Wall Street Journal ..."
"... Significantly, Gomes does not provide any clear definition, let alone concrete examples, of any of these loaded terms ("fake news," "blatantly misleading," "low quality, "offensive," and "down right false information.") ..."
"... DIVIDE ET IMPERA ..."
"... I am fully aware Google (and the CIA/The Economist/The Guardian/NYT/Facebook/Washington Post/etc) are pro corporate and big deep state, but wsws.org (and The Intercept/alternet/globalresearch/etc) are just as anti white. Both are completely fine with flooding white lands with endless amounts of third worlders, whether the reason is to create cheaper labour costs, dismantle any chance of resistance to their particular ideology, or simply a pure anti white animus – I don't care, both are considered rivals. ..."
"... I tend to use duckduckgo these days, but for some searches I use google advanced search. Its greater precision doesn´t give as many extraneous results. Not so easy to bury things in a pile of irrelevancy. ..."
Aug 12, 2017 | www.unz.com
Andre Damon and David North August 4, 2017 1,600 Words 35 Comments Reply

New data compiled by the World Socialist Web Site , with the assistance of other Internet-based news outlets and search technology experts, proves that a massive loss of readership observed by socialist, anti-war and progressive web sites over the past three months has been caused by a cumulative 45 percent decrease in traffic from Google searches.

The drop followed the implementation of changes in Google's search evaluation protocols. In a statement issued on April 25, Ben Gomes, the company's vice president for engineering, stated that Google's update of its search engine would block access to "offensive" sites, while working to surface more "authoritative content."

The World Socialist Web Site has obtained statistical data from SEMrush estimating the decline of traffic generated by Google searches for 13 sites with substantial readerships. The results are as follows:

  1. wsws.org fell by 67 percent
  2. alternet.org fell by 63 percent
  3. globalresearch.ca fell by 62 percent
  4. consortiumnews.com fell by 47 percent
  5. socialistworker.org fell by 47 percent
  6. mediamatters.org fell by 42 percent
  7. commondreams.org fell by 37 percent
  8. internationalviewpoint.org fell by 36 percent
  9. democracynow.org fell by 36 percent
  10. wikileaks.org fell by 30 percent
  11. truth-out.org fell by 25 percent
  12. counterpunch.org fell by 21 percent
  13. theintercept.com fell by 19 percent

Of the 13 web sites on the list, the World Socialist Web Site has been the most heavily affected. Its traffic from Google searches has fallen by two thirds.

The new statistics demonstrate that the WSWS is a central target of Google's censorship campaign. In the twelve months preceding the implementation of the new Google protocols, the WSWS had experienced a substantial increase in readership. A significant component of this increase was the product of Google search results. The rapid rise in search traffic reflected the well-documented growth in popular interest in socialist politics during 2016. The rate of growth accelerated following the November election, which led to large protests against the election of Trump.

Search traffic to the WSWS peaked in April 2017, precisely at the point when Google began the implementation of its censorship protocols.

Another site affected by Google's action has provided information that confirms the findings of the WSWS.

"In late May, changes to Google's algorithm negatively impacted the volume of traffic to the Common Dreams website from organic Google searches," said Aaron Kaufman, director of development at progressive news outlet Common Dreams . "Since May, traffic from Google Search as a percentage of total traffic to the Common Dreams website has decreased nearly 50 percent."

The extent and impact of Google's actions prove that a combination of techniques is being employed to block access to targeted sites. These involve the direct flagging and blackballing of the WSWS and the other 12 sites listed above by Google evaluators. These sites are assigned a highly negative rating that assures that their articles will be either demoted or entirely bypassed. In addition, new programming technology teaches the computers to think like the evaluators, that is, to emulate their preferences and prejudices.

Finally, the precision of this operation strongly suggests that there is an additional range of exclusion techniques involving the selection of terms, words, phrases and topics that are associated with socialist and left-wing websites.

This would explain why the World Socialist Web Site , which focuses on issues such as war, geopolitics, social inequality and working class struggles has experienced such a dramatic fall in Google-generated searches on these very topics. We have seen that the very terms and phrases that would under normal circumstances be most likely to generate the highest level of hits -- such as "socialism," "Marxism" and "Trotskyism" -- produce the lowest results.

This is an ongoing process in which one can expect that Google evaluators are continuously adding suspect terms to make their algorithm ever more precise, with the eventual goal of eliminating traffic to the WSWS and other targeted sites.

The information that has been gathered and published by the WSWS during the past week exposes that Google is at the center of a corporate-state conspiracy to drastically curtail democratic rights. The attack on free speech and uncensored access to information is aimed at crippling popular opposition to social inequality, war and authoritarianism.

The central and sinister role of Google in this process demonstrates that freedom of speech and thought is incompatible with corporate control of the Internet.

As we continue our exposure of Google's assault on democratic rights, we demand that it immediately and unequivocally halt and revoke its censorship program.

It is critical that a coordinated campaign be organized within the United States and internationally against Google's censorship of the Internet. We intend to do everything in our power to develop and contribute to a counter-offensive against its efforts to suppress freedom of speech and thought.

The fight against corporate-state censorship of the Internet is central to the defense of democratic rights, and there must be a broad-based collaboration among socialist, left and progressive websites to alert the public and the widest sections of the working class.

* * * Google's chief search engineer legitimizes new censorship algorithm (July 31, 2017)

Between April and June, Google completed a major revision of its search engine that sharply curtails public access to Internet web sites that operate independently of the corporate and state-controlled media. Since the implementation of the changes, many left wing, anti-war and progressive web sites have experienced a sharp fall in traffic generated by Google searches. The World Socialist Web Site has seen, within just one month, a 70 percent drop in traffic from Google.

In a blog post published on April 25, Ben Gomes, Google's chief search engineer, rolled out the new censorship program in a statement bearing the Orwellian title, "Our latest quality improvements for search." This statement has been virtually buried by the corporate media. Neither the New York Times nor the Wall Street Journal has reported the statement. The Washington Post limited its coverage of the statement to a single blog post.

Framed as a mere change to technical procedures, Gomes's statement legitimizes Internet censorship as a necessary response to "the phenomenon of 'fake news,' where content on the web has contributed to the spread of blatantly misleading, low quality, offensive or downright false information."

The "phenomenon of 'fake news'" is, itself, the principal "fake news" story of 2017. In its origins and propagation, it has all the well-known characteristics of what used to be called CIA "misinformation" campaigns, aimed at discrediting left-wing opponents of state and corporate interests.

Significantly, Gomes does not provide any clear definition, let alone concrete examples, of any of these loaded terms ("fake news," "blatantly misleading," "low quality, "offensive," and "down right false information.")

The focus of Google's new censorship algorithm is political news and opinion sites that challenge official government and corporate narratives. Gomes writes: "[I]t's become very apparent that a small set of queries in our daily traffic (around 0.25 percent), have been returning offensive or clearly misleading content, which is not what people are looking for."

Gomes revealed that Google has recruited some 10,000 "evaluators" to judge the "quality" of various web domains. The company has "evaluators-- areal people who assess the quality of Google's search results -- give us feedback on our experiments." The chief search engineer does not identify these "evaluators" nor explain the criteria that are used in their selection. However, using the latest developments in programming, Google can teach its search engines to "think" like the evaluators, i.e., translate their political preferences, prejudices, and dislikes into state and corporate sanctioned results.

Gomes asserts that these "evaluators" are to abide by the company's Search Quality Rater Guidelines, which "provide more detailed examples of low-quality webpages for raters to appropriately flag, which can include misleading information, unexpected offensive results, hoaxes and unsupported conspiracy theories."

Once again, Gomes employs inflammatory rhetoric without explaining the objective basis upon which negative evaluations of web sites are based.

Using the input of these "evaluators," Gomes declares that Google has "improved our evaluation methods and made algorithmic updates to surface more authoritative content." He again asserts, further down, "We've adjusted our signals to help surface more authoritative pages and demote low-quality content."

What this means, concretely, is that Google decides not only what political views it wants censored, but also what sites are to be favored.

Gomes is clearly in love with the term "authoritative," and a study of the word's meaning explains the nature of his verbal infatuation. A definition given by the Oxford English Dictionary for the word "authoritative" is: "Proceeding from an official source and requiring compliance or obedience."

The April 25 statement indicates that the censorship protocols will become increasingly restrictive. Gomes states that Google is "making good progress" in making its search results more restrictive. "But in order to have long-term and impactful changes, more structural changes in Search are needed."

One can assume that Mr. Gomes is a competent programmer and software engineer. But one has good reason to doubt that he has any particular knowledge of, let alone concern for, freedom of speech.

Gomes's statement is Google-speak for saying that the company does not want people to access anything besides the official narrative, worked out by the government, intelligence agencies, the main capitalist political parties, and transmitted to the population by the corporate-controlled media.

In the course of becoming a massive multi-billion dollar corporate juggernaut, Google has developed politically insidious and dangerous ties to powerful and repressive state agencies. It maintains this relationship not only with the American state, but also with governments overseas. Just a few weeks before implementing its new algorithm, in early April, Gomes met with high-ranking German officials in Berlin to discuss the new censorship protocols.

Google the search engine is now a major force for the imposition of state censorship.

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/07/31/goog-j31.html

Wizard of Oz > , August 12, 2017 at 4:23 am GMT

Maybe something sinister has happened but mere loss of hits doesn't prove it and it would be interesting to know what the previous algorithms were, what they ate now and what can be argued as ideal (and from what point of view and on what principles).

bliss_porsena. > , August 12, 2017 at 4:26 am GMT

Cognoscenti no longer bestow credulity on Official Narratives promulgated by the Goolag Deep Swamp search engine.

utu > , August 12, 2017 at 4:29 am GMT

Alt-right will not care. They rather keep dancing with SJW's wrestling about identity politics. They just like their dance partners SJWs are so distracted with the identity politics that it never occur to them that identity politics was invented for the sole purpose of keeping them distracted. Divide et impire seems always to work. Just new lines of divisions must be created.

Dan Hayes > , August 12, 2017 at 4:34 am GMT

The ecumenical efforts of Ron Unz continues with republishing from the World Socialist Web Site .

Ace > , August 12, 2017 at 4:50 am GMT

Google is entitled to its worthless opinions about what is or is not a quality website. It's outrageous that it presumes to limit actual access to sites. If it wants to "help" users by putting a strengst verboten skull and crossbones image on search results that's actually very helpful. It would educate users on how what Google's agenda is and demonstrate that it's anything but an honest utility. As it is we're left to wonder what standards are applied and who these evaluators are. Betcha Gomes met with the Kehane woman for instructions from that devotee of free speech.

I don't get the apparent attack on lefty sites. Perhaps it's more evenly distributed and the results were obtained from a too-limited sample.

jilles dykstra > , August 12, 2017 at 6:12 am GMT

Internet censorship is being established anywhere, from GB to recently in Germany.

Wizard of Oz > , August 12, 2017 at 7:00 am GMT

@Erebus Yes I think it did happen pre-conception (though not because of any preconception I can discern).

Wizard of Oz > , August 12, 2017 at 7:04 am GMT

@utu You must repeat your homework boy. Write out 20 times

DIVIDE ET IMPERA

Wizard of Oz > , August 12, 2017 at 7:11 am GMT

Would someone care to explain how the search-and-display-results algorithms work?

Presumably it doesn't mean that you won't get those sites somewhere in Google's list if you keep on scrolling down. And I would guess too that you will still get them quite high on the list if your search words compel it.

A lengthy direct quote from one of the disfavoured sources would presumably not be relegated in favour of something merely similar from the NYT????

mastodon > , August 12, 2017 at 8:53 am GMT

So dont use it, personally prefer duckduckgo. be aware and act accordingly ..

George Gordon > , August 12, 2017 at 8:55 am GMT

So which Search Engine is the best to go for, for unbiased results?

neutral > , August 12, 2017 at 10:23 am GMT

@utu Lets not be coy here and get straight to the point, alt-right is pro white, preserving the white race is the absolute number one priority, topics such government type, tax rates, individual rights, etc, will always be secondary concerns compared to racial identity. It is not a "distraction" to play identity politics, it is the very reason for our existence, racial identity is a basic evolutionary trait, it was not invented by anybody.

I am fully aware Google (and the CIA/The Economist/The Guardian/NYT/Facebook/Washington Post/etc) are pro corporate and big deep state, but wsws.org (and The Intercept/alternet/globalresearch/etc) are just as anti white. Both are completely fine with flooding white lands with endless amounts of third worlders, whether the reason is to create cheaper labour costs, dismantle any chance of resistance to their particular ideology, or simply a pure anti white animus – I don't care, both are considered rivals.

Greg Bacon > , Website August 12, 2017 at 11:14 am GMT

Looks like that start-up money Google got from the CIA venture capital firm, In-Q-Tel is paying off handsomely

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In-Q-Tel#Investments

Che Guava > , August 12, 2017 at 12:05 pm GMT

Well, that is all a laugh.

I am reading things on WSWS on occasion, occasionally a good article or review.

The stupid site is run by stupid Trotskyists (am forgetting the name of the stupid groupuscle party that runs it), who want to limit anyone else's speech, so ROFLMAO at whining about stupid Google having a new process to (accidentally)
lowering the frequency of search hits on there.

Noah Way > , August 12, 2017 at 1:47 pm GMT

O'Neill's paper for the first time outlined a strategy for "perception management" as part of information warfare (IW). O'Neill's proposed strategy identified three categories of targets for IW: adversaries, so they believe they are vulnerable; potential partners, "so they perceive the cause [of war] as just"; and finally, civilian populations and the political leadership so they "perceive the cost as worth the effort."

How the CIA made Google

https://medium.com/insurge-intelligence/how-the-cia-made-google-e836451a959e

Jus' Sayin'... > , August 12, 2017 at 2:05 pm GMT

First they came for the alt-right but we didn't care because they were all fascist pigs and they all deserved to die. Then they came for spreaders of "hate speech" but we didn't care because we got to define hate speech and they all deserved to die. Then they came for the Trump supporters but we didn't care because Trump was evil, we didn't want him as our president, and anyone who supported him should die.

And then they came for us.

Jus' Sayin'... > , August 12, 2017 at 2:14 pm GMT

@The Scalpel http://www.DuckDuckGo.com is pretty good and doesn't track one like so any of the others do. My sister, a reference librarian, recommended it to me about five years ago and I now seldom use anything else. I do use Google when I'm doing odd, non-political things like researching family history. In situations like that the wide net Google casts can be useful. The many obvious and well-publicized instances of Google redirection, e.g., towards negative stories on Trump and positive stories on Clinton in the last election, turned me against Google. Their illegal and unprincipled firing of Damore has made me vow to use any other search engine I can find before I ever again resort to Google's totalitarian system.

KenH > , August 12, 2017 at 2:16 pm GMT

Google shouldn't be accused of anti-socialist bias. They're new search algorithm just punishes sites that don't tow the (((neo-con))) line on the issues. Right wing sites are suffering as well. They have also targeted pro-white sites and sources unfriendly to diversity and multiculturalism.

About two weeks ago I did a search for black on white rape and Google returned many stories trying to debunk the one-sidedness of this epidemic whereas a couple of years ago there was a wealth of data supporting the pro-white cause.

Now that Google has been taken over by diversity commissars I'll need to find a new search engine.

Hu Mi Yu > , August 12, 2017 at 2:31 pm GMT

Google has been messing with their original excellent search algorithm for a long time. They keep dumbing it down to give me results I didn´t ask for. Among other things it increases ad revenue if I have to look at more pages to find what I want. Yahoo went the same road and became useless. Then google came along. Soon someone else will come along with a more accurate search engine.

I tend to use duckduckgo these days, but for some searches I use google advanced search. Its greater precision doesn´t give as many extraneous results. Not so easy to bury things in a pile of irrelevancy.

Avery > , August 12, 2017 at 2:56 pm GMT

@KenH {About two weeks ago I did a search for black on white rape and Google .}

Interesting: you may have something there.

I did a small test just now on both Google and DuckDuckGo: same search text; "black on white rape stats".

The search results on Google are strikingly different from DuckDuckGo.
I didn't bother drilling down the links: no time, no interest.
But the link titles sure tell a story.

Google

https://www.google.com/search?site=&source=hp&q=black+on+white+rape+stats&oq=black+on+white+rape+stats&gs_l=psy-ab.3 2123.8886.0.9997.27.26.1.0.0.0.116.1999.24j2.26.0&#8230 ;.0 1.1.64.psy-ab..0.26.1941 0j0i131k1j0i131i46k1j46i131k1j0i22i30k1.QWRBKyiKyrY

DuckDuckGo

https://duckduckgo.com/?q=black+on+white+rape+stats&bext=wcp&atb=v76-7_u&ia=statistics

Have been using DuckDuckGo for a month or so.
It seems pretty good in returning results which largely match what I was looking for.

Astuteobservor II > , August 12, 2017 at 3:01 pm GMT

remember the shit google fed the retards when it left china? :)))

Laugh Track > , August 12, 2017 at 3:14 pm GMT

The World Socialist Web Site has obtained statistical data from SEMrush estimating the decline of traffic generated by Google searches for 13 sites with substantial readerships.

I'm betting that the decline in Google search results pointing searchers toward those 13 mostly lefty websites is mirrored by a decline in Google search results pointing searchers toward rightist websites.

It is ridiculous on the face of it that Google, which we know from this week's hoopla over The Memo is steeped in SJW-PC-virtue signaling, would be intentionally targeting prog websites to lower traffic to them. That accusation strikes me as borderline paranoid.

Did WSWS obtain statistical data from SEMrush estimating any decline in traffic to sites other than those 13 socialist/prog/investigative research sites? I'll bet you dollars to donuts that there has been a similar decline in Google search pointers to Breitbart, TDC, Drudge Report, Takimag, even Unz. But WSWS doesn't say whether that might also be the case. WSWS is providing only half the picture.

It might well be that Google, in cooperation with the EU's strictures on badthink and US "mainstream" efforts against so-called "fake news" and "hate speech" has devised algorithms that suppress search results pointing toward sites featuring vehement opinions, counter perspectives, and finger-pointing. If this has impacted WSWS or Commondreams or Alternet, that would be highly ironic.

More likely, I suspect this is a case of unintended consequences. But until we see statistical estimates for sites across the political spectrum, not just on those 13 sites that WSWS lists (which includes some, like Counterpunch and Consortiumnews, that Unz picks up on, BTW), we are not getting the big picture.

Michael Kenny > , August 12, 2017 at 3:27 pm GMT

The problem may not be Google. People may just not be clicking on the Google links. I certainly haven't noticed any reduction in the number of references to such sites in Google. I suspect that the problem is much more credibility. I began visiting the US internet about 14 years ago and what struck me after a few months that all the sites, regardless of their professed ideology, advanced the same arguments, which were essentially right-wing arguments. The only difference was that, on the left-wing sites, the article was dressed up in left-wing jargon. For example, the right-wing sites denounced the EU as a hotbed of socialism whereas the left-wing sites denounced the EU as a hotbed of capitalism -- The left-wing sites all catered to an old guard of American "leftisits", born essentially in the 1920s and 30s, who simply wanted the "party line" communicated to them so that they could repeat it uncritically. That generation is now increasingly dying off. The openly cynical and manipulative style of such sites does not appeal to a younger, more media-critical, generation which is not willing simply to be told what to think. The left-wing sites haven't moved with the times. They're still preaching to people now dead. The often ranting style of articles, the penchant for finding "deep state" conspiracies in every closet (such as a Google conspiracy -- ), the fondness for the knee-jerk "America bad, not-America good" mantra and the tendency to claim that what is manifestly black is actually white, so to speak, have combined to make the left-wing sites sound silly and dated. It's not really surprising therefore that sites like those listed above have suffered a loss of traffic via Google and I don't think it has anything to do with "censorship".

secretaryns > , August 12, 2017 at 3:59 pm GMT

Media Matters is as pro-establishment as any site can be, so if it was "targeted", it was done so to mask Google's true intentions. They want you reading Media Matters.

Father Coughlin > , August 12, 2017 at 4:02 pm GMT

They've noticed that anti-war sites are anti-Israel, therefore "anti-Semitic".

[Aug 01, 2017] Groupthink at the CIA by

Looks like tail wags the dog -- CIA controls the US foreign policy and in the last elections also played active role in promoting Hillary. A the level of top brass we have several people mentioned by Giraldi who are probably as dangerous as Allen Dulles was. Brennan is one example.
The parade of rogues that Philip describes is really alarming. Each with agenda that directly harms the USA as a country promoting the interest of military-industrial complex and neocon faction within the government...
Notable quotes:
"... Indeed, one can start with Tenet if one wants to create a roster of recent CIA Directors who have lied to permit the White House to engage in a war crime. Tenet and his staff knew better than anyone that the case against Saddam did not hold water, but President George W. Bush wanted his war and, by gum, he was going to get it if the CIA had any say in the matter. ..."
"... Back then as now, international Islamic terrorism was the name of the game. It kept the money flowing to the national security establishment in the false belief that America was somehow being made "safe." But today the terror narrative has been somewhat supplanted by Russia, which is headed by a contemporary Saddam Hussein in the form of Vladimir Putin. If one believes the media and a majority of congressmen, evil manifest lurks in the gilded halls of the Kremlin. Russia has recently been sanctioned (again) for crimes that are more alleged than demonstrated and President Putin has been selected by the Establishment as the wedge issue that will be used to end President Donald Trump's defiance of the Deep State and all that pertains to it. The intelligence community at its top level would appear to be fully on board with that effort. ..."
"... Remarkably, he also said that there is only "minimal evidence" that Russia is even fighting ISIS. The statement is astonishing as Moscow has most definitely been seriously and directly engaged in support of the Syrian Arab Army. Is it possible that the head of the CIA is unaware of that? It just might be that Pompeo is disparaging the effort because the Russians and Syrians have also been fighting against the U.S. backed "moderate rebels." That the moderate rebels are hardly moderate has been known for years and they are also renowned for their ineffectiveness combined with a tendency to defect to more radical groups taking their U.S. provided weapons with them, a combination of factors which led to their being denied any further American support by a presidential decision that was revealed in the press two weeks ago. ..."
"... Pompeo's predecessor John Brennan is, however, my favorite Agency leader in the category of totally bereft of his senses. ..."
"... Brennan is certainly loyal to his cause, whatever that might be. At the same Aspen meeting attended by Pompeo, he told Wolf Blitzer that if Trump were to fire special counsel Robert Mueller government officials should "refuse to carry out" his orders. In other words, they should begin a coup, admittedly non-violent (one presumes), but nevertheless including federal employees uniting to shut the government down. ..."
"... And finally, there is Michael Morell, also a former Acting Director, who was closely tied to the Hillary Clinton campaign, apparently driven by ambition to become Director in her administration. Morell currently provides commentary for CBS television and is a frequent guest on the Charlie Rose show. Morell considerably raised the ante on Brennan's pre-electoral speculation that there had been some Russian recruitment of Trump people. He observed in August that Putin, a wily ex-career intelligence officer, "trained to identify vulnerabilities in an individual and to exploit them [did exactly that] early in the primaries. Mr. Putin played upon Mr. Trump's vulnerabilities In the intelligence business, we would say that Mr. Putin had recruited Mr. Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation." ..."
"... Nothing new. In the '50s CIA was making foreign wars and cultivating chaos at home, and blaming all of it on Russia. In the '80s CIA was cultivating anti-nuke groups to undermine Reagan, and blaming it on Russia. CIA has been the primary wellspring of evil for a long time. ..."
"... Yes you read that right and they are going to the rotten core of this coup against the United States by presenting a report stating that the DNC was "Leaked" not hacked. The real hacking came from President Obama's weaponizing of our intelligence agencies against Russia. ..."
"... As has been the case for decades the Deep State allows Presidents and legislators to make minor decisions in our government as long as those decisions do not in any way interfere with the Deep State's goals of total world hegemony and increase in overwhelming power and wealth. Those who make the important decisions in this country are not elected. The elected 'officials' are sycophants of the Deep State. ..."
"... The term is appropriated from the use to describe the mutually loyal corps of Ataturkians in the Turkish military and intelligence services who were united in service to uphold the ideal of Ataturkian secular modernisation. The term implies no public accountability or publicity unnecessary to its purposes. ..."
"... The CIA's source, its birth, is from British secret service. Brit spying. And Brit secret service, long before the official founding of MI5, did exactly the kinds of things you note the CIA has done. ..."
"... The Mossad is another direct fruit of Brit secret service, as is the Saudi General Intelligence Presidency. ..."
"... I am a retired CIA operations officer (something none of the men mentioned by Giraldi are – Brennan was a failed wanna be, couldn't cut it as an ops officer). He is spot on in his comments. The majority of people in the CIA, the ones who do the heavy lifting, are patriotic Americans who are proud of serving their country. I am sure that most voted for Trump as they all know too well the truth about the Clintons and Obama. ..."
"... Giraldi is not the only one to notice the upward progress of the most incompetent yes-men in the Agency. A close look at most of them reveals a track record of little or no operational success balanced by excellent sucking up skills. These characters quickly figured out how to get ahead and doing your job in the field is not it. Of course, most are ego maniacs so they are totally oblivious to their own uselessness. ..."
"... How "Russiagate" began: After the primaries, both Hillary and Donald faced divided political parties even though they had won the nomination. These divisions were worse than the normal situation after contested primaries. On the Democratic side, Hillay had just subverted the will of the voters of her party, who seemed to favor Bernie Sanders over her. Hillay had won with corrupt collusion and rigging amongst the DNC, the higher ranks of the Democratic Party, and major media such as the NYT and CNN. ..."
"... Then, a leak of emails from the DNC HQ publicized her interference in the democratic processes of the Democratic Party. This threatened to ene the Hillary for President campaign right then and there. If the majority of Democrats who'd favored Bernie refused to support Hillary because of her corruption and collusion in denying democracy within the party, she was a sure loser in the fall election. The Hillary camp then immediately started blaming Russia for the exposure of her corruption and rigging of the Democratic process. And that's how "Russiagate" began. ..."
"... Take that bunch of mediocre thinkers, and then make most of them obsessed with their own career advancement above all else. The most dangerous place for a career-obsessed individual is outside the group consensus. ..."
"... So, for instance, Trump should veto the act of war known as the recent sanctions bill. Who cares if it gets overridden? Then he goes back to the voters, who are clearly sick of endless war and who for obvious reasons don't want a nuclear war, and he says this is where I stand. Support me by electing Fill-In-The-Blank to Congress. With the nuclear Doomsday Clock pushing ever closer to midnight, he might just win that fight over the big money and media opposition he's sure to face. ..."
"... Not only has Trump failed to even try to fight the Deep State, but he's also failing to set himself up for success in the next elections. ..."
Aug 01, 2017 | www.unz.com

Long ago, when I was a spear carrying middle ranker at CIA, a colleague took me aside and said that he had something to tell me "as a friend," that was very important. He told me that his wife had worked for years in the Agency's Administrative Directorate, as it was then called, where she had noticed that some new officers coming out of the Career Trainee program had red tags on their personnel files. She eventually learned from her boss that the tags represented assessments that those officers had exceptional potential as senior managers. He added, however, that the reverse appeared to be true in practice as they were generally speaking serial failures as they ascended the bureaucratic ladder, even though their careers continued to be onward and upward on paper. My friend's wife concluded, not unreasonably, that only genuine a-holes had what it took to get promoted to the most senior ranks.

I was admittedly skeptical but some recent activity by former and current Directors and Acting Directors of CIA has me wondering if something like my friend's wife's observation about senior management might indeed be true. But it would have to be something other than tagging files, as many of the directors and their deputies did not come up through the ranks and there seems to be a similar strain of lunacy at other U.S. government intelligence agencies. It might be time to check the water supply in the Washington area as there is very definitely something in the kool-aid that is producing odd behavior.

Now I should pause for a moment and accept that the role of intelligence services is to identify potential threats before they become active, so a certain level of acute paranoia goes with the job. But at the same time, one would expect a level of professionalism which would mandate accuracy rather than emotion in assessments coupled with an eschewing of any involvement in the politics of foreign and national security policy formulation. The enthusiasm with which a number of senior CIA personnel have waded into the Trump swamp and have staked out positions that contradict genuine national interests suggests that little has been learned since CIA Director George Tenet sat behind Secretary of State Colin Powell in the UN and nodded sagaciously as Saddam Hussein's high crimes and misdemeanors were falsely enumerated.

Indeed, one can start with Tenet if one wants to create a roster of recent CIA Directors who have lied to permit the White House to engage in a war crime. Tenet and his staff knew better than anyone that the case against Saddam did not hold water, but President George W. Bush wanted his war and, by gum, he was going to get it if the CIA had any say in the matter.

Back then as now, international Islamic terrorism was the name of the game. It kept the money flowing to the national security establishment in the false belief that America was somehow being made "safe." But today the terror narrative has been somewhat supplanted by Russia, which is headed by a contemporary Saddam Hussein in the form of Vladimir Putin. If one believes the media and a majority of congressmen, evil manifest lurks in the gilded halls of the Kremlin. Russia has recently been sanctioned (again) for crimes that are more alleged than demonstrated and President Putin has been selected by the Establishment as the wedge issue that will be used to end President Donald Trump's defiance of the Deep State and all that pertains to it. The intelligence community at its top level would appear to be fully on board with that effort.

The most recent inexplicable comments come from the current CIA Director Mike Pompeo, speaking at the Aspen Institute Security Forum. He began by asserting that Russia had interfered in the U.S. election before saying that the logic behind Russia's Middle Eastern strategy is to stay in place in Syria so Moscow can "stick it to America." He didn't define the "it" so one must assume that "it" stands for any utensil available, ranging from cruise missiles to dinner forks. He then elaborated, somewhat obscurely, that "I think they find anyplace that they can make our lives more difficult, I think they find that something that's useful."

Remarkably, he also said that there is only "minimal evidence" that Russia is even fighting ISIS. The statement is astonishing as Moscow has most definitely been seriously and directly engaged in support of the Syrian Arab Army. Is it possible that the head of the CIA is unaware of that? It just might be that Pompeo is disparaging the effort because the Russians and Syrians have also been fighting against the U.S. backed "moderate rebels." That the moderate rebels are hardly moderate has been known for years and they are also renowned for their ineffectiveness combined with a tendency to defect to more radical groups taking their U.S. provided weapons with them, a combination of factors which led to their being denied any further American support by a presidential decision that was revealed in the press two weeks ago.

Pompeo's predecessor John Brennan is, however, my favorite Agency leader in the category of totally bereft of his senses. In testimony before the House Intelligence Committee back in May, he suggested that some Trump associates might have been recruited by the Russian intelligence service. He testified that "I encountered and am aware of information and intelligence that revealed contacts and interactions between Russian officials and US persons involved in the Trump campaign that I was concerned about because of known Russian efforts to suborn such individuals. It raised questions in my mind whether or not Russia was able to gain the co-operation of those individuals."

In his testimony, Brennan apparently forgot to mention that the CIA is not supposed to keep tabs on American citizens. Nor did he explain how he had come upon the information in the first place as it had been handed over by foreign intelligence services, including the British, Dutch and Estonians, and at least some of it had been sought or possibly inspired by Brennan unofficially in the first place. Brennan then used that information to request an FBI investigation into a possible Russian operation directed against potential key advisers if Trump were to somehow get nominated and elected, which admittedly was a longshot at the time. That is how Russiagate started.

Brennan is certainly loyal to his cause, whatever that might be. At the same Aspen meeting attended by Pompeo, he told Wolf Blitzer that if Trump were to fire special counsel Robert Mueller government officials should "refuse to carry out" his orders. In other words, they should begin a coup, admittedly non-violent (one presumes), but nevertheless including federal employees uniting to shut the government down.

A lesser known former CIA senior official is John McLaughlin, who briefly served as acting Director in 2004. McLaughlin was particularly outraged by Trump's recent speech to the Boy Scouts, which he described as having the feel "of a third world authoritarian's youth rally." He added that "It gave me the creeps it was like watching the late Venezuelan [President Hugo] Chavez."

And finally, there is Michael Morell, also a former Acting Director, who was closely tied to the Hillary Clinton campaign, apparently driven by ambition to become Director in her administration. Morell currently provides commentary for CBS television and is a frequent guest on the Charlie Rose show. Morell considerably raised the ante on Brennan's pre-electoral speculation that there had been some Russian recruitment of Trump people. He observed in August that Putin, a wily ex-career intelligence officer, "trained to identify vulnerabilities in an individual and to exploit them [did exactly that] early in the primaries. Mr. Putin played upon Mr. Trump's vulnerabilities In the intelligence business, we would say that Mr. Putin had recruited Mr. Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation."

I and others noted at the time that Putin and Trump had never met, not even through proxies, while we also wondered how one could be both unwitting and a recruited agent as intelligence recruitment implies control and taking direction. Morell was non-plussed, unflinching and just a tad sanctimonious in affirming that his own intelligence training (as an analyst who never recruited a spy in his life) meant that "[I] call it as I see it."

One could also cite Michael Hayden and James Clapper, though the latter was not CIA. They all basically hew to the same line about Russia, often in more-or-less the same words, even though no actual evidence has been produced to support their claims. That unanimity of thinking is what is peculiar while academics like Stephen Cohen, Stephen Walt, Andrew Bacevich, and John Mearsheimer, who have studied Russia in some depth and understand the country and its leadership far better than a senior CIA officer, detect considerable nuance in what is taking place. They all believe that the hardline policies current in Washington are based on an eagerness to go with the flow on the comforting inside-the- beltway narrative that paints Russia as a threat to vital interests. That unanimity of viewpoint should surprise no one as this is more of less the same government with many of the same people that led the U.S. into Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. They all have a vested interested in the health and well-being of a fully funded national security state.

And the other groupthink that seems to prevail among the senior managers except Pompeo is that they all hate Donald Trump and have done so since long before he won the election. That is somewhat odd, but it perhaps reflects a fear that Trump would interfere with the richly rewarding establishment politics that had enabled their careers. But it does not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of CIA employees. Though it is admittedly unscientific analysis on my part, I know a lot of former and some current CIA employees but do not know a single one who voted for Hillary Clinton. Nearly all voted for Trump.

Beyond that exhibition of tunnel vision and sheer ignorance, the involvement of former senior intelligence officials in politics is itself deplorable and is perhaps symptomatic of the breakdown in the comfortable bipartisan national security consensus that has characterized the past fifty years. Once upon time former CIA officers would retire to the Blue Ridge mountains and raise Labradors, but we are now into something much more dangerous if the intelligence community, which has been responsible for most of the recent leaks, begins to feel free to assert itself from behind the scenes. As Senator Chuck Schumer recently warned "Let me tell you: You take on the intelligence community ! they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you."

exiled off mainstreet, August 1, 2017 at 5:06 am GMT

In jumping this fascist nihilist shark, the groupthinkers have closed themselves off from the logical conclusion to their viewpoint, which is final annihilation.

Dan Hayes, August 1, 2017 at 5:47 am GMT

Schumer's statement is true (and probably the only such one in his political career!).

annamaria, August 1, 2017 at 6:03 am GMT

Brennan, Morell, and Pompeo should better find ways to justify their salaries: the U.S. has suffered the greatest breach in cybersecurity on their watch:

" an enormous breach of the United States Security Apparatus by as many as 80 Democrat members of Congress (past and present). We rail on about the Russians and Trump, but t he media avoids providing nightly updates about these 5 spies that have compromised Congress ."

http://investmentwatchblog.com/the-awan-brothers-compromised-at-least-80-congregational-computers-and-got-paid-5-million-to-do-it-we-may-never-know-the-extent-of-the-breach/

"In total, Imran's firm was employed by 31 Democrats in Congress, some of whom held extremely sensitive positions on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the House Committee on Foreign Affair s."

polistra, August 1, 2017 at 6:17 am GMT

Nothing new. In the '50s CIA was making foreign wars and cultivating chaos at home, and blaming all of it on Russia. In the '80s CIA was cultivating anti-nuke groups to undermine Reagan, and blaming it on Russia. CIA has been the primary wellspring of evil for a long time.

Bruce Marshall, August 1, 2017 at 6:39 am GMT

And back to reality we have VIPS Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity.

Yes you read that right and they are going to the rotten core of this coup against the United States by presenting a report stating that the DNC was "Leaked" not hacked. The real hacking came from President Obama's weaponizing of our intelligence agencies against Russia.

That is war, World War Three and it would seem now that Congress is marching that way, but the report below hold the key to fighting back.

http://larouchepub.com/eiw/public/2017/2017_30-39/2017-30/pdf/37-41_4430.pdf

One of the VIPS is William Binney fomer NSA Technical Director, an important expert. leading the group is Ray McGovern with some whit and grace, well yes how about some sanity, to which humor is important to the insight and to stay in the sights of what is clever thievery and worse. Much worse,
and there is a twinkle in the eye when realize that it is straight forward.

And Congress could stop it tout sweet, but well old habits but they have taken an Oath of Office, so, so what, yeah they did go after Bernie, so will you challenge your elected officials, either do their sworn duty or resign, for what this sanctions bill against Russia and Iran is a declaration of war, not only against Russia and Iran, but a declaration of war against the United States. for there is no reason to do this against Russia when indeed there are great opportunities to get along, but war is the insanity as it is sedition and treason. Tell them that,

https://larouchepac.com/20170731/breaking-lyndon-larouche-crush-british-coup-against-president

Priss Factor, • Website August 1, 2017 at 7:01 am GMT

Moderate Rebels = Toothfairy Rebels

jilles dykstra, August 1, 2017 at 7:21 am GMT

I wonder if groupthink exists. In any organisation people know quite well why the organisation exists, what the threats are to its existence. If they think about this, I wonder.

The CIA is the USA's secret army, it is not comparable to a real intelligence organisation like the British MI5. The CIA is more like WWII SOE, designed to set fire to Europe, Churchill's words. If indeed Trump changes USA foreign policy, no longer trying to control the world, the CIA is obsolete, as obsolete as NATO.

animalogic, August 1, 2017 at 7:44 am GMT

" but President George W. Bush wanted his war and, by gum, he was going to get it if the CIA had any say in the matter."

Not to defend the CIA, but didn't Rumsfeld, doubt the enthusiasm of the CIA for providing the slanted, bogus, "sexed up" intelligence the Executive required to make its "destroy Iraq now" case ? So Rumsfeld therefore set up an independent intelligence agency within the Defence Dept to provide/create the required "intelligence" ?

The Alarmist, August 1, 2017 at 7:45 am GMT

I think they find anyplace that they can make our lives more difficult, I think they find that something that's useful."

Yeah, because that's what resource-constrained countries with limited ability to tap the global capital markets do. Methinks Mr. Pompeo is projecting his and the neocons' fantasies on the Russians.

Realist, August 1, 2017 at 10:14 am GMT

As has been the case for decades the Deep State allows Presidents and legislators to make minor decisions in our government as long as those decisions do not in any way interfere with the Deep State's goals of total world hegemony and increase in overwhelming power and wealth. Those who make the important decisions in this country are not elected. The elected 'officials' are sycophants of the Deep State.

CalDre, August 1, 2017 at 10:43 am GMT

If only Trump would really clean the swamp – particularly the neo-cons and other traitors and globalists. One can dream .

Wizard of Oz, August 1, 2017 at 11:04 am GMT

Being resistant to jargon and catch phrases it is only slowly that I have accepted that "Deep State" is not entirely pretentious waffle when used to describe aspects of the US. However I may not be your only reader PG who would appreciate a clear explanatory description of the American Deep State and how it works.

Here are some suggested parameters.

The term is appropriated from the use to describe the mutually loyal corps of Ataturkians in the Turkish military and intelligence services who were united in service to uphold the ideal of Ataturkian secular modernisation. The term implies no public accountability or publicity unnecessary to its purposes.
And its origins imply that it is not just one in a number of major influences ln government or those who vote for it.

So one has to acknowledge that in the US the Deep State has to be different in the important respect that levers of power are observably wielded by lobbies for the aged, gun owners and sellers, Israel, Wall Street, bio fuels, sugar and other ag, pharmaceuticals, oil and gas, the arms industry, Disney and other Hollywood and media, health insurers and the medical profession, and I could go on.

These are all relevant to legal events like votes on impeachment or to hold up appointments. The CIA and FBI together completely united (and note how disunited 9/11 showed them to be) wouldn't remotely approach the old Turkish Deep State's ability to stage a coup. Are all of the putative elements of the Deep State together today as powerful as J.Edgar Hoover with his dirt files on everyone? (A contrast and compare exercise of today's presumed Deep State configuration and modus operandi with the simpler Hoover days might shine some light on who does what and how today. And how effectively).

To avoid lack of focus can a convincing account of the US Deep State be best given in terms of a plausible scenario for

  1. getting rid of Trump as President and/or
  2. maintaining the lunacy and hubris which has the US wasting its substance on totally unnecessary antagonistic relations with China and Russia and interference in the ME?

I would read such accounts with great interest. (Handwavers need not apply).

Jake, August 1, 2017 at 11:26 am GMT

Of course the US Deep State must hate Russia. First, Jews have a very long history of hating Russia and Russians. That never changed. The USSR was not Russia; the USSR was Marxism replacing Russia. Jews tended to love that. Rich Jews from across the world, from the US and the UK of most interest to us, sent money to support the Bolshevik Revolution.

Russia managed to survive the USSR and is slowly coming back around to Russian common sense from the Christian perspective. Neither Jews nor their WASP BFFs can ever forgive that. They want Russia to act now to commit cultural and genetic suicide, like Western Europe and the entire Anglosphere are doing.

Jake, August 1, 2017 at 11:32 am GMT

@polistra The CIA's source, its birth, is from British secret service. Brit spying. And Brit secret service, long before the official founding of MI5, did exactly the kinds of things you note the CIA has done.

The Mossad is another direct fruit of Brit secret service, as is the Saudi General Intelligence Presidency.

jacques sheete, August 1, 2017 at 11:36 am GMT

While there can be no doubt about the crackpots in high positions of the most powerful bureaucracies, it seems to me that the CIA loonies are merely shock troops for an even worse bunch of evil psychos, the bankster mafiosi.

We should always keep that in mind.

Jake, August 1, 2017 at 11:37 am GMT

@CalDre If only

But doing so would mean a voluntary end to playing the role of Sauron, determined to find and wear the One Ring to Rule Them All. The average Elite WASP, and his Jewish BFF, definitely would prefer to destroy the world, at least outside their gated compounds of endless luxury, than to step down from that level of global domination.

Philip Giraldi, August 1, 2017 at 12:02 pm GMT

@Wizard of Oz Wiz – Here is an article I did on the Deep State two years ago. It was one of the first in the US media looking at the issue. It would have to be updated now in light of Trump, but much of what it states is still more-or-less correct.

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/deep-state-america/

Jake, August 1, 2017 at 12:09 pm GMT

@jacques sheete Yes, indeed.

But we need to make certain that your use of the word 'mafiosi' does not lead anyone to assume that group has more than a handful of Italians. Jews, WASPs, and continental Germanics each will outnumber Italians by at least 30 to 1.

Chris Bridges, August 1, 2017 at 12:46 pm GMT

I am a retired CIA operations officer (something none of the men mentioned by Giraldi are – Brennan was a failed wanna be, couldn't cut it as an ops officer). He is spot on in his comments. The majority of people in the CIA, the ones who do the heavy lifting, are patriotic Americans who are proud of serving their country. I am sure that most voted for Trump as they all know too well the truth about the Clintons and Obama.

Giraldi is not the only one to notice the upward progress of the most incompetent yes-men in the Agency. A close look at most of them reveals a track record of little or no operational success balanced by excellent sucking up skills. These characters quickly figured out how to get ahead and doing your job in the field is not it. Of course, most are ego maniacs so they are totally oblivious to their own uselessness.

Well before he was elected I had a letter delivered to President Trump in which I outlined in detail what would happen to him if he did not immediately purge the CIA of these assholes. I know that at least some people on his staff read it but, of course, my advice was ignored. Trump has paid dearly for not listening to an ordinary CIA guy who wanted to give him a reality brief on those vicious snakes.

Proud_Srbin, August 1, 2017 at 1:00 pm GMT

Historical facts teach humanity that Anglo-Saxon group of Nations was built on slavery, thuggery and theft of other peace loving Civilizations. We Slavs are the New "niggers", hate is the glue that holds you "toGether".
People of color have been successfully conditioned and practice it as well.
Time will tell how well it holds when balloon bursts and 99% gets called to serve as cannon fodder.
Terrorizing UNARMED and WEAKER is not true test of "superiority" and "exceptionalism".
Tiny, extremely tiny minority of Anglo-Saxons and Satraps understand this.

Jake, August 1, 2017 at 1:15 pm GMT

@Chris Bridges You are responsible only for telling the truth and warning. Trump's naivete is his failing.

Bernie voter, August 1, 2017 at 1:20 pm GMT

How "Russiagate" began: After the primaries, both Hillary and Donald faced divided political parties even though they had won the nomination. These divisions were worse than the normal situation after contested primaries. On the Democratic side, Hillay had just subverted the will of the voters of her party, who seemed to favor Bernie Sanders over her. Hillay had won with corrupt collusion and rigging amongst the DNC, the higher ranks of the Democratic Party, and major media such as the NYT and CNN.

Then, a leak of emails from the DNC HQ publicized her interference in the democratic processes of the Democratic Party. This threatened to ene the Hillary for President campaign right then and there. If the majority of Democrats who'd favored Bernie refused to support Hillary because of her corruption and collusion in denying democracy within the party, she was a sure loser in the fall election. The Hillary camp then immediately started blaming Russia for the exposure of her corruption and rigging of the Democratic process. And that's how "Russiagate" began.

Smash Mouth, August 1, 2017 at 1:27 pm GMT

@Jake

"You must be working for the CIA. They wouldn't have you in the Ma-Fi-A"

1960′s song lyric from "Why can't we be friends"

Same as it ever was
Same as it ever was
Same as it ever was.

War is Hell, August 1, 2017 at 1:33 pm GMT

Fascinating ..

My old brain that was alive in the 60′s, remembers the lyric. But the first link I find on Google's youtube is a version that removes the above lyric, instead just echoing the title endlessly. That's the modern world .. all real content removed from what you find on the internet.

Here's a better version.

Beauracratic Mind, August 1, 2017 at 1:42 pm GMT

@jacques sheete

I wonder if groupthink exists.

It probably does as do group psychoses and group fantasies.. Anyone who's ever served in a beuaracracy knows that groupthink exists.

Take a bunch of mediocre minds. And, they do exist, as Garrison Keiler once famously made a joke out of with his line Welcome to Lake Woebegone, where all the children are above average.

Take that bunch of mediocre thinkers, and then make most of them obsessed with their own career advancement above all else. The most dangerous place for a career-obsessed individual is outside the group consensus. If everyone is wrong, then there is safety in the group. After all, if they are wrong, so was everyone else in the organization. Thus they are immune to attack and censure for being wrong. But if someone takes a position outside of the group consensus, that can be a career-ending move if they are wrong, as now everyone else will be in the I-told-U-So camp. And even if they are correct, they will still be hated and shunned just for being the person who pointed out to the group that they are wrong.

So, you take your typical average mind, and not only do they not have any great insights of their own, but they tend to stick to the group out of sheer survival and then when you take a mass of these mediocre minds you have 'groupthink'.

Wizard of Oz, August 1, 2017 at 1:44 pm GMT

@Philip Giraldi Thank you. As you have my sparingly conferred respect i thank you even before reading it:-)

Eticon, August 1, 2017 at 2:00 pm GMT

@CalDre

If only Trump would really clean the swamp - particularly the neo-cons and other traitors and globalists. One can dream ....

What we've learned from Trump is that 'Draining the Swamp' will take more than an individual. It will take a political movement.

One sees this on the fringes of politics. Someone gets the idea of running for President, and they point out all that is wrong. But, they focus only on their own campaign, their own goal, and they thus gloss over the fact that they'll be outnumbered and powerless even if they win.

Seen this often on the Left. The most recent example is Bernie Sanders. Likewise, had Bernie been elected President, he too would face an entrenched establishment and media with only a small fraction of the Congress supporting him.

Change has to be built from the bottom up. There are no shortcuts. Electing a Trump, or a Nader or a Bernie does not lead to real change. Step one is to build the political movement such that it has real voting block power and which has already won voting majorities in the legislature before the movement achieves the election of a President.

What Trump has needed to be doing for this first two years is to form clear divisions that he could then take to his voters in the mid-term elections. He's needed to lay out his own agenda. So what if he loses votes in Congress? He then takes that agenda back to the voters in 2018 with a nationwide slate of Congressional candidates who support that agenda and runs a midterm campaign asking the voters to help him drain that swamp.

So, for instance, Trump should veto the act of war known as the recent sanctions bill. Who cares if it gets overridden? Then he goes back to the voters, who are clearly sick of endless war and who for obvious reasons don't want a nuclear war, and he says this is where I stand. Support me by electing Fill-In-The-Blank to Congress. With the nuclear Doomsday Clock pushing ever closer to midnight, he might just win that fight over the big money and media opposition he's sure to face.

Not only has Trump failed to even try to fight the Deep State, but he's also failing to set himself up for success in the next elections.

ChuckOrloski, August 1, 2017 at 2:19 pm GMT

@Jake Hey Jake,

It is a serious error to consider President Trump "naive."

What we are seeing now is The Donald's role in the serial Zionist THEATER. Think deeper about the motive behind Mr. Giraldi's choice to use the Orwellian word "Groupthink" in characterizing the CIA zeitgeist? In the classic work "1984," one observes Big Brother as the catalyst in control of the proles' thought pattern & subsequent action.

To rise & FALL as a POTUS is a matter of theater and the American proles are entertained by the political for either 4 or 8 years and the Zionists get their next Chosen actor/actress dramatically sworn in on a bible.

Mr. Trump is neither naive nor stupid. Sheldon Adelson would not donate $millioms to any POTUS wannabe who could not effectively lead the American Groupthink tradition. Subsequently, the politcal horror show is brought to you in the understandable form of the perptually elusive Deep State which gets annual Academy Award.

Beware the fake, Jake!,

Joe Hide, August 1, 2017 at 2:20 pm GMT

I agree with Your take on intelligence services in that they must be putting something in their drinking water. Good article. Keep contributing.

[Jul 30, 2017] Mainstream News Manipulation of US Public

McGovern thinks that it was Brennan boys who hacked into DNC as a part of conspiracy to implicate Russia and to secure Hillary win. One of the resons was probably that DNC servers were not well protected and there were other hacks, about whihc NSA know. So the sad state of DNC internet security needed to be swiped under the carpet and that's why CrowdStike was hired.
NSA created 7 million lines of code for penetration and that includes those that were pablished by Wikileaks and designed to imitate that attackers are coming (and using the language) from: China, North Korea, Iran and Russia.
Also NSA probably intercepts and keeps all Internet communications for a month or two so if it was a hack NSA knows who did it and what was stolen
But the most unexplainable part was that fact that FBI was denied accessing the evidence. I always think that thye can dictate that they need to see in such cases, but obviously this was not the case.
Notable quotes:
"... She couldn't pack a school gymnasium while Trumps rallies were packed with 10's of thousands. ..."
Jul 30, 2017 | www.youtube.com

Anna C 1 month ago

LEGAL, WIKIMEDIA V. NSA Discussing fake news and the NSA lawsuit at Yale | https://blog.wikimedia.org/2017/06/16/fake-news-nsa-lawsuit-yale/

Tracy Spose 1 month ago

Love the rest of the talk, but no way did Hillary win. No way did she get the popular vote.

The woman was calling for war and reinstating the draft on men and women. She couldn't pack a school gymnasium while Trumps rallies were packed with 10's of thousands.

[Jul 30, 2017] Snowden dreams about better America

"Aaron Barlow: The Russian hacking nonsense is a tin foil hat conspiracy right up there with Reptilians and Aliens."
Notable quotes:
"... Snowden is a patriot. Only an individual that has integrity can do what Snowden did. He saw something that was wrong and blew the whistle on it, it was as simple as that, he knew the consequences very well. ..."
Feb 15, 2017 | www.youtube.com

walter white 3 weeks ago

poor bloke he speaks the truth and ends up in Russia and yet bush et al are free after killing all them people in 9/11 .

Binali Shareef 1 week ago

this guy is smart. well informed, super intellectual capacity. He chooses his words very wisely and well calculated. His interview is brain enlightening.

DMPKillaz 1 week ago

This right here.. is a fucking man... he gave up allllll the high life gave up allllll the money. all the BS to give the people what the fuck they needed to hear

Pyro Falcon 1 week ago

Mr Snowden is the MAN, a true American, and a HERO of the highest order. Thank you Ed.

patia55 2 weeks ago

Never trust Katie Curic

jeffv2074 1 week ago

Snowden is a patriot. Only an individual that has integrity can do what Snowden did. He saw something that was wrong and blew the whistle on it, it was as simple as that, he knew the consequences very well.

Pgs Penang 2 weeks ago

She is anti-trump. She is sent from the elite. She don't give a damn about him. 100% she is untrustworthy. Snowden is a threat to the deep state. Her questions clearly are from the democrats.

itsgoodbeingme 3 weeks ago

From a Brit: - Edward Snowden should be considered a national treasure and guard his liberty.

EarthWatch2014 3 days ago

The "journalist" who is interviewing Edward is a freedom hating, elitist worshipping mainstream media harlot.

Those who are ignorant of history are bound to repeat it. The people who founded this country left Britain due to a corrupt, tyrannical government. The US government is far more corrupt today then England was in the 1700s.

The 4th amendment has been butchered by the tyrannical, elitist dictators who are running this broken country. Today, the mainstream media is firmly controlled by a few, highly deranged elitists who are in league with the rancid, stinking pieces of fecal matter who run the US. The republic that was created by English "traitors" was supposed to be a sanctuary for freedom and human rights. The republic they created is dead and gone. It may look the same on the surface, but this country is much too far gone to ever recover. It never ceases to amaze me just how ignorant of history and the Constitution the average American is. The citizens are ignorant, bordering on stupid.

The evidence is everywhere, yet millions of weak-minded sheeple cannot see what lies directly in front of their eyes. The level of cognitive dissonance displayed by the average American is pitiful, and I will feel no pity when they realize that they were living in a country whose leaders were following the same game plan as Adolph Hitler... to the letter.

People believe that their political party, the party to which they give their allegiance, is the "good" party. Republicans and Democrats are one and the same. The two party system is simply a two headed snake that will lead the US into tyranny. The US is hated around the world because it has assumed the role of the world's arrogant, renegade cop. A country that was not to be "entangled in foreign affairs", now has military bases in nearly every corner of the earth. Those who open their mouths to defend the snakes in power will be taught a great lesson once the elitists' plans come to fruition. It's difficult to feel sorry for the people who believe the endless lies that are spoken by those in power.

These fools won't see the truth until their heads lie under the blade of the guillotine. Anyone who puts security before freedom and privacy deserves to be placed behind concrete walls and barbed wire, where they will remain "safe" from the fictitious enemies who cause them to pathetically cower in fear. The destiny of this country is that of Rome. Unfortunately, the masses do not know or understand the true history of this world. The putrid stench of ignorance covers the majority of the American populous. Snowden exposed the government's evil secrets, helping preserve freedom and liberty in the United States. Those who chastise Snowden deserve what is coming: The death of freedom under the hands of evil tyrants.

berretta9mm1 1 week ago (edited)

Watching Gen. Clapper state, UNDER OATH, that the NSA was not and is not indiscriminately reading, storing, and intercepting the private communications of every American citizen, made me feel physically ill.

The fact that he chose to tell a straight-out lie (in light of the information supplied to us by Edward Snowden, who exposed this illegal and unconstitutional internal spying program) - watching him choose to speak a brazen lie, spoken in complete disregard for his office, the NSA's mandate (and its limits), his military career leading to his appointment as head of the NSA, the Constitutional trust placed in him, and the laws which make a direct lie - under oath - to a Senate Intelligence Committee (composed of the people WE elected to represent us) a FELONY - mean that Gen. CLAPPER should be in prison for Perjury.

This is the applicable Constitutional U.S. Code, section 1621: "§ 1621. Perjury generally: Whoever! (1) having taken an oath before a competent tribunal, officer, or person, in any case in which a law of the United States authorizes an oath to be administered, that he will testify, declare, depose, or certify truly, or that any written testimony, declaration, deposition, or certificate by him subscribed, is true, willfully and contrary to such oath states or subscribes any material matter which he does not believe to be true; or (2) in any declaration, certificate, verification, or statement under penalty of perjury as permitted under section 1746 of title 28, United States Code, willfully subscribes as true any material matter which he does not believe to be true; - is guilty of perjury and shall, except as other-wise expressly provided by law, be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both. This section is applicable whether the statement or subscription is made within or without the United States."

Five years in prison, for lying to Congress about your indiscriminate spying on innocent U.S. citizens, Gen. Clapper, and then your filthy, despicable use of the U.S. Constitution (and our rights to privacy within it), as toilet paper when you lied directly to Senator Ron Wyden @ 61:00 under oath, when he asked "Does the NSA collect ANY type of data - at all - on millions, or hundreds of millions of Americans?" and you answered, with no hesitation or remorse, "No sir," you committed Perjury, by any definition of the above U.S. code.

Attempting to clarify, senator Wyden asked, "It does not?," and you answered, "Not wittingly. There are cases where they might inadvertently collect, but NOT WITTINGLY."

Could the lie have been any more damning, or abhorrent in a supposed Democracy? Is it any wonder why people like Gen. Clapper want Snowden - who PROVED that this was a lie, and exposed a completely illegal and unconstitutional program which Clapper was then in charge of - thrown in prison, and silenced permanently? Trump speaks of "draining the swamp." He could start with the NSA, and all of it's illegal activities, and work his way through every Intelligence Agency and the Military/Industrial Organizations and Corporations which together, represent the greatest threat ever to our liberties and to the Constitution - which is just hanging by a thread because of people and programs like this, and work his way down.

But he won't. Why? Because he, like the rest of us, has seen the Zapruder film. It's much easier - and safer - to kill the messenger. This is what makes Snowden, in today's world, a hero who, unlike the rest of these cowards and traitors, will be remembered well by history - for whatever that is worth to the man now. Thank God there are still people willing to sacrifice "their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor" for the purpose of protecting what remains of the tattered remnants of our Constitutionally-protected freedoms from government, and tyranny.

bluedance lilly 2 weeks ago

The US probably still surveys innocent everyday Americans by the millions. Not to prevent terrorism, but to have political and economic control, as Snowden has said. Watch the movie Snowden. Very enlightening.

Dylan Stone 1 week ago

I really liked this interview, and have much love for my fellow American Edward Snowden. He did the right thing. Whoever posted this video under the title "EDWARD SNOWDEN EXPOSES DONALD TRUMP" is kind of a dumbass. One tiny opinion is not equivalent to an expose', and this had nothing to do with Trump. Quit making click bait asshole

Jamie Brady 1 week ago

have to say .... balls of steal. left his own life behind to let "us" know what its really like. we were not there he was.. i love my country but dont think U.S.A. is not doing these things. First time in my 45 years i question things like this...he makes an amazing point....if someone questions they go to jail. Thats BS. questions make us a better Democracy. A better country...god bless you Edward i hope it works out for you brother.

Jay Bee 1 week ago

SHOCKING - TRUELY SHOCKING HOW UNBELIEVABLE DUMB THIS WOMAN IS. Is she really the best American journalism could send? I have to critisize Snowden too - for once (excuse me Eddy!): Why did he agree to meet such a ridiculous dummy? The interview - at least this dumb gooses part . was bodering on being comical. If Snowden`s intellegence were given the factor 100 - nobody would be able to give this truely uneducated, superficial and naive woman a number higher than room-temperature. In Celsius, that is! Hard to watch and difficult to understand why Snowden agreed to meet a completely shallow elderly Mom!

Jay Bee 1 week ago

SHOCKING - TRUELY SHOCKING HOW UNBELIEVABLE DUMB THIS WOMAN IS. Is she really the best American journalism could send? I have to critisize Snowden too - for once (excuse me Eddy!): Why did he agree to meet such a ridiculous dummy? The interview - at least this dumb gooses part . was bodering on being comical. If Snowden`s intellegence were given the factor 100 - nobody would be able to give this truely uneducated, superficial and naive woman a number higher than room-temperature. In Celsius, that is! Hard to watch and difficult to understand why Snowden agreed to meet a completely shallow elderly Mom!

whitemannativemind 1 week ago

This is a very interesting interview to be sure, and I personally, have great admiration for this man, as I'm sure much of the world does, and all the more so after watching the movie concerning his life in which we see how the CIA made his life a living hell for many years if not a decade or so, and may have even, brought this condition with his seizures and everything, assuming this movie was an accurate portrayal of his life, but there is precious little here about trump.

I was hoping he had some juicy info he was going to share but that does not seem so. Regardless, the man should be pardoned and allowed to get on with his life.

Government must know that it can never be all powerful and do whatever it damn will pleases, at home or abroad either. So for that reason the man is a hero for sure. He says; "we will not torture you." Wow. Not sure if he's joking there or serious but if he's serious then that is extremely disturbing indeed. Respectfully. All My Best. Out.

Gil Rasmussen 2 weeks ago

I used to like Snowden until I heard from his own mouth that he gets money from George Soros

[Jul 29, 2017] Ray McGovern The Deep State Assault on Elected Government Must Be Stopped

Highly recommended!
Ray McGovern raise important fact: DNC hide evidence from FBI outsourcing everything to CrowdStrike. This is the most unexplainable fact in the whole story. One hypotheses that Ray advanced here that there was so many hacks into DNC that they wanted to hide.
Another important point is CIA role in elections, and specifically John O. Brennan behaviour. Brennan's 25 years with the CIA included work as a Near East and South Asia analyst and as station chief in Saudi Arabia.
McGovern thing that Brennon actually controlled Obama. And in his opinion Brennan was the main leaker of Trump surveillance information.
Notable quotes:
"... Do really think the Deep State cares about the environment. Trump is our only chance to damage Deep State. McGovern is wrong... DNC were from Seth Rich, inside DNC. Murdered for it. McGovern is wrong... i could go on and on but suffice it to say his confidence is way to high. He is wrong. ..."
Apr 2, 2017 | www.youtube.com

Greg Rhodes 3 months ago

I really like Ray... I watch and listen , he seems to use logic, reason and facts in his assessments.. I'm surprised CIA and the deep state allow him to operate ... stay safe Ray...
Robert Eargle 2 months ago

McGovern, you idiot. To try to put Trump on Hillary's level is complete stupidity. The war with Russia or nothing was avoided with a Trump victory. Remember the NATO build up on the Russian border preparing for a Hillary win? Plus, if Hillary won, justice and law in the USA would be over with forever. The Germans dont know sht about the USA to say their little cute phrase. Trump is a very calm mannered man and his hands on the nuke button is an issue only to those who watch the fake MSM. And no the NSA has not released anything either. Wrong on that point too.

Manley Nelson 2 months ago

The German expression of USA having a choice between cholera and plague is ignorant. McGovern is wrong ....everyone knew HRC was a criminal. McGovern is wrong... Jill Stein in not trustworthy. A vote for Jill Stein was a vote away from Trump. If Jill Stein or HRC were elected their would be no environment left to save. Do really think the Deep State cares about the environment. Trump is our only chance to damage Deep State. McGovern is wrong... DNC were from Seth Rich, inside DNC. Murdered for it. McGovern is wrong... i could go on and on but suffice it to say his confidence is way to high. He is wrong.

Rodger Asai 3 months ago

Another month or so and the DHS may offer a color-coding system to help the sheeple understand various levels of confidence. Green - Moderate Confidence Blue - High Confidence Yellow - Very High Confidence Orange - Extremely High Confidence Red - Based on Actual Fact

The last category may be one of the signs of the apocalypse.

KELLI2L2 3 months ago

As it turned out Jill Stein was a bad choice too... Recount debacle.

midnighfairy 1 month ago

I want Hilary to pay for her lies

[Jul 26, 2017] What You Actually Spend on the National Security State by William D. Hartung

Notable quotes:
"... This article was originally published in Tom Dispatch.com ..."
"... Pentagon Budget: $575 billion ..."
"... War Budget: $64.6 Billion ..."
"... Running Total: $639.6 Billion ..."
"... Department of Energy (nuclear): $20 Billion ..."
"... Running total: $659.6 billion ..."
"... "Other Defense": $8 Billion ..."
"... Running Total: $677.6 billion ..."
"... Homeland Security: $50 Billion ..."
"... Running Total: $717.6 Billion ..."
"... Military Aid at the State Department: $7 Billion ..."
"... Running Total: $724.6 Billion ..."
"... Intelligence: $70 Billion (mostly contained inside the Pentagon budget) ..."
"... Running Total: $724.6 Billion ..."
"... Veterans: $186 billion ..."
"... Running Total: $910.6 Billion ..."
"... Military Retirement: $80 Billion ..."
"... Running Total: $990.6 Billion ..."
"... Defense Share of the Interest on the Debt: $100 billion ..."
"... Grand Total: $1.09 Trillion ..."
Jul 26, 2017 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Hundreds of billions of dollars outside of the official Pentagon budget. July 26, 2017

The Pentagon ( Frontpage / Shutterstock ) This article was originally published in Tom Dispatch.com

You wouldn't know it, based on the endless cries for more money coming from the military politicians , and the president , but these are the best of times for the Pentagon. Spending on the Department of Defense alone is already well in excess of half a trillion dollars a year and counting. Adjusted for inflation, that means it's higher than at the height of President Ronald Reagan's massive buildup of the 1980s and is now nearing the post-World War II funding peak. And yet that's barely half the story. There are hundreds of billions of dollars in "defense" spending that aren't even counted in the Pentagon budget.

Under the circumstances, laying all this out in grisly detail!and believe me, when you dive into the figures, they couldn't be grislier!is the only way to offer a better sense of the true costs of our wars past, present, and future, and of the funding that is the lifeblood of the national security state. When you do that, you end up with no less than 10 categories of national security spending (only one of which is the Pentagon budget). So steel yourself for a tour of our nation's trillion-dollar-plus "national security" budget. Given the Pentagon's penchant for wasting money and our government's record of engaging in dangerously misguided wars without end, it's clear that a large portion of this massive investment of taxpayer dollars isn't making anyone any safer.

1) The Pentagon Budget

The Pentagon's "base" or regular budget contains the costs of the peacetime training, arming, and operation of the U.S. military and of the massive civilian workforce that supports it!and if waste is your Eden, then you're in paradise.

The department's budget is awash in waste, as you might expect from the only major federal agency that has never passed an audit . For example, last year a report by the Defense Business Board, a Pentagon advisory panel, found that the Department of Defense could save $125 billion over five years just by trimming excess bureaucracy. And a new study by the Pentagon's Inspector General indicates that the department has ignored hundreds of recommendations that could have saved it more than $33.6 billion.

The Pentagon can't even get an accurate count of the number of private contractors it employs, but the figure is certainly in the range of 600,000 or higher, and many of them carry out tasks that might far better be handled by government employees. Cutting that enormous contractor work force by just 15 percent, only a start when it comes to eliminating the unnecessary duplication involved in hiring government employees and private contractors to do the same work, would save an easy $20 billion annually.

And the items mentioned so far are only the most obvious examples of misguided expenditures at the Department of Defense. Even larger savings could be realized by scaling back the Pentagon's global ambitions, which have caused nothing but trouble in the last decade and a half as the U.S. military has waged devastating and counterproductive wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, and elsewhere across the Greater Middle East and Africa. An analysis by Ben Friedman of the conservative Cato Institute estimates that the Pentagon could reduce its projected spending by one trillion dollars over the next decade if Washington reined in its interventionist instincts and focused only on America's core interests.

Donald Trump, of course, ran for president as a businessman who would clean house and institute unprecedented efficiencies in government. Instead, on entering the Oval Office, he's done a superb job of ignoring chronic problems at the Pentagon, proposing instead to give that department a hefty raise: $575 billion next year. And yet his expansive military funding plans look relatively mild compared to the desires of the gung-ho members of the armed services committees in the House and Senate . Democrats and Republicans alike want to hike the Pentagon budget to at least $600 billion or more. The legislative fight over a final number will play out over the rest of this year. For now, let's just use Trump's number as a placeholder.

Pentagon Budget: $575 billion

2) The War Budget

The wars of this century, from Iraq to Afghanistan and beyond, have largely been paid for through a special account that lies outside the regular Pentagon budget. This war budget!known in the antiseptic language of the Pentagon as the "Overseas Contingency Operations" account, or OCO! peaked at more than $180 billion at the height of the Bush administration's intervention in Iraq.

As troop numbers in that country and Afghanistan have plummeted from hundreds of thousands to about 15,000 , the war budget, miraculously enough, hasn't fallen at anywhere near the same pace. That's because it's not even subject to the modest caps on the Pentagon's regular budget imposed by Congress back in 2011, as part of a deal to keep the government open.

In reality, over the past five years, the war budget has become a slush fund that pays for tens of billions of dollars in Pentagon expenses that have nothing to do with fighting wars. The Trump administration wants $64.6 billion for that boondoggle budget in fiscal year 2018. Some in Congress would like to hike it another $10 billion . For consistency, we'll again use the Trump number as a baseline.

War Budget: $64.6 Billion

Running Total: $639.6 Billion

3) Nuclear Warheads (and more)

You might think that the most powerful weapons in the U.S. arsenal ! nuclear warheads ! would be paid for out of the Pentagon budget. And you would, of course, be wrong. The cost of researching, developing, maintaining, and "modernizing" the American arsenal of 6,800 nuclear warheads falls to an obscure agency located inside the Department of Energy, the National Nuclear Security Administration, or NNSA. It also works on naval nuclear reactors, pays for the environmental cleanup of nuclear weapons facilities, and funds the nation's three nuclear weapons laboratories, at a total annual cost of more than $20 billion per year.

Department of Energy (nuclear): $20 Billion

Running total: $659.6 billion

4) "Other Defense"

This catchall category encompasses a number of flows of defense-related funding that go to agencies other than the Pentagon. It totals about $8 billion per year . In recent years, about two-thirds of this money has gone to pay for the homeland security activities of the FBI, accounting for more than half of that agency's annual budget.

"Other Defense": $8 Billion

Running Total: $677.6 billion

The four categories above make up what the White House budget office considers total spending on "national defense." But I'm sure you won't be shocked to learn that their cumulative $677.6 billion represents far from the full story. So let's keep right on going.

5) Homeland Security

After the 9/11 attacks, Congress created a mega-agency, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). It absorbed 22 then-existing entities , all involved in internal security and border protection, creating the sprawling cabinet department that now has 240,000 employees . For those of you keeping score at home, the agencies and other entities currently under the umbrella of DHS include the Coast Guard, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency, the Transportation Security Agency, the U.S. Secret Service, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE), and the Office of Intelligence Analysis (the only one of America's 17 intelligence agencies to fit under the department's rubric).

How many of these agencies actually make us safer? That would be a debatable topic, if anyone were actually interested in such a debate. ICE!America's deportation force!has, for instance, done far more to cause suffering than to protect us from criminals or terrorists. On the other hand, it's reassuring to know that there is an office charged with determining whether there is a nuclear weapon or radioactive "dirty bomb" in our midst.

While it's hard to outdo the Pentagon, DHS has its own record of dubious expenditures on items large and small. They range from $1,000 fees for employees to attend conferences at spas to the purchase of bagpipes for border protection personnel to the payment of scores of remarkably fat salaries to agency bureaucrats. On the occasion of its tenth anniversary in 2013, Congressman Jeff Duncan (R-SC) excoriated the department as "rife with waste," among other things, pointing to a report by the DHS inspector general that it had misspent over $1 billion.

DHS was supposed to provide a better focus for efforts to protect the United States from internal threats. Its biggest problem, though, may be that it has become a magnet for increased funding for haphazard, misplaced, and often simply dangerous initiatives. These would, for instance, include its program to supply grants to local law enforcement agencies to help them buy military-grade equipment to be deployed not against terrorists, but against citizens protesting the injustices perpetrated by the very same agencies being armed by DHS.

The Trump administration has proposed spending $50 billion on DHS in FY 2018.

Homeland Security: $50 Billion

Running Total: $717.6 Billion

6) Military Aid

U.S. government-run military aid programs have proliferated rapidly in this century. The United States now has scores of arms and training programs serving more than 140 countries . They cost more than $18 billion per year , with about 40 percent of that total located in the State Department's budget. While the Pentagon's share has already been accounted for, the $7 billion at State!which can ill afford to pay for such programs with the Trump administration seeking to gut the rest of its budget!has not.

Military Aid at the State Department: $7 Billion

Running Total: $724.6 Billion

7) Intelligence

The United States government has 16 separate intelligence agencies : the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA); the National Security Agency (NSA); the Defense Intelligence Agency; the FBI; the State Department Bureau of Intelligence and Research; the Department of Homeland Security Office of Intelligence Analysis; the Drug Enforcement Administration Office of National Security Intelligence; the Treasury Department Office of Intelligence and Analysis; the Department of Energy Office of Intelligence and Counterintelligence; the National Reconnaissance Office; the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency; Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance; Army Military Intelligence; the Office of Naval Intelligence; Marine Corps Intelligence; and Coast Guard Intelligence. Add to these the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), which is supposed to coordinate this far-flung intelligence network, and you have a grand total of 17 agencies.

The U.S. will spend more than $70 billion on intelligence this year, spread across all these agencies. The bulk of this funding is contained in the Pentagon budget!including the budgets of the CIA and the NSA (believed to be hidden under obscure line items there). At most, a few billion dollars in additional expenditures on intelligence fall outside the Pentagon budget and since, given the secrecy involved, that figure can't be determined, let's not add anything further to our running tally.

Intelligence: $70 Billion (mostly contained inside the Pentagon budget)

Running Total: $724.6 Billion

8) Supporting Veterans

A steady uptick of veterans generated by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan has dramatically increased the costs of supporting such vets once they come home, including the war wounded, some of whom will need medical care for life. For 2018, the Veterans Administration has requested over $186 billion for its budget, more than three times what it was before the 2001 intervention in Afghanistan.

Veterans: $186 billion

Running Total: $910.6 Billion

9) Military Retirement

The trust fund set up to cover pensions for military retirees and their survivors doesn't have enough money to pay out all the benefits promised to these individuals. As a result, it is supplemented annually by an appropriation from the general revenues of the government. That supplement has by now reached roughly $80 billion per year

Military Retirement: $80 Billion

Running Total: $990.6 Billion

10) Defense Share of Interest on the Debt

It's no secret that the U.S. government regularly runs at a deficit and that the total national debt is growing. It may be more surprising to learn that the interest on that debt runs at roughly $500 billion per year . The Project on Government Oversight calculates the share of the interest on that debt generated by defense-related programs at more than $100 billion annually.

Defense Share of the Interest on the Debt: $100 billion

Grand Total: $1.09 Trillion

That final annual tally of nearly $1.1 trillion to pay for past wars, fund current wars, and prepare for possible future conflicts is roughly double the already staggering $575 billion the Trump administration has proposed as the Pentagon's regular budget for 2018. Most taxpayers have no idea that more than a trillion dollars a year is going to what's still called "defense," but these days might equally be called national in security.

So the next time you hear the president, the secretary of defense, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, or a hawkish lawmaker claim that the U.S. military is practically collapsing from a lack of funding, don't believe it for a second. Donald Trump may finally have put plutocracy in the Oval Office, but a militarized version of it has long been ensconced in the Pentagon and the rest of the national security state. In government terms, make no mistake about it, the Pentagon & Co. are the one percent.

William D. Hartung, a TomDispatch regular , is the director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy and the author of Prophets of War: Lockheed Martin and the Making of the Military-Industrial Complex

[Jul 24, 2017] How to misunderstand security

Nov 07, 2006 | eli.thegreenplace.net
We're now trying to book rooms in a couple of lodges in Australia for our trip. When contacting the lodge by email, they inevitably ask you to send them your credit card number. I'm very reluctant to provide my credit card number by email, as it's about the least secure way there is to transfer information over the net. So, I usually ask for a secure web-page to submit the number to (HTTPS pages use proven public key algorithms to transfer the data securely), and there's rarely a problem. But today I received two most original answers from two places. One says:
You can send the number in two different emails [...]
That is, if the card number is 1234 5678, send 1234 in one email, and 5678 in another. This is surely going to confuse them hackers :-D :-D The other provided an even better algorithm:
If concerned about security you could use our fax number [...], or send your number via email and on the last set of four digits add 1 to each number for example, if your last 4 numbers on the card are 4566 send me 5677

No comments required :-D

[Jul 23, 2017] MoA - Murder, Spies And Weapons - Three Fascinating 'Deep State' Stories

Notable quotes:
"... Azerbaijan's Silk Way Airlines transported hundreds of tons of weapons under diplomatic cover to Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan Congo ..."
"... A British spy. An Arizona senator. And one inflammatory dossier on Donald Trump. The connection between them is starting to unravel... ..."
"... there are indications that McCain was the one who hired the company which created the infamous Steele dossier. ..."
"... Document hack could imperil subs in Oz, India, other countries ..."
"... The Trump-Russia Dossier (by political treason stabbing the nominee of his own Party; ignoring the words of Reagan) ..."
"... the first part of your post reaffirms my comment in the previous thread about the usa, saudi arabia/gccs and israel being the terrorists that the world would be a lot better place without... " ..."
"... in an exceptional country, there is no accountability... according to obama, you have to move on and not dwell on the past, lol... ..."
"... the mountain of evidence you provide daily, as proof of the corporate empire's malignancy, is therapeutic and empowering, but, until this information reaches the bulk of the U$A's masses we're all just treading water here. ..."
"... The last thing McCain has to worry about is prosecution or even criticism for fomenting war crimes. ..."
"... "The team has carried out painstaking research cataloging serial numbers and tracing the routes. They found crates of ammunition and rockets manufactured in factories in eastern Europe. These were bought by the governments of the US and Saudi Arabia." ..."
"... A British spy. An Arizona senator. And one inflammatory dossier on Donald Trump. The connection between them is starting to unravel... ..."
"... I suspected during the Prez Campaign that Trump had McCain well and truly scoped when he said (of Satan's Mini-Me) "I like my war "heroes" not to get captured." ..."
"... This story says a lot for China & Russia's approach to long-term Strategic Diplomacy. I imagine that they both know all this stuff and a helluva lot more, but they go to all the summits, prattle about Our AmeriKKKan Friends, and then presumably laugh their asses off when the summit is over. Xi & Putin seem to truly believe that the blowback from all this Yankee Duplicity will eventually do as much harm to the American Dream as an Ru/Cn Military Solution. ..."
"... Criminal activity under diplomatic cover should be prosecuted. They can pretend they didn't find out until it was too late. Or they can claim that they were letting it happen in order to track the players. Those excuses have been used for all kinds of cover for nefarious activites like Pakistan's AQ Khan NukeMart to distribute nuclear technology and materials. (See Deception and United States and the Islamc Bomb books) And there's Fast & Furious. In the end the cover comes from the political top of the trash heap. ..."
"... Sounds familiar? Iranian industrialization and westernization happened during the Shah. That is part of above story. Same story in Saudi Arabia . ..."
"... My suspicion is that this "reversal" was also made in the USA as a consequence of the strategy to use Islam as a "green belt" against the Soviet Union. ..."
Jul 23, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org
Murder, Spies And Weapons - Three Fascinating 'Deep State' Stories

350 "diplomatic" flights transporting weapons for terrorists - Trud

Azerbaijan's Silk Way Airlines transported hundreds of tons of weapons under diplomatic cover to Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan Congo

With lots of details from obtained emails.

Ten thousands of tons of weapons and ammunition to al-Qaeda and other Takfiris in Syria also came first from Libya by ship, then on at least 160 big cargo flights via Saudi Arabia and Qatar to Turkey and during the last years by various ships under U.S. contracts from mostly east-European countries.

---

With all the Trump-Russia nonsense flowing around one person's involvement in the creation of the issue deserves more scrutiny:

McCain and the Trump-Russia Dossier: What Did He Know, and When? - Reason

A British spy. An Arizona senator. And one inflammatory dossier on Donald Trump. The connection between them is starting to unravel...

---

Another Scorpene Submarine Scandal - Asia Sentinel (a bit older but it was new to me)

Document hack could imperil subs in Oz, India, other countries

Musburger | Jul 21, 2017 12:41:30 PM | 1

The first story is a muti-billion dollar illegal business network that potentially encompasses not only the CIA, but also several governments, the Clinton Foundation, David Patreus, investors (many of whom hold government positions) and God knows what else. It's possibly the greatest scam the world has ever seen.
ProPeace | Jul 21, 2017 12:48:44 PM | 3
It would be nice to have a comprehensive list of sponsors of those fake lucrative speeches such front persons and puppets as Clintons, Saakashvili, Kwaśniewski, ... have been giving. The Business Round Tables that Quigley and Sutton wrote about that live off wars and misery.
Petri Krohn | Jul 21, 2017 12:55:55 PM | 4
There is an amazing amount of detailed information from reliable sources on the U.S. sponsored, Saudi paid arms deliveries to terrorist in Syria, originating from the eastern parts of the European Union. I have collected some of the best sources here:

US covert war on Syria -> Weapon deliveries

likklemore | Jul 21, 2017 12:56:46 PM | 5
McCain and the Trump-Russia Dossier The third time is the Charm.I am reminded McCain can do no wrong: His service to his country (it's alleged, by aiding the enemy); The Keating Five; (I dindu nuttin wrong)

The Trump-Russia Dossier (by political treason stabbing the nominee of his own Party; ignoring the words of Reagan). McCain, once again, will be excused and forgiven. His actions were due to illness – the most aggressive cancer of the brain. How is that so?

james | Jul 21, 2017 12:58:42 PM | 6
thanks b.. the first part of your post reaffirms my comment in the previous thread about the usa, saudi arabia/gccs and israel being the terrorists that the world would be a lot better place without... "the contracts are with U.S. companies themselves hired by the CIA and/or Pentagon as well as with Saudi and Israeli companies.."
terry | Jul 21, 2017 1:00:09 PM | 7
Here is a link to The Dilyana Files – 1403 Email Attachments Posted https://www.truthleaks.org/news/343-the-dilyana-files-1403-email-attachments-posted
james | Jul 21, 2017 1:00:13 PM | 8
@5 likklemore ... in an exceptional country, there is no accountability... according to obama, you have to move on and not dwell on the past, lol...
ben | Jul 21, 2017 1:07:44 PM | 9
Thanks b, the mountain of evidence you provide daily, as proof of the corporate empire's malignancy, is therapeutic and empowering, but, until this information reaches the bulk of the U$A's masses we're all just treading water here.
WorldBLee | Jul 21, 2017 1:11:43 PM | 10
@2: The last thing McCain has to worry about is prosecution or even criticism for fomenting war crimes. The cancer is real and he will be lauded for his courage and lionized if he dies. But should he survive he will carry on as usual with no apologies and no criticism.
nonsense factory | Jul 21, 2017 1:54:32 PM | 11
BBC News has a great little expose on tracking ISIS weapons captured in Mosul to their sources in Eastern Europe: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r8bwCj3lfsg
"The team has carried out painstaking research cataloging serial numbers and tracing the routes. They found crates of ammunition and rockets manufactured in factories in eastern Europe. These were bought by the governments of the US and Saudi Arabia."
Whether or not the arming and financing of ISIS groups was "accidental" or "deliberate" remains something of an open question; most likely the actual US policy from c.2011-2012 onwards was to give support to anyone trying to overthrow Assad's government regardless of affiliation. The architects of this plan? Clinton & McCain seem to be right at the center of it, with plenty of neocon/neolib supporters in Congress & the State Department/CIA/Pentagon (Nuland/Morrell/Carter etc.)
Oui | Jul 21, 2017 2:29:43 PM | 12
Sorry b .... the "Reason" article is complete nonsense. I've covered the details the last two weeks. The "dodgy dossier" was shared by Orbis Business Intelligence Ltd, with the British MI6 and the FBI starting in August 2016. That's why I claim it's not RussiaGate but IC-Gate. A complot by the Intelligence Community of the UK and US. McCain is just a distraction of the true effort to dump Trump.
McCain and the Trump-Russia Dossier: What Did He Know, and When? - Reason

A British spy. An Arizona senator. And one inflammatory dossier on Donald Trump. The connection between them is starting to unravel...

  • there are indications that McCain was the one who hired the company which created the infamous Steele dossier.
  • there is evidences that he distributed it to the CIA, FBI and to the media.
  • the issue is now in front of a British court.

Christopher Steele and Sir Andrew Wood worked in a British spy nest in Moscow during the Yeltsin years of the 90s.

Hoarsewhisperer | Jul 21, 2017 3:02:30 PM | 13
Thanks, b. Love the lede...
350 "diplomatic" flights transporting weapons for ter'rists - Trud

What a slimy little cur John McCain (Satan's Mini-Me) turns out to be. Guess how surprised I'm not that the little skunk is up to his eyeballs in weapons proliferation & profiteering, not to mention that old Yankee favourite Gun-barrel "Diplomacy".

I suspected during the Prez Campaign that Trump had McCain well and truly scoped when he said (of Satan's Mini-Me) "I like my war "heroes" not to get captured."

This story says a lot for China & Russia's approach to long-term Strategic Diplomacy. I imagine that they both know all this stuff and a helluva lot more, but they go to all the summits, prattle about Our AmeriKKKan Friends, and then presumably laugh their asses off when the summit is over. Xi & Putin seem to truly believe that the blowback from all this Yankee Duplicity will eventually do as much harm to the American Dream as an Ru/Cn Military Solution.

psychohistorian | Jul 21, 2017 3:12:19 PM | 14
Thanks again for the excellent journalism b even though it reads like the trash on the rags in the grocery stores they make you look at while you check out.

I just hold out hope that the great unraveling continues and quickens its pace.

Curtis | Jul 21, 2017 3:32:48 PM | 15
Criminal activity under diplomatic cover should be prosecuted. They can pretend they didn't find out until it was too late. Or they can claim that they were letting it happen in order to track the players. Those excuses have been used for all kinds of cover for nefarious activites like Pakistan's AQ Khan NukeMart to distribute nuclear technology and materials. (See Deception and United States and the Islamc Bomb books) And there's Fast & Furious. In the end the cover comes from the political top of the trash heap.

The Dem/anti-Trump attempts to get dirt on Trump via Russians doesn't get play in the MSM. Nor does the content of the emails. They call the tune and the media plays on.

Curtis | Jul 21, 2017 3:38:37 PM | 16
nonsense factory 11

Thnx for the vid link. That evidence won't get to US MSM either. It makes the case for Tulsi Gabbard's efforts.

likklemore | Jul 21, 2017 4:52:05 PM | 18
@james 8
[Reported by Independent.co.uk, New York Post and the Guardian.co.uk] McCain admitted he handed the dossier to Comey."

NYPost: McCain "I gave Russia blackmail dossier on Trump to the FBI"

Senator John McCain passed documents to the FBI director, James Comey, last month alleging secret contacts between the Trump campaign and Moscow and that Russian intelligence had personally compromising material on the president-elect himself

New York Post
http://nypost.com/2017/01/11/john-mccain-i-gave-russia-blackmail-dossier-on-trump-to-fbi/

Guardian
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jan/10/fbi-chief-given-dossier-by-john-mccain-alleging-secret-trump-russia-contacts

Yes, there will be no accountability in the U.S. for the exceptional ones. However, the British courts setting aside "special relationships" may take a different view that McCain has a case to answer.

@kpax 17

Did I mis-read? McCain's cerebral?

Piotr Berman | Jul 21, 2017 5:46:21 PM | 19
The link suggests that the subs involved in the scandal are perhaps OK, and no hack compromised their worthiness in a possible military conflict. Neither there were any fatal accidents. The only losses in manpower (but quite a few) are among people engaged in the financial transactions that delivered them to various fleets.

Although there are possible danger to security, because bribery is used to blackmail involved in recruitment of spies.

Fidelios Automata | Jul 21, 2017 6:03:00 PM | 20
I hope the conspiracy theories are wrong, and that McInsane will soon suffer a well-deserved painful death.
BTW, I'm a long-time Arizonan, and I'm proud to say I've never voted for this traitor and have also signed the recall petitions against him.
radiator | Jul 21, 2017 6:16:53 PM | 21
I apologize for never contributing anything substantial but just emanating verbal support.
I hope this site has some mirrored archives. This is in its entirety a work of contemporary history (sorry my english's not good enough... mirror this site and give it some dumb ancestor of ours to read in 20, 50, 100 years, y'know).
I'm a broke lowlife but next time around I'll send some money.
radiator | Jul 21, 2017 6:19:21 PM | 22
damn I regret every cent I've spent on mainstream newspapers, although the last time I've done so has been years ago and maybe back then, they weren't so bad, but then again, they probably were and I just didn't notice.
Anonymous | Jul 21, 2017 7:01:32 PM | 23
The dog that didn't bark in the arms shipment story is the absense of Qatar in the list of recipient countries. It also seems that, whilst most (80%) were shipped through SA/UAE, more arms were shipped through Jordan (11%) than through Turkey (7%).

Bulgaria may also have been the location of military level training sites for foreigners. An intriguing report from June 2015 noted that an American was killed along with 2 foreigners (German and Canadian) in a grenade launcher accident of a PMC training center at Anevo, Bulgaria. The site was run by an company Algans (or Alguns).

http://sofiaglobe.com/2015/06/06/american-dies-four-injured-in-blast-at-bulgarias-vmz-sopot-ordnance-plant/

There are links to the infamous US military $500 million training program in which an unknown number of 'carefully vetted moderate rebels' were trained and all but 5 of them 'defected' to al Qaeda.

https://www.buzzfeed.com/aramroston/mobbed-up-arms-dealer-in-american-anti-isis-effort-linked-to

Anonymous | Jul 21, 2017 7:14:05 PM | 24
"This story says a lot for China & Russia's approach to long-term Strategic Diplomacy. I imagine that they both know all this stuff and a helluva lot more" Hoarsewhisperer @13

The docs indicate the Balkans arm supply route took off in 2012. It will have brought in many billions of USD to the relatively poor east European countries. Before the Gulenist(?) shoot down of the Russian Su-24, Russia had been trying to get Turkey and Bulgaria interested in South Stream. I suspect Russia did indeed know the details of the arms shipment, and certainly knew about Turkey's cut of the ISIS oil sales. I suspect this deal may have been an attempt to wean the two off the terrorism funding spigot. This failed as the Bulgarian government is totally owned by the US. Erdogan's ego was manipulated by his Zionist handlers and eventually his stalling killed interest at theat time. The Russians would know this background too, but the deal had to be tried. If it had worked, then the Bulgarian arms train would possibly have been stopped and the Turkish border closed several years ago. This would have greatly cramped the capabilities of ISIS, simplifying the task of eliminating them. I suspect the Russians also knew it wouldn't pan out but it was certainly worth a shot whilst they was busily obtaining intelligence on the terrorists, and secretly negotiating the logistics, overflight access etc for what was to become its base at Hymeim.

somebody | Jul 21, 2017 7:15:18 PM | 25
23 also

Russia Hopes to Sign Agreement on Arms Re-Export From Bulgaria

The statement was followed by a publication of the Bulgarian Trud newspaper that mentioned the Arcus arms company as the producer of some arms produced in Bulgaria under Russian licenses, which were found by journalists in eastern Aleppo.
nobody | Jul 21, 2017 7:49:29 PM | 27
BBC News has a great little expose

Posted by: nonsense factory | Jul 21, 2017 1:54:32 PM | 11

Tillerson. Exxon. Petrodollar. Rockefellers.

BBC. MI6. BIS. Rothschilds.

https://youtu.be/Hgq4w4dqKsU

That's a good question.

nobody | Jul 21, 2017 8:07:41 PM | 28
Master: http://worldnewsdailyreport.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/david-rockefeller.jpg

Blaster: https://vignette4.wikia.nocookie.net/walkingdead/images/0/0c/Armedforces.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20131116201742

Barter-Town: http://images.legalweek.com/images/IMG/277/144277/city-of-london-gherkin-finance.jpg

Mad-Max:

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d6/Vladimir_Putin_in_KGB_uniform.jpg/170px-Vladimir_Putin_in_KGB_uniform.jpg

http://madmaxmovies.com/mad-max/mad-max-cars/max-yellow-xb-interceptor-sedan/max-leaps-out-of-yellow-xb.jpg

fast freddy | Jul 21, 2017 8:20:34 PM | 29
Craven McCain has been teflon for his entire political career and he was teflon when he wrecked airplanes in the navy. McCain is just a teflon guy. Untouchable. Probably has "dossiers" on anybody that can damage him.
nobody | Jul 21, 2017 8:34:56 PM | 30

Sure, it's tempting to think this:

But we do know that Islamic Republic is a creature of the British. (Longstanding history between the worldly priests of Iran and the defunct British Empire. Read up.)

nobody | Jul 21, 2017 10:26:39 PM | 33
https://img.washingtonpost.com/wp-apps/imrs.php?src=https://img.washingtonpost.com/rf/image_960w/2010-2019/Wires/Images/2017-01-13/AP/Trump_Defense_Secretary_75769.jpg-2f26d.jpg&w=480 ">https://img.washingtonpost.com/rf/image_960w/2010-2019/Wires/Images/2017-01-13/AP/Trump_Defense_Secretary_75769.jpg-2f26d.jpg&w=480">https://img.washingtonpost.com/wp-apps/imrs.php?src=https://img.washingtonpost.com/rf/image_960w/2010-2019/Wires/Images/2017-01-13/AP/Trump_Defense_Secretary_75769.jpg-2f26d.jpg&w=480

https://i.ytimg.com/vi/FEHE4E_I5FM/hqdefault.jpg

Trully, who but the ignorant make war against ALLAH?

ProPeace | Jul 22, 2017 1:06:13 AM | 35
They throw a hissy fit Neocon madness: We can't have peace in Syria, that would be giving in to Russia!

This is huge. An absolute outrage. The first real Trump concession to Putin that undermines U.S. security directly. https://t.co/h9WR4brHHK
! Noah Rothman (@NoahCRothman) July 19, 2017
Yeah, Right | Jul 22, 2017 6:40:44 AM | 45
@2 I have no doubt that McCain's medical condition is real. I well remember the news stories in early June when McCain put up a bizarre performance during testimony by James Comey - asking questions that simply didn't make any sense whatsoever and leaving everyone utterly gob-smacked regarding McCain's mental state.

So, yeah, brain tumour.

ghostship | Jul 23, 2017 6:03:50 AM | 62

OMG. the Washington Borg's house newspaper has woken up to Trump's surrender to Putin on Syria.
Trump's breathtaking surrender to Russia

But once again, President Trump, after extended personal contact with Vladimir Putin and the complete surrender to Russian interests in Syria, acts precisely as though he has been bought and sold by a strategic rival. The ignoble cutoff of aid to American proxies means that "Putin won in Syria," as an administration official was quoted by The Post.

Concessions without reciprocation, made against the better judgment of foreign policy advisers, smack more of payoff than outreach. If this is what Trump's version of "winning" looks like, what might further victory entail? The re- creation of the Warsaw Pact? The reversion of Alaska to Russian control?

Although this opinion article was posted a couple of days ago, there been no shitstorm near Trump about it since suggesting that Trump's one-man distraction/disinformation smokescreen is firing successfully on all cylinders.

Meanwhile, some in the US Army at least understand that once the battle to liquidate the ISIS Caliphate is other, they'll have problems remaining in Syria .

'We're bad day away from Russians asking, 'Why are you still in Syria?' – top US commander

A US special operations commander has admitted that an extended US stay in Syria runs contrary to international law and that Russia would be entirely justified in questioning its presence there.

At the Aspen Security Forum on Friday, Special Operations Command chief Army General, Raymond Thomas was asked whether American forces will remain in Syria, after Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) is defeated, possibly, to support the Kurdish forces in the north of the country.

Thomas acknowledged that American forces are fighting in a sovereign Syria, where they will likely "have no ability to stay" if that presence is questioned "in terms of international law," Thomas said, replying to the Washington Post journalist's question.


Although I'm sure that the State Department/Pentagon lawyers are looking for a reason to stay.
somebody | Jul 23, 2017 6:40:48 AM | 63
Posted by: nobody | Jul 22, 2017 11:08:41 PM | 61

Yep. Made in the USA .

By the time of Richard Nixon's arrival in office in January 1969, Iran was already America's single-largest arms purchaser. Whilst this is notable in and of itself, it is vastly overshadowed by what followed. By late 1972 Nixon leveraged U.S. Middle Eastern regional policy primarily around the focal point of a militarily strong, pro-American Iran.

Sounds familiar? Iranian industrialization and westernization happened during the Shah. That is part of above story. Same story in Saudi Arabia .

In Saudi Arabia, the 1960s, and especially the 1970s, had been years of explosive development, liberal experimentation, and openness to the West. A reversal of this trend came about abruptly in 1979, the year in which the Grand Mosque in Mecca came under attack by religiously motivated critics of the monarchy, and the Islamic Republic of Iran was established.

My suspicion is that this "reversal" was also made in the USA as a consequence of the strategy to use Islam as a "green belt" against the Soviet Union.

Same "reversal" from Atatürk happened in Turkey.

[Jul 21, 2017] Is the CIA Reformable by Melvin A. Goodman

Notable quotes:
"... tells the story of the corruption Melvin A. Goodman observed within the intelligence agency and what he did to expose it. NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake says this book "serves in the public interest as a warning and wake-up call for what's at stake and why we cannot trust the CIA or the intelligence establishment to do the right thing." Click here to order a copy today by making a donation to Truthout! ..."
"... In this excerpt, , former CIA intelligence analyst Melvin A. Goodman ponders the meanings of the words whistleblower, dissident and contrarian, how they apply to himself and others, and whether the CIA can ever be repaired or rebuilt. ..."
"... The Failure of Intelligence: The Decline and Fall of the CIA ..."
"... The Failure of Intelligence ..."
"... Copyright (2017) by Melvin A. Goodman. Not be reprinted without permission of the publisher, City Lights Books. ..."
Jul 21, 2017 | www.truth-out.org

The CIA's mission has gone dangerously and lethally astray, argues Melvin A. Goodman, former CIA intelligence analyst.

Whistleblower at the CIA tells the story of the corruption Melvin A. Goodman observed within the intelligence agency and what he did to expose it. NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake says this book "serves in the public interest as a warning and wake-up call for what's at stake and why we cannot trust the CIA or the intelligence establishment to do the right thing." Click here to order a copy today by making a donation to Truthout!

In this excerpt, , former CIA intelligence analyst Melvin A. Goodman ponders the meanings of the words whistleblower, dissident and contrarian, how they apply to himself and others, and whether the CIA can ever be repaired or rebuilt.

Whistleblowers. Dissidents. Contrarians.

The terms are used synonymously by pundits and the public, and I've been all three at one time or another in order to expose improprieties and illegalities in the secret government, and to inform the American public of policies that compromise the freedom and security of US citizens and weaken US standing in the global community.

I have never liked the terms contrarian or dissident. I've always believed that my criticism should be conventional wisdom. The term whistleblower is more complex because it often raises questions of patriotism or sedition. Chelsea Manning received commutation from her 35-year prison sentence for revealing so-called secrets that documented the terror and violence of the baseless US war in Iraq. Members of the Bush administration who launched the invasion of Iraq in 2003 are considered honorable members of our society, although their acts involved the corruption of intelligence; caused the death of thousands of US soldiers and foreign civilians; terrorized civilian populations; perpetrated the criminal use of torture and abuse; sanctioned use of secret prisons and extraordinary rendition; and caused the destabilization of the region that has set the stage for strategic advances by Al Qaeda and ISIS.

Edward Snowden, if he had remained in the United States, would have faced an even longer prison sentence because he revealed the massive NSA surveillance program that was illegal and immoral, and that violated the Fourth Amendment protection against illegal seizures and searches. Manning and Snowden admit to breaking US laws, but their actions were never as serious as the law-breaking, including massive violations of privacy, that they exposed.

The debate over whether Snowden was a traitor is fatuous. As a result of Snowden's revelations, we learned that the National Security Agency logged domestic phone calls and emails for years, recorded the metadata of correspondence between Americans, and, in some cases, exploited the content of emails. The case against Private Manning was similarly fatuous. Manning provided evidence of the US cover-up of torture by our Iraqi allies; a US Army helicopter opening fire on a group of civilians, including two Reuters journalists; and the use of an air strike to cover up the execution of civilians. Some of these acts were war crimes.

There is no more compelling evidence of the unconscionable behavior of US personnel in Iraq than the callous dialogue between the crew members of the helicopter regarding the civilian deaths and particularly the firing on those Iraqis who came to recover the dead bodies of Iraqi civilians. Manning's documents exposed this behavior, but her efforts were ridiculed by former secretary of defense Robert Gates, who described it as examining war by "looking through a straw."

To make matters worse, American journalists have criticized their colleagues (Julian Assange of WikiLeaks and Glenn Greenwald [then of The Guardian]) who brought the Snowden-Manning revelations to the attention of the public. David Gregory, then host of the venerable "Meet the Press" on NBC, asked Greenwald "to the extent that you have aided and abetted Snowden ... why shouldn't you ... be charged with a crime?" Jeffrey Toobin, a lawyer who labors for CNN and The New Yorker, called Snowden a "grandiose narcissist who belongs in prison" and referred to Greenwald's partner, David Miranda, who was detained by British authorities for nine hours under anti-terror laws, the equivalent of a "drug mule."

The king of calumny is Michael Grunwald, a senior correspondent for Time, who wrote on Twitter that he couldn't "wait to write a defense of the drone strike that takes out Julian Assange." The New York Times also targeted Assange, although the paper cooperated with WikiLeaks in 2010 in publishing reams of information from Private Manning's revelations. Of course, if Time or the New York Times had broken these stories, they would have built new shelves to hold their Pulitzer Prizes. Their hypocrisy was exposed by David Carr of the New York Times, who expressed shock at finding Assange and Greenwald "under attack, not just from a government bent on keeping its secrets, but from friendly fire by fellow journalists."

I didn't reveal abuses as great as those revealed by Manning and Snowden or Daniel Ellsberg, but I do claim status as a whistleblower because of my revelations before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence during confirmation hearings for Bob Gates, who was nominated by President George H.W. Bush in 1991 to be director of central intelligence. According to US law, the term "whistleblower" applies to anyone who "reasonably believes" he or she is disclosing a violation of law or gross mismanagement, gross waste, or abuse of authority. My testimony documented for the first time the intentional distortion of intelligence by CIA director William Casey and Deputy Director Gates in order to serve the agenda of Ronald Reagan and his administration.

Bob Gates was an old friend, but the friendship ended when he routinely distorted intelligence throughout the 1980s as deputy director for intelligence and deputy director of the CIA. In destroying the political culture of the CIA, he created a toxic and corrupt environment at the Agency, and the Senate Intelligence Committee's report on CIA detention and torture reminds us that the Agency hasn't recovered.

Being a contrarian was easy and natural for me. In fact, no one should think about entering the intelligence profession without good contrarian instincts. Such instincts would include an innate skepticism, the doubting of conventional wisdom and a willingness to challenge authority, which translates to an ability to tell truth to power. These contrarian instincts are essential to the success of any intelligence organization. As Rogers and Hammerstein would have it, it was "doing what comes naturally!"

My book The Failure of Intelligence: The Decline and Fall of the CIA was the first insider account from an intelligence analyst regarding the skewed and politicized assessments of the CIA's Directorate of Intelligence -- the Agency's analytic arm. I also exposed the strategic failure of covert actions that were never intended to be a part of President Harry Truman's CIA. I wrote the book for many reasons, including the need to describe the inability of journalists to take into account, let alone understand, the dangers of politicization and the actions of CIA directors such as Casey, Gates, and more recently Goss and Tenet. The political pliancy of these directors fully compromised the intelligence mission of the CIA, and it was political pliancy that made directors such as Gates and Tenet so attractive to Presidents Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II.

Truthout Progressive Pick
Whistleblower at the CIA: An Insider's Account of the Politics of Intelligence

"Urgent, timely, and deeply recommended." -- Daniel Ellsberg. Click here now to get the book!


For the past quarter century, my testimony and writings have exposed the failure to honor President Truman's purpose in creating a CIA to provide policymakers with accurate, unbiased accounts of international developments, and have highlighted the CIA's readiness to cater to the White House. This view is not original with me; in fact, it was President Truman who first acknowledged that the CIA he created in 1947 had gotten off the tracks under Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy in the 1950s and early 1960s.

In December 1963, less than a month after the assassination of President Kennedy, Truman wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post to document the wrongs of the CIA. He concluded that his efforts to "create the quiet intelligence arm of the Presidency" had been subverted by a "sinister" and "mysterious" agency that was conducting far too many clandestine activities in peacetime. I lectured at the Truman Library in the summer of 2014, and found a note in Truman's hand that stated the CIA was not designed to "initiate policy or to act as a spy organization. That was never the intention when it was organized."

In The Failure of Intelligence , I documented the CIA's resistance to reform and the corruption in both the analytical and operational directorates. I made a case for starting over at the CIA, not dissimilar from the case made by Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan 25 years ago as a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Not every agency or department of government can be reformed, and it is possible that the intricate web of habits, procedures, and culture places the CIA in the non-reformable category. Once the political culture of an institution such as the CIA has been broken, it is extremely difficult -- if not impossible -- to rebuild or repair it.

Copyright (2017) by Melvin A. Goodman. Not be reprinted without permission of the publisher, City Lights Books. Melvin A. Goodman Melvin A. Goodman served as a senior analyst and Division Chief at the CIA from 1966 to 1990. An expert on US relations with Russia, his writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Harper's and many others. He is author of six books on US intelligence and international security. Related Stories CIA Asked to Release Documents Related to Massacre in El Salvador By Carmen Rodriguez, CIP Americas Program | Report CIA Watchdog "Mistakenly" Destroys Its Sole Copy of Senate Torture Report By Sarah Lazare, AlterNet | News Analysis CIA Cables Detail Its New Deputy Director's Role in Torture By Raymond Bonner, ProPublica | Report

[Jul 17, 2017] This Is The Most Dangerous Time Ever Ex-CIA Boss Says US To Blame For Scourge Without Parallel ISIS

Notable quotes:
"... Devine argued that dismantling ISIS's command structure is crucial for minimizing the danger it presents, much like al Qaeda before them. "We killed three-fourths of their leadership," he said of al Qaeda. "We have to do the same thing with ISIS. "We have to destroy their refuge over there. When they start to lose, their recruiting numbers start to fall." ..."
"... My guess is that Iran have done a deal with Putin in that once ISIS is swept away Iran gets to build a gas pipeline through Iraq (which it controls) and through Syria into Europe. Russia is allowing Iran into the European gas market because Bandar threatened Sochi, and Putin wants to end the House of Saud in retaliation. Two weeks from now the world is going to make laws that pushes countries towards natural gas and away from coal and oil. ..."
"... I would say that's accurate, since the U.S. put ISIS there to block the Iran - Iraq - Syria pipeline. When Russia destroys ISIS, the previously planned pipeline can proceed. It has nothing to do with Russian 'permission' - Putin expects someone to eventually be sending gas up from the Middle East once the slaughter stops. He doesn't care who it is or how much. It's not going to displace more than a fraction of the Russian supply to Europe. Syria rejected the Qatari pipeline for its own reasons - probably because Qatar was planning on killing Assad and replacing him with a Western stooge well before the Qatari-Turkey pipeline was announced. In fact, the announcement was pretty much an insult to Syria. Qatar quite arrogantly announced that they WOULD be building the pipeline through Syria without bothering to ask them. ..."
"... Putin negotiates with everyone. He was even talking with Israel about helping them with the Leviathan pipeline. The U.S. seems to favor 'regime change' as the preferred strategy to expand its oil interests where it has no business doing so. ..."
"... The CIA serves no master, it is the fucking master. It does deals that are anti American, and they don't care, because America is just a sugar daddy to them. We are the chumps who pay their bills, while they put half of all honest Americans on their enemies list. ..."
"... CIA is international, not American. They are the hit men for the biggest corporations on earth, and most especially the biggest energy firms. Oil and CIA go together, and there is the Saudi connection. ..."
"... CIA is the lead agent if world Islamic extremism, they don't fight it, they nurture it! Their long term goal is to use mass Islamic terror armies to do what the CIA and Corporate masters want done. Need a police state in America? Do a hit on America 9/11. Need to eliminate Russia? Create ISIS and direct them against Russia's allies. And you can take it from there. It will continue on as before. Nobody left has the power to take down the CIA terror rings. ..."
"... No shit, sherlock, and it's because of you and the most vile mass murderer of all time, the CIA (and DIA, and NSA, and FBI, etc.), but predominantly the CIA and the Pentagon, that ISIS and such exists today! Whether it was Allen Dulles coordinating the escape of endless number of mass murderering Nazis, who would end up in CIA-overthrown countries, aiding and abetting their secret police (Example: Walter Rauff, who was responsible for at least 200,000 deaths, ending up as an advisor to Augusto Pinochet's secret police or DINA) or the grandson of the first chairman of the Bank for International Settlements, Richard Helms and his MKULTRA, you devils are to blame. ..."
"... The Devil's Chessboard ..."
Nov 23, 2015 | Zero Hedge

"I have never felt more uncomfortable than I do today," warns former CIA Director Jack Devine, saying that, with "frankly uncivilized" ISIS, there is a greater risk of violence worldwide than ever before.

According to The Hill,

"I think this is the most dangerous time in terms of sustained violence," he said on "The Cats Roundtable" in an interview airing Sunday on New York's AM-970.

"I have never felt more uncomfortable than I do today," he told host John Catsimatidis. "Some percentage of the world today is always either unbalanced or radicalized. When you have a small group of people who are willing to lose their lives and kill anyone they can, we're all vulnerable."

Devine cited the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) as an unprecedented threat in terms of its wanton disregard for human life...

"I dealt with terrorists in South America in the 1970s, but they never attacked innocent women and children indiscriminately," he said.

"You have a group in ISIS today that is frankly uncivilized. These folks could get stronger and stronger. We basically have to destroy ISIS over there," Devine said.

Devine argued that dismantling ISIS's command structure is crucial for minimizing the danger it presents, much like al Qaeda before them. "We killed three-fourths of their leadership," he said of al Qaeda. "We have to do the same thing with ISIS. "We have to destroy their refuge over there. When they start to lose, their recruiting numbers start to fall."

Devine, who mainly served during the Cold War, said ISIS is a scourge without parallel because it has no concern for self-preservation.

"There is nothing that can be compared with nuclear weapons and their use," he said of tensions between the U.S. and the former Soviet Union.

"[But] people felt safe in the sense there was countervailing balance," he added. "Early in our contest with the Russians, it was clear we had checks and balances."

Finally Devine admits...

"If there's blame to be put, it's on our failure to have done that by this point."

Selected Skeptical Comments

i_call_you_my_base

"I dealt with terrorists in South America in the 1970s..."

"And by dealt I mean trained and funded."

Looney

John Kerry to the MSM:

Do not use "Al Qaeda" or "Al Nustra" - just call them "Allies" (pronounced Al Lies). ;-)

Looney

Vatican_cameo

"I have never felt more uncomfortable than I do today," he told host John Catsimatidis. "Some percentage of the world today is always either unbalanced or radicalized. When you have a small group of people who are willing to lose their lives and kill anyone they can, we're all vulnerable."

By small group he means CIA, Right? I thought he would have been a little clearer.

Occident Mortal

My guess is that Iran have done a deal with Putin in that once ISIS is swept away Iran gets to build a gas pipeline through Iraq (which it controls) and through Syria into Europe. Russia is allowing Iran into the European gas market because Bandar threatened Sochi, and Putin wants to end the House of Saud in retaliation. Two weeks from now the world is going to make laws that pushes countries towards natural gas and away from coal and oil.

Paveway IV

"...once ISIS is swept away Iran gets to build a gas pipeline through Iraq (which it controls) and through Syria into Europe..."

I would say that's accurate, since the U.S. put ISIS there to block the Iran - Iraq - Syria pipeline. When Russia destroys ISIS, the previously planned pipeline can proceed. It has nothing to do with Russian 'permission' - Putin expects someone to eventually be sending gas up from the Middle East once the slaughter stops. He doesn't care who it is or how much. It's not going to displace more than a fraction of the Russian supply to Europe. Syria rejected the Qatari pipeline for its own reasons - probably because Qatar was planning on killing Assad and replacing him with a Western stooge well before the Qatari-Turkey pipeline was announced. In fact, the announcement was pretty much an insult to Syria. Qatar quite arrogantly announced that they WOULD be building the pipeline through Syria without bothering to ask them.

The U.S. blocked the first Iran pipeline (called the Persian Pipeline) FROM IRAN to Iraq in 2010 by forcing the Swiss company that partnered with Iran to back out due to Israeli - ooops, 'Western' sanctions on Iran. The second Iran-sourced NG pipeline from Iran through Iraq and Syria - called the Friendship Pipeline - was agreed to in 2012 by the countries involved. That's when the U.S. launched it's failed coup attempt in Syria and let its ISIS mad-dogs loose in Iraq. Tyler usually refers to this by the derogatory label of "Islamic Pipeline" - a snide label that Kagan-PNAC and Western oil companies used. Tyler never refers to the Western-backed Qatari pipeline as the Jihadi Pipeline, nor does he refer to the Kirkuk-Haifa oil pipeline as the Jewish Pipeline. I'm not sure about the inconsistency - maybe he's trying to make some point.

Putin negotiates with everyone. He was even talking with Israel about helping them with the Leviathan pipeline. The U.S. seems to favor 'regime change' as the preferred strategy to expand its oil interests where it has no business doing so.

goldhedge

The CIA guy doesn't mention the House of Saud.

Pfft.

Jack Burton

Good catch! And there never do.

CIA and House of Saud have done a long term deal to look out for each other in this world. The CIA serves no master, it is the fucking master. It does deals that are anti American, and they don't care, because America is just a sugar daddy to them. We are the chumps who pay their bills, while they put half of all honest Americans on their enemies list.

CIA is international, not American. They are the hit men for the biggest corporations on earth, and most especially the biggest energy firms. Oil and CIA go together, and there is the Saudi connection.

CIA is the lead agent if world Islamic extremism, they don't fight it, they nurture it! Their long term goal is to use mass Islamic terror armies to do what the CIA and Corporate masters want done. Need a police state in America? Do a hit on America 9/11. Need to eliminate Russia? Create ISIS and direct them against Russia's allies. And you can take it from there. It will continue on as before. Nobody left has the power to take down the CIA terror rings.

scrappy

Somewhere it's 3:00 AM

Wikileaks: Hillary Clinton Claims Saudi Arabia is the Largest Donor to "Salafism Terrorists" Worldwide

http://refreshingnews99.blogspot.in/2015/11/wikileaks-hillary-clinton-cl...

Clinton Foundation's Colombian 'Private Equity Fund' Deletes Website

http://investmentwatchblog.com/clinton-foundations-colombian-private-equ...

sgt_doom

"I dealt with terrorists in South America in the 1970s, but they never attacked innocent women and children indiscriminately," he said.

No shit, sherlock, and it's because of you and the most vile mass murderer of all time, the CIA (and DIA, and NSA, and FBI, etc.), but predominantly the CIA and the Pentagon, that ISIS and such exists today!

Whether it was Allen Dulles coordinating the escape of endless number of mass murderering Nazis, who would end up in CIA-overthrown countries, aiding and abetting their secret police (Example: Walter Rauff, who was responsible for at least 200,000 deaths, ending up as an advisor to Augusto Pinochet's secret police or DINA) or the grandson of the first chairman of the Bank for International Settlements, Richard Helms and his MKULTRA, you devils are to blame.

Recommended reading (to better understand why the USA is known as the Great Satan):

The Devil's Chessboard, by David Talbot

http://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&keywords=the+devil%27s+chessboard&tag=googhydr-20&index=stripbooks&hvadid=78875381302&hvpos=1t1&hvexid=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=2565125617248777980&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=e&hvdev=c&ref=pd_sl_34lcz93rcf_e_p4

logicalman
Funny how these fucks can come out and say this kind of shit and get away with it. The fucker's basically pleading guilty to murder, FFS.
Ms No
They didn't kill anybody in South America my ass.... The school of Americas, Operation Condor, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Guatamala, El Salvador .... who the hell are they kidding? The CIA has always been covered and nobody ever cared.
Perimetr
"If there's blame to be put. . ."

It's on the CIA for running its global terrorist operations, funded by the $1 trillion dollars a year coming from its Afghanistan heroin operation.

Noplebian

US Gives Their Proxy Army ISIS 45 Minute Warning Before Air Strikes......

http://beforeitsnews.com/conspiracy-theories/2015/11/us-gives-their-prox...

blindman

sirs and madams,
.
"Christmas celebration this year is going to be a charade because the whole world is at war. We are close to Christmas. There will be lights, there will be parties, bright trees, even Nativity scenes – all decked out – while the world continues to wage war.

It's all a charade. The world has not understood the way of peace. The whole world is at war. A war can be justified, so to speak, with many, many reasons, but when all the world as it is today, at war, piecemeal though that war may be-a little here, a little there-there is no justification.

What shall remain in the wake of this war, in the midst of which we are living now? What shall remain? Ruins, thousands of children without education, so many innocent victims, and lots of money in the pockets of arms dealers."

Francis I
.
http://jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.com/2015/11/here-is-british-banned-...

Dinero D. Profit

Ladies and gentlemen of ZH.

In history, what must be, will be.

The discovery of America by Europe had to happen. The savages had to be eliminated and The Revolutionary War had to happen. Slavery had to begin, and after it, segregation had to begin, but, what must be, will be, slavery and segregation had to end. Old School colonization of poor nations had to happen. The Boer War had to happen. The Spanish American War had to happen. The Main had to be sunk. WWI had to happen. Calvary charges had to end. Totalitarian Communism had to happen. Germany's 20's depression had to happen, reactionary jingoism had to happen, and Kristallnacht and the Reichstag fire had to happen. The Allies had to win WWII, Hiroshima and Nagasaki had to be publicity stunts, and the Cold War had to begin. JFK had to be wacked, the Vietnam War had to happen, the FED still was happening. Civil Rights laws had to be passed. Recognition of China had to happen, going off the gold standard had to happen, and Nixon had to be kicked out of office. Corporate Globalization had to begin. After Carter an actor had to be President. Unions had to be stifled. Perestroika and glasnost had to happen. The Berlin Wall had to come down. The MIC had to find another enemy, and suddenly 9/11 had to happen.

Over population has to happen, poisoning the environment has to happen, and the NWO has to happen.

Ladies and gentlemen, the NWO is here, and there is nothing you can do, and nothing you could have done to stop it.

Edit. I see none of our supposed enemies 'truth bombing' 9/11, 7/7, and the 13th Paris attacks. I see no trade embagoes, I see no arguments in the Security Council over the illegality of US/Nato bombing in Syria.

blindman

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/eric-zuesse/jimmy-carter-is-correct-t_b_79...
Jimmy Carter Is Correct That the U.S. Is No Longer a Democracy
Posted: 08/03/2015 11:48 am EDT
.
On July 28, Thom Hartmann interviewed former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, and, at the very end of his show (as if this massive question were merely an afterthought), asked him his opinion of the 2010 Citizens United decision and the 2014 McCutcheon decision, both decisions by the five Republican judges on the U.S. Supreme Court. These two historic decisions enable unlimited secret money (including foreign money) now to pour into U.S. political and judicial campaigns. Carter answered:

It violates the essence of what made America a great country in its political system. Now it's just an oligarchy with unlimited political bribery being the essence of getting the nominations for president or being elected president. And the same thing applies to governors, and U.S. Senators and congress members. So, now we've just seen a subversion of our political system as a payoff to major contributors, who want and expect, and sometimes get, favors for themselves after the election is over. ... At the present time the incumbents, Democrats and Republicans, look upon this unlimited money as a great benefit to themselves. Somebody that is already in Congress has a great deal more to sell." ...
.
it is the money "system", man.

blindman

corporations and hoodwink powers ride on the indifference of the damned, the silence of the dead and doomed.

Dinero D. Profit

The Satus Quo can rely upon the loyalty of their employees, Congress, the military, the military industrial contractors, their workers and family members, the crime control establishment, all Uniersity professors and employees, and every employee of all publically traded companies, and every person employed by the MSM.

The dead and doomed are irrelevant. If you have an establishment job, you'll obey and ask no vital questions.

Dick Buttkiss
Sunnis and Shiites hate each other far more than they hate Christians, Jews, or anyone else. If it weren't for oil, the USG wouldn't give a flyiing fuck if they anihilated each other. Instead, it conspires with them in ways far beyond its ability to comprehend, much less navigate. Thus is the US ship of state heading for the shoals of its destruction, the only question being how much of the country and the outside world it takes down with it.
ross81
thats bullshit Western propaganda that Shiites hate Sunnis and vice versa. In the same way that the Brits stirred up Protestant hatred of Catholics in Ulster for centuries, the US/Israel/Saudi does the same with Sunnis vs Shiites on a much bigger scale in the Middle East. Divide and Conquer.
geno-econ
This is getting scary in that one or two more attacks will result in travel freezes, flow of Middle East oil and result in huge increase in military as well as Homeland security costs. A depression or economic collapse a real possibility Perhaps time for a Peace Conference of all interested parties. The US started this shit and should be the first to call for a Peace Conference. Macho talk will only make things worse.
moonmac
We can print trillions out of thin air at the drop of a hat but we can't kill a small group of terrorists. Got it!
sgt_doom
Or, we pour billions of dollars every year into the CIA, NSA, and DIA, and only a poor old fart such as myself can figure out that Bilal Erdogan is the ISIS connection to oil trading (Turkish president, Erdogan's son) and Erdogan's daughter is with ISIS?
GRDguy
Ex-CIA boss gets it wrong, again.

"When you have a small group of people who are willing to lose their lives and kill anyone they can, we're all vulnerable."

should be:

"When you have a small group of financial sociopaths willing to lie-to, steal-from and kill anyone they can, we're all vulnerable."

and you'll probably be punished, jailed or shot for tryin' to protect yourself and your family.

Ban KKiller
War profiteer. That is it. Along wth James Comey, James Clapper, Jack Welch and the list is almost endless...
BarnacleBill
"When you have a small group of people who are willing to lose their lives and kill anyone they can, we're all vulnerable."

Simply take out the word "their", and the description perfectly fits the CIA, MI6 and their like. For them, it's all a business deal, nothing more - a massive slum-clearance project. Destroy people's houses, provide accommodation and food, ship them somewhere else; do it again and again until the money-printing machine conks out. It's money for old rope.

http://barlowscayman.blogspot.com/2015/11/slum-clearance-on-massive-scale.html

And, yes, we're all vulnerable. The man got that right.

Duc888
"You get the politicians you deserve."

CIA types are appointed, not elected.

Duc888
I do not know if there are any Catherine Austin Fitts fans on this web site but this is definitely worth the time. The FEDGOV came after her non stop for 6 years when she worked for HUD under Bush Sr. If nothing else this lady is tenacious. In this presentation she uncorks exactly HOW the deep black budgets are paid for...and it ain't your tax dollars. What she uncovered while at HUD was simply amazing..... and she made an excellent point. At the top... it's NOT "fraud" because that's how it was all deigned right from the get go after wwII. It brings to mind the funny computer saying....."it's a feature, not a bug".

She digs right into how the CIA was funded... Truly amazing stuff. ...of course the dick head brigade will come along here and deride her because of the conference she is speaking at.... well, who the fuck cares, her presentation is excellent and filled with facts.

Yes it is 1 hour 20 minutes long but imho it is well worth the watch...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w0mimIp8mr8

Dragon HAwk
After reading all these posts my only question is why does the CIA allow Zero Hedge to Exist ?

except of course to collect names...

[Jul 17, 2017] CIA sought to hack Apple iPhones from earliest days

Notable quotes:
"... Efforts to break into Apple products by government security researchers started as early as 2006, a year before Apple introduced its first iPhone and continued through the launch of the iPad in 2010 and beyond, The Intercept said. ..."
Mar 10, 2015 | The Intercept/Reuters

CIA researchers have worked for nearly a decade to break the security protecting Apple (AAPL.O) phones and tablets, investigative news site The Intercept reported on Tuesday, citing documents obtained from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The report cites top-secret U.S. documents that suggest U.S. government researchers had created a version of XCode, Apple's software application development tool, to create surveillance backdoors into programs distributed on Apple's App Store.

The Intercept has in the past published a number of reports from documents released by whistleblower Snowden. The site's editors include Glenn Greenwald, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his work in reporting on Snowden's revelations, and by Oscar-winning documentary maker Laura Poitras.

It said the latest documents, which covered a period from 2006 to 2013, stop short of proving whether U.S. intelligence researchers had succeeded in breaking Apple's encryption coding, which secures user data and communications.

Efforts to break into Apple products by government security researchers started as early as 2006, a year before Apple introduced its first iPhone and continued through the launch of the iPad in 2010 and beyond, The Intercept said.

Breeching Apple security was part of a top-secret program by the U.S. government, aided by British intelligence researchers, to hack "secure communications products, both foreign and domestic" including Google Android phones, it said.

Silicon Valley technology companies have in recent months sought to restore trust among consumers around the world that their products have not become tools for widespread government surveillance of citizens.

Last September, Apple strengthened encryption methods for data stored on iPhones, saying the changes meant the company no longer had any way to extract customer data on the devices, even if a government ordered it to with a search warrant. Silicon Valley rival Google Inc (GOOGL.O) said shortly afterward that it also planned to increase the use of stronger encryption tools.

Both companies said the moves were aimed at protecting the privacy of users of their products and that this was partly a response to wide scale U.S. government spying on Internet users revealed by Snowden in 2013.

An Apple spokesman pointed to public statements by Chief Executive Tim Cook on privacy, but declined to comment further.

"I want to be absolutely clear that we have never worked with any government agency from any country to create a backdoor in any of our products or services," Cook wrote in a statement on privacy and security published last year. "We have also never allowed access to our servers. And we never will."

Leaders including U.S. President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron have expressed concern that turning such privacy-enhancing tools into mass market features could prevent governments from tracking militants planning attacks. The CIA did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

[Jul 16, 2017] WikiLeaks - Vault 7 Projects

wikileaks.org
Today, July 6th 2017, WikiLeaks publishes documents from the BothanSpy and Gyrfalcon projects of the CIA. The implants described in both projects are designed to intercept and exfiltrate SSH credentials but work on different operating systems with different attack vectors.

BothanSpy is an implant that targets the SSH client program Xshell on the Microsoft Windows platform and steals user credentials for all active SSH sessions. These credentials are either username and password in case of password-authenticated SSH sessions or username, filename of private SSH key and key password if public key authentication is used. BothanSpy can exfiltrate the stolen credentials to a CIA-controlled server (so the implant never touches the disk on the target system) or save it in an enrypted file for later exfiltration by other means. BothanSpy is installed as a Shellterm 3.x extension on the target machine.

Gyrfalcon is an implant that targets the OpenSSH client on Linux platforms (centos,debian,rhel,suse,ubuntu). The implant can not only steal user credentials of active SSH sessions, but is also capable of collecting full or partial OpenSSH session traffic. All collected information is stored in an encrypted file for later exfiltration. It is installed and configured by using a CIA-developed root kit (JQC/KitV) on the target machine. OutlawCountry 30 June, 2017 Today, June 30th 2017, WikiLeaks publishes documents from the OutlawCountry project of the CIA that targets computers running the Linux operating system. OutlawCountry allows for the redirection of all outbound network traffic on the target computer to CIA controlled machines for ex- and infiltration purposes. The malware consists of a kernel module that creates a hidden netfilter table on a Linux target; with knowledge of the table name, an operator can create rules that take precedence over existing netfilter/iptables rules and are concealed from an user or even system administrator.

The installation and persistence method of the malware is not described in detail in the document; an operator will have to rely on the available CIA exploits and backdoors to inject the kernel module into a target operating system. OutlawCountry v1.0 contains one kernel module for 64-bit CentOS/RHEL 6.x; this module will only work with default kernels. Also, OutlawCountry v1.0 only supports adding covert DNAT rules to the PREROUTING chain. Elsa 28 June, 2017 Today, June 28th 2017, WikiLeaks publishes documents from the ELSA project of the CIA. ELSA is a geo-location malware for WiFi-enabled devices like laptops running the Micorosoft Windows operating system. Once persistently installed on a target machine using separate CIA exploits, the malware scans visible WiFi access points and records the ESS identifier, MAC address and signal strength at regular intervals. To perform the data collection the target machine does not have to be online or connected to an access point; it only needs to be running with an enabled WiFi device. If it is connected to the internet, the malware automatically tries to use public geo-location databases from Google or Microsoft to resolve the position of the device and stores the longitude and latitude data along with the timestamp. The collected access point/geo-location information is stored in encrypted form on the device for later exfiltration. The malware itself does not beacon this data to a CIA back-end; instead the operator must actively retrieve the log file from the device - again using separate CIA exploits and backdoors.

The ELSA project allows the customization of the implant to match the target environment and operational objectives like sampling interval, maximum size of the logfile and invocation/persistence method. Additional back-end software (again using public geo-location databases from Google and Microsoft) converts unprocessed access point information from exfiltrated logfiles to geo-location data to create a tracking profile of the target device. Leaked Documents ELSA User Manual
Brutal Kangaroo 22 June, 2017 Today, June 22nd 2017, WikiLeaks publishes documents from the Brutal Kangaroo project of the CIA. Brutal Kangaroo is a tool suite for Microsoft Windows that targets closed networks by air gap jumping using thumbdrives. Brutal Kangaroo components create a custom covert network within the target closed network and providing functionality for executing surveys, directory listings, and arbitrary executables.

The documents describe how a CIA operation can infiltrate a closed network (or a single air-gapped computer) within an organization or enterprise without direct access. It first infects a Internet-connected computer within the organization (referred to as "primary host") and installs the BrutalKangeroo malware on it. When a user is using the primary host and inserts a USB stick into it, the thumbdrive itself is infected with a separate malware. If this thumbdrive is used to copy data between the closed network and the LAN/WAN, the user will sooner or later plug the USB disk into a computer on the closed network. By browsing the USB drive with Windows Explorer on such a protected computer, it also gets infected with exfiltration/survey malware. If multiple computers on the closed network are under CIA control, they form a covert network to coordinate tasks and data exchange. Although not explicitly stated in the documents, this method of compromising closed networks is very similar to how Stuxnet worked.

The Brutal Kangaroo project consists of the following components: Drifting Deadline is the thumbdrive infection tool, Shattered Assurance is a server tool that handles automated infection of thumbdrives (as the primary mode of propagation for the Brutal Kangaroo suite), Broken Promise is the Brutal Kangaroo postprocessor (to evaluate collected information) and Shadow is the primary persistence mechanism (a stage 2 tool that is distributed across a closed network and acts as a covert command-and-control network; once multiple Shadow instances are installed and share drives, tasking and payloads can be sent back-and-forth).

The primary execution vector used by infected thumbdrives is a vulnerability in the Microsoft Windows operating system that can be exploited by hand-crafted link files that load and execute programs (DLLs) without user interaction. Older versions of the tool suite used a mechanism called EZCheese that was a 0-day exploit until March 2015 ; newer versions seem use a similar, but yet unknown link file vulnerability ( Lachesis / RiverJack ) related to the library-ms functionality of the operating system. Leaked Documents Brutal Kangaroo -- Drifting Deadline v1.2 - User Guide
EzCheese v6.3 - User Guide
EzCheese v6.2 - User Guide (Rev. B)
EzCheese v6.2 - User Guide (Rev. A)
EZCheese v6.2 - IVV TDR Slides
See more Cherry Blossom 15 June, 2017 Today, June 15th 2017, WikiLeaks publishes documents from the CherryBlossom project of the CIA that was developed and implemented with the help of the US nonprofit Stanford Research Institute (SRI International) .

CherryBlossom provides a means of monitoring the Internet activity of and performing software exploits on Targets of interest. In particular, CherryBlossom is focused on compromising wireless networking devices, such as wireless routers and access points (APs), to achieve these goals. Such Wi-Fi devices are commonly used as part of the Internet infrastructure in private homes, public spaces (bars, hotels or airports), small and medium sized companies as well as enterprise offices. Therefore these devices are the ideal spot for "Man-In-The-Middle" attacks, as they can easily monitor, control and manipulate the Internet traffic of connected users. By altering the data stream between the user and Internet services, the infected device can inject malicious content into the stream to exploit vulnerabilities in applications or the operating system on the computer of the targeted user.

The wireless device itself is compromized by implanting a customized CherryBlossom firmware on it; some devices allow upgrading their firmware over a wireless link, so no physical access to the device is necessary for a successful infection. Once the new firmware on the device is flashed, the router or access point will become a so-called FlyTrap . A FlyTrap will beacon over the Internet to a Command & Control server referred to as the CherryTree . The beaconed information contains device status and security information that the CherryTree logs to a database. In response to this information, the CherryTree sends a Mission with operator-defined tasking. An operator can use CherryWeb , a browser-based user interface to view Flytrap status and security info, plan Mission tasking, view Mission -related data, and perform system administration tasks.

Missions may include tasking on Targets to monitor, actions/exploits to perform on a Target , and instructions on when and how to send the next beacon. Tasks for a Flytrap include (among others) the scan for email addresses , chat usernames , MAC addresses and VoIP numbers in passing network traffic to trigger additional actions, the copying of the full network traffic of a Target , the redirection of a Target 's browser (e.g., to Windex for browser exploitation) or the proxying of a Target 's network connections. FlyTrap can also setup VPN tunnels to a CherryBlossom -owned VPN server to give an operator access to clients on the Flytrap 's WLAN/LAN for further exploitation. When the Flytrap detects a Target , it will send an Alert to the CherryTree and commence any actions/exploits against the Target . The CherryTree logs Alerts to a database, and, potentially distributes Alert information to interested parties (via Catapult ). Leaked Documents CherryBlossom -- System Req Spec (CDRL-10)
CherryBlossom -- Quick Start Guide
WiFi Devices
CherryBlossom -- Installation Guide
CherryBlossom -- Operating Environment (S//NF)
See more Pandemic 1 June, 2017 Today, June 1st 2017, WikiLeaks publishes documents from the "Pandemic" project of the CIA, a persistent implant for Microsoft Windows machines that share files (programs) with remote users in a local network. "Pandemic" targets remote users by replacing application code on-the-fly with a trojaned version if the program is retrieved from the infected machine. To obfuscate its activity, the original file on the file server remains unchanged; it is only modified/replaced while in transit from the pandemic file server before being executed on the computer of the remote user. The implant allows the replacement of up to 20 programs with a maximum size of 800 MB for a selected list of remote users (targets).

As the name suggests, a single computer on a local network with shared drives that is infected with the "Pandemic" implant will act like a "Patient Zero" in the spread of a disease. It will infect remote computers if the user executes programs stored on the pandemic file server. Although not explicitly stated in the documents, it seems technically feasible that remote computers that provide file shares themselves become new pandemic file servers on the local network to reach new targets. Leaked Documents Pandemic 1.1 (S/NF)
Pandemic 1.1-RC1 (S/NF)
Pandemic 1.1-RC1 -- IVVRR Checklist
Pandemic 1.0 (S/NF)
Pandemic 1.0 -- IVVRR Checklist
See more Athena 19 May, 2017 Today, May 19th 2017, WikiLeaks publishes documents from the "Athena" project of the CIA. "Athena" - like the related "Hera" system - provides remote beacon and loader capabilities on target computers running the Microsoft Windows operating system (from Windows XP to Windows 10). Once installed, the malware provides a beaconing capability (including configuration and task handling), the memory loading/unloading of malicious payloads for specific tasks and the delivery and retrieval of files to/from a specified directory on the target system. It allows the operator to configure settings during runtime (while the implant is on target) to customize it to an operation.

According to the documentation (see Athena Technology Overview ), the malware was developed by the CIA in cooperation with Siege Technologies , a self-proclaimed cyber security company based in New Hampshire, US. On their website, Siege Technologies states that the company " ... focuses on leveraging offensive cyberwar technologies and methodologies to develop predictive cyber security solutions for insurance, government and other targeted markets. ". On November 15th, 2016 Nehemiah Security announced the acquisition of Siege Technologies.

In an email from HackingTeam (published by WikiLeaks here ), Jason Syversen, founder of Siege Technologies with a background in cryptography and hacking, " ... said he set out to create the equivalent of the military's so-called probability of kill metric, a statistical analysis of whether an attack is likely to succeed. 'I feel more comfortable working on electronic warfare,' he said. 'It's a little different than bombs and nuclear weapons -- that's a morally complex field to be in. Now instead of bombing things and having collateral damage, you can really reduce civilian casualties, which is a win for everybody.' " Leaked Documents Athena v1.0 User Guide
Athena Technology Overview
Athena (Design)
Athena (Demo)
Athena (Design/Engine)
See more AfterMidnight 12 May, 2017 Today, May 12th 2017, WikiLeaks publishes "AfterMidnight" and "Assassin", two CIA malware frameworks for the Microsoft Windows platform.

"AfterMidnight" allows operators to dynamically load and execute malware payloads on a target machine. The main controller disguises as a self-persisting Windows Service DLL and provides secure execution of "Gremlins" via a HTTPS based Listening Post (LP) system called "Octopus". Once installed on a target machine AM will call back to a configured LP on a configurable schedule, checking to see if there is a new plan for it to execute. If there is, it downloads and stores all needed components before loading all new gremlins in memory. "Gremlins" are small AM payloads that are meant to run hidden on the target and either subvert the functionality of targeted software, survey the target (including data exfiltration) or provide internal services for other gremlins. The special payload "AlphaGremlin" even has a custom script language which allows operators to schedule custom tasks to be executed on the target machine.

"Assassin" is a similar kind of malware; it is an automated implant that provides a simple collection platform on remote computers running the Microsoft Windows operating system. Once the tool is installed on the target, the implant is run within a Windows service process. "Assassin" (just like "AfterMidnight") will then periodically beacon to its configured listening post(s) to request tasking and deliver results. Communication occurs over one or more transport protocols as configured before or during deployment. The "Assassin" C2 (Command and Control) and LP (Listening Post) subsystems are referred to collectively as" The Gibson" and allow operators to perform specific tasks on an infected target.. Leaked Documents AfterMidnight v1.0 Users Guide
AlphaGremlin v0.1.0 Users Guide
AfterMidnight Diagrams
Assassin v1.4 Users Guide
Assassin v1.3 Users Guide
See more Archimedes 5 May, 2017 Today, May 5th 2017, WikiLeaks publishes "Archimedes", a tool used by the CIA to attack a computer inside a Local Area Network (LAN), usually used in offices. It allows the re-directing of traffic from the target computer inside the LAN through a computer infected with this malware and controlled by the CIA. This technique is used by the CIA to redirect the target's computers web browser to an exploitation server while appearing as a normal browsing session.

The document illustrates a type of attack within a "protected environment" as the the tool is deployed into an existing local network abusing existing machines to bring targeted computers under control and allowing further exploitation and abuse. Leaked Documents Archimedes 1.0 User Guide
Archimedes 1.3 Addendum
Archimedes 1.2 Addendum
Archimedes 1.1 Addendum
Fulcrum User Manual v0.62
See more Scribbles 28 April, 2017 Today, April 28th 2017, WikiLeaks publishes the documentation and source code for CIA's "Scribbles" project, a document-watermarking preprocessing system to embed "Web beacon"-style tags into documents that are likely to be copied by Insiders, Whistleblowers, Journalists or others. The released version (v1.0 RC1) is dated March, 1st 2016 and classified SECRET//ORCON/NOFORN until 2066.

Scribbles is intended for off-line preprocessing of Microsoft Office documents. For reasons of operational security the user guide demands that "[t]he Scribbles executable, parameter files, receipts and log files should not be installed on a target machine, nor left in a location where it might be collected by an adversary."

According to the documentation, "the Scribbles document watermarking tool has been successfully tested on [...] Microsoft Office 2013 (on Windows 8.1 x64), documents from Office versions 97-2016 (Office 95 documents will not work!) [and d]ocuments that are not be locked forms, encrypted, or password-protected". But this limitation to Microsoft Office documents seems to create problems: "If the targeted end-user opens them up in a different application, such as OpenOffice or LibreOffice, the watermark images and URLs may be visible to the end-user. For this reason, always make sure that the host names and URL components are logically consistent with the original content. If you are concerned that the targeted end-user may open these documents in a non-Microsoft Office application, please take some test documents and evaluate them in the likely application before deploying them."

Security researches and forensic experts will find more detailed information on how watermarks are applied to documents in the source code, which is included in this publication as a zipped archive. Leaked Documents Scribbles v1.0 RC1 - User Guide
Scribbles (Source Code)
Scribbles v1.0 RC1 - IVVRR Checklist
Scribbles v1.0 RC1 - Readiness Review Worksheet
Weeping Angel 21 April, 2017 Today, April 21st 2017, WikiLeaks publishes the User Guide for CIA's "Weeping Angel" tool - an implant designed for Samsung F Series Smart Televisions. Based on the "Extending" tool from the MI5/BTSS, the implant is designed to record audio from the built-in microphone and egress or store the data.

The classification marks of the User Guide document hint that is was originally written by the british MI5/BTSS and later shared with the CIA. Both agencies collaborated on the further development of the malware and coordinated their work in Joint Development Workshops. Leaked Documents Extending - User Guide
Hive 14 April, 2017 Today, April 14th 2017, WikiLeaks publishes six documents from the CIA's HIVE project created by its "Embedded Development Branch" (EDB).

HIVE is a back-end infrastructure malware with a public-facing HTTPS interface which is used by CIA implants to transfer exfiltrated information from target machines to the CIA and to receive commands from its operators to execute specific tasks on the targets. HIVE is used across multiple malware implants and CIA operations. The public HTTPS interface utilizes unsuspicious-looking cover domains to hide its presence.

Anti-Virus companies and forensic experts have noticed that some possible state-actor malware used such kind of back-end infrastructure by analyzing the communication behaviour of these specific implants, but were unable to attribute the back-end (and therefore the implant itself) to operations run by the CIA. In a recent blog post by Symantec , that was able to attribute the "Longhorn" activities to the CIA based on the Vault 7 , such back-end infrastructure is described:

For C&C servers, Longhorn typically configures a specific domain and IP address combination per target. The domains appear to be registered by the attackers; however they use privacy services to hide their real identity. The IP addresses are typically owned by legitimate companies offering virtual private server (VPS) or webhosting services. The malware communicates with C&C servers over HTTPS using a custom underlying cryptographic protocol to protect communications from identification.

The documents from this publication might further enable anti-malware researchers and forensic experts to analyse this kind of communication between malware implants and back-end servers used in previous illegal activities. Leaked Documents Users Guide
Developers Guide
Developers Guide (Figures)
Hive Beacon Infrastructure
Hive Infrastructure Installation and Configuration Guide
See more Grasshopper 7 April, 2017 Today, April 7th 2017, WikiLeaks releases Vault 7 "Grasshopper" -- 27 documents from the CIA's Grasshopper framework , a platform used to build customized malware payloads for Microsoft Windows operating systems.

Grasshopper is provided with a variety of modules that can be used by a CIA operator as blocks to construct a customized implant that will behave differently, for example maintaining persistence on the computer differently, depending on what particular features or capabilities are selected in the process of building the bundle. Additionally, Grasshopper provides a very flexible language to define rules that are used to "perform a pre-installation survey of the target device, assuring that the payload will only [be] installed if the target has the right configuration". Through this grammar CIA operators are able to build from very simple to very complex logic used to determine, for example, if the target device is running a specific version of Microsoft Windows, or if a particular Antivirus product is running or not.

Grasshopper allows tools to be installed using a variety of persistence mechanisms and modified using a variety of extensions (like encryption). The requirement list of the Automated Implant Branch (AIB) for Grasshopper puts special attention on PSP avoidance , so that any Personal Security Products like 'MS Security Essentials', 'Rising', 'Symantec Endpoint' or 'Kaspersky IS' on target machines do not detect Grasshopper elements.

One of the persistence mechanisms used by the CIA here is 'Stolen Goods' - whose "components were taken from malware known as Carberp, a suspected Russian organized crime rootkit." confirming the recycling of malware found on the Internet by the CIA. "The source of Carberp was published online, and has allowed AED/RDB to easily steal components as needed from the malware.". While the CIA claims that "[most] of Carberp was not used in Stolen Goods" they do acknowledge that "[the] persistence method, and parts of the installer, were taken and modified to fit our needs", providing a further example of reuse of portions of publicly available malware by the CIA, as observed in their analysis of leaked material from the italian company "HackingTeam" .

The documents WikiLeaks publishes today provide an insights into the process of building modern espionage tools and insights into how the CIA maintains persistence over infected Microsoft Windows computers, providing directions for those seeking to defend their systems to identify any existing compromise Leaked Documents Grasshopper-v1_1-AdminGuide
Grasshopper-v2_0_2-UserGuide
StolenGoods-2_1-UserGuide
GH-Module-Null-v2_0-UserGuide
GH-Module-Buffalo-Bamboo-v1_0-UserGuide
See more Marble Framework 31 March, 2017 Today, March 31st 2017, WikiLeaks releases Vault 7 "Marble" -- 676 source code files for the CIA's secret anti-forensic Marble Framework . Marble is used to hamper forensic investigators and anti-virus companies from attributing viruses, trojans and hacking attacks to the CIA.

Marble does this by hiding ("obfuscating") text fragments used in CIA malware from visual inspection. This is the digital equivallent of a specalized CIA tool to place covers over the english language text on U.S. produced weapons systems before giving them to insurgents secretly backed by the CIA.

Marble forms part of the CIA's anti-forensics approach and the CIA's Core Library of malware code. It is " [D]esigned to allow for flexible and easy-to-use obfuscation " as " string obfuscation algorithms (especially those that are unique) are often used to link malware to a specific developer or development shop. "

The Marble source code also includes a deobfuscator to reverse CIA text obfuscation. Combined with the revealed obfuscation techniques, a pattern or signature emerges which can assist forensic investigators attribute previous hacking attacks and viruses to the CIA. Marble was in use at the CIA during 2016. It reached 1.0 in 2015.

The source code shows that Marble has test examples not just in English but also in Chinese, Russian, Korean, Arabic and Farsi. This would permit a forensic attribution double game, for example by pretending that the spoken language of the malware creator was not American English, but Chinese, but then showing attempts to conceal the use of Chinese, drawing forensic investigators even more strongly to the wrong conclusion, --- but there are other possibilities, such as hiding fake error messages.

The Marble Framework is used for obfuscation only and does not contain any vulnerabilties or exploits by itself. Leaked Documents Marble Framework (Source Code)
Dark Matter 23 March, 2017 Today, March 23rd 2017, WikiLeaks releases Vault 7 "Dark Matter", which contains documentation for several CIA projects that infect Apple Mac firmware (meaning the infection persists even if the operating system is re-installed) developed by the CIA's Embedded Development Branch (EDB). These documents explain the techniques used by CIA to gain 'persistence' on Apple Mac devices, including Macs and iPhones and demonstrate their use of EFI/UEFI and firmware malware.

Among others, these documents reveal the "Sonic Screwdriver" project which, as explained by the CIA, is a "mechanism for executing code on peripheral devices while a Mac laptop or desktop is booting" allowing an attacker to boot its attack software for example from a USB stick "even when a firmware password is enabled". The CIA's "Sonic Screwdriver" infector is stored on the modified firmware of an Apple Thunderbolt-to-Ethernet adapter.

"DarkSeaSkies" is "an implant that persists in the EFI firmware of an Apple MacBook Air computer" and consists of "DarkMatter", "SeaPea" and "NightSkies", respectively EFI, kernel-space and user-space implants.

Documents on the "Triton" MacOSX malware, its infector "Dark Mallet" and its EFI-persistent version "DerStarke" are also included in this release. While the DerStarke1.4 manual released today dates to 2013, other Vault 7 documents show that as of 2016 the CIA continues to rely on and update these systems and is working on the production of DerStarke2.0 .

Also included in this release is the manual for the CIA's "NightSkies 1.2" a "beacon/loader/implant tool" for the Apple iPhone. Noteworthy is that NightSkies had reached 1.2 by 2008, and is expressly designed to be physically installed onto factory fresh iPhones. i.e the CIA has been infecting the iPhone supply chain of its targets since at least 2008.

While CIA assets are sometimes used to physically infect systems in the custody of a target it is likely that many CIA physical access attacks have infected the targeted organization's supply chain including by interdicting mail orders and other shipments (opening, infecting, and resending) leaving the United States or otherwise.

[Jul 16, 2017] https://fdik.org/wikileaks/year0/vault7/cms/page_2621796.html

Jul 16, 2017 | fdik.org

So, secure your systems people. Attackers potentially trying to use these tools still need to somehow get a shell on your system in order to install this stuff.

Detecting on your system
As far as detecting on your system, that's going to be tough since:

But - we do know a couple things..

More Information
WikiLeaks announcement:
https://wikileaks.org/vault7/#BothanSpy

Gyrfalcon 2.0 User Manual:
https://wikileaks.org/vault7/document/Gyrfalcon-2_0-User_Guide/Gyrfalcon-2_0-User_Guide.pdf

Gyrfalcon 1.0 User Manual:
https://wikileaks.org/vault7/document/Gyrfalcon-1_0-User_Manual/Gyrfalcon-1_0-User_Manual.pdf

[Jul 15, 2017] How your phone and fitness band could end up giving evidence against you by Ben Lovejoy

Your email records are a goldmine. There's the obvious stuff – who you were in contact with when, and what was said – but there's so much more than that to be gleaned. ...Your phone does regular, automatic backups to Apple or Google servers, and with the right software, anyone can download and access them.
Notable quotes:
"... How do we strike a balance between the privacy of the individual and the state's interest in justice being served? ..."
"... Most of us leave a pretty comprehensive digital footprint these days. ..."
"... Your ISP logs show which websites you visited, even which stories you read on Guardian.com over breakfast. ..."
"... Your email records are a goldmine. There's the obvious stuff – who you were in contact with when, and what was said – but there's so much more than that to be gleaned. ..."
"... Your phone does regular, automatic backups to Apple or Google servers, and with the right software, anyone can download and access them. ..."
"... It may not be possible to formulate hard-and-fast rules covering every eventuality, but there is every reason to set out clear and transparent guidelines within which decisions can be made – and no reason why the debate to determine these guidelines should not take place in public and in parliament. ..."
Feb 24, 2015 | The Guardian

A criminal suspect can't be forced to divulge their phone passcode, a US circuit court judge ruled in October 2014. Yet law enforcement officials can compel a suspect to provide a fingerprint – which they can then use to unlock the phone and obtain data which may prove the case against them.

In an ongoing Canadian civil case, activity data from a Fitbit fitness band is being used to determine the truthfulness of an accident victim's claim that she is less active now than before the accident.

And in another civil case, where a plaintiff argued that his injuries meant he was no longer able to operate a computer for lengthy periods of time, a court ruled that the defendants had a right to access metadata from his hard drive that showed how often the claimant had used his PC.

Keeping in mind David Cameron's suggestion in January that there should be no such thing as private messaging, how much of this is reasonable? How do we strike a balance between the privacy of the individual and the state's interest in justice being served?

It might be reasonably argued that the degree of intrusion should be proportional to the seriousness of the accusation. But this principle can easily take us into very grey territory.

Suppose the police and intelligence services are investigating a terrorist attack – a tube bombing. Ten people died: it's clearly a very serious crime. The authorities know that the bomb was placed on the station platform sometime between 7:13am, when CCTV footage shows the bag definitely wasn't there, and 7.23am, when the explosion occurred. Is it reasonable to pull the Oyster data from 7am to 7.23am, to identify all the people who entered the station between those times and cross-reference with police and security services files to search for anyone known or suspected to have terrorist links?

What if they do that and draw a blank? They will now want to know more about all those people who entered the first tube station between 7am to 7.23am. More than 250 people per minute enter a busy station during rush hour, so that's 5,750 suspects. They're pretty sure from the CCTV footage that the suspect is male, so they narrow it down to 2,875 people. And that's all there is to go on so far. One of those men is our bomber, the other 2,874 of them are innocent.

Is it reasonable to get a blanket court order to examine the ISP and mobile phone records of all 2,875 people? With that many people, all the authorities are going to do is run a simple search of the metadata – the who-contacted-who part – and see if any of them have been in contact with any known or suspected terrorists. They're not spying on your sexts to your girlfriend or emails from your credit card company querying a missed payment, they're just looking at who you might have been in touch with.

No matches. But the explosive used in this attack was found to have been stolen from a demolition company in Leeds one week before the attack. A court order to run a search of the 2,875 suspects' email records for train bookings to or from Leeds during that week is readied, and their car registration numbers are obtained, to see whether any of them were logged on any ANPR systems on the M1 during that time. That's all. No other email content will be looked at, nor any other details of their driving history; just those two straightforward searches. Fair enough?

The suspects are narrowed down to 47 people whose cars were spotted at least once on the M1 at some point between London and Leeds during that week. There is got nothing else to go on, so the authorities now need to take a deeper dive into the online lives of those 47 people.

What could that involve? Most of us leave a pretty comprehensive digital footprint these days. Your fitness bank or sleep-tracking app logs the time that you woke up. Your ISP logs show which websites you visited, even which stories you read on Guardian.com over breakfast.

Phone GPS and wi-fi logs can enable your movements to be tracked to within tens of metres: your route to the tube station can easily be mapped. Oyster data logs the details of the subsequent tube journey: stations, dates, times.

Your email records are a goldmine. There's the obvious stuff – who you were in contact with when, and what was said – but there's so much more than that to be gleaned.

Ever had a password reminder emailed to you for iCloud or Google? Deleted the mail but failed to empty your trash can? Not an issue if you switched on two-factor authentication, but if you didn't, the authorities now have remote access to the content of your phone. The entire content. Your phone does regular, automatic backups to Apple or Google servers, and with the right software, anyone can download and access them.

Your contacts. Your calendar. Your photos. Your notes. And more.

Collating the addresses of your contacts with your Oyster data tells us who you've been visiting, and how often. The authorities would soon know more about those 47 people than almost any of their friends.

What if they had been left not with 47 suspects but 200? 500? Where do we draw the line?

What if, instead of an actual bombing, it was an aborted attempt at the same, but without hard-and-fast proof – how does that change the equation of what is and isn't acceptable?

These will always be difficult judgment calls, but while the individual decisions may need to be made in secret, it does not mean that the principles governing these decisions should themselves be secret or – worse – left to the whim of individual judges in individual cases.

It may not be possible to formulate hard-and-fast rules covering every eventuality, but there is every reason to set out clear and transparent guidelines within which decisions can be made – and no reason why the debate to determine these guidelines should not take place in public and in parliament.

[Jul 04, 2017] Foisting Blame for Cyber-Hacking on Russia by Gareth Porter

Notable quotes:
"... Recent hearings by the Senate and House Intelligence Committees reflected the rising tide of Russian-election-hacking hysteria and contributed further to it. Both Democrats and Republicans on the two committees appeared to share the alarmist assumptions about Russian hacking, and the officials who testified did nothing to discourage the politicians. ..."
"... The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has a record of spreading false stories about alleged Russian hacking into US infrastructure , such as the tale of a Russian intrusion into the Burlington, Vermont electrical utility in December 2016 that DHS later admitted was untrue. There was another bogus DHS story about Russia hacking into a Springfield, Illinois water pump in November 2011. ..."
"... So, there's a pattern here. Plus, investigators, assessing the notion that Russia hacked into state electoral databases, rejected that suspicion as false months ago. Last September, Assistant Secretary of DHS for Cybersecurity Andy Ozment and state officials explained that the intrusions were not carried out by Russian intelligence but by criminal hackers seeking personal information to sell on the Internet. ..."
"... Illinois is the one state where hackers succeeded in breaking into a voter registration database last summer. The crucial fact about the Illinois hacking, however, was that the hackers extracted personal information on roughly 90,000 registered voters, and that none of the information was expunged or altered. ..."
"... "Any time you more carefully monitor a system you're going to see more bad guys poking and prodding at it," he observed, " because they're always poking and prodding." [Emphasis added] ..."
"... Reagan further revealed that she had learned from the FBI that hackers had gotten a user name and password for their electoral database, and that it was being sold on the "dark web" – an encrypted network used by cyber criminals to buy and sell their wares. In fact, she said, the FBI told her that the probe of Arizona's database was the work of a "known hacker" who had been closely monitored "frequently." ..."
"... The sequence of events indicates that the main person behind the narrative of Russian hacking state election databases from the beginning was former FBI Director James Comey. In testimony to the House Judiciary Committee on Sept. 28, Comey suggested that the Russian government was behind efforts to penetrate voter databases, but never said so directly. ..."
"... The media then suddenly found unnamed sources ready to accuse Russia of hacking election data even while admitting that they lacked evidence. The day after Comey's testimony ABC headlined , "Russia Hacking Targeted Nearly Half of States' Voter Registration Systems, Successfully Infiltrating 4." The story itself revealed, however, that it was merely a suspicion held by "knowledgeable" sources. ..."
"... But that claim of a "likely" link between the hackers and Russia was not only speculative but highly suspect. The authors of the DHS-ODNI report claimed the link was "supported by technical indicators from the US intelligence community, DHS, FBI, the private sector and other entities." They cited a list of hundreds of I.P. addresses and other such "indicators" used by hackers they called "Grizzly Steppe" who were supposedly linked to Russian intelligence. ..."
"... But the highly classified NSA report made no reference to any evidence supporting such an attribution. The absence of any hint of signals intelligence supporting its conclusion makes it clear that the NSA report was based on nothing more than the same kind of inconclusive "indicators" that had been used to establish the original narrative of Russians hacking electoral databases. ..."
"... Russian intelligence certainly has an interest in acquiring intelligence related to the likely outcome of American elections, but it would make no sense for Russia's spies to acquire personal voting information about 90,000 registered voters in Illinois. ..."
Jul 04, 2017 | original.antiwar.com
Cyber-criminal efforts to hack into U.S. government databases are epidemic, but this ugly reality is now being exploited to foist blame on Russia and fuel the New Cold War hysteria

Recent hearings by the Senate and House Intelligence Committees reflected the rising tide of Russian-election-hacking hysteria and contributed further to it. Both Democrats and Republicans on the two committees appeared to share the alarmist assumptions about Russian hacking, and the officials who testified did nothing to discourage the politicians.

On June 21, Samuel Liles, acting director of the Intelligence and Analysis Office's Cyber Division at the Department of Homeland Security, and Jeanette Manfra, acting deputy under secretary for cyber-security and communications, provided the main story line for the day in testimony before the Senate committee - that efforts to hack into election databases had been found in 21 states.

Former DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson and FBI counterintelligence chief Bill Priestap also endorsed the narrative of Russian government responsibility for the intrusions on voter registration databases.

But none of those who testified offered any evidence to support this suspicion nor were they pushed to do so. And beneath the seemingly unanimous embrace of that narrative lies a very different story.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has a record of spreading false stories about alleged Russian hacking into US infrastructure , such as the tale of a Russian intrusion into the Burlington, Vermont electrical utility in December 2016 that DHS later admitted was untrue. There was another bogus DHS story about Russia hacking into a Springfield, Illinois water pump in November 2011.

So, there's a pattern here. Plus, investigators, assessing the notion that Russia hacked into state electoral databases, rejected that suspicion as false months ago. Last September, Assistant Secretary of DHS for Cybersecurity Andy Ozment and state officials explained that the intrusions were not carried out by Russian intelligence but by criminal hackers seeking personal information to sell on the Internet.

Both Ozment and state officials responsible for the state databases revealed that those databases have been the object of attempted intrusions for years. The FBI provided information to at least one state official indicating that the culprits in the hacking of the state's voter registration database were cyber-criminals.

Illinois is the one state where hackers succeeded in breaking into a voter registration database last summer. The crucial fact about the Illinois hacking, however, was that the hackers extracted personal information on roughly 90,000 registered voters, and that none of the information was expunged or altered.

The Actions of Cybercriminals

That was an obvious clue to the motive behind the hack. Assistant DHS Secretary Ozment testified before the House Subcommittee on Information Technology on Sept. 28 ( at 01:02.30 of the video ) that the apparent interest of the hackers in copying the data suggested that the hacking was "possibly for the purpose of selling personal information."

Ozment 's testimony provides the only credible motive for the large number of states found to have experienced what the intelligence community has called "scanning and probing" of computers to gain access to their electoral databases: the personal information involved – even e-mail addresses – is commercially valuable to the cybercriminal underworld.

That same testimony also explains why so many more states reported evidence of attempts to hack their electoral databases last summer and fall. After hackers had gone after the Illinois and Arizona databases, Ozment said, DHS had provided assistance to many states in detecting attempts to hack their voter registration and other databases.

"Any time you more carefully monitor a system you're going to see more bad guys poking and prodding at it," he observed, " because they're always poking and prodding." [Emphasis added]

State election officials have confirmed Ozment's observation. Ken Menzel, the general counsel for the Illinois Secretary of State, told this writer, "What's new about what happened last year is not that someone tried to get into our system but that they finally succeeded in getting in." Menzel said hackers "have been trying constantly to get into it since 2006."

And it's not just state voter registration databases that cybercriminals are after, according to Menzel. "Every governmental data base – driver's licenses, health care, you name it – has people trying to get into it," he said.

Arizona Secretary of State Michele Reagan told Mother Jones that her I.T. specialists had detected 193,000 distinct attempts to get into the state's website in September 2016 alone and 11,000 appeared to be trying to "do harm."

Reagan further revealed that she had learned from the FBI that hackers had gotten a user name and password for their electoral database, and that it was being sold on the "dark web" – an encrypted network used by cyber criminals to buy and sell their wares. In fact, she said, the FBI told her that the probe of Arizona's database was the work of a "known hacker" who had been closely monitored "frequently."

James Comey's Role

The sequence of events indicates that the main person behind the narrative of Russian hacking state election databases from the beginning was former FBI Director James Comey. In testimony to the House Judiciary Committee on Sept. 28, Comey suggested that the Russian government was behind efforts to penetrate voter databases, but never said so directly.

Comey told the committee that FBI Counterintelligence was working to "understand just what mischief Russia is up to with regard to our elections." Then he referred to "a variety of scanning activities" and "attempted intrusions" into election-related computers "beyond what we knew about in July and August," encouraging the inference that it had been done by Russian agents.

The media then suddenly found unnamed sources ready to accuse Russia of hacking election data even while admitting that they lacked evidence. The day after Comey's testimony ABC headlined , "Russia Hacking Targeted Nearly Half of States' Voter Registration Systems, Successfully Infiltrating 4." The story itself revealed, however, that it was merely a suspicion held by "knowledgeable" sources.

Similarly, NBC News headline announced, "Russians Hacked Two US Voter Databases, Officials Say." But those who actually read the story closely learned that in fact none of the unnamed sources it cited were actually attributing the hacking to the Russians.

It didn't take long for Democrats to turn the Comey teaser - and these anonymously sourced stories with misleading headlines about Russian database hacking - into an established fact. A few days later, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Adam Schiff declared that there was "no doubt" Russia was behind the hacks on state electoral databases.

On Oct. 7, DHS and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence issued a joint statement that they were "not in a position to attribute this activity to the Russian government." But only a few weeks later, DHS participated with FBI in issuing a "Joint Analysis Report" on "Russian malicious cyber activity" that did not refer directly to scanning and spearphishing aimed of state electoral databases but attributed all hacks related to the election to "actors likely associated with RIS [Russian Intelligence Services]."

Suspect Claims

But that claim of a "likely" link between the hackers and Russia was not only speculative but highly suspect. The authors of the DHS-ODNI report claimed the link was "supported by technical indicators from the US intelligence community, DHS, FBI, the private sector and other entities." They cited a list of hundreds of I.P. addresses and other such "indicators" used by hackers they called "Grizzly Steppe" who were supposedly linked to Russian intelligence.

But as I reported last January, the staff of Dragos Security, whose CEO Rob Lee, had been the architect of a US government system for defense against cyber attack, pointed out that the vast majority of those indicators would certainly have produced "false positives."

Then, on Jan. 6 came the "intelligence community assessment" – produced by selected analysts from CIA, FBI and National Security Agency and devoted almost entirely to the hacking of e-mail of the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman John Podesta. But it included a statement that "Russian intelligence obtained and maintained access to elements of multiple state or local election boards." Still, no evidence was evinced on this alleged link between the hackers and Russian intelligence.

Over the following months, the narrative of hacked voter registration databases receded into the background as the drumbeat of media accounts about contacts between figures associated with the Trump campaign and Russians built to a crescendo, albeit without any actual evidence of collusion regarding the e-mail disclosures.

But a June 5 story brought the voter-data story back into the headlines. The story, published by The Intercept, accepted at face value an NSA report dated May 5, 2017 , that asserted Russia's military intelligence agency, the GRU, had carried out a spear-phishing attack on a US company providing election-related software and had sent e-mails with a malware-carrying word document to 122 addresses believed to be local government organizations.

But the highly classified NSA report made no reference to any evidence supporting such an attribution. The absence of any hint of signals intelligence supporting its conclusion makes it clear that the NSA report was based on nothing more than the same kind of inconclusive "indicators" that had been used to establish the original narrative of Russians hacking electoral databases.

A Checkered History

So, the history of the US government's claim that Russian intelligence hacked into election databases reveals it to be a clear case of politically motivated analysis by the DHS and the Intelligence Community. Not only was the claim based on nothing more than inherently inconclusive technical indicators but no credible motive for Russian intelligence wanting personal information on registered voters was ever suggested.

Russian intelligence certainly has an interest in acquiring intelligence related to the likely outcome of American elections, but it would make no sense for Russia's spies to acquire personal voting information about 90,000 registered voters in Illinois.

When FBI Counterintelligence chief Priestap was asked at the June 21 hearing how Moscow might use such personal data, his tortured effort at an explanation clearly indicated that he was totally unprepared to answer the question.

"They took the data to understand what it consisted of," said Priestap, "so they can affect better understanding and plan accordingly in regards to possibly impacting future election by knowing what is there and studying it."

In contrast to that befuddled non-explanation, there is highly credible evidence that the FBI was well aware that the actual hackers in the cases of both Illinois and Arizona were motivated by the hope of personal gain.

Gareth Porter, an investigative historian and journalist specializing in US national security policy, received the UK-based Gellhorn Prize for journalism for 2011 for articles on the U.S. war in Afghanistan. His new book is Manufactured Crisis: the Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare . He can be contacted at porter.gareth50@gmail.com . Reprinted from Consortium News with the author's permission.

Read more by Gareth Porter Why Afghanistan? Fighting a War for the War System Itself – June 13th, 2017 The Kissinger Backchannel to Moscow – June 4th, 2017 Will Trump Agree to the Pentagon's Permanent War in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria? – May 14th, 2017 US 'Deep State' Sold Out Counter-Terrorism To Keep Itself in Business – April 23rd, 2017 New Revelations Belie Trump Claims on Syria Chemical Attack – April 14th, 2017

View all posts by Gareth Porter

[Jun 24, 2017] Obama Ordered Cyberweapons Implanted Into Russias Infrastructure by Jason Ditz

Jun 23, 2017 | news.antiwar.com

Former Official: Implants Designed to 'Cause Them Pain and Discomfort'

A new report from the Washington Post today quoted a series of Obama Administration officials reiterating their official narrative on Russia's accused hacking of the 2016 election. While most of the article is simply rehashes and calls for sanctions, they also revealed a secret order by President Obama in the course of "retaliation" for the alleged hacking.

This previously secret order involved having US intelligence design and implant a series of cyberweapons into Russia's infrastructure systems, with officials saying they are meant to be activated remotely to hit the most important networks in Russia and are designed to " cause them pain and discomfort ."

The US has, of course, repeatedly threatened "retaliatory" cyberattacks against Russia, and promised to knock out broad parts of their economy in doing so. These appear to be the first specific plans to have actually infiltrate Russian networks and plant such weapons to do so.

Despite the long-standing nature of the threats, by the end of Obama's last term in office this was all still in the "planning" phases. It's not totally clear where this effort has gone from there, but officials say that the intelligence community, once given Obama's permission, did not need further approval from Trump to continue on with it, and he'd have actually had to issue a countermanding order, something they say he hasn't.

The details are actually pretty scant on how far along the effort is, but the goal is said to be for the US to have the ability to retaliate at a moment's notice the next time they have a cyberattack they intend to blame on Russia.

Unspoken in this lengthy report, which quotes unnamed former Obama Administration officials substantially, advocating the effort, is that in having reported that such a program exists, they've tipped off Russia about the threat.

This is, however, reflective of the priority of the former administration, which is to continuing hyping allegations that Russia got President Trump elected, a priority that's high enough to sacrifice what was supposed to be a highly secretive cyberattack operation.

[Jun 24, 2017] The Criminal Laws of Counterinsurgency by Todd E. Pierce

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Many "never-Trumpers" of both parties see the deep state's national security bureaucracy as their best hope to destroy Trump and thus defend constitutional government, but those hopes are misguided. ..."
"... As Michael Glennon, author of National Security and Double Government, pointed out in a June 2017 Harper's essay, if "the president maintains his attack, splintered and demoralized factions within the bureaucracy could actually support - not oppose - many potential Trump initiatives, such as stepped-up drone strikes, cyberattacks, covert action, immigration bans, and mass surveillance." ..."
"... Corraborative evidence of Valentine's thesis is, perhaps surprisingly, provided by the CIA's own website where a number of redacted historical documents have been published. Presumably, they are documents first revealed under the Freedom of Information Act. A few however are copies of news articles once available to the public but now archived by the CIA which has blacked-out portions of the articles. ..."
"... This led to an investigation by New Times in a day when there were still "investigative reporters," and not the government sycophants of today. Based on firsthand accounts, their investigation concluded that Operation Phoenix was the "only systematized kidnapping, torture and assassination program ever sponsored by the United States government. . . . Its victims were noncombatants." At least 40,000 were murdered, with "only" about 8,000 supposed Viet Cong political cadres targeted for execution, with the rest civilians (including women and children) killed and "later conveniently labeled VCI. Hundreds of thousands were jailed without trial, often after sadistic abuse." The article notes that Phoenix was conceived, financed, and directed by the Central Intelligence Agency ..."
"... But the article noted that one of the most persistent criticisms of Phoenix was that it resulted "in the arrest and imprisonment of many innocent civilians." These were called "Class C Communist offenders," some of whom may actually have been forced to commit such "belligerent acts" as digging trenches or carrying rice. It was those alleged as the "hard core, full-time cadre" who were deemed to make up the "shadow government" designated as Class A and B Viet Cong. ..."
"... Ironically, by the Bush administration's broad definition of "unlawful combatants," CIA officers and their support structure also would fit the category. But the American public is generally forgiving of its own war criminals though most self-righteous and hypocritical in judging foreign war criminals. But perhaps given sufficient evidence, the American public could begin to see both the immorality of this behavior and its counterproductive consequences. ..."
"... Talleyrand is credited with saying, "They have learned nothing and forgotten nothing." Reportedly, that was borrowed from a 1796 letter by a French naval officer, which stated, in the original language: Personne n'est corrigé; personne n'a su ni rien oublier ni rien appendre. In English: "Nobody has been corrected; no one has known to forget, nor yet to learn anything." That sums up the CIA leadership entirely. ..."
Jun 24, 2017 | original.antiwar.com

Douglas Valentine has once again added to the store of knowledge necessary for American citizens to understand how the U.S. government actually works today, in his most recent book entitled The CIA As Organized Crime . (Valentine previously wrote The Phoenix Program , which should be read with the current book.)

The US "deep state" – of which the CIA is an integral part – is an open secret now and the Phoenix Program (assassinations, death squads, torture, mass detentions, exploitation of information) has been its means of controlling populations. Consequently, knowing the deep state's methods is the only hope of building a democratic opposition to the deep state and to restore as much as possible the Constitutional system we had in previous centuries, as imperfect as it was.

Princeton University political theorist Sheldon Wolin described the US political system in place by 2003 as "inverted totalitarianism." He reaffirmed that in 2009 after seeing a year of the Obama administration. Correctly identifying the threat against constitutional governance is the first step to restore it, and as Wolin understood, substantive constitutional government ended long before Donald Trump campaigned. He's just taking unconstitutional governance to the next level in following the same path as his recent predecessors. However, even as some elements of the "deep state" seek to remove Trump, the President now has many "deep state" instruments in his own hands to be used at his unreviewable discretion.

Many "never-Trumpers" of both parties see the deep state's national security bureaucracy as their best hope to destroy Trump and thus defend constitutional government, but those hopes are misguided. After all, the deep state's bureaucratic leadership has worked arduously for decades to subvert constitutional order.

As Michael Glennon, author of National Security and Double Government, pointed out in a June 2017 Harper's essay, if "the president maintains his attack, splintered and demoralized factions within the bureaucracy could actually support - not oppose - many potential Trump initiatives, such as stepped-up drone strikes, cyberattacks, covert action, immigration bans, and mass surveillance."

Glennon noted that the propensity of "security managers" to back policies which ratchet up levels of security "will play into Trump's hands, so that if and when he finally does declare victory, a revamped security directorate could emerge more menacing than ever, with him its devoted new ally." Before that happens, it is incumbent for Americans to understand what Valentine explains in his book of CIA methods of "population control" as first fully developed in the Vietnam War's Phoenix Program.

Hating the US

There also must be the realization that our "national security" apparatchiks - principally but not solely the CIA - have served to exponentially increase the numbers of those people who hate the US.

Some of these people turn to terrorism as an expression of that hostility. Anyone who is at all familiar with the CIA and Al Qaeda knows that the CIA has been Al Qaeda's most important "combat multiplier" since 9/11, and the CIA can be said to have birthed ISIS as well with the mistreatment of incarcerated Iraqi men in US prisons in Iraq.

Indeed, by following the model of the Phoenix Program, the CIA must be seen in the Twenty-first Century as a combination of the ultimate "Murder, Inc.," when judged by the CIA's methods such as drone warfare and its victims; and the Keystone Kops, when the multiple failures of CIA policies are considered. This is not to make light of what the CIA does, but the CIA's misguided policies and practices have served to generate wrath, hatred and violence against Americans, which we see manifested in cities such as San Bernardino, Orlando, New York and Boston.

Pointing out the harm to Americans is not to dismiss the havoc that Americans under the influence of the CIA have perpetrated on foreign populations. But "morality" seems a lost virtue today in the US, which is under the influence of so much militaristic war propaganda that morality no longer enters into the equation in determining foreign policy.

In addition to the harm the CIA has caused to people around the world, the CIA works tirelessly at subverting its own government at home, as was most visible in the spying on and subversion of the torture investigation by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. The subversion of democracy also includes the role the CIA plays in developing and disseminating war propaganda as "information warfare," upon the American people. This is what the Rand Corporation under the editorship of Zalmay Khalilzad has described as "conditioning the battlefield," which begins with the minds of the American population.

Douglas Valentine discusses and documents the role of the CIA in disseminating pro-war propaganda and disinformation as complementary to the violent tactics of the Phoenix Program in Vietnam. Valentine explains that "before Phoenix was adopted as the model for policing the American empire, many US military commanders in Vietnam resisted the Phoenix strategy of targeting civilians with Einsatzgruppen-style 'special forces' and Gestapo-style secret police."

Military Commanders considered that type of program a flagrant violation of the Law of War. "Their main job is to zap the in-betweeners – you know, the people who aren't all the way with the government and aren't all the way with the Viet Cong either. They figure if you zap enough in-betweeners, people will begin to get the idea," according to one quote from The Phoenix Program referring to the unit tasked with much of the Phoenix operations.

Nazi Influences

Comparing the Phoenix Program and its operatives to "Einsatzgruppen-style 'special forces' and Gestapo-style secret police" is not a distortion of the strategic understanding of each. Both programs were extreme forms of repression operating under martial law principles where the slightest form of dissent was deemed to represent the work of the "enemy." Hitler's Bandit Hunters: The SS and the Nazi Occupation of Europe by Philip W. Blood describes German "Security Warfare" as practiced in World War II, which can be seen as identical in form to the Phoenix Program as to how the enemy is defined as anyone who is "potentially" a threat, deemed either "partizans" or terrorists.

That the Germans included entire racial categories in that does not change the underlying logic, which was, anyone deemed an internal enemy in a territory in which their military operated had to be "neutralized" by any means necessary. The US military and the South Vietnamese military governments operated under the same principles but not based on race, rather the perception that certain areas and villages were loyal to the Viet Cong.

This repressive doctrine was also not unique to the Nazis in Europe and the US military in Vietnam. Similar though less sophisticated strategies were used against the American Indians and by the imperial powers of the late Nineteenth and early Twentieth centuries, including by the US in its newly acquired territories of the Philippines and in the Caribbean. This "imperial policing," i.e., counterinsurgency, simply moved to more manipulative and, in ways, more violent levels.

That the US drew upon German counterinsurgency doctrine, as brutal as it was, is well documented. This is shown explicitly in a 2011 article published in the Journal of Military and Strategic Studies entitled German Counterinsurgency Revisited by Charles D. Melson. He wrote that in 1942, Nazi commander Heinrich Himmler named a deputy for "anti-bandit warfare," (Bevollmachtigter fur die Bandenkampfung im Osten), SS-General von dem Bach, whose responsibilities expanded in 1943 to head all SS and police anti-bandit units and operations. He was one of the architects of the Einsatzguppen "concept of anti-partisan warfare," a German predecessor to the "Phoenix Program."

'Anti-Partisan' Lessons

It wasn't a coincidence that this "anti-partisan" warfare concept should be adopted by US forces in Vietnam and retained to the present day. Melson pointed out that a "post-war German special forces officer described hunter or ranger units as 'men who knew every possible ruse and tactic of guerrilla warfare. They had gone through the hell of combat against the crafty partisans in the endless swamps and forests of Russia.'"

Consequently, "The German special forces and reconnaissance school was a sought after posting for North Atlantic Treaty Organization special operations personnel," who presumably included members of the newly created US Army Special Forces soldiers, which was in part headquartered at Bad Tolz in Germany, as well as CIA paramilitary officers.

Just as with the later Phoenix Program to the present-day US global counterinsurgency, Melson wrote that the "attitude of the [local] population and the amount of assistance it was willing to give guerilla units was of great concern to the Germans. Different treatment was supposed to be accorded to affected populations, bandit supporters, and bandits, while so-called population and resource control measures for each were noted (but were in practice, treated apparently one and the same). 'Action against enemy agitation' was the psychological or information operations of the Nazi period. The Nazis believed that, 'Because of the close relationship of guerilla warfare and politics, actions against enemy agitation are a task that is just as important as interdiction and combat actions. All means must be used to ward off enemy influence and waken and maintain a clear political will.'"

This is typical of any totalitarian system – a movement or a government – whether the process is characterized as counterinsurgency or internal security. The idea of any civilian collaboration with the "enemy" is the basis for what the US government charges as "conspiracy" in the Guantanamo Military Commissions.

Valentine explains the Phoenix program as having been developed by the CIA in 1967 to combine "existing counterinsurgency programs in a concerted effort to 'neutralize' the Vietcong infrastructure (VCI)." He explained further that "neutralize" meant "to kill, capture, or make to defect." "Infrastructure" meant civilians suspected of supporting North Vietnamese and Vietcong soldiers. Central to the Phoenix program was that its targets were civilians, making the operation a violation of the Geneva Conventions which guaranteed protection to civilians in time of war.

"The Vietnam's War's Silver Lining: A Bureaucratic Model for Population Control Emerges" is the title of Chapter 3. Valentine writes that the "CIA's Phoenix program changed how America fights its wars and how the public views this new type of political and psychological warfare, in which civilian casualties are an explicit objective." The intent of the Phoenix program evolved from "neutralizing" enemy leaders into "a program of systematic repression for the political control of the South Vietnamese people. It sought to accomplish this through a highly bureaucratized system of disposing of people who could not be ideologically assimilated." The CIA claimed a legal basis for the program in "emergency decrees" and orders for "administrative detention."

Lauding Petraeus

Valentine refers to a paper by David Kilcullen entitled Countering Global Insurgency. Kilcullen is one of the so-called "counterinsurgency experts" whom General David Petraeus gathered together in a cell to promote and refine "counterinsurgency," or COIN, for the modern era. Fred Kaplan, who is considered a "liberal author and journalist" at Slate, wrote a panegyric to these cultists entitled, The Insurgents: David Petraeus and the Plot to Change the American Way of War. The purpose of this cell was to change the practices of the US military into that of "imperial policing," or COIN, as they preferred to call it.

But Kilcullen argued in his paper that "The 'War on Terrorism'" is actually a campaign to counter a global insurgency. Therefore, Kilcullen argued, "we need a new paradigm, capable of addressing globalised insurgency." His "disaggregation strategy" called for "actions to target the insurgent infrastructure that would resemble the unfairly maligned (but highly effective) Vietnam-era Phoenix program."

He went on, "Contrary to popular mythology, this was largely a civilian aid and development program, supported by targeted military pacification operations and intelligence activity to disrupt the Viet Cong Infrastructure. A global Phoenix program (including the other key elements that formed part of the successful Vietnam CORDS system) would provide a useful start point to consider how Disaggregation would develop in practice."

It is readily apparent that, in fact, a Phoenix-type program is now US global policy and - just like in Vietnam - it is applying "death squad" strategies that eliminate not only active combatants but also civilians who simply find themselves in the same vicinity, thus creating antagonisms that expand the number of fighters.

Corraborative evidence of Valentine's thesis is, perhaps surprisingly, provided by the CIA's own website where a number of redacted historical documents have been published. Presumably, they are documents first revealed under the Freedom of Information Act. A few however are copies of news articles once available to the public but now archived by the CIA which has blacked-out portions of the articles.

The Bloody Reality

One "sanitized" article - approved for release in 2011 - is a partially redacted New Times article of Aug. 22, 1975, by Michael Drosnin. The article recounts a story of a US Army counterintelligence officer "who directed a small part of a secret war aimed not at the enemy's soldiers but at its civilian leaders." He describes how a CIA-directed Phoenix operative dumped a bag of "eleven bloody ears" as proof of six people killed.

The officer, who recalled this incident in 1971, said, "It made me sick. I couldn't go on with what I was doing in Vietnam. . . . It was an assassination campaign . . . my job was to identify and eliminate VCI, the Viet Cong 'infrastructure' – the communist's shadow government. I worked directly with two Vietnamese units, very tough guys who didn't wear uniforms . . . In the beginning they brought back about 10 percent alive. By the end they had stopped taking prisoners.

"How many VC they got I don't know. I saw a hell of a lot of dead bodies. We'd put a tag on saying VCI, but no one really knew – it was just some native in black pajamas with 16 bullet holes."

This led to an investigation by New Times in a day when there were still "investigative reporters," and not the government sycophants of today. Based on firsthand accounts, their investigation concluded that Operation Phoenix was the "only systematized kidnapping, torture and assassination program ever sponsored by the United States government. . . . Its victims were noncombatants." At least 40,000 were murdered, with "only" about 8,000 supposed Viet Cong political cadres targeted for execution, with the rest civilians (including women and children) killed and "later conveniently labeled VCI. Hundreds of thousands were jailed without trial, often after sadistic abuse." The article notes that Phoenix was conceived, financed, and directed by the Central Intelligence Agency, as Mr. Valentine writes.

A second article archived by the CIA was by the Christian Science Monitor, dated Jan. 5, 1971, describing how the Saigon government was "taking steps that could help eliminate one of the most glaring abuses of its controversial Phoenix program, which is aimed against the Viet Cong political and administrative apparatus." Note how the Monitor shifted blame away from the CIA and onto the South Vietnamese government.

But the article noted that one of the most persistent criticisms of Phoenix was that it resulted "in the arrest and imprisonment of many innocent civilians." These were called "Class C Communist offenders," some of whom may actually have been forced to commit such "belligerent acts" as digging trenches or carrying rice. It was those alleged as the "hard core, full-time cadre" who were deemed to make up the "shadow government" designated as Class A and B Viet Cong.

Yet "security committees" throughout South Vietnam, under the direction of the CIA, sentenced at least 10,000 "Class C civilians" to prison each year, far more than Class A and B combined. The article stated, "Thousands of these prisoners are never brought to court trial, and thousands of other have never been sentenced." The latter statement would mean they were just held in "indefinite detention," like the prisoners held at Guantanamo and other US detention centers with high levels of CIA involvement.

Not surprisingly to someone not affiliated with the CIA, the article found as well that "Individual case histories indicate that many who have gone to prison as active supporters of neither the government nor the Viet Cong come out as active backers of the Viet Cong and with an implacable hatred of the government." In other words, the CIA and the COIN enthusiasts are achieving the same results today with the prisons they set up in Iraq and Afghanistan.

CIA Crimes

Valentine broadly covers the illegalities of the CIA over the years, including its well-documented role in facilitating the drug trade over the years. But, in this reviewer's opinion, his most valuable contribution is his description of the CIA's participation going back at least to the Vietnam War in the treatment of what the US government today calls "unlawful combatants."

"Unlawful combatants" is a descriptive term made up by the Bush administration to remove people whom US officials alleged were "terrorists" from the legal protections of the Geneva Conventions and Human Rights Law and thus to justify their capture or killing in the so-called "Global War on Terror." Since the US government deems them "unlawful" – because they do not belong to an organized military structure and do not wear insignia – they are denied the "privilege" of belligerency that applies to traditional soldiers. But – unless they take a "direct part in hostilities" – they would still maintain their civilian status under the law of war and thus not lose the legal protection due to civilians even if they exhibit sympathy or support to one side in a conflict.

Ironically, by the Bush administration's broad definition of "unlawful combatants," CIA officers and their support structure also would fit the category. But the American public is generally forgiving of its own war criminals though most self-righteous and hypocritical in judging foreign war criminals. But perhaps given sufficient evidence, the American public could begin to see both the immorality of this behavior and its counterproductive consequences.

This is not to condemn all CIA officers, some of whom acted in good faith that they were actually defending the United States by acquiring information on a professed enemy in the tradition of Nathan Hale. But it is to harshly condemn those CIA officials and officers who betrayed the United States by subverting its Constitution, including waging secret wars against foreign countries without a declaration of war by Congress. And it decidedly condemns the CIA war criminals who acted as a law unto themselves in the torture and murder of foreign nationals, as Valentine's book describes.

Talleyrand is credited with saying, "They have learned nothing and forgotten nothing." Reportedly, that was borrowed from a 1796 letter by a French naval officer, which stated, in the original language: Personne n'est corrigé; personne n'a su ni rien oublier ni rien appendre. In English: "Nobody has been corrected; no one has known to forget, nor yet to learn anything." That sums up the CIA leadership entirely.

Douglas Valentine's book is a thorough documentation of that fact and it is essential reading for all Americans if we are to have any hope for salvaging a remnant of representative government.

Todd E. Pierce retired as a Major in the US Army Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps in November 2012. His most recent assignment was defense counsel in the Office of Chief Defense Counsel, Office of Military Commissions. This originally appeared at ConsortiumNews.com .

Read more by Todd E. Pierce Inciting Wars the American Way – August 14th, 2016 Chicago Police Adopt Israeli Tactics – December 13th, 2015 US War Theories Target Dissenters – September 13th, 2015 Ron Paul and Lost Lessons of War – September 1st, 2015 Has the US Constitution Been Lost to Military Rule?– January 4th, 2015

[Jun 15, 2017] Seveteen Sisters -- 17 US Agencies Make Up The Most Sophisticated Spy Network In The World by Paul Szoldra

May 11, 2013 | www.businessinsider.com

The U.S. intelligence community is vast , composed of 17 distinct organizations each operating under its own shroud of secrecy.

Oversight of these agencies generally falls to the Department of Defense or Congress, leaving the average citizen with precious little knowledge of how they operate.

Funded by largely classified budgets, it's difficult to assess how much the U.S. annually spends on these clandestine operations, but one 2012 estimate pegs the cost at about $75 billion.

The following slides highlight the expansive reach of the U.S. intelligence community.

The Central Intelligence Agency spies on foreign governments and organizes covert ops. screenshot

The CIA is the most well-known U.S. spying agency, formed by the passage of the National Security Act of 1947. The agency has its roots with the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) that operated during World War II.

Headquarters : Langley, Va.

Mission : CIA collects, analyzes, and disseminates intelligence gathered on foreign nations. This comes through signals and human intelligence sources.

Budget : Classified. On their website , the CIA states, "neither the number of employees nor the size of the Agency's budget can, at present, be publicly disclosed. A common misconception is that the Agency has an unlimited budget, which is far from true."

the annual intelligence budget was $44 billion.

The National Security Agency was once so secretive it was jokingly called 'No Such Agency.' NSA Headquarters at Fort Meade, Maryland NSA

The NSA was No Such Agency ."

Headquarters : Fort Meade, Md.

Budget : Classified. Some estimate the NSA is actually the largest intelligence organization in the world - three times the size of the CIA. The headquarters alone takes up 6.3 million square feet - around the same size as the Pentagon - with 112 acres of parking spaces, reports the Washington Post.

The Defense Intelligence Agency works to understand what foreign militaries will do before they do it. DIA its overseas spy network to collect first-hand intelligence.

Headquarters : Washington, D.C.

Mission : The DIA serves as the lead intelligence agency for the Dept. of Defense, coordinating analysis and collection of intelligence on foreign militaries, in addition to surveillance and reconnaissance operations. The DIA is the common link between military and national intelligence agencies.

Budget : Classified. The DIA does not reveal budget information, although they do say they have more than 16,500 men and women working for them and are under DoD and congressional oversight.

The State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research provides diplomats the necessary tools for effective foreign policy.

The State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) has ties to the Office of Strategic Services from World War II, but was transferred to State after the war. INR now reports directly to the Secretary of State, harnessing intelligence from all sources and offering independent analysis of global events and real-time insight.

Headquarters : Washington, D.C.

Mission : This agency serves as the Secretary of State's primary advisor on intelligence matters, and gives support to other policymakers, ambassadors, and embassy staff.

Budget : $49 million in 2007, according to documents obtained by FAS.

Air Force Intelligence provides reconnaissance for US ground troops.

Formerly known as the Air Intelligence Agency, the agency is now known as the Air Force ISR - Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance. Air Force intelligence was established in 1948 to get information to troops on the ground, and most recently, the ISR has collected that intelligence from aerial drones.

Headquarters : Lackland Air Force Base, Texas

Mission : Air Force ISR collects and analyzes intelligence on foreign nations and hostile forces, both in and out of combat zones. They also conduct electronic and photographic surveillance, and provide weather and mapping data to troops in the field.

Budget : Unknown . The budget of ISR apparently falls under the Air Force's Operation & Maintenance budget, which includes other areas outside of the agency's scope such as flying operations and logistics. That number for 2012, however, was just over $46 million.

The FBI's National Security Branch oversees counterterrorism and intelligence gathering.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation's National Security Branch (NSB) was established in 2005 , combining resources that include counterterrorism, counter-intelligence, weapons of mass destruction, and intelligence under a single FBI leader.

Headquarters : Washington, D.C.

Mission : Formed after 9/11 and the Iraq WMD commission - when intelligence agencies were not sharing data with each other - the NSB integrates intel on national security and criminal threats from a variety of sources that are often intertwined in order to protect U.S. interests.

Budget : Total FBI budget was approximately $8.1 billion in 2012, which included an increase of $119 million "to enhance our counterterrorism, computer intrusions, and other programs," according to their website.

Army Intelligence and Security Command offers essential intel to troops on the battlefield.

Army intelligence has been around since spies worked for the Continental Army in 1775 , but the U.S. Army's Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM) was established in 1977 to become the major unifying command of army intelligence.

Headquarters : Fort Belvoir, Va.

Mission : INSCOM provides commanders on the ground with information they may need on the battlefield: intercepted enemy radio communications, maps, ground imagery, and information on force structure and numbers.

Budget : Unknown. The total military intelligence budget was $21.5 billion in 2012.

The Department of Energy, Office of Intelligence and Counterintelligence gathers information on foreign nuclear weapons.

Surprisingly, the Energy Department even has an intelligence service. The Office of Intelligence and Counterintelligence focuses on technical intelligence on nuclear weapons and nonproliferation, nuclear energy (especially foreign), and energy security.

Headquarters : Washington, D.C.

Mission : The Dept. of Energy doesn't have the ability to conduct foreign intelligence, instead relying on information passed to them by other agencies (such as the CIA or NSA). If it involves weapons of mass destruction, the DoE offers up the analytical expertise.

Budget : Unknown. Like other government budgets, the intelligence activity is not specifically mentioned, although it may fall under "Atomic Energy Defense Activities" which had a total budget of more than $16 billion in 2012.

Coast Guard Intelligence provides information on maritime security and homeland defense.

Coast Guard Intelligence (CGI) was formed in 1915 and now falls under the Dept. of Homeland Security, providing information on maritime and port security, search and rescue, and counter-narcotics.

Headquarters : Washington, D.C.

Mission : Although CGI is technically an intelligence agency, its primary mission is as an investigative arm of the Coast Guard. CGI special agents "conduct criminal, counterintelligence and personnel security investigations within the Coast Guard's area of responsibility," with the majority being criminal offenses violating military law, according to the Coast Guard's official website . However, the Coast Guard does have specialists conducting analysis and collection of intelligence.

Budget : Unknown. Like the Army, the budget has some overlap, although the 2014 budget request includes $60 million for C4ISR systems, an acronym for Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance.

CGI headquarters is relatively small, only employing about 280 .

The Treasury's Office of Intelligence and Analysis collects terrorism and financial intelligence.

The Office of Intelligence and Analysis is fairly new, established in 2004 by the Intelligence Authorization Act. OIA's focus is mainly on providing information to combat terrorism and illicit financial transactions.

Headquarters : Washington, D.C.

Mission : OIA safeguards the U.S. financial system "against illicit use and combating rogue nations, terrorist facilitators, weapons of mass destruction proliferators, money launderers, drug kingpins, and other national security threats," according to DNI.

Budget : Around $340 million.

The Drug Enforcement Administration hunts down illegal drugs.

The DEA has been gathering intelligence for anti-drug operations since its establishment in 1973 . The agency collects and provides intelligence to other law enforcement agencies and helps with investigations.

Headquarters : El Paso, Texas

Mission : DEA assists local and federal law enforcement in conducting major drug investigations, along with developing "information that leads to seizures and arrests, and provid[ing] policy makers with drug trend information upon which programmatic decisions can be based," according to their website.

Budget : $2 billion (total DEA budget in 2013)

The Marine Corps Intelligence Activity monitors the Corp's battlefields.

Like Army intelligence, the Marine Corps provides their own agency to collect and analyze information for troops on the ground. This includes map making, radio intercepts, human intelligence, and counter-intelligence.

Headquarters : Quantico, Va.

Mission : The primary function of Marine IA is to give tactical and operational intelligence to battlefield commanders. They also serve as the "go-to" unit for the Commandant of the Marine Corps on understanding intel.

Budget : Unknown. The total military intelligence budget was $21.5 billion in 2012.

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency provides advanced mapping for military forces.

Having its roots from the 1972 formation of the Defense Mapping Agency and formerly known as NIMA , the agency was renamed the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency in 2003 . The agency has the task of collecting and understanding Earth's physical and man-made attributes. Using advanced imagery (mainly from satellites), it was NGA watching Osama bin Laden's compound in Pakistan.

Headquarters : Ft. Belvoir, Va.

Mission : NGA employs cartographers and analysts that collect and generate information about the Earth. This data is used in navigation, national security, military operations, and humanitarian aid efforts.

Budget : Classified . NGA employs approximately 14,500 government civilians.

The National Reconnaissance Office is responsible for America's spy satellites.

While the NGA is responsible for gaining information from satellite data, the National Reconnaissance Office - created secretly in 1961 and not acknowledged until 1992 - is in charge with satellite design, building, launch, and maintenance.

Headquarters : Chantilly, Va.

Mission : NRO gives its mission as "innovative overhead intelligence systems for national security." Simply put, the NRO provides their "customers" at the CIA, DoD, and elsewhere with technologically advanced spy satellites.

Budget : Classified .

The Office of Naval Intelligence provides information on the world's oceans to sailors everywhere.

The Office of Naval Intelligence was established in 1882 for "the purpose of collecting and recording naval information" that could be useful in war and peace. Like other military intelligence services, ONI gives maritime commanders information they need on foreign forces.

Headquarters : Washington, D.C.

Mission : ONI gathers intelligence and moves it rapidly to decision makers. "We produce maritime intelligence on weapons and technology proliferation and smuggling and illicit maritime activities that directly supports the U.S. Navy, joint war fighters and national decision makers and agencies," according to their website.

Budget : Unknown. The total military intelligence budget was $21.5 billion in 2012.

The Department of Homeland Security Office of Intelligence and Analysis looks for information on any potential threats to the US.

The DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis works primarily on homeland threats - collecting and analyzing information, and sharing intelligence with local and federal law enforcement through the use of " fusion centers ."

Headquarters : Washington, D.C.

Mission : They work on four main areas: understanding threats through analysis, collecting information relevant to homeland security, sharing that information with the agencies that need it, and managing the homeland security enterprise, according to DNI.

Budget : Classified. In a Congressional Research Service report , it was noted that "DNI does not publicly disclose details about the intelligence budget, but ... reported that the aggregate amount appropriated to the [national intelligence program] for FY2009 was $49.8 billion."

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence is where all the intelligence should come together for delivery to the president.

Established in 2004 , the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) manages the efforts of the entire U.S. intelligence community. Director James R. Clapper serves as the principal advisor to the president as well as the National Security and Homeland Security Councils.

Headquarters : Washington, D.C.

Mission : The DNI has two main missions: to lead intelligence integration, and "forge an intelligence community that delivers the most insightful intelligence possible."

Budget : The specifics of the office itself are unknown, but the total aggregate amount for the national intelligence program is more than $48 billion.

BONUS: The 'intelligence state' has been expanding drastically since 9/11. Gary Nichols via U.S. Military

The U.S. intelligence community is officially made of 17 organizations, but there is even more to the story.

A groundbreaking investigation from the Washington Post found some rather daunting figures:

- 1,271 government organizations and 1,931 private companies are working on intelligence, counterterrorism, or homeland security in the U.S.

- Just the NSA alone is contracting with more than 250 companies on intelligence work, including big names like Northrop Grumman and SAIC.

- Many intelligence agencies are doing redundant work, such as 51 federal and military organizations that track the flow of money in and out of terror networks.

- One reason why those intelligence budgets are classified: millions of dollars in so-called "ghost money" given to foreign governments.

[Jun 15, 2017] Many Americans know that MSM are either feeding them unadulterated bs or lying by omission so they actually make a real effort to find out more – whether they agree with it or not – but are faced with having to wade through rivers of spam in comments. It is dispiriting to say the least.

Notable quotes:
"... Lots of people out there (Hello lurkers!) know that the Pork Pie News Networks are either feeding them unadulterated bs or lying by omission so actually make a real effort to find out more – whether they agree with it or not – but are faced with having to wade through rivers of f/ktard commenters. It is dispiriting to say the least. ..."
"... That may well be the idea, particularly those organizations that want to hose a and discredit alternative media sites (sic the JTRIG program and the likes of Brigade 77 and digilogues that have been running for years). If you can hack it, you probably think a) does this make sense? b) who is bono? c) timing, timing, timing.. d) is anything logically missing from the picture/story? e) if so, what conclusions can we draw from that? etc. It's not easy. ..."
"... Once upon a time we had newspaper columnists to do our thinking for us who we would religiously read. Now it is each one for themselves. What a pain in the ass. Fortunately we have the Kremlin Stooge and a bunch of other sites to help! :-) ..."
"... Don't miss the link to TTG's comment on leaks at Sic Semper Tyrannis! ..."
"... Yet again, you do not get this kind of information from the Pork Pie News Networks, the same ones who cosy up to the security services in return for juicy tidbits and also rubbish 'alternative news/websites/blogs'. ..."
"... the notion of compartmentalized operational security and broad state electronic surveillance of the population are mutually exclusive. ..."
Jun 09, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com
at Al, June 7, 2017 at 7:17 am

Vis the Reality Winner leaking 'proof' of Russian hacking of US elections, PavewayIV's comment on Moon of Alabama says it all:

http://www.moonofalabama.org/2017/06/do-not-trust-the-intercept-or-how-to-burn-a-source.html#c6a00d8341c640e53ef01b8d28a09f7970c

####

He's one of a handful of good commenters there among the nutbags, antisemites, conspiracy theorists etc. It's one of the things that really bugs me about great (supposedly) alternative news/opinion/blogs. They always get immediately contaminated by all sorts of narcissistic 'tards who just want to s/t the bed for everyone else, particularly the flyby trolls. Lots of people out there (Hello lurkers!) know that the Pork Pie News Networks are either feeding them unadulterated bs or lying by omission so actually make a real effort to find out more – whether they agree with it or not – but are faced with having to wade through rivers of f/ktard commenters. It is dispiriting to say the least.

That may well be the idea, particularly those organizations that want to hose a and discredit alternative media sites (sic the JTRIG program and the likes of Brigade 77 and digilogues that have been running for years). If you can hack it, you probably think a) does this make sense? b) who is bono? c) timing, timing, timing.. d) is anything logically missing from the picture/story? e) if so, what conclusions can we draw from that? etc. It's not easy.

Once upon a time we had newspaper columnists to do our thinking for us who we would religiously read. Now it is each one for themselves. What a pain in the ass. Fortunately we have the Kremlin Stooge and a bunch of other sites to help! :-)

et Al , June 7, 2017 at 7:43 am
'Ghostship' elucidates how Reality Winner would have access to top class info;

http://www.moonofalabama.org/2017/06/do-not-trust-the-intercept-or-how-to-burn-a-source.html#c6a00d8341c640e53ef01b7c9000590970b

####

My only thoughts are, wouldn't such info be compartmentalized (standard operating procedure, innit?), i.e. a 'translator' would not have free and unlimited access, but rather have access to only very specific highly secret info? If there are that many translators out there, then compartmentalization would work very well. It is totally counter intuitive, nay stupid , to allow free range to anyone but the top of the top. More people, more chance of leaks, accidents or incomptence.

et Al , June 7, 2017 at 7:50 am
Ah, I should have read on. PavewayIV again:

http://www.moonofalabama.org/2017/06/do-not-trust-the-intercept-or-how-to-burn-a-source.html#c6a00d8341c640e53ef01bb09a3288d970d

####

Don't miss the link to TTG's comment on leaks at Sic Semper Tyrannis!

Yet again, you do not get this kind of information from the Pork Pie News Networks, the same ones who cosy up to the security services in return for juicy tidbits and also rubbish 'alternative news/websites/blogs'.

marknesop , June 7, 2017 at 8:09 pm
Indeed it is; Secret and Top secret information is made available to those who

(1) are cleared to the appropriate level, and

(2) have the need to know.

It's "and". Not "or". Top Secret information may not be viewed by anyone with a Top Secret security clearance – only by those who need to know that information to carry out their duties related to it.

Information may actually specify, "Top Secret – Eyes Only" in which the personnel holding a Top Secret clearance who may view the material are either listed, or it is restricted only to the addressee.

yalensis , June 8, 2017 at 2:34 am
I dunno, because that whole Snowden thing revealed a lot of holes in the American security apparatus. Snowden himself was surprised just how much stuff he was able to access, and he was just a contractor at the time, not even a permanent employee.
marknesop , June 8, 2017 at 5:37 am
Well, yes, because the notion of compartmentalized operational security and broad state electronic surveillance of the population are mutually exclusive.

But to the very best of my knowledge Snowden did not reveal any secrets of America's defense systems, its operational structure, its past military operations or its future plans in that area, if he knew them. The damaging information he disclosed all related to American spying on foreign leaders and the American electorate

[Jun 13, 2017] NBCs Kelly Hits Putin With a Beloved Canard by Ray McGovern

Notable quotes:
"... "They have been misled and they are not analyzing the information in its entirety. We have talked about it with former President Obama and with several other officials. No one ever showed me any direct evidence. When we spoke with President Obama about that, you know, you should probably better ask him about it – I think he will tell you that he, too, is confident of it. But when he and I talked I saw that he, too, started having doubts. At any rate, that's how I saw it." ..."
"... As I noted in a Jan. 20 article about Obama's news conference two days earlier, "Did President Barack Obama acknowledge that the extraordinary propaganda campaign to blame Russia for helping Donald Trump become president has a very big hole in it, i.e., that the US intelligence community has no idea how the Democratic emails reached WikiLeaks? For weeks, eloquent obfuscation – expressed with 'high confidence' – has been the name of the game, but inadvertent admissions now are dispelling some of the clouds. ..."
"... "Hackers may be anywhere," Putin said. "There may be hackers, by the way, in the United States who very craftily and professionally passed the buck to Russia. Can't you imagine such a scenario? In the middle of an internal political fight, it was convenient for them, whatever the reason, to put out that information. And put it out they did. And, doing it, they made a reference to Russia. Can't you imagine it happening? I can. ..."
"... "Let us recall the assassination of President Kennedy. There is a theory that Kennedy's assassination was arranged by the United States special services. If this theory is correct, and one cannot rule it out, so what can be easier in today's context, being able to rely on the entire technical capabilities available to special services than to organize some kind of attacks in the appropriate manner while making a reference to Russia in the process. " ..."
"... The capabilities shown in what WikiLeaks calls the "Vault 7" trove of CIA documents required the creation of hundreds of millions of lines of source code. At $25 per line of code, that amounts to about $2.5 billion for each 100 million code lines. But the Deep State has that kind of money and would probably consider the expenditure a good return on investment for "proving" the Russians hacked into Democratic Party emails. ..."
"... In other words, it is altogether possible that the hacking attributed to Russia was actually one of several "active measures" undertaken by a cabal consisting of the CIA, FBI, NSA and Clapper – the same agencies responsible for the lame, evidence-free report of Jan. 6, that Clapper and Brennan acknowledged last month was not the consensus view of the 17 intelligence agencies. ..."
"... There is also the issue of the forensics. Former FBI Director James Comey displayed considerable discomfort on March 20, explaining to the House Intelligence Committee why the FBI did not insist on getting physical access to the Democratic National Committee's computers in order to do its own proper forensics, but chose to rely on the examination done by the DNC's private contractor, Crowdstrike. ..."
"... The firm itself has conflicts of interests in its links to the pro-NATO and anti-Russia think tank, the Atlantic Council, through Dmitri Alperovitch, who is an Atlantic Council senior fellow and the co-founder of Crowdstrike. ..."
"... Given the stakes involved in the Russia-gate investigation – now including a possible impeachment battle over removing the President of the United States – wouldn't it seem logical for the FBI to insist on its own forensics for this fundamental predicate of the case? Or could Comey's hesitancy to demand access to the DNC's computers be explained by a fear that FBI technicians not fully briefed on CIA/NSA/FBI Deep State programs might uncover a lot more than he wanted? ..."
Jun 13, 2017 | original.antiwar.com

To prove their chops, mainstream media stars can't wait to go head-to-head with a demonized foreign leader, like Vladimir Putin, and let him have it, even if their "facts" are wrong, as Megyn Kelly showed

NBC's Megyn Kelly wielded one of Official Washington's most beloved groupthinks to smack Russian President Vladimir Putin over his denials that he and his government were responsible for hacking Democratic emails and interfering with the U.S. presidential election.

In her June 2 interview with Putin, Kelly noted that all "17 intelligence agencies" of the US government concurred in their conclusion of Russian guilt and how could Putin suggest that they all are "lying." It's an argument that has been used to silence skeptics for months and apparently is so useful that no one seems to care that it isn't true.

For instance, on May 8, in testimony before a Senate Judiciary subcommittee, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper conceded publicly that the number of intelligence agencies involved in the assessment was three, not 17, and that the analysts assigned to the project from CIA, FBI and NSA had been "handpicked."

On May 23, in testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, former CIA Director John Brennan confirmed Clapper's account about the three agencies involved. "It wasn't a full interagency community assessment that was coordinated among the 17 agencies," Brennan acknowledged.

But those public admissions haven't stopped Democrats and the mainstream media from continuing to repeat the false claim. In comments on May 31, failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton repeated the canard, with a flourish, saying: "Seventeen agencies, all in agreement, which I know from my experience as a Senator and Secretary of State, is hard to get."

A couple of days later, Kelly revived the myth of the consensus among the 17 intelligence agencies in her interview with the Russian president. But Putin passed up the opportunity to correct her, replying instead:

"They have been misled and they are not analyzing the information in its entirety. We have talked about it with former President Obama and with several other officials. No one ever showed me any direct evidence. When we spoke with President Obama about that, you know, you should probably better ask him about it – I think he will tell you that he, too, is confident of it. But when he and I talked I saw that he, too, started having doubts. At any rate, that's how I saw it."

As I noted in a Jan. 20 article about Obama's news conference two days earlier, "Did President Barack Obama acknowledge that the extraordinary propaganda campaign to blame Russia for helping Donald Trump become president has a very big hole in it, i.e., that the US intelligence community has no idea how the Democratic emails reached WikiLeaks? For weeks, eloquent obfuscation – expressed with 'high confidence' – has been the name of the game, but inadvertent admissions now are dispelling some of the clouds.

"At President Obama's Jan. 18 press conference, he admitted as much: 'the conclusions of the intelligence community with respect to the Russian hacking were not conclusive as to whether WikiLeaks was witting or not in being the conduit through which we heard about the DNC e-mails that were leaked .'" [Emphasis added]

Explaining the Technology

More importantly, Putin in his interview with Kelly points out that "today's technology" enables hacking to be "masked and camouflaged to an extent that no one can understand the origin" of the hack. "And, vice versa, it is possible to set up any entity or any individual that everyone will think that they are the exact source of that attack. Modern technology is very sophisticated and subtle and allows this to be done. And when we realize that we will get rid of all the illusions. "

Later, when Kelly came back to the issue of hacking, Putin expanded on the difficulty in tracing the source of cyber attacks.

"Hackers may be anywhere," Putin said. "There may be hackers, by the way, in the United States who very craftily and professionally passed the buck to Russia. Can't you imagine such a scenario? In the middle of an internal political fight, it was convenient for them, whatever the reason, to put out that information. And put it out they did. And, doing it, they made a reference to Russia. Can't you imagine it happening? I can.

"Let us recall the assassination of President Kennedy. There is a theory that Kennedy's assassination was arranged by the United States special services. If this theory is correct, and one cannot rule it out, so what can be easier in today's context, being able to rely on the entire technical capabilities available to special services than to organize some kind of attacks in the appropriate manner while making a reference to Russia in the process. "

Kelly: "Let's move on."

However carefully Megyn Kelly and her NBC colleagues peruse The New York Times, they might well not know WikiLeaks' disclosure on March 31 of original CIA documents showing that the agency had created a program allowing it to break into computers and servers and make it look like others did it by leaving telltale signs (like Cyrillic markings, for example).

The capabilities shown in what WikiLeaks calls the "Vault 7" trove of CIA documents required the creation of hundreds of millions of lines of source code. At $25 per line of code, that amounts to about $2.5 billion for each 100 million code lines. But the Deep State has that kind of money and would probably consider the expenditure a good return on investment for "proving" the Russians hacked into Democratic Party emails.

In other words, it is altogether possible that the hacking attributed to Russia was actually one of several "active measures" undertaken by a cabal consisting of the CIA, FBI, NSA and Clapper – the same agencies responsible for the lame, evidence-free report of Jan. 6, that Clapper and Brennan acknowledged last month was not the consensus view of the 17 intelligence agencies.

There is also the issue of the forensics. Former FBI Director James Comey displayed considerable discomfort on March 20, explaining to the House Intelligence Committee why the FBI did not insist on getting physical access to the Democratic National Committee's computers in order to do its own proper forensics, but chose to rely on the examination done by the DNC's private contractor, Crowdstrike.

The firm itself has conflicts of interests in its links to the pro-NATO and anti-Russia think tank, the Atlantic Council, through Dmitri Alperovitch, who is an Atlantic Council senior fellow and the co-founder of Crowdstrike.

Strange Oversight

Given the stakes involved in the Russia-gate investigation – now including a possible impeachment battle over removing the President of the United States – wouldn't it seem logical for the FBI to insist on its own forensics for this fundamental predicate of the case? Or could Comey's hesitancy to demand access to the DNC's computers be explained by a fear that FBI technicians not fully briefed on CIA/NSA/FBI Deep State programs might uncover a lot more than he wanted?

Comey was asked again about this curious oversight on June 8 by Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Richard Burr:

BURR: "And the FBI, in this case, unlike other cases that you might investigate – did you ever have access to the actual hardware that was hacked? Or did you have to rely on a third party to provide you the data that they had collected?"

COMEY: "In the case of the DNC, and, I believe, the DCCC, but I'm sure the DNC, we did not have access to the devices themselves. We got relevant forensic information from a private party, a high-class entity, that had done the work. But we didn't get direct access."

BURR: "But no content?"

COMEY: "Correct."

BURR: "Isn't content an important part of the forensics from a counterintelligence standpoint?"

COMEY: "It is, although what was briefed to me by my folks – the people who were my folks at the time is that they had gotten the information from the private party that they needed to understand the intrusion by the spring of 2016."

Burr demurred on asking Comey to explain what amounts to gross misfeasance, if not worse. Perhaps, NBC could arrange for Megyn Kelly to interview Burr to ask if he has a clue as to what Putin might have been referring to when he noted, "There may be hackers, by the way, in the United States who very craftily and professionally passed the buck to Russia."

Given the congressional intelligence "oversight" committees' obsequiousness and repeated "high esteem" for the "intelligence community," there seems an even chance that – no doubt because of an oversight – the CIA/FBI/NSA deep-stage troika failed to brief the Senate "oversight committee" chairman on WikiLeaks "Vault 7" disclosures – even when WikiLeaks publishes original CIA documents.

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. He was an Army Infantry/Intelligence officer and CIA analyst for a total of 30 years and now servers on the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS). Reprinted with permission from Consortium News .

[Jun 08, 2017] NSA Denies Everything About Latest Intercept Leak, Including Denying Something That Was Never Claimed

Notable quotes:
"... Targeting telco and ISP systems administrators goes well outside the bounds of "national security." These people aren't suspected terrorists. They're just people inconveniently placed between the NSA and its goal of " collecting it all ." ..."
"... The NSA's own documents say that QUANTUMHAND "exploits the computer of a target that uses Facebook." The man-on-the-side attack impersonates a server , not the site itself. The NSA denies impersonating, but that's not what The Intercept said or what its own documents state. This animated explanation, using the NSA's Powerpoint presentation, shows what the attack does -- it tips the TURBINE servers, which then send the malware payload before the Facebook servers can respond. ..."
"... To the end user, it looks as though Facebook is just running slowly. ..."
"... When the NSA says it doesn't impersonate sites, it truly doesn't. It injects malware by beating Facebook server response time. It doesn't serve up faux Facebook pages; it simply grabs the files and data from compromised computers. ..."
"... The exploit is almost wholly divorced from Facebook itself. The social media site is an opportunity for malware deployment, and the NSA doesn't need to impersonate a site to achieve its aims. This is the NSA maintaining deniability in the face of damning allegations -- claiming something was said that actually wasn't and resorting to (ultimately futile) attempts to portray journalists as somehow less trustworthy than the agency. ..."
"... At this point, the mere fact that the NSA denies doing something is almost enough to convince me that they are doing it. I'm trying not to be paranoid. They just make it so difficult. ..."
"... considering how much access they seemed to have I think it is entirely possible for them to do that. And the criminal energy to do it definitely there as well. ..."
"... And there is still the question if Facebook and similar sites might be at least funded, if not run by intelligence agencies altogether. If that is the case that would put this denial in an entirely different light. It would read "We don't impersonate companies. We ARE the companies."... ..."
"... Max level sophistry. I wonder if anyone at the NSA even remembers what the truth is, it's been coated in so many layers of bullshit. ..."
"... As for its "national security directive," it made a mockery of that when it proudly announced in its documents that "we hunt sys admins." ..."
Jun 08, 2017 | www.techdirt.com
NSA Denies Everything About Latest Intercept Leak, Including Denying Something That Was Never Claimed from the let's-play-word-games-with-the-NSA dept The recent leaks published at Glenn Greenwald's new home, The Intercept, detailed the NSA's spread of malware around the world, with a stated goal of sabotaging "millions" of computers. As was noted then, the NSA hadn't issued a comment. The GCHQ, named as a co-conspirator, had already commented, delivering the usual spiel about legality, oversight and directives -- a word salad that has pretty much replaced "no comment" in the intelligence world.

The NSA has now issued a formal statement on the leaks, denying everything -- including something that wasn't even alleged. In what has become the new "no comment" on the NSA side, the words "appropriate," "lawful" and "legitimate" are trotted out, along with the now de rigueur accusations that everything printed (including, apparently, its own internal documents) is false.

Recent media reports that allege NSA has infected millions of computers around the world with malware, and that NSA is impersonating U.S. social media or other websites, are inaccurate. NSA uses its technical capabilities only to support lawful and appropriate foreign intelligence operations, all of which must be carried out in strict accordance with its authorities. Technical capability must be understood within the legal, policy, and operational context within which the capability must be employed.
First off, for the NSA to claim that loading up "millions" of computers with malware is somehow targeted (and not "indiscriminate") is laughable. As for its "national security directive," it made a mockery of that when it proudly announced in its documents that "we hunt sys admins."

Targeting telco and ISP systems administrators goes well outside the bounds of "national security." These people aren't suspected terrorists. They're just people inconveniently placed between the NSA and its goal of " collecting it all ."

Last, but not least, the NSA plays semantic games to deny an accusation that was never made, calling to mind Clapper's denial of a conveniently horrendous translation of a French article on its spying efforts there.

NSA does not use its technical capabilities to impersonate U.S. company websites.
This "denial" refers to this portion of The Intercept's article.
In some cases the NSA has masqueraded as a fake Facebook server, using the social media site as a launching pad to infect a target's computer and exfiltrate files from a hard drive... In one man-on-the-side technique, codenamed QUANTUMHAND, the agency disguises itself as a fake Facebook server. When a target attempts to log in to the social media site, the NSA transmits malicious data packets that trick the target's computer into thinking they are being sent from the real Facebook. By concealing its malware within what looks like an ordinary Facebook page, the NSA is able to hack into the targeted computer and covertly siphon out data from its hard drive.
The NSA's own documents say that QUANTUMHAND "exploits the computer of a target that uses Facebook." The man-on-the-side attack impersonates a server , not the site itself.

The NSA denies impersonating, but that's not what The Intercept said or what its own documents state. This animated explanation, using the NSA's Powerpoint presentation, shows what the attack does -- it tips the TURBINE servers, which then send the malware payload before the Facebook servers can respond.

To the end user, it looks as though Facebook is just running slowly.

https://player.vimeo.com/video/88822483

When the NSA says it doesn't impersonate sites, it truly doesn't. It injects malware by beating Facebook server response time. It doesn't serve up faux Facebook pages; it simply grabs the files and data from compromised computers.

The exploit is almost wholly divorced from Facebook itself. The social media site is an opportunity for malware deployment, and the NSA doesn't need to impersonate a site to achieve its aims. This is the NSA maintaining deniability in the face of damning allegations -- claiming something was said that actually wasn't and resorting to (ultimately futile) attempts to portray journalists as somehow less trustworthy than the agency.

sorrykb ( profile ), 14 Mar 2014 @ 9:39am

Denial = Confirmation?
NSA does not use its technical capabilities to impersonate U.S. company websites.
At this point, the mere fact that the NSA denies doing something is almost enough to convince me that they are doing it. I'm trying not to be paranoid. They just make it so difficult.
Anonymous Coward , 14 Mar 2014 @ 9:48am
Re: Denial = Confirmation?

considering how much access they seemed to have I think it is entirely possible for them to do that. And the criminal energy to do it definitely there as well.

By now you have to assume the worst when it comes to them, and once the truth comes out it tends to paint and even worse picture then what you could imagine.

And there is still the question if Facebook and similar sites might be at least funded, if not run by intelligence agencies altogether. If that is the case that would put this denial in an entirely different light. It would read "We don't impersonate companies. We ARE the companies."...

Mark Wing , 14 Mar 2014 @ 10:35am

Max level sophistry. I wonder if anyone at the NSA even remembers what the truth is, it's been coated in so many layers of bullshit.

art guerrilla ( profile ), 14 Mar 2014 @ 12:06pm
Re: NSA Word-Smithing

I can not stress this poster's sentiment, as well as voiced in the article itself, of the CHILDISH semantic games the alphabet spooks will play... they WILL (metaphorically speaking) look you straight in the eye, piss on your leg, and INSIST it is raining; THEN fabricate evidence to 'prove' it was rain...

In my readings about the evil done in our name, with our money, *supposedly* to 'protect and serve' us, by the boys in black, you can NOT UNDERESTIMATE the most simplistic, and -to repeat myself -- CHILDISH ways they will LIE AND DISSEMBLE...

They are scum, they are slime, they are NOT the best and the brightest, they are the worst and most immoral...

YOU CAN NOT OVERSTATE THEIR MORAL VACUITY...

we do NOT deserve these pieces of shit...

Anonymous Coward , 14 Mar 2014 @ 11:17am

We know that the NSA, with the cooperation of the companies involved, has equipment co-located at major backbones and POPs to achieve the goals for QUANTUMHAND, QUANTUMINSERT, and etc.

At what point will we start confronting these companies and pressuring them to discontinue such cooperation? I know it's no easy task, but just as much as the government is reeling from all the public pressure, so too will these companies if we press their hands. Make it affect their bottom line.

Anonymous Coward , 14 Mar 2014 @ 1:49pm
is techdirt an hack target?

this page of your site tries to run scripts from
google
amazonaws
twitter
facebook
ajax.googleapis
techdirt

and install cookies from
techdirt
imigur

and request resources from
rp-api
vimeo

and install/use tracking beacons from
facebook connect
google +1
gravitar
nativo
quantcast
redit
repost.us
scorecard research beacon
twitter button.

...and who knows what else would run if all that was allowed to proceed. (I'm not going to run them to find out the 2nd level stuff)

for all the great reporting techdirt does on spying/tracking/privacy- you need to get you shit together already with this site; it seams like you're part of the problem. Please explain the technical facts as to why these same types of hacks couldn't be done to your readers through this clusterfuck of off site scripts/beacons/cookies/resources your forcing on people to ignorant to know how to block them.

Matthew Cline ( profile ), 14 Mar 2014 @ 1:50pm

As for its "national security directive," it made a mockery of that when it proudly announced in its documents that "we hunt sys admins."

Well, heck, that's easy. Since the computers of the sys admins are just means to an ends, simply define "target" in a way that excludes anyone whose computers are compromised as a means to an end.

Anonymous mouse , 14 Mar 2014 @ 1:56pm

I seem to remember some articles about why people who don't use Facebook are suspect. To wit,

Are these possible signs that the NSA and GHCQ planted those stories?

Anonymous Coward , 14 Mar 2014 @ 3:49pm
The fun has yet to really begin

On April 8th, this year, Microsoft will stop installing new security patches from Windows XP, leaving computers running it totally vulnerable to such hacks. Anybody want to place bets on the fact that the alphabet soup agencies of our wonderful gummint are going to be first in line to exploit them? Just think what NSA could do with 300,000,000+ computers to play with!

[Jun 08, 2017] Congress Getting Pissed Off Over Failure Of Intel Community To Reveal How Many Americans Are Being Spied On Techdirt

Notable quotes:
"... I'm sure the number of American's spied upon is pretty damning and might actually cause some blowback (especially if it's 90-100% of the population as I suspect), which could put its use in jeopardy. ..."
"... the Postal Service has confirmed that it takes a photograph of the outside of every letter and package mailed in the United States and occasionally provides the photos to law enforcement agencies. ..."
"... It's obvious that they somehow accessed nearly all communications of Americans at one point or another. Even if technically they didn't look at much of the data. ..."
Jun 08, 2017 | www.techdirt.com
Then, yesterday, there was a public Senate Intelligence Committee hearing over the issue of the 702 renewal. While most of the press is focused on the refusal of those testifying to say whether President Trump had spoken to them about various investigations concerning Russia, there was something else concerning that was brought up. Coats, despite his earlier promises and the promises of his office, is now saying that it would be impossible to give a number.

Not surprisingly, for the folks in Congress who have been insisting on getting this number (and giving it to the public), this... did not sit well. When it was Senator Wyden's turn to question the panel, he went off on Coats for going back on his word.

This morning you went back on that promise and you said that even putting together a sampling, a statistical estimate, would jeopardize national security. I think that is a very, very damaging position to stake out.

Later in that exchange, there was this exchange (which, if you watch it, involved both men being fairly testy with each other):

Wyden: Can the government use FISA 702 to collect communications it knows are entirely domestic?

Coats: Not to my knowledge. It would be against the law.

As Marcy Wheeler points out, that exchange may prove to be similar to Wyden's now infamous question to Coats' predecessor, Clapper, about whether or not the NSA collected information on millions of Americans (the "not wittingly" response, which was later shown to be completely bogus). Wheeler points out that for Coats to actually believe that, it would appear that he doesn't know how 702 is actually used , even though he signed a memo about this very thing. Wheeler points to the recent FISC opinion reauthorizing 702 data collection that states that if the Director of the NSA signs a waiver for all of the domestic collections, then the NSA can still collect a wholly domestic communication under 702. That FISC opinion cites a March 30th memo that Coats would have signed as the justification for this argument. So for him to now say that it's illegal for the very thing his own memo from March says is okay... seems like a serious problem.

And Wyden's not the only one upset about this. Since this was a Senate hearing, Rep. Conyers wasn't there, but he put out a blistering statement calling Coats' statements "unacceptable."

The intelligence community has-for many months-expressly promised members of both parties that they would deliver this estimate to us in time to inform our debate on the reauthorization of Section 702. As late as last August, we had discussed and approved the specific methodologies that the NSA might use to make good on their promise.

Today, Director Coats announced that the estimate is 'infeasible' and will not be forthcoming. I find that outcome unacceptable.

Over the course of the last year, we believed we had worked past the excuses we are offered today. The nation's leading civil liberties organizations see no threat to privacy in this project, and have said so publicly. The agencies demonstrated to us how they might perform this analysis without significant diversion of resources. I am deeply disappointed in a return to these old talking points.

Section 702 is built on trust. It will be more difficult to find that trust as we move forward with the debate.

As we discussed earlier this week, a bunch of Senators have already been pushing a permanent renewal of 702 with no changes at all. As the debate heats up on the renewal of Section 702 ahead of its expiration later this year, we're going to need Congress to hold the intelligence community to its promise to reveal at least some data on how these programs impact Americans' communications.

aerinai ( profile ), 8 Jun 2017 @ 8:19am
No Stakes, No Game

Until these Senators start actually holding these guys accountable and not renew their authority of Section 702, these hearings are just bluster. I like Wyden and what he's doing (it seems single handedly), but unfortunately it doesn't mean much to the NSA. Withholding the information won't change any politicians views of it and its 'necessity', so they might as well err on the side of caution.

I'm sure the number of American's spied upon is pretty damning and might actually cause some blowback (especially if it's 90-100% of the population as I suspect), which could put its use in jeopardy.

Bergman ( profile ), 8 Jun 2017 @ 9:42am
Re: No Stakes, No Game

Contempt of Congress still exists, I think the Senate should start stomping on people who show contempt.

Roger Strong ( profile ), 8 Jun 2017 @ 10:07am
Re: We can truthfully guarantee...

Plus those who don't use electronic-based forms of communication, but who have friends and relatives who do, and who mention them in emails and on Facebook.

Also those who pay their grocery bills with a credit or debit card. Purchase history is occasionally requested by police.

Also people not into ebooks, but who check out books from the library.

Don't forget travel details, for those who cross a border. Or fly. Or pay for gas and meals with a credit / debit card.

Or who use local transit. My city switched to electronic fare cards a few months ago. Naturally, it was just revealed that the private travel history of bus riders is being handed to police without requiring a warrant.

But hey, there's still non-electronic communication like snail mail. That hardly ever gets opened. Although the Postal Service has confirmed that it takes a photograph of the outside of every letter and package mailed in the United States and occasionally provides the photos to law enforcement agencies.

James T , 8 Jun 2017 @ 10:44am
They can't

It's obvious that they somehow accessed nearly all communications of Americans at one point or another. Even if technically they didn't look at much of the data.

If true then they certainly wouldn't want to say we spied on everyone. That would damage their position which is that they are being responsible Intelligence agencies.

Anonymous Coward , 8 Jun 2017 @ 12:06pm
Infeasible to justify funding for an office that can't even justify itself

If the office cannot even compute a rough estimate, then it is either uncooperative or supremely incompetent. In either case, it is infeasible to continue funding such an entity. Funding for continued operation of the surveillance programs should be stripped until such time as it can comply with simple oversight requirements.

[Jun 07, 2017] James Comey sued by intelligence contractor Dennis Montgomery over spying on Americans Circa News - Learn. Think. Do.

Jun 07, 2017 | circa.com

A former U.S. intelligence contractor tells Circa he walked away with more than 600 million classified documents on 47 hard drives from the National Security Agency and the CIA, a haul potentially larger than Edward Snowden's now infamous breach.

And now he is suing former FBI Director James Comey and other government figures, alleging the bureau has covered up evidence he provided them showing widespread spying on Americans that violated civil liberties.

The suit, filed late Monday night by Dennis Montgomery, was assigned to the same federal judge who has already ruled that some of the NSA's collection of data on Americans violates the U.S. Constitution's Fourth Amendment, setting up an intriguing legal proceeding in the nation's capital this summer.

Montgomery says the evidence he gave to the FBI chronicle the warrantless collection of phone, financial and personal data and the unmasking of identities in spy data about millions of Americans.

... ... ...

Montgomery alleges that more than 20 million American identities were illegally unmasked - credit reports, emails, phone conversations and Internet traffic, were some of the items the NSA and CIA collected.

He said he returned the hard drives to the FBI, a fact confirmed in government documents reviewed by Circa.

"They're doing this domestic surveillance on Americans, running a project on U.S. soil," Montgomery alleged. He did not disclose the classified name of the project but said he revealed all aspects of the project during his interview with the FBI.

"Can you imagine what someone can do with the information they were collecting on Americans, can you imagine that kind of power."

Officials with the FBI and CIA declined to comment due to current and pending litigation.

... ... ...

The FBI contacts with Montgomery were encouraged by a senior status federal judge, who encouraged the two sides to meet rather than allow for any of the classified materials to leak, according to interviews Circa conducted.

Montgomery's lawsuit, which included his lawyer, the well-known conservative activist Larry Klayman, alleges Montgomery provided extensive evidence to the FBI of illegal spying on Americans ranging from judges to businessman like the future President Donald Trump.

The suit did not offer specifics of any illegal spying, but it accused the bureau of failing to take proper actions to rectify Montgomery's concerns.

Montgomery divulged to the FBI a "pattern and practice of conducting illegal, unconstitutional surveillance against millions of Americans, including prominent Americans such as the chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, other justices, 156 judges, prominent businessmen, and others such as Donald J. Trump, as well as Plaintiffs themselves," Montgomery and Klayman alleged in their suit.

"Plaintiffs were assured that the FBI, under Defendant Comey, would conduct a full investigation into the grave instances of illegal and unconstitutional activity set forth by Montgomery. However, the FBI, on Defendant Comey's orders, buried the FBI's investigation because the FBI itself is involved in an ongoing conspiracy to not only conduct the aforementioned illegal, unconstitutional surveillance, but to cover it up as well," the suit added.

Klayman and Montgomery also alleged that they have evidence that they themselves have been improperly spied upon by U.S. intelligence. The suit named numerous other defendants as well, including current NSA Director Mike Rogers, former CIA Director John Brennan and even former President Barack Obama.

[Jun 06, 2017] Do Not Trust The Intercept or How To Burn A Source

Looks more and more like psyop operation -- a part of a Neo-McCarthyism propaganda campaign.
Notable quotes:
"... So why even go out of your way to leak these supposedly worthless documents to the press in the first place? Who benefits? ..."
"... Deep state benefits - analysis(?) is leaked which show as you say no proof, but it keeps the anti-russia propaganda going for another month or so - just as the anti-trump deep state and media wants. Sigh. ..."
"... P.S if any of you get a chance try to catch the interview on RT where German journo, who is unfortunately dead, states categorically that CIA and his bosses would instruct him on what to write and how to write it. ..."
"... If Reality Leigh Winner goes to trial and receives serious prison time, then The Intercept was wrong, but until then I'll think she's a Clintonist useful idiot. ..."
"... That would be Udo Ulfkotte. He used to work for FAZ. You have to take into account that he tried to live from writing books after FAZ and conspiracy theories do sell. ..."
"... Greenwald and Poitras are now the only two people with full access to the complete cache of NSA files ... just Glenn and Laura at the for-profit journalism company created by the founder of eBay. ..."
"... CIA Agents Caught Red Handed Trolling Alternative Media Sites http://humansarefree.com/2017/06/cia-agents-caught-red-handed-trolling.html I think we talked about this years ago, in regards to Israeli paid trolls, but we've gone so far into the Panopticon control grid, what difference does it make. ..."
"... I also think, it is possible that Hillary Clinton and Putin had a very personal not so private war after Hillary announced that she would do everything to prevent a realignment of Post Soviet States. And employing Victoria Nuland to achieve just that. ..."
"... ...which of course how psyops works. Because this leak will fuel more of the Trump/Russian conspiracies and hatred in the MSM. ..."
"... Are you from one of those USG "perception management" projects? Well, if you are, American taxpayers should be pissed off if this is all the "best and brightest" can come up with. The USG IC has an annual budget of $65 billion so if this is a black op., they have more than enough money to be able to afford the arrest of the "leaker" and even pay for her to get decently lawyered up. ..."
"... This whole episode smacks of a psy-op to me. If - and this is a big if - the Russians did hack into any voting systems, I'd be more willing to believe it was to collect evidence of malfeasance on the part of our own government than it would have been to manipulate the results themselves. ..."
"... Important to note is that Putin just mentioned in his interview with Megyn Kelly that it doesn't matter who's president of the United States because no matter what, the policy remains the same. That's a pretty direct indictment of the integrity of US elections, so what better time to up the ante with respect to the obvious lies about Russian interference in our elections than right after Putin calls our elections Kabuki theater? ..."
"... Well for one she is not a whistleblower, she is another anti-Trump neocon working for the deep state. She I believe leaked material just to attack Trump and Russia even more with info, as we have seen so many times now past months. She nor we as readers have any idea if there is any truth to the claim to start with. So why leak it? Well obviously, like past months, some groups in our society benefit from this greatly. ..."
"... I haven't trusted The Intercept since they ran their hit piece on Tulsi Gabbard. ..."
"... Ghostship. True enough. But knowing it is still different from effectively dealing with it. The elite/CIA controlled mass media still has a lot of power to persuade people as do the corporations that finance political elections. As well as the people who make money from arms sales. These people who may be loosely referred to as 'deep state' don't want to give up any of that power/money. ..."
"... She follows a neocon agenda (war against afghanistan, war against Syria, hatered against Russia, hatred against foreign policy that Trump have i.e), she works for the deep state, she leak deep state material to smear her "enemies". ..."
"... Who are those who spread this bs to the MSM about Trump and Russia constantly for past months? Where does it come from if not from the deep state groups? ..."
"... Omidyar being behind the Intercept has always been an iffy proposition at best, and it has never sat well that Greenwald is apparently satisfied with such an arrangement. ..."
"... And you just know Mark Ames will have a piece up bashing Omidyar, Greenwald and Scahill. Speaking of Scahill, other than a weekly podcast, what exactly does he do for the Intercept? ..."
"... Greenwald is a self-serving hack and the Intercept functions alongside outlets like DemocracyNow! to provide a Democrat-friendly perspective on the world to people who think they are very "progressive". They will never challenge the fundamental precepts of US imperialism and the oligarchic powers behind it, or truly rock the boat. ..."
"... There's a chance they got played. As noted, the documents don't actual show evidence of actual interference with voting system beyond data gathering. ..."
"... Alternatively, the document was prepared in such a way that it was actually politically harmless but it could snare the leaker who would be triumphantly and publicly "executed". That can improve the discipline in the shop. ..."
"... This is silly nonsense. There is no difference at all between the neocons and the neolibs (the neolords). They come from exactly the same place and believe in exactly the same thing. Specifically, they are atychiphobs; they cannot endure any form of failure. So they always must attach themselves to whatever they perceive as the winning side. And ultimately rule the rest of the losing world. For them that's all there is; Hillary is an example, and most rich individuals also. They would absolutely prefer death to loserdom. So of course they have no concerns at all about the fate of the losers. They are all the same. ..."
"... Sounds like a con job from start to finish. Along the lines of bellingcat, SOHR ect. Just another method of disseminating propaganda. ..."
"... this whole thing is such a circus! and yes, the NSA has access to far more info than these stupid documents allude to, not to mention that the US has got to have some massive access to Russian data. ..."
"... I should add: If Putin were directly responsible for hacking anything, Clinton should kiss Putin's who-cares-what for waiting until AFTER the primaries. She got to be part of the final coin-toss. ..."
"... really, why is this NSA document even considered whistle-blowing? ..."
"... Setting aside the antics of the Intercept, let's consider how preposterous this story is at face value. She's basically a translator for a few Middle Eastern languages. So she's reading email or web sites or listening to phone calls and doing her translating thing. It's not like she's a high-level analyst preparing briefings for the National Intelligence director - she's a damn low-level translator (no offense to NSA translators out there). ..."
"... If Winner DID manage to stumble upon a Top Secret memo on her work network unrelated to her job, then her supervisor would have known it within minutes. Everything anybody does is constantly monitored and logged, right down to the keystroke. SHE would know that. In fact, she would be fired for not reporting this impossible access to top secret information immediately. She would be further punished for even having the document linger on her screen for more than a second or two. There's a reason they put TOP SECRET at the very top of every page. Classified documents also have their own security/surveillance/monitoring mechanisms. The document itself (or the document management system) knows or is told who is allowed to read it or even see that it exists. It would record her access, even if all the other security and monitoring software the agency had failed completely. So you get the idea. Even if she saw this document (unlikely) and did NOT report the inappropriate access, she would eventually be frog-walked out of the building before the end of the day. ..."
"... Top Secret documents (and their networks) do not allow you to print them at all, and certainly not on some random office printer. ..."
"... All modern printers and copy machines have an invisible watermark that identifies the time/date you printed a page and the serial number of the machine. If she copied it somewhere, then they copy can be traced to a certain machine and date/time. She's busted either way if the feds got their hands on it, and SHE KNOWS THAT. ..."
"... Sorry - but unless someone can prove she has an extra chromosome or two, I have to believe this is a charade. She won't go to jail because she's in on it with the NSA and it's not a real Top Secret document anyway. NO intelligence agency will ever verify or deny something you show them is either legitimate or Top Secret, so even that part is wrong. If you call them to ask about a document you have, they will politely put you on hold so they can dispatch some DHS thugs to kick in your door and retrieve said document - without telling you anything either way. ..."
"... I tend to agree with the hint, hint - #RealityWinner is an obvious PsyOp. Her employer probably had a deal for her - agree to be "used", play the part in a little prosecution game we'll have going, make sure you leak to Cook - and don't worry, you'll be well rewarded in the end. ..."
"... The timing of this leak and the choice of media outlet is very convenient for the Establishment Dems/Deep State Russia investigation. Leaking to the Intercept, which has credibility in the alternative media, would be a convenient way to get the story covered in the MSM and leftist media. It certainly helps to distract Berners from the Seth Rich story. Some interns at the Intercept did a sloppy job checking up on their source. ..."
"... thank you for this. i left a comment on that article yesterday about how dumb the technical aspects were and apparently you noticed as well (i also mentioned stuxnet as an example of what an effective and professional attack would actually look like). ..."
"... as i also mentioned: hillary won durham by a WIDE margin (almost 100k votes). seems like any "hacking" worked to her advantage, not trump's. ..."
"... i've been reading douglas valentine's book on the phoenix program and other CIA criminality https://www.amazon.com/CIA-Organized-Crime-Illegal-Operations/dp/0997287012 ..."
"... It looks like a real half-arsed psyops -- here is the "Russia did it" smoking gun we've all been waiting for and it gets sorta rolled out but not trumpeted hysterically. Why the Intercept? Why not the NYtimes or wapo? ..."
"... It's becoming more difficult daily to find something that doesn't stink. I see it as an attempt to further bury the censored NBC interview with Putin where he explained several hard truths, one of which I alluded to yesterday. Compare vid here, http://www.fort-russ.com/2017/06/nbc-edited-out-putins-hard-truths-heres.html with uncensored one here, which includes transcript, http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/54688 ..."
Jun 06, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

Yesterday The Intercept published a leaked five page NSA analysis about alleged Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. elections. Its reporting outed the leaker of the NSA documents. That person, R.L. Winner, has now been arrested and is likely to be jailed for years if not for the rest of her life.

FBI search (pdf) and arrest warrant (pdf) applications unveil irresponsible behavior by the Intercept 's reporters and editors which neglected all operational security trade-craft that might have prevented the revealing of the source. It leaves one scratching the head if this was intentional or just sheer incompetence. Either way - the incident confirms what skeptics had long determined : The Intercept is not a trustworthy outlet for leaking state secrets of public interests.

The Intercept was created to privatize the National Security Agency documents leaked by NSA contractor Edward Snowden. The documents proved that the NSA is hacking and copying nearly all electronic communication on this planet, that it was breaking laws that prohibited spying on U.S. citizen and that it sabotages on a large scale various kinds of commercial electronic equipment. Snowden gave copies of the NSA documents to a small number of journalists. One of them was Glenn Greenwald who now works at The Intercept . Only some 5% of the pages Snowden allegedly acquired and gave to reporters have been published. We have no idea what the unpublished pages would provide.

The Intercept , a subdivision of First Look Media, was founded by Pierre Omidyar, a major owner of the auctioning site eBay and its PayPal banking division. Omidyar is a billionaire and "philanthropist" who's (tax avoiding) Omidyar Network foundation is "investing" for "returns". Its microcredit project for farmers in India, in cooperation with people from the fascists RSS party, ended in an epidemic of suicides when the farmers were unable to pay back. The Omidyar Network also funded (fascist) regime change groups in Ukraine in cooperation with USAID. Omidyar had cozy relations with the Obama White House. Some of the held back NSA documents likely implicate Omidyar's PayPal.

The Intercept was funded with some $50 million from Omidyar. It first hires