Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)

Technocracy XII: Google’s World

 “It’s a future where you don’t forget anything…In this new future you’re never lost…We will know your position down to the foot and down to the inch over time…Your car will drive itself, it’s a bug that cars were invented before computers … you’re never lonely … you’re never bored … you’re never out of ideas … We can suggest where you go next, who to meet, what to read…What’s interesting about this future is that it’s for the average person, not just the elites.”

– Google CEO Eric Schmidt on his vision of the future


google-logoPerhaps the most iconic representation of the internet is the search engine and household name Google Inc. that now eclipses Microsoft Corp. for its sheer omnipresence.

Innovations in aerial mapping has taken the internet by storm over the last several years. This is, in part, thanks to the ease of access available on Google’s own websites as well as mobile phones, android phones, tablet PCs and most other devices. With Google Maps ™ and Google Earth ™ Incorporating aerial and satellite photography together with comprehensive street mapping, the company has created a user-friendly virtual world that is unquestionably fascinating and practical. At the same time, you will not get anything closer to a simplified template of mass surveillance already being used at a higher level by the intelligence apparatus.

Since Apple Inc. in 2012, had more cash in the bank than the US government, we can see why it is one of a number of companies at the cutting edge of so many SMART platforms currently manifesting out of the hovering Cloud Drive of new ideas. In combination with this rival company which employs the most invasive military grade monitoring technology on its own products, Google is still pushing ahead with the experimentation of new technology that will create a virtual 3D rendering of the planet. Apple meanwhile, has tested its own similar “spy technology” on scores of locations around the world. [1]

Google and Apple have been constantly battling petitions, complaints and protests around privacy and surveillance issues and it is easy to see why. CEO Larry Page and co-founder Sergey Brin are sitting at the top of a vast monopolistic leviathan which has begun to flex its corporate muscles in the last few years. According to The Wall Street Journal: “Google has ratcheted up competition with established websites by developing its own specialized services and often promoting them above regular search results in recent years.” All of Google’s products may appear randomly mixed in with other results but there is no indication that they are in actual fact, Google-sponsored content. [2] The European Union agrees and anti-trust investigations into Google’s treatment of search engine results continue. Yet these commercial manipulations are just part of a more worrying development.

From January 2012, Google combined the privacy policies for all of its many applications into one Google umbrella. These  include “Google search,” “Gmail”, “Google Maps,” “Google+,” “YouTube,” and “Android mobile” as well as over 60 others. When you input information onto any of those sites then it becomes shared amongst them all. [3] Opting out? Not possible. Unless, that is, you never wish to use the internet again. An extremely complete picture of your online activity is now possible. However, bearing in mind what we have explored so far, Google has been doing this all along, it’s just decided to come clean as it will not be able to go to the next phase of snooping if it doesn’t. If you’re the owner of an Android phone then this is like having a permanent Google eye observing your actions wherever you are. Google’s insistence that this would make the user experience more beneficial is once again missing the point, notwithstanding its other research activities under Google X which is rivalling DARPA for its Big Brother applications.

Android is a Linux-based operating system for SMART phones, tablet computers and other similar mobile devices. Google’s Android mobile phone has been popular due to Android’s large community of developers writing applications (“apps”) offering 500,000 from the app store run by Google. As of December 2011, the estimated number of applications downloaded from the Android Market exceed 10 billion. [4]Yet, certain gifted techies from the public are keeping the search giant on its toes.  What the Federal Trade Commission failed to discover, twenty-five year-old computer scientist Jonathan Mayer did not. He found that Google was secretly planting cookies on millions of iPhone browsers. Mayer thinks iPhones were purposely targeted by Google. [5] Nor is it the first time that the public acted on their “hunches.”

According to ProPublica an investigative journalist organisation:

A privacy official in Germany forced Google to hand over the hard drives of cars equipped with 360-degree digital cameras that were taking pictures for its Street View program. The Germans discovered that Google wasn’t just shooting photos: The cars downloaded a panoply of sensitive data, including emails and passwords, from open Wi-Fi networks. Google had secretly done the same in the United States, but the FTC, as well as the Federal Communications Commission, which oversees broadcast issues, had no idea until the Germans figured it out. [6]

Similarly, the privacy watchdog in 2011 Greece banned Google Inc. from gathering detailed, street-level images for a planned expansion of its panoramic Street View mapping service.[7]

the-google-street-view-mapping-and-camer-1

Google Maps Street-view car Source: aol.com

At the end of 2011 Trevor Eckhart, a security researcher and Android operating system developer discovered something a little less celebratory running in the background of these Android devices. The culprit was ostensibly a diagnostic software tool called Carrier IQ or CIQ which was integrated deep within the device. It was able to monitor, record, and transmit private data and interactions. According to Eckhart this included the ability to “… monitor every single individual keystroke and every interaction with the screen for that matter, along with encrypted Internet browsing sessions and searches, GPS data, network data, battery data, among other pieces of information which many people would likely like to keep private.” [8]

Carrier IQ proceeded to sue Eckhart for copyright infringement, a groundless accusation which was immediately retracted when the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) took on Ekhart’s case. Carrier IQ continues to claim innocence, disregarding Eckhart’s research claiming keystrokes are recorded.

Online journalist Maddison Ruppert takes up the story:

As a result of Eckhart’s findings, lawsuits have been filed against Carrier IQ, HTC, Samsung, Apple, AT&T, Sprint Nextel, T-Mobile, and Motorola, alleging that it breaches the Federal Wiretap Act, Stored Electronic Communications Act, and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

Despite the company’s insistence to the contrary, the suit alleges that, “[i]n addition to collecting device and service-related data, Carrier IQ’s software can collect data about a user’s location, application use, Web browsing habits, videos watched, texts read and even the keys they press.” The establishment media has come to the aid of their corporate cronies, citing so-called experts who “debunked” Eckhart’s findings.[9]

Six big corporations with vested interests in profits and PR took on Eckhart’s research to ensure that Android had no publicity and reassured the public that it was all nonsense. However, their evidence for these assurances was less than convincing. If the key stroke accusation proved to be untrue, this still left the admitted ability of Android devices to collect data “… that would be able to determine the exact person who is using the phone, what programs they are running, when they charge the battery, what calls they make and where…”

After Vice President Andrew Coward of Carrier IQ software made conciliatory remarks to the computer news outlet CNET he also offered the following howler which tells us a lot about either the ignorance of the man or his capacity for disingenuous statements: “… we did not expect that we would need to be so open and transparent about everything … We recognized as the crisis kind of developed that that was required for us to clear our name. That was a huge learning process …”

God forbid in the age of surveillance and data mining that a software company or any other business swiping the public’s data without telling them should be “open and transparent.” The opposite was perhaps the general idea and he never imagined such a carrier would be discovered. This is especially curious when Coward himself admitted to CNET that: “…the Carrier IQ software is embedded into the device to make it not only hard to detect, but nearly impossible for any regular user to remove or control.” [10]

As of December 2011, Apple’s iPhone also had the Carrier IQ software but with minor adjustments. They have since removed it from future models. (However, Apple’s has assisted the push to get the populace accustomed to biometric ID usage with its 2013 iPhone 5s which includes a “Touch ID” sensor, or fingerprint sensor. If it’s on my iPhone then all is well…). According to United States Patent 8,254,902 Apple has yet again proved its cozy relationship to law enforcement by helpfully providing a “Kill Switch” for its mobile devices because: “covert police or government operations may require complete ‘blackout’ conditions.”

Ask yourself what conditions would require such a move where all devices are summarily turned off? Public interest or private need?

Google Inc. has another contribution to the SMART Grid in the form of the Google Wallet application for Android and iPhones. The app. offers wireless payment capabilities by using a sensor located on a designated ticket vending machine. Train and bus tickets are accessed from what appears to be a similar process to bar-code scanning but with the extra method of “near field communication,” where data transmission can take place when phone and sensor are about a one or two feet away from each other. The transaction is completed when the user receives confirmation on his phone. Google Wallet is currently compatible with prepaid Google cards and Mastercards.

google_cards

Scanning via your i-phone

It does sound very convenient doesn’t it?

And it probably is if you don’t think about the fact that it takes us one step closer to a chip in the arm and a cashless society, something which is embedded in the SMART Grid design itself. However, its actual arrival may be longer than we think. This is partly to do with the global nature of drug smuggling and money laundering where cash is king. (Just ask HSBC). But to be sure, a global electronic currency is coming and from which it will be near impossible to opt out. [11] That may not necessarily be a bad thing, it all depends if it is a truly transparent and open source. Who lies behind the formation and organisation of the world of cyber currency is key. For example, so far, the rise of Bitcoin seems a much better bet than anything Google could provide since the parameters of Bitcoin appear to be truly emancipatory, with encryption and transparency operating in the hands of people and none of the official culture middle men, i.e. lawyers, brokers and speculators. The proof will be in the pudding.

Google’s Android and Apple’s i-Phone both have voice recognition apps. Speak into your phone in a normal voice and it will answer any number of queries such as maths problems, directions – complete with a map popping up, showing your route – as well instantaneous translations form one language to another and the dictation of email and text messages. So how does it do it? Well, it is but one result of Google’s artificial intelligence programs and as Slate.com’s delighted online techie enthuses, the apps obtain their power: “… by analysing impossibly huge troves of information. For the speech system, the data are a large number of voice recordings. If you’ve used Android’s speech recognition system, Google Voice’s e-mail transcription service … or some other Google speech-related service, there’s a good chance that the company has your voice somewhere on its servers. And it’s only because Google has your voice—and millions of others—that it can recognize mine.” [12]

ANew York Times’ article of 2013 reported on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) testing of its Biometric Optical Surveillance System, or BOSS that: “… pair[s] computers with video cameras to scan crowds and automatically identify people by their faces.” They have also been busy creating a system of voice recognition software that can analyse and determine whether or not a person is drunk, angry, or lying. A Homeland Security News Wire article called “Voice biometrics: the next generation lie detectors” published in December 2011 describes how several research teams are working away across the United States on various programs one of which can “deconstruct an individual’s speech pattern to see if they are being honest by searching for cues like volume, changes in pitch, pauses between words, and other verbal signs.” Another system is under development whereby an individual’s emotions can be analysed “… by using mathematical algorithms that scan hundreds of vocal cues like pitch, timing, and intensity.” Funding has come from the US Air Force. [13]

Of course, voice recognition and many other so called “innovations” which have been perfected and adapted to the SMART public have been considered obsolete by the private military-corporate complex for quite some time. The technology is being allowed into the public arena alongside developments in governmental sponsored and outsourced changes in infrastructure designed to revolutionise the nature of society.

Not wanting to left out of the silicon rush Microsoft demonstrated in early 2013 how webs surfers could get a feeling for a bar or restaurant by using a smartphone microphone app 6 to 10 second audio samples are taken, extracted data processed so that: “… the size of the crowd, the level of chatter, and the music volume can then be classified as “‘low,’ ‘normal,’ or ‘high.’ As MIT Tech Review’s Jessica Leber reported on March 11, 2013: “The app could even tell a searcher what song is playing.” Later in the year to complement this, Microsoft researchers came up with a system which can predict your physical location up to three weeks in the future. They did so by creating new techniques which made use of volunteers going about their daily lives and who each carried a GPS device much the same way they carried a cell phone. Neither of these two advances is in the public domain but given the pace of change it shouldn’t be too long.

Meanwhile, British scientists have used the social networking website Twitter to create a computer program called “Emotive” to “map the mood of the nation.” The software works by: “accessing the emotional content of postings on the social networking site.” According to the Loughborough University research team it works by scanning up to 2,000 tweets a second which the program rates for expressions from a list of eight human emotions drawn from each tweet. These are: anger, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness, surprise, shame and confusion. The grandiose and simplistic claim on a par with Pre-Crime technology of Homeland Security is that: “Emotive could help calm civil unrest and identify early threats to public safety” by tracking “criminal behaviour or threats to public safety.” Since over “500 million people across the world use Twitter, and more than 340 million tweets are posted daily,” then, that’s quite a demographic. Academics involved with the program then made the gargantuan leap that this technology: “may be able to guide national policy on the best way to react to major incidents…”

socialemotions1Social networking represent fertile for mining emotions tailored to predesigned outcomes. “The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), found that people mirror the positive or negative emotions that their friends express in their posts—all without the aid of nonverbal cues like body language or tone of voice. Image credit: from his article: The Emotions of Social Sharing

Google was recently granted permission and issued a patent under the title of “Advertising based on environmental conditions” to maximize its profits and snooping ability to unheard of levels. Software collates and analyses background noises during your online phone call to effectively take an auditory snapshot of your environment and use the data to create a tailor-made advert for you that comes that bit closer to the ad man’s idea of perfection and our idea of a commercial dystopia. Here’s the patent description:

A computer-implemented method comprising: receiving, from a computing device, a search request comprising (i) information about a first environmental condition of the computing device, and (ii) one or more search terms; parsing the search request; selecting, from the search request based on parsing, the information about the first environmental condition; identifying an advertisement based on the first environmental condition and at least one of the one or more search terms; providing the advertisement to the computing device; receiving one or more of an audio signal, an image signal, or a video signal from a sensor of the computing device; and determining a second environmental condition based on the one or more of the audio signal, the image signal, or the video signal. [14]

John Simpson, the spokesman for Consumer Watchdog observes: “What these unilateral decisions by Google and Facebook demonstrate [referring to the forced usage of the timeline feature] is a complete disregard for their users’ interests and concerns,” continuing: “It’s an uncommonly arrogant approach not usually seen in business, where these companies believe they can do whatever they want with our data, whenever and however they want to do it,” he said. [15]

Not content with prising open our private lives on the internet, Google intends to virtually sit on our face and look through our eyes. Google X has come up with “Project Glass” and its “augmented reality” glasses (or headsets) still at the prototype stage; the next step up from your Smartphone, becoming as close to a natty cyborg as it is possible to be. The glasses will allow you to instantly read text messages, pull up maps, emails and all manner of useful and potentially accident inducing possibilities. More functions will be added over time. With live streams put through the glasses they could revolutionise media, communications, business and – amateur porn… Or stall at the first hurdle.

Controlled by voice or via a small touch-pad on the right arm of the device it can be connected to the internet via a phone cable and lasts for several hours, which will eventually be extended to a day, according to the developers. Prices start from $1500. What is more, Google will have it all stored and ready for multiple purposes.

Regardless of whether Project Glass gets off the ground or is just another gimmick, it heralds a significant change in the way we interface with the material world. Myk Willis Computer consultant who attended the June 2012 Google’s I/O developers’ conference had this to say about the product and the more probable future of what is dubbed “wearable computing”:

When we look back 10 years or so in the future, it’s going to be so cheap to integrate computing and communication into everything that it’s going to stop being about gadgets. The real impacts of wearable computing are most likely to come in things that don’t look like computers at all. […]

Computing is infusing every physical object that we interact with, so I think that’s going to end up being the more important angle. It’s not that we’re inventing new gadgets that people can wear. We are taking things that people wear or can carry with them and infusing them with intelligence, computing and connectivity. [16]

The problem is, Google will be gathering real-time information about your every move, something intelligence agencies will be falling over themselves to mine. That is, like Facebook and most social networking platforms, they aren’t in bed with Google from the outset, which seems like a certainty to me. Privacy? Nice idea. What else are we going to be “infusing” into our neural networks which will have the ability to make life easier, faster and accessible?

Darkly comical in the context of Google is the company’s co-founder and CEO Larry Page who refutes the charge by Edward Snowden and many other whistleblowers that they have been inside the CIA and NSA’s pocket for some time. Indeed, since Google is accepted as the leading search and internet tech-company in the world, accounting for 90 per cent of search engine traffic in the UK alone and is the user application of choice for virtually everyone it is simply inconceivable that Google has somehow kept itself immune from the intelligence apparatus. Without them, corporations of that size and magnitude wouldn’t be able to exist in their present form. This is especially true with their dominance in the surveillance and telecommunications game.

Scott Huffman, Google’s engineering director, says the company’s intention is to: “… transform the ways people interact with Google”. And that largely benign wish for many of Google’s employees happens to fit into the “transformation” that is very much part of the social engineering discussed on this blog. Google’s intention is to recalibrate all devices so that they exist not just in our pockets “… but all around us in every room” then it behooves the relevant agencies to get on aboard such an enthusiastic vision early on – which is probably exactly what they did. [17]

circleeggers

The Circle By Dave Eggers (2013)

How does the All Seeing Eye of Google, SMART devices, the Internet of things integrated with our social networks change our daily lives? Author David Eggers has more than a good idea as to how it could morph into something less than convenient. Eggers’ book The Circle paints a truly Orwellian picture of a surveillance state welcomed with open arms by the global population. Privacy is jettisoned and their lives directed and managed by a single corporation: the Circle, a mutant blend of Google, Facebook and Twitter. Since the idea of hiding any information from another is abhorrent and against the whole concept of naturally free world of sharing then to delete any information is deemed a crime. With a direct homage to George Orwell’s 1984 and its paramoralism, the Circle employs the absolute mantras of: “SECRETS ARE LIES,” “SHARING IS CARING,” and “PRIVACY IS THEFT.”

Seen as a Dystopian satire by reviewers it is much more than that, since it perfectly describes aspects of our present let alone our future. Eggers provides a mirror for how technology provides accelerated communication, entertainmen and seeming efficiency while at the same time ensuring compliance and a sickly positive affirmation hardwired into the user experience. Health monitoring of bio-signatures linked to records and location support the contouring of the correct existential meaning mixed together in the blender of the social networking matrix. Nano-cameras placed in every nook and cranny of the world ensure that an optimal mood is maintained along with access to every product you desire. In the end, products determine sense of self and purpose. As everyone is a user it is impossible to opt out of what is essentially a vast system of mind control through homogenisation and uniformity by sensation and instant gratification. Vacuous and empty lives are propagated so that the line between the user and the used becomes impossible to find. A reduction of crime – even its disappearance – Yes. But the cost would be of what it means to be human: creativity, spontaneity, originality and innovation would be crushed under a technopoly of plenty inhabited by “followers” “likes” and “friends” who are merely numbers in a programming matrix and a peripheral relation to objective reality. Eggers book asks the question how much are we prepared to sacrifice? And in doing so, is this ultimate transparency really what it purports to be?

Despite these CEO protestations that public “trust” is essential to the success of Google it becomes rather insulting when we know that Google headquarters and their advancing technology is monitored and directed both inside the corporation and outside by the NSA. As discussed, the mainstream media has been suspiciously hysterical about Snowden and the NSA and happily ignoring AT&T whistleblower Mark Klein and others who have been warning us since 2005 about the fact that the NSA has been wired into top internet companies’ servers, Including Google and Facebook.

With Google co-founder and Chairman Eric Schimdt willing to swallow nanobots to spring-clean his inner workings and uber-geeks like the Vice President of GoogleSearch Ben Gomes welcoming the company as a utilitarian presence in every aspect of our bodies and minds, it begs the question of whether there will be a choice.

Google-GlassGoogle promotion for “Project Glass”

In an interview with The Independent newspaper in July, 2013 Gomes gives us some idea what he thinks about our future. Presently residing at the Google HQ, Building 43 or the “Googleplex” he is an example of a techie genius who sees the unstoppable wave of innovation in this sphere as a wholly positive outcome for all concerned. Ben Gomes talks with barely concealed excitement about a “new epoch”. Waxing lyrical about Google’s new vast information resource Knowledge Graph he exclaims “It’s a meld of all the world’s interests and information needs,” which will accessed by voice commands anywhere you find yourself. The ultimate pot of gold for Gomes is a chip embedded in the brain which he believes is “far from a sci-fantasy.” Indeed, the employment of transhumanist guru Ray Kurzweil believes that in under twenty years “… the size of blood cells … we’ll be able to send them inside our brain through the capillaries, and basically connect up brain to the cloud.” The “cloud” meaning a vast virtual storage system which is already a reality. [18]

As director of engineering, Kurzweil’s Singularity University – of which Google is a partner –  feeds into the worrying trajectory that Google is inside the Elite’s obsession with transhumanism. DARPA is merging with Google innovation and thus pulling the internet under its influence where robotics, surveillance and human augmentation do indeed merge on behalf of those forces which care nothing for visions for human betterment.

Radical life extension has made transhumanist eyes bulge with anticipation, a belief which seems thick on the ground at Google HQ. The corporation recently launched a new company called “Calico” aimed at human lifespan and solving aging-related diseases. Like Bill and Melinda Gates, Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin have a keen interest in genetics and life extension. As explained in the 2005 book: The Google Story by David A. Vise, Google geeks have been put to work to assist the revolution by generating: “… a gene catalogue to characterize all the genes on the planet and understand their evolutionary development. Geneticists have wanted to do this for generations … Google will build up a genetic database, analyze it, and find meaningful correlations for individuals and populations.” [19]

And it is here where we see a mind meld of transhumanist exuberance, technical genius and wilful blindness as to the nature of who is guiding who. Clearly, when such a concept is embraced by people at the frontline of such advances which has already taken on a life of its own, they are likely to be assisting in much more than simply technical innovation for its own sake. Every action has a moral and ethical dimension which is smoothed over with lullabies of technocratic peace and harmony. Google, along with the Information Age, is in danger of becoming just another arm of Pathocracy as complete as media, television, industry and agribusiness. If we want to opt out of this integration into the SMART-grid will we be able to do so if our very lives are dependent on its functionality? Moreover, would such rogue thinking be allowed to threaten the infrastructure in this singular future?

Neural networks are not the only bio-real estate available for redesigning. Locator information can be purloined from nearby phones to ping back-and-forth to gain the most accurate coordinates of the person being tracked. Not exactly heart-warming when genetically modified food and gene-twisting technology meets in a grim embrace inside the human body.

So, what’s so special about DNA? We’ll have a look-see in the next post.

 

Update: See also: Data is the New Oil

 


Notes

[1] ‘Apple has more cash in the bank than the U.S. Treasury has left to spend’ By Matthew Humphries http://www.geek.com Jul. 29, 2011|‘Apple ‘spy planes’ to film homes from the air’ “Apple has recruited a private fleet of aeroplanes equipped with military standard cameras to produce 3D maps so accurate they could film people in their homes through skylights, according to reports.” By Nick Collins, Telegraph, 11 Jun 2012.
[2] ‘Rivals Say Google Plays Favorites’ by Amir Efrati, The Wall Street Journal, December 12, 2010.
[3] ‘Google will know more about you than your partner’: Uproar as search giant reveals privacy policy that will allow them to track you on all their products’ by The Daily Mail by Ted Thornhill, 3 March 2012.
[4] ‘Google’s 10 Billion Android App Downloads: By the Numbers’. By Christina Bonnington, Wired December 2011.
[5] ‘How a Lone Grad Student Scooped the Government and What It Means for Your Online Privacy’by Peter Maass, ProPublica, June 28, 2012.
[6] Ibid.
[7] ‘Google’s Street View rejected in Greece over privacy’RINF http://www.rinf.com.
[8] ‘The Carrier IQ Conspiracy’ by Madison Ruppert, December 16, 2011 Activist Post, http://www.activistpost.com.
[9] Ibid.
[10] ‘What does Carrier IQ do on my phone–and should I care?’ by Elinor Mills, CNET, http://www.cnet.com December 1, 2011.
[11] ‘The Cashless Society is Almost Here – And With Some Very Sinister Implications’ By Patrick Henningsen 21st Century Wire: […] It’s arguable that we approaching the cusp of that US Dollar collapse, and perhaps a Euro implosion on the back end of it. Risks of hyper inflation are very real here, but if you control the money supply might already have a ready-made solution waiting in the wings, you will not be worrying about the rift, only waiting for the chaos to ensue so as to maximise your own booty from the crisis.
Many believed that the global currency would be the SDR unit, aka Special Drawing Rights, implemented in 2001 as a supplementary foreign exchange reserve asset maintained by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). SDRs were not considered a full-fledged currency, but rather a claim to currency held by IMF member countries for which they may be exchanged for dollars, euros, yen or other central bankers’ fiat notes.
With the SDR confined to the upper tier of the international money launderette, a new product is still needed to dovetail with designs of a global cashless society.
Two new parallel currencies are currently being used exclusively within the electronic, or cashless domain – Bitcoin and Ven.
Among the many worries Ben Bernanke listed in his speech at the New York Economic Club last week was the emergence of Bitcoin. But don’t believe for a second that these digital parallel currencies are not being watched over and even steered by the money masters. Couple this latest trend with done deals by most of the world’s largest mobile networks this month to allow people to pay via a mobile ‘wallet’, and you now have the initial enabler for a new global electronic currency.
These new parallel cashless currencies could very quickly end up in pole position for supremacy when the old fiat notes fade away as a result of the next planned economic dollar and euro crisis.
Both Bitcoin and Ven appear on their surface to be independent parallel digital money systems, but the reality is much different. In April 2011, Ven announced the first commodity trade priced in Ven for gold production between Europe and South America. Both of these so-called ‘digital alternatives’ are being backed and promoted through some of the world’s biggest and most long-standing corporate dynasties, including Rothschild owned Reuters as an example, which should be of interest to any activist who believes that a digitally controlled global currency is a dangerous path to tread down.  (Read more at http://www.21stcenturywire.com/2012/11/29/the-cashless-society-is-almost-here-and-with-some-very-sinister-implications/)
[12] ‘Google has developed speech-recognition technology that actually works.’ By Farhad Manjoo, April 6, 2011,www.slate.com.
[13] ‘Facial Scanning Is Making Gains in Surveillance’, Charlie Savage New York Times, August 21, 2013.
[14] ‘Advertising based on environmental conditions’ Inventors: Heath; Taliver Brooks (Mountain View, CA) Assignee: Google Inc. (Mountain View, CA) Appl. No.: 12/017,613 Filed: January 22, 2008 / Issued March 20 2012, US patent number: 8,138,930.
[15] Quotation from ‘Big Brother Google just got bigger’ By Madison Ruppert Editor of endthelie.com, January 24 2012.
[16]  ‘U.S., British intelligence mining data from nine U.S. Internet companies in broad secret program’ Wall Street Journal, June 6 2013.
[17] ‘Project Glass: Developers’ verdicts on Google’s headset’ By Laura Locke, BBC News, June 28, 2012.
[18] ‘Inside Google HQ: What does the future hold for the company whose visionary plans include implanting a chip in our brains?’ Ian Burrell, The Independent July 20, 2013.
[19] p.285; Vise, David A.;The Google Story (2008) Published by Pan.

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Technocracy XI: Social (SMART) Grid and “Cognitive Infiltration”

“A really efficient totalitarian state would be one in which the all-powerful executive of political bosses and their army of managers control a population of slaves who do not have to be coerced, because they love their servitude.”

Aldous Huxley, Brave New World


thSocial networking websites like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Yahoo! and others have offered new ways to chat, make friends, speed-date and keep in touch with family wherever you are. It has revolutionized information in ways which we are only just beginning to understand. The networks have become such a normal part of our daily lives in such a short time that it is only recently that serious questions about privacy and surveillance have filtered through to the MSM. But ethical questions are being left behind as the Information Age surges ahead. Indeed, if you don’t have a Facebook account then you have already consigned yourself to the hinterlands of suspicion and abnormality. According to some, this may even be a red-flag for suspected terrorist or paedophile. Such is the power of social networking websites on society and the ridiculous assumptions now circulating. [1] $billion companies like Twitter and Facebook have become the largest database on the global population, representing a free and easy resource for intelligence agencies to data-mine. With over 900 million active users it is not difficult to see how useful data catchment could be.

Growing awareness that social networks are being used by intelligence agencies to monitor citizens’ activities prompted cyber-consumer advocate Electronic Frontier foundation (EFF) to file requests in October 2009 to provide records about federal guidelines on the use of social networking sites for investigative or data-gathering purposes. Among other issues related to surveillance as discussed previously, they sued the CIA, the US Department of Defence, Department of Justice and three other government agencies for allegedly refusing to release information on their involvement in social networks. The cases are on-going.

There are so many dubious aspects to Facebook aside from its intelligence connections and origins it is hard to know where to start. We will pinpoint a few however.

The company makes no secret of is its drive to know everything about its members. It wants to extract and mine as much the data from them as is humanely possible and then make it available to all kinds of interested parties. The implications of their drive to happily make your social life – including information you might not ordinarily reveal – fully integrated into the net experience is of course, never discussed. Facebook has been busily creating “Shadow Profiles” in a bid to extract even more information. Using various functions on the software interface which encourages users to share personal data of other users and non-users of Facebook such as mobile phone synchronization, search queries, friend invitations, email-provider imports and instant messaging means that even if you don’t use Facebook you may have a profile nonetheless. [2]

Since Facebook is such a fan of being “social by default” then it shouldn’t be concerned when the tables are turned. Since Facebook revealed in 2012 that more than 83 million Facebook accounts (8.7% of total users) were fake accounts, ongoing controversies with privacy issues, class action lawsuits and litigation as well as the virtual ownership of members’ profiles, it is hardly surprising this was reflected in the stock value which dropped below $20 in the same year. [3]


th“You may remove your User Content from the Site at any time. If you choose to remove your User Content, the license granted above will automatically expire, however you acknowledge that the Company may retain archived copies of your User Content.”

– Facebook Terms of Service. (It has since been updated yet protests groups claim little has changed).


When independent software developer Pete Warden crawled all the data that Facebook’s privacy settings changes had made public, the company sued him. This occurred before the Open Graph API system which means they were planning to make the data publicly available anyway. As Vice President of Engineering at Border Stylo Dan Yoder comments: “Their real agenda is pretty clear: they don’t want their membership to know how much data is really available,” stating further: “It’s one thing to talk to developers about how great all this sharing is going to be; quite another to actually see what that means in the form of files anyone can download and load into MatLab.” [4]

In 2010, a Canadian security researcher Ron Bowes created a specific crawler script which he then used to take information from Facebook’s open access directory. He managed to download 2.8Gb of personal details including credit card numbers, account names, profile URLs and contact details; names of those users’ friends, (even with hidden profiles) and more intimate photos of over 100 million Facebook users. This cache of private information gold was then dumped on P2P file-sharing service BitTorrent, which was subsequently downloaded by scores of major corporations many hundreds of times. The point was not the relative ease by which such data was “stolen,” though this is an important issue, it was the fact that the data is already publicly available, provided Facebook members have not chosen to hide their profile from search results. [5]

As of 2012, there are now a raft of members, celebrities, underwriters and advertisers all taking a cut of Facebook profits. On the management board is co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg with the largest ownership percentage of an individual at 28% (he is worth $33.1Billion) with co-founders Eduardo Saverin, Dustin Moskovitz, Sean Parker taking between 6-4%.  Venture capital company Accel Partners, Russian internet firm Mail du Ru take 10% repsectively and former PayPal CEO and venture capitalist Peter Thiel 3%. Thiel sums up Facebook’s history of double-dealing and entrepreneurship very well.

mark-zuckerbergCEO Mark Zuckerberg

The first lump sum from his venture capital funding amounted to $500,000 – a tidy sum no doubt drawn from his £3bn hedge fund Clarium Capital Management and a venture capital fund called Founders Fund. Thiel is the Author of an anti-multicultural missive The Diversity Myth and on the board of VanguardPAC a radical internet-based Neo-Conservative pressure group that was apparently set up to attack MoveOn.org, a left-liberal pressure group website. VanguardPAC’s mission is to “reshape America and the globe” according to Neo-Conservative values – the type of values which are still carving up the Middle East. Thiel is certainly not the shy and retiring type and promotes a New World Technocracy laced with transhumanist and right-wing conservatism. The Guardian’s Tom Hodgkinson summarises Thiel’s curious mélange of fascist views: “… since the 17th century, certain enlightened thinkers have been taking the world away from the old-fashioned nature-bound life, and here he quotes Thomas Hobbes’ famous characterisation of life as ‘nasty, brutish and short’, and towards a new virtual world where we have conquered nature. Value now exists in imaginary things.” [6]

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Peter Thiel: Technocratic Neo-Conservative

From where did Theil obtain his inspiration? Stanford’s University’s René Girard and his mimetic theory that states all cultures and ancient societies were built on the victimisation and an eventual sacrifice of the innocent, even though they believed they were guilty. Mythology was used to legitimise and rationalise the fact that society was founded on violence. If Girard believes that people are sheep and will follow the one strongest in the herd then according to Hodgkinson:

“The theory would also seem to be proved correct in the case of Thiel’s virtual worlds: the desired object is irrelevant; all you need to know is that human beings will tend to move in flocks. Hence financial bubbles. Hence the enormous popularity of Facebook. Girard is a regular at Thiel’s intellectual soirees. What you don’t hear about in Thiel’s philosophy, by the way, are old-fashioned real-world concepts such as art, beauty, love, pleasure and truth.” [7]

Perhaps this is something that may be said for much of the neo-feudalist collectives currently infiltrating our social systems?

Consider the other board member of Facebook, Jim Breyer a partner in the venture capital firm Accel Partners who put $12.7m into Facebook in April 2005:

“…. On the board of such US giants as Wal-Mart and Marvel Entertainment, he is also a former chairman of the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA). Now these are the people who are really making things happen in America, because they invest in the new young talent, the Zuckerbergs and the like. Facebook’s most recent round of funding was led by a company called Greylock Venture Capital, who put in the sum of $27.5m. One of Greylock’s senior partners is called Howard Cox, another former chairman of the NVCA, who is also on the board of In-Q-Tel. What’s In-Q-Tel? Well, believe it or not (and check out their website), this is the venture-capital wing of the CIA. After 9/11, the US intelligence community became so excited by the possibilities of new technology and the innovations being made in the private sector, that in 1999 they set up their own venture capital fund, In-Q-Tel, which “identifies and partners with companies developing cutting-edge technologies to help deliver these solutions to the Central Intelligence Agency and the broader US Intelligence Community (IC) to further their missions”. [8] [Emphasis mine]

With significant lobbying costs totalling over $41,000 in just one quarter of 2010 the focus of their expenditure was primarily intelligence agencies such as the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) and the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA). It was the only internet company to do so out of Google, Amazon, eBay, Microsoft, Yahoo and Apple. The DNI is an umbrella office founded in the wake of 9/11 synthesizing intelligence from 17 agencies (including the CIA) and advises the President on privacy and federal cyber-security policy.

Which begs the question: Is Facebook lobbying merely to keep their operations free from interference for their Intel handlers?

Meanwhile, Facebook, Blogs, newspapers, radio TV channels, and internet chat rooms are poured over and monitored by the Open Source Centre or “vengeful librarians” – even the constant “tweets” from the Twitter network reaching over 5 million per day. Information is gathered by an army of analysts to find the low-down on the emotional level of a certain city demographic or whether a country is ready to be invaded or …”Democratised.”

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 “Facebook is not your friend, it is a surveillance engine.”

– Richard Stallman, software freedom activist


It is now common knowledge that The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s command centre monitors blogs, forums newsgroups and message boards on a daily basis. Scores of popular websites, including Twitter, Facebook, WikiLeaks, Hulu, and many alternative and left-leaning news sites also come under the umbrella of US surveillance.

Among the many examples that the Obama Administration has provided and which go above and the beyond the Neo-Conservative crimes of the Bush-Cheney cabal is President Obama’s regulatory Czar and legal scholar Cass Sunstein. Just before his appointment as Administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, this gentleman managed to add to the grand façade that is American democracy by writing a 30-page academic paper co-authored with Adrian Vermule entitled: “Conspiracy Theories.” In the paper he suggested the government should “infiltrate” social network websites, chat rooms and message boards. This “cognitive infiltration,” according to Sunstein, should be used to enforce a U.S. government ban on “conspiracy theorizing.” This ban would be imposed on such heresies as anti-anthropocentric global warming; the World Trade Centre attacks on 911 were an inside job; Al-Qaeda is a US government-created mercenary unit for hire and a range of other proven conspiracy facts, most of which feature on this blog. By “conspiracy theory” Sunstein defines it as “an effort to explain some event or practice by reference to the machinations of powerful people, who have also managed to conceal their role.”

Heaven forbid we should try to expose that …

And of course, Sunstein implies that that there are no conspiracies operating in government, banking and corporate activities and if you are one of the mentally deranged few that believe so, then medical help and a good psychologist is the only path open to you. It seems everyone is a potential extremist if you are aren’t giving the government a virtual back-rub. He further suggests: ““… a distinctive tactic for breaking up the hard core of extremists who supply conspiracy theories: cognitive infiltration of extremist groups, whereby government agents or their allies (acting either virtually or in real space, and either openly or anonymously) will undermine the crippled epistemology of believers by planting doubts about the theories and stylized facts that circulate within such groups, thereby introducing beneficial cognitive diversity.” [9]

Cass SunsteinCass Sunstein 2011, (AP Photo)

Sunstein’s objective is to raise: “… doubts about their factual premises, causal logic or implications for political action,” which places a whole new angle on some of many trolls and trouble-makers who periodically appear on website forums to sow seeds of discontent in ways which follow distinct patterns of emotional programming indicative of paid disinformation agents. Indeed, PSYOPS targeting the web have been in operation for several years, possibly since the internet’s inception in some form or another.  Sunstein’s suggestions are merely an updating of the US Dept. Defence’s Information Operations Road Map of the future. [10]

To make sure such a future – and the mass mind – is firmly where it should be DARPA means to keep biometrics and the internet connected to the same port (which, one day soon, may be located at the back of our skulls). Pentagon scientists are helpfully creating a program to use biometrics as a platform for creating a “cognitive fingerprint” which would dispense with all those passwords building up in our little black books. Which means, according to their website: “… validating any potential new biometrics with empirical tests to ensure they would be effective in large scale deployments.” Named the Active Authorisation Program (AAP) it offers deep analysis of the user’s cognitive processes and thus their online behaviour in the hope of inventing new forms of biometrics so that your identity can be ascertained.

Parallel to this grateful assistance in making our lives so much more efficient and safe, online tech journal Security Ledger reported in April 2013 on one time hacker and DARPA’s cyber chief Peiter “Mudge” Zatko heading to Google Inc. Joining Google’s Motorola Mobility’s Advanced Technology & Projects (ATAP) group, it has a mission to deliver “breakthrough innovations to the company’s product line on seemingly impossible short time-frames.” While Microsoft continues to track users of the Windows phones which have a unique ID that interacts with Wi-Fi locations and GPS to know anyone’s longitude and latitude. Customer privacy isn’t a big issue for Microsoft and really any of the big internet companies. Google knows the password of every Android device (phone or tablet) which has ever logged on to a particular Wi-Fi network. (Android accounts for 79 per cent of phones shipped worldwide).

Business Insider’s article of August 14th, 2013 alerted us to the fact that if you are one of 400 million persons who chose Gmail then you can also expect no privacy at all. In a class action complaint of 2013 Google responded by claiming “a person has no legitimate expectation of privacy in information he voluntarily turns over to third parties.” So, be warned, even though it is unlikely you’ll be able to avoid Google even if you wanted to.

It seems Google and DARPA are courting each other for good reason.

 


Notes

[1] Is not joining Facebook a sign you’re a psychopath? Some employers and psychologists say staying away from social media is ‘suspicious’ Daily Mail, 6 August 2012.
[2] ‘Facebook Is Building Shadow Profiles of Non-Users’ October 18 2011, http://www.slashdot.org
[3] “Facebook: About 83 million accounts are fake”. USA Today. August 3, 2012.
[4] ‘Top Ten Reasons You Should Quit Facebook’ by Dan Yoder http://www.gizmodo.com May 3 2010.
[5] ‘How 100 million Facebook users ended up in a list on BitTorrent’ Jemima Kiss, The Guardian, 29 July 2010.
[6] ‘With friends like these …’ by Tom Hodgkinson, The Guardian May 2010.
[7] Ibid.
[8] Ibid.
[9] ‘Conspiracy Theories’ by Cass R. Sunstein (Harvard Law School) and Adrian Vermeule (Harvard Law School) January 15, 2008, Harvard Public Law Working Paper No. 08-03, U of Chicago, Public Law Working Paper No. 199 U of Chicago Law & Economics, Olin Working Paper No. 387. [ During my own experience in working for several alternative news websites there was no question that persistent problems from site “trolls” on the relevant forums fell into this category. Some exhibited high knowledge on certain specialist subjects and exhibited a standard formula for contouring ideas and concepts which included the very same “cognitive infiltration” tactics cited by Sunstein and often in a highly elaborate form. Once “outed” they were gone but often the damage was already done].
[10] As part of the “Information Dominance” strategy of the Pentagon, ‘The Information Operation Road Map’ was a paper commissioned in 2003 and declassified in 2006. It was personally approved by the then Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld. It included details of major PSYOPS disinformation campaigns to place false stories in newspapers and the internet as well as the kind of beginings of “cognitive infiltration” that Sunstein was so keen to see materialise.

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Technocracy V: The Technocrats Tap in (2)

“What is the society we wish to protect? Is it the society of complete surveillance for the commonwealth? Is this the wealth we seek to have in common – optimal security at the cost of maximal surveillance?”
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– Tom Stoppard, author, playwright
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                                      Image credit: gizmag.com | infrakshun

In 2003, under the Bush Administration, the Total Information Awareness program was introduced in order to provide “large, distributed repositories” including “biometric signatures of humans” and “human network analysis and behavior modeling” provided by DARPA. It was a reiteration of what ECHELON and MAIN CORE had been doing for years. Congress defunded the program in the same year, prohibiting any such activities to target Americans.

The Total Information Awareness Office run by convicted Iran-Contra felon John Poindexter and featured a logo on its website resembling the popular occult mythology of the Illuminati. It was so blatant that some visitors thought it was a bad attempt at political satire. It wasn’t. It did however, beg the question as to why such a revealing caricature and its objectives was allowed the go ahead? Moreover, why was it derailed so quickly when other draconian legislation – including the highly controversial PATRIOT act – sailed through without any problems?

The reason for this was to provide a distraction so that yet another surveillance hub could be built away from the spotlight.

A 2012 article by online tech magazine Wired reports on Intel journalist James Bamford’s sources who claim that once again, NSA has been continuing its surveillance operations with a new spy data centre based in Utah: “… capable of breaking almost any encryption, reading any email and recording any phone call anywhere in the world, even if it’s not made over the Internet.” Where have we heard that before? This hub is just one of a number of networked sites based around a similar network 0f “ultra-sensitive satellites … with the unique ability to sniff electronic communications from a massive distance.” [1]Bamford’s sources say that the NSA is routinely violating the US constitution by dumping all of America’s communications data into the system for analysis. Perhaps most importantly, and which goes to the heart of the premise of this book is the opinion of another covert source to which Bamford made contact who claimed that: “… the NSA is on the verge of a massive coup, putting the U.S. inches away from ‘a turnkey totalitarian state.’” [2]

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The Total Information Awareness logo as compared to the Great Seal found on the US dollar bill, a freemasonic emblem. A purposeful distraction?

Another heavy-weight whistleblower, William Binney, decided to grab the gauntlet and go against his superiors to warn of an Orwellian Superstate which is “ready” and “set up” so that one has to just “turn the key” and this would be an immediate reality. [3] A specialist in traffic analysis, Binney worked for the NSA for 37 years and knows its capabilities and technical now-how inside out. He joined Electronic Frontier Foundation’s case against the National Security Agency (Jewel v. NSA) filed in July 2, 2012, and their illegal domestic surveillance programs which, according to Binney, “are consistent, as a mathematical matter, with seizing both the routing information and the contents of all electronic communications” inside the U.S. He has stated that over 20 trillion files have been created since the September 11th attacks.[4]Amid significant civil liberty concerns, NSA head and commander of US Cyber Command department General Keith Alexander is still seeking to redesign the internet’s infrastructure so that the NSA may: “… know instantly when overseas hackers might be attacking public or private infrastructure and computer networks.” A trial of 17 US defence companies is already underway.

Tom Simonite from Technology Review tells us:

“Under the Defense Industrial Base (DIB) Cyber Pilot, Lockheed Martin and other companies set up their computer security systems to automatically alert the agency when the alarm is tripped. They automatically pass a summary of what was detected and the IP address associated with the event to the NSA over the Internet. ‘All you need to pass is the fact of a signature and IP address in real time, and we can take it from there,’ said Alexander.” [5]

Yet, there is more to MAIN CORE than high-level data collection and future detention. First, we need to keep in mind that targeting the thinking population is not just an Orwellian fantasy but an objective reality. The NSA and Homeland Security is collecting massive amounts of data on the US and European populations for another purpose which may well have something to do with “Synthetic Environments for Analysis and Simulation” or (SEAS). From their celebratory website we read: “What happens when you take gaming technology, inject it with the latest discoveries in management, economics, and psychology, and apply it to business, political, and social situations? The answer is Simulex’s Synthetic Environments for Analysis and Simulation (SEAS), the result of ten years of research conducted at Purdue University’s Krannert School of Management, in association with the United States Department of Defence and several Fortune 500 companies.” [6]

Looking at Simulex Inc. client base it is fairly easy to guess. As the bold heading that greets us on the client page attests, SEAS has a top heavy bias for the telecommunications industry. It assists the United States Joint Forces Command (USJFCOM) to “model the volatile regions of the world” while also providing their services to United States Department of Homeland Security in preparing “… for bio-terrorist attacks, and by Fortune 500 companies for strategic planning.”[7]Other clients include: United States Department of Defence, United States Department of Justice, United States Army Recruiting Command and Crane Naval Surface Warfare Centre. Their private sector clients are global pharmaceutical corporation Eli Lilly and our old weapons friend Lockheed Martin who got rid of whistleblower Margaret Newsham for blabbing to the press about unwarranted surveillance.

Is it coincidence Lockheed turns up here?

Other Fortune 500 companies are apparently clients but we are not given a list. However, it would be right up the social engineering alley of the Rockefeller Foundation and Monsanto Corp.

(Photo: Mönch / STN)

Which brings us to another 2005 whistleblower Russell D. Tice, a former intelligence analyst for the U.S. Air Force, Office of Naval Intelligence, Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) and NSA Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) officer. His statements in an interview to online journal Think Progress Security.org claimed that the surveillance discovered so far was “… only the tip of the iceberg,” and there was “… an angle that you haven’t heard about yet…” [8]In another interview with the online culture journal Reason just prior to a congressional hearing on the NSA wiretapping scandal (which went nowhere) Tice infers that the wire-tapping was not the main issue and that he needed: “… to tell Congress that no one knows yet, which is only tertiarily connected to what you know about now … In my case, there’s no way the programs I want to talk to Congress about should be public ever, unless maybe in 200 years they want to declassify them. You should never learn about it; no one at the Times should ever learn about these things.”[9]

So, surveillance was only scratching the surface. What then, are we to make of this military-corporate complex outsourcing in conjunction with MAIN CORE? What would you do if you wanted to predict how each of us may act in the future, most especially if your main objective was to control population in the face of a real or imagined threat against the Establishment power-base?

What is it that we “should never learn about?”

Could that be that each and every one of us who has expressed a level of awareness that thinks out of the box has an electronic kindle file packed full of interesting data? Moreover, this data is part of complex synergy of multi-layered simulations that uses a form of mass “pre-crime” software with a supercomputing power undreamt of.

>Blogger and commentator Kevin Flaherty from cryptogon.com makes it clear in the following analysis:

We must assume that They are using the full spectrum of surveillance information to try to PREDICT HOW EACH OF US IS LIKELY TO BEHAVE ON A DAY TO DAY BASIS. Where we go. Which routes we take. What we buy. Etc. All of these things can be broken down into a kind of moving average that wiggles around between an upper band and a lower band, kind of like a standard deviation from a mean. Stay within the bands, and the Magic 8 Ball probably won’t bother to flag your profile for closer analysis by some genius at the Terrorist Screening Center.

Obviously, most of us aren’t worth the attention of a human analyst, and They know it. Most of the sheep just go with the herd. They do what they’re told, shop at Wal-Mart, pay their taxes, go to church, the end. More educated sheep read Business Week or the New York Times, etc. Within a fairly wide range of activities, it’s no more complicated, for the vast majority of the people out there, than the way pool balls behave as they bounce around the table and each other.

This is a key point, so I’m going to emphasize it: These systems would excel at finding the artifacts, the outliers, the people who haven’t internalized the programming, but continue to act ‘normal.’ [10] [Emphasis mine]

Journalist and author Walter Bowart who wrote the seminal classic Operation Mind Control (1978) the NSA of the 1960s had computer systems decades in advance of public and governmental agencies of the time. And let’s not forget the capabilities of “Quantum Light Harvesting” which offers a revolutionary way to advance computational power to undreamt of levels and in a short space of time. That being so, what systems do we imagine the NSA playing with now in 2015?

Having explored the notions of depopulation or “managed genocide” and psychological operations in this series, Flaherty makes an interesting observation on the nature of this total surveillance and so called resource-grabbing. He draws our attention to a recent and on-going SEAS project in partnership with the US Department of Defence (DOD) called the Sentient World Simulation (SWS). According to the concept paper for the project, a parallel Planet Earth is being developed: “… with billions of individual ‘nodes’ to reflect every man, woman, and child this side of the dividing line between reality and AR… It will be a “synthetic mirror of the real world with automated continuous calibration with respect to current real-world information.” Apparently, the simulation: “… provides an environment for testing Psychological Operations (PSYOP),” so that military leaders can “develop and test multiple courses of action to anticipate and shape behaviors of adversaries, neutrals, and partners”.

SWS also:

“… replicates financial institutions, utilities, media outlets, and street corner shops. By applying theories of economics and human psychology, its developers believe they can predict how individuals and mobs will respond to various stressors.

SEAS can display regional results for public opinion polls, distribution of retail outlets in urban areas, and the level of unorganization of local economies, which may point to potential areas of civil unrest. Yank a country’s water supply. Stage a military coup. SWS will tell you what happens next.

“The idea is to generate alternative futures with outcomes based on interactions between multiple sides,” said Purdue University professor Alok Chaturvedi, co-author of the SWS concept paper. [11]

However, the Pentagon still isn’t content. Hundreds of additional spies are being sent overseas as part of a new espionage network that is set to rival the CIA in size according to the Washington Post. The report informs us that the a transformation of the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) is underway having been “dominated for the past decade by the demands of two wars” and which will now be a “spy service focused on emerging threats and more closely aligned with the CIA and elite military commando units.” With “collectors” numbering as many as 1,600 all over the world this is no small project. In fact, as we have explored, it seems to be part of an expansive operation to merge military and intelligence agencies into a more centralised system of espionage and domestic surveillance. As the Post mentions: “… the Pentagon’s plan to create what it calls the Defense Clandestine Service (DCS) reflects the military’s latest and largest foray into secret intelligence work. The DIA overhaul — combined with the growth of the CIA since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks — will create a spy network of unprecedented size.” [12]

illustrationPhoto from Simulex, Inc. advert

On top of all this, in 2012, former CIA intelligence analyst turned Whistleblower Edward J. Snowden leaked more than 50,00 classified documents to the Wikileaks organisation and journalist Glenn Greenwald revealing in black and white just how pervasive and all-encompassing the surveillance capabilities of America’s NSA and Britain’s GCHQ truly is. For some, the jury is still out on Snowden’s motives, primarily due to the fact that much of this information had been known for many years by independent journalists and alternative media who had been trying to get the attention of the mainstream media, but to no avail. So, it was a little fishy that Snowden was all over every possible media outlet in a very short space of time as though he had single-handedly dismantled the apparatus himself. Yet, he is the first CIA agent to do so. Is he a patsy, a conscious agent or a hero?

Whether the NSA is using him to test the demographic water of mass perception is unclear. For one thing, it allows the public to ease their way into deeper issues surrounding the whole arena of US policy from drone attacks to terrorism. The latter reason has been trotted out to justify all kinds of unconstitutional measures and many are waking up to this fact. After all, so-called “terrorists” are acutely aware that they are always monitored. What Snowden has done is to show how surveillance is targeting innocent people, not the terrorists. The NSA, in all probability, may be extremely peeved that their methods have been revealed. Whether this is a CIA-NSA turf war suggested by some commentators remains to be seen. As the CIA grapples with increasing revelations about its torture and rendition programs and the NSA continues to try and stem the flow of leaked cables on its surveillance capabilities, the leviathan of soft totalitarianism still lumbers forward.

NSACIA Emblem

© infrakshun

By 2013, while the magnitude of surveillance of all and everyone was being digested it is true to say that there may be much more to be drawn out of the NSA shadows. On November 28th,the BBC’s Hardtalk programme, Glenn Greenwald stated that there are still thousands of leaked cables to go through and make public. As it stands, the leaks have not made the slightest difference to its illegality as some commentators have been saying for quite some time. Far from being chastened, the NSA has romped ahead by creating a secret body of law which gives the agency carte blanche in accessing data on Americans justified by the war on terror and the threat of cyber-terrorism and underground nuclear proliferation.

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) has eleven members whose job it was to approve illegal wire-tapping orders and which have  now been expanded to allow the NSA to do as it pleases while doffing its hat to feeble attempts to regulate intelligence surveillance. In a Guardian piece by Spencer Ackerman on August 16, 2013, it was reported that thousands of annual violations of its own restrictions continue to mount as reported by two US senators who sit on the US intelligence committee. As Rice, they stated that these were, also: “the tip of the iceberg.”

The bottom line is that everyone is presumed guilty rather than innocent simply due to the vast amount of data building on every citizen. The NSA can effectively trap you into suspected wrongdoing. As we have seen, the ubiquitous rise of entrapment operations may reflect something much deeper. Just because you have led a law-abiding life, it is no protection against mass spying programs seeping into every corner of our lives care of SMART technology. Indeed, the very definition of “law abiding” is changing; contoured towards government policy rather than what is ethically and morally sound. Whistleblower William Binney has warned for several years that the government is storing literally everything and creating a highly sophisticated, searchable database to be used for anything it wants. Snowden says much the same thing in an interview on June 12, 2013:

Because even if you’re not doing anything wrong you’re being watched and recorded. And the storage capability of these systems 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 – even by a wrong call. And then they can use this system to go back in time and scrutinize every decision you’ve ever made, every friend you’ve ever discussed something with. And attack you on that basis to sort to derive suspicion from an innocent life and paint anyone in the context of a wrongdoer. [13]

On July 6, 2013, Eric Lichtblau writng for the New York Times commented on officials’ statements that: “… the court’s still-secret decisions go far beyond any single surveillance order.” Indeed, though European countries such as France and Spain have been found spying on their own citizens, even handing over data to the NSA it is the United States that has led the charge against the global population’s privacy. This in turn, has led the Surveillance State seeping into every avenue of American life. Even the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has routinely been snooping in order to extract largely unconstitutional taxation claims. It believes that it can continue to operate quite happily without using a warrant to read people’s emails and text messages. Just like the search engine Google Inc. (whom we will turn to presently) the Fourth Amendment and every person’s right to basic privacy is deemed irrelevant to the IRS and it’s highly dubious definitions of taxations laws. In summary, they have their ears and eyes tapped into every conceivable communication source while making up their own laws to maintain this illegal surveillance  well into the future. If you listened to the BBC you would think that it is Glenn Greenwald who should be on trial for daring to suggest that intelligence chiefs “routinely lie.”

But the shadow government and the NSA isn’t content – it needs more and more. Research into weaponisation, military capabilities and surveillance has now encompassed much of society. Corporations, multinational security firms and private contractors who act as “digital blackwaters” are all in the NSA bag. Outsourcing is key in terms of diluting accountability whilst encouraging innovation. In just a few examples from many, military-intel company Raytheon has “… secretly developed software capable of tracking people’s movements and predicting future behaviour by mining data from social networking websites.” The company admitted that it was a joint research & development project shared with the US government sincce 2010 in order “… to help build a national security system capable of analysing ‘trillions of entities’ from cyberspace.

WilliamBinney-EdwardSnowdenWhistleblowers William Binney (left) and Edward J. Snowden (right)

The security of biometric data is a bad joke since the sale of private data is open to lucrative profits. In 2013, Richard Kerbaj and Jon Ungoed-Thomas reported in the May 13th, edition of The Sunday Times that data of 27m mobile phone users had been: “… offered for sale to the Metropolitan police, private companies and other bodies, enabling them to track users’ movements.” The company involved in the potential sale is: “Ipsos Mori, one of Britain’s biggest research firms, … claimed in meetings that every movement by users can be tracked to within 100 metres.” According to the newspaper, the company: “shelved any deal after being contacted by The Sunday Times.” The report continued: “Documents to promote the data reveal that it includes ‘gender, age, postcode, websites visited, time of day text is sent [and] location of customer when call is made’. They state that people’s mobile phone use and location can be tracked in real time with records of movements, calls, texts, also available for the previous six months.” [14]

To carry out these  games in order to “protect us” the NSA has resorted to impersonating Google in order to obtain its information and swell its billions of files.  Named in the business as a “man in the middle attack” it involves a hacker technique of “… using a fake security certificate to pose as a legitimate Web service, bypass browser security settings, and then intercept data that an unsuspecting person is sending to that service.” Once passwords have been collected users can then log in to genuine banking websites thereby acting as intermediary or “middle man” and re-routing requests to their bank and returning the information to the customer while gathering highly personal data from both participants without either having the slightest clue what has happened. (It also applies to email servers). This time it is not a lone hacker but the NSA and GCHQ, where massive amounts of information is being channelled back to their central hubs. [15]

The idea that informational roadmap of cyberspace has been compromised by Intel PSYOPS and NSA surveillance has become more of a probability that a possibility. It is foolish to believe that anything we do online is secure or private. Not only is the NSA breaking most forms of encryption on the internet but is likely replacing intercepting downloads of open-source encryption software and silently replacing these with their own versions. The NSA is re-calibrating the internet towards its own perception of reality.

Illegality is justified with the favourite canard that it is all to protect us from terrorism. It was confirmed just how manufactured the threat truly is when online journal allgov.net reported in October 2013 that NSA Director Keith Alexander admitted before a congressional committee that he lied when he claimed the agency’s wire-tapping program had thwarted 54 terrorist “plots or events.”  In June of 2013, while the Obama administration was busy denouncing the whistleblowing of Edward Snowden and locking away Bradley Manning for 35 years, the NSA was lying through its teeth once again. Only 13 of the 54 cases were connected to the United States and just one or two suspected plots were: “… identified as a result of bulk phone record collection.” This was nothing new. The head was merely following the “terrorist-under-your-bed” justification for all manner of constitutional abuses practiced by the government and military-intelligence apparatus.

Lying is an inherent part of the deal. Apart from using data and surveillance as a means to implement propaganda, cyber-warfare and the harassment of those deemed “enemies,” mass surveillance is key to Obama’s assassination programs still carried out without oversight. In combination with the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) the NSA and CIA effectively make a private army outside any democratic accountability. Special operations units utilising drones and US soldiers are deployed all around the globe, from Somalia to Yemen, Afghanistan to Iraq. The coordination and logistical support is given by the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) who essentially decides who might be a suitable target and the means by which he or she will be murdered.

According to Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) the true purpose of the NCTC is the:

“massive, secretive data collection and mining of trillions of points of data about most people in the United States” …. In particular, the NCTC operates a gigantic data-mining operation, in which all sorts of information about innocent Americans is systematically monitored, stored, and analyzed. This includes “records from law enforcement investigations, health information, employment history, travel and student records” – “literally anything the government collects would be fair game”. In other words, the NCTC – now vested with the power to determine the proper “disposition” of terrorist suspects – is the same agency that is at the center of the ubiquitous, unaccountable surveillance state aimed at American citizens.

Worse still, as the ACLU’s legislative counsel Chris Calabrese documented back in July in a must-read analysis, Obama officials very recently abolished safeguards on how this information can be used. Whereas the agency, during the Bush years, was barred from storing non-terrorist-related information about innocent Americans for more than 180 days – a limit which “meant that NCTC was dissuaded from collecting large databases filled with information on innocent Americans” – it is now free to do so. Obama officials eliminated this constraint by authorizing the NCTC “to collect and ‘continually assess’ information on innocent Americans for up to five years”. [16]

As the NSA and Homeland Security can now, on a whim, label any American a potential terrorist, the most obvious question to ask is how long will it be before American citizens are assassinated on their own soil? (Assuming it hasn’t happened already).

drones

Obama’s Drones ready to assassinate from a distance without trial or jury. Based on the woeful intelligence of the last decade chances are you are likely to be an innocent civilian.

Perhaps no better example illustrates how the NSA should be the last people we trust is from the recent confirmation that the agency wishes to defend none other than Wall Street. Rather than wire-tapping genuine criminals infesting the world of cartel economics, this bastion of financial terrorism is deemed worthy of protection.

Salon, journalist Natasha Lennard details how the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper released a statement in early 2013 noting: “It is not a secret that the Intelligence Community collects information about economic and financial matters, and terrorist financing. We collect this information for many important reasons: for one, it could provide the United States and our allies early warning of international financial crises which could negatively impact the global economy. It also could provide insight into other countries’ economic policy or behavior which could affect global markets.” [17]

The NSA could no doubt collect vast amounts of information on the continuing “irregularities” and corporate crimes still devouring any chance of a healthy economy. As journalist Michael Degerald mentioned regarding the admission: “If any part of American society or business had shown itself to be corrupt to the core, and thus in need of surveillance, it’s Wall Street.” [18]

 


Notes

[1] ‘The NSA Is Building the Country’s Biggest Spy Center (Watch What You Say)’ By James Bamford, Wired, March 15, 2012.
[2] Ibid.
[3] RT report July 2012.
[4] ‘Sworn Declaration of Whistleblower William Binney on NSA Domestic Surveillance Capabilities’ July 16 2012. Public Intelligence.net, http://www.publicintelligence.net.
[5] ‘NSA Boss Wants More Control Over the ‘Net’by Tom Simonite, technologyreview.com, July 27, 2012.
[6] Ibid.
[7] Ibid.
[8] ‘NSA Whistleblower To Expose More Unlawful Activity: ‘People…Are Going To Be Shocked’’ By Faiz Shakir, Thnik Progress Security, wwwthinkprorgess.org May 12, 2006.
[9]‘Inside the Puzzle Palace’ – A Reason interview with NSA whistleblower Russell Tice, by Julian Sanchez, http://www.reason.org, January 13, 2006.
[10] ‘Synthetic Environments for Analysis and Simulation’ By Kevin Flaherty, http://www.cryptogon.com, June 30th, 2007.
[11] ‘Sentient world: war games on the grandest scale – Sim Strife’ By Mark Baard, The Register, 23rd June 2007.
[12] ‘DIA sending hundreds more spies overseas’ By Greg Millar, The Washington Post, December 2.
[13] See: ‘Full Interview with Edward Snowden’at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bdPbvKeRgpk
[14] ‘Secrets of 27m mobile phones offered to police’ by Richard Kerbaj and Jon Ungoed-Thomas Sunday Times, 12 May 2013.
[15] ‘NSA Disguised itself as Google’ by Edward Moyer CNET.com, September 2013.
[16] “The President’s Private Army”: NSA-CIA Spying is Central to Carrying Out the Obama Administration’s Assassination Program. By Washington’s Blog / Global Research, September 29, 2013.
[17] ‘Statement by Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper on Allegations of Economic Espionage’
Sunday, September 08, 2013.
[18] ‘Why doesn’t NSA spy on Wall Street?’by Michael Degerald Salon.com Sep 11, 2013.

Technocracy IV: The Technocrats Tap in (1)

By M.K. Styllinski

“…As far as intelligence goes the NSA’s far, far superior to [the CIA]—far in advance in the ‘black arts.’…The CIA gets blamed for what NSA does. NSA is far more vicious and far more accomplished in their operations.”

Operation Mind Control (1978) By Walter Bowart, Interview conducted with a confirmed government assassin.


cctv1The average British person has the dubious honour of being part of a population that is the most intensely monitored on the planet. In just one week, a British individual will have over 3,254 pieces of personal information stored about him or her, which is then held for years on a variety of databases, or in some instances indefinitely. Where you shop, how frequently, what you buy, how often you use your credit card and where; you’re most common website searches and favourite sites as well as the details of your emails and keyword analysis therein. An average of 50 websites is visited and 32 emails sent per person in Britain every day. That’s a lot of data. And the internet service providers (ISPs) log everything which is then happily handed over to advertisers representing perhaps the most “benign” use of your private data. (Stay tuned).

The dividing line between the corporate sector and government has never been more blurred when it comes to sharing data about customer’s habits. Phone companies already retain enormous amounts of data about British people and presently give it to over 650 public bodies on request. A recent finding by the UK’s Telegraph newspaper revealed that plans to grant local authorities and other public bodies access to the email and internet records of millions has already gone ahead, despite the well-publicised loss of data by government departments, including an incident where HM Revenue and Customs mislaid computer disks containing the personal details of 25 million people. [1]

Microsoft continues to track users of the new Windows phones which has a unique ID that interacts with Wi-Fi locations and GPS to know anyone’s longitude and latitude. Customer privacy isn’t a big issue for Microsoft and any of the big internet companies. Mobile phones are now effectively little tracking devices courtesy of a network of phone masts which allow name, time, location and direction of travel to be catalogued via a unique identifying signal that is pulsed out at regular intervals, even when you are not using the phone. Police and public authorities can access this information at any time, ostensibly for investigating crimes. [2]

intellistreetsIt seems that one company “Illuminating Concepts” is quite open about the spread of surveillance and even seems to celebrate it. Closely associated with Homeland Security, the firm is already rolling out its SMART street lighting under brand name “intellistreets” in various cities throughout the USA. However, on the intellistreets website it reveals the lighting system has: “Homeland Security features … embedded in the system.” What does that mean exactly? Well, they have provided sensors for: “Mass notification, emergency evacuation routing, emergency call stations, CBRNE attack notification, visual analysis and digital signage. And further, team have helpfully created: “… systems processors [that] provide background music, public announcements, and digital messaging.” Although in an earlier report  the description included “voice stress analyzers,” this seems to have been scrubbed from their updated version, although you can be sure it remains in the package, all made possible via an ocean of wi-fi waves…And since they also act as surveillance cameras then there is no reason to fear …

intellistreets2

Intelligent Street Lighting in Las Vegas. They are fitted with a range of sensors designed to assist Homeland Security…(screen-shot from intellistreets demo)

Back in the United Kingdom, aside from intelligent transport and street lighting, there is still the matter of a central nexus of surveillance care of CCTV or closed-circuit television where well over 4.2 million cameras are crammed into this tiny island. Network Rail, London Underground, government and corporate buildings are all littered with the critters, recording an average of over 300+ appearances on camera for the ordinary Brit. The tapes can be kept however long it is deemed necessary. The fact that CCTV surveillance has proven by the police’s own crime statistics to have made virtually no reduction or prevention of crime, the SMART city future continues to attract the technocratic faithful, nonetheless.[3]And if you are thinking of high-tailing your way out of the UK in search of real privacy, automatic number plate recognition systems can always track your speeding car…

That is, if airborne drones don’t do it first.

Produced by yet another delighted arms manufacturer, BAE Systems, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) better known as “drones,” and controversially deployed in Afghanistan are now being used for the routine and covert monitoring of the UK and US public. In the United States police, universities, state transportation departments and federal agencies already have some form of drone device monitoring the public. Some of these are anything from small, remote-controlled model “aeroplanes” to large predator drones seen in the military. A consortium of government agencies and law enforcement authorities are falling over themselves to deploy the drones in an attempt to “greatly extend the government’s surveillance capacity and ‘revolutionise policing.’” According to a 2010 Guardian report: “The CAA is currently reluctant to license UAVs in normal airspace because of the risk of collisions with other aircraft.” Despite this, the government and their weapons manufacturers are confident that the widespread deployment of drones will take off… in just a few years. [4] 

The Federal Administration Authority (FAA) has estimated 10,000 drones could be flitting about our skies by 2020. With a September 2015 deadline from Congress to open the nation’s airspace to drone traffic, the investment alone will ensure such a deadline remains on course. [5] Indeed, early 2015 has already seen drones operating on behalf of amazon, pizza delivery, as waiters in Japan and even drones whizzing around at the Superbowl (until the FAA became jittery and banned them).

Overall surveillance is marching to the tempo of intel agencies and the creation of so-called “threat assessments.” CCTV photography is entered into a facial recognition database which can then be used to create a 3D model of your face which is distributed across a vast database surveillance network. The United States Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has been busy developing the AWARE-2 gigapixel camera which is capable of creating images with 50,000 megapixels. The machine will be used for military surveillance, which means if not being used against suspecting civilians or “insurgents” in foreign lands it will probably mean protesters and law abiding citizens like you and me. The AWARE camera is part of a whole industry rolling out new hardware to meet the demands of a global populace that is becoming more aware.

Governments have been spying on their own people since the end of the Second World War as a consequence of gathering enemy intelligence and code cracking. Codes and encryption technology led to coordinated signal intelligence (SIGINT) which obtained a fresh burst of state support from the pressure of the Cold War. The computer innovations that would follow led to the creation of the ECHELON global spying system, a vast network of digital spy stations carefully maintained by the US, England, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

Originally named “Project P415” with the involvement of a broad network of international intelligence agencies on board, it has continued to grow in size and scope thanks to successive Prime Ministers and Presidents signing off billions of pounds and dollars without congressional approval. By the 1980s, the Anglo-American plan for an expansion of ECHELON was set in motion. It was to be fully operational by the 21st century and its ambitions included the monitoring, collection and analysis of the civilian population overseen by the United States’ National Security Agency (NSA) and Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) at Cheltenham, England. This is the coordinating centre for Europe, Africa and Russia, West of the Ural Mountains, while the NSA is responsible for the rest of Russia and the Americas. The NSA’s monitoring of the South Pacific, and South East Asia is sourced from a base in Australia. The still secret UKUSA (UK-USA) monitoring agreement splits the work into several sections assigned to the relevant agency where the global population’s private lives are intercepted from mobiles, land line telephones, fax transmissions and emails and fed through NSA departments where personnel pore over keywords in the hope of isolating phantom suspects’ intent on blowing up the White House.[6]

A 1998 European Parliament sponsored research study entitled: ‘An Appraisal of Technologies of Political Control,’ gave credence to journalists’ insistence that a UK-US spy surveillance network was in operation. The Scientific and Technological Options Assessment (STOA) committee of the European Parliament compiled the report and gave cast iron evidence that not only did it exist but showed the NSA was routinely carrying out illegal and sophisticated surveillance experiments on Europeans with UK support.

In the 1980s, Margaret Newsham worked for arms manufacturer Lockheed Martin and had been stationed at the NSA’s Menwith Hill listening post in Yorkshire, England. This is the central clearing house for information that is vacuumed up and dissected by the NSA at fort Meade and other locations. Newsham became a whistleblower and testified to a Congressional committee after realising that the NSA was illegally spying on Americans and Europeans. Their report was never published but investigative journalist Duncan Campbell took an interest and verified her story in a 1988 report of his own, blowing the lid off ECHELON secrecy in the process.

gchq-nsaAmerica’s NSA Headquarters (top) and UK’s ECHELON surveillance system and GCHQ

Patrick S. Poole, a lecturer in government and economics at Bannockburn College in Franklin, Tennessee compiled a data base on the nature and history of ECHELON. In an extensive series from 1999 and 2000 he outlined some of the surveillance operation code names unveiled over the years mostly by determined investigative journalists which include the following sourced from the Menwith Hill data hub:

STEEPLEBUSH – Completed in 1984, this $160 million system expanded the satellite surveillance capability

RUNWAY –receives signals from the second-generation geosynchronous Vortex satellites, and gathers miscellaneous communications traffic from Europe, Asia and the former Soviet Union. The information is then forwarded to the Menwith Hill computer systems for processing.

PUSHER – An HFDF system that covers the HF frequency range between 3 MHz and 30 MHz (radio transmissions from CB radios, walkie-talkies, and other radio devices). Military, embassy, maritime and air flight communications are the main targets.

MOONPENNYthis system is targeted at the communication relay satellites belonging to other countries, as well as the Atlantic and Indian Ocean Intelsat satellites.

KNOBSTICKS I and II – The purpose of these antennae arrays are unknown, but they probably target military and diplomatic traffic throughout Europe.

GT-6 – A new system installed at the end of 1996, GT-6 is believed to be the receiver for the third generation of geosynchronous satellites termed Advanced Orion or Advanced Vortex. A new polar orbit satellite called Advanced Jumpseat may be monitored from here as well.

STEEPLEBUSH II – An expansion of the 1984 STEEPLEBUSH system, this computer system processes information collected from the RUNWAY receivers gathering traffic from the Vortex satellites.

SILKWORTH – Constructed by Lockheed Corporation, the main computer system for Menwith Hill processes most of the information received by the various reception systems.

Additional systems (TROUTMAN, ULTRAPURE, TOTALISER, SILVERWEED, RUCKUS, et. al.) complete the monumental SIGINT collection efforts at Menwith Hill. [7]

Unfortunately, while disputing the strength of such a system and the danger it poses for ordinary citizens Mr. Poole also buys into the propaganda of “us and them” terrorism and hails the “successes” that such a framework has yielded, citing a selection of terrorist atrocities that unbeknownst to him, had the sticky hand of state-sponsorship all over of them. Like many journalists and academics he has yet to grasp that the building of extremism is part of the Terror Industry in turn, connected to the “justifications” rallied by the mainstream press to support the World State-surveillance apparatus. In conjunction with long-time utilisation of PROMIS software – and now thanks to Edward Snowden’s whistleblowing on Internet surveillance programs such as PRISM, XKeyscore, Tempora, and the interception of US and European telephone metadata, remote viewing of any computer in real time is possible, as well as the creation of “back door snooping” in most public systems such as Microsoft.

Unsurprisingly, the Middle East, that bastion of US-NATO interference, has come under extensive surveillance activities at the turn of the millennium.  The online tech journalThe Register revealed in June 2014 that British intelligence had created a secret spy base responsible for tapping undersea cables at Seeb on the coast of Oman. This is only one of a three sites as part of the GCHQ network in Oman codenamed “TIMPANI”, “GUITAR” and “CLARINET”. Iraq and Yemen are the targets of this spying. According to leaked cables by Edward Snowden, it seems telecommunication companies are making a mint by allowing intel operatives to plug in to their networks and stay silent. (This symbiotic relationship reflects the dominance of Israeli spy networks within telecommunications in the United States).

…the intelligence agency annually pays selected companies tens of millions of pounds to run secret teams which install hidden connections which copy customers’ data and messages to the spooks’ processing centres. The GCHQ-contracted companies also install optical fibre taps or “probes” into equipment belonging to other companies without their knowledge or consent. Within GCHQ, each company has a special section called a “Sensitive Relationship Team” or SRT.

BT and Vodafone/C&W also operate extensive long distance optical fibre communications networks throughout the UK, installed and paid for by GCHQ, NSA, or by a third and little known UK intelligence support organization called the National Technical Assistance Centre (NTAC).

Snowden’s leaks reveal that every time GCHQ wanted to tap a new international optical fibre cable, engineers from “REMEDY” (BT) would usually be called in to plan where the taps or “probe” would physically be connected to incoming optical fibre cables, and to agree how much BT should be paid. The spooks’ secret UK access network feeds Internet data from more than 18 submarine cables coming into different parts of Britain either direct to GCHQ in Cheltenham or to its remote processing station at Bude in Cornwall. [8]

oman-1From The Register: “GCHQ’s submarine cable tapping centre for the TEMPORA project at Seeb in Oman, codename “CIRCUIT”.   It was built alongside a commercial satellite interception station, codename “SNICK”, according to documents revealed by Edward Snowden.”

As the tawdry tale of US-NATO led destabilisation policy continues in the Middle East, directly connected to the crisis in the Ukraine and Baltic states you can be sure more spy centres will be cropping up as surveillance sophistication grows.

The NSA’s warrantless surveillance or “wire-tapping” authorised by George W. Bush’s executive order expanded the monitoring of phone calls, emails, Internet history, text messaging, and any form of communication in or outside US jurisdiction. The search warrant became a thing of the past. Violations of the First, Fourth and Fifth Amendments of the US Constitution continue to be ignored because what’s left of the Bill of rights and the Constitution itself has been so diluted that intelligence agencies and their law-makers take advantage of the myriad loopholes and executive order mandates. The Obama Administration has continued where Bush left off and extended the financing and capability of the surveillance methods. [9]

As a result of its illegal spying programs the NSA still hasn’t foiled a single terrorist plot, including all the copious amounts of suspicious activity prior to 9/11. Once we realise that the War on Terror is at root a hoax, designed to facilitate geo-strategic control, suppress domestic dissent and create leverage for political blackmail, we may see that surveillance becomes much more than a protective measure, as former workers and whistleblowers have cautioned. As Duncan Campbell observed: “The targeting of US political figures would not occur by accident, but was designed into the system from the start.” [10]

Since the recent furore of Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World scandal in which journalists were found to have listened in to calls and monitored computer files, one can imagine the capability available to the NSA and GCHQ in the context “deep black” intelligence operations. Satellite systems have become integral to this global project with a network of monitoring stations in Britain and Europe tapping into domestic communications circuits, and analysing every email, text, mobile phone call and just about any data signal that is readable – which is everything. Telecommunications companies in the UK such as BT and Vodafone have made this easier by collaborating with the spy agency and passing on details of their customers’ phone calls, email messages and Facebook entries. As reported in several June 2013 reports at various news outlets, fibre optic cables have been tapped by the NSA – with the blessing of the government.

Leaked documents from whistle-blower Edward Snowden has shown that illegal surveillance in the UK is pretty much a carbon-copy of what goes on in the United States, though with even more ubiquitous surveillance devices positioned in everyone’s direction. From overhead satellite systems extremely precise location can be secured along with a raft of data about a company or individual. International communications was said to be its original concern at the US satellite and communications base at Menwith Hill but US national security in the wake of the War on Terror has given “justification” for monitoring all and everything, ostensibly to sift for Al-Qaeda/ ISIL gold.

Keep in mind that this isn’t just a rough scan of large quantities data. According to former NSA analysts and whistle-blowers Judy Woodruff, William Binney, Russell and now Snowden, they have all confirmed that the NSA is scanning every email, recording every word of every phone call made within the United States – digitised and archived. This includes files on relevant persons deemed a domestic threat. If we take a look at the extraordinary advances in telecommunications and applications in the public domain then we must also consider the likelihood that the advances in the military-intelligence sector is decades ahead. In the context of ECHELON surveillance, Homeland Security, the SMART Grid, and the delights of technocratic automation of every conceivable suburban amenity, you can gain an understanding of what this may mean if you are one of those that don’t take to this kind of regimentation.

In the 2008 May/June issue of Radar Magazine an article written by investigative journalist Christopher Ketcham entitled: “The Last Roundup” reveals the high probability that the U.S. Government had established a database and tracking system called MAIN CORE used primarily for over eight million Americans who have been designated as threats to national security. Taking its cue from the from the global equivalent that is ECHELON, it uses the same sources of data such as internet activity, mobile, telephone, health records, marketing and financial information but extends that capability to a cross-network with undisclosed black programs. Need to check out a suspicious individual because he looked funny on a subway camera? The keywords in your Web searches; the destinations of the airline tickets you buy; the amounts and locations of your ATM withdrawals; and the goods and services you purchase on credit cards are all archived on government supercomputers and according to Ketcham and others’ sources, also fed into the MAIN CORE database.

It also has another more immediate purpose.

With the program’s inception going back to at least the 1980s and with help from the Defence Intelligence Agency, MAIN CORE is run under the highly classified and controversial Continuity of Government (COG) operations. The COG is the principle of establishing defined procedures that allow a government to continue its essential operations in case of nuclear war or other catastrophic event. President George W. Bush, tasked with eviscerating the constitution, included in his raft of executive legislation the National Security Presidential Directive/NSPD 51 and Homeland Security Presidential Directive/HSPD-20 which served to outline the federal government’s plan for maintaining continuity in the face of such a “catastrophic emergency.” The latter is defined as “any incident, regardless of location, that results in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage, or disruption severely affecting the U.S. population, infrastructure, environment, economy, or government function.” Constitutional government is effectively bypassed granting Police State powers to the White House, the Federal Emergency Management Authority (FEMA) and Homeland Security (DHS).

gty_nsa_surveillance_kb_131029_16x9_992Source: abcnews.go.com

If you think that gives a government the licence to impose Martial Law based on virtually any scenario it chooses, then you’d be correct. Such a state of affairs would be lamentable for the public but a bundle of laughs for those in power, many whom would be gagging for such an opportunity. According to Ketcham’s article, it alleges that Americans listed in the MAIN CORE database, “Could be subject to everything from heightened surveillance and tracking to direct questioning and possibly even detention.” [11] A senior government official who had high level clearance gives a chilling observation:

“There exists a database of Americans, who, often for the slightest and most trivial reason, are considered unfriendly, and who, in a time of panic, might be incarcerated. The database can identify and locate perceived ‘enemies of the state’ almost instantaneously.” [12]

This didn’t extend to the assigned terrorists such as Osama Bin Laden it seems.

What about this hypothetical attack – Another 911? We saw how the US and the world changed radically after that event. This time, the scenario may not be Al-Qaeda/ISIL bogeyman but the American citizens themselves who would be targeted. Indeed, this is exactly what’s happening.

Ketcham describes how events might play out:

“With the population gripped by fear and anger, authorities undertake unprecedented actions in the name of public safety. Officials at the Department of Homeland Security begin actively scrutinizing people who—for a tremendously broad set of reasons—have been flagged in Main Core as potential domestic threats. Some of these individuals might receive a letter or a phone call, others a request to register with local authorities. Still others might hear a knock on the door and find police or armed soldiers outside. In some instances, the authorities might just ask a few questions. Other suspects might be arrested and escorted to federal holding facilities, where they could be detained without counsel until the state of emergency is no longer in effect.” [13]

If we factor in Pre-Crime software, it is obvious that this will play an integral part in the coming SMART revolution, as a former military operative explains: >

“… the program utilizes software that makes predictive judgments of targets’ behavior and tracks their circle of associations with ‘social network analysis’ and artificial intelligence modeling tools…. “The more data you have on a particular target, the better [the software] can predict what the target will do, where the target will go, who it will turn to for help,” he says. “Main Core is the table of contents for all the illegal information that the U.S. government has [compiled] on specific targets.” An intelligence expert who has been briefed by high-level contacts in the Department of Homeland Security confirms that a database of this sort exists, but adds that “it is less a mega-database than a way to search numerous other agency databases at the same time.” [14]

Homeland Security’s homage to Phillip K. Dick’s Minority Report is already up and running with their version of an airport based Pre-Crime. Using an algorithmic “prototype screening facility” designed “to detect cues indicative of mal-intent” based on ground-breaking factors of ethnicity, gender, breathing, and heart rate” we can expect great things from those fearless protectors. Combine that still further with the FBI’s nationwide new facial recognition service and we have reason to feel that we are not so much “protected” as invasively monitored. [15]

The Terrorist Watch List garners over 200,000 new unaware individuals every year from housewives to school boys, businessmen to political commentators and ordinary citizens. As of writing, the list is well over the 1 million mark and rising exponentially. A former NSA officer discloses: “… that the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, using an electronic-funds transfer surveillance program, also contributes data to MAIN CORE, as does a Pentagon program that was created in 2002 to monitor anti-war protestors and environmental activists such as Greenpeace.” [16] In the MAIN CORE data base even these definitions are too restrictive.

We can easily arrive at the logical conclusion that if we have voiced an opinion that is contrary to the prevailing “wisdom” of government authorities then you can be rest assured there is a pretty little file just for you.

If supermarkets have a marketing profile of your purchasing patterns then imagine what your own governments have?

In 2007, online revelations concerning the NSA’s IP intercept operations and there ubiquitous presence on the internet gave us a level of surveillance that surpassed most people’s wildest imaginations. AT&T telecommunications engineer Mark Klein who participated in building the secret NSA infrastructure blew the whistle on the real designs behind his boss’s wishes. The NSA and AT&T tried their best to prevent disclosure. After a class-action lawsuit against AT&T allowing secret government surveillance of Internet traffic, a refreshingly rare instance of democracy was at work when the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) released unredacted court documents related to the AT&T/NSA intercept case. This provided – in astonishing detail – the capability of surveillance software run by intelligence agencies on service providers’ networks. [17] A company called Narus developed a custom-built network surveillance system named “NarusInsight Intercept Suite” with the capable of real-time analysis of all the data passing through the most advanced and largest network nodes currently in existence.

According to the Narus website:

These capabilities include playback of streaming media (i.e. VoIP), rendering of web pages, examination of e-mail and the ability to analyze the payload/attachments of e-mail or file transfer protocols. Narus partner products offer the ability to quickly analyze information collected by the Directed Analysis or Lawful Intercept modules. When Narus partners’ powerful analytic tools are combined with the surgical targeting and real-time collection capabilities of Directed Analysis and Lawful Intercept modules, analysts or law enforcement agents are provided capabilities that have been unavailable thus far. 

This is what you might call the tip of a particularly large and hidden iceberg…

 


Notes

[1] How Big Brother watches your every move’ by Richard Gray, The Telegraph, August 2008.
[2] Ibid.
[3] ‘CCTV cameras: If they do not stop crime or catch criminals, what are they for?’ The Telegraph, 24 Aug 2009. | ‘CCTV boom has failed to slash crime, say police’ by Owen Bowcott, The Guardian, 6 May 2008.
[4] ‘CCTV in the sky: police plan to use military-style spy drones’ by Paul Lewis, The Guardian, 23 January 2010.
[5] ‘Drones Are Taking to the Skies in the U.S.’ Los Angeles Times February 18th, 2013.
[6]‘The National Security Agency and Global Electronic Surveillance’ by Duncan Campbell, New Statesman August 12, 1988.
[7] ‘ECHELON: America’s Global Surveillance Network’ by Patrick S. Poole 1999/2000.
[8] ‘Federal Judge Finds N.S.A. Wiretaps Were Illegal’. By Charlie Savage, James Risen, The New York Times, March 31, 2010.
[9] ‘GCHQ’s Middle East cable tap centre revealed’,The Register 3rd June, 2014.
[10] op. cit. Campbell.
[11] ‘The Last Roundup’ By Christopher Ketcham, Radar Magazine, April 29, 2008.
[12] Ibid.
[13] Ibid.
[14] Ibid.
[15] ‘Homeland Security Moves Forward with ‘Pre-Crime’ Detection’CNET, October 8th, 2011. | ‘FBI to Launch Nationwide Facial Recognition Service’ Nextgov. October 8th, 2011.
[16] Ibid.
[17] https://www.eff.org/nsa/faq/