By Patrick Brogan
“We are not afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasant facts, foreign ideas, alien philosophies, and competitive values. For a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people.” -President John F. Kennedy, 26th February 1962
President Kennedy gave this speech in honour of broadcaster Voice of America‘s 20th anniversary. In the 21st Century, it is a different form of media which many believe have voiced the truth. Large sections of the public are jaded by the established, mainstream media and the agenda they push and have taken to Twitter and Facebook to find out information. Indeed, many political movements that have risen in the last few years would not have got so much widespread support if it wasn’t for various forms of social media.
There has been a backlash to this and this has forced the big names of the digital age to act. Indeed, they have even been called in front of the US Senate to detail how they are tackling the problem of perceived extremist groups. However, there is an issue with social and modern interactive technology that does give even greater concern and that is “What do they do with all the data they collect?”
There are numerous examples of Facebook breaking data laws and manipulating users. From taking information from WhatsApp and Instagram, tracking internet users who did not sign up to Facebook to conducting psychological experiments on nearly 700,000 of its users. So, it clearly isn’t sweet and wholesome. Then there is the issue of the company making your data and search history available to the third parties. How much did they let them know and how much did they make from it?
Facebook and the Government
Various agencies of international intelligence scan social media trying to pick up on information the ‘bad guys’ might be sharing. And In-Q-Tel, more on them later, actually fund start-ups that than create technology that does this much more efficiently, this in a week were Theresa May openly criticised Silicon Valley for not doing enough to shut down dangerous accounts. Ironically, despite all the data Facebook has, they still have huge problems stopping illegal activity. Government, particularly the intelligence arm, have an understandable fascination with social media and spend much time and money researching it. Does it go deeper than this, though?
In-Q-Tel is the investment arm of the CIA. They fund start-ups that they believe will create technology that will make their lives easier. This also helps them skip out the middle-man as they can access this information as an investor. In-Q-Tel detail the companies they invest in, but some suspect the CIA is investing in other technologies as part of US intelligence’s “black-budget”.
In-Q-Tel‘s investment portfolio is impressive. They have invested in Visible Technologies (VT) which was created by WPP, the world’s largest ad agency. VT has developed technology that scans social media. It’s not just social media that In-Q-Tel has an interest in. They teamed up with Google to invest in Recorded Future which tracks vectors and then tries to predict what may occur. This is not the only dealings these two previously had. In-Q-Tel invested in a company called Keyhole which Google bought over and turned into Google Earth.
Then we have another project. Cloudera. This is a massive storage database. Critics believe this is a backdoor for the US Government to gain access to information. Many Silicon Valley tech companies use this service.
Critics in the past have accused Facebook of being a puppet of the CIA. The reality is more complicated than that, but there is an element of truth in this as the company is involved a complex web of connections with American governmental agencies.
The Early Years
In some ways, who Facebook was initially funded by is worse than just being an arm of the CIA. We have mentioned Peter Thiel numerous times on this site. He’s like the American Denis O’Brien. Any critical stories about him lead to a grudge. He helped destroy Gawker, which was hardly a sad day for journalism, but this came out of a personal vendetta and this is a trait he has long had. He is not good for democracy. He also is interested in some really weird shit.
The reason we mention him is that he was very important in the Facebook story, especially the early years. When Facebook was looking for investors, it was Thiel that invested, around $500,000. Accel Partners was the second group to come in, they came in with nearly $13 million, such was their belief in the new social media player. This is where the CIA comes in. Two high-profile board members of Accel at the time they pumped money into Facebook were Gilman Louie and Anita Jones and both served on the board of In-Q-Tel and Jones is still on their board of trustees. So, here we have two members of In-Q-Tel investing Facebook. I find it inconceivable that news of Facebook‘s potential did not find its way to the CIA and that CIA would not try to use this information.
Anita Jones was also an advisor to Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). DARPA ran the Information Awareness Office whose stated aim was “to gather as much information as possible about everyone, in a centralised location, for easy perusal by the United States government, including (though not limited to) internet activity, credit card purchase histories, airline ticket purchases, car rentals, medical records, educational transcripts, driver’s licenses, utility bills, tax returns, and any other available data”.
Edward Snowden has revealed as much. He said that the NSA tapped into the servers of large tech companies like Google, Facebook and Yahoo under its surveillance programme Prism. He has also revealed the lengths US intelligence will go to bug even their allies. Internet cables in Italy were targeted, mainly by GCHQ and then the intel was passed on to the US, Angela Merkel had her phone bugged and numerous embassies around the world were being spied on. Then the US public has the gall to express outrage at unfounded allegations Russia hacked the DNC files.
US intelligence has a long history of spying on their allies and stealing their information. Probably the most explicit example of this is the Inslaw affair. Husband and wife team William and Nancy Hamilton founded a company called Inslaw and after William was approached by US law enforcement he developed a computer programme called PROMIS. PROMIS was developed with law agencies in mind and could handle huge volumes of data. Without going too much into it, it was years ahead of its time.
The US Department of Justice was very pleased with this and signed up to a three-year contract. During the second year, the payments stopped even though the software was still being used. The Hamiltons were obviously very concerned about this and tried contacting the DoJ. They had no joy and things took an even stranger turn when Canadian intelligence got in touch with the Hamiltons about problems they had with their software. The Hamiltons were deeply confused as to how Canadian agencies got a hold of software they created for US intelligence.
It turns out that the DoJ sold on the technology without Inslaw‘s permission and the company actually went bankrupt because the DoJ stopped paying them. This was initially linked to the Iran-Contra scandal whereby the CIA raised funds to support the Nicaraguan contras after Congress outlawed the US Government funding them directly. The story doesn’t here though.
A man named Michael Risconsciuto testified that he was hired by the CIA to install a trapdoor into the PROMIS software. The DoJ sold this technology to security forces all around the world. Little did they know that US intelligence could access all their files by entering the trapdoor installed by Michael Risconsciuto. This story goes much deeper than this and for anybody wanting to know more about the Inslaw affair I would urge them to watch the below video;
A Murky History
The reason I bring all this up is to show how covert US intelligence and even its Department of Justice can be. And more often than not this has been to protect its own vested interests rather than protecting the American people. The CIA has often been described as muscle for American corporate interests and it is not difficult to see why when we look back at the people who helped set it up.
“Wild” Bill Donovan was head of the forerunner of the CIA, the Office of Strategic Services. He is often described as the father of US intelligence. Bill married rich and is closely linked to the Rockefellers as he was handpicked by their foundation to run operations during WWI. This is no conspiracy theory about how the Rockefellers run US intelligence, but they certainly moved in the same circles. Then there is the former head of the CIA, Allen Dulles. Before he became involved with the US military he served his time as a lawyer for one of America’s most celebrated corporate law firms Sullivan and Cromwell.
Indeed, when we look back at the coups the CIA instigated, it becomes much clearer. The Guatemala coup of 1954 was started to protect the United Fruit Company and their profits which had been affected when Árbenz took office. The US always claimed these coups were to protect itself from authoritative Communism spreading to the US. This wasn’t always true. Guatemala was Socialist, not out-and-out Communist, and more importantly, it was a democratically elected government. The CIA could get away with this because the American public bought up the lies during the era of McCarthyism and mass hysteria. US intelligence has always pushed the agenda of corporate interests and this was one of the major factors in the rise of Globalism.
To Sum Up
Facebook was founded by a man who stole the ideas of others, if they are to be believed. And then it was funded by dubious people like Thiel, no lover of freedom of the press, and then people heavily linked to the CIA. One of the CIA‘s tactics during a coup is to win the battle for hearts and minds. It is difficult to believe they would not see the potential in something like Facebook, or the internet in general. And as we have already established, the CIA is not on the side of the ordinary American citizen, only its corporations. And we also pointed out that Facebook‘s own record is dubious when it comes to information and the treatment of its customers.
Even things like Pokémon Go have been linked to the NSA and its advanced surveillance techniques. Facebook‘s own history of subjecting people to unknown experiments is reminiscent of the CIA‘s Psy-Ops. The two are very much entwined in personnel and ideology. And the scary thing is, there doesn’t seem to be an alternative. As Edward Snowden pointed out, the likes of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube got out there first and were never caught by the competition. Part of the reason is funding. Government agencies heavily backed these companies. As a commentator once pointed out; Bill Gates and Steve Jobs took information and gave it to the Government, Edward Snowden and Julian Assange gave it back to the people.
This is not to say the intelligence community and those based in Silicon Valley don’t diverge on key matters. Of course, they do. The CIA doesn’t run the internet and there is no super-family controlling the planet, but there is definite cause for concern. US intelligence has access to all that information, one way or another. Neither of these entities, intelligence or social media companies, actually support a free, democratic or even fully capitalist society. They want control and monopolies. Indeed, some were created solely for this purpose. Can we really be shocked when the world is the way it is? We might not live in a truly dystopian society, but the framework is certainly there to create one. Most worryingly of all is people seem unaware of the fact buying into rampant consumerism is helping to spawn an Orwellian society.
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