Category Archives: The Rise and Rise of Tyrrany

12 Ways The Economy Is Already In Worse Shape Than It Was During The Depths Of The Last Recession

Did you know that the percentage of children in the United States that are living in poverty is actually significantly higher than it was back in 2008?

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by Michael Snyder | July 23, 2015

Did you know that the percentage of children in the United States that are living in poverty is actually significantly higher than it was back in 2008? When I write about an “economic collapse”, most people think of a collapse of the financial markets.

And without a doubt, one is coming very shortly, but let us not neglect the long-term economic collapse that is already happening all around us. In this article, I am going to share with you a bunch of charts and statistics that show that economic conditions are already substantially worse than they were during the last financial crisis in a whole bunch of different ways. Unfortunately, in our 48 hour news cycle world, a slow and steady decline does not produce many “sexy headlines”. Those of us that are news junkies (myself included) are always looking for things that will shock us. But if you stand back and take a broader view of things, what has been happening to the U.S. economy truly is quite shocking. The following are 12 ways that the U.S. economy is already in worse shape than it was during the depths of the last recession…

#1 Back in 2008, 18 percent of all Americans kids were living in poverty. This week, we learned that number has now risen to 22 percent

There are nearly three million more children living in poverty today than during the recession, shocking new figures have revealed.

Nearly a quarter of youngsters in the US (22 percent) or around 16.1 million individuals, were classed as living below the poverty line in 2013.

This has soared from just 18 percent in 2008 – during the height of the economic crisis, the Casey Foundation’s 2015 Kids Count Data Book reported.

#2In early 2008, the homeownership rate in the U.S. was hovering around 68 percent. Today, it has plunged below 64 percent. Incredibly, it has not been this low in more than 20 years. Just look at this chart – the homeownership rate has continued to plummet throughout Obama’s “economic recovery”…

Homeownership Rate 2015

#3 While Barack Obama has been in the White House, government dependence has skyrocketed to levels that we have never seen before. In 2008, the federal government was spending about 37 billion dollars a year on the federal food stamp program. Today, that number is above 74 billion dollars. If the economy truly is “recovering”, why is government dependence so much higher than it was during the last recession?

#4On the chart below, you can see that the U.S. national debt was sitting at about 9 trillion dollars when we entered the last recession. Since that time, the debt of the federal government has doubled. We are on the exact same path that Greece has gone down, and what you are looking at below is a recipe for national economic suicide…

Presentation National Debt

#5During Obama’s “recovery”, real median household income has actually gone down quite a bit. Just prior to the last recession, it was above $54,000 per year, but now it has dropped to about $52,000 per year…

Median Household Income

#6 Even though our incomes are stagnating, the cost of living just continues to rise steadily. This is especially true of basic things that we all purchase such as food. As I wrote about earlier this year, the price of ground beef in the United Stateshas doubledsince the last recession.

#7 In a healthy economy, lots of new businesses are opening and not that many are being forced to shut down. But for each of the past six years, more businesses have closed in the United States than have opened. Prior to 2008, this had neverhappened before in all of U.S. history.

#8Barack Obama is constantly telling us about how unemployment is “going down”, but the truth is that the percentage of working age Americans that are either working or considered to be looking for work has steadily declined since the end of the last recession…

Presentation Labor Force Participation Rate

#9Some have suggested that the decline in the labor force participation rate is due to large numbers of older people retiring. But the reality of the matter is that we have seen a spike in the inactivity rate for Americans in their prime working years. As you can see below, the percentage of males between the ages of 25 and 54 that aren’t working and that aren’t looking for work has surged to record highs since the end of the last recession…

Presentation Inactivity Rate

#10 A big reason why we don’t have enough jobs for everyone is the fact that millions upon millions of good paying jobs have been shipped overseas. At the end of Barack Obama’s first year in office, our yearly trade deficit with China was 226 billion dollars. Last year, it was more than 343 billion dollars.

#11 Thanks to all of these factors, the middle class in America is dying. In 2008, 53 percent of all Americans considered themselves to be “middle class”. But by 2014, only 44 percentof all Americans still considered themselves to be “middle class”.

When you take a look at our young people, the numbers become even more pronounced. In 2008, 25 percent of all Americans in the 18 to 29-year-old age bracket considered themselves to be “lower class”. But in 2014, an astounding 49 percentof all Americans in that age range considered themselves to be “lower class”.

#12This is something that I have covered before, but it bears repeating. The velocity of money is a very important indicator of the health of an economy. When an economy is functioning smoothly, people generally feel quite good about things and money flows freely through the system. I buy something from you, then you take that money and buy something from someone else, etc. But when an economy is in trouble, the velocity of money tends to go down. As you can see on the chart below, a drop in the velocity of money has been associated with every single recession since 1960. So why has the velocity of money continued to plummet since the end of the last recession?…

Velocity Of Money M2

If you are waiting for an “economic collapse” to happen, you can stop waiting.

One is unfolding right now before our very eyes.

But what most people really mean when they ask about these things is that they are wondering when the next great financial crisis will happen. And as I discussed yesterday, things are lining up in textbook fashion for one to happen in our very near future.

Once the next great financial crisis does strike, all of the numbers that I just discussed above are going to get a whole lot worse.

So as bad as things are now, the truth is that this is just the beginning of the pain.

 

 

Commodities Collapsed Just Before The Last Stock Market Crash – So Guess What Is Happening Right Now?

On Wednesday, commodities got absolutely pummeled, and at this point the Bloomberg Commodity Index is down a whopping 26 percent over the past twelve months

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by Michael Snyder | Economic Collapse | July 23, 2015

If we were going to see a stock market crash in the United States in the fall of 2015 (to use a hypothetical example), we would expect to see commodity prices begin to crash a few months ahead of time.  This is precisely what happened just before the great financial crisis of 2008, and we are watching the exact same thing happen again right now.  On Wednesday, commodities got absolutely pummeled, and at this point the Bloomberg Commodity Index is down a whopping 26 percent over the past twelve months.  When global economic activity slows down, demand for raw materials sinks and prices drop.  So important global commodities such as copper, iron ore, aluminum, zinc, nickel, lead, tin and lumber are all considered to be key “leading indicators” that can tell us a lot about where things are heading next.  And what they are telling us right now is that we are rapidly approaching a global economic meltdown.

If the global economy was actually healthy and expanding, the demand for commodities would be increasing and that would tend to drive prices up.  But instead, prices continue to go down.

The Bloomberg Commodity Index just hit a brand new 13-year low.  That means that global commodity prices are already lower than they were during the worst moments of the last financial crisis

The commodities rout that’s pushed prices to a 13-year lowpulled some of the biggest mining and energy companies below levels seen during the financial crisis.

The FTSE 350 Mining Index plunged as much as 4.9 percent to the lowest since 2009 on Wednesday, with BHP Billiton Ltd. and Anglo American Plc leading declines. Gold and copper are near the lowest in at least five years, while crude oil retreated to $50 a barrel.

This commodity bear market is like a train wreck in slow motion,” said Andy Pfaff, the chief investment officer for commodities at MitonOptimal in Cape Town. “It has a lot of momentum and doesn’t come to a sudden stop.”

 

Commodity prices have not been this low since April 2002.  According to Bloomberg, some of the commodities being hit the hardest include soybean oil, copper, zinc and gasoline.  And this commodity crash is already having a dramatic impact on some of the biggest commodity-producing nations on the globe.  Just consider what Gerald Celente recently told Eric King

We now see that the Australian dollar is at a six-year low against the U.S. dollar. What are Australia’s biggest exports? How about iron-ore and other metals.

If we look at Canada, their currency is also now at a six-year low vs the U.S. dollar. Well, Canada is a big oil exporter, particularly some tar sands oil, which is expensive to produce.

We also now have the Brazilian real at a 10-year low vs the U.S. dollar. Why? Because it’s a natural resource rich country and they don’t have a strong market to sell their natural resources to.

Meanwhile, the Indian rupee is at a 17-year low vs the U.S. dollar. This is because manufacturing is slowing down and there is less development. If the Americans aren’t buying, the Indians, the Chinese, the Vietnamese — they’re not making things.

All of this is so, so similar to what we experienced in the run up to the financial crisis of 2008.  Just a couple of days ago, I talked about how the U.S. dollar got really strong just prior to the last stock market crash.  The same patterns keep playing out over and over, and yet most in the mainstream media refuse to see what is happening.

Something else that happened just a few months before the last stock market crash was a collapse of the junk bond market.

Guess what?

That is starting to happen again too.  Just check out this chart.

I know that I must sound like a broken record.  But I think that it is extremely important to document these things.  When the next financial collapse takes place, virtually everyone in the mainstream media will be talking about what a “surprise” it is.

But for those that have been paying attention, it won’t be much of a “surprise” at all.

When the stock market does crash, how far might it fall?

During a recent appearance on CNBC, Marc Faber suggested that it could decline by up to 40 percent

The U.S. stock market could “easily” drop 20 percent to 40 percent, closely followed contrarian Marc Faber said Wednesday—citing a host of factors including the growing list of companies trading below their 200-day moving average.

In recent days, “there were [also] more declining than advancing stocks, and the list of 12-month new lows was very high on Friday,” the publisher of The Gloom, Boom & Doom Report told CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”

“It shows you a lot of stocks are already declining.”

Others, including myself, believe that what we are going to experience is going to be even worse than that.

We live in such a fast-paced world, and most of us don’t have the patience to wait for long-term trends to play out.

If the stock market is not crashing today, to most people that means that everything must be fine.

But once it has crashed, everyone is going to be complaining that they weren’t warned in advance about what was coming and everyone will be complaining that nobody ever fixed the things that caused the exact same problems the last time around.

Personally, I am trying very hard to make sure that nobody can accuse me of not sounding the alarm about the storm that is on the horizon.

The world has never been in more debt, our “too big to fail” banks have never been more reckless, and global financial markets have never been more primed for a collapse.

Amazingly, there are still a lot of “experts” out there that insist that everything is going to be okay somehow.

Of course many of those exact same “experts” were telling us the same thing just before the stock market crashed in 2008 too.

A great financial shaking has already begun around the world, and it will hit U.S. financial markets very soon.

I hope that you are getting ready while you still can.

 

 

Greece Today, America Tomorrow?

The drama over Greece’s financial crisis continues to dominate the headlines

greece-greek-bankby Ron Paul | InfoWars | Originally published July 13, 2015

The drama over Greece’s financial crisis continues to dominate the headlines. As this column is being written, a deal may have been reached providing Greece with yet another bailout if the Greek government adopts new “austerity” measures. The deal will allow all sides to brag about how they came together to save the Greek economy and the European Monetary Union. However, this deal is merely a Band-Aid, not a permanent fix to Greece’s problems. So another crisis is inevitable.

The Greek crisis provides a look into what awaits us unless we stop overspending on warfare and welfare and restore a sound monetary system. While most commentators have focused on Greece’s welfare state, much of Greece’s deficit was caused by excessive military spending. Even as its economy collapses and the government makes (minor) cuts in welfare spending, Greece’s military budget remains among the largest in the European Union.

Despite all the handwringing over how the phony sequestration cuts have weakened America’s defences, the United States military budget remains larger than the combined budgets of the world’s next 15 highest spending militaries. Little, if any, of the military budget is spent defending the American people from foreign threats. Instead, the American government wastes billions of dollars on an imperial foreign policy that makes Americans less safe. America will never get its fiscal house in order until we change our foreign policy and stop wasting trillions on unnecessary and unconstitutional wars.

Excessive military spending is not the sole cause of America’s problems. Like Greece, America suffers from excessive welfare and entitlement spending. Reducing military spending and corporate welfare will allow the government to transition away from the welfare state without hurting those dependent on government programs. Supporting an orderly transition away from the welfare state should not be confused with denying the need to reduce welfare and entitlement spending.

On reason Greece has been forced to seek bailouts from its EU partners is that Greece ceded control over its currency when it joined the European Union. In contrast, the dollar’s status as the world’s reserve currency is the main reason the US has been able to run up huge deficits without suffering a major economic crisis. The need for the Federal Reserve to monetize ever-increasing levels of government spending will eventually create hyperinflation, which will lead to increasing threats to the dollar’s status. China and Russia are already moving away from using the dollar in international transactions. It is only a matter of time before more countries challenge the dollar’s reserve currency status, and, when this happens, a Greece-style catastrophe may be unavoidable.

Despite the clear dangers of staying on our recent course, Congress continues to increase spending. The only real debate between the two parties is over whether we should spend more on welfare or warfare. It is easy to blame the politicians for our current dilemma. But the politicians are responding to demands from the people for greater spending. Too many Americans believe they have a moral right to government support. This entitlement mentally is just as common, if not more so, among the corporate welfare queens of the militarily-industrial complex, the big banks, and the crony capitalists as it is among lower-income Americans.

Congress will only reverse course when a critical mass of people reject the entitlement mentality and understand that the government is incapable of running the world, running our lives, and running the economy. Therefore, those of us who know the truth must spread the ideas of, and grow the movement for, limited government, free markets, sound money, and peace.

 

Judicial Watch: New Documents Reveal DOJ, IRS, and FBI Plan to Seek Criminal Charges of Obama Opponents

Lois Lerner and IRS concoct reason to put Obama’s opponents in jail before re-election

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by Judicial Watch | July 7, 2015

Judicial Watch today released new Department of Justice (DOJ) and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) documents that include an official “DOJ Recap” report detailing an October 2010 meeting between Lois Lerner, DOJ officials and the FBI to plan for the possible criminal prosecution of targeted non-profit organizations for alleged illegal political activity.

The newly obtained records also reveal that the Obama DOJ wanted IRS employees who were going to testify to Congress to turn over documents to the DOJ before giving them to Congress. Records also detail how the Obama IRS gave the FBI 21 computer disks, containing 1.25 million pages of confidential IRS returns from 113,000 nonprofit social 501(c)(4) welfare groups  – or nearly every 501(c)(4) in the United States – as part of its prosecution effort. According to a letter from then-House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, “This revelation likely means that the IRS – including possibly Lois Lerner – violated federal tax law by transmitting this information to the Justice Department.”

The documents were produced subsequent to court orders in two Judicial Watch Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuits: Judicial Watch v. Internal Revenue Service (No. 1:14-cv-1956) and Judicial Watch v. Department of Justice (No. 1:14-cv-1239).

The new IRS documents include a October 11, 2010 “DOJ Recap” memo sent by IRS Exempt Organizations Tax Law Specialist Siri Buller to Lerner and other top IRS officials explaining an October 8 meeting with representatives from the Department of Justice Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section and “one representative from the FBI” to discuss the possible criminal prosecution of nonprofit organizations for alleged political activity:

On October 8, 2010, Lois Lerner, Joe Urban [IRS Technical Advisor, TEGE], Judy Kindell [top aide to Lerner], Justin Lowe [Technical Advisor to the Commissioner of Tax-Exempt and Government Entities], and Siri Buller met with the section chief and other attorneys from the Department of Justice Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section, and one representative from the FBI, to discuss recent attention to the political activity of exempt organizations.

The section’s attorneys expressed concern that certain section 501(c) organizations are actually political committees “posing” as if they are not subject to FEC law, and therefore may be subject to criminal liability. The attorneys mentioned several possible theories to bring criminal charges under FEC law. In response, Lois and Judy eloquently explained the following points:

  • Under section 7805(b), we may only revoke or modify an organization’s exemption retroactively if it omitted or misstated a material fact or operated in a manner materially different from that originally represented.

 

  • If we do not have these misrepresentations, the organization may rely on our determination it is exempt. However, the likelihood of revocation is diminished by the fact that section 501(c)(4)-(c)(6) organizations are not required to apply for recognition of exemption.

 

  • We discussed the hypothetical situation of a section 501(c)(4) organization that declares itself exempt as a social welfare organization, but at the end of the taxable year has in fact functioned as a political organization. Judy explained that such an organization, in order to be in compliance, would simply file Form 1120-POL and paying tax at the highest corporate rate.

Lois stated that although we do not believe that organizations which are subject to a civil audit subsequently receive any type of immunity from a criminal investigation, she will refer them to individuals from CI who can better answer that question. She explained that we are legally required to separate the civil and criminal aspects of any examination and that while we do not have EO law experts in CI, our FIU agents are experienced in coordinating with CI.

The attorneys asked whether a change in the law is necessary, and whether a three-way partnership among DOJ, the FEC, and the IRS is possible to prevent prohibited activity by these organizations. Lois listed a number of obstacles to the attorneys’ theories:

[REDACTED]

She pointed to Revenue Ruling 2004-6, which was drafted in light of the electioneering communication rules before they were litigated.

Just prior this meeting, the IRS began the process of providing the FBI confidential taxpayer information on nonprofit groups. An IRS document confirms the IRS supplied the FBI with 21 disks containing 1.25 million pages of taxpayer records:

FROM: Hamilton David K

SENT: Tuesday, October 5, 2010  2:49 PM

TO: Whittaker Sherry [Director, GE Program Management], Blackwell Robert M

SUBJECT: RE: Question

There are 113,000 C4 returns from January 1, 2007 to now. Assuming they want all pages including redacted ones, that’s 1.25 million pages … If we get started on it right away, before the 10th when the monthly extracts start, we can probably get it done in a week or so….

The DOJ documents also include a July 16, 2013, email from an undisclosed Justice Department official to a lawyer for IRS employees asking that the Obama administration get information from congressional witnesses before Congress does:

One last issue. If any of your clients have documents they are providing to Congress that you can (or would like to) provide to us before their testimony, we would be pleased to receive them. We are 6103 authorized and I can connect you with TIGTA to confirm; we would like the unredacted documents.

“These new documents show that the Obama IRS scandal is also an Obama DOJ and FBI scandal,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “The FBI and Justice Department worked with Lois Lerner and the IRS to concoct some reason to put President Obama’s opponents in jail before his reelection. And this abuse resulted in the FBI’s illegally obtaining confidential taxpayer information. How can the Justice Department and FBI investigate the very scandal in which they are implicated?”

On April 16, 2014, Judicial Watch forced the IRS to release documents revealing for the first time that Lerner communicated with the DOJ in May 2013 about whether it was possible to launch criminal prosecutions against targeted tax-exempt entities. The documents were obtained due to court order in an October 2013 Judicial Watch FOIA lawsuit filed against the IRS.

Those documents contained an email exchange between Lerner and Nikole C. Flax, then-chief of staff to then-Acting IRS Commissioner Steven T. Miller discussing plans to work with the DOJ to prosecute nonprofit groups that “lied” (Lerner’s quotation marks) about political activities. The exchange included a May 8, 2013, email by Lerner:

I got a call today from Richard Pilger Director Elections Crimes Branch at DOJ … He wanted to know who at IRS the DOJ folk s [sic] could talk to about Sen. Whitehouse idea at the hearing that DOJ could piece together false statement cases about applicants who “lied” on their 1024s –saying they weren’t planning on doing political activity, and then turning around and making large visible political expenditures. DOJ is feeling like it needs to respond, but want to talk to the right folks at IRS to see whether there are impediments from our side and what, if any damage this might do to IRS programs. I told him that sounded like we might need several folks from IRS…

Democratic Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse held a hearing on April 9, 2013, during which, “in questioning the witnesses from the DOJ and IRS, Whitehouse asked why they have not prosecuted 501(c)(4) groups that have seemingly made false statements about their political activities…”

The House Oversight Committee followed up on these Judicial Watch disclosures with hearings and interviews of Pilger and his boss, DOJ Public Integrity Chief Jack Smith. Besides confirming the DOJ’s 2013 communications with Lerner, Pilger admitted to the committee that DOJ officials met with Lerner in October 2010. Judicial Watch obtained new documents about these meetings in December 2014 showing the Obama DOJ initiated outreach to the IRS about prosecuting tax-exempt entities.

Following Judicial Watch’s lead, the House also found out about the IRS transmittal of the confidential taxpayer information to the FBI. Because of this public disclosure, the FBI was forced to return the 1.25 million pages to the IRS.

 

 

 

 

‘We’re Training ISIL’: White House Website Corrects Obama’s Speech Blooper

President’s embarrassing error during press briefing amended on official transcript

by Paul Joseph Watson | July 7, 2015

The White House.gov website has corrected an embarrassing mistake made by Barack Obama during his press briefing yesterday about the Islamic State when the President said that U.S. forces were “training ISIL.”

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During his speech, Obama uttered the line, “with the additional steps I ordered last month, we’re speeding up training of ISIL forces.”

The White House.gov transcript left in the original quote, but placed the word ‘Iraqi’ in brackets after the word ISIL, correcting Obama’s mistake.

This is by no means the first time that the White House has edited transcripts of Obama’s speeches to put the president in a better light or cover up for his mistakes.

Last October, the White House completely scrubbed a reference Obama made to unpaid pills being stacked up at his home in Chicago, replacing it with the quote, “there’s still junk on my desk, including some — newspapers and all kinds of stuff.”

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest later dubiously claimed that the line about Obama’s bills was left out because the recording equipment malfunctioned.

The White House again edited Obama’s remarks in March when he mistakenly stated, “the bond between the United States and America is unbreakable.”

When the Bush administration caught flak for amending transcripts, they immediately switched to providing the president’s remarks verbatim, which was not an easy decision considering George W. Bush’s notorious “Bushisms”.

However, the Obama White House seems happy to continue amending history instead of providing an accurate record of what the president actually said.

For once here’s Some Honesty Courtesy Of The US Congress – Frightening

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It doesn’t’ take a rocket scientists to figure out what a bankrupt government will do—just like any thief, they’ll go after easy targets first

Simon Black | Sovereign Man blog | February 1, 2015

A member of my staff caught an obscure resolution that was introduced in the US House of Representatives last week—Resolution no. 41.

The fact that there was essentially no coverage of this Resolution really shows how the mainstream media is completely turning a blind eye to the true fiscal situation of the United States of America.

The entire point of the resolution is to say that the federal government is broke.

It can’t pay its own bills, and therefore is shouldn’t be responsible to pay anyone else’s either.

It doesn’t’ take a rocket scientists to figure out what a bankrupt government will do—just like any thief, they’ll go after easy targets first.

The easiest target of all is future generations.

They’re going to run up the debt as high as they can, which essentially means pulling future tax revenues into today. It’s the easiest tax of all, because unborn children do not vote.

The estate tax is another one to watch out for—because, like unborn children, dead people don’t vote either.

 

We had a great podcast yesterday about retirement savings, where there’s an easy $5 trillion treasure chest for them to raid.

And, of course, there’s the greatest tax of all, the inflation tax, which decreases the standard of living for most of the population as the cost of living rises much faster than incomes.

This Resolution is a pretty scary dose of honesty. But again, what’s even more concerning is that it was just ignored and has objectively a zero percent chance of passing.

I do encourage you to check it out though—even the government is admitting it’s finished.

I’ll quote from the Resolution now without comment and wish you a very pleasant weekend:

Whereas the Federal Government is operating at an annual deficit and is increasing its outstanding debt every year;

Whereas the Federal Government, as of January 2015, is carrying more than $18.0 trillion in debt, of which $13.0 trillion is owed to the public and $5.08 trillion is owed to Social Security and other trust funds;

Whereas foreign governments, individuals, and corporations as of October 2014 own 47 percent of Federal debt held by the public;

Whereas Social Security’s unfunded liabilities in 2014 are $10.6 trillion over 75 years and $24.9 trillion over the infinite horizon;

Whereas the Federal debt held by the public is expected to increase by more than $7 trillion from 2014 to 2024 according to the Congressional Budget Office;

Whereas more than 16 percent of the entire Federal budget goes directly to States and local governments;

Whereas more than 22 percent of total State and local government general revenue comes from the Federal Government according to Census Bureau’s latest Annual Survey of State and Local Government Finance;

Whereas several State and local pension plans are expected to fully exhaust their funds within ten years.

*  *  *

Our goal is simple: To help you achieve personal liberty and financial prosperity no matter what happens.

 

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Delusional America

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In effect, America is now both deaf and blind…

Paul Craig Roberts | February 1, 2015

Robert Parry is one of my favorite columnists. He is truthful, has a sense of justice, and delivers a firm punch. He used to be a “mainstream journalist,” like me, but we were too truthful for them. They kicked us out.

I can’t say Parry has always been one of my favorite journalists. During the 1980s he spent a lot of time on Reagan’s case. Having been on corporate boards, I know that CEOs seldom know everything that is going on in the company. There are just too many people and too many programs representing too many agendas. For presidents of countries with governments as large as the US government, there is far more going on than a president has time to learn about even if he could get accurate information.

In my day Assistant Secretaries and chiefs of staff were the most important people, because they controlled the flow of information. Presidents have to focus on fund raising for their reelection and for their party. More time and energy is used up with formalities and meetings with dignitaries and media events. At the most there are two or three issues on which a president can attempt leadership. If an organized clique such as the neoconservatives get into varied positions of authority, they can actually “create the reality” and take the government away from the president.

As I have reported on many occasions, my experience with Reagan left me with the conclusion that he was interested in two big issues. He wanted to stop the stagflation for which only the supply-side economists had a solution, and he wanted to end, not win, the cold war.

Both of these agendas put Reagan at odds with two of the most powerful of the private interest groups: Wall Street and the military/security complex.

Wall Street for the most part opposed Reagan’s economic program. They opposed it because they understood it as Keynesian deficit pump-priming that would cause an already high inflation rate to explode, which would drive down bond and stock prices.

The CIA and the military opposed any ending of the Cold War because of the obvious impact on their power and budget.

 

Left-wing journalists never picked up on this, and neither did right-wing journalists.

The left could not get beyond Reagan’s rhetoric. For the left, Reagan was trickle-down economics, Iran/Contra, and the fired air traffic controllers.

The right-wing liked Reagan’s rhetoric and blamed him for not delivering on it.

For the left, the Reagan years were a traumatic time. Robert Parry has never recovered from them. He can scarcely write a column about events today, which are horrific in comparison, without dragging Reagan into it. Parry doesn’t realize it, but if it is all Reagan’s fault, little wonder it has been impossible to hold Clinton, Bush 1 and 2, and Obama accountable.

Having written these lines, I already detect the denunciations coming my way for again attempting to “rehabilitate Ronald Ray-Gun.” Reagan does not need rehabilitating. This column is not about Reagan, and it is not a criticism of Parry. It is praise for Parry’s column, “‘Group-thinking’ the World into a New War.” https://consortiumnews.com/2015/01/30/group-thinking-the-world-into-a-new-war/ Read it.

The pattern since Milosevic (and before) has been to demonize a foreign head of state and to take the US to war to get rid of him. That way the secret agenda is achieved under the cover of the necessity of deposing a bad or dangerous ruler.

Parry describes this well. Group-Think plays the important role of preventing any dissent, any suspicion of the case against the demonized person, and any examination of the real agenda that is being pursued.

Now it is Russian President Vladimir Putin who is being demonized. As Parry and I and Stephen F. Cohen, the most knowledgeable of the Russian experts, appreciate, Putin is not Saddam Hussein and Russia is not Iraq, Libya, Syria, Serbia, or Iran. To foment conflict with Russia that could lead to war is worse than irresponsible. Yet, as Parry writes, “from the start of the Ukraine crisis in fall 2013, the New York Times, the Washington Post and virtually every mainstream U.S. news outlet have behaved as dishonestly as they did during the run-up to war with Iraq.”

When Professor Cohen pointed out, correctly, that the lies about Russia, Ukraine, and Putin were hot and heavy, the propagandists had to get rid of the man with the facts. The New Republic, a hang-out for low IQ fools, called America’s leading Russian expert “Putin’s American toady.”

From Parry’s reporting, it appears that Group-Think has spread from the media and foreign policy community into the Association for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies, which has decided that academic careers require adherence to the government’s propaganda line, which means the neoconservatives’ line.

As I have written on a number of occasions, facts no longer play a role in American political life. Fact-based analysis is also disappearing from academic life and no longer plays a role in official economic reporting. A matrix has been created, an artificial reality that channels the energies and resources of the country into secret agendas that serve the interests of the ruling private interest groups and neoconservative ideology.

The United States government and the American people cannot contend with reality, because they do not know what the reality is.

In America’s make-believe world, neoconservative toadies such as New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, set the Group-Think tone, while knowledgeable experts such as Stephen Cohen are tuned out.

In effect, America is both blind and deaf. It lives in delusions. Consequently, it will destroy itself and perhaps the world.

Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following. His latest book, The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West is now available.

 

 

France Announces Plans To Hold The Internet Responsible For Terrorism – be ready to loose OUR FREEDOM

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Purely hamfisted attempt to label innocent service providers as “accomplices”

Timothy Geigner | Techdirt | January 27, 2015

And on it goes. In the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attacks, much of the world rallied around a French magazine’s free speech right to publish controversial text and images concerning Islam, a major world religion. Since that solidarity was expressed, France has strategically sought to undermine its own support of free expression through some of the most arcane law enforcement actions concerning speech to date. From arresting comedians, to threats against news organizations, all the way to stepping into the muck with a bunch of racist idiots, France has shown that it’s not a country that defends free and open speech — but rather one that only defends the speech with which it agrees. But if any of that troubled you, you may be disappointed to learn that it was only the precursor to a full on attack on free speech on the internet.

President Francois Hollande said Tuesday in Paris the government will present a draft law next month that makes Internet operators “accomplices” of hate-speech offenses if they host extremist messages. Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said he will travel to the U.S. to seek help from the heads of Twitter Inc. (TWTR) and Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) as well as Google and Facebook. Spokesmen for the companies did not immediately return requests for comment.

It’s exactly the wrong move on France’s part. What was once a rallying moment for Western values and open speech has now devolved into a full-on attempt to censor speech online. If this law passes, internet services will have no choice but to seek to proactively censor all sorts of speech just to avoid liability. It’s the exact opposite of the systems and policies that made the internet such a welcome home to free expression.

It would be one thing if any part of this plan made even the least bit of sense, which it doesn’t, but where this gets really stupid is in the strategic impact this would have were it to be put in place. Extremists that have since gathered online will now be pushed back into places where they cannot be so easily monitored. What was essentially a honeypot of sorts will be neutered. How does that make even the smallest amount of sense, even throwing aside the horrific implications this has on France’s willingness to censor speech it does not care for?

Add to that the purely hamfisted attempt to label innocent service providers as “accomplices” under the shade of a recent terror attack, and you might think this couldn’t get any more cynical. You’d be wrong.

Hollande, speaking at a Paris memorial for Jews deported during World War II, said he would discuss a crackdown on racist and extremist Internet posts with global leaders at a ceremony at Auschwitz, Poland, on Tuesday as they meet to commemorate the death camp’s liberation 70 years ago. At last week’s World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Hollande called on Internet companies to help identify and shut down illegal content. France has laws against making racist statements or denying the Holocaust.

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Top Communist Admits: Communist Party ‘Utilizes’ the Democratic Party – a Lesson for Constitutionalists

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Communist Party to stick with the Democrats until a viable third party is feasible

Trevor Loudon | January 27, 2015

New national chair of the Communist Party USA, Chicago man John Bachtell, has admitted that his Party “utilizes” the Democratic Party “to advance its agenda.”

Writing on the People’s World website, Bachtell explains that much of the left wants to abandon the Democratic Party (as much of the “right” wants to abandon the GOP) to form a radical third party.

In an article entitled A radical third party? I agree! Bachtell explains:

Certainly, there’s widespread disillusionment with both the Democratic and Republican parties. That’s reflected in the latest Pew Research poll: 38 percent of voters describe themselves as independent, 32 percent as Democrats, and 25 percent as Republicans. In 1991, the three were approximately equal.

While acknowledging that both major parties are heavily influenced by Wall Street, Bachtell sees a big difference:

However, it’s not enough to make sweeping generalizations about the Democratic and Republican parties. It’s true both parties are dominated by Wall Street interests, but it’s also necessary to see how each party differs, particularly their social bases and how this affects their policies.

While the Republican Party is led by the most reactionary sections of Wall Street capital including the energy extractive sector and military industrial complex, it also consists of extreme right-wing elements including the Tea Party, white supremacists, social conservatives, right-wing evangelicals, climate deniers, anti-reproductive rights groups, etc.

Meanwhile the Democratic Party is also home to labor, African Americans, Latinos, other communities of color, women, most union members, young people, and a wide range of social and democratic movements. These constituencies exert influence on party leadership and hold positions at all levels.

Therefore, it makes sense, according  to Bachtell, for the Communist Party to stick with the Democrats until a viable third party is feasible. To Bachtell, progress towards socialism is possible only after the “right” is soundly defeated.

The Communist Party’s tactics for political independence rest on several interrelated elements. First, they occur within the constraints of the two-party system. We don’t operate in a parliamentary system which allows proportional voting. Instead, winner takes all, and during the general election it usually comes down to voting for one of two candidates most likely to win.

That means candidates are backed by coalitions. Under these circumstances voting based on purity of positions is not a viable tactic. Coalition forces may disagree with a candidate on one or another issue, but find they must support candidates for strategic reasons – to advance issues and create a more favorable terrain of struggle.

Our tactics also occur within the framework of our strategic policy of building a broad coalition to defeat the extreme right, which we see as the main danger to democracy and social progress, embodied within today’s Republican Party. There are voting constituencies that presently support the GOP that have to be won over. Such an approach sees the need to actively challenge right-wing and GOP ideas that influence sections of the people, especially working-class whites, for example,through hate talk radio. This includes racism and intolerance which are key issues dividing the working class.

We see this as one of the stages in the long struggle for advanced democracy and socialism. Without decisively defeating the most reactionary sections of monopoly capital, disintegrating Republican Party support at every level, it’s hard to see winning more radical and advanced programs and policies and waging a fight against the monopoly class as a whole.

We envision a prolonged process toward political independence, with many turns, advances and defeats, utilizing many forms, resulting in a radical third party based in labor, working-class neighborhoods, communities of color, and democratic movements. Such a coalition third party must extend its reach beyond urban areas, to suburbs, exurbs, rural areas, and in “red” states and congressional districts.

 

Until that glorious day arrives, the Communist Party will continue to “utilize” the Democrats:

First, we are part of building the broadest anti-ultra right alliance possible, uniting the widest array of class (including a section of monopoly), social and democratic forces. This necessarily means working with the Democratic Party. This differentiates us from those left groups who underestimate the right danger and overestimate the readiness of key class and social forces to bolt the Democratic Party.

Second, our objective is not to build the Democratic Party. At this stage we are about building the broad people’s movement led by labor that utilizes the vehicle of the Democratic Party to advance its agenda. We are about building the movements around the issues roiling wide sections of people that can help shape election contours and debates.

 

The Communist Party often upsets less mature Marxist groups because of their refusal to abandon the Democratic Party, despite not always getting every item on their agenda immediately.

As an experienced Communist, John Bachtell understands that in spite of difficulties and disappointments, the Communist Party agenda is far better served by infiltrating the Democrats than by marching in the streets yelling revolutionary slogans.

The Communist Party and their only marginally less radical Democratic Socialists of America allies can point to real achievements under their “friend” Barack Obama. Obamacare, illegal immigrant “amnesty,” the NEW START Treaty with Russia, negotiations with Iran, military budget cuts and recognition of communist Cuba, are all Communist Party policies, implemented through the Democratic Party.

Bachtell understands that to prematurely break with with the Democrats, on some Quixotic adventure of forming a new leftist third party, would almost certainly hand the next few elections to the GOP. He fears that a revitalized GOP, led by Ted Cruz, or some similar figure, would roll back most, or all of the Communist Party’s hard fought gains.

If US Constitutionalist conservatives and Tea Party activists can show similar political discipline and maturity, they will abandon plans for a suicidal third party agenda – for now. Instead they will work through the GOP, as the Communists have through the Democrats. Learn from the opposition. Utilize the GOP machinery and voting base to build a big Constitutionalist base inside the GOP.  Build your strength, do as the Communists have done, primary any vulnerable GOP candidates who will not support your Constitutionalist agenda.

The Communists did that to Senator Joe Lieberman from Connecticut. Now, virtually no senior Democrats will buck the Communist line. They know the price.

So, the Tea Party and their allies need to take back the GOP for Constitutionalism and ensure that someone of the caliber of  Ted Cruz or Scott Walker is the GOP Presidential nominee in 2016.

If that happens, Americans can have a second “Reagan Revolution” even better than the first. If it doesn’t, the Communist Party will have theirs.

If Constitutionalists fail and Jeb Bush, or some similar milksop becomes the GOP nominee, they should gather all their forces,   leave the GOP en masse and run against him as a third party. At that point, Constitutionalists have nothing left to lose. They should also make it very clear to the GOP hierarchy and major donors that a third party will inevitably follow any further “dirty tricks,” or other attempts to frustrate the will of the people.

Less than a thousand hardcore Communist Party activists and their few thousand Democratic Socialists of America allies effectively dictate Democratic Party policy.

If the much larger Constitutionalist/Tea Party movement can learn from their opponent’s tactics and maturity, they can have a real shot at restoring the Republic.

The battle for America is not between the Democrats and the Republicans. It is between the Communists and the Constitutionalists. The Constitutionalists must better understand their opposition and borrow some of their tactics, if they want a chance of victory.

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Bankster Austerity Measures Under Attack in Wake of Syriza Win in Greece

Ban Money

 

 

 

 

Politicos line up for fight against bankster plan to impoverish millions

Kurt Nimmo | Infowars.com | January 26, 2015

British Prime Minister David Cameron has reacted to the Greek election and the rejection of globalist austerity measures by saying the victory of Syriza in the Greek general election over the weekend will “increase economic uncertainty across Europe.”

On Sunday the leader of radical leftist Syriza party, Alexis Tsipras, promised to end five years of austerity, “humiliation and suffering” imposed by international banksters on the Greek people.

Tsipras is a dedicated communist who gave his youngest son the middle name of Ernesto after Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara.

“Greece leaves behinds catastrophic austerity, it leaves behind fear and authoritarianism, it leaves behind five years of humiliation and anguish,” Tsipras, who was sworn in as prime minister on Monday, told supporters.

The Greek coalition party now has an absolute, 151-seat majority in parliament.

Tsipras and Syriza demand a renegotiation of Greece’s £179 billion bailout and a revisitation of the clauses that make the Greek government’s implementation of devastating austerity measures mandatory.

Additionally, Syriza is calling for cancellation of over 50 percent of Greek debt owed to ECB banksters and Eurozone states.

The victory of Syriza has emboldened the anti-austerity movement in Britain and on the European continent.

In Britain, Labor Party members called the Syriza win “exciting” and demanded Ed Millibrand, the leader of the party, oppose “savage” spending cuts by the British government.

“Nobody should underestimate the anger and the demand for change here,” said leftwing Labor MP John McDonnell. He said the Syriza victory points the way for similar moves in Britain.

The British chancellor, George Osborne, warned the promises made by Syriza to end crippling austerity would be “very difficult to deliver and incompatible with what the eurozone currently demands of its members.”

In December, Osborne detailed an austerity plan for Britain that reduces public spending to levels not seen since the 1930s and the Great Depression. The plan calls for the loss of a million public sector jobs, reduction of public sector wages, an increase in rates levied on property, and an aggressive crackdown on tax avoidance.

Despite the stance of politicos, banksters and EU apparatchiks in Britain and Europe, the Syriza win does not bode well for European central banker schemes.

“Europe is well-aware that any Greek renegotiation means one thing: an impairment of the ECB balance sheet, something which is also a non-starter for the central bank which is already toying dangerously close with losing all credibility as well as big losses for German taxpayers now that the bulk of Greek debt exposure has been mutualized outside of the banking sector,” notes Zero Hedge.

“Whatever happens, expect a substantial increase in volatility in coming weeks as Greek pre-election promises and the harsh European reality finally collide, and lots and lots of red flashing headlines and FX kneejerk responses.”

Source

How the CIA made Google


google-logo

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

Nafeez Ahmed | Medium.com | January 24, 2015

In the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris, western governments are moving fast to legitimize expanded powers of mass surveillance and controls on the internet, all in the name of fighting terrorism.

US and European politicians have called to protect NSA-style snooping, and to advance the capacity to intrude on internet privacy by outlawing encryption. One idea is to establish a telecoms partnership that would unilaterally delete content deemed to “fuel hatred and violence” in situations considered “appropriate.” Heated discussions are going on at government and parliamentary level to explore cracking down on lawyer-client confidentiality.

What any of this would have done to prevent the Charlie Hebdo attacks remains a mystery, especially given that we already know the terrorists were on the radar of French intelligence for up to a decade.

There is little new in this story. The 9/11 atrocity was the first of many terrorist attacks, each succeeded by the dramatic extension of draconian state powers at the expense of civil liberties, backed up with the projection of military force in regions identified as hotspots harbouring terrorists. Yet there is little indication that this tried and tested formula has done anything to reduce the danger. If anything, we appear to be locked into a deepening cycle of violence with no clear end in sight.

As our governments push to increase their powers, INSURGE INTELLIGENCE can now reveal the vast extent to which the US intelligence community is implicated in nurturing the web platforms we know today, for the precise purpose of utilizing the technology as a mechanism to fight global ‘information war’ — a war to legitimize the power of the few over the rest of us. The lynchpin of this story is the corporation that in many ways defines the 21st century with its unobtrusive omnipresence: Google.

Google styles itself as a friendly, funky, user-friendly tech firm that rose to prominence through a combination of skill, luck, and genuine innovation. This is true. But it is a mere fragment of the story. In reality, Google is a smokescreen behind which lurks the US military-industrial complex.

The inside story of Google’s rise, revealed here for the first time, opens a can of worms that goes far beyond Google, unexpectedly shining a light on the existence of a parasitical network driving the evolution of the US national security apparatus, and profiting obscenely from its operation.

The shadow network

For the last two decades, US foreign and intelligence strategies have resulted in a global ‘war on terror’ consisting of prolonged military invasions in the Muslim world and comprehensive surveillance of civilian populations. These strategies have been incubated, if not dictated, by a secret network inside and beyond the Pentagon.

Established under the Clinton administration, consolidated under Bush, and firmly entrenched under Obama, this bipartisan network of mostly neoconservative ideologues sealed its dominion inside the US Department of Defense (DoD) by the dawn of 2015, through the operation of an obscure corporate entity outside the Pentagon, but run by the Pentagon.

In 1999, the CIA created its own venture capital investment firm, In-Q-Tel, to fund promising start-ups that might create technologies useful for intelligence agencies. But the inspiration for In-Q-Tel came earlier, when the Pentagon set up its own private sector outfit.

Known as the ‘Highlands Forum,’ this private network has operated as a bridge between the Pentagon and powerful American elites outside the military since the mid-1990s. Despite changes in civilian administrations, the network around the Highlands Forum has become increasingly successful in dominating US defense policy.

Giant defense contractors like Booz Allen Hamilton and Science Applications International Corporation are sometimes referred to as the ‘shadow intelligence community’ due to the revolving doors between them and government, and their capacity to simultaneously influence and profit from defense policy. But while these contractors compete for power and money, they also collaborate where it counts. The Highlands Forum has for 20 years provided an off the record space for some of the most prominent members of the shadow intelligence community to convene with senior US government officials, alongside other leaders in relevant industries.

I first stumbled upon the existence of this network in November 2014, when I reported for VICE’s Motherboard that US defense secretary Chuck Hagel’s newly announced ‘Defense Innovation Initiative’ was really about building Skynet — or something like it, essentially to dominate an emerging era of automated robotic warfare.

That story was based on a little-known Pentagon-funded ‘white paper’ published two months earlier by the National Defense University (NDU) in Washington DC, a leading US military-run institution that, among other things, generates research to develop US defense policy at the highest levels. The white paper clarified the thinking behind the new initiative, and the revolutionary scientific and technological developments it hoped to capitalize on.

The Highlands Forum

The co-author of that NDU white paper is Linton Wells, a 51-year veteran US defense official who served in the Bush administration as the Pentagon’s chief information officer, overseeing the National Security Agency (NSA) and other spy agencies. He still holds active top-secret security clearances, and according to a report by Government Executive magazine in 2006 he chaired the ‘Highlands Forum’, founded by the Pentagon in 1994.

New Scientist magazine (paywall) has compared the Highlands Forum to elite meetings like “Davos, Ditchley and Aspen,” describing it as “far less well known, yet… arguably just as influential a talking shop.” Regular Forum meetings bring together “innovative people to consider interactions between policy and technology. Its biggest successes have been in the development of high-tech network-based warfare.”

Given Wells’ role in such a Forum, perhaps it was not surprising that his defense transformation white paper was able to have such a profound impact on actual Pentagon policy. But if that was the case, why had no one noticed?

Despite being sponsored by the Pentagon, I could find no official page on the DoD website about the Forum. Active and former US military and intelligence sources had never heard of it, and neither did national security journalists. I was baffled.

The Pentagon’s intellectual capital venture firm

In the prologue to his 2007 book, A Crowd of One: The Future of Individual Identity, John Clippinger, an MIT scientist of the Media Lab Human Dynamics Group, described how he participated in a “Highlands Forum” gathering, an “invitation-only meeting funded by the Department of Defense and chaired by the assistant for networks and information integration.” This was a senior DoD post overseeing operations and policies for the Pentagon’s most powerful spy agencies including the NSA, the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), among others. Starting from 2003, the position was transitioned into what is now the undersecretary of defense for intelligence. The Highlands Forum, Clippinger wrote, was founded by a retired US Navy captain named Dick O’Neill. Delegates include senior US military officials across numerous agencies and divisions — “captains, rear admirals, generals, colonels, majors and commanders” as well as “members of the DoD leadership.”

What at first appeared to be the Forum’s main website describes Highlands as “an informal cross-disciplinary network sponsored by Federal Government,” focusing on “information, science and technology.” Explanation is sparse, beyond a single ‘Department of Defense’ logo.

But Highlands also has another website describing itself as an “intellectual capital venture firm” with “extensive experience assisting corporations, organizations, and government leaders.” The firm provides a “wide range of services, including: strategic planning, scenario creation and gaming for expanding global markets,” as well as “working with clients to build strategies for execution.” ‘The Highlands Group Inc.,’ the website says, organizes a whole range of Forums on these issue.

For instance, in addition to the Highlands Forum, since 9/11 the Group runs the ‘Island Forum,’ an international event held in association with Singapore’s Ministry of Defense, which O’Neill oversees as “lead consultant.” The Singapore Ministry of Defense website describes the Island Forum as “patterned after the Highlands Forum organized for the US Department of Defense.” Documents leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden confirmed that Singapore played a key role in permitting the US and Australia to tap undersea cables to spy on Asian powers like Indonesia and Malaysia.

The Highlands Group website also reveals that Highlands is partnered with one of the most powerful defense contractors in the United States. Highlands is “supported by a network of companies and independent researchers,” including “our Highlands Forum partners for the past ten years at SAIC; and the vast Highlands network of participants in the Highlands Forum.”

SAIC stands for the US defense firm, Science Applications International Corporation, which changed its name to Leidos in 2013, operating SAIC as a subsidiary. SAIC/Leidos is among the top 10 largest defense contractors in the US, and works closely with the US intelligence community, especially the NSA. According to investigative journalist Tim Shorrock, the first to disclose the vast extent of the privatization of US intelligence with his seminal book Spies for Hire, SAIC has a “symbiotic relationship with the NSA: the agency is the company’s largest single customer and SAIC is the NSA’s largest contractor.”

The full name of Captain “Dick” O’Neill, the founding president of the Highlands Forum, is Richard Patrick O’Neill, who after his work in the Navy joined the DoD. He served his last post as deputy for strategy and policy in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Defense for Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence, before setting up Highlands.

The Club of Yoda

But Clippinger also referred to another mysterious individual revered by Forum attendees:

“He sat at the back of the room, expressionless behind thick, black-rimmed glasses. I never heard him utter a word… Andrew (Andy) Marshall is an icon within DoD. Some call him Yoda, indicative of his mythical inscrutable status… He had served many administrations and was widely regarded as above partisan politics. He was a supporter of the Highlands Forum and a regular fixture from its beginning.”

Since 1973, Marshall has headed up one of the Pentagon’s most powerful agencies, the Office of Net Assessment (ONA), the US defense secretary’s internal ‘think tank’ which conducts highly classified research on future planning for defense policy across the US military and intelligence community. The ONA has played a key role in major Pentagon strategy initiatives, including Maritime Strategy, the Strategic Defense Initiative, the Competitive Strategies Initiative, and the Revolution in Military Affairs.

In a rare 2002 profile in Wired, reporter Douglas McGray described Andrew Marshall, now 93 years old, as “the DoD’s most elusive” but “one of its most influential” officials. McGray added that “Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and Deputy Secretary Paul Wolfowitz” — widely considered the hawks of the neoconservative movement in American politics — were among Marshall’s “star protégés.”

Speaking at a low-key Harvard University seminar a few months after 9/11, Highlands Forum founding president Richard O’Neill said that Marshall was much more than a “regular fixture” at the Forum. “Andy Marshall is our co-chair, so indirectly everything that we do goes back into Andy’s system,” he told the audience. “Directly, people who are in the Forum meetings may be going back to give briefings to Andy on a variety of topics and to synthesize things.” He also said that the Forum had a third co-chair: the director of the Defense Advanced Research and Projects Agency (DARPA), which at that time was a Rumsfeld appointee, Anthony J. Tether. Before joining DARPA, Tether was vice president of SAIC’s Advanced Technology Sector.

The Highlands Forum’s influence on US defense policy has thus operated through three main channels: its sponsorship by the Office of the Secretary of Defense (around the middle of last decade this was transitioned specifically to the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence, which is in charge of the main surveillance agencies); its direct link to Andrew ‘Yoda’ Marshall’s ONA; and its direct link to DARPA.

According to Clippinger in A Crowd of One, “what happens at informal gatherings such as the Highlands Forum could, over time and through unforeseen curious paths of influence, have enormous impact, not just within the DoD but throughout the world.” He wrote that the Forum’s ideas have “moved from being heretical to mainstream. Ideas that were anathema in 1999 had been adopted as policy just three years later.”

Although the Forum does not produce “consensus recommendations,” its impact is deeper than a traditional government advisory committee. “The ideas that emerge from meetings are available for use by decision-makers as well as by people from the think tanks,” according to O’Neill:

“We’ll include people from Booz, SAIC, RAND, or others at our meetings… We welcome that kind of cooperation, because, truthfully, they have the gravitas. They are there for the long haul and are able to influence government policies with real scholarly work… We produce ideas and interaction and networks for these people to take and use as they need them.”

My repeated requests to O’Neill for information on his work at the Highlands Forum were ignored. The Department of Defense also did not respond to multiple requests for information and comment on the Forum.

Information warfare

The Highlands Forum has served as a two-way ‘influence bridge’: on the one hand, for the shadow network of private contractors to influence the formulation of information operations policy across US military intelligence; and on the other, for the Pentagon to influence what is going on in the private sector. There is no clearer evidence of this than the truly instrumental role of the Forum in incubating the idea of mass surveillance as a mechanism to dominate information on a global scale.

In 1989, Richard O’Neill, then a US Navy cryptologist, wrote a paper for the US Naval War College, ‘Toward a methodology for perception management.’ In his book, Future Wars, Col. John Alexander, then a senior officer in the US Army’s Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM), records that O’Neill’s paper for the first time outlined a strategy for “perception management” as part of information warfare (IW). O’Neill’s proposed strategy identified three categories of targets for IW: adversaries, so they believe they are vulnerable; potential partners, “so they perceive the cause [of war] as just”; and finally, civilian populations and the political leadership so they “perceive the cost as worth the effort.” A secret briefing based on O’Neill’s work “made its way to the top leadership” at DoD. “They acknowledged that O’Neill was right and told him to bury it.

Except the DoD didn’t bury it. Around 1994, the Highlands Group was founded by O’Neill as an official Pentagon project at the appointment of Bill Clinton’s then defense secretary William Perry — who went on to join SAIC’s board of directors after retiring from government in 2003.

In O’Neill’s own words, the group would function as the Pentagon’s ‘ideas lab’. According to Government Executive, military and information technology experts gathered at the first Forum meeting “to consider the impacts of IT and globalization on the United States and on warfare. How would the Internet and other emerging technologies change the world?” The meeting helped plant the idea of “network-centric warfare” in the minds of “the nation’s top military thinkers.”

Excluding the public

Official Pentagon records confirm that the Highlands Forum’s primary goal was to support DoD policies on O’Neill’s specialism: information warfare. According to the Pentagon’s 1997 Annual Report to the President and the Congressunder a section titled ‘Information Operations,’ (IO) the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) had authorized the “establishment of the Highlands Group of key DoD, industry, and academic IO experts” to coordinate IO across federal military intelligence agencies.

The following year’s DoD annual report reiterated the Forum’s centrality to information operations: “To examine IO issues, DoD sponsors the Highlands Forum, which brings together government, industry, and academic professionals from various fields.”

Notice that in 1998, the Highlands ‘Group’ became a ‘Forum.’ According to O’Neill, this was to avoid subjecting Highlands Forums meetings to “bureaucratic restrictions.” What he was alluding to was the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), which regulates the way the US government can formally solicit the advice of special interests.

Known as the ‘open government’ law, FACA requires that US government officials cannot hold closed-door or secret consultations with people outside government to develop policy. All such consultations should take place via federal advisory committees that permit public scrutiny. FACA requires that meetings be held in public, announced via the Federal Register, that advisory groups are registered with an office at the General Services Administration, among other requirements intended to maintain accountability to the public interest.

But Government Executivereported that “O’Neill and others believed” such regulatory issues “would quell the free flow of ideas and no-holds-barred discussions they sought.” Pentagon lawyers had warned that the word ‘group’ might necessitate certain obligations and advised running the whole thing privately: “So O’Neill renamed it the Highlands Forum and moved into the private sector to manage it as a consultant to the Pentagon.” The Pentagon Highlands Forum thus runs under the mantle of O’Neill’s ‘intellectual capital venture firm,’ ‘Highlands Group Inc.’

In 1995, a year after William Perry appointed O’Neill to head up the Highlands Forum, SAIC — the Forum’s “partner” organization — launched a new Center for Information Strategy and Policy under the direction of “Jeffrey Cooper, a member of the Highlands Group who advises senior Defense Department officials on information warfare issues.” The Center had precisely the same objective as the Forum, to function as “a clearinghouse to bring together the best and brightest minds in information warfare by sponsoring a continuing series of seminars, papers and symposia which explore the implications of information warfare in depth.” The aim was to “enable leaders and policymakers from government, industry, and academia to address key issues surrounding information warfare to ensure that the United States retains its edge over any and all potential enemies.”

Despite FACA regulations, federal advisory committees are already heavily influenced, if not captured, by corporate power. So in bypassing FACA, the Pentagon overrode even the loose restrictions of FACA, by permanently excluding any possibility of public engagement.

O’Neill’s claim that there are no reports or recommendations is disingenuous. By his own admission, the secret Pentagon consultations with industry that have taken place through the Highlands Forum since 1994 have been accompanied by regular presentations of academic and policy papers, recordings and notes of meetings, and other forms of documentation that are locked behind a login only accessible by Forum delegates. This violates the spirit, if not the letter, of FACA — in a way that is patently intended to circumvent democratic accountability and the rule of law.

The Highlands Forum doesn’t need to produce consensus recommendations. Its purpose is to provide the Pentagon a shadow social networking mechanism to cement lasting relationships with corporate power, and to identify new talent, that can be used to fine-tune information warfare strategies in absolute secrecy.

Total participants in the DoD’s Highlands Forum number over a thousand, although sessions largely consist of small closed workshop style gatherings of maximum 25–30 people, bringing together experts and officials depending on the subject. Delegates have included senior personnel from SAIC and Booz Allen Hamilton, RAND Corp., Cisco, Human Genome Sciences, eBay, PayPal, IBM, Google, Microsoft, AT&T, the BBC, Disney, General Electric, Enron, among innumerable others; Democrat and Republican members of Congress and the Senate; senior executives from the US energy industry such as Daniel Yergin of IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates; and key people involved in both sides of presidential campaigns.

Other participants have included senior media professionals: David Ignatius, associate editor of the Washington Post and at the time the executive editor of the International Herald Tribune; Thomas Friedman, long-time New York Times columnist; Arnaud de Borchgrave, an editor at Washington Times and United Press International; Steven Levy, a former Newsweek editor, senior writer for Wired and now chief tech editor at Medium; Lawrence Wright, staff writer at the New Yorker; Noah Shachtmann, executive editor at the Daily Beast; Rebecca McKinnon, co-founder of Global Voices Online; Nik Gowing of the BBC; and John Markoff of the New York Times.

Due to its current sponsorship by the OSD’s undersecretary of defense for intelligence, the Forum has inside access to the chiefs of the main US surveillance and reconnaissance agencies, as well as the directors and their assistants at DoD research agencies, from DARPA, to the ONA. This also means that the Forum is deeply plugged into the Pentagon’s policy research task forces.

Google: seeded by the Pentagon

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

But that’s just one side of the story.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Brin thus reported to Thuraisingham and Steinheiser regularly about his work developing Google. The MDDS programme is actually referenced in several papers co-authored by Brin and Page while at Stanford. In their 1998 paper published in the Bulletin of the IEEE Computer Society Technical Committeee on Data Engineering, they describe the automation of methods to extract information from the web via “Dual Iterative Pattern Relation Extraction,” the development of “a global ranking of Web pages called PageRank,” and the use of PageRank “to develop a novel search engine called Google.” Through an opening footnote, Sergey Brin confirms he was “Partially supported by the Community Management Staff’s Massive Digital Data Systems Program,” through an NSF grant — confirming that the CIA-NSA-MDDS program provided its funding through the NSF.

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

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

The DoD could not be reached for comment.

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

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

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

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

“The statements related to Google are completely untrue.”

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

UPDATE: As of 5.41PM GMT, Google’s director of corporate communication got in touch and asked me to include the following statement:

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

This is what I wrote back:

My response to that statement would be as follows: Brin himself in his own paper acknowledges funding from the Community Management Staff of the Massive Digital Data Systems (MDDS) initiative, which was supplied through the NSF. The MDDS was an intelligence community program set up by the CIA and NSA. I also have it on record, as noted in the piece, from Prof. Thuraisingham of University of Texas that she managed the MDDS program on behalf of the US intelligence community, and that her and the CIA’s Rick Steinheiser met Brin every three months or so for two years to be briefed on his progress developing Google and PageRank. Whether Brin worked on query flocks or not is neither here nor there.

In that context, you might want to consider the following questions:

1) Does Google deny that Brin’s work was part-funded by the MDDS via an NSF grant?

2) Does Google deny that Brin reported regularly to Thuraisingham and Steinheiser from around 1996 to 1998 until September that year when he presented the Google search engine to them?

Total Information Awareness

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Google, DARPA and the money trail

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“… revised its priorities in the 90’s so that all information technology funding was judged in terms of its benefit to the warfighter.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

Google captures the Pentagon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rumsfeld and persistent surveillance

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The surveillance-startup nexus

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In addition to the CIA, In-Q-Tel has also been backed by the FBI, NGA, and Defense Intelligence Agency, among other agencies. More than 60 percent of In-Q-Tel’s investments under Louie’s watch were “in companies that specialize in automatically collecting, sifting through and understanding oceans of information,” according to Medill School of Journalism’s News21, which also noted that Louie himself had acknowledged it was not clear “whether privacy and civil liberties will be protected” by government’s use of these technologies “for national security.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Goldman Sachs connection

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fighting terror with terror

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read Part 2…

NSA Cyber War Will Use Internet of Things as Weapons Platform; Your Home is the Battlefield

nsachip

Future wars to be fought in the digital realm

Daniel Taylor | Old Thinkers News  | January 21, 2015

World War III is a guerrilla information war with no division between military and civilian participation.” – Marshall McLuhan, Culture is Our Business, 1970

New Snowden documents recently revealed that the NSA is getting ready for future digital wars as the agency postures itself in an aggressive manner towards the world. “The Five Eyes Alliance“, a cooperation between United States, Canada, Britain, Australia, and New Zealand, is working hard to develop these weapons of Cyber Warfare.

So called “D” weapons, as reported by Der Spiegel, will paralyze computer networks and infrastructure that they monitor. Water supplies, factories, airports, as well as the flow of money are all potential targets.

The Der Spiegel report does not mention the wider issue of the expanding network of everyday objects and appliances that are connected to the internet. According to CIA chief David Patraeus the Internet of Things will have a monumental impact on “clandestine tradecraft.” Richard Adhikari writes for Tech News World that the Internet of Things is “…ripe for exploitation by the NSA”

Consumer appliances are now becoming activated and “smart.” RFID chips and wireless internet connections enable devices like televisions, refrigerators, printers, and computers to communicate with each other and generally make life easier for us. This comes at a price, however. Your privacy is eliminated.

The NSA’s Cyber Weapons program will undoubtedly exploit these devices, which include household appliances, and, frighteningly, medical devices that can be hacked. Pacemakers can be remotely stopped, and insulin pumps can be made to deliver a lethal dose of insulin. With the advent of implantable devices that communicate via Wifi, the potential for manipulation and hacking is growing exponentially.

 

If the developers of these internet connected devices don’t willingly work with the NSA to place back-doors in the technology, the agency is hard at work trying to find and exploit them.

Insurance companies, now following the command and control structure of Obamacare, are already anticipating this surveillance infrastructure as a means to monitor individuals behavior. Spying on eating habits will be easy with RFID enabled refrigerators.

Think the idea of your appliances spying on you is crazy? According to Samsung’s new privacy policy, their smart TV can monitor your conversation. The policy states, “Please be aware that if your spoken words include personal or other sensitive information, that information will be among the data captured and transmitted to a third party through your use of Voice Recognition.”

More revelations are made every day regarding government surveillance, and the fact that it is unable to stop terror attacks. As time goes on it will be readily apparent to the masses that the monumental surveillance architecture that will catalog and track the population is nothing more than an attempt at full spectrum domination.

This article originally appeared at Old Thinker News.

 

Australia raises terror threat level against police to ‘high’

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“…the terrorism threat level against police is assessed as high…,” say Australian Federal Police

Matt Siegel | Reuters | January 20, 2015

Australia raised the threat level of a terrorist attack against law enforcement officers to “high” on Tuesday, federal police said, citing intelligence, discussions with international partners and recent high-profile attacks in Europe and Canada.

The change in the threat level for police officers brings it in line with the current threat level against the general public, which was raised to high in September and has remained so following a hostage crisis in Sydney in December.

“As a result of intelligence information and discussions with our partners, the terrorism threat level against police is assessed as high, which is commensurate with the broader threat level for the community,” the Australian Federal Police (AFP) said in a statement.

“Recent events in France, Canada and Australia serve as a sobering reminder of the risks associated with policing,” the statement said.

Read more

 

Report: Turkey’s Prime Minister Caught Arming al-Qaeda, ISIS

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NATO ally shipping missiles to al-Qaeda in Syria

Kit Daniels | Infowars.com | January 20, 2015

Turkey’s prime minister, a NATO ally, is shipping arms to al-Qaeda and ISIS via Syria-bound trucks operated by the country’s intelligence agency, according to Turkish military officials.

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu banned media from reporting on three of the trucks searched by the military’s Gendarmerie General Command, which discovered 45 to 55 missiles or rockets, 30 to 40 crates of ammunition, including mortar rounds, and Douchka anti-aircraft ammunition.

“The trucks were carrying weapons and supplies to the al-Qaeda terror organization,” a report by the Gendarmerie General Command stated.

Davutoglu also removed public prosecutor Aziz Takei from office for ordering the search.

Additionally, the 13 soldiers involved in the search have been charged with espionage and are facing 20-year prison terms.

“Though the scandal is tearing the country apart, the government opted for its favorite tactic of covering it up,” Turkish journalist Fehim Taştekin reported. “A court in Adana banned written, visual and Internet media outlets from any reporting and commenting on the stopping of the trucks and the search.”

“All online content about the incident has been deleted.”

Except for one video, which is available here.

 

The Gendarmerie General Command and Takei ordered the search at the Turkey/Syria border after receiving a tip that the trucks were carrying weapons and explosives to al-Qaeda in Syria.

“While the trucks were being escorted to Seyhan Gendarmerie Command for an extensive search, MIT [Turkey’s intelligence agency] personnel accompanying the trucks in an Audi vehicle blocked the road to stop the trucks,” Taştekin wrote. “When MIT personnel seized the keys from the trucks’ ignitions, an altercation ensued.”

“MIT personnel instructed the truck drivers to pretend their trucks had malfunctioned and committed physical violence against gendarmerie personnel.”

“The governor of Adana, Huseyin Avni Cos, arrived at the scene and declared, ‘The trucks are moving with the prime minister’s orders’ and vowed not to let them be interfered with no matter what,” he continued. “With a letter of guarantee sent by the regional director of MIT, co-signed by the governor, the trucks were handed back to MIT.”

ISIS militants are already roaming around freely in Istanbul, Turkey, without fear of local authorities, emphasizing the support ISIS enjoys from the Davutoglu government.

The Turkish government has even trained ISIS militants to fight in Syria.

 

“…After training in Turkey, thousands of ISIS fighters went to Iraq by way of Syria to join the effort to establish an Islamic caliphate subject to strict Islamic law, or Shariah,” Aaron Klein of WND reported.

The centuries-old conflict between Sunni and Shia Muslims and the trillions of dollars in potential oil and gas revenue in Syria are both key factors motivating the Sunni-dominated Davutoglu government to support ISIS in its proxy war to overthrow the Shia-dominated Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad.

In 2011, Syria announced the discovery of a promising gas field in Homs, which, not surprisingly, became a battleground between Assad’s forces and ISIS, preventing Syria from fully tapping into the field.

Syria also rivals Turkey as one of the most strategic locations for natural gas pipelines to flow into Europe from Asia.

“Syria is the site of the proposed construction of a massive underground gas pipeline that, if completed, could drastically undercut the strategic energy power of U.S. ally Qatar and also would cut Turkey out of the pipeline flow,” Klein also reported. “Dubbed the ‘Islamic pipeline,’ the project may ultimately favor Russia and Iran against Western energy interests.”

But like the gas field in Homs, the construction of the nearly 3,500-mile pipeline has also been delayed by Syria’s war with ISIS.

This definitely helps Turkey, which views the proposed Islamic pipeline through Syria as a threat to its goal of becoming the main transit point for oil and gas flowing from East to West.

And NATO does not want Russia to benefit from a pipeline through Syria.

If the Davutoglu government can successfully use ISIS to topple Assad and install a puppet government in Syria, Turkey stands to gain trillions while also helping NATO isolate Russia.

Source

 

But did You Know the Government Killed Martin Luther King, Jr.?

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King died (was murdered…) right before his planned march to lead a half-million people to Washington, D.C.

In 1999, the King family launched a civil suit to expose the facts surrounding the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., and they discovered that government agents – not James Earl Ray – were responsible for King’s death.

“According to a Memphis jury’s verdict on December 8, 1999, in the wrongful death lawsuit of the King family versus Loyd Jowers [a Memphis restaurant owner] ‘and other unknown co-conspirators,’ Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated by a conspiracy that included agencies of his own government,” Jim Douglass of radical.org reported. “Almost 32 years after King’s murder at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis on April 4, 1968, a court extended the circle of responsibility for the assassination beyond the late scapegoat James Earl Ray to the United States government.”

Jowers owned Jim’s Grill, the back door of which opened onto the bushes across from the Lorraine Motel where King was staying.

The bullet that killed King, which the government claimed was shot by Ray, was likely fired from one of these bushes behind the restaurant.

Lee Ann McAdoo breaks it all down in her very first report for Infowars in 2013:

Youtube

After being arrested for King’s 1968 murder, James Earl Ray was advised by his attorney, Percy Foreman, to plead guilty in a pre-trial hearing.

Ray followed Foreman’s advice but three days later, Ray recanted the plea and fired Foreman. He then asked his judge for a trial but the judge refused, sentencing Ray to 99 years in prison.

A televised mock trial on HBO in 1993 was the closest Ray ever got to defending himself in court. The mock jury found Ray not guilty of King’s murder.

This verdict, along with further revelations later that year by Jowers, helped vindicate Ray in the eyes of King’s family.

Jowers appeared on ABC’s Primetime Live show and revealed a high-level conspiracy behind King’s assassination which used Ray as the scapegoat. Five years later, the King family pursued a wrongful death lawsuit against Jowers and the other unknown co-conspirators.

“I brought a civil action on behalf of the King family against Loyd Jowers and others who were involved in the assassination of Martin King,” Dr. William Francis Pepper, a friend to the late Dr. Martin Luther King, told InfoWars.

Watch the Report on YouTube filed here…

This civil trial in Memphis lasted 30 days and involved over 70 witnesses, according to Pepper. He laid out all of the available evidence to show not only how King was killed, but also why he was killed.

Pepper argued before the jury that, true to Jowers’ earlier revelations, a wide range of individuals, including government officials, conspired against King, resulting in King’s death from a single shot by a sniper in the bushes outside Jowers’ restaurant.

“There was a military team there, an Alpha 184 team there, and they were backups. They did not kill Martin King,” Pepper said. “Martin was killed by a lone, contract gunman who got off that shot.”

“Now if he had not been successful, the military unit was there to make sure that Martin was killed.”

During the interview, Pepper explained that King died right before his planned march to lead a half-million people to Washington, D.C. to pressure congressmen on legislation.

“The military knew they didn’t have the forces to contain a mob of that size,” he said.

It only took the jury just shy of an hour to decide that Jowers and the other unknown co-conspirators were legally liable for King’s death.

Unfortunately this trial concluded a year after Ray’s death in prison, but the King family ultimately concluded Ray’s innocence.

“It enabled the King family to finally have closure,” Pepper said.

 

 

 

 

Paris attack designed to shore up France’s vassal status

french-flag

False flag operations in Europe to create hatred against Muslims

Press TV | January 12, 2015

A former White House official says the terrorist attack that killed 12 people on Wednesday in Paris was a false flag operation “designed to shore up France’s vassal status to Washington.”

Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, who was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan Administration and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal, made the remarks in an article published on Thursday.

“The suspects can be both guilty and patsies. Just remember all the terrorist plots created by the FBI that served to make the terrorism threat real to Americans,” he wrote.

He said that the French economy is suffering from the US-imposed sanctions against Russia. “Shipyards are impacted from being unable to deliver Russian orders due to France’s vassalage status to Washington, and other aspects of the French economy are being adversely impacted by sanctions that Washington forced its NATO puppet states to apply to Russia.”

Dr. Roberts stated that French President Francois Hollande this week said that the sanctions against Russia should end. “This is too much foreign policy independence on France’s part for Washington.”

He added that the CIA has apparently resurrected a policy that it followed against Europeans during the post-WW II era when the US spy agency would carry out attacks in European states and blame them on communist groups.

Dr. Roberts said now the US agencies have planned false flag operations in Europe to create hatred against Muslims and bring European countries under Washington’s sphere of influence.

He noted that “the attack on Charlie Hebdo was an inside job and that people identified by NSA as hostile to the Western wars against Muslims are going to be framed for an inside job designed to pull France firmly back under Washington’s thumb.”

The widely read columnist stated that the US “government tells Americans whatever story the government puts together and sits and laughs at the gullibility of the public.”

Source

 

What They’re Not Telling You About Monsanto’s Role in Ukraine

wheat

Biotech takeover spreads to war-torn country

Christina Sarich | NaturalSociety  | January 12, 2015

The World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) is helping biotech run the latest war in Ukraine. Make no mistake that what is happening in the Ukraine now is deeply tied to the interests of Monsanto, Dow, Bayer, and other big players in the poison food game.

Monsanto has an office in Ukraine. While this does not shout ‘culpability’ from every corner, it is no different than the US military’s habit to place bases in places that they want to gain political control. The opening of this office coincided with land grabs with loans from the IMF and World Bank to one of the world’s most hated corporations – all in support of their biotech takeover.

Previously, there was a ban on private sector land ownership in the country – but it was lifted ‘just in time’ for Monsanto to have its way with the Ukraine.

In fact, a bit of political maneuvering by the IMF gave the Ukraine a $17 billion loan – but only if they would open up to biotech farming and the selling of Monsanto’s poison crops and chemicals – destroying a farmland that is one of the most pristine in all of Europe. Farm equipment dealer, Deere, along with seed producers Dupont and Monsanto, will have a heyday.

In the guise of ‘aid,’ a claim has been made on Ukraine’s vast agricultural riches. It is the world’s third largest exporter of corn and fifth largest exporter of wheat. Ukraine has deep, rich, black soil that can grow almost anything, and its ability to produce high volumes of GM grain is what made biotech come rushing to take it over.

As reported by The Ecologist, according to the Oakland Institute:

“Whereas Ukraine does not allow the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in agriculture, Article 404 of the EU agreement, which relates to agriculture, includes a clause that has generally gone unnoticed: it indicates, among other things, that both parties will cooperate to extend the use of biotechnologies.

There is no doubt that this provision meets the expectations of the agribusiness industry. As observed by Michael Cox, research director at the investment bank Piper Jaffray, ‘Ukraine and, to a wider extent, Eastern Europe, are among the most promising growth markets for farm-equipment giant Deere, as well as seed producers Monsanto and DuPont’.”

The nation WAS Europe’s breadbasket – and now in an act of bio-warfare, it will become the wasteland that many US farmlands have become due to copious amounts of herbicide spraying, the depletion of soil, and the overall disruption of a perfect ecosystem.

The aim of US government entities is to support the takeover of Ukraine for biotech interests (among other strategies involving the prop-up of a failing cabalistic banking system that Russia has also refused with its new alignment with BRICS and its own payment system called SWIFT). This is similar to biotech’s desired takeover of Hawaiian islands and land in Africa.

The Ukraine war has many angles that haven’t been exposed to the general public – and you can bet that biotech has their hands in the proverbial corn pie.

Source

Nine days later, bodies still litter bushes from Boko Haram’s ‘deadliest’ massacre

Isis

Some sought refuge in their homes. They were burned alive

Faith Karimi and Aminu Abubakar | CNN | January 12, 2015

The attackers sped into a Nigerian town with grenade launchers — their gunfire and explosions shattering the early morning calm.

As terrified residents scattered into bushes in Baga town and surrounding villages, the gunmen unloaded motorcycles from their trucks and followed in hot pursuit.

 

Watch the YouTube Report filed here…

 

Residents hid under scant brush. Bullets pierced them.

Some sought refuge in their homes. They were burned alive.

Many who tried to cross into neighboring Chad drowned while trying to swim through Lake Chad.

By the time the weapons went quiet, local officials reported death tolls ranging from hundreds to as many as 2,000 people.

Source