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Palantir revealed + Pentagon psyop 2 manipulate social media

 
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TonyGosling
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2011 1:28 am    Post subject: Palantir revealed + Pentagon psyop 2 manipulate social media Reply with quote

Revealed: US spy operation that manipulates social media
Exclusive: Military's 'sock puppet' software creates fake online identities to spread pro-American propaganda
http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2011/mar/17/us-spy-operation-soci al-networks
Nick Fielding and Ian Cobain - guardian.co.uk, Thursday 17 March 2011 13.19 GMT
General David Petraeus has said American efforts to spy on social media are aimed at 'countering extremist ideology [Zionism perchance!] and propaganda and ensuring credible voices are heard'. Photograph: Cliff Owen/AP
The US military is developing software that will let it secretly manipulate social media using fake online personas designed to influence internet conversations and spread pro-American propaganda.
A Californian corporation has been awarded a contract with the US Central Command (Centcom) to develop what is described as an "online persona management service" that will allow one serviceman or woman to control up to 10 separate identities at once.
The contract stipulates each persona must have a convincing background, history and supporting details, and that up to 50 controllers must be able to operate false identities from their workstations "without fear of being discovered by sophisticated adversaries".
The project has been likened by web experts to China's attempts to control and restrict free speech on the internet.
Centcom's contract requires the provision of one "virtual private server" in the United States and eight appearing to be outside the US to give the impression the fake personas are real people located in different parts of the world. It calls for "traffic mixing", blending the persona controllers' internet usage with the usage of people outside Centcom in a manner that must offer "excellent cover and powerful deniability".
Once developed the software could allow US service personnel, working around the clock in one location, to respond to emerging online conversations with a host of co-ordinated blogposts, tweets, retweets, chatroom posts and other interventions. Details of the contract suggest this location would be MacDill air force base near Tampa, Florida, home of US Special Operations Command.
Centcom spokesman Commander Bill Speaks said: "The technology supports classified blogging activities on foreign language websites to enable Centcom to counter violent extremist and enemy propaganda outside the US."
He said none of the interventions were in English, as it would be unlawful to "address US audiences" with such technology, and any English-language use of social media by Centcom was always clearly attributed. The languages in which the interventions are conducted include Arabic, Farsi, Urdu and Pashto.
The multiple persona contract is thought to have been awarded as part of a programme called Operation Earnest Voice (OEV), which was first developed in Iraq as an psychological weapon against the online presence of al-Qaida supporters and others ranged against coalition forces. Since then OEV is reported to have expanded into a $200m programme and is thought to have been used against jihadists across Pakistan, Afghanistan and the Middle East.
OEV is seen by senior US commanders as a vital counter-terrorism and counter-radicalisation programme. In evidence to the US Senate's armed services committee last year General David Petraeus, then commander of Centcom, described the operation as an effort to "counter extremist ideology and propaganda and to ensure that credible voices in the region are heard". He said the US military's objective was to be "first with the truth".
This month Petraeus's successor, General James Mattis, told the same committee that OEV "supports all activities associated with degrading the enemy narrative, including web engagement and web-based product distribution capabilities".
The discovery that the US military is developing false online personalities – known to users of social media as "sock puppets" – could encourage other governments, private companies and non-government organisations to do the same.
Critics are likely to complain that it will allow the US military to create a false consenus in online conversations, crowd out unwelcome opinions and smother commentaries or reports that do not correspond with its own objectives.
Centcom confirmed that the $2.76m contract was awarded to Ntrepid, a newly formed corporation registered in Los Angeles. It would not disclose whether the multiple persona project is in operation or discuss any related contracts.
Nobody was available for comment at Ntrepid.
In his evidence to the Senate committee Gen Mattis said: "OEV seeks to disrupt recruitment and training of suicide bombers; deny safe havens for our adversaries; and counter extremist ideology and propaganda." Centcom was working with "our coalition partners" to develop new techniques and tactics that the US could use "to counter the adversary in the cyber domain".
According to a report by the inspector general of the US defence department, in Iraq OEV was managed by the multinational forces rather than Centcom.
Asked whether any UK military personnel had been involved in OEV, Britain's Ministry of Defence said it could "find no evidence" of this. The MoD refused to say whether it had been involved in the development of persona management programmes, however, saying: "We don't comment on cyber capability."
OEV was discussed last year at a gathering of electronic warfare specialists in Washington DC, where a senior Centcom officer told delegates that its purpose was to "communicate critical messages and to counter the propaganda of our adversaries".
Persona management by the US military would face legal challenges if it were turned against citizens of the US, where a number of people engaged in so-call sock puppetry have faced prosecution.
Last year a New York lawyer who impersonated a scholar was sentenced to jail after being convicted of "criminal impersonation" and identity theft.
It is unclear whether a persona management programme would contravene UK law. Legal experts say it could fall foul of the Forgery and Counterfeiting Act 1981, which states that "a person is guilty of forgery if he makes a false instrument, with the intention that he or another shall use it to induce somebody to accept it as genuine, and by reason of so accepting it to do or not to do some act to his own or any other person's prejudice". However, this would apply only if a website or social network could be shown to have suffered "prejudice" as a result.

_________________
www.lawyerscommitteefor9-11inquiry.org
www.rethink911.org
www.patriotsquestion911.com
www.actorsandartistsfor911truth.org
www.mediafor911truth.org
www.pilotsfor911truth.org
www.mp911truth.org
www.ae911truth.org
www.rl911truth.org
www.stj911.org
www.v911t.org
www.thisweek.org.uk
www.abolishwar.org.uk
www.elementary.org.uk
www.radio4all.net/index.php/contributor/2149
http://utangente.free.fr/2003/media2003.pdf
"The maintenance of secrets acts like a psychic poison which alienates the possessor from the community" Carl Jung
https://37.220.108.147/members/www.bilderberg.org/phpBB2/


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TonyGosling
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 02, 2011 11:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Secret State's Quest for 'Persona Management Software'

written by Tom Burghardt
http://www.pacificfreepress.com/news/1/8396-the-secret-states-quest-fo r-persona-management-software.html

Sock Puppet Planet: The Secret State's Quest for 'Persona Management Software'
by Tom Burghardt l Antifascist Calling...
Not since AT&T whistleblower Marc Klein's 2006 revelations that U.S. telecommunications giants were secretly collaborating with the government to spy on Americans, has a story driven home the point that we are confronted by a daunting set of invisible enemies: the security and intelligence firms constellating the dark skies of the National Security State.

As echoes from last month's disclosures by the cyber-guerrilla collective Anonymous continue to reverberate, leaked HBGary emails and documents are providing tantalizing insight into just how little daylight there is between private companies and the government. The latest front in the ongoing war against civil liberties and privacy rights is the Pentagon's interest in "persona management software."

A euphemism for a suite of high-tech tools that equip an operative--military or corporate, take your pick--with multiple avatars or sock puppets, our latter day shadow warriors hope to achieve a leg up on their opponents in the "war of ideas" through stealthy propaganda campaigns rebranded as "information operations."



A Pervasive Surveillance State

The signs of a pervasive surveillance state are all around us. From the "persistent cookies" that track our every move across the internet to indexing dissidents already preemptively detained in public and private data bases: threats to our freedom to speak out without harassment, or worse, have never been greater.

As constitutional scholar Jack Balkin warned, the transformation of what was once a democratic republic based on the rule of law into a "National Surveillance State," feature "huge investments in electronic surveillance and various end runs around traditional Bill of Rights protections and expectations about procedure."

"These end runs," Balkin wrote, "included public private cooperation in surveillance and exchange of information, expansion of the state secrets doctrine, expansion of administrative warrants and national security letters, a system of preventive detention, expanded use of military prisons, extraordinary rendition to other countries, and aggressive interrogation techniques outside of those countenanced by the traditional laws of war."

Continuing the civil liberties' onslaught, The Wall Street Journal reported last week that Barack Obama's "change" regime has issued new rules that "allow investigators to hold domestic-terror suspects longer than others without giving them a Miranda warning, significantly expanding exceptions to the instructions that have governed the handling of criminal suspects for more than four decades."

The Journal points out that the administrative "revision" of long-standing rules and case law "marks another step back from [Obama's] pre-election criticism of unorthodox counterterror methods."

Also last week, The Raw Story revealed that the FBI has plans to "embark on a $1 billion biometrics project and construct an advanced biometrics facility to be shared with the Pentagon."

The Bureau's new biometrics center, part of which is already operating in Clarksburg, West Virginia, "will be based on a system constructed by defense contractor Lockheed Martin."

"Starting with fingerprints," The Raw Story disclosed, the center will function as "a global law enforcement database for the sharing of those biometric images." Once ramped-up "the system is slated to expand outward, eventually encompassing facial mapping and other advanced forms of computer-aided identification."

The transformation of the FBI into a political Department of Precrime is underscored by moves to gift state and local police agencies with electronic fingerprint scanners. Local cops would be "empowered to capture prints from any suspect, even if they haven't been arrested or convicted of a crime."

"In such a context," Stephen Graham cautions in Cities Under Siege, "Western security and military doctrine is being rapidly imagined in ways that dramatically blur the juridical and operational separation between policing, intelligence and the military; distinctions between war and peace; and those between local, national and global operations."

This precarious state of affairs, Graham avers, under conditions of global economic crisis in the so-called democratic West as well as along the periphery in what was once called the Third World, has meant that "wars and associated mobilizations ... become both boundless and more or less permanent."

Under such conditions, Dick Cheney's infamous statement that the "War on Terror" might last "decades" means, according to Graham, that "emerging security policies are founded on the profiling of individuals, places, behaviours, associations, and groups."

But to profile more effectively, whether in Cairo, Kabul, or New York, state security apparatchiks and their private partners find it necessary to squeeze ever more data from a surveillance system already glutted by an overabundance of "situational awareness."

"Last October," Secrecy News reported, "the DNI revealed that the FY2010 budget for the National Intelligence Program (NIP) was $53.1 billion. And the Secretary of Defense revealed that the FY2010 budget for the Military Intelligence Program (MIP) was $27.0 billion, the first time the MIP budget had been disclosed, for an aggregate total intelligence budget of $80.1 billion for FY 2010."

This excludes of course, the CIA and Pentagon's black budget that hides a welter of top secret and above Special Access Programs under a dizzying array of code names and acronyms. In February, Wired disclosed that the black budget "appears to be about $56 billion, the same as last year," but this "may only be the tip of an iceberg of secret funds."

While the scandalous nature of such outlays during a period of intense economic and social attacks on the working class are obvious, less obvious are the means employed by the so-called "intelligence community" to defend an indefensible system of exploitation and corruption.

Which brings us back to the HBGary hack.

"Operation MetalGear"

While media have focused, rightly so, on the sleazy campaign proposed to Bank of America and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce by the high-powered law firm and lobby shop Hunton & Williams (H&W) to bring down WikiLeaks and tar Chamber critics, the treasure trove of emails leaked by Anonymous also revealed a host of Pentagon programs pointed directly at the heart of our freedom to communicate.

In fact, The Tech Herald revealed that while Palantir and Berico sought to distance themselves from HBGary and Hunton & William's private spy op, "in 2005, Palantir was one of countless startups funded by the CIA, thanks to their venture funding arm, In-Q-Tel."

"Most of In-Q-Tel's investments," journalist Steve Ragan wrote, "center on companies that specialize in automatic collection and processing of information."

In other words Palantir, and dozens of other security start-ups to the tune of $200 million since 1999, was a recipient of taxpayer-funded largess from the CIA's venture capitalist arm for products inherently "dual-use" in nature.

"Palantir Technologies," The Tech Herald revealed, was "the main workhorse when it comes to Team Themis' activities."

In proposals sent to H&W, a firm recommended to Bank of America by a Justice Department insider, "Team Themis said they would 'leverage their extensive knowledge of Palantir's development and data integration environments' allowing all of the data collected to be 'seamlessly integrated into the Palantir analysis framework to enhance link and artifact analysis'."

Following the sting of HBGary Federal and parent company HBGary, Anonymous disclosed on-going interest and contract bids between those firms, Booz Allen Hamilton and the U.S. Air Force to develop software that will allow cyber-warriors to create fake personas that help "manage" Pentagon interventions into social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and blogs.

As Ragan points out, while the "idea for such technology isn't new," and that "reputation and persona management techniques have been used by the government and the private sector for years," what makes these disclosures uniquely disturbing are apparent plans by the secret state to use the software for propaganda campaigns that can just as easily target an American audience as one in a foreign country.

While neither HBGary nor Booz Allen secured those contracts, interest by HBGary Federal's disgraced former CEO Aaron Barr and others catering to the needs of the militarist state continue to drive development forward.

Dubbed "Operation MetalGear", Anonymous believes that the program "involves an army of fake cyber personalities immersed in social networking websites for the purposes of manipulating the mass population via influence, crawling information from major online communities (such as Facebook), and identifying anonymous personalities via correlating stored information from multiple sources to establish connections between separate online accounts, using this information to arrest dissidents and activists who work anonymously."

As readers recall, such tools were precisely what Aaron Barr boasted would help law enforcement officials take down Anonymous and identify WikiLeaks supporters.

According to a solicitation (RTB220610) found on the FedBizOpps.Gov web site, under the Orwellian tag "Freedom of Information Act Support," the Air Force is seeking software that "will allow 10 personas per user, replete with background, history, supporting details, and cyber presences that are technically, culturally and geographacilly [sic] consistent."

We're informed that "individual applications will enable an operator to exercise a number of different online persons from the same workstation and without fear of being discovered by sophisticated adversaries."

Creepily, "personas must be able to appear to originate in nearly any part of the world and can interact through conventional online services and social media platforms. The service includes a user friendly application environment to maximize the user's situational awareness by displaying real-time local information."

Aiming for maximum opacity, the RFI demands that the licence "protects the identity of government agencies and enterprise organizations." An "enterprise organization" is a euphemism for a private contractor hired by the government to do its dirty work.

The proposal specifies that the licensed software will enable "organizations to manage their persistent online personas by assigning static IP addresses to each persona. Individuals can perform static impersonations, which allow them to look like the same person over time. Also allows organizations that frequent same site/service often to easily switch IP addresses to look like ordinary users as opposed to one organization."

While Barr's premature boasting may have brought Team Themis to ground, one wonders how many other similar operations continue today under cover of the Defense Department's black budget.

Corporate Cut-Outs

Following up on last month's revelations, The Guardian disclosed that a "Californian corporation has been awarded a contract with United States Central Command (Centcom), which oversees US armed operations in the Middle East and Central Asia, to develop what is described as an 'online persona management service' that will allow one US serviceman or woman to control up to 10 separate identities based all over the world."

That firm, a shadowy Los Angeles-based outfit called Ntrepid is devoid of information on its corporate web site although a company profile avers that the firm "provides national security and law enforcement customers with software, hardware, and managed services for cyber operations, analytics, linguistics, and tagging & tracking."

According to Guardian reporters Nick Fielding and Ian Cobain, Ntrepid was awarded a $2.76M contract by CENTCOM, which refused to disclose "whether the multiple persona project is already in operation or discuss any related contracts."

Blurring corporate lines of accountability even further, The Tech Herald revealed that Ntrepid may be nothing more than a "ghost corporation," a cut-out wholly owned and operated by Cubic Corporation.

A San Diego-based firm describing itself as "a global leader in defense and transportation systems and services" that "is emerging as an international supplier of smart cards and RFID solutions," Cubic clocks in at No. 75 on Washington Technology's list of 2010 Top Government Contractors.

Founded by Walter J. Zable, the firm's Chairman of the Board and CEO, Cubic has been described as one of the oldest and largest defense electronics firms on the West Coast.

Chock-a-block with high-level connections to right-wing Republicans including Darrell Issa, Duncan Hunter and Dan Coates, during the 2010 election cycle Cubic officers donated some $90,000 to Republican candidates, including $25,000 to the National Republican Congressional Committee and some $30,000 to the National Republican Senatorial Committee, according to the Center for Responsive Politics' OpenSecrets.org.

With some $1 billion in 2009 revenue largely derived from the Defense Department, the company's "Cyber Solutions" division "provides specialized cyber security products and solutions for defense, intelligence and homeland security customers."

The RFI for the Air Force disclosed by Anonymous Ragan reports, "was written for Anonymizer, a company acquired in 2008 by intelligence contractor Abraxas Corporation. The reasoning is that they had existing persona management software and abilities."

In turn, Abraxas was purchased by Cubic in 2010 for $124 million, an acquisition which Washington Technology described as one of the "best intelligence-related" deals of the year.

As The Tech Herald revealed, "some of the top talent at Anonymizer, who later went to Abraxas, left the Cubic umbrella to start another intelligence firm. They are now listed as organizational leaders for Ntrepid, the ultimate winner of the $2.7 million dollar government contract."

Speculation is now rife that since "Ntrepid's corporate registry lists Abraxas' previous CEO and founder, Richard Helms, as the director and officer, along with Wesley Husted, the former CFO, who is an Ntrepid officer as well," the new firm may be little more than an under-the-radar front for Cubic.

Amongst the Security Services offered by the firm we learn that "Cubic subsidiaries are working individually and in concert to develop a wide range of security solutions" that include: "C4ISR data links for homeland security intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions;" a Cubic Virtual Analysis Center which promises to deliver "superior situational awareness to decision makers in government, industry and nonprofit organizations," human behavior pattern analysis, and other areas lusted after by securocrats.

The Guardian informs us that the "multiple persona contract is thought to have been awarded as part of a programme called Operation Earnest Voice (OEV), which was first developed in Iraq as a psychological warfare weapon against the online presence of al-Qaida supporters and others ranged against coalition forces."

"Since then," Fielding and Cobain wrote, "OEV is reported to have expanded into a $200m programme and is thought to have been used against jihadists across Pakistan, Afghanistan and the Middle East."

While CENTCOM's then-commander, General David Petraeus told the Senate Armed Services Committee last year that the program was designed to "counter extremist ideology and propaganda," in light of HBGary revelations, one must ask whether firms involved in the dirty tricks campaign against WikiLeaks have deployed versions of "persona management software" against domestic opponents.

While we cannot say with certainty this is the case, mission creep from other "War on Terror" fronts, notably ongoing NSA warrantless wiretapping programs and Defense Department spy ops against antiwar activists, also involving "public-private partnerships" amongst security firms and the secret state, should give pause.




Tom Burghardt is a researcher and activist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition to publishing in Covert Action Quarterly and Global Research, an independent research and media group of writers, scholars, journalists and activists based in Montreal, he is a Contributing Editor with Cyrano's Journal Today. His articles can be read on Dissident Voice, The Intelligence Daily, Pacific Free Press, Uncommon Thought Journal, and the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks. He is the editor of Police State America: U.S. Military "Civil Disturbance" Planning, distributed by AK Press and has contributed to the new book from Global Research, The Global Economic Crisis: The Great Depression of the XXI Century.

_________________
www.lawyerscommitteefor9-11inquiry.org
www.rethink911.org
www.patriotsquestion911.com
www.actorsandartistsfor911truth.org
www.mediafor911truth.org
www.pilotsfor911truth.org
www.mp911truth.org
www.ae911truth.org
www.rl911truth.org
www.stj911.org
www.v911t.org
www.thisweek.org.uk
www.abolishwar.org.uk
www.elementary.org.uk
www.radio4all.net/index.php/contributor/2149
http://utangente.free.fr/2003/media2003.pdf
"The maintenance of secrets acts like a psychic poison which alienates the possessor from the community" Carl Jung
https://37.220.108.147/members/www.bilderberg.org/phpBB2/
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nrmis
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 25, 2013 10:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Forum Shill gets Busted: ATS and GLP Censor to Cover his Tracks

Quote:
CHECKLIST

Do any of the respondents display the urge to supply information that could be helpful to your mission?

Do the respondents appear hostile to your attempts to steer the discussion?

Have you made a personal chart taking care to note who appear to be the “leaders” versus who appear to be the “followers”?

Have you attempted to gauge the “temperature” of the forum’s users?

In other words, the prevailing social psychology of the forum’s members?

Have you been more successful with one or the other XStart methods that were demonstrated in N-7015A.DOC?

Have more technical members (Computer Programmers, Administrators, or Moderators) of the forum deduced or accused you of hiding behind a proxy?

Would you gain more trust and/or credibility if you were to use one of the Agency’s allotted “HOME” pools? (most often needed when handling EVTS that are more sensitive to the pop. of a specific locale but also location centered web sites such as FB or Patch)

Has your PREDEV “persona” been successful or do you gauge that the users find you to be too obtrusive? Accusations of being “ever present” are.


Link: http://www.insanemedia.net/forum-shill-gets-busted-ats-and-glp-censor- n-7015a/2924
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scienceplease 2
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 27, 2013 11:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

nrmis wrote:
Forum Shill gets Busted: ATS and GLP Censor to Cover his Tracks

Quote:
CHECKLIST

Do any of the respondents display the urge to supply information that could be helpful to your mission?

Do the respondents appear hostile to your attempts to steer the discussion?

Have you made a personal chart taking care to note who appear to be the “leaders” versus who appear to be the “followers”?

Have you attempted to gauge the “temperature” of the forum’s users?

In other words, the prevailing social psychology of the forum’s members?

Have you been more successful with one or the other XStart methods that were demonstrated in N-7015A.DOC?

Have more technical members (Computer Programmers, Administrators, or Moderators) of the forum deduced or accused you of hiding behind a proxy?

Would you gain more trust and/or credibility if you were to use one of the Agency’s allotted “HOME” pools? (most often needed when handling EVTS that are more sensitive to the pop. of a specific locale but also location centered web sites such as FB or Patch)

Has your PREDEV “persona” been successful or do you gauge that the users find you to be too obtrusive? Accusations of being “ever present” are.


Link: http://www.insanemedia.net/forum-shill-gets-busted-ats-and-glp-censor- n-7015a/2924


Good find.

There are legions of PysOp operatives in the US.
Multiple units per armed forces and multiple units per intelligence agency (there's about six in the USA, I believe).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychological_Operations_%28United_State s%29

Wikipedia points to the tip of an iceberg...
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TonyGosling
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2014 12:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pentagon preparing for mass civil breakdown
Social science is being militarised to develop 'operational tools' to target peaceful activists and protest movements
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/earth-insight/2014/jun/12/penta gon-mass-civil-breakdown

A US Department of Defense (DoD) research programme is funding universities to model the dynamics, risks and tipping points for large-scale civil unrest across the world, under the supervision of various US militaryagencies. The multi-million dollar programme is designed to develop immediate and long-term "warfighter-relevant insights" for senior officials and decision makers in "the defense policy community," and to inform policy implemented by "combatant commands."

Launched in 2008 – the year of the global banking crisis – the DoD 'Minerva Research Initiative' partners with universities "to improve DoD's basic understanding of the social, cultural, behavioral, and political forces that shape regions of the world of strategic importance to the US."

Among the projects awarded for the period 2014-2017 is a Cornell University-led study managed by the US Air Force Office of Scientific Research which aims to develop an empirical model "of the dynamics of social movement mobilisation and contagions." The project will determine "the critical mass (tipping point)" of social contagians by studying their "digital traces" in the cases of "the 2011 Egyptian revolution, the 2011 Russian Duma elections, the 2012 Nigerian fuel subsidy crisis and the 2013 Gazi park protests in Turkey."

Twitter posts and conversations will be examined "to identify individuals mobilised in a social contagion and when they become mobilised."

Another project awarded this year to the University of Washington "seeks to uncover the conditions under which political movements aimed at large-scale political and economic change originate," along with their "characteristics and consequences." The project, managed by the US Army Research Office, focuses on "large-scale movements involving more than 1,000 participants in enduring activity," and will cover 58 countries in total.

Last year, the DoD's Minerva Initiative funded a project to determine 'Who Does Not Become a Terrorist, and Why?' which, however, conflates peaceful activists with "supporters of political violence" who are different from terrorists only in that they do not embark on "armed militancy" themselves. The project explicitly sets out to study non-violent activists:

"In every context we find many individuals who share the demographic, family, cultural, and/or socioeconomic background of those who decided to engage in terrorism, and yet refrained themselves from taking up armed militancy, even though they were sympathetic to the end goals of armed groups. The field of terrorism studies has not, until recently, attempted to look at this control group. This project is not about terrorists, but aboutsupporters of political violence."

The project's 14 case studies each "involve extensive interviews with ten or more activists and militants in parties and NGOs who, though sympathetic to radical causes, have chosen a path of non-violence."

I contacted the project's principal investigator, Prof Maria Rasmussen of the US Naval Postgraduate School, asking why non-violent activists working for NGOs should be equated to supporters of political violence – and which "parties and NGOs" were being investigated – but received no response.

Similarly, Minerva programme staff refused to answer a series of similar questions I put to them, including asking how "radical causes" promoted by peaceful NGOs constituted a potential national security threat of interest to the DoD.

Among my questions, I asked:

"Does the US Department of Defense see protest movements and social activism in different parts of the world as a threat to US national security? If so, why? Does the US Department of Defense consider political movements aiming for large scale political and economic change as a national security matter? If so, why? Activism, protest, 'political movements' and of course NGOs are a vital element of a healthy civil society and democracy - why is it that the DoD is funding research to investigate such issues?"

Minerva's programme director Dr Erin Fitzgerald said "I appreciate your concerns and am glad that you reached out to give us the opportunity to clarify" before promising a more detailed response. Instead, I received the following bland statement from the DoD's press office:

"The Department of Defense takes seriously its role in the security of the United States, its citizens, and US allies and partners. While every security challenge does not cause conflict, and every conflict does not involve the US military, Minerva helps fund basic social science research that helps increase the Department of Defense's understanding of what causes instability and insecurity around the world. By better understanding these conflicts and their causes beforehand, the Department of Defense can better prepare for the dynamic future security environment."

In 2013, Minerva funded a University of Maryland project in collaboration with the US Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory to gauge the risk of civil unrest due to climate change. The three-year $1.9 million project is developing models to anticipate what could happen to societies under a range of potential climate change scenarios.

From the outset, the Minerva programme was slated to provide over $75 million over five years for social and behavioural science research. This year alone it has been allocated a total budget of $17.8 million by US Congress.

An internal Minerva staff email communication referenced in a 2012 Masters dissertation reveals that the programme is geared toward producing quick results that are directly applicable to field operations. The dissertation was part of a Minerva-funded project on "counter-radical Muslim discourse" at Arizona State University.

The internal email from Prof Steve Corman, a principal investigator for the project, describes a meeting hosted by the DoD's Human Social Cultural and Behavioural Modeling (HSCB) programme in which senior Pentagon officials said their priority was "to develop capabilities that are deliverable quickly" in the form of "models and tools that can be integrated with operations."

Although Office of Naval Research supervisor Dr Harold Hawkins had assured the university researchers at the outset that the project was merely "a basic research effort, so we shouldn't be concerned about doing applied stuff", the meeting in fact showed that DoD is looking to "feed results" into "applications," Corman said in the email. He advised his researchers to "think about shaping results, reports, etc., so they [DoD] can clearly see their application for tools that can be taken to the field."

Many independent scholars are critical of what they see as the US government's efforts to militarise social science in the service of war. In May 2008, the American Anthropological Association (AAA) wrote to the US government noting that the Pentagon lacks "the kind of infrastructure for evaluating anthropological [and other social science] research" in a way that involves "rigorous, balanced and objective peer review", calling for such research to be managed instead by civilian agencies like the National Science Foundation (NSF).

The following month, the DoD signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the NSF to cooperate on the management of Minerva. In response, the AAA cautioned that although research proposals would now be evaluated by NSF's merit-review panels. "Pentagon officials will have decision-making power in deciding who sits on the panels":

"… there remain concerns within the discipline that research will only be funded when it supports the Pentagon's agenda. Other critics of the programme, including the Network of Concerned Anthropologists, have raised concerns that the programme would discourage research in other important areas and undermine the role of the university as a place for independent discussion and critique of the military."

According to Prof David Price, a cultural anthropologist at St Martin's University in Washington DC and author of Weaponizing Anthropology: Social Science in Service of the Militarized State, "when you looked at the individual bits of many of these projects they sort of looked like normal social science, textual analysis, historical research, and so on, but when you added these bits up they all shared themes of legibility with all the distortions of over-simplification. Minerva is farming out the piece-work of empire in ways that can allow individuals to disassociate their individual contributions from the larger project."

Prof Price has previously exposed how the Pentagon's Human Terrain Systems (HTS) programme - designed to embed social scientists in military field operations - routinely conducted training scenarios set in regions "within the United States."

Citing a summary critique of the programme sent to HTS directors by a former employee, Price reported that the HTS training scenarios "adapted COIN [counterinsurgency] for Afghanistan/Iraq" to domestic situations "in the USA where the local population was seen from the military perspective as threatening the established balance of power and influence, and challenging law and order."

One war-game, said Price, involved environmental activists protesting pollution from a coal-fired plant near Missouri, some of whom were members of the well-known environmental NGO Sierra Club. Participants were tasked to "identify those who were 'problem-solvers' and those who were 'problem-causers,' and the rest of the population whom would be the target of the information operations to move their Center of Gravity toward that set of viewpoints and values which was the 'desired end-state' of the military's strategy."

Such war-games are consistent with a raft of Pentagon planning documents which suggest that National Security Agency (NSA) mass surveillance is partially motivated to prepare for the destabilising impact of coming environmental, energy and economic shocks.

James Petras, Bartle Professor of Sociology at Binghamton University in New York, concurs with Price's concerns. Minerva-funded social scientists tied to Pentagon counterinsurgency operations are involved in the "study of emotions in stoking or quelling ideologically driven movements," he said, including how "to counteract grassroots movements."

Minerva is a prime example of the deeply narrow-minded and self-defeating nature of military ideology. Worse still, the unwillingness of DoD officials to answer the most basic questions is symptomatic of a simple fact – in their unswerving mission to defend an increasingly unpopular global system serving the interests of a tiny minority, security agencies have no qualms about painting the rest of us as potential terrorists.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2015 4:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Leaked Video Of Cruise Missile Hitting Pentagon on 9/11:
http://beforeitsnews.com/9-11-and-ground-zero/2013/01/leaked-video-of- cruise-missile-hitting-pentagon-on-911-2439418.html

Not very clear, but far more credible than the OCT.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 04, 2017 10:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Billionaire Peter Thiel's secret Kiwi spy links revealed
8:48 PM Thursday Mar 9, 2017
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11 814904


New Zealand spy agencies and our elite Special Air Service soldiers have long-standing commercial links with a controversial big-data company founded by surprise Kiwi Peter Thiel, the Herald can reveal.

An investigation into Thiel's links to New Zealand has found his firm Palantir Technologies has counted the New Zealand Defence Force, the Security Intelligence Service and the Government Communications and Security Bureau as clients with contracts dating back to at least 2012.

The revelation caused Kennedy Graham, Green Party spokesman for intelligence and security matters, to call for a delay to the passage of the New Zealand Intelligence and Security Bill, which today passed its second and penultimate reading.

Graham said the New Zealand-Palantir connection was "potentially huge" and raised more questions than it answered.

"The Parliament should not be too hasty until these things properly come to light," he said.

The connections between Palantir - controversial in the United States over its long links with National Security Agency surveillance operations and Thiel's backing of President Donald Trump - and the New Zealand government has long been shrouded in secrecy.

Questions sent to spokespeople for Thiel and Palantir both went unanswered this week.

Requests under the Official Information Act to the three agencies seeking to disclose the existence and amount spent on Palantir data-analysis software initially drew a response of either "neither confirm nor deny" or "neither denies nor confirms" and claims that even answering the question threatened national security.


The secret pride of New Zealand citizen Peter Thiel
Watch NZH Focus: Who is Peter Thiel?



This mystery is undercut by official publications by the agencies themselves over the past few years disclosing its use. A recently-advertised job description for the SIS said a key performance measurement would be that "appropriate user champions are identified within teams and provided with support to develop the Palantir skills of their team."

Jobs advertised in Wellington by Palantir itself warn successful applicants "must be willing and able to obtain a Government security clearance in New Zealand". The company has been a regular fixture at university careers fairs since 2013.

And a brief item in the military magazine Army News in 2012 stated a trial of the company's software was being piloted, but this wasn't the first time it had been deployed in New Zealand.

"Palantir intelligence software is in use with a number of our domestic and foreign partners," Army News said.

The reference to domestic partners is understood to be the GCSB and SIS, who both assist the army's elite SAS regiment in deployments overseas.

Palantir in use in mid-2012 (p. 7)
The Army News reported in July 2012 the New Zealand Defence Force were looking at Palantir, noting it was already in use by New Zealand government agencies - understood to be the SIS and GCSB. The NZDF later confirmed this pilot led to a contractual relationship that continues to this day.
View the entire document with DocumentCloud


The New Zealand Defence Force, after being made aware of the public disclosures, back-tracked on its refusal to comment and confirmed in later correspondence Palantir had been in use since 2012 and 100 staff had been trained in its use.

NZDF later confirm Palantir use (p. 1)


Despite the backtrack by their counterparts in the military, a spokesperson for both spy agencies reiterated: "It is our long-standing policy not to discuss operations, suppliers or capabilities."

Former MP and Green Party co-leader Russel Norman, who sat on the Intelligence and Security Committee - Parliament's sole oversight of intelligence agencies - said although he was unable to discuss matters discussed during closed committee sessions, he didn't find the experience particularly illuminating of Palantir.

Fairfax Media's Andrea Vance reported in 2014 the GCSB and SIS declined to answer any questions about Palantir posed by the committee.

As Norman told the Herald this week: "I learned far more from the Snowden leaks than I ever did from that committee."

The Intercept, a publication reporting on the Snowden leaks, last month reported: "Palantir's chief appeal is that it's not designed to do any single thing in particular, but is flexible and powerful enough to accommodate the requirements of any organisation that needs to process large amounts of both personal and abstract data."

The company became controversial in the United States over its close working relationship with the NSA in building programs designed to draw together disparate datasets - many obtained from widespread surveillance.

"Palantir's technology is dual-purpose," says Intercept security director Morgan Marquis-Boire, who noted it was put to some controversial uses - including recent news it was assisting the identification of undocumented migrants for deportation action by United States authorities.

Morgan said the adoption of Palantir by New Zealand agencies was not surprising given the long-standing intelligence-sharing alliance with the United States, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom. "I can't say I'm surprised, given Five Eyes," he said.

The three New Zealand agencies refused to disclose how much New Zealand taxpayer dollars were being spent on Palantir, although a leaked sales brochure published by The Intercept claimed while the product "looks expensive", it "isn't as expensive as expected."

The influence of Thiel - who was revealed by the Herald to have been awarded New Zealand citizenship under exceptional circumstance provision by the then-Minister of Internal Affairs in 2011 - on Palantir is obvious.

Thiel's fetish for Lord of the Rings nomenclature extends to his company (Palantiri are magical crystal balls and the company's headquarters in California is informally called "the Shire"), Palantir's Wellington-based "data guru" namechecks Thiel's book Zero to One in his CV, and the billionaire co-founder still is chairman of the board.

While the exact size of Thiel's stake in the company is not clear, it is by many accounts the largest single asset of the man valued by Forbes to be worth $4 billion.

After being founded in 2004, the financial press suggest floating the company on the stock market - potentially valuing the company in excess of $25 billion but opening it to more public scrutiny - is the next obvious step.


Government rejects link to citizenship


• Newly-disclosed links between Peter Thiel's Palantir Technologies and New Zealand intelligence agencies played no part in him being awarded of citizenship, the Government says.

• Official Information Act inquiries of the three agencies understood to use Palantir software - the New Zealand Defence Force, the Security Intelligence Service and the Government Communications Security Bureau - saw all deny any of their senior management team had met with Thiel over the past eight years.

• All three agencies also said they made no submission, formal or informal, over the Thiel application, although the SIS noted it undertook routine screening of all applicants in accordance with the Citizenship Act.

• The lightly redacted 145-page citizenship file released by Internal Affairs last month contained only one reference to Palantir - a passing mention in a media profile of Thiel submitted by his lawyers.

• Officials recommended then-Minister Nathan Guy approve the application, despite Thiel's neither living in New Zealand nor intending to do so, arguing his entrepreneurial skill and philanthropic deeds meant his case was exceptional.

• Guy, who said after news Thiel's citizenship broke "I don't recall this specific application", this week refused an interview about the case.

• A spokesman for Guy said the Minister had since reviewed the application file and now said he was unaware of links between Palantir and New Zealand intelligence agencies at the time he approved the application.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 10, 2017 6:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sock puppet accounts unmasked by the way they write and post
Fake accounts propagate fake news
Multiple accounts used by the same person are harmful and can propagate fake news
sjscreens / Alamy Stock Photo
By Edd Gent
https://www.newscientist.com/article/2127107-sock-puppet-accounts-unma sked-by-the-way-they-write-and-post/

“Sock puppets” are the scourge of online discussion . Multiple accounts controlled by the same user can dominate comment forums and spread fake news. But now there’s a way to unmask the puppeteers.

A study of nine websites that use comment service Disqus to let readers post responses to articles found that sock puppets can be identified based on their writing style, posting activity and relationship with other users.

In the era of fake news, detecting sock puppets is important, says Srijan Kumar at the University of Maryland. “Whenever multiple accounts are used by the same party it is harmful and it skews the discussion and fake news can be propagated very confidently,” he says.

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Kumar and his colleagues at the University of Maryland and Stanford University in California analysed commenter accounts on news websites including CNN, NPR, Breitbart and Fox News. They identified the sock puppets by finding accounts that posted from the same IP address in the same discussion at similar times. This approach isn’t always possible, so they wanted to develop a tool that automatically detects sock puppets based only on publicly accessible posting data.

They found that sock puppets contribute poorer quality content, writing shorter posts that are often downvoted or reported by other users. They post on more controversial topics, spend more time replying to other users and are more abusive. Worryingly, their posts are also more likely to be read and they are often central to their communities, generating a lot of activity.

Based on their findings, the researchers created a machine learning tool that can detect if two accounts belong to the same person 91 per cent of the time. Another tool can distinguish between a regular account and a sock puppet with 68 per cent accuracy. The research will be presented this week at the World Wide Web Conference in Perth, Australia.

This is the most comprehensive investigation of sock puppets in discussion forums, says Meng Jiang, who studies suspicious online behaviour at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

But given that the group used sock puppets already identified by their IPs, it’s impossible to know if the tool could detect sock puppets the IP approach missed, he says. A real-world system would likely incorporate both approaches.

Kumar is confident the new tool could detect other sock puppets, and points out that IP addresses are not always available and can easily be spoofed.

The system could be useful to detect sock puppets on any forum that makes an account’s posting history available, such as social media site Reddit and most websites’ comment sections, he says. A person could then verify if an account breaches the site’s rules. “These tools always have a human in the loop,” he says. “It would flag suspicious accounts and a moderator would decide.”

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 11:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fake News or selected Censorship?

Thanks FaceBook for your concern lolol searching for a link but it seems I have been hand picked Cool

Quote:
Tips to Spot False News

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We want to stop the spread of false news on Facebook. Learn more about the work we're doing. As we work to limit the spread, here are some tips on what to look out for:

Be skeptical of headlines. False news stories often have catchy headlines in all caps with exclamation points. If shocking claims in the headline sound unbelievable, they probably are.
Look closely at the URL. A phony or look-alike URL may be a warning sign of false news. Many false news sites mimic authentic news sources by making small changes to the URL. You can go to the site to compare the URL to established sources.
Investigate the source. Ensure that the story is written by a source that you trust with a reputation for accuracy. If the story comes from an unfamiliar organization, check their "About" section to learn more.
Watch for unusual formatting. Many false news sites have misspellings or awkward layouts. Read carefully if you see these signs.
Consider the photos. False news stories often contain manipulated images or videos. Sometimes the photo may be authentic, but taken out of context. You can search for the photo or image to verify where it came from.
Inspect the dates. False news stories may contain timelines that make no sense, or event dates that have been altered.
Check the evidence. Check the author's sources to confirm that they are accurate. Lack of evidence or reliance on unnamed experts may indicate a false news story.
Look at other reports. If no other news source is reporting the same story, it may indicate that the story is false. If the story is reported by multiple sources you trust, it's more likely to be true.
Is the story a joke? Sometimes false news stories can be hard to distinguish from humor or satire. Check whether the source is known for parody, and whether the story's details and tone suggest it may be just for fun.
Some stories are intentionally false. Think critically about the stories you read, and only share news that you know to be credible.

This is in partnership with:https://fullfact.org/
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Facebook adds tips for spotting 'fake news'
http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/606192/scitech/technology/faceboo k-adds-tips-for-spotting-fake-news
Published April 7, 2017 5:18am
SAN FRANCISCO - Facebook on Thursday ramped up its fight against "fake news" by adding tips on how to tell when shared stories are bogus.

An initiative being launched in the US, France and a dozen other countries added an educational tool in an "awareness display" in news feeds at the leading online social network.

"By clicking on the awareness display located at the top of their news feed, users will be able to access a dedicated area that includes tips for identifying and reporting false information," Facebook said in a blog post.

Tips included checking website addresses along with searching out other sources or articles on topics.

"Promoting a critical reading of information is a priority," California-based Facebook said.

"False information goes against our mission of connecting people with what is important to them."

Early this month a global alliance of tech industry and academic organizations unveiled plans to work together to combat the spread of fake news and improve public understanding of journalism.

The News Integrity Initiative debuted with $14 million from Facebook, the Ford Foundation, Mozilla and others, and is based at the City University of New York's journalism school, which will coordinate research, projects and events.

Fake news became a serious issue in the US election campaign, when clearly fraudulent stories circulated on social media, potentially swaying some voters.

Concerns have been raised since then about hoaxes and misinformation affecting elections in Europe, with investigations showing how "click farms" generate revenue from online advertising using made-up news stories.

Facebook and Google have already taken steps to cut off advertising revenues to news sites promoting misinformation.

Facebook has also launched a "journalism project" that aims to support the news ecosystem. — Agence France-Presse

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 13, 2017 12:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

HOW PETER THIEL’S PALANTIR HELPED THE NSA SPY ON THE WHOLE WORLD
https://theintercept.com/2017/02/22/how-peter-thiels-palantir-helped-t he-nsa-spy-on-the-whole-world/

Sam Biddle - February 22 2017, 11:06 a.m.

DONALD TRUMP HAS inherited the most powerful machine for spying ever devised. How this petty, vengeful man might wield and expand the sprawling American spy apparatus, already vulnerable to abuse, is disturbing enough on its own. But the outlook is even worse considering Trump’s vast preference for private sector expertise and new strategic friendship with Silicon Valley billionaire investor Peter Thiel, whose controversial (and opaque) company Palantir has long sought to sell governments an unmatched power to sift and exploit information of any kind. Thiel represents a perfect nexus of government clout with the kind of corporate swagger Trump loves. The Intercept can now reveal that Palantir has worked for years to boost the global dragnet of the NSA and its international partners, and was in fact co-created with American spies.

Peter Thiel became one of the American political mainstream’s most notorious figures in 2016 (when it emerged he was bankrolling a lawsuit against Gawker Media, my former employer) even before he won a direct line to the White House. Now he brings to his role as presidential adviser decades of experience as kingly investor and token nonliberal on Facebook’s board of directors, a Rolodex of software luminaries, and a decidedly Trumpian devotion to controversy and contrarianism. But perhaps the most appealing asset Thiel can offer our bewildered new president will be Palantir Technologies, which Thiel founded with Alex Karp and Joe Lonsdale in 2004.

Palantir has never masked its ambitions, in particular the desire to sell its services to the U.S. government ­ the CIA itself was an early investor in the startup through In-Q-Tel, the agency’s venture capital branch. But Palantir refuses to discuss or even name its government clientele, despite landing “at least $1.2 billion” in federal contracts since 2009, according to an August 2016 report in Politico. The company was last valued at $20 billion and is expected to pursue an IPO in the near future. In a 2012 interview with TechCrunch, while boasting of ties to the intelligence community, Karp said nondisclosure contracts prevent him from speaking about Palantir’s government work.
Alexander "Alex" Karp, co-founder and chief executive

Alex Karp, co-founder and CEO of Palantir Technologies, speaks during the WSJDLive Global Technology Conference in Laguna Beach, Calif., on Oct. 26, 2016.


Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg/Getty Images

“Palantir” is generally used interchangeably to refer to both Thiel and Karp’s company and the software that company creates. Its two main products are Palantir Gotham and Palantir Metropolis, more geeky winks from a company whose Tolkien namesake is a type of magical sphere used by the evil lord Sauron to surveil, trick, and threaten his enemies across Middle Earth. While Palantir Metropolis is pegged to quantitative analysis for Wall Street banks and hedge funds, Gotham (formerly Palantir Government) is designed for the needs of intelligence, law enforcement, and homeland security customers. Gotham works by importing large reams of “structured” data (like spreadsheets) and “unstructured” data (like images) into one centralized database, where all of the information can be visualized and analyzed in one workspace. For example, a 2010 demo showed how Palantir Government could be used to chart the flow of weapons throughout the Middle East by importing disparate data sources like equipment lot numbers, manufacturer data, and the locations of Hezbollah training camps. Palantir’s chief appeal is that it’s not designed to do any single thing in particular, but is flexible and powerful enough to accommodate the requirements of any organization that needs to process large amounts of both personal and abstract data.

A Palantir promotional video.

Despite all the grandstanding about lucrative, shadowy government contracts, co-founder Karp does not shy away from taking a stand in the debate over government surveillance. In a Forbes profile in 2013, he played privacy lamb, saying, “I didn’t sign up for the government to know when I smoke a joint or have an affair. … We have to find places that we protect away from government so that we can all be the unique and interesting and, in my case, somewhat deviant people we’d like to be.” In that same article, Thiel lays out Palantir’s mission with privacy in mind: to “reduce terrorism while preserving civil liberties.” After the first wave of revelations spurred by the whistleblower Edward Snowden, Palantir was quick to deny that it had any connection to the NSA spy program known as PRISM, which shared an unfortunate code name with one of its own software products. The current iteration of Palantir’s website includes an entire section dedicated to “Privacy & Civil Liberties,” proclaiming the company’s support of both:

Palantir Technologies is a mission-driven company, and a core component of that mission is protecting our fundamental rights to privacy and civil liberties. …

Some argue that society must “balance” freedom and safety, and that in order to better protect ourselves from those who would do us harm, we have to give up some of our liberties. We believe that this is a false choice in many areas. Particularly in the world of data analysis, liberty does not have to be sacrificed to enhance security. Palantir is constantly looking for ways to protect privacy and individual liberty through its technology while enabling the powerful analysis necessary to generate the actionable intelligence that our law enforcement and intelligence agencies need to fulfill their missions.

It’s hard to square this purported commitment to privacy with proof, garnered from documents provided by Edward Snowden, that Palantir has helped expand and accelerate the NSA’s global spy network, which is jointly administered with allied foreign agencies around the world. Notably, the partnership has included building software specifically to facilitate, augment, and accelerate the use of XKEYSCORE, one of the most expansive and potentially intrusive tools in the NSA’s arsenal. According to Snowden documents published by The Guardian in 2013, XKEYSCORE is by the NSA’s own admission its “widest reaching” program, capturing “nearly everything a typical user does on the internet.” A subsequent report by The Intercept showed that XKEYSCORE’s “collected communications not only include emails, chats, and web-browsing traffic, but also pictures, documents, voice calls, webcam photos, web searches, advertising analytics traffic, social media traffic, botnet traffic, logged keystrokes, computer network exploitation targeting, intercepted username and password pairs, file uploads to online services, Skype sessions, and more.” For the NSA and its global partners, XKEYSCORE makes all of this as searchable as a hotel reservation site.

But how do you make so much data comprehensible for human spies? As the additional documents published with this article demonstrate, Palantir sold its services to make one of the most powerful surveillance systems ever devised even more powerful, bringing clarity and slick visuals to an ocean of surveillance data.
An office building occupied by the technology firm Palantir in

An office building occupied by the technology firm Palantir in McLean, Va., on Oct. 11, 2014.


Photo: Kristoffer Tripplaar/Sipa USA/AP

PALANTIR’S RELATIONSHIP WITH government spy agencies appears to date back to at least 2008, when representatives from the U.K.’s signals intelligence agency, Government Communications Headquarters, joined their American peers at VisWeek, an annual data visualization and computing conference organized by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology. Attendees from throughout government and academia gather to network with members of the private sector at the event, where they compete in teams to solve hypothetical data-based puzzles as part of the Visual Analytics Science and Technology (VAST) Challenge. As described in a document saved by GCHQ, Palantir fielded a team in 2008 and tackled one such scenario using its own software. It was a powerful marketing opportunity at a conference filled with potential buyers.

In the demo, Palantir engineers showed how their software could be used to identify Wikipedia users who belonged to a fictional radical religious sect and graph their social relationships. In Palantir’s pitch, its approach to the VAST Challenge involved using software to enable “many analysts working together [to] truly leverage their collective mind.” The fake scenario’s target, a cartoonishly sinister religious sect called “the Paraiso Movement,” was suspected of a terrorist bombing, but the unmentioned and obvious subtext of the experiment was the fact that such techniques could be applied to de-anonymize and track members of any political or ideological group. Among a litany of other conclusions, Palantir determined the group was prone to violence because its “Manifesto’s intellectual influences include ‘Pancho Villa, Che Guevara, Leon Trotsky, [and] Cuban revolutionary Jose Martí,’ a list of military commanders and revolutionaries with a history of violent actions.”

The delegation from GCHQ returned from VisWeek excited and impressed. In a classified report from those who attended, Palantir’s potential for aiding the spy agency was described in breathless terms. “Palantir are a relatively new Silicon Valley startup who are sponsored by the CIA,” the report began. “They claim to have significant involvement with the US intelligence community, although none yet at NSA.” GCHQ noted that Palantir “has been developed closely internally with intelligence community users (unspecified, but likely to be the CIA given the funding).” The report described Palantir’s demo as “so significant” that it warranted its own entry in GCHQ’s classified internal wiki, calling the software “extremely sophisticated and mature. … We were very impressed. You need to see it to believe it.”

The report conceded, however, that “it would take an enormous effort for an in-house developed GCHQ system to get to the same level of sophistication” as Palantir. The GCHQ briefers also expressed hesitation over the price tag, noting that “adoption would have [a] huge monetary … cost,” and over the implications of essentially outsourcing intelligence analysis software to the private sector, thus making the agency “utterly dependent on a commercial product.” Finally, the report added that “it is possible there may be concerns over security ­ the company have published a lot of information on their website about how their product is used in intelligence analysis, some of which we feel very uncomfortable about.”



A page from Palantir’s “Executive Summary” document, provided to government clients.

However anxious British intelligence was about Palantir’s self-promotion, the worry must not have lasted very long. Within two years, documents show that at least three members of the “Five Eyes” spy alliance between the United States, the U.K., Australia, New Zealand, and Canada were employing Palantir to help gather and process data from around the world. Palantir excels at making connections between enormous, separate databases, pulling big buckets of information (call records, IP addresses, financial transactions, names, conversations, travel records) into one centralized heap and visualizing them coherently, thus solving one of the persistent problems of modern intelligence gathering: data overload.

A GCHQ wiki page titled “Visualisation,” outlining different ways “to provide insight into some set of data,” puts succinctly Palantir’s intelligence value:

Palantir is an information management platform for analysis developed by Palantir Technologies. It integrates structured and unstructured data, provides search and discovery capabilities, knowledge management, and collaborative features. The goal is to offer the infrastructure, or ‘full stack,’ that intelligence organizations require for analysis.

Bullet-pointed features of note included a “Graph View,” “Timelining capabilities,” and “Geo View.”



A GCHQ diagram indicates how Palantir could be used as part of a computer network attack.

Under the Five Eyes arrangement, member countries collect and pool enormous streams of data and metadata collected through tools like XKEYSCORE, amounting to tens of billions of records. The alliance is constantly devising (or attempting) new, experimental methods of prying data out of closed and private sources, including by hacking into computers and networks in non-Five Eyes countries and infecting them with malware.

A 2011 PowerPoint presentation from GCHQ’s Network Defence Intelligence & Security Team (NDIST) ­ which, as The Intercept has previously reported, “worked to subvert anti-virus and other security software in order to track users and infiltrate networks” ­ mentioned Palantir as a tool for processing data gathered in the course of its malware-oriented work. Palantir’s software was described as an “analyst workspace [for] pulling together disparate information and displaying it in novel ways,” and was used closely in conjunction with other intelligence software tools, like the NSA’s notorious XKEYSCORE search system. The novel ways of using Palantir for spying seemed open-ended, even imaginative: A 2010 presentation on the joint NSA-GCHQ “Mastering the Internet” surveillance program mentioned the prospect of running Palantir software on “Android handsets” as part of a SIGINT-based “augmented reality” experience. It’s unclear what exactly this means or could even look like.

Above all, these documents depict Palantir’s software as a sort of consolidating agent, allowing Five Eyes analysts to make sense of tremendous amounts of data that might have been otherwise unintelligible or highly time-consuming to digest. In a 2011 presentation to the NSA, classified top secret, an NDIST operative noted the “good collection” of personal data among the Five Eyes alliance but lamented the “poor analytics,” and described the attempt to find new tools for SIGINT analysis, in which it “conducted a review of 14 different systems that might work.” The review considered services from Lockheed Martin and Detica (a subsidiary of BAE Systems) but decided on the up-and-comer from Palo Alto.



Palantir is described as having been funded not only by In-Q-Tel, the CIA’s venture capital branch, but furthermore created “through [an] iterative collaboration between Palantir computer scientists and analysts from various intelligence agencies over the course of nearly three years.” While it’s long been known that Palantir got on its feet with the intelligence community’s money, it has not been previously reported that the intelligence community actually helped build the software. The continuous praise seen in these documents shows that the collaboration paid off. Under the new “Palantir Model,” “data can come from anywhere” and can be “asked whatever the analyst wants.”





Along with Palantir’s ability to pull in “direct XKS Results,” the presentation boasted that the software was already connected to 10 other secret Five Eyes and GCHQ programs and was highly popular among analysts. It even offered testimonials (TWO FACE appears to be a code name for the implementation of Palantir):

[Palantir] is the best tool I have ever worked with. It’s intuitive, i.e. idiot-proof, and can do a lot you never even dreamt of doing.

This morning, using TWO FACE rather than XKS to review the activity of the last 3 days. It reduced the initial analysis time by at least 50%.

Enthusiasm runs throughout the PowerPoint: A slide titled “Unexpected Benefits” reads like a marketing brochure, exclaiming that Palantir “interacts with anything!” including Google Earth, and “You can even use it on a iphone or laptop.” The next slide, on “Potential Downsides,” is really more praise in disguise: Palantir “Looks expensive” but “isn’t as expensive as expected.” The answer to “What can’t it do?” is revealing: “However we ask, Palantir answer,” indicating that the collaboration between spies and startup didn’t end with Palantir’s CIA-funded origins, but that the company was willing to create new features for the intelligence community by request.



On GCHQ’s internal wiki page for TWO FACE, analysts were offered a “how to” guide for incorporating Palantir into their daily routine, covering introductory topics like “How do I … Get Data from XKS in Palantir,” “How do I … Run a bulk search,” and “How do I … Run bulk operations over my objects in Palantir.” For anyone in need of a hand, “training is currently offered as 1-2-1 desk based training with a Palantir trainer. This gives you the opportunity to quickly apply Palantir to your current work task.” Palantir often sends “forward deployed engineers,” or FDEs, to work alongside clients at their offices and provide assistance and engineering services, though the typical client does not have access to the world’s largest troves of personal information. For analysts interested in tinkering with Palantir, there was even a dedicated instant message chat room open to anyone for “informally” discussing the software.



The GCHQ wiki includes links to classified webpages describing Palantir’s use by the Australian Defence Signals Directorate (now called the Australian Signals Directorate) and to a Palantir entry on the NSA’s internal “Intellipedia,” though The Intercept does not have access to copies of the linked sites. However, embedded within Intellipedia HTML files available to The Intercept are references to a variety of NSA-Palantir programs, including “Palantir Classification Helper,” “[Target Knowledge Base] to Palantir PXML,” and “PalantirAuthService.” (Internal Palantir documents obtained by TechCrunch in 2013 provide additional confirmation of the NSA’s relationship with the company.)

One Palantir program used by GCHQ, a software plug-in named “Kite,” was preserved almost in its entirety among documents provided to The Intercept. An analysis of Kite’s source code shows just how much flexibility the company afforded Five Eyes spies. Developers and analysts could ingest data locally using either Palantir’s “Workspace” application or Kite. When they were satisfied the process was working properly, they could push it into a Palantir data repository where other Workspace users could also access it, almost akin to a Google Spreadsheets collaboration. When analysts were at their Palantir workstation, they could perform simple imports of static data, but when they wanted to perform more complicated tasks like import databases or set up recurring automatic imports, they turned to Kite.

Kite worked by importing intelligence data and converting it into an XML file that could be loaded into a Palantir data repository. Out of the box, Kite was able to handle a variety of types of data (including dates, images, geolocations, etc.), but GCHQ was free to extend it by writing custom fields for complicated types of data the agency might need to analyze. The import tools were designed to handle a variety of use cases, including static data sets, databases that were updated frequently, and data stores controlled by third parties to which GCHQ was able to gain access.

This collaborative environment also produced a piece of software called “XKEYSCORE Helper,” a tool programmed with Palantir (and thoroughly stamped with its logo) that allowed analysts to essentially import data from the NSA’s pipeline, investigate and visualize it through Palantir, and then presumably pass it to fellow analysts or Five Eyes intelligence partners. One of XKEYSCORE’s only apparent failings is that it’s so incredibly powerful, so effective at vacuuming personal metadata from the entire internet, that the volume of information it extracts can be overwhelming. Imagine trying to search your Gmail account, only the results are pulled from every Gmail inbox in the world.



MAKING XKEYSCORE MORE intelligible ­ and thus much more effective ­ appears to have been one of Palantir’s chief successes. The helper tool, documented in a GCHQ PDF guide, provided a means of transferring data captured by the NSA’s XKEYSCORE directly into Palantir, where presumably it would be far easier to analyze for, say, specific people and places. An analyst using XKEYSCORE could pull every IP address in Moscow and Tehran that visited a given website or made a Skype call at 14:15 Eastern Time, for example, and then import the resulting data set into Palantir in order to identify additional connections between the addresses or plot their positions using Google Earth.

Palantir was also used as part of a GCHQ project code-named LOVELY HORSE, which sought to improve the agency’s ability to collect so-called open source intelligence ­ data available on the public internet, like tweets, blog posts, and news articles. Given the “unstructured” nature of this kind of data, Palantir was cited as “an enrichment to existing [LOVELY HORSE] investigations … the content should then be viewable in a human readable format within Palantir.”

Palantir’s impressive data-mining abilities are well-documented, but so too is the potential for misuse. Palantir software is designed to make it easy to sift through piles of information that would be completely inscrutable to a human alone, but the human driving the computer is still responsible for making judgments, good or bad.

A 2011 document by GCHQ’s SIGINT Development Steering Group, a staff committee dedicated to implementing new spy methods, listed some of these worries. In a table listing “risks & challenges,” the SDSG expressed a “concern that [Palantir] gives the analyst greater potential for going down too many analytical paths which could distract from the intelligence requirement.” What it could mean for analysts to distract themselves by going down extraneous “paths” while browsing the world’s most advanced spy machine is left unsaid. But Palantir’s data-mining abilities were such that the SDSG wondered if its spies should be blocked from having full access right off the bat and suggested configuring Palantir software so that parts would “unlock … based on analysts skill level, hiding buttons and features until needed and capable of utilising.” If Palantir succeeded in fixing the intelligence problem of being overwhelmed with data, it may have created a problem of over-analysis ­ the company’s software offers such a multitude of ways to visualize and explore massive data sets that analysts could get lost in the funhouse of infographics, rather than simply being overwhelmed by the scale of their task.

If Palantir’s potential for misuse occurred to the company’s spy clients, surely it must have occurred to Palantir itself, especially given the company’s aforementioned “commitment” to privacy and civil liberties. Sure enough, in 2012 the company announced the formation of the Palantir Council of Advisors on Privacy and Civil Liberties, a committee of academics and consultants with expertise in those fields. Palantir claimed that convening the PCAP had “provided us with invaluable guidance as we try to responsibly navigate the often ill-defined legal, political, technological, and ethical frameworks that sometimes govern the various activities of our customers,” and continued to discuss the privacy and civil liberties “implications of product developments and to suggest potential ways to mitigate any negative effects.” Still, Palantir made clear that the “PCAP is advisory only ­ any decisions that we make after consulting with the PCAP are entirely our own.”

What would a privacy-minded conversation about privacy-breaching software look like? How had a privacy and civil liberties council navigated the fact that Palantir’s clientele had directly engaged in one of the greatest privacy and civil liberties breaches of all time? It’s hard to find an answer.

Palantir wrote that it structured the nondisclosure agreement signed by PCAP members so that they “will be free to discuss anything that they learn in working with us unless we clearly designate information as proprietary or otherwise confidential (something that we have rarely found necessary except on very limited occasions).” But despite this assurance of transparency, all but one of the PCAP’s former and current members either did not return a request for comment for this article or declined to comment citing the NDA.

The former PCAP member who did respond, Stanford privacy scholar Omer Tene, told The Intercept that he was unaware of “any specific relationship, agreement, or project that you’re referring to,” and said he was not permitted to answer whether Palantir’s work with the intelligence community was ever a source of tension with the PCAP. He declined to comment on either the NSA or GCHQ specifically. “In general,” Tene said, “the role of the PCAP was to hear about client engagement or new products and offerings that the company was about to launch, and to opine as to the way they should be set up or delivered in order to minimize privacy and civil liberties concerns.” But without any further detail, it’s unclear whether the PCAP was ever briefed on the company’s work for spy agencies, or whether such work was a matter of debate.

There’s little detail to be found on archived versions of Palantir’s privacy and civil liberties-focused blog, which appears to have been deleted sometime after the PCAP was formed. Palantir spokesperson Matt Long told The Intercept to contact the Palantir media team for questions regarding the vanished blog at the same email address used to reach Long in the first place. Palantir did not respond to additional repeated requests for comment and clarification.

A GCHQ spokesperson provided a boilerplate statement reiterating the agency’s “longstanding policy” against commenting on intelligence matters and asserted that all its activities are “carried out in accordance with a strict legal and policy framework.” The NSA did not provide a response.

Anyone worried that the most powerful spy agencies on Earth might use Palantir software to violate the privacy or civil rights of the vast number of people under constant surveillance may derive some cold comfort in a portion of the user agreement language Palantir provided for the Kite plug-in, which stipulates that the user will not violate “any applicable law” or the privacy or the rights “of any third party.” The world will just have to hope Palantir’s most powerful customers follow the rules.

Documents published with this article:
GCHQ VisWeek 2008 Conference Report
Palantir Executive Summary
NDIST Cyber Defence
Mastering the Internet
The Tale of Two Sources
TWO FACE on GCHQ Wiki
XKEYSCORE Helper Notes
SDSG Integrated Analytics Workshop

Listen to Jeremy Scahill’s interview with Sam Biddle on Episode 4 of Intercepted (begins at 32:05).

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