Proyecto de Intelligencia Estadounidense para ‘vigilar’ America Latina

POR PATRICE McSHERRY | GLOBAL RESEARCH | MARCH 13, 2013

El nuevo proyecto de supercomputadoras está a cargo de un organismo poco conocido, Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (Iarpa), que funciona bajo la orientación del director de Inteligencia Nacional de los EE.UU.

El gobierno de los Estados Unidos, con el apoyo técnico de algunas universidades estadounidenses, quiere utilizar información “pública” que los usuarios colocan en Facebook, Twitter, páginas de web, webcams, blogs y otros medios sociales para acumular una enorme base de datos con el propósito de predecir tanto las crisis políticas, es decir, revoluciones, inestabilidad o estallidos sociales, como crisis económicas. Al igual que el Proyecto Camelot de los años ’60, este proyecto de vigilancia y espionaje estará dirigido a América latina.

El nuevo proyecto está a cargo de un organismo poco conocido, Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (Iarpa), que funciona bajo la orientación del director de Inteligencia Nacional de los EE.UU. El proyecto copiará, automáticamente, por medio de supercomputadoras, datos de 21 países de América latina, por un período de tres años que comenzaría en 2012. Hay un proyecto similar para Afganistán, patrocinado por Darpa (la organización “hermana” militar, del Pentágono) para identificar redes sociales de potenciales terroristas en este país.

En 1964, la Oficina de Investigación y Desarrollo del ejército de los Estados Unidos patrocinó el Proyecto Camelot, que fue un esfuerzo de recopilación de información en el contexto de la estrategia de contrainsurgencia. Camelot fue concebido, originalmente, para tener una vasta cobertura, abarcando países en todo el mundo en desarrollo. Sin embargo, el proyecto se implementó solamente en Chile y no por mucho tiempo.

Los objetivos declarados del proyecto eran “diseñar procedimientos para evaluar la potencialidad de que se desarrollara una guerra interna al interior de las sociedades nacionales” e “identificar… aquellas acciones que un gobierno pudiese de- sarrollar para mitigar las condiciones favorables a ella”. Bajo el camuflaje brindado por un proyecto universitario de ciencias del comportamiento, que se ubicaba en la Oficina de Investigación de Operaciones Especiales de la American University (financiada por el ejército), Camelot era un proyecto encubierto de inteligencia. Un general del ejército estadounidense afirmó que dicho proyecto “nos ayudaría a predecir la utilización potencial del ejército estadounidense en cualquier número de casos en donde la situación pudiese desbordarse”.

En Chile, Camelot fue presentado como una encuesta académica, escondiéndose su relación con el Pentágono. Los investigadores encuestaron a chilenos de todos los sectores de la sociedad para establecer sus creencias políticas, su compromiso con la democracia y otra información personal y política. Según una chilena que fue entrevistada, cada persona fue luego puesta en categorías de conformidad con el nivel de peligro o de “potencial subversivo”. Cuando esta persona trataba posteriormente de obtener una visa de los Estados Unidos, las autoridades estadounidenses tenían un archivo completo sobre ella, con toda la información supuestamente confidencial que ella había colocado en el formulario.

Las bases de datos de Camelot también fueron utilizadas para la guerra psicológica. Sirvieron para influir en las actitudes políticas y, de esa manera, para manipular ciertas elecciones clave. La CIA digitalizó los datos recopilados por Camelot y los analizó y utilizó para producir atemorizantes anuncios anticomunistas durante la campaña eleccionaria de 1964 de Eduardo Frei, candidato demócrata cristiano, contra el izquierdista Salvador Allende. Por ejemplo, se les dijo a las mujeres que, de ser electo Allende, sus hijos serían enviados a Cuba y sus esposos a campos de concentración. La naturaleza contrainsurgente del Proyecto Camelot fue descubierta por el gobierno chileno y fue clausurado en 1965, luego de audiencias tanto en el Congreso de Chile como en el de los Estados Unidos.

No es la primera vez que en época reciente el gobierno de los EE.UU. ha acumulado grandes cantidades de datos en proyectos de data mining (extracción masiva de datos). Durante la administración de George Bush, la National Security Agency empezó la extracción de datos de millones de ciudadanos de los Estados Unidos –de llamadas telefónicas, correos electrónicos, fax y otras fuentes– en un programa secreto sin autorización judicial, supuestamente para descubrir y vigilar a potenciales integrantes de redes terroristas. Dicha administración también trató de implementar otro enorme proyecto, que se llamó Total Information Awareness, para acumular una base de datos para buscar patrones de conducta o tendencias en los correos, llamadas telefónicas, transacciones financieras, información de visas, etcétera, supuestamente para identificar enemigos. Este programa fue rechazado por el Congreso después de que se produjera una reacción muy negativa del público.

Este tipo de proyecto tiene implicancias sumamente preocupantes para los ciudadanos, tanto de América latina como de los Estados Unidos y cualquier otro país. Es el punto de partida para una vigilancia masiva a toda la población, a través de su vida personal y social, violando su libertad personal y sus derechos. La idea de que organizaciones de inteligencia y militares estén vigilando y realizando seguimientos de los ciudadanos –todos bajo sospecha– para predecir actos de violencia en el futuro es autoritario y orwelliano, y evoca la doctrina de seguridad nacional. El aparato de seguridad nacional estadounidense parece estarse extendiendo y ampliándose fuera de control, con proyectos cada vez más intrusivos y antidemocráticos. Ahora que los ciudadanos en muchos países están cada vez más indignados con los respectivos sistemas y recurren a actos de protesta para plantear cambios económicos, sociales y políticos, se hace necesario conocer y desafiar a este tipo de proyectos.

J. Patrice McSherry : Directora del Programa de Estudios sobre América latina y el Caribe en Long Island University, Brooklyn. Autora de Los Estados Depredadores: Operación Cóndor y la Guerra Encubierta en América Latina.

CIA usa Redes Sociais para Publicar Propaganda

RT
Adaptação Luis R. Miranda
Abril 18, 2011

Wayne Madsen tem escrito sobre as agências de inteligência dos Estados Unidos durante décadas. Ele foi um oficial da Marinha desse país e depois tornou-se jornalista investigativo.

No passado, ele tem escrito sobre o programa carnívoro do FBI para monitorar a Internet, mas agora diz que o governo não somente está realizando espionagem do que fazemos online, mas também está usando a web para nos dizer como.

O uso de meios de propaganda e operações psicológicas não é novidade para a CIA, disse Madsen. Ele cita a década de 1960, com a estação de rádio pirata Swan, como um exemplo de tentativas do governo dos EUA de influenciar “discretamente” ao público há mais de 50 anos, transmitindo mensagens a favor da invasão da Baía dos Porcos. Agora, diz Madsen, o governo está usando o Twitter e o Facebook para comunicar suas mensagens, mas não está claro ainda a maneira como eles estão fazendo isso.

O que está acontecendo hoje, diz Madsen, é apenas o exemplo mais recente de operações psicológicas perpetradas pelo governo de influenciar o público. Madsen confirma que as mensagens online identificadas como de grupos de oposição a governos estrangeiros, são, na verdade, frentes norteamericanas na Líbia e os seus vizinhos, por exemplo, embora eles querem que o público pense que são membros dos grupos que lutam pela paz e a democracia.

“Acho que os EUA está provavelmente por trás das mensagens do Twitter. Nós não sabemos se eles vêm da Líbia “, diz ele. Madsen sugere até mesmo que as mensagens de microblog poderiam facilmente ser escritas em bases militares nos EUA ou por funcionários de origem líbia, que não foram presos pelo governo líbio nem detectados pelos grupos rebeldes.

Madsen observa que a disponibilidade de Internet na Líbia é de apenas cinco por cento. Faria sentido, então, que os tweets, blogs e atualizações sobre o drama da África do Norte estejam sendo orquestradas pelo governo dos EUA como um meio para fazer com que sua mensagem seja ouvida, mesmo sendo feita por meios sub-reptícios.

Embora essas ações podem comprometer a ética da CIA, a organização tem sido esperta antes com o uso da web. As histórias de historias plantadas em jornais estrangeiros, que são então recolhidos no estrangeiro e de lá, indiretamente, reeditado pela mídia dos EUA, são so alguns exemplos de como a CIA trabalha diligentemente para influenciar a opinião pública.

Madsen também se refere às relações entre o governo dos EUA e empresas de tecnologia de comunicação gigantes como AT&T e Google (fundada pelo Pentágono), como um fato bem conhecido para os que investigam as ações que governos e corporações realizam em conjunto.

Independentemente de saber se a CIA lança secretamente estes tweets, Madsen diz que a participação dos EUA e de NATO na Líbia fez com que a crise lá ficasse pior e, portanto, este é um programa de propaganda que falhou miseravelmente.

Intelligence Thugs using social networks to influence masses

RT
April 2011

Wayne Madsen has written about intelligence in America for decades, having transitioned from a Naval officer to journalist, specializing in investigative reporting.

In the past he’s written about the FBI’s Carnivore Internet monitoring program, but now, he says, the government isn’t watching what we do online, but is using the web, rather, to tell us how to do it.

Using the media for propaganda purposes is nothing new for the CIA, says Madsen. He cites the 1960s pirate station Radio Swan as an example of the American government’s attempt to discretely influence the public over 50 years ago, broadcasting messages in favor of the Bay of Pigs Invasion. Now, says Madsen, the government is taking to Twitter and Facebook to get their point across—but isn’t being clear at all on how it’s doing it.

What is happening today, says Madsen, is just the latest example of psychological operations perpetrated by the government to influence the public. Madsen attests that online messages claiming to be from US fronts overseas are actually from Americans—not the Libyans and their neighbors who we are led to believe are sending the tweets.

“I think the US is probably behind these Twitter feeds. We don’t know if they came from Libya,” he says. Madsen even suggest that the microblog messages could easily be constructed from military bases in America by our own officials—not war-ravaged and rebellious Libyans.

Madsen notes that Internet availability in Libya has barely saturated the country, with only five percent of the population having access to the web. It would make sense, then, that the tweets, blogs and status updates chronicling the drama in North Africa are being orchestrated by the US government as a means of making their message heard, even if it’s done through surreptitious means.

While these actions would jeopardize the ethics of the CIA, the organization has been sneaky before in its usage of conduits. The Agency would plant stories in foreign newspapers, which would then be picked up overseas and, from there, indirectly carried by US outlets.

Madsen also sites that relationships between the US government and major technology and communication corporations, such as AT&T and Google, as long-standing and apparent across the board.

Regardless of whether or not the CIA is covertly casting these tweets, Madsen says that US and NATO involvement in Libya has brought the situation to a stalemate and is thus one propaganda program that has furiously failed.

CIA, Google to monitor the web in real time, predicting the future

CIA and Google are both backing a company that monitors the web in real time — and says it uses that information to predict the future.

WIRED

The company is called Recorded Future, and it scours tens of thousands of websites, blogs and Twitter accounts to find the relationships between people, organizations, actions and incidents — both present and still-to-come. In a white paper, the company says its temporal analytics engine “goes beyond search” by “looking at the ‘invisible links’ between documents that talk about the same, or related, entities and events.”

The idea is to figure out for each incident who was involved, where it happened and when it might go down. Recorded Future then plots that chatter, showing online “momentum” for any given event.

“The cool thing is, you can actually predict the curve, in many cases,” says company CEO Christopher Ahlberg, a former Swedish Army Ranger with a PhD in computer science.

Which naturally makes the 16-person Cambridge, Massachusetts, firm attractive to Google Ventures, the search giant’s investment division, and to In-Q-Tel, which handles similar duties for the CIA and the wider intelligence community.

It’s not the very first time Google has done business with America’s spy agencies. Long before it reportedly enlisted the help of the National Security Agency to secure its networks, Google sold equipment to the secret signals-intelligence group. In-Q-Tel backed the mapping firm Keyhole, which was bought by Google in 2004 — and then became the backbone for Google Earth.

This appears to be the first time, however, that the intelligence community and Google have funded the same startup, at the same time. No one is accusing Google of directly collaborating with the CIA. But the investments are bound to be fodder for critics of Google, who already see the search giant as overly cozy with the U.S. government, and worry that the company is starting to forget its “don’t be evil” mantra.

America’s spy services have become increasingly interested in mining “open source intelligence” — information that’s publicly available, but often hidden in the daily avalanche of TV shows, newspaper articles, blog posts, online videos and radio reports.

Secret information isn’t always the brass ring in our profession,” then CIA-director General Michael Hayden told a conference in 2008. “In fact, there’s a real satisfaction in solving a problem or answering a tough question with information that someone was dumb enough to leave out in the open.”

U.S. spy agencies, through In-Q-Tel, have invested in a number of firms to help them better find that information. Visible Technologies crawls over half a million web 2.0 sites a day, scraping more than a million posts and conversations taking place on blogs, YouTube, Twitter and Amazon. Attensity applies the rules of grammar to the so-called “unstructured text” of the web to make it more easily digestible by government databases. Keyhole (now Google Earth) is a staple of the targeting cells in military-intelligence units.

Recorded Future strips from web pages the people, places and activities they mention. The company examines when and where these events happened (“spatial and temporal analysis”) and the tone of the document (“sentiment analysis”). Then it applies some artificial-intelligence algorithms to tease out connections between the players. Recorded Future maintains an index with more than 100 million events, hosted on Amazon.com servers. The analysis, however, is on the living web.

“We’re right there as it happens,” Ahlberg told Danger Room as he clicked through a demonstration. “We can assemble actual real-time dossiers on people.”

Recorded Future certainly has the potential to spot events and trends early. Take the case of Hezbollah’s long-range missiles. On March 21, Israeli President Shimon Peres leveled the allegation that the terror group had Scud-like weapons. Scouring Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah’s past statements, Recorded Future found corroborating evidence from a month prior that appeared to back up Peres’ accusations.

That’s one of several hypothetical cases Recorded Future runs in its blog devoted to intelligence analysis. But it’s safe to assume that the company already has at least one spy agency’s attention. In-Q-Tel doesn’t make investments in firms without an “end customer” ready to test out that company’s products.

Both Google Ventures and In-Q-Tel made their investments in 2009, shortly after the company was founded. The exact amounts weren’t disclosed, but were under $10 million each. Google’s investment came to light earlier this year online. In-Q-Tel, which often announces its new holdings in press releases, quietly uploaded a brief mention of its investment a few weeks ago.

Both In-Q-Tel and Google Ventures have seats on Recorded Future’s board. Ahlberg says those board members have been “very helpful,” providing business and technology advice, as well as introducing him to potential customers. Both organizations, it’s safe to say, will profit handsomely if Recorded Future is ever sold or taken public. Ahlberg’s last company, the corporate intelligence firm Spotfire, was acquired in 2007 for $195 million in cash.

Google Ventures did not return requests to comment for this article. In-Q-Tel Chief of Staff Lisbeth Poulos e-mailed a one-line statement: “We are pleased that Recorded Future is now part of IQT’s portfolio of innovative startup companies who support the mission of the U.S. Intelligence Community.”

Just because Google and In-Q-Tel have both invested in Recorded Future doesn’t mean Google is suddenly in bed with the government. Of course, to Google’s critics — including conservative legal groups, and Republican congressmen — the Obama Administration and the Mountain View, California, company slipped between the sheets a long time ago.

Google CEO Eric Schmidt hosted a town hall at company headquarters in the early days of Obama’s presidential campaign. Senior White House officials like economic chief Larry Summers give speeches at the New America Foundation, the left-of-center think tank chaired by Schmidt. Former Google public policy chief Andrew McLaughlin is now the White House’s deputy CTO, and was publicly (if mildly) reprimanded by the administration for continuing to hash out issues with his former colleagues.

In some corners, the scrutiny of the company’s political ties have dovetailed with concerns about how Google collects and uses its enormous storehouse of search data, e-mail, maps and online documents. Google, as we all know, keeps a titanic amount of information about every aspect of our online lives. Customers largely have trusted the company so far, because of the quality of their products, and because of Google’s pledges not to misuse the information still ring true to many.

But unease has been growing. Thirty seven state Attorneys General are demanding answers from the company after Google hoovered up 600 gigabytes of data from open Wi-Fi networks as it snapped pictures for its Street View project. (The company swears the incident was an accident.)

“Assurances from the likes of Google that the company can be trusted to respect consumers’ privacy because its corporate motto is ‘don’t be evil’ have been shown by recent events such as the ‘Wi-Spy’ debacle to be unwarranted,” long-time corporate gadfly John M. Simpson told a Congressional hearing in a prepared statement. Any business dealings with the CIA’s investment arm are unlikely to make critics like him more comfortable.

But Steven Aftergood, a critical observer of the intelligence community from his perch at the Federation of American Scientists, isn’t worried about the Recorded Future deal. Yet.

“To me, whether this is troublesome or not depends on the degree of transparency involved. If everything is aboveboard — from contracts to deliverables — I don’t see a problem with it,” he told Danger Room by e-mail. “But if there are blank spots in the record, then they will be filled with public skepticism or worse, both here and abroad, and not without reason.”