‘When Google Met WikiLeaks’

wikileaks logo [designed by metahaven]On Sept. 18, Julian Assange’s new book of that name was published. The material was largely fashioned by conversations he’d had with Google’s Eric Schmidt in 2011 at Ellingham Hall in Norfolk, England where Assange was living under house arrest. The ostensible purpose of the requested meeting was to discuss idea for a book that Schmidt and Jared Cohen (advisor to both Susan Rice and Hillary Clinton) were going to write, and in fact did: ‘The New Digital Age’ (2013). They were accompanied by the book’s editor Scott Malcomson, former senior advisor for the UN and member of the Council on Foreign Relations, who eventually worked at the US State Department, plus Lisa Shields, vice president of the Council on Foreign Relations, closely tied to the State Department, who was Schmidt’s partner at the time. Hmmm. The plot, as they say, thickens. From the book’s blurb:

‘For several hours the besieged leader of the world’s most famous insurgent publishing organization and the billionaire head of the world’s largest information empire locked horns. The two men debated the political problems faced by society, and the technological solutions engendered by the global network—from the Arab Spring to Bitcoin. They outlined radically opposing perspectives: for Assange, the liberating power of the Internet is based on its freedom and statelessness. For Schmidt, emancipation is at one with US foreign policy objectives and is driven by connecting non-Western countries to American companies and markets. These differences embodied a tug-of-war over the Internet’s future that has only gathered force subsequently.’

Some background that will hopefully entice you to listen to the 42-minute Telesur video (sorry, no transcript) I’ll embed below; this is the short version: ‘Assange claims Google is in bed with US government’

Note that in other interviews Assange names ‘other private and public security agencies’ as well, and names the figures showing how deep Google is into smartphones and almost every nation on the planet. ‘Do not be evil’. I

If your appetite hasn’t been sufficiently whetted to watch the 38-minute Telesur interview, you might at a minimum read ‘When Google Met WikiLeaks: Battle for a New Digital Age’ by Nozomi Hayase. An excerpt or three, after reminding us that in his earlier 2012 book Cypherpunks, Assange had said that “the internet, our greatest tool for emancipation, has been transformed into the most dangerous facilitator of totalitarianism we have ever seen”:

‘Assange unveils how, contrary to Google’s efforts to create a positive public image by giving away free storage, making it appear not like a corporation driven solely by profit motives, this seemingly philanthropic company is a willing participant in its own government co-optation. Indeed, he argues, Google Idea was birthed as a brainchild of a Washington think-tank.

Assange described how “Google’s bosses genuinely believe in the civilizing power of enlightened multinational corporations, and they see this mission as continuous with the shaping of the world according to the better judgment of the ‘benevolent superpower.’” (p. 35). This process is so gradual and discrete that it is hardly conscious on the part of the actors. This digital mega-corporation, through getting too close to the US State Department and NSA, began to incorporate their ambitions and come to see no evil. This internalization of imperial values created what Assange called “the impenetrable banality of ‘don’t be evil’” (p. 35). It appears that bosses at Google genuinely think they are doing good, while they are quickly becoming part of a power structure that Assange described as a “capricious global system of secret loyalties, owed favors, and false consensus, of saying one thing in public and the opposite in private” (p. 7). Allegiance creates obedience and an unspoken alliance creates a web of self-deception through which one comes to believe one’s own lies and becomes entangled in them. [snip]

‘…Assange pointed to how “the hidden fist that keeps the world safe for Silicon Valley’s technologies to flourish is called the US Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps” (p. 43).

Google does not see evil in itself. By embedding with U.S. central authority, this global tech company not only fails to see the invisible fist of “American strategic and economic hegemony” that dictates the market, but moreover aspires “to adorn the hidden fist like a velvet glove” (p. 43). By advancing the force of monopoly, they subordinate civic values to economic and U.S. hegemonic interests and escape any real accountability. They no longer recognize the unmediated market that responds to people’s demands, a true market that functions as a space of democratic accountability. This normalization of control leads to a subversion of law, creating a rogue state where a ripple effect of corruption is created, as individuals, companies and the state each betray their own stated principles.’

In a sense, one might conclude that Assange’s new book is in itself another leak. In publishing what one might call the “GoogleFiles”, Assange conducts his usual job of publishing in the public interest with due diligence by providing the verbatim transcript and audio of the secret meeting. This time, the source of the material was Google themselves who sought out Assange for their publication.

Assange’s polemics (or not), how wonderful it is that he’s rocking Google’s Very Large Boat. Hayase also writes that Cohen and Schmidt engage in their own ‘statist’version of the ‘good whistleblower/bad whistleblower meme we’re familiar with. Pfffft.

From Imaginary Lines:

Google used its front page to back the US government’s campaign to bomb Syria: snapshot

More if you’d like it:

From HuffPo’s: Julian Assange Fires Back At Eric Schmidt and Google’s ‘Digital Colonialism’, one exchange that’s significant:

HP: What about the substance of Schmidt’s defense, that Google is pretty much at war with the U.S. government and that they don’t cooperate? He claims that they’re working to encrypt everything so that neither the NSA nor anyone else can get in. What would you say to that?

JA: It’s a duplicitous statement. It’s a lawyerly statement. Eric Schmidt did not say that Google encrypts everything so that the US government can’t get at them. He said quite deliberately that Google has started to encrypt exchanges of information — and that’s hardly true, but it has increased amount of encrypted exchanges. But Google has not been encrypting their storage information. Google’s whole business model is predicated on Google being able to access the vast reservoir of private information collected from billions of people each day. And if Google can access it, then of course the U.S. government has the legal right to access it, and that’s what’s been going on.

As a result of the Snowden revelation, Google was caught out. It tried to pretend that those revelations were not valid, and when that failed, it started to engage in a public relations campaign to try and say that it wasn’t happy with what the National Security Agency was doing, and was fighting against it. Now, I’m sure that many people in Google are not happy with what has been occurring. But that doesn’t stop it happening, because Google’s business model is to collect as much information as possible and people store it, index and turn it into predictive profiles. Similarly, at Eric Schmidt’s level, Google is very closely related to the U.S. government and there’s a revolving door between the State Department and Google.

For the ha-ha factor plus some history of WikiLeaks’ betrayal by both Daniel Domscheit-Berg (his Wiki), and the Guardian, the Daily Dot’s: When WikiLeaks cold-called Hillary Clinton, including:

‘Within hours, Harrison’s call was answered via State Department backchannels. Lisa Shields, then-Google Executive Eric Schmidt’s girlfriend and vice president at the Council on Foreign Relations, reached out through one of WikiLeak’s own, Joseph Farrell, to confirm it was indeed WikiLeaks calling to speak with Clinton. [snip]

‘But in an act of gross negligence the Guardian newspaper—our former partner—had published the confidential decryption password to all 251,000 cables in a chapter heading in its book, rushed out hastily in February 2011.(1) By mid-August we discovered that a former German employee—whom I had suspended in 2010—was cultivating business relationships with a variety of organizations and individuals by shopping around the location of the encrypted file, paired with the password’s whereabouts in the book. At the rate the information was spreading, we estimated that within two weeks most intelligence agencies, contractors, and middlemen would have all the cables, but the public would not.’

Julian Assange: Bitcoin is Much More Than Just a Currency’ is on youtube here (eight minutes)

Background on the Rassmussen story to make sure he was elected head of NATO by shutting down Roj TV: Interview: Roj TV, ECHR and Wikileaks by Naila Bozo

To purchase the book (20% off for all Google employees,/s), or to donate to WikiLeaks.

Bonus WikiTweets:

Students Sue Google for Monitoring Their Emails http://mashable.com/2014/03/19/students-sue-google-gmail/ … More: http://when.google.met.wikileaks.org

Debate over Google heats up: Eric Schmidt: “Whatever Julian #Assange says is wrong,” http://www.cbc.ca/thecurrent/popupaudio.html?clipIds=2544103440 … More: http://when.google.met.wikileaks.org

(cross-posted at My.Firedoglake.com)

28 responses to “‘When Google Met WikiLeaks’

  1. In a word, Gigglespook (or, Hillaryous); except for Chelsea (Manning, that is) for whom it’s simply moar KuhScheiss, hitting the fan, going Fuhrerward!

  2. do i detect that you mean eric schmidt’s project might be dangerous to humanity (the 99%, epecially), bruce?

    oh, and, re: hillary, had you looked over yonder to see:

    WikiLeaks @wikileaks • Oct 2
    Google’s Eric Schmidt & his New America foundation endorsing Hillary Clinton http://www.c-span.org/video/?319433-1/hillary-clinton-public-policy-address … More: http://when.google.met.wikileaks.org

  3. Did Herr Schmidt triangulate New America right out of the center of PNAC (Project for a New American Century) for Slick Hilly (whose S.S.Substance is sheer PNACi); butt whose cosmetic appearance seems to be striving for Golda Meir PANACHE?!
    In any event, the answer to your “rhetorical” question ist JAWOHL!

  4. okay. hold that thought. looks like that link will take a long time reading. tomorrow, tomorrow, to buy a pig in a poke…or something…

    did he triangulate, or just join the ‘full spectrum dominance we be exceptional’ club? beats me.

  5. Prolly to repossess a Bush Hog. But, despite her purported admiration of Eleanor Roosevelt (“I hate war, Eleanor hates war, and our dog, Fala, hates war” – attributed to FDR, 1941.), Killery’s a mere Rusevelt and rabid War CRIMINAL gone stark, raving Benghazi!

  6. (cackle, cackle) (change hairdo) (cackle, cackle) (change hair, focus groups)

    but srsly you a) need to provide secret decoder rings to us, and b) tell what the gist of a link you bring means. please.

  7. Mostly I simply try ( and fail, apparently) to provide words and phrases with which to parry these preening, pitiful pygmies’ doublespeak. Or some action potentially effective against their political perpetuation, like an IMA NOTA* VOTE (None Of The Above) effort for the coming elections. Although clearly schizoid, Jared Loughner’s question, ‘What is government if words have no meaning?’, still abides*. (*For Clintons, Obama, Bushs, and Company; theirs Have NONE).

  8. it may be my failure to decode your acronym phrases, but i do remember mafr asking ‘wth are you two talking about?’. you have a lot to offer though, and i do like being able to comprehend it, srsly.

    and the gold meir link?

  9. Only that kindly old genocidal grannies $hillary and Golda seem to share the same Irgun fashion sense:

    $lick Hilly hasn’t started sporting an Old Gory flag broach (like 0) yet; nor smoking like him (and Golda); but perhaps she will after retro-cuckolding “bimbo-eruption”, once she settles into the Oval Office.

  10. oh, thank you for short-handing it; it was far too long to read. explain retro-cuckholding’? her sexual revenge, do you mean? can’t think she’s a sex addict, so i may be mistaking your meaning. but his was twined power and sex, yes? and many women seem unable to resist that particular scent.

  11. doggone, ya. i started thinking about john goodman’s portrayal of linda tripp. here it is (or were there others?), after some diggin’ time i had no right to spend. ;)


  12. Maybe so, for a twenty-something trailer tart: but, enough; time for a loony toon: http://vimeo.com/108203037
    In the lyrics, although NSA should actually be CIA, its ginned-up Company name for ISIS, al Sham is refrained briefly for the Comandeer’nThief @ merry melody minute 2;00; nevertheless, the final lyric’s paean to truth is mo’ apropos in the original Anschluss Austrian, Wahrheit Macht Frei!

  13. Rock on Wendye

    I was at an Occupy Minnesota Birthday meeting tonite. Much to report. When I have time- I will.

    Till then- Love-Respect-Solidarity

  14. Thanks very much for this, wendye. Mr. Assange was so impressive at the Auckland Town Hall meeting, that I very much doubt the NZ election figures are legitimate (some questions have arisen at the Daily Blog but I’ll leave it to them.) Have to run right now, but I’ll be back to take advantage of your research.

  15. hey, michael cavlan; happy birthday to occupy minnesota! we’ll hope to hear more, but you will love this as much as i do, i’m certain. ;)

    ‘Songs of Emptiness : Bono’s mission isn’t simply to provide capitalism with a human face. It’s to ruin music in the process’ by Alexander Billet


    not only capitalism, but bio-wrecking the planet as well, eh?

  16. assange is impressive, but it seems that the backlash to the town hall ended up being that there are NO maoris in parliament now, eh? a very bad thing. i wonder what snowden, greenwald, and dotcom may have learned from it.

    marym in IL over yonder let me know that assange tweeted my post, and it helped to spread it much further, and that tickles me. Pfffft on google and eric schmidt, another Imperial deep state mega-business.

  17. funny vimeo, bruce. you seem to know a hella lot of german, nein?

  18. Well, embarassingly the dark side of the family baum war Deutsch. But the gut Swedish side prevails and so I perceive the effective answer to the song’s “rhetorical” question as impeachment, imprisonment and impeacement. (Also, loved the Bono tunes’ deflationary observation;)

  19. have fun with this one, then, and an internal link, herr deutch-svede.


    dunno why i hadn’t embedded it… and of course, bill gates owns zillions of shares of monsanto…

  20. sorry it took the light bulb so long to come on, but speaking of the hill-gurl, i’d brought this wikiTweet to the comments over yonder. i haven’t watched.

    WikiLeaks @wikileaks • Oct 2
    Google’s Eric Schmidt & his New America foundation endorsing Hillary Clinton http://www.c-span.org/video/?319433-1/hillary-clinton-public-policy-address

  21. Augh! Bono, B. Gates, Mitshill, hubby Greenspaz and GMObama; a criminal Company cabal, ALL!! But, don’t they know they (and their spawn) ingest this pizzen, too?!!! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=delv-08Tgn0

  22. heh; that was a fittingly hideous song, i reckon. ;)

    sometimes i’d ‘ewwwww’ about mitchell going home to greenspan, but then, he goes home to a head on a stick much like nancy reagan, eh? “eeewww”.

  23. They were all impressive, sorry. And if the media hadn’t zeroed in on Dotcom, it would have been Nicky Hager,( which it now has been,) who felt the ire of the Five Eyes mafia. That’s what I think must be learned from the debacle.

    Is it, wendye, that you don’t believe what they were saying about New Zealand’s position in all of this? You seem to have such a negative approach whenever I bring it up. But never mind, this is a very good piece, as usual.

  24. yes, there were plenty of hit piece on dotcom, but hell, juliania, he bankrolled the coalition. i don’t think it’s negative to imagine that he and the key players should do an autopsy on why even dotcom believes he ‘poisoned the brand’. i’m not even sure why they didn’t find common cause with the greens, but that’s a whole ‘nother matter that perhaps only the various players would even be privy to.

    any idea how many maoris voted for the party?

    my stars, nicky hager is a brilliant journalist and author! wonder how the election might have gone without internet party; did the greens have an anti-gcsb platform? i’d think so. but again, given that snowden/greenwald had all that information from the beginning, but didn’t choose to feature it until the last minute, what did that say to kiwi voters? hager has a long tradition of exposes of corruption, and that authorities want to find rawshark’s identity is no surprise, but what they put nicky through is really ugly.

    i saw a piece in which laila harrare (?) said her party lost the gambit allying with the mana party, but i reckon mr. hone might see it from the opposite direction. i did not like that cunliffe played along with the dissing, but you’d indicated that he’d pretty much decided to knuckle to the power zietgist, as i remembered it.

    but for whatever reason, it seems to me that the auckland town hall had a deleterious effect for the maoris, and i think it’s a shame. was it there that glenn greenwald said he supported any party, left, center, or right, as long as they were anti-nsa (although he’s not *entirely*, himself)? or was that on twitter? ish, anyway.

    but i don’t understand why you ask if i ‘don’t believe what they were saying about New Zealand’s position in all of this?’ you mean as far as being a spying client of the nsa and other spy agencies? well, yes…i do. and a puppet for the tpp, as well. and gmo’s, and on down the line.

  25. Thanks for your response, wendye. I’m pretty ignorant about Parliament goings on. I was responding to your question of what Greenwald etc. might have learned – I hope they didn’t learn to hold their tongues. Even absent the personalities in question, media driven proKey propaganda would have won and maybe kept the status quo longer. We saw that dirty politics meant exploring and exploiting foibles through spying. That can happen and did happen to any public figure.

    It’s pretty clear the ‘left’ wasn’t really left, Greens weren’t really green; people saw that. And just as well Labour didn’t get in, to my way of thinking – would have been inevitable kowtowing to ptb. It happened here with Obama.

    I’m glad the guys got into the fray and were noticed, even negatively. Hone’s now in a much more prominent leadership role – controversy has its benefits. Key would have sailed in anyway, minus the controversy. Now he has baggage, and the raid on Nicky Hager, plus Key’s moves to distance himself from GCSB decisions, his ramping up involvement in military exploits (probably has to do that for payback reasons) – all grist for the mill. In other words, I guess I am saying it all needed to happen to break through the insularity bubble.

    Just my opinion.

  26. I’ll just add it is pretty clear what went on in Hone’s case – the politicians ganged up on his electorate cross party voting; I think they would have done it Internet party or no Internet party – that was clearly planned. Traitorous stuff from the New Zealand First party also, and Winston Peters is maori who heads that (my distant relative!) In the long run, Dotcom’s apologies included, it may strengthen the Mana party to be out of this government entirely.

  27. Sorry, didn’t answer your question yet:

    “…given that snowden/greenwald had all that information from the beginning, but didn’t choose to feature it until the last minute, what did that say to kiwi voters?”

    Much of it had been featured in Greenwald/Guardian releases earlier on; New Zealand’s Five Eyes role was an important election topic related to the other important topics you mentioned. Timing? I’m not a voter there, but I’d say it was timed well because people were thinking about the election and weighing political matters. Best I can answer on that.

  28. thanks for your thoughts, juliania. and well, yes, given that i posted a whale of the lot of revelations, i know five eyes was covered, but *not* the facts that snowden had seen evidence of the hoovering of emails, *and* the emails themselves. that should have become public knowledge far earlier, imo.

    and yep; it seems as though NZ is poised to join the ;coalition of the bombing’ against isil, isis, whatever it is. talk of ‘boots on the ground’ now, too. guess the marines want a chance to win medals or something. crikey. a billion bucks’ worth already just for the u.s. of a. my stars.

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