State and State-Connected Funding of Google and Facebook – Excerpt

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Authored by Michael Rectenwald via The Mises Institute

First, both Google and Facebook received start-up capital—both directly and indirectly—from US intelligence agencies. In the case of Facebook, the start-up capital came through Palantir, Accel Partners, and Greylock Partners. These funding sources either received their funding from, or were heavily involved in, In-Q-Tel.

In 1999, CIA created In-Q-Tel, its own private sector venture capital investment firm, to fund promising start-ups that might create technologies useful for intelligence agencies. As St. Paul Research analyst Jody Chudley notes, “In-Q-Tel funded Thiel’s startup firm Palantir somewhere around 2004. In 2004, Accel partner James Breyer sat on the board of directors of military defense contractor BBN with In-Q-Tel’s CEO Gilman Louie. Howard Cox, the head of Greylock, served directly on In-Q-Tel’s board of directors.”

In the case of Google, as independent journalist and former VICE reporter Nafeez Ahmed has detailed at great length, Google’s connections with the intelligence community and military run deep. Ahmed details that relationships with DARPA officials yielded start-up funding, and direct funding from the intelligence community (IC) followed. The IC saw in the internet unprecedent potential for data collection and the upstart search engine venture represented a key to gathering it.

In 2003, Google began customizing its search engine under special contract with CIA for its Intelink Management Office, “overseeing top-secret, secret and sensitive but unclassified intranets for CIA and other IC agencies,” according to Homeland Security Today. In 2004, Google purchased Keyhole, which was initially funded by In-Q-Tel. Using Keyhole, Google began developing Google Earth.

Intelligence agency backers also included In-Q-Tel itself. In-Q-Tel’s investment in Google came to light in 2005, when In-Q-Tel sold its $2.2 million in Google stocks. A no-bid contract with the NSA sister agency, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), followed in 2010. Google’s connections with the IC and military communities also involved personnel exchanges, including the acquisition of the former head of DARPA and Highland’s Forum cochair, Regina Dugan, who left the agency in 2012 to become a senior Google executive overseeing the company’s new Advanced Technology and Projects Group.

“From its inception, in other words,” Ahmed writes,

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

Second, and lest I be accused of the genetic fallacy, it should be noted that Google technologies were developed largely in connection with the IC and military and thus bear the earmarks of IC and military interests. And Google’s contracts with the IC have continued. Moreover, these platforms and social media outfits fully cooperate with the IC and military, handing over data to the NSA upon demand and granting them backdoor access to user data. Google was a deep-state asset from its inception and remains one to this day.

Furthermore, it is possible that tools developed by the IC and military have been acquired by private contractors and are being used by these platforms and social media giants to influence the behavior of users of their services. In particular, former IC contractor Patrick Bercy alleges that social media psychological warfare tools that he developed for the Defense Department were acquired, possibly illegally, by General James Jones, formerly the National Security Adviser under then president Obama. In partnership with the Atlantic Council, where Jones is now the executive chairman emeritus, Facebook, Bercy alleges, is using social media psychological warfare tools, supposedly for the purposes of “restoring election integrity worldwide,” and “to combat election-related propaganda and misinformation from proliferating on its service.” It just may be that what is deemed “fake news” by Google and social media platforms represents the truth about the fake news that the platforms themselves are proliferating.

In short, Google, Facebook and others are not strictly private sector entities; they are governmentalities in the sense that I have given to the term. They are extensions and apparatuses of the state. Furthermore, these platforms are governmentalities with a particular interest in the growth and extension of governmentality itself. This includes championing every kind of “subordinated” and newly created identity class that they can find or create, because such “endangered” categories require state acknowledgement and protection. Thus, the state’s circumference continues to expand. Big Digital is partial to the interests and growth of the state. It not only does business with statists but also shares their values. This helps makes sense of its leftist bent and their preference for the deep state Democrats. Leftism is statism.

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