Pokémon Go, the CIA, “totalitarianism” and the future of surveillance

Global Research, July 29, 2016

If anyone doubted that a percentage of the global population are akin to zombies, the incidents following the release of Pokémon Go have surely convinced you. Despite the game only being released in early July, we have already seen a man driving into a tree and a women getting locked in a graveyard whilst chasing these furry little creatures.

Pokémon describes the game on their website in the following way:

“Travel between the real world and the virtual world of Pokémon with Pokémon GO for iPhone and Android devices. With Pokémon GO, you’ll discover Pokémon in a whole new world—your own! Pokémon GO is built on Niantic’s Real World Gaming Platform and will use real locations to encourage players to search far and wide in the real world to discover Pokémon… In Pokémon GO, the real world will be the setting!”

Pokémon Go, Google, the State Department, the CIA and the DoD

The company behind Pokémon Go is a San Francisco software developer called Niantic, Inc, which was formed in 2010 as an internal startup at Google. The founder and current CEO of Niantic is John Hanke, a man who has connections both to the State Department and the CIA.

Before moving to San Francisco to study at the University of California, Hanke previously worked for the US State Department in Myanmar. Hanke also founded Keyhole, Inc in 2001, a company which specialized in geospatial data visualization applications. Google acquired the company in 2004, with many of the applications developed by Keyhole being instrumental in Google Maps and Earth. In 2003, the CIA’s venture-capitalist firm, In-Q-Tel, invested in Keyhole, with the CIA’s own website proudly detailing this investment:

“The CIA-assisted technology probably most familiar to you is one many of us use on a regular basis:  Google Earth. In February 2003, the CIA-funded venture-capitalist firm In-Q-Tel made a strategic investment in Keyhole, Inc., a pioneer of interactive 3-D earth visualization and creator of the groundbreaking rich-mapping EarthViewer 3D system. CIA worked closely with other Intelligence Community organizations to tailor Keyhole’s systems to meet their needs. The finished product transformed the way intelligence officers interacted with geographic information and earth imagery.”

One of the other intelligence organizations the CIA worked alongside was the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), which is partly under the control of the US Department of Defense (DoD).

So we have a somewhat enigmatic former State Department employee with connections to the CIA and the DoD, being the CEO of a company that created what seems to be a silly, harmless game. What’s going on?

Selling and Sharing Your Data

Like so many new technologies in our digital age, Pokémon Go is constantly gathering information on the user and then openly admitting that they will share this data with anyone who wants it.

As James Corbett pointed out in his article titled: The CIA’s ‘Pokémon Go’ App is Doing What the Patriot Act Can’t, the privacy policy of the app states that Niantic will share all the information they gather (which is a lot) with the state and private organizations:

“We cooperate with government and law enforcement officials or private parties to enforce and comply with the law. We may disclose any information about you (or your authorized child) that is in our possession or control to government or law enforcement officials or private parties as we, in our sole discretion, believe necessary or appropriate.”

Corbett also details how the game requires the user to give excessive access to Niantic/CIA/NGA/DoD (including access to the users Google account and camera).

Oliver Stone on PG: “Totalitarianism” and a “New Level of Invasion”

Speaking at this year’s Comic-Con, Oliver Stone – the award winning filmmaker and director of the new film on Edward Snowden – had some very insightful views on the new craze and the growing business of data-mining. As Vulture magazine reported in a recent article, Stone denounced the game as a “new level of invasion” and a new form of “totalitarianism:”

“I’m hearing about it too; it’s a new level of invasion. Once the government had been hounded by Snowden, of course the corporations went into encryption, because they had to for survival, right? But the search for profits is enormous. Nobody has ever seen, in the history of the world, something like Google – ever! It’s the fastest-growing business ever, and they have invested huge amounts of money into what surveillance is; which is data-mining.”

Stone continues:

“They’re data-mining every person in this room for information as to what you’re buying, what it is you like, and above all, your behavior. Pokémon Go kicks into that. It’s everywhere. It’s what some people callsurveillance capitalism; it’s the newest stage. You’ll see a new form of, frankly, a robot society, where they will know how you want to behave and they will make the mockup that matches how you behave and feed you. It’s what they call totalitarianism.”

Predicting Human Behavior

It is interesting that Stone doesn’t just warn about the commercial aspect of data-mining, but the fact that the more data governments and private corporations collect on the citizens of the world, the easier it becomes to predict their behavior. It is not just Stone that is warning about this reality however. At the start of last year, the UK governments own surveillance commissioner, Tony Porter, revealed how data obtained from CCTV cameras can be used to “predict behavior.”

As we progress through the 21st century and more advanced algorithmic systems are developed to process the tsunami of data, intelligence agencies and governments will increasingly be able to predict (and manipulate) the behavior of their populations and the populations of foreign countries. We are already far along this path, will the trajectory for the future heading straight towards levels of surveillance far beyond even what George Orwell envisaged; with the fight for digital privacy being a major battleground in this century for those who value freedom.

Pokémon Go looks more like a Trojan horse of the CIA and the wider intelligence-security-data-mining-Big-Brother complex, than just a silly, innocent game.  With all these connections to the State Department, the CIA and the DoD, no wonder some countries are reportedly considering banning the game.

Steven MacMillan is an independent writer, researcher, geopolitical analyst and editor of  The Analyst Report, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

1,000s Turkish forces surround NATO’s Incirlik air base for ‘inspection’ amid rumors of coup attempt

From RT

July 30, 2016

Some 7,000 armed police in heavy vehicles surrounded the Incirlik air base used by NATO forces in Adana in what a Turkish minister called a “security check.” With no official explanation, speculations have arisen about a new coup attempt or VIP visit.

READ MORE: Anti-US rally staged at NATO Incirlik air base in Turkey (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

Hurriyet reported earlier that Adana police had been tipped off about a new coup attempt, and forces were immediately alerted. The entrance to the base was closed off.

Security forces armed with rifles and armored TOMA vehicles used by Turkish riot police could be seen at the site in photos taken by witnesses.

Turkey’s minister for EU Affairs downplayed the situation in a Twitter post, saying a “security inspection” was carried out.

“We did the general security check. There is nothing wrong,” he tweeted from Adana.

Some supporters of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan have reportedly flocked to the cordon surrounding the base. The scene, however, did not appear as massive and tense as the recent Adana protests demanding for the base to be shut down.

On Thursday, a huge rally marched towards the NATO base, as people with loudspeakers chanted anti-American and anti-Israel slogans. The demonstrators claim that the US had a hand in the failed July 15 coup attempt in which 270 people died. Tens of thousands people, including members of the military, police, judiciary, media, and civil service, have been arrested in connection with the coup, which Turkish officials say was organized by US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, Erdogan’s former ally, who is now his most hated rival.

READ MORE: Anti-US rally staged at NATO Incirlik air base in Turkey (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

In the wake of the coup attempt, several military officials at the Incirlik Air Base, including its commander, General Bekir Ercan Van, were arrested on treason charges by Turkish authorities, which claimed that one of the rogue F-16 planes taking part in the rebellion to overthrow Erdogan’s government had been refueled there.

The general had even reportedly attempted to seek asylum in the US, but his plea was apparently rejected.

Incirlic Air Base is used by both the Turkish and US militaries and is vital to the US-led anti-terror bombing campaign in Syria and Iraq. It also serves as one of six NATO storage sites for US tactical nuclear weapons in Europe. The exact number of nuclear bombs kept at the base is unknown, although, according to various estimates, it may store up to 90 warheads.

The US-led coalition’s airstrikes had to be halted for several days when power was cut at the base. US military personnel stationed there had to switch to an internal power supply.

READ MORE: Local authorities block access to air base in Turkey that houses US nukes

The “inspection” at the base comes as the Turkish government announced a sweeping military reform on Saturday. In an interview with TV broadcaster A-Haber, Erdogan unveiled plans to scrap all military academies and replace them with a new national defense university.

The commanders of the different branches of the Turkish armed forces are to be put under the defense minister’s chain of command. In addition, Erdogan wants the National Intelligence Organization (MIT) and military chief of staff to report directly to him, which would require a new constitutional amendment to be passed by the parliament.

It also comes on the eve of a visit from a top US military official, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford, who is scheduled to arrive in Turkey on Sunday. Diplomatic sources quoted by Hurriyet claim Dunford will go visit both Ankara and Incirlik.

https://www.rt.com/news/354042-turkish-police-incirlik-nato-coup/

Sitrep: the Donbas is burning under fire from the Kiev junta

From Fort Russ
Novorossiya today
Translated from French by Tom Winter, July 22,* 2017

(SITREP) While Europe publishes pictures of cats on networks, the Donbas is burning under fire from the Kiev junta
July 23, 2016

The axis Staromikhaïlovka-Krasnogorovka: combat of infantry supported by mortars, RPGs (rocket propelled grenades), AGS (automatic grenade launchers).

The industrial zone Avdeïevka: fighting with heavy artillery, infantry weapons and mortars.

On the ace of Mariupol on the Sartana side (from the concrete road, called “bétonka”), Ukrainian Nazis pounded the republican positions with heavy artillery.

The village of Spartak, the block-Post Lassinovataïa, and the town of Iakovlevka are being shelled with heavy artillery on the side of Avdeïevka (the east, the town of Kamenka zone) from the positions of the Kievan junta.

From Peski ( Donetsk airport): Ukrainian Nazi mortars pounded the town and the Oktyabrsky district of Poutilovka (near the bridge connecting the city of Donetsk to the airport).

City of Peski near the Volvo dealership and Abakoumova street: a combat of infantry with the support of ZU (anti-aircraft cannon).

City Gorlovka:
The towns of Majorsk and Zaitsevo: an infantry combat.

The area of Jeleznaïa Balka: a combat of infantry supported by mortar.
_______________________________________________________
*July 23, translated July 22: At this hour, “tomorrow’s” sunrise has happened some time ago there.

http://www.fort-russ.com/2016/07/sitrep-donbas-is-burning-under-fire.html

Confirmed: Amidst sharpening crisis, Poroshenko and Co. have left Ukraine

From Fort Russ

July 25, 2016 –
Oleg Chubaenko, PolitNavigator –
Translated by J. Arnoldski

Everything is getting hotter in Ukraine. Alexander Turchynov is speaking of martial law. Pavel Sheremet was murdered in Kiev. The situation in Donbass has escalated. Meanwhile, Minister of Internal Affairs head Avakov has left on vacation. So has Kiev Mayor Klitchko. And not only them.
As sources in the Ukrainian Ministry of Transport have relayed to PolitNavigator, on July 22nd in the late evening, a private Golfstream 200 plane (tail number T7-PRM) with President Poroshenko on board departed Kiev International Airport for Malaga, Spain. As Ukrainian media have repeatedly written, Poroshenko has a villa near Malaga.
The president’s departure and his absence in the capital have not been publicized. The President, however, is even issuing instructions from his Spanish estate. On Monday, for example, he instructed the Prime Minister and Mayor of Kiev to strengthen security measures for public safety. 
The question remains: why have Ukrainian leaders suddenly decided to leave Ukraine? So far, there has been no answer. 
Poroshenko calls Merkel about Donbass from vacation yacht in Norway

July 28, 2016 – 

Andrey Sokolov, PolitNavigator – 
Translated by J. Arnoldski
New details have been revealed to PolitNavigator concerning the overseas trip of Poroshenko which the Ukrainian president is trying to hide out of fear of displeasing the population with his luxurious vacation during wartime.
On Saturday, the press service of President Poroshenko reported that the head of state held telephone talks with Angela Merkel, during which both sides agreed to intensify work in the Normandy format. Poroshenko also complained about the escalation of hostilities in Donbass, blaming, as always, Russia and the self-proclaimed republics.
This story is a spicy one given that the president discussed these important points while being thousand of kilometers away from Ukraine and warring Donbass.
Poroshenko, his family, and the family of his oldest son flew from Malaga, Spain to Bergen, Norway on Monday. They enjoyed a yacht cruise, fished, and admired the Northern landscape. In such circumstances, of course, words of concern regarding an escalation in Donbass hardly ring sincere. Meanwhile, however, Poroshenko has chosen to comfortably sit out the dangerous day of the Holy Procession for Peace, Prayer, and Love in Kiev.
Poroshenko returns to Kiev on Wednesday-Thursday night presumably on board a Cessna Citation Jet (CJ3) operated by Air Hamburg with tail number D-CJET (flight number: AHO488V). 

Churkin writes letter to UN: A final warning for Ukraine?

From Fort Russ

July 22, 2016 –
By Eduard Popov for Fort Russ
Translated by J. Arnoldski

Russia’s permanent representative to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, has appealed to the UN with an official letter in which he requests that pressure be put on Ukraine in order to prevent the resumption of full-scale hostilities in Donbass. In Churkin’s opinion, Kiev is preparing a military operation, and his letter cites data on Ukrainian security forces’ shelling of civilian residential areas in Donbass “within the last week alone.” The number of these bombardments has grown dramatically.
Churkin is known for his professionalism and poise. Obviously, only the most extreme circumstances could have compelled him take such an extraordinary step. Moreover, this is not the first appeal by such a high-ranking Russian diplomat to international and foreign institutions. The Foreign Ministry of Russia’s State Secretary Grigory Karasin already met with the ambassadors of France and Germany on this subject and Russian President Vladimir Putin held a telephone talk with the presidents of the US, France, and the German Chancellor. According to Karl Marx’s famous formula, quantity turns into quality. In our case, the number of shellings of Donbass’ cities by the UAF and neo-Nazi battalions risks turning into a new, full-scale war. 
It should be admitted that Kiev’s tactics are quite effective. Shellings cause tangible losses while also exerting psychological pressure on the republics. The purpose of such frequent attacks is provoking return fire by the DPR and LPR’s armies. Then Kiev would accuse the Donbass republics (and of course Russia) of tearing up the Minsk Agreements, and call upon the international community to intervene in the conflict. By “international community,” of course, is meant NATO. At the NATO summit in Warsaw, words of support for Kiev against “Russian aggression” were heard along with promises to provide military and technological assistance. It is possible that these and other measures of support are being prepared. Most likely, this is not Ukraine’s accession to NATO, but NATO’s accession to Ukraine, i.e., an actual occupation of Ukrainian territory by the alliance. This could come about in the form of establishing permanent military bases and upgrading equipment and manpower.
My friends from the military and political circles of the DPR report that the sheer force of UAF attacks is reminiscent of the most difficult days of summer, 2014. But the republics are not afraid of fire. On the contrary, they are waiting for when Ukraine will go on a new offensive in order to then bury the Ukrainian army on Donbass land. Ukraine has already been given two chances to stop (and survive), but has not taken any of these. Churkin’s letter is perhaps one of the last warnings for Ukraine. 

Firearms stolen from elite US Army base in Germany

From RT

July 30, 2016

US officials have revealed that a collection of weapons was stolen from the Panzer Kaserne base near Stuttgart earlier this month and couldn’t be located, leading to concerns that the arms may have ended up on the black market – or in the wrong hands.

“Several semi-automatic pistols, one small-caliber automatic rifle and a shotgun were among the items taken,” said Chris Grey, a spokesman for the US Army Criminal Investigation Command (CID).

“Due to the ongoing investigation, we will not be releasing any additional information or any specifics on the items stolen at this time to protect the integrity of the investigative process,” said Ray Johnson, a spokesman for the Army’s Installation Management Command-Europe.

Panzer Kaserne © US Department of Defense

The Cold War-era facility serves as a local garrison headquarters and an operational base for elite units, including the Green Berets and Navy SEALS.

“We are looking at all possibilities as the investigation continues, but at this point in the investigation it does not appear that an outside entity stole the firearms and equipment or breached the fence line, but we have not completely ruled it out,” Grey said.

The CID has put up a $10,000 reward for any leads.

READ MORE: US-trained Syrian rebels ‘gave 6 trucks, ammo’ to Al-Qaeda affiliate – CENTCOM

Such cases are routinely dealt with internally, but considering it has been weeks since the theft with no resolution, the US Army has had to go public.

“German authorities were notified and are working with the Army on the investigation,” said Johnson.

The timing of the disappearance is particularly inopportune.

On July 19, a refugee pledging allegiance to Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) attacked tourists on a train, and a German-Iranian teenager went on a shooting spree in Munich on July 22. The next day, a Syrian refugee blew himself up at a music festival.

“I wouldn’t overplay it – it was only a few weapons, and no indications it was an outside source,” Peter Schulze, Professor of International Relations at the University of Gottingen, told RT. “Of course this will not contribute to a more relaxed atmosphere among the German people, as it adds fire to the existing angst about their use in a potential terrorist attack.”

https://www.rt.com/news/353966-germany-us-army-weapons-stolen/

Report: Bernie Sanders lost an estimated 184 delegates due to DNC election fraud and targeted voter suppression

From Election Justice USA
July 25, 2016

Democracy Lost: A Report on the Fatally Flawed 2016 Democratic Primaries

You are reading the executive summary of an Election Justice USA report on election fraud and voter suppression in the 2016 Democratic primaries. The full report is approximately 100 pages in length, and will be released on the evening of July 25th, 2016.
Download the full report: bit.ly/EJUSA_Democracy_Lost

Executive Summary

On April 19th, a judge in New York grudgingly agreed that someone may have tampered with Alba Guerrero’s voter registration. Judge Ira Margulis changed his decision from moments earlier that Guerrero would be denied the right to vote in New York’s Democratic primary, after evidence emerged that Guerrero’s signature had been forged, switching her to Republican without her knowledge or consent.[1] Had she not been willing to take several hours to appear before a judge that day, Alba would not have been able to vote for Senator Bernie Sanders. Video evidence available online confirms the forgery.[2]
Ms. Guerrero states: “It just boggles my mind that it could happen that easily to so many people and without them even knowing that they are being manipulated like that…I never would have thought something like that could happen.” Guerrero was more than willing to have her story included in Democracy Lost. She added, “This is a problem that obviously has gone for too long and with no consequence.
A forged legal document cannot be attributed to an unfortunate mistake or a clerical error. Someone intentionally tampered with Alba Guerrero’s voter registration.
Another New York resident, Chloe Pecorino, attempted to register as a first-time voter by submitting the relevant paperwork to the Department of Motor Vehicles in Brooklyn more than a week before the March 25th, 2016 deadline. Attempts to verify her registration status online were unsuccessful. On the day of New York’s presidential primary, Chloe still had not been registered as a Democrat, despite persistent efforts, including more than a dozen calls and emails, the evidence of which spans fifteen pages in Exhibit A of Election Justice USA’s initial New York lawsuit. On the day of the primary, Chloe took several hours to appear before a judge in an attempt to vote normally. Despite ample evidence of attempts to register before the deadline in good faith, the judge denied her request. As a consequence, Chloe was forced to cast her vote for Senator Sanders using an affidavit ballot. As can be seen immediately below, Chloe’s affidavit ballot was declared invalid, like so many others.
Chloe’s affidavit ballot, stamped “INVALID”
Alba and Chloe’s stories are just two of thousands of reports of voter registration tampering, purging, or obstruction recorded by Election Justice USA (EJUSA). Many cases in EJUSA’s database are supported by registration records, emails to and from officials, phone records, or affidavit testimony. Available evidence from Arizona, New York, and California suggests more than 500,000 registrations were tampered with or improperly handled. While Ms. Guerrero was allowed to vote, hundreds of thousands of voters were denied the right to vote or were forced to vote provisionally. A quarter million or more provisional or affidavit Democratic ballots were not counted. Available evidence also suggests that the vast majority of suppressed voters would have voted or tried to vote for Senator Bernie Sanders.
Based on concrete evidence, Election Justice USA surmises that, unlike Alba’s case, the majority of the registration tampering could only have been carried out by computer hackers: in many cases, the changes to voter registrations are provably back-dated in official electronic records. Other forms of direct voter suppression, however, were carried out by partisan elections officials in states like New York and California. In Brooklyn alone, 121,000 voters were wrongly or even illegally purged from voter rolls leading up to New York’s vote. The Brooklyn voter purge disproportionately affected Hispanic voters.[3] Analyses in Democracy Lost show that voter purges also disproportionately affected Sanders’ vote totals: the percentage of purged voters for each precinct was a significant predictor of Clinton’s vote share. New York City’s Board of Elections suspended two high-level employees without pay but has offered no substantive explanation.
Partisan elections officials also targeted specific classes of voters known to support Senator Sanders. In California, for instance, six unique methods were employed to systematically disenfranchise “no party preference” (independent) voters who were legally eligible to vote in the Democratic primary.
The widespread and illegal efforts to manipulate the election results in the 2016 Democratic Party primaries are not the only visible indications of election fraud. EJUSA has also identified irregular patterns in precinct-level Democratic vote tallies which are strongly suggestive of electronic voting machine tampering. In all eleven primaries where discrepancies between exit polling and official results exceeded the margin of error, the discrepancy favored Hillary Clinton. Democracy Lost treats the controversy over exit polling discrepancies with in-depth argumentation and statistical regression analysis.