Is Google able to effect regime change – it appears so
Last week truepublica reported that four months ago, Google created a new holding company called Alphabet and that Eric Schmidt the new Executive Chairman of Alphabet, and therefore Google had decided to accept the offer of leading the Pentagon advisory board with a view to “bringing Silicon Valley innovation and best practices to the US military.”
We questioned the ethics and moral judgement of both Schmidt and Google in joining forces with the biggest killing machine in modern times, certainly since the world wars.
We pointed to the meeting between Eric Schmidt and Julian Assange back in 2011, supposedly organised to discuss a book Schmidt was writing who was unexpectedly accompanied by a Jared Cohen. Cohen had moved to Google from the U.S. State Department in 2010. He had been a slick ideas guy at two U.S. administrations, known to be something of a courtier from the world of policy think tanks sympathetic to US foreign policy. He was a senior advisor for Secretaries of State Rice and Clinton. Newsweek reported that:
“It was Cohen who, while he was still at the Department of State, was said to have emailed Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to delay scheduled maintenance in order to assist the aborted 2009 uprising in Iran. His documented love affair with Google began the same year when he befriended Eric Schmidt as they together surveyed the post-occupation wreckage of Baghdad. Just months later, Schmidt re-created Cohen’s natural habitat within Google itself by engineering a “think/do tank” based in New York and appointing Cohen as its head. Google Ideas was born.”
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Assange asserts that Schmidt was acting directly on behalf of Washington with a documented relationship that put him close to President Obama and Clinton and as Assange puts it: “Cohen’s directorate appeared to cross over from public relations and “corporate responsibility” work into active corporate intervention in foreign affairs at a level that is normally reserved for states. Jared Cohen could be wryly named Google’s “director of regime change.”
Last week the Washington Examiner published an article that stated “Google in 2012 sought to help insurgents overthrow Syrian President Bashar Assad, according to State Department emails receiving fresh scrutiny this week. Messages between former secretary of state Hillary Clinton’s team and one of the company’s executives detailed the plan for Google to get involved in the region.
It appears that Jared Cohen emailed in July 2012 “Please keep close hold, my team is planning to launch a tool … that will publicly track and map the defections in Syria and which parts of the government they are coming from.”
Cohen continues: “Our logic behind this is that while many people are tracking the atrocities, nobody is visually representing and mapping the defections, which we believe are important in encouraging more to defect and giving confidence to the opposition.” Cohen then admitted that the plan was for Google to covertly give the ‘tool’ to Middle Eastern media.
Cohen, deeply involved in the geopolitical outcomes of the region was partnering up with the media friendly to US foreign policy with a view to broadcasting the defections back into Syria to encourage more of the same.
“Please keep this very close hold and let me know if there is anything [else] you think we need to account for or think about before we launch. We believe this can have an important impact,” Cohen concluded.
The Cohen emails were directed to Clinton’s senior advisors and deputy secretary of state and then forwarded to Clinton herself with one advisor describing the technology tool as “a pretty cool idea.”
It was the Wikileaks website that posted some 30,000 emails that Clinton sent or received leading the state department where these revelations were brought to the public. The exchange on Syria was highlighted by last week.
What this does is put into question the power of search engines like Google. If technology like this is able to usurp (non US friendly) governments then the same deduction should be made when it comes to national democratic elections.
Back in 2010, Britain’s Competition Commission claimed British Airports Authority, a near-monopoly over Britain’s biggest airports was harming passengers’ interests. A bitter legal battle took place and BAA won its appeal. Britain’s biggest food retailer went through the same process, so did Britain’s biggest high street bank. Today, Google has an almost total monopoly over its market with 86% of all UK search engine traffic and not a squeak from government to curtail its near total domination of what the public are offered as they trawl for answers to their many daily questions.
Technologies such as this could sway Britain’s upcoming EU referendum one way or another or ease America’s next president into office not just by the usual methods of campaigning, television advertising and billboards, but by the secret divisions operating in the shadows inside corporations like Google.
The last US presidential election was won on a margin of just 4% (51% to 47%) on a turnout of 55% and as Robert Epstein wrote in Politico last August “Google has the ability to drive millions of votes to a candidate with no one the wiser.”
Epstein asserts his research findings that confirms “Google’s search algorithm can easily shift the voting preferences of undecided voters by 20 percent or more—up to 80 percent in some demographic groups—with virtually no one knowing they are being manipulated.” As Epstein points out, with electoral margins usually quite thin, Google has the ability to change to outcome of elections in one quarter of elections worldwide.
And then you wonder why governments the world over are so keen to give organisations such as Google such huge tax breaks and legislative business advantages. If they don’t, it’s regime change time for them!
Graham Vanbergen – truepublica.org.uk