Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

Journey From CIA's Keyhole to Google Earth

by Oui Wed Jan 9th, 2019 at 01:04:51 PM EST

Developing Big Brother in the 21st Century ... interesting!

Google's Earth: how the tech giant is helping the state spy on us  | The Guardian | by Yasha Levine - author

In 2003, a San Francisco company called Keyhole Inc. was on the ropes. With a name recalling the CIA's secret 1960s "Keyhole" spy satellite programme [Corona],  the company had been launched two years earlier as a spinoff from a videogame outfit.

More below the fold ...

... Keyhole's timing: it was a bit off. It launched just as the dotcom bubble blew up in Silicon Valley's face. Funding dried up, and Keyhole found itself struggling to survive. Luckily, the company was saved just in time by the very entity that inspired it: the CIA.

In 1999, at the peak of the dot-com boom, the CIA had launched In-Q-Tel, a Silicon Valley venture capital fund whose mission was to invest in start-ups that aligned with the agency's intelligence needs. Keyhole seemed a perfect fit.

The CIA poured an unknown amount of money into Keyhole. The investment was finalised in early 2003, and it was made in partnership with the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), a major intelligence organisation with 14,500 employees and a $5bn budget, whose job was to deliver satellite-based intelligence to the CIA and the Pentagon. Known as the NGA, the spy agency's motto was: "Know the Earth ... Show the Way ... Understand the World."

The CIA and NGA were not just investors; they were also clients, and they involved themselves in customising Keyhole's virtual map product to meet their own needs. Months after In-Q-Tel's investment, Keyhole software was already integrated into operational service and deployed to support US troops during Operation Iraqi Freedom, the shock-and-awe campaign to overthrow Saddam Hussein. Intelligence officials were impressed with the "videogame-like" simplicity of its virtual maps. They also appreciated the ability to layer visual information over other intelligence. The possibilities were limited only by what contextual data could be fed and grafted on to a map: troop movements, weapons caches, real-time weather and ocean conditions, intercepted emails and phone call intel, and mobile phone locations.

Keyhole gave intelligence analysts, field commanders, air force pilots and others the kind of capabilities we take for granted today when we use digital mapping services on our computers and smartphones to look up restaurants, cafes, museums, traffic or subway routes.

Military commanders weren't the only ones who liked Keyhole. So did Sergey Brin. He liked it so much that he insisted on personally demoing the app for Google executives. According to an account published in Wired, he barged in on a company meeting, punched in the address of every person present, and used the programme to virtually fly over their homes.

In 2004, the same year Google went public, Brin and Page bought the company outright, CIA investors and all. They then absorbed the company into Google's growing internet applications platform. Keyhole was reborn as Google Earth.

Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI): Pentagon Initiative in Cloud Computing
Computing Cloud: Details About the CIA's $600M Deal With Amazon (2014)

At the roots of it all, a brief diary posted in 2005 by ask ...

The Legacy of East-Germany

A diary by dada in 2007 ...

Eyes in the Sky  [National Reconnaissance Office [NRO]

Followed by a document Supra et Ultra

Cooperation between US Intelligence agencies, the Pentagon and the big tech companies in Silicon Valley. A multi-billion dollar enterprise that rules the world far beyond the reach the US military ever could.

Taking Stock of the Intel Community Shake Up by Larry Johnson @BooMan on  Jan. 7, 2007

Replacing Negroponte with retired Navy Admiral John M. McConnell and appointing retired Air Force Lt. General James Clapper as the Under Secretary of Intelligence at DOD, where he will be in charge of coordinating the budgets and activities of the NSA, the NRO, Defense Human Services, National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA), and the Defense Intelligence Agency, will give the military unprecedented control of the intelligence community. This will mark the first time since World War II the active duty or former military officers are running the main intelligence assets of the United States. Clapper's new job, at least for him, is a dream come true.

Clapper and McConnell are worrisome choices because they are known in the intelligence community as guys willing to give their customers what they want. Unlike Negroponte, who took a pretty tough analytical stance dismissing the imminence of an Iranian threat, Clapper and McConnell will be more than willing collaborators in making a case that Iran is a serious, immediate threat. If you want to cook the books then these guys can be master chefs.

Clapper's new job, at least for him, is a dream come true. He appears on the verge of fulfilling a lifelong ambition. While he was director Clapper spent much pf his time politicking and scheming to take away from the Director of the CIA any and all moneys that were budgeted for any support to the armed forces. He wanted to make himself "Director of Military Intelligence," a new title, so that he could receive his fourth star as a full general. He was defeated in this attempt by the then DCI James Woolsey. Although a fourth star is not in the plans, Clapper will be the Director of Military Intelligence.

This is the corrupting foundation where private companies reap the profits while serving their masters in Washington DC and Langley, Virginia.

Google Maps Is Changing the Way We See the World | Wired - Aug. 2017 |

In 1765, a 22-year-old British naval officer named James Rennell set out to map the entire Indian subcontinent. Traveling with a small party of soldiers, he used the advanced technologies of the day: a compass and a distance-measuring wheel called a perambulator.


More than two centuries later, within the decidedly safer confines of Building 45  on Google's Mountain View, California, campus, John Hanke clicks the 3-foot image of Earth projected on his office wall and spins it around to India. Hanke, the director of Google Earth and Google Maps, zooms in for a closer look at Bangalore. At first, the city appeared in Google Earth as little more than a hi-res satellite photo. "Bangalore wasn't mapped on Google's products," he says, "and it really wasn't very well mapped, period."

Now, however, hundreds of small icons pop up on the screen. Pointing at one brings up a text bubble identifying a location of interest: a university, a racetrack, a library. An icon hovering over the Karnataka High Court calls up a photo of its bright red exterior and a link to an account of its long, distinguished history.

State handlers using cyber hacks to silence journalism and free speech in outside countries ...

DDoS Attack Follow-Up | Tikun Olam |

The report also notes that the attack originated from the IP address associated with a company called Hosting Solution Ltd. It is a Russian owned company [Vladimir Fomenko from Biysk, Siberia] whose servers use the domain king-servers.com. I also received a comment (which was not published) with threatened further cyber-attacks against the site. Since this is the third cyber-attack in the past decade, that seems obvious.

Whoever orchestrated this attack is acting either officially or unofficially on behalf of Israeli interests as outlined in numerous statements from the strategic affairs ministry, which has announced open season on critics of Israel. The ministry has elaborated on a campaign of harassment, cyber-attacks, sabotage and dirty ops intended to sabotage such activism.  

Close cooperation Dutch cyberteam and FBI in major espionage operations from intercepts of El Chapo's encrypted Blackberry phone calls, to operation taking down criminal Dark Web markets and intrusion into the heart of Russia's Cozy Bear operation in Moscow.

The Netherlands tapped El Chapo phones for FBI 'due to relaxed privacy laws'

The Netherlands tapped the phones of Mexican drugs baron `El Chapo' for several months on behalf of the US, because Dutch privacy laws were not as strict as those in America or Canada, the Volkskrant reported on Wednesday.

El Chapo, real name Joaquin Guzman, is currently on trial in the US. The Dutch listening-in programme took place from April 2011 to January 2012, an FBI agent told his trial on Tuesday.

The wire-tapping operation was enabled by an FBI informant who had set up a Blackberry network for El Chapo's organisation. The FBI server used to store all communications traffic made via the network was first placed in Canada but had to be moved because of tough privacy laws.

The US was not an option because the `operation might be noticed' and the US has relatively tough rules on tapping servers, sources told the paper. `Because the US and the Netherlands work closely together and the Netherlands is relaxed about requests for tapping, the FBI placed the server in a data centre operated by Leaseweb, just outside Haarlem.

Spies and Drugs: Mexican Cartels as a Counterintelligence Threat (Sept. 2015)

Dutch AIVD and MIVD have close cooperation with Intelligence Agencies from the Western world: GCHQ, NSA, FBI and Mossad. The Dutch are world class in phone intercepts with special appreciation to Israel's Verint. The Dutch play a role in satellite intercepts as partner in the AngloSaxon Nine Eyes network.

Dutch entrepreneurs facilitate domains on their servers from across the globe, Russian owned King-Servers included.

EU Report: The Echelon Affair

The EP and the global interception system 1998 - 2002

During the second half of the 1990s press and media reports revealed the existence of the Echelon network. This system for intercepting private and economic communications was developed and managed by the states that had signed the UKUSA [now known as the Five Eyes - Oui] and was characterised by its powers and the range of communications targeted: surveillance was directed against not only military organisations and installations but also governments, international organisations and companies throughout the world


Industrial espionage

O.  whereas part of the remit of foreign intelligence services is to gather economic data, such as details of developments in individual sectors of the economy, trends on commodity markets, compliance with economic embargoes, observance of rules on supplying dual-use goods, etc., and whereas, for these reasons, the firms concerned are often subject to surveillance,

P.   whereas the US intelligence services do not merely investigate general economic facts but also intercept detailed communications between firms, particularly where contracts are being awarded, and they justify this on the grounds of combating attempted bribery; whereas detailed interception poses the risk that information may be used for the purpose of competitive intelligence-gathering rather than combating corruption, even though the US and the United Kingdom state that they do not do so; whereas, however, the role of the Advocacy Center of the US Department of Commerce is still not totally clear and talks arranged with the Center with a view to clarifying the matter were cancelled,

Q.  whereas an agreement on combating the bribery of officials, under which bribery is criminalised at international level, was adopted by the OECD in 1997, and this provides a further reason why individual cases of bribery cannot justify the interception of communications,

R.   whereas the situation becomes intolerable when intelligence services allow themselves to be used for the purposes of gathering competitive intelligence by spying on foreign firms with the aim of securing a competitive advantage for firms in the home country, and whereas it is frequently maintained that the global interception system has been used in this way, although no such case has been substantiated,

S.   whereas, during the visit by the delegation from the Temporary Committee to the US, authoritative sources confirmed the US Congress Brown Report, indicating that 5% of intelligence gathered via non-open sources is used as economic intelligence; whereas it was estimated by the same sources that this intelligence surveillance could enable US industry to earn up to USD 7 billion in contracts.

As I recall software backdoors were installed in large IBM mainframe computers placed in the European HQ in Brussels.

Questioning NSA Reading Habits - ECHELON and PROMIS

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Thu Jan 17th, 2019 at 08:45:51 PM EST
by Oui (Oui) on Fri Feb 1st, 2019 at 11:09:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Go to: [ European Tribune Homepage : Top of page : Top of comments ]