Pentagon creates tech giants to use their services

Pentagon illustration
File Photo

UNITED STATES (VOP TODAY NEWS) — The bloated budget of the US Department of Defense, along with the CIA’s venture capital, helped create technology giants, including Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, and PayPal.

The government then contracts with these companies to assist in military and intelligence operations. At the same time, such contracts make high-tech corporations even bigger and more powerful.

In recent years, traditional Fortune 500 banking, energy and industrial companies have been losing ground to technology giants like Apple and Facebook. But the technologies they rely on have emerged from the past decades of research and development financed by taxpayers, writes Dr. TJ Coles, director of the Plymouth Institute for Peace Studies (PIPR).

The Internet began as an ARPANET project funded by the US Department of Defense. The same satellites that provide modern Internet communications, allow American aircraft to bomb their enemies, as well as GPS, which allows online stores to deliver goods to their destinations. Apple touchscreen technology originated as a tool for the US Air Force. The same drones that record an exciting video are modified versions of the Reaper and Predator combat drones.

Financing the US Department of Defense is the basis of a modern high-tech economy. But these are dual-use technologies. Companies like Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and PayPal are indirectly, and sometimes directly, connected to the US military intelligence complex.

A recent Open the Government report reveals the extent of Amazon’s Pentagon contracts. Founded in 1994 by Jeff Bezos, the company is estimated at $ 1 trillion, and Bezos’s fortune is estimated at $ 131 billion. The report says that most of the US government is so tightly tied to Amazon’s infrastructure that the tech giant opens a branch near Washington.

Services provided by Amazon include cloud contracts, machine learning, and biometric data systems. But, moreover, Amazon intends to conclude a profitable IT contract with the Pentagon as part of a program to create a joint enterprise protection infrastructure, or JEDI, for $ 10 billion.

The project Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI), the development of which the Pentagon announced back in March 2018, envisages the transfer of all data from the US defense department to a single cloud. In addition to Amazon and Microsoft, Google, IBM and Oracle claimed to participate in the JEDI program, but these three companies dropped out of the race.

In the race for providing cloud services to the Pentagon, Jeff Bezos’s company is considered a favorite. According to rivals Amazon, the Pentagon contract is designed to beat Amazon Web Services. Oracle and IBM were trying to challenge the procurement process that the defense ministry chose, and file complaints with the US Accountability Office (GAO). However, the claim was not satisfied.

The list of services that Amazon provides to the military also includes surveillance and face recognition software for the police and the FBI, as well as race-gender identity tools for the Department of Homeland Security. 10% of the profits of Amazon Web Services subsidiaries come from government contracts. The departments include the State Department, NASA, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In 2013, Amazon won a contract with the CIA for commercial cloud services (C2S) for $ 600 million. Amazon’s second headquarters will be built in Virginia, where the CIA is based. Despite repeated requests, the company refuses to disclose how its personal devices, such as Amazon Echo, are connected to the CIA.

But Amazon is just the tip of the iceberg. As Dr. Coles writes, in the mid-90s. Google’s future founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin used grants from Pentagon-related foundations and other government funds to develop search engines and page ranking apps. At about the same time, the CIA and the National Security Agency funded Massive Data Digital Systems (MDDS).

Brin received funding from the MDDS program. According to Professor Bhavani Turaizingema, who worked on the project, “the intelligence community …, in fact, provided initial funding for Breen, which was supplemented by many other sources, including the private sector.” Part of the patented Google PageRank system was developed as part of the MDDS program. Two entrepreneurs, Andreas Bechtolsheim (who created Sun Microsystems) and David Cheriton, both of whom had previously received Pentagon money, were early investors in Google.

The Project Maven initiative was created by the Pentagon in 2017 to develop a machine learning application that helps drones distinguish people from objects. Technology and personnel were provided by Google, many of whom left in protest after it turned out that the project was aimed at the destruction of Iraqis and Syrians.

In 1999, the CIA founded Peleus, a venture capital company that later became In-Q-Tel. One of the companies In-Q-Tel was a cartographic company Keyhole, bought by Google in the mid-2000s. and then turned into Google Earth. For several years, the military used Google Earth to navigate objects in Afghanistan. In 2005, In-Q-Tel invested $ 2.2 million in Google. In 2010, the CIA and Google invested in Recorded Futures, a social media tracking company.

Another well-known technological billionaire, Peter Thiel, created PayPal and Palantir. Thanks to In-Q-Tel investments of $ 2 million, Palantir was launched in 2004 and began providing data analysis services for the CIA in Afghanistan and Iraq. Recently, Palantir technologies were tested in New Orleans as part of a predictive threat assessment program for local law enforcement.

Palantir creates digital networks of people whose personal data are collected from various sources. The technology analyzes the data flow and provides suspected, potential, future suspects, as well as signatures such as “Colleague …”, “Lives with …”, “Owner …”, “Brother and Sister …” and “Lover …”. Palantir is also used by US immigration authorities.

These and other examples show that the hidden motive of the Pentagon is to finance the high-tech industry to stimulate the new economy. The same high-tech technology that exists in the so-called “free enterprise” system, not only creates monopolies, but also does it with taxpayers’ money. And consumers then pay for the services provided by these technology giants.

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