by Julian Assange
August 24, 2013
It has been revealed today, thanks to
Edward Snowden, that Google and other
US tech companies received millions of dollars from the NSA for their
compliance with the PRISM mass surveillance system.
how close is Google to the US securitocracy?
Back in 2011 I had a meeting with Eric Schmidt,
the then Chairman of Google, who came out to see me with three other people
while I was under house arrest.
You might suppose that coming to see me was
gesture that he and the other big boys at Google were secretly on our side:
we at WikiLeaks are struggling for:
privacy for individuals
But that would be a false supposition.
Their agenda was much more complex, and as we
found out, was inextricable from that of the US State Department. The
transcript of our meeting is available online through the WikiLeaks
Secret Meeting Between...
Julian Assange and Google CEO Eric Schmidt
April 19, 2013
On the 23 of June, 2011 a secret five
hour meeting took place between
WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange, who was under house arrest in rural
UK at the time and Google CEO Eric Schmidt.
Also in attendance was Jared Cohen,
a former Secretary of State advisor to Hillary Clinton, Scott
Malcomson, Director of Speechwriting for Ambassador Susan Rice at the US
State Department and current Communications Director of the
International Crisis Group, and Lisa Shields, Vice President of the
Council on Foreign Relations.
Schmidt and Cohen requested the meeting, they said, to discuss ideas
for "The New Digital World", their forthcoming book to be published on
April 23, 2013.
here a verbatim transcript of the majority
of the meeting;
a close reading, particularly of the latter half, is revealing.
The pretext for their visit was that Schmidt was then researching a new
book, a banal tome which has since come out as The New Digital Age. My less
than enthusiastic review of this book was published in the New York Times in
late May of this year.
On the back of that book are a series of
Inside the book Henry Kissinger appears once
again, this time given pride of place in the acknowledgements.
Schmidt’s book is not about communicating with the public. He is worth $6.1
billion and does not need to sell books. Rather, this book is a mechanism by
which Google seeks to project itself into Washington. It shows Washington
that Google can be its partner, its geopolitical visionary, who will help
Washington see further about America’s interests.
And by tying itself to the US state, Google
thereby cements its own security, at the expense of all competitors.
Two months after my meeting with Eric Schmidt, WikiLeaks had a legal reason
to call Hillary Clinton and to document that we were calling her. It’s
interesting that if you call the front desk of the State Department and ask
for Hillary Clinton, you can actually get pretty close, and we’ve become
quite good at this.
Anyone who has seen
may remember the fantastic scene when Peter Sellers calls the White House
from a payphone on the army base and is put on hold as his call gradually
moves through the levels.
Well WikiLeaks journalist Sarah Harrison,
pretending to be my PA, put through our call to the State Department, and
like Peter Sellers we started moving through the levels, and eventually we
got up to Hillary Clinton’s senior legal advisor, who said that we would be
Shortly afterwards another one of our people, WikiLeaks’ ambassador
Joseph Farrell, received a call back, not from the State Department, but
from Lisa Shields, the then girlfriend of Eric Schmidt, who
does not formally work for the US State Department.
So let’s reprise this situation:
The Chairman of Google’s girlfriend was
being used as a back channel for Hillary Clinton. This is illustrative.
It shows that at this level of US society, as in other corporate states,
it is all musical chairs.
That visit from Google while I was under house
arrest was, as it turns out, an unofficial visit from the State Department.
Just consider the people who accompanied Schmidt
on that visit:
his girlfriend Lisa Shields, Vice
President for Communications at
Scott Malcolmson, former senior State
Jared Cohen, advisor to both Hillary
Clinton and Condoleezza Rice, a kind of 'Generation Y Kissinger'
figure - a noisy Quiet American as the author Graham Greene
might have put it
Google started out as part of Californian
graduate student culture around San Francisco’s Bay Area.
But as Google grew it encountered the big bad
world. It encountered barriers to its expansion in the form of complex
political networks and foreign regulations.
So it started doing what big bad American
from Coca Cola to Northrop Grumman. It started leaning heavily
on the State Department for support, and by doing so it entered into the
Washington DC system.
A recently released statistic shows that Google
now spends even more money than Lockheed Martin on paid lobbyists in
Jared Cohen was the co-writer of Eric Schmidt’s book, and his role as
the bridge between Google and the State Department speaks volumes about how
the US securitocracy works.
Cohen used to work directly for the State
Department and was a close advisor to both Condolezza Rice and
Clinton. But since 2010 he has been Director of Google Ideas, its in-house
Documents published last year by WikiLeaks obtained from the US intelligence
contractor Stratfor, show that in 2011 Jared Cohen,
then (as he is now) Director of Google Ideas, was off running secret
missions to the edge of Iran in Azerbaijan.
In these internal emails, Fred Burton,
Stratfor’s Vice President for Intelligence and a former senior State
Department official, describes Google as follows:
“Google is getting WH [White House] and
State Dept support and air cover. In reality they are doing things the
CIA cannot do… [Cohen] is going to get himself kidnapped or killed.
Might be the best thing to happen to expose
Google’s covert role in foaming up-risings, to be blunt. The US Gov’t
can then disavow knowledge and Google is left holding the shit-bag”
In further internal communication, Burton
subsequently clarifies his sources on Cohen’s activities as Marty Lev,
Google’s director of security and safety and.. Eric Schmidt.
WikiLeaks cables also reveal that previously Cohen, when working for the
State Department, was in Afghanistan trying to convince the four major
Afghan mobile phone companies to move their antennas onto US military bases.
In Lebanon he covertly worked to establish, on
behalf of the State Department, an anti-Hezbollah Shia think tank. And in
London? He was offering Bollywood film executives funds to insert
anti-extremist content into Bollywood films and promising to connect them to
related networks in Hollywood. That is the Director of Google Ideas.
Cohen is effectively Google’s director of regime
change. He is the State Department channeling Silicon Valley.
That Google was taking NSA money in exchange for handing over people’s data
comes as no surprise. When Google encountered the big bad world, Google
itself got big and bad.