Julian Assange has spoken out about the influence of the huge tech company, Google and what he believes to be their undue influence over the geopolitical landscape.
THEY ARE DOING THINGS THE CIA CANNOT DO
Assange was already under investigation by the United States State Department because of his involvement in Wikileaks in 2011 when he was first approached by the Google Executive Chairman, Eric Schmidt, who claimed he was working on a new book with Council on Foreign Relations and State Department veteran, Jared Cohen. They told Assange that the new book would be called ‘The Empire of the Mind’ and they wanted to interview him. Assange agreed but later, when he realized their true intentions, he regretted this choice.
As it transpires, both Schmidt and Cohen have expressed an extreme fascination with the role of technology in burgeoning revolutions and they have also worked dedicatedly to making Google an integral part of the running of the United States. In the same year that they met Assange, the two men wrote an article together for the CFT journal ‘Foreign Affairs’ speaking of their desire to make Google essential to the running of governmental affairs in the United States. In this article they wrote that;
“Democratic states that have built coalitions of their militaries have the capacity to do the same with their connection technologies. […] they offer a new way to exercise the duty to protect citizens around the world who are abused by their governments or barred from voicing their opinions.”
It was this tone that made Assange worry about their motivations. Assange said that there is a tendency among American and the other western powers to assume that their involvement in international affairs is inherently benevolent, even if their actions can be characterised as neo-imperialist.
“They will tell you that open-mindedness is a virtue, but all perspectives that challenge the exceptionalist drive at the heart of American foreign policy will remain invisible to them, ” Assange explained “This is the impenetrable banality of ‘don’t be evil.’ They believe that they are doing good. And that is a problem.”
In Assange’s eyes, Google have already surpassed the amount of power that is reasonably held by a non-governmental organisation and believes that Cohen and Schmidt have positioned themselves as allies of American imperialism. Assange claimed that Cohen was particularly active in this role and that he was trying.
‘Plant his fingerprints on some of the major historical events in the contemporary Middle East’.
He claims that he played a small role in the uprising in Egypt and had also planned to engage in Turkish politics, in the situation Palestine and had also planned to engage in Iranian communities in Azerbaijan as part of a project focussing on repressive societies.
But it is not only in these active partnerships that the effect of Google on the geopolitical stage can be felt. Over the years, many reports have warned that Google’s algorithms are capable of determining the results of elections across the world.
We estimate, based on win margins in national elections around the world,”
said Robert Epstein, a psychologist with the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology who worked on of these studies,
“that Google could determine the outcome of upwards of 25 percent of all national elections.”
Fred Burton, a former official with the State Department wrote in a leaked email that the work of Google in these areas was becoming vital to the running of the United States military and intelligence services but that the government did not yet view them as equal partners. He said;
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.
But while Burton might be swift to disavow the work of Google in these areas, others from the United States are more optimistic about this partnership. The connection between Google and military organisations such as the Pentagon are well documented, but what is less well known is the desire for some in government to see this relationship become entrenched. This course of action has been advised by none other than Henry Kissinger who has said;
“What Lockheed Martin was to the twentieth century, technology and cyber-security companies will be to the twenty-first.”
According to Assange, this should be a matter of great concern for countries all over the world;
If the future of the internet is to be Google,
“that should be of serious concern to people all over the world—in Latin America, East and Southeast Asia, the Indian subcontinent, the Middle East, sub-Saharan Africa, the former Soviet Union, and even in Europe—for whom the internet embodies the promise of an alternative to US cultural, economic, and strategic hegemony.”