Folks In Europe Trying To Connect The CIA To Every Successful American Internet Company?

from the I-mean,-seriously... dept

Earlier this week, some readers sent in the utterly ridiculous article from the Guardian in the UK working out all sorts of laughable conspiracy theories behind Facebook. It seemed rather strange that a publication like the Guardian would publish such a shoddy column. It bizarrely suggests that libertarians and neoconservatives are the same thing, when they're practically opposites on the political spectrum. Then it tries to link Facebook to the CIA via one of the more tenuous links out there. The idea that the CIA ran Facebook got some buzz on conspiracy sites a year or so ago, but to see it in a respected publication is really surprising. The connection discussed (the same one from the conspiracy sites) isn't just weak, it's wrong.

It tries to connect In-Q-Tel, the well-known venture capital arm of the CIA to Facebook. There are just a few problems with this. First, In-Q-Tel is run quite separately from the CIA. It is true that the CIA provides the money and In-Q-Tel looks for investments that in some way could help the CIA (though, often that's a very loose connection), but it's not like it's a bunch of spies running around and investing. It's basically a separate organization, run by experienced industry folks, not CIA agents. Then, the article claims that In-Q-Tel was formed in response to the events of 9/11, even though In-Q-Tel was formed in 1999 (which is noted in the article). It's difficult to see how it could have been formed in '99 as a result of an event two years in the future (I see now that the Guardian has issued a correction on that point). The fact is that 9/11 had no bearing on the creation of In-Q-Tel. Even more to the point: In-Q-Tel has no investment in Facebook. The actual connection is that some of Facebook's investors sat on the board of the National Venture Capital Association, with Gilman Louie, who originally ran In-Q-Tel (which he came to from a toy company, not from being a spy). That's like saying Warren Buffet really controls Microsoft, because he plays bridge with Bill Gates every once in a while. Just because the two are on the same board of a well-known group for venture capitalists, doesn't mean there's even the slightest connection between Facebook and the CIA.

And it's not just Facebook that's apparently got scary CIA connections. A video making its way around Digg is claiming "The Shocking Truth Behind Google's Ideology." It's not entirely clear what the origin of the video is, but the supervisor credited at the end is a professor in Germany. The video has scary music and frightening language. "The former students' project now rules the World Wide Web." And "the so-called PageRank." Oooh, scary. It also refers in ominous tones to "The Google Master Plan" which is a well-known (well, at least to some folks) joke.

It also throws in something about how Google wants to control all the world's information, rather than just organize it, which is a misleading addition to Google's actual mission. It tosses in some nice scare-mongering about how Google is doing this "all for free." It incorrectly states (with a very ominous image) that Google "stores the entire known web." Google does cache a portion of the public web, but that's quite different. Then it brings up the old claim about Google "scanning all your emails," implying that it's not just matching context for ads, but building a database of info about you based on your emails -- which is simply not true. It also falsely implies that Google is conducting research into genetics. It is true that Google invested in Sergey Brin's wife's company, which does genetics-related research, but that's not the same as saying that Google is doing that research. The video also takes the wild leap to somehow claim that Google will somehow get access to everyone's genetic info. And, then, of course, there's the CIA connection. The video claims that Google is actually creating "dossiers" on everyone and "working undercover with the CIA," according to the claims of a "former CIA agent," which involves a report on a well-known conspiracy theory radio show without any proof, that Google took some money from the CIA and now does things for the CIA.

The video doesn't ever get around to revealing any "shocking truth." It merely makes a bunch of ominous sounding, but either incorrect, or at least questionable, statements, and piles them together to say that something bad must be going on. Between these two things, coming out at about the same time, is there just some bizarre desire by some folks in Europe to accuse successful American internet firms of having some dark connection to the CIA?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2008 @ 2:29pm

    Sure, it was formed in 1999, but it was in response to 9/11, because in fact, 9/11 was planned by the CIA.

    One error though, Google isn't run by the CIA, its run by the NSA.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Some guy, Jan 17th, 2008 @ 2:38pm

    Are you saying that you honestly believe that the CIA wouldn’t data mine Facebook for all it’s worth? I sir, think you are blind.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    The Mighty Buzzard, Jan 17th, 2008 @ 2:45pm

    Even more importantly, are you saying that you honestly believe The Guardian does NOT regularly print unsubstantiated conspiracy theory?

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2008 @ 2:55pm

    Well obviously TechDirt is run behind the scenes by the CIA, otherwise why would you try to disprove the CIA links with Facebook and Google?

    Such blatent attempts.... I always expected better from the CIA....

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased), Jan 17th, 2008 @ 3:01pm

    Google conspiracy video

    Yahoo! really shouldn't have made that video.

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    maca, Jan 17th, 2008 @ 3:14pm

    Hardly!

    "Between these two things, coming out at about the same time, is there just some bizarre desire by some folks in Europe to accuse successful American internet firms of having some dark connection to the CIA?"

    Er ... right!?! A dodgy article in one country and unrelated video by some individual in another country hardly demonstrates any that "Folks In Europe [are] Trying To Connect The CIA To Every Successful American Internet Company".

    Get a grip lad.

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2008 @ 3:51pm

    to many words

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Jez, Jan 17th, 2008 @ 4:06pm

    I only wish the Guardian would have let me comment on that rant at that left wing piece of s**t so called journalism.. living in a dream world!

    The bloke who wrote it is a luddite

    Good article though!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2008 @ 5:51pm

    only thing that is fish is why go to great lengths to dispute in-q-tel's connection with the CIA, when you could have simply used the last comment on it, that in-q-tel doesn't fund facebook at all.

    though, how a company that is

    'well-known venture capital arm of the CIA'
    'CIA provides the money' (for In-q-tel)
    'In-Q-Tel looks for investments that in some way could help the CIA'

    could claim to be 'a very loose connection' (even sometimes)
    is a bit beyond me.

    very odd article overall.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Jamie, Jan 17th, 2008 @ 5:56pm

    Conspiracies are fun

    As much fun as conspiracy theories are, I'm glad to see a rational response to what was clearly a fantasy.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Bob Knight, Jan 17th, 2008 @ 6:37pm

    Opin

    Of course the Guardian sees the CIA in everything, it shares it's editorial staff with the Daily Worker here in the USA.

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2008 @ 8:38pm

    We have a saying around here, the important bit is: "twice is coincidence..."

    If another story (or worse, multiple) come out and from a more respectable source than The Guardian, then be worried Europeans are paranoid about the CIA.

    From my experience, Europeans just look down at Americans. That used to bother me, but recent years the behavior of the general American public and government has made me think they have a right to. I *hate* spoiled, irresponsible brats. Sadly that means I hate most Americans now. :(

     

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  13.  
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    Krish, Jan 17th, 2008 @ 10:27pm

    Come on. If Microsoft employees can make such claims on Google, why are you pissed of with people from UK.

     

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  14.  
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    mkam, Jan 18th, 2008 @ 4:21am

    Re: Hardly!

    American here, and I completely agree with you. I don't think all of Europe is fully represented here. This is the reason that conspiracy theories exist, because the insane allegations lead to temporary rating.

    And the Guardian prints this type of story all the time.

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    Tom, Jan 18th, 2008 @ 4:26am

    Google is used by the Gov't

    Google, just like Microsoft and all the other big software, and hardware vendors are used by US Gov't. Does all those 3-letter agencies use them? Yes, of course. They have contracts with everyone of those companies, just like any other business out there. Its not conspiracy, its business.

    Well, if that's the case then Wikipedia should be in there too, since the US Intel community uses wikis and blogs now too.
    Conspiracy? Pleeeeaaasssee! I don't think so and no, the coolaid tastes like mierda.
    Tom

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 18th, 2008 @ 6:27am

    Wanna know something really fun? The NSA has access to servers and networks. AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, the wireless guys, yes, they have access to them. Even better? They have access to the servers that house Hotmail, GMail, Yahoo Mail and other "free" services.

    Yeah, like access via court order or something? No, as in having boxes connected into them. Direct access baby.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Spook, Jan 18th, 2008 @ 7:34am

    Re:

    CIA doesn't datamine. The NSA does.

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    Mike, Jan 18th, 2008 @ 8:00am

    "It seemed rather strange that a publication like the Guardian would publish such a shoddy column"

    You obviously don't read The Grauniad that often.

    :-)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 18th, 2008 @ 10:29am

    Guardian gets it wrong!

    It's Dick Cheney and his Ali Burton sidekick in cahoots with the Bilderberg Group. Oh! and the Trilateral Commission manipulates the WHOLE! thing from behind the scenes. Where do you think that those Black Helicopters come from? And the entire purpose is to communicate with the UFO's so that they don't destroy the Earth because we killed the Area 51 alien! They are right now giving us a warning with Global Warming and that shows that Al Gore invented the Internet to implement Facebook and Google so that the BushChimpHitler could spy on Europeans!

    Do I get a job as a star reporter with the Guardian? I mean my logic is impeccable and I would fit right in with the rest of the staff.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Lucretious, Jan 18th, 2008 @ 2:20pm

    Evidently you're not as familiar with the Guardian as you thought Mike. Nothing about this surprises me in the least. Its always been a radically leftist publication with a penchant for alarmist conspiracy theory.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    John, Jan 18th, 2008 @ 3:38pm

    I want attention

    Okay, not me personally, but the people who come up with these conspiracy theories certainly do.

    Like the people who deny the Holocaust happened and deny that 9/11 was the act of terrorists, these people put out conspiracy theories and contrary views just to get attention.
    Remember the French guy who published a book saying that no airplane hit the Pentagon on 9/11, despite the actual evidence? He got a book published!

    The German "professor" may have created the video simply to pass around to some friends, but now he's in an article by the Guardian and in an article on Tech Dirt. How's that for attention, for a theory with no basis in fact.

    So maybe that's the real way to become famous. Forget about auditioning for American Idol- just put out your own wacky conspiracy theory.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 20th, 2008 @ 2:51pm

    Scapegoat for the world

    I'm an American living in Europe and believe me when I say: if the Europeans didn't have the CIA and G.W. Bush to blame for all the world's problems, they wouldn't know what to do. They might actually have to look at their own screwed-up governments -- and that would create chaos. Easier to just blame the CIA....

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    Cixelsid, Jan 30th, 2008 @ 9:58am

    1. The Guardian isn't Europe. Just like People Magazine isn't America (I hope).
    2. The CIA wishes it had come up with Facebook.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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