TIMES, TIME, AND HALF A TIME. A HISTORY OF THE NEW MILLENNIUM.

Comments on a cultural reality between past and future.

This blog describes Metatime in the Posthuman experience, drawn from Sir Isaac Newton's secret work on the future end of times, a tract in which he described Histories of Things to Come. His hidden papers on the occult were auctioned to two private buyers in 1936 at Sotheby's, but were not available for public research until the 1990s.



Sunday, April 30, 2017

Google's Infogate


Google was initially listed on 4 September 1998, hosted by Stanford.edu, having been developed by a couple of Gen X PhD students, Larry Page and Sergey Brin. Image Source: Business Insider.

This post is the first of several on decentralized information dynamics and real-fake, mainstream-alt news. I will start with the beast behind it all. On 4 September 1998, the search engine Google first appeared online. It is hard to believe, because it feels like a short time ago, but it was a pivotal moment between the way the world was and what it is now.

It used to be that if you wanted to find information you had to amass a personal book collection, and visit libraries and archives. You built a professional or amateur reputation as researcher. You had to get to know people - contacts, translators - who knew things, and travel around the world to see sequestered books, diaries and sealed files. Everything had to be taken down in pen and paper notes.

Orson Welles's sarcastic scene from Citizen Kane (1941), in which a journalist is granted permission to read in a private library which holds the unpublished memoirs of a deceased banker. Video Source: Youtube.

Once photocopiers existed, if the archivist was inclined, you would be permitted to photocopy small amounts of material at exorbitant rates. An average person might find one or two books at the bookstore or library, or have saved newspaper or magazine articles in a personal, physical, metal filing cabinet. That was it.

Before the Internet, information was hard won, and knowledge, wisdom and judgement about information even more so. The latter required time, contemplation, and reflection in total silence. It also demanded discussions with others who had done the same. It was a fundamentally different way of thinking.

Source: Harvard Magazine.
For the first time in history, the masses have broad access to information. They can manipulate it, analyze it, search across time instantly and anachronistically. None of this would be possible without search engines, especially Google. The name of the company comes from a misspelled number, googol; this is the digit 1 followed by one hundred zeroes: 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000. Google is changing the way we think and what we think. It is externalizing memory. Its autocomplete function fills in blanks in knowledge on unconscious, click-bait levels. Curiously, most criticism of Google does not focus on its cognitive, social and philosophical impacts.

Related articles
  • Teachnology (ND): How Has Google Changed Education: "students can get overly-confident about their research capabilities. They sometimes completely miss out on the idea of researching with books and talking to librarians about reference books. There is also the danger that students do not understand that not all published information is equally valuable. The computer screen has a way of presenting all information as equally valuable and there are no cues for assessing the value or credibility of any given site."
  • Gary W. Small et. al., The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry (17:2, February 2009, pp. 116-126): Your Brain on Google: Patterns of Cerebral Activation during Internet Searching: "Internet searching may engage a greater extent of neural circuitry not activated while reading text pages but only in people with prior computer and Internet search experience. These observations suggest that in middle-aged and older adults, prior experience with Internet searching may alter the brain’s responsiveness in neural circuits controlling decision making and complex reasoning."
  • Betsy Sparrow et. al., Science (333:6043, 5 August 2011, pp. 776-778): Google Effects on Memory: Cognitive Consequences of Having Information at Our Fingertips: "The Internet has become a primary form of external or transactive memory, where information is stored collectively outside ourselves."
  • The Conversation (28 August 2011): US study shows Google has changed the way students research - and not for the better: "The study, to be published by the American Library Association under the title Libraries and Student Culture: What We Now Know, revealed worryingly crude research skills among the students surveyed. Many were unwilling to ask university librarians for help – or even knew that they could ask. 'While students used the libraries at all five universities pretty extensively, librarians were absent from most students’ academic worldview.' ... '[Google] has increased expectations that finding information should be easy, so library catalogues and databases have become easier to use. Students can now access the full text of journal articles via library links in Google Scholar and we focus more on helping them evaluate the information they find and using it ethically.'"
  • The Foundation of Google (2011-2012): Google: Impact on Society: "The digital transformation convinced individuals to understand and be aware of things previous generations did not have access to. These positive consequences not only affect our understanding but placed an impact on human cognition as well. According to N. Katherine Hayles, professor of literature at Duke University and a literary and social critic, 'Deep attention, the cognitive style traditionally associated with the humanities, is characterized by concentration on a single object for long periods, ignoring outside stimuli while so engaged, preferring a single information stream, and having a high tolerance for long focus times. Hyper attention, by contrast, is characterized by switching focus rapidly between different tasks, preferring multiple information streams, seeking a high level of stimulation, and having a low tolerance for boredom.' In addition, hyper attention is caused by Google because of the accumulation of resources. Hyper attention is good because it allows individuals to be captivated by numerous sources of information. Consequently, this affects our thinking skills and the methodology of thinking by clearly allowing us 'seek a high level of stimulation'. The negative factors of using Google are diminishing our critical thinking skills, and injuring our emotions."
  • New Republic (3 June 2014): Scientific Proof that Google Is Destroying Your Memory: "This is preliminary evidence that when people expect information to remain continuously available (such as we expect with Internet access), they are more likely to remember where to find it than to remember the details of the item. One could argue that this is an adaptive use of memory—to include the computer and online search engines as an external memory system that can be accessed at will."
  • Time: Money Investing (18 August 2014): 10 Ways Google Has Changed the World: "It has changed our brains. Recent research has confirmed suspicions that 24/7 access to (near) limitless information is not only bad for human discourse—it's also making us worse at remembering things, regardless of whether we try. And even if we aren't conscious of it, our brains are primed to think about the Internet as soon as we start trying to recall the answer to a tough trivia question. Essentially, Google has become our collective mental crutch. ... It has influenced the news we read. Ranking high in Google search results is serious business and can have a profound effect on the success of companies, media outlets, and even politicians. When I just Googled 'how SEO affects journalism,' this link was at the top of my search results. How is that significant? Well, for one, that story itself has been so successfully search engine optimized that it still tops the list despite being four years old."
  • Google Research Blog (8 October 2014): All the News that's Fit to Read: A Study of Social Annotations for News Reading: "If annotations by strangers is not as persuasive as those by computers or brands, as the first experiment showed, what about the effects of friend annotations? The second experiment examined the signed-in experience (with Googlers as subjects) and how they reacted to social annotations from friends, investigating whether personalized endorsements help people discover and select what might be more interesting content. Perhaps not entirely surprising, results showed that friend annotations are persuasive and improve user satisfaction of news article selections."
  • Teach Thought (12 November 2014): How Google Impacts The Way Students Think: "When your formative years are spent working your fingers through apps and iPads, smartphones and YouTube, the digital world and its habits can bend and shape not just how you access information, but how you conceptualize it entirely. You see information differently–something that’s always accessible. And you see knowledge as searchable, even though that’s not how it works. ... Google is powerful, the result of a complicated algorithm that attempts to index human thought that has been digitally manifest. ... And because of Google–and to an extent, social media in general–users tend to view information through that same kind of infrastructure. The result? It creates the illusion that answers are always within reach even when they’re not. ... Since Google looks for information as destinations–go here to find this–it conditions its most frequent users to do the same. But in all of its potency, it can make opaque the process of information seeking, and more critically the relationship between data points–even those that seem to be conflicting."
  • Telegraph (31 March 2015): Google 'makes people think they are smarter than they are': "Psychology professor Frank Keil, of Yale University, said the study showed that the cognitive effects of 'being in search mode' on the internet were so powerful that people still feel smarter even when their online searches did not help. ... 'With the internet, the lines become blurry between what you know and what you think you know,' added Mr Fisher. The researchers also believe that an inflated sense of personal knowledge also could be dangerous in the political realm or other areas involving high-stakes decisions."
  • Education Week (26 May 2015): Does Google Help Students Learn (or Just Think They Do?): "While people can find very in-depth information quickly on the Internet, Fisher argues that something about the act of searching online boosts students' confidence in their understanding. ... 'It's not the access to rich content,' he said. 'In that Internet mindset, you think you know things.'"
  • HuffPo (22 July 2015): Google Just Took Another Small Step Toward Replacing Your Brain: "What happens when we rely on ... technology from Google to track where we’ve been in our own lives via location data and automatically tagged photographs?"
  • HuffPo (25 August 2015): How Google Is Changing The Way We Think: "Our brains are pliant, and built to seek out new information. 'It’s why we don’t like re-runs,' explains Small. It’s also why we react so strongly to the limitless information we can find on the Internet. The Web is a veritable all-you-can-eat buffet of knowledge, and search engines are an easy ticket in. It gives us exactly what we want, which is why it’s difficult not to gorge. And we’ve been binging for over a decade now. In 1998, Google’s first year in existence, the site saw 9,800 searches per day, on average. By 2014, that number had ballooned to 5.7 billion. Search engines aren’t just an option for research; they are the most prevalent way that we encounter new information — which changes the scope of research on how they’re affecting us. ... Google has dedicated itself to creating digital options to replace the human functions we now have difficulty using. In recent years, the company has experimented with systems that allow us to record our location, actions and experiences on the site — outsourcing our personal memories from our heads to the Web."
  • MindShift (8 February 2016): How Has Google Affected The Way Students Learn?: "Nelson, who has been teaching for more than nine years, says it was obvious with her middle school students and even her 15-year-old daughter that they are unable to read long texts anymore. 'They just had a really hard time comprehending if they went to a website that had a lot of information,' Nelson says. 'They couldn’t grasp it, they couldn’t figure out what the important thing was.'"
  • Back Link (2 September 2016): We Analyzed 1 Million Google Search Results. Here’s What We Learned About SEO
  • Zero Hedge (12 September 2016): Harvard PhD Explains How Google Search Bias Could "Shift 3 Million Votes" In Upcoming Election: "In this exclusive report, distinguished research psychologist Robert Epstein explains the new study and reviews evidence that Google's search suggestions are biased in favor of Hillary Clinton. He estimates that biased search suggestions might be able to shift as many as 3 million votes in the upcoming presidential election in the US."
  • Guardian (4 December 2016): Google, democracy and the truth about internet search: Tech-savvy rightwingers have been able to ‘game’ the algorithms of internet giants and create a new reality where Hitler is a good guy, Jews are evil and… Donald Trump becomes president: "Here’s what you don’t want to do late on a Sunday night. You do not want to type seven letters into Google. That’s all I did. I typed: 'a-r-e'. And then 'j-e-w-s'. Since 2008, Google has attempted to predict what question you might be asking and offers you a choice. And this is what it did. It offered me a choice of potential questions it thought I might want to ask: 'are jews a race?', 'are jews white?', 'are jews christians?', and finally, 'are jews evil?' Are Jews evil? It’s not a question I’ve ever thought of asking. I hadn’t gone looking for it. But there it was. I press enter. A page of results appears. This was Google’s question. And this was Google’s answer: Jews are evil. ... 'There’s large-scale, statistically significant research into the impact of search results on political views. And the way in which you see the results and the types of results you see on the page necessarily has an impact on your perspective.' Fake news ... has simply 'revealed a much bigger problem. These companies are so powerful and so committed to disruption. They thought they were disrupting politics but in a positive way. They hadn’t thought about the downsides. These tools offer remarkable empowerment, but there’s a dark side to it. It enables people to do very cynical, damaging things.'"
  • Zero Hedge (25 January 2017): Google Permanently Bans 200 "Fake News" Sites
In the Guardian's Sunday night test above, the journalist suggested checking auto-complete for the words, 'a-r-e j-e-w-s ...' to demonstrate how pernicious auto-complete is. I did not get quite the same results that she did. Based on my previous browsing history, I got the same results, except that instead of, 'Are Jews evil?' I got, 'Are Jews circumcised?' Hm. This example confirms horrendous anti-Semitism on the Web, as much as it demonstrates that prejudice is subtly shaped by Google auto-complete.

The Information Age is not just about information. It is defined by how people gain access to that information. In online research, Google has become a bounded, invisible mental space. Netizens are using Google compulsively and addictively to explore information they never knew existed. The search engine allows amateur researchers to do incredibly quick 'research.' Those spot results are shaking the masses' whole picture of reality. The search engine creates false patterns, or unveils obscure, real connections between diverse bits of information. Youtube, Reddit, and Twitter, among other social media platforms, use internal search engines and hashtags to index topics. These internal, on-site search engines are often Google-powered.

Communities sprout up to crowd-fund, crowd-research and interpret the day's findings. Thus, evaluation of Google searches becomes a collective social event. Validity of information is secondary to group experiences around information collection and discussion. You cannot follow the research neo-modalities and historical and political neo-narratives quickly enough, let alone the sub-cultures which sponsor them.

Image Source: Matthew Rothenberg/PC World.

Problems
  • Unindexed information: a huge body of information exists on the Deep Web and the Dark Web which is not indexed by mainstream search engines such as Google.
  • Pre-Internet information: pre-1995 sources are mostly not digitized and even if they are, may not be searchable.
  • Credibility of hackers, leakers, leaks: leaked sources are not necessarily accurate or trustworthy. And if they are, people may doubt or attack their credibility.
  • Reinforced bias: people search for information according to their personal and political biases. Search engines exacerbate this by using algorithms to give us personal bubble results.


Outcomes

It is difficult to understand neo-modalities and historical neo-narratives and quasi-histories which have arisen due to mass information immersion. Commentators and analysts use outdated labels and ideologies to frame unprecedented circumstances. Old ideas, used to describe new conditions, fail to explain a polarized political culture which finds no middle consensus:
  • Blaming the 'other' for shocking change: racism; anti-Semitism; anti-religious bias; blaming immigrants; blaming refugees; blaming foreigners; blaming other nationalities; reviving one's own nationalism; ironically-futuristic tech-driven atavistic traditionalism; and other pro- and anti-cultural prejudices
  • Blaming those in power for shocking change: anti-√©lite and anti-establishment sentiment; anti-globalist movements; anti-Semitism and anti-banking conspiracy theories exploding out of the Great Recession
  • Blaming the great unwashed or "deplorables" for quitting LOLcats and porn and becoming politically mobilized online in unwanted or unexpected ways which are destroying the mainstream
  • Blaming one's political opposite, enemies, nemeses for shocking change: across the spectrum, bankrupt or outdated political ideologies cannot match current needs and conditions; to make up for the gaps, failures and shortfalls which appear, political camps have developed into rigid groups who blame their political opposites for everything that makes no sense, is threatening, is in flux, or is wrong
  • Blaming hackers and whistleblowers for showing too much information about shocking change, which is overturning the recognized mainstream
The establishment decries alt-politics and the negative influence of hacks, leaks, and undesirable social media on national elections. Western leaders are demanding that social media companies curb the growth of nationalism, neo-Nazism, racism, populism and other non-mainstream political opinions and prejudices. They are pressing members of the mainstream media, teachers in schools and academics to reinforce accepted narratives and censor fake news. On 6 March 2017, Peter Kellner wrote for Carnegie Europe: "In the battle between reality and populism, reality is now winning."

First, no corner has a monopoly on reality, certainly not Kellner's preferred liberal internationalist order. Reality as revealed by whistle-blowers and hackers confirms malaise across the political spectrum. Actual reality is a messed-up system, with an internal power struggle between competing established and upstart factions to lay claim to reality, to the right to dominate, construct and depict reality. Any dominant narrative, or subsequent replacement narrative, will be illusory. Nasty political accusations and counter-accusations are not about which side is right. They are part of a struggle - sparked by the potentials of technology - to gain alpha control of the mainstream dream of reality.

Even that political power struggle over the right to shape the collective dream of reality is futile. Tech corporations, with their search engine algorithms, social media hubs, and big data, already surreptitiously commandeer the dream regardless of political attitude. Daily human truth inside their constructs resembles the film, The Matrix. As in that film, the important question is whether the human mind can slip in and out of the Matrix, to work with it or transcend it. Yes, it can - but to contradict Kellner, non-reality cannot be dismissed. Virtual reality now shapes a large part of the psycho-political space. In the dynamic human perception of techno-consciousness, reality and truth simultaneously matter and do not matter. If you do not understand how techno-consciousness works, you will not understand politics in the 21st century.

The proof: censorship and criticism of fake news make anti-establishment narratives and alt-movements stronger. On the Internet, there is no such thing as bad publicity. The more suppressed or taboo a topic is, the greater its traction and virality. It is more important and effective to understand how these narratives form; the ways they evolve; and how they are enabled by the Streisand Effect.

Notice that the real problems are not the monsters through the looking glass. The real problems come from a lack of understanding of techno-cerebral dynamics. Google is changing how we perceive reality. Technology has overwhelmed and rapidly altered everything that was previously familiar. Everything has changed. We have changed. How we see everything and ourselves has changed.

We are like a group of information addicts who have taken a mind-altering substance and are trying to impose what we recall of pre-addictive, pre-tech rationality upon this flexible house of mirrors. And we are blaming our distorted reflections - and the twisted reflections of others - for the distortions, rather than blaming the mirrors and their bizarre, transparent portals which lead back into meatspace. For addicts, the delusion is just as real as the hangover in real reality the next day.

Labeling and blaming others explains nothing. Using old ideological explanations to describe the techno-human nexus explains nothing. While the political culture collapses in internecine discursive hate-mongering and mutual ridicule, the driving technology which has fed the whole behavioural extravaganza lies behind this ruinous picture, opaque and silent.

This is why extreme, irreconcilable differences between left and right politics, or between the establishment and the masses, or between democracy and tyranny, ironically cannot be understood using the terms, 'left,' 'right,' 'establishment,' 'masses,' etc. As the mainstream media move against fake news and racist populism, they should understand that compartmentalized blocs of understanding came from technology in the first place. Political divisions did not arise because of bad political ideas. Compartmentalized blocs of understanding emerged because of search engines.

Search engines and social media's administrative algorithms have fractured society. We are bitterly divided from one another because of our universal, blind enslavement to the technologically-framed world view.

Search engines and social media created these problems in the first place, by building algorithmic bubbles of preferred opinion. Facebook uses programs to decide which friends' activity you will see most often. Google tailors search results, so that you only see what you want or expect to see. Two different people, using their personal computers or devices, will get different search results, based on their individual browsing histories.

The search engine is one of the pillars of virtual community building. Online groups become safe spaces of consensus and collective agreement. Community members use Google to do their research, believing it to be a neutral, universal tool when it is actually a manipulative mirror. They conduct searches to back up their ideas, and lo and behold, their searches do confirm their expectations. Alt-political movements were brought to you by Google's algorithms, Google-owned Youtube (which also has an auto-suggest video function), and other social media echo chambers.

Meanwhile, Google plays both sides of the political fence and becomes more powerful. For those in the alt-right: there is your New World Order, not some secret Old World Illuminati cabal. These tech giants will become more controlling than nation-states, or groups of nation-states. Did you know, for example, that "Apple is an arms dealer"? This might mean conventional weapons; perhaps it might arise through artificial intelligence, with defense applications. Or maybe the inflammatory statement that Apple is an arms dealer means something that defies conventional wisdom.


Maybe we are becoming unconsciously weaponized through interdependence with particular technological modalities. In 1991, Manuel DeLanda warned against war in the age of intelligent machines. Little did we realize that while the tech moguls wait for A.I. to get off the ground, we are the intelligent machines, besotted with technology, drawn into unconscious symbioses. Big tech companies have the potential to become the most successful supra-national organizations since the Vatican, the UN, or the EU.

To consider how we might become weaponized, take the example of the anti-establishment narrative: who believes it, who doesn't, who perpetuates it, and why. The anti-establishment narrative is an old story, with some Millennial updates. The anti-establishment narrative during the French Revolution and the Information Revolution might have common themes and elements, even with a gap of nearly 230 years. One might compare how Marie Antoinette was demonized in the cartoons and pamphlets of the 18th century, with how Hillary Clinton was attacked on alt-news or fake news Websites in 2016.

But that does not mean we can analyze the anti-establishment narrative in the old ways and with old ideas. What is different is the way the narrative moves and develops on social media. That virtual, psycho-social dynamic is part of what makes the anti-establishment narrative compelling to embittered netizens. The medium is the message. People connect with each other around the narrative in new ways, never before seen or experienced. Their virtual social behaviour and ways of perceiving reality are evolving. That evolution is more fundamental than Realpolitik, even though everyone thinks that politics are the primary issue under discussion.

In the battle over who will dominate the new body politic with dynamic narratives of fact and fiction, a technologically static establishment faces far more criticism than social media moguls, that is, the technorati leaders of Google or Facebook. The latter are well placed to dominate the future. Their only problem is that their own tech workers are a covert underground, anti-technorati hacking army. There is a grassroots hacker surge against the old and new establishments. Anti-élitism and anti-statism are watchwords of hacktivism and anyone who employs these themes gains at least some starting credibility on the Internet, no matter who or what they are.

Thus, as the tech giants seek to harness mass immersion in information, there is a question of whether popular engagement with information becomes a techno-social experience which can elude larger control.

Day 27: George Webb Sweigert's citizen investigation of the Clinton Foundation. Video Source: Youtube.

Above, see a sample video from George Webb Sweigert's anti-establishment citizen journalism on the Clinton Foundation. Withhold political judgement, and one can see that Webb's daily videos constitute new types of research and analysis. They are not simply fake news for the anti-Clinton camp. Nor are they pure mumbo jumbo, unsubstantiated rumours for a captive audience. Webb's private research and his Reddit and Youtube influence would have been impossible in pre-Google days. A common citizen would never have had access to this kind of information before the 2000s, nor would he have the ability to search it, index it, assess it, and discuss it in the mass media.

These videos reflect a new way for citizens to gather information and communicate their changing political values. This aptly-named vlogger enjoys enormous respect among deplorables:
"I think what is happening on George's channel is one of the most important acts of journalism in history. And unique in the sense that it is a crowd-sourced, dynamic, verifiable work of staggering proportions. I hope it is all being regularly archived in multiple locations. Pulitzer-worthy work there, imo."
Thus, Webb's work partly demonstrates a new way of expressing civic values, and a dynamic renewal of them. This is a novel approach to building a journalistic investigation and story: one man describes his day's research on Youtube.

The result is more organic and conversational than mainstream news. Webb's conclusions are informally presented in a constant flow of videos. Imagine if your neighbour, who inexplicably had intelligence connections, decided to investigate DC corruption from his basement in Portland, Oregon and gave you an update when you dropped in to say "hi," every day after you got home from work.

 
Day 62, Part I: George Webb's citizen journalism on the Clinton Foundation; he interconnects WikiLeaks' leaked e-mails, research on the Haiti earthquake aftermath, factories and micro-payments on cell phones as prerequisites for human and sex trafficking, the World Bank, consultancies, and universities. Video Source: Youtube.

Fascinating and innovative it may be, but Webb's just-an-everyday-guy model contains serious problems. His videos, with their mish-mash of detail, can be "hard to follow" and even friendly critics have said that Webb must write up his reports each day and provide sources. As far as I could tell, his Googledocs source pages for each video are not comprehensively indexed. Webb is also an unknown quantity. Here is one bio:
"Computer software salesman turned citizen journalist explores the hidden world of US covert operations by a little known company named DynCorp. His investigation, which started as a probe into the Clinton Foundation and the disappearance of their ex-CEO Eric Braverman, has turned up many leads on the missing $6.5 Trillion of the US Treasury including black budgets for the Dod, CIA, FBI, and 27 other Federal agencies."
Webb does not divulge his full background, motivations, or sources. This is his old blog - now gone; see also here and here. Most, but not all, viewers blindly trust Webb. Yet last year, he aligned with alt-right biases in a way that served Trump's election campaign.

Webb's general focus is the American government's game of dominoes, the 'Mid-East' project,' which began in 2001. This rumoured plan to topple seven Middle Eastern nations in five years also involves oil and gas pipeline construction from the Middle East to Europe. Ahem, better make that twenty-five years!

The countries reportedly in the Pentagon memo were: Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Iran. Note how they compare to Trump's original 2017 national travel ban list: Iraq, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Iran and Yemen. By that account, the Americans are about half-way done their enterprise. Webb argues - in line with author F. William Engdahl - that every American president, regardless of politics, follows this agenda and the primary concern is oil, rather than jihadist terrorism or democratic governance, which are incidentals.

Amy Goodman's interview with General Wesley Clark (2 March 2007). Twenty years ago, it would have been impossible for the public to find this clip and view it retrospectively. Video Source: Youtube.

Webb counts his videos according to the number of days he has been investigating the Clinton Foundation. He was inspired by the alt-right conspiracy theory that former Foundation CEO, Eric Braverman, had been murdered for uncovering troubling Foundation activities and for hinting about them in January 2015 with the cryptic statement: "Follow the money." With that, George Webb began to follow the Clinton Foundation's money trail, and his findings are on Youtube.

A related underground rumour implied that Julian Assange's source of US Democratic party leaks was Eric Braverman, not the Russians. This notion was reinforced by a WikiLeaks Podesta e-mail, here. Braverman was supposedly last seen walking towards the Russian embassy in Washington, DC on 23 October 2016, before a disappearance from public view in autumn 2016. The story about the Russian embassy came from a deranged Russian blogger. Weird social media chatter may indicate that somehow, George Webb knows Eric Braverman socially. Observers debate whether Webb is connected to Israeli intelligence. Welcome to the murky world of the alt-media.

Moreover, George Webb was wrong: Eric Braverman was alive. After a long public disappearance and silence, Braverman resurfaced in January 2017, just before Trump's inauguration. Braverman's next move revealed where power migrates. The ex-Clinton Foundation CEO was promoted to oversee the philanthropic arm of Alphabet Inc.

Alphabet Inc. is a multinational conglomerate, established in October 2015 by Google's founders. Alphabet is Google's parent company; its subsidiaries cover connectivity; research and development; venture capital; biotechnology, health care, and medical technology; teleportation research (!); artificial intelligence, autonomous military robots, with much more to come. Alphabet is explained in one chart, here.

Although Braverman reappeared alive and well, George Webb soldiers on in his anti-conspiratorial investigation. He provides his sources for his videos, pieced together from newspaper articles, court documents, leaked e-mails, purported insider intelligence tips, and a lot of other digging. These are placed in a Googledocs document for each video and linked under that video. After the 2016 US election, Youtube erased the first 50 or so videos in Webb's series on the Clinton Foundation - or perhaps Webb's account was hacked. A mirror site recovered some of the videos and began to carry his series, under a Russian-styled handle, here. Webb has moved on to investigate DynCorp and black budget US projects.

This story is about George Webb, citizen journalist, caught up in one man's quest to use the Internet to understand the establishment's exploitation of international affairs. Or maybe the story is that Webb is a crank conspiracy theorist, or secretly a disinformation agent, or a paid Trump shill. Or maybe the story is about Google, Wikipedia, FacebookWikiLeaks, InstagramReddit, Twitter, Voat, Youtube, Gab, Blogger, and the other sites which made it all happen. These factors must be considered as information circulates in innovative formats and styles, and transforms the status quo of news media information.

2 comments:

  1. Back in the day, the main problem was a lack of data

    Then, there is just too much data

    Now, one has to check the sources

    ReplyDelete