united states intelligence community

today i learned peter thiel, billionaire silicon valley white dude and big name trump contributor, called his government contracting business palantir

you know, the crystal balls that can see pretty much everything everywhere?

the ones the big bad evil overlord sauron used to corrupt anyone else who tried to look through one?

those palantíri?

… yeah


that’s a thing that really happened in the real world

dude basically named his company i ♡ evil surveillance

quoth wikipedia:

The company is known for two projects in particular: Palantir Gotham and Palantir Metropolis. Palantir Gotham is used by counter-terrorismanalysts at offices in the United States Intelligence Community (USIC) and United States Department of Defense, fraud investigators at the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, and cyber analysts at Information Warfare Monitor, while Palantir Metropolis is used by hedge funds, banks, and financial services firms.

and it will shock approximately no-one to learn that he’s tight with recently fired congressional staffer and pro-russia lobbyist paul behrends, the congressman voted “most likely to be a russian intelligence asset” by his republican caucusmates, dana rohrabacher (r-ca), and mercenary of blackwater infamy, eric prince, who wants to privatize the american war in afghanistan (purely out of the goodness of his offshore bank accounts heart, i’m sure) and has russian links of his own

what the fuck, america?

what the actual fuck?


President Obama says the United States will respond to Russian cyberattacks that the intelligence community has concluded were part of an effort to influence the 2016 presidential election.

In an interview with NPR’s Steve Inskeep that aired Friday on Morning Edition, Obama said, “I think there is no doubt that when any foreign government tries to impact the integrity of our elections … we need to take action. And we will — at a time and place of our own choosing. Some of it may be explicit and publicized; some of it may not be.”

Obama On Russian Hacking: ‘We Need To Take Action. And We Will’

Video: NPR

Australian researchers say they have developed a mathematical model to predict genocide. A Swiss sociologist has sifted through a century of news articles to predict when war will break out — both between and within countries. A Duke University lab builds software that it says can be used to forecast insurgencies. A team assembled by the Holocaust Museum is mining hate speech on Twitter as a way to anticipate outbreaks of political violence: It will be rolled out next year for the elections in Nigeria, which have frequently been marred by violence.

What makes these efforts so striking is that they rely on computing techniques — and sometimes huge amounts of computing power — to mash up all kinds of data, ranging from a country’s defense budget and infant mortality rate to the kinds of words used in news articles and Twitter posts.

None of this has yet produced a perfect crystal ball to foretell mass violence — and for good reason. “Events are rare, data we have is really noisy,” said Jay Ulfelder, a political scientist who is developing a web-based early warning system to forecast mass atrocities. “That makes it a particularly hard forecasting task.”

But social scientists are getting better at anticipating where trouble might start — or as Mr. Ulfelder put it, “assessing risks.” That explains why the United States intelligence community has been exploring the field for years. The government’s Political Instability Task Force, which Mr. Ulfelder helped to run for over a decade, tries to predict which countries are likely to witness civil unrest in the near term. Its data is not public, nor is information on how the government uses its predictions.


Somini Sengupta, Spreadsheets and Global Mayhem

Another thing the US Government is keeping from us: predictions of genocide.