Signal — the privacy chat app favored by the world’s leading crypto experts — is trending again. In the wake of Twitter and Facebook’s MAGA Maidan Internet purge (which was followed by Facebook’s announcement that it was gonna start siphoning data off its WhatsApp property), Signal shot up to being the top downloaded messenger app on the planet.
The New York Times is writing about it. Edward Snowden is tweeting about it, telling his fans that Signal is the only reason he’s able to stay alive (and not the fact that he’s being protected round-the-clock by Russia’s security apparatus.) Hell, Even Elon Musk is out there telling people to go Signal. So many people are flooding the app that it’s been crashing.
Given that the app is blowing up, I figure it’s a good time to roll out my periodic public service announcement: Signal was created and funded by a CIA spinoff. Yes, a CIA spinoff. Signal is not your friend.
Here are the cold hard facts.
Signal was developed by Open Whisper Systems, a for-profit corporation run by “Moxie Marlinspike,” a tall, lanky cryptographer who has a head full of dreadlocks and likes to surf and sail his boat. Moxie was an old friend of Tor’s now-banished chief radical promotor Jacob Appelbaum, and he’s played a similar fake-radical game — although he’s never been able to match Jake’s raw talent and dedication to the art of the con. Still, Moxie wraps himself in air of danger and mystery and hassles reporters about not divulging any personal information, not even his age. He constantly talks up his fear of Big Brother and tells stories about his FBI file.
So how big a threat is Moxie to the federal government?
This big: After selling his encryption start-up to Twitter in 2011, Moxie began partnering with America’s soft-power regime change apparatus — including the State Department and the Broadcasting Board of Governors (now called the U.S. Agency for Global Media) — on developing tech to fight Internet censorship abroad. That relationship led to his next venture: a suite of government-funded encrypted chat and voice mobile apps. Say hello to Signal.
If you look at Signal’s website today, you’ll find all sorts of celebrity endorsements — Edward Snowden, Laura Poitras, and even Jack Dorsey. You’ll also find a “donate” button — which, by the way, you shouldn’t press because Signal has plenty of tech oligarch cash on hand these days. What you won’t find is an “about” section that explains Signal’s origin story — a story that involves several million dollars in seed and development capital from Radio Free Asia, a CIA spinoff whose history goes back to 1951 and involves all sorts of weird shit, including its association in the 1970s with the Moonies, the hardcore anti-communist Korean cult.
Exactly how much cash Signal got from the U.S. government is hard to gauge, as Moxie and Open Whisper System have been opaque about the sources of Signal’s funding. But if you tally up the information that’s been publicly released by the Open Technology Fund, the Radio Free Asia conduit that funded Signal, we know that Moxie’s outfit received at least $3 million over the span of four years — from 2013 through 2016. That’s the minimum Signal got from the feds.
Three mil might not seem like much these days, especially because Signal recently got a huge infusion of WhatsApp oligarch cash to keep its operation going. But it’s important to know that without this early U.S. government seed money, there would be no Signal today. And that makes you think: If Signal’s super crypto tech truly posed a threat to the feds and to our oligarchy’s power, why would the feds bankroll its creation? And why would Facebook and Google rush to adopt its super-secure protocols? H’mmmmm…
As you can see from the way Parler was shutdown last week — when our imperial oligarchy wants to cancel an app, it can do so instantly and with a vengeance. But Signal lives on and thrives, despite it being a supposed threat to the almighty surveillance powers of the United States of America.
Signal was seeded by this Radio Free Asia?
What is Radio Free Asia and the Open Technology Fund? And why would the U.S government fund crypto tech like Signal? On top of that, why would Silicon Valley — built as it is on for-profit surveillance — embrace Signal’s supposedly unbreakable privacy tech?
I’ve written at length about the deeper history of Signal’s government backers and the way in which crypto fits into America’s imperial machine. In fact, I dedicated two whole chapters of my book to the subject. I won’t reprint it here. But if you want to know the whole story, you can pick up Surveillance Valley at your local bookstore. Or you can check out some of the articles I’ve…
I was born at the end of Gen X and the beginning of the Millennial Generation, and grew up in a middle class town. Life was good. Our home was modest but birthdays and Christmas were always generous, we went on yearly vacations, had 2 cars, and there was enough money for me to take dance classes and art lessons and be in Girl Scouts.
My 1940s born Dad raised me to be patriotic and proud, to love the war bird airplanes of his era as much as he does, and to respect our flag and our country as a sacred thing. I grew up thinking that being an American was the greatest gift a person could have. I grew up thinking that our country was as strong, and honest and true as my Dad. I grew up thinking I was free.
As an adult, I have witnessed the world I grew up in fall to ruin. I have watched as our currency and our economy have been shamelessly corrupted beyond redemption. Since we’ve been married, my husband and I TWICE had our meager investment savings gutted by the market that we were told to invest in, now that pensions no longer exist and we working stiffs are on our own. We will be working until we die, because the Social Security we’ve been forced to pay into has also been robbed from under us.
I have watched as our elected officials enter Congress as ordinary folks and leaves as multi millionaires. I have watched my blue collar husband get up at an ungodly hour every day and come home with an aching back that we pray will hold out long enough to get him to old age in one piece. Outside of shoes, socks and underwear, almost everything my family wears was bought used. We’ve been on one vacation in 12 years.
We don’t have cell phones, or cable, or any sort of streaming services, just a landline and internet. We hardly ever eat out. Our house is 1400 square feet, no air conditioning. I cook from scratch and I can and I garden and I raise chickens for eggs and meat and I moonlight selling things on Etsy. Still it is barely enough to pay the bills that go up every year while service quality and the longevity of goods goes down. What I just described is the life you can live on 60K a year without going into debt.
At last calculation, when you consider all of the federal, state and local taxes plus registration and user fees, Medicare and SS payroll taxes, almost a third of what my family earns is stolen by the govt each year. What’s left doesn’t go far, just enough to cover the basics and save a little for when the wolf howls at the door.
I watched as my family’s health insurance was gutted and destroyed. Our private market insurance, which we had to have because my husband’s employer is too small to have a group plan, was made illegal. We were left with the option of either buying an Obamacare plan with unaffordable deductibles and insanely ridiculous out of pocket maxes, or paying the very gov’t that destroyed our healthcare a fine for not buying the gov’t mandated plan that we cannot afford. We now have short term insurance that isn’t really insurance at all, and I live in fear of one of us getting injured or sick with anything I can’t fix from the medicine cabinet.
I have watched as education, which was already sketchy when I was a kid, became an all out joke of wholly unmathematical math, gold stars for all, and self-loathing anti-Americanism. My family has taken an enormous financial hit as I stay home to home school our child. At least she’ll be able to do old-fashioned math well enough to see how much they are screwing her. A silver lining to every cloud, I guess.
I’ve sat by and held my tongue as I was called deplorable and a bitter clinger and told that I didn’t build that. I’ve been called a racist and a xenophobe and a chump and even an “ugly folk.” I’ve been told that I have privilege, and that I have inherent bias because of my skin color, and that my beloved husband and father are part of a horrible patriarchy. Not one goddamn bit of that is true, but if I dare say anything about it, it will be used as evidence of my racism and white fragility.
Raised to be a Republican, I held my nose and voted for Bush, the Texas-talking blue blood from Connecticut who lied us into 2 wars and gave us the unpatriotic Patriot Act. I voted for McCain, the sociopathic neocon songbird “hero” that torpedoed the attempt to kill the Obamacare that’s killing my family financially. I held it again and voted for Romney, the vulture capitalist skunk that masquerades as a Republican while slithering over to the Democrat camp as often as they’ll tolerate his oily, loathsome presence.
And I voted for Trump, who, if he did nothing else, at least gave a resounding Bronx cheer to the richly deserving smug hypocrites of DC. Thank you for that Mr. President, on behalf of all of us nobodies. God bless you for it.
And now I have watched as people who hate me and mine and call for our destruction blatantly and openly stole the election and then gaslighted us and told us that it was honest and fair. I am watching as the GOP does NOTHING about it. They’re probably relieved that upstart Trump is gone so they can get back to their real jobs of lining their pockets and running interference for their corporate masters. I am watching as the media, in a manner that would make Stalin blush, is silencing anyone who dares question the legitimacy of this farce they call democracy. I know, it’s a republic, but I am so tired of explaining that to people I might as well give in and join them in ignorance.
I will not vote again; they’ve made it abundantly clear that my voice doesn’t matter. Whatever irrational, suicidal lunacy the nanny states thinks is best is what I’ll get. What it decided I need is a geriatric pedophile who shouldn’t be charged with anything more rigorous than choosing between tapioca and rice pudding at the old folks home, and a casting couch skank who rails against racism while being a descendant of slave owners.
I’m free to dismember a baby in my womb and kill it because “my body my choice”, but God help me if I won’t cover my face with a germ laden Linus-worthy security blanket or refuse let them inject genetically altering chemicals into my body or my child’s. I can be doxed, fired, shunned and destroyed for daring to venture that there are only 2 genders as proven by DNA, but a disease with a 99+% survival rate for most humans is a deadly pandemic worth murdering an economy over. Because science. Idiocracy is real, and we are living it. Dr. Lexus would be an improvement over Fauci.
I am done. Don’t ask me to pledge to the flag, or salute the troops, or shoot fireworks on the 4th. It’s a sick, twisted, heartbreaking joke, this bloated, unrecognizable corpse of a republic that once was ours.
I am not alone. Not sure how things continue to function when millions of citizens no longer feel any loyalty to or from the society they live in.
I was raised to be a lady, and ladies don’t curse, but fuck these motherfuckers to hell and back for what they’ve done to me, and mine, and my country. All we Joe Blow Americans ever wanted was a little patch of land to raise a family, a job to pay the bills, and at least some illusion of freedom, and even that was too much for these human parasites. They want it all, mind, body and soul. Damn them. Damn them all.