One that Sees from Afar
Deriving its name from the J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, Palantir refers to magical 'seeing stones' wielded by wizards in the fantasy series. The fictional object allows one to see far off places and far away scenes.
It is also the name of Peter Thiel's secretive data analytics company. Thiel is a Pay-Pal co-creator, Facebook investor. The silicone valley tech investor is also connected to Carbyne, an Israeli tech firm developed by former Mossad and special Unit 8200 IDF members.
Palantir was founded in 2003 and made possible by seed money provided by the CIA's venture capitalist investment arm known as IN-Q-Tel. Although the company provides its services to a range of private entities, the bulk of the tech firm's revenues come from lucrative government contracts.
It was recently announced that the Silicone Valley data mining and analytics company was tapped by the Trump administration to help launch a national contact tracing program to help combat the COVID-19 pandemic. The news garnered little attention as Americans continue to be bombarded with an avalanche of COVID-19 related news filled with mixed signals and contradictions.
Over the last several years, Palantir has quietly emerged as a powerful player among private contractors integrating their software within key branches of the United States government.
Here is a brief summary of Palantir followed by important contracts held with various government agencies.
- Founded in 2003
- CEO - Alex Karp
- Founder tech investor Peter Thiel
- Peter Thiel former Pay-Pal co-founder / early Facebook investor
- Peter Thiel - Donald Trump donor
- Palantir Seed Funding from IN-Q-TEL (CIA)
- Big Data / Data analytics company
- Software developed by Palantir: Gotham, Foundry and Metropolis
- Industries using Palantir: Banking, Wall Street, intelligence, counter-terrorism, law enforcement, homeland security, military
- Palantir shared with the "Five-Eyes" (CAN, UK, NZ, AUS, USA)
- Palantir Software capable of interacting with 'anything', any data source
- CIA, GCHQ, NSA helped to develop Palantir software
- Estimated annual revenue: $1 billion
- Government contracts: $1.5 billion
- Company valued at $20-$40 billion
- Contract with JP Morgan, Merck
- Contract with NCMEC
- Multiple contracts with the USG (DOD, US Army, HHS)
Defense Industry Contracts
Contract with Department of Defense (DOD), US Army & Navy
- Joint contract w/ BAE Systems February 2020 - 823 million
- December 2019 - $111 million contract with US army
The Silicon Valley company will provide software to connect human resources, supply chains and other Army operations systems into a single dashboard.
- 2017 Navy Contract - $35.8 million
- 2015 Army Contract - $22.4 million
- 2014 Navy Contract - $23.7 million
- March 2019 $800 million US Army
[contract to] totally overhaul the Army’s “system-of-systems” that provides comprehensive data to “to assist the commander’s visualization and understanding of the threat and other relevant aspects of the operational environment.”
- July 2017 Project Maven
“As numerous studies have made clear, the department of defense must integrate artificial intelligence and machine learning more effectively across operations to maintain advantages over increasingly capable adversaries and competitors”
-Bob Work former Secretary of the DOD
Contract with United States Special Operations Command
- Fusion software 2016 - 222 million SOCOM
Palantir will provide All Source Information Fusion software licenses and offer associated support services to the Special Operation Forces Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, the Defense Department said in a release.
Contract with Homeland Security Investigations and ICE
- Current Contract - $38 million
Palantir “provided digital profiling tools” to Immigration and Customs Enforcement “as it carried out President Trump’s increasingly controversial policies for apprehending and deporting undocumented immigrants
Contract with the Department of Justice
- DOJ contract 2019 - 188.5 million
Contract with the Securities and Exchange Commission
- SEC contract 2019 - 84.7 million
Contract with the Internal Revenue Agency
- IRS contract 2018 - 14.4 million
Contracts with the US Department of Health and Human Services
- Contact Tracing 2020 Contract - To Be Announced*
- Gotham software for Hospitals - 17.3 million
Contract with US Coast Guard
- Palantir software order April 2020- 8 million
According to federal procurement records, Palantir’s tools will help the U.S. Coast Guard’s “Readiness System in response to [the] COVID-19 pandemic.”
Contracts Throughout Europe
- Contracts with 30 European governments (France, Germany, UK, etc.)
- UK government contracts 2019 - £39 million
- France 2016 Intelligence contract for counter-terrorism
- Supplying Foundry Software
- Contact Tracing for COVID-19
Palantir, which has about 800 employees stationed in Europe, has contracts with governments in about 30 countries. It sells two types of solutions: one called Gotham, tailored for intelligence agencies, and Foundry, mainly used by the private sector. Both products are being proposed to health agencies in Europe, sometimes mixing the solutions depending on the clients’ needs, the person said.
RESPONDING TO COVID-19
We are humbled to be supporting a diverse range of institutions as they respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and adapt for the future.
Judging by the array of contracts listed above it would appear that Palantir software systems are steadily merging all divisions of the USG into a single, "all seeing", entity.
By integrating all the data points into a single ecosystem, Palantir will enable the concentration of unprecedented power and control into the hands of a small number of overseers.
If that wasn't worrying enough, Palantir has already demonstrated its sweeping surveillance potential in tracking, tracing and identifying possible dissidents with its 'predictive analytics' capabilities.
As reported by journalist Whitney Webb in 2018, the company has touted their software's capacity to anticipate whistleblowers and disgruntled employees by means of 'predictive analytics' or , in other words, 'pre-crime' detection. Consequently, preventing would-be whistleblowers and leakers from speaking out against government malfeasants.
Palantir has allowed the Orwellian concept of “pre-crime” to be put into practice. It tracks people the government suspects may commit crimes, including suspected “subversives.” Essentially, Palantir not only enables the government to catch leakers; by recording if classified information was improperly handled and by whom; it also predicts which government employees are most likely to blow the whistle, before it even happens.
The same article outlines how Palantir along with two other firms, HBGary and Berico Technologies, were engaged in the planning of taking out the whistleblower publisher - Wikileaks. When HBGary emails were obtained by the hacktivist group Anonymous exposing the conspiracy, Palantir's CEO Alex Karp went into damage control mode making a concerted effort to disassociate the company with the plot. Karp defended his company by advocating that Palantir was a staunch defender of free speech. Karp apologized about Palantir's involvement stating:
"I have directed the company to sever any and all contacts with HBGary." Karp adds that "Palantir Technologies does not build software that is designed to allow private sector entities to obtain non-public information, engage in so-called 'cyber attacks' or take other offensive measures. I have made clear in no uncertain terms that Palantir Technologies will not be involved in such activities."
The CEO's words ring hollow in light of what has transpired with respect to Wikileaks and its former editor-in-chief Julian Assange. In the years following the incident, a systematic multi-year campaign almost identical to the original plan Palantir was a party to, constructed to cut financial support for the organization and attack its public support base, was eventually realized.
While Palantir's extensive government contracts pale in comparison to defense industry behemoths such as Lockheed, Boeing and Raytheon, its emergence coincides with an fast increasing integration with other major tech firms with the Federal government. The power of the nation's tech giants, Amazon, Google and Facebook is undeniable. At this point in time, it seems inevitable that these private entities will converge with the machinery of state power.
Another key figure in this shift towards technocratic control is the former CEO of Google, Eric Schmidt, who now plays a pivotal role in connecting Big Government with Big Data.
Since stepping down as CEO of Google in 2015 (remaining on the Board of Alphabet), Schmidt has been busy repositioned himself as a key broker between Silicone Valley and Washington. As head of the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence (NSCAI), Schmidt has been instrumental in bridging key branches of government to the rapidly evolving private tech industry. At the forefront of this technological transformation is the incorporation of Big Data and Artificial Intelligence in all parts of the government apparatus. Indeed, Schmidt has been continuously campaigning for an
unprecedented partnerships between government and industry.
A.I. will open new frontiers in everything from biotechnology to banking, and it is also a Defense Department priority. … If current trends continue, China’s overall investments in research and development are expected to surpass those of the United States within 10 years, around the same time its economy is projected to become larger than ours.
Arguing that the United States is in great danger of falling behind in the field of technological development, Schmidt fears without considerable investments of resources in technological innovation and integration the Chinese will dominate the future landscape and overtake the US within a decade.
In the current atmosphere of the COVID-19 global pandemic, the incessant push towards merging private tech conglomerates and the federal government is being conspiciously accelerated.
In recent weeks, Mr. Schmidt has been doing a PR blitz disclosing explaining how the workplace will have to be 'reimagined' echoing other technocratic 'new normal' prescriptions for the masses. The transformation of the workplace is only one of many solutions put forth by the former Google executive. Measures such as working remotely, receiving tele-health checkups and being remotely monitored form parts of Schmidt's short term vision. Schmidt believes these changes are logical and they are what people "have been asking for for years", adding that it's more "convenient for you as a patient" in the end. He goes on to claim that "all sorts of interesting social monitoring of one form or another" will need to occur to ensure public safety.
When the issue of access is raised Schmidt is quick to suggest government stimulus funding should be considered in order to provide broadband nationwide as a solution. More importantly though, he states that
"You can't participate in this new economy without access to the internet."
Ludicrous Speed - Technology is the Answer
Perhaps no other term encapsulates this frenzied rush towards technocratic future rule than "Operation Warp Speed".
Borrowing its name from the Star Trek Sci-Fi series, 'Warp Speed' promises to deliver a 'life saving' COVID-19 vaccine by January 2021. If we're to believe the experts paraded across the media landscape or the preposterous made for television Task Force lead by president Trump, it would seem that a Vaccine is the ONLY solution available to us.
As James Corbett (@corbettreport) has documented in his series on Bill Gates, another well known billionaire technocrat, a clear push towards a global control grid complete with vaccination programs and tracking the activity of every citizen on earth, is currently well underway.
The world around us is being transformed before our very eyes at such an overwhelming pace that its difficult to stop and ask questions, let only comprehend the impacts of the decisions being made on our behalf.
Certainly, the technocrats are pushing us towards their ready made solutions.
Naturally, for a technocrat, the answer is always - technology.
We're witnessing the merger of Big Date with the Military Industrial Complex which itself has already merged with the Surveillance Industrial Complex. At the same time, these very same military systems will synthesize with data streams from all corners of government and the public sphere: education, health, the economy, and a range of social functions. From these data flows society will be digitized, identified, tracked, mined, processed, stripped, monitored and dissected within a single control system.
An all knowing system.
An all seeing eye.