MintCast hosts Whitney Webb and Alan MacLeod recently interviewed investigative journalist Yasha Levine about his most recent book Surveillance Valley: The Secret Military History of the Internet and his most recent articles on the xenophobia that lies beneath Russiagate and how this new anti-Russia fervor has impacted the Russian-American immigrant community at the national level.
In discussing his exhaustively researched book Surveillance Valley, Levine details how the growing nexus between Silicon Valley monopolies like Google and Facebook and the U.S. government as well as today’s scandals over internet surveillance and warrantless spying are actually the logical consequence of the Internet’s origins as a U.S. military project aimed at predicting future insurgent behavior by means of covert spying.
Also, discussed is Levine’s controversial but invaluable work on the hidden face of the Tor Project, which is included in Surveillance Valley. Levine summarizes his research on the Tor Project, noting that — far from being the browser that is the ultimate tool against government surveillance — it has long been funded and continues to receive most of its funding from the U.S. government. In addition, leaders and top advocates of the Tor Project have been caught colluding with the U.S. government, particularly the government agencies funding the project, on more than one occasion, greatly undermining its carefully crafted public image as an anti-government surveillance-busting tool.
Lastly, Levine describes his most recent work on the Russiagate scandal, highlighting the often overlooked impact of the media-driven hysteria on Russian-Americans and Russian immigrants to the United States. As Levine notes, much of this rhetoric in recent years has implied that ethnic Russians have undesirable “genetic” traits or are all secretly connected to Russia’s current leader, Vladimir Putin, who is often portrayed by some mainstream media outlets as a supervillain. As a result, Levin argues that many Russian-Americans have become alienated from the Democratic Party and have either embraced Trump or complete disillusionment with both parties.