Subject to Kings: Is The New 1.2 Billion Dollar NSA Facility in Utah Payback for “beneficial cognitive diversity”?

by Scott Creighton

It was recently announced that some “Israeli art students” may be trying to spy on the development of a new National Security Agency (NSA) project in Williams,Utah but honestly, that isn’t the meatier part of the story. The real question is; “why would the Bush administration reward the BYU area with this kind of project, while BYU was paying for Steven Jones’ “nanothermite” research?”

In 2008, just before leaving office and at the height of the economic recession, President George W. Bush started an initiative to build a massive new $1.2-1.9 billion dollar NSA facility in Williams, Utah, tucked neatly between Salt Lake City and Provo, home of BYU.

The Army has awarded a $1.2 billion contract to a construction consortium to build a spacious new data center in Utah for the National Security Agency’s (NSA’s) cybersecurity effort…

… The initiative is aimed at bolstering how the government protects federal computer networks from intrusion by hackers and rival nations that may want to access classified U.S. data. President George W. Bush launched the initiative in 2008 and the Obama administration has kept it in place.

Specifically, the data center will support the intelligence community’s mission to provide foreign intelligence about cybersecurity threats to DoD networks, according to the NSA. It also will provide information-assurance support to those networks, which the NSA refers to as the “dot-mil” networks. The center will also provide technical assistance to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its mission of securing federal civilian networks, or the “dot-gov” networks, according to the NSA.  Information Week

The actual construction contract went to several companies… Balfour Beatty (U.S.) in Dallas, DPR Construction, and the local talent Big-D Contruction in Salt Lake City.

Balfour Beatty is a massive international construction firm based out of London. They got in trouble last year because it was discovered that they had been contracting a guy named Ian Kerr to maintain a blacklist of construction workers who were either affiliated with trade unions or had union leanings. The list was used to determine eligibility for hiring. The case confirmed what I have felt for years, that certain industries are using and maintaining “black lists” to keep workers with certain ideological beliefs from working.

“Sensitive” personal details of more than 3,200 workers were kept on a secret “intelligence” database. The files recorded individuals’ trade union activities and employment conduct, with warnings that they could cause trouble. Comments included “Do not touch“, “Communist party“, “ex-shop steward, definite problems, no go“.

Graham ruled that the firms had broken data privacy laws and ordered them to stop using details from the database or gathering covert information.

… A confidential document seen by the Guardian suggests that the blacklisting operation was more organised than previously thought.

… “Everybody in the industry knew about Kerr because it was long-standing. It was an open secret in the industry“. Guardian UK

The irony that this company, ordered to stop gathering covert information on people, will now be building one of the largest covert data gathering centers in the world, is too obvious to comment on.

The facility itself is a massive project of over 1.5 million square meters of data center built on Camp Williams Army Base. This is the same location of Dugway Proving Ground. The contract calls for the project  to be fast-tracked, giving them a mere 1,100 calendar days to get the data center up and running. The state of Utah expects over 7,000 local hires during the process, not bad for this economy.

Now as big as this project is, it’s only a drop in the “black arts” bucket of Obama’s CHANGE administration. We’re talking $233 billion dollars for fiscal year 2010 to protect the Homeland from all those homegrown internet terrorists. And that’s just the FBI’s budget…

As Antifascist Calling previously reported (see: “FBI ‘Going Dark.’ Budget Request for High-Tech Surveillance Capabilities Soar,” May 17, 2009), the Bureau sought–and received–$233.9 billion in FY 2010 for the development of a new advanced electronic surveillance program.

ABC News first disclosed the program last year, and reported that “the term ‘Going Dark’ does not refer to a specific capability, but is a program name for the part of the FBI, Operational Technology Division’s (OTD) lawful interception program which is shared with other law enforcement agencies.” Global research

Right now there are laws slithering through congress that would force telecommunications manufacturers to build backdoor access into every piece of communications equipment people buy so that agencies like the NSA, the FBI, and the CIA can instantly access your private communications. Hell, they might even be able to turn on your webcam and watch you and your kids while you sleep.

Times’ reporter Charlie Savage informs us that the administration will demand that software and communication providers build backdoors accessible to law enforcement and intelligence agencies, thus enabling spooks trolling “encrypted e-mail transmitters like BlackBerry, social networking Web sites like Facebook and software that allows direct ‘peer to peer’ messaging like Skype” the means “to intercept and unscramble encrypted messages.”

Calling new legislative strictures a “reasonable” and “necessary” tool for law enforcement that will “prevent the erosion of their investigative powers,” FBI mouthpiece, general counsel Valerie E. Caproni, told the Times, “We’re talking about lawfully authorized intercepts.”  Global Research

Now as convoluted as all of this seems, it gets even worse… well, for some of us.

In a nutshell, we have a multi-billion dollar (capped at 1.9 billion) NSA spying facility being fast-tracked in Mormon country by several companies who have already displayed certain neoliberal loyalties at a time when the secret state is flourishing beyond anyone’s imagination and while the rest of the economy is mired in a deep recession.

This project is estimated to employ 7,000 or so local workers from Salt Lake City and Provo Utah and once completed, the facility itself will employ others on a long-term basis. It’s a huge boon to the economy of this location, so I have to wonder if George W. Bush’s connections with the Mormon Church had anything to do with the 2008 selection of this area for the project. Seems to me it’s a nice little piece of pork-barrel pay-back from the Bush administration… but pay-back for what?

One of our Articles of Faith, which represent an expression of our doctrine, states, “We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law

It may even be that [the Lord] will hold us responsible if we try to impede or hedge up the way of those who are involved in a contest with forces of evil and repression.”  Gordon B. Hinckley, 2003

In the Mormon religion, the president of the church is pretty much the conduit to God so what he says, God says. That said, it’s pretty odd that BYU, the flagship Mormon institution, financed and supported Steven Jones’ 9/11 Truth “research” since it’s inception in late 2005.  At first Jones tried to present the situation with BYU as one of tragic consequences for himself, inferring that he had been forced out of his teaching position and into “early retirement” by BYU as punishment for his work in the Truth advocacy field.

Turns out, that was bullshit.

BYU did not fire Steven Jones for his involvement in the Truth movement, but rather, his involvement in the Truth movement BECAME his job at BYU… these are Steven Jones’ own words on the subject after he finally admitted he had been REWARDED by BYU for his work, not punished and that BYU had actually PAID for the work, PAID for the researchers, PAID for the publishing of the nanothermite paper, and PEER REVIEWED the crap in the first place.

BYU allowed me to continue my research on 9/11 after I was placed on admin leave, particularly regarding the dust generated during the collapse of the Towers, and even encouraged that research. It was important to the work that I was allowed to use the electron microscopes at BYU for this research.

Based on that research at BYU, a group of scientists wrote the paper now published in the Open Chemical Physics Journal, “Active Thermitic Material Discovered in Dust from the 9/11 World Trade Center Catastrophe,” April 2009. BYU reviewed the paper prior to publication and found it to represent sound science, and approved it for publication in the Open Chemical Physics Journal. Specifically the chair of the BYU Department of Physics and Astronomy approved publication and told me personally this was sound scientific research and that he was now persuaded that explosives/pyrotechnics were involved in the destruction of the World Trade Center on 9/11.

There were two authors from BYU listed on that paper, Dr. Farrer (as second author) and Daniel Farnsworth. Their affiliation with the BYU Department of Physics and Astronomy was listed in the paper, with the approval of BYU.

About the same time as this paper was published, I was made an Emeritus Professor of Physics at BYU

BYU provided a nice (not large) pension as I accepted their offer of early retirement, gave me a (shared) office that I still use. They allowed me to keep my research web page, which links to three formally-published peer-reviewed papers regarding 9/11 in technical journals, here: http://www.physics.byu.edu/research/energy/

If it seems like a strange contradiction, that a leading neoliberal university like BYU with a sworn mandate of “being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates” and with close connections to the Bush administration, would finance the Truth movement’s “smoking gun”, then you are not alone. It’s kind of a hard pill to swallow especially now that we know the Bush administration rewarded them with a big NSA facility right in the heartland of Mormon country with all the money and the jobs that go with it.  Hard to understand unless of course you then start thinking about Cass Sunstein’s “cognitive infiltration” paper… then it makes more sense.

We suggest a distinctive tactic for breaking up the hard-core of extremists who supply conspiracy theories: cognitive infiltration of extremist groups, whereby government agents or their allies (acting either virtually or in real space, and either openly or anonymously) will undermine the crippled epistemology of believers (1)by planting doubts about the theories and stylized facts that circulate within such groups, thereby (2) introducing  beneficial cognitive diversity.”

… government agents “might enter chat rooms, online social networks, or even real-space groups and attempt to undermine percolating conspiracy theories by raising doubts about their factual premises, causal logic or implications for political action.”  Cass Sunstein, President Obama’s regulatory czar

Fact is, we may never know what really happened and how they got that massive contract which will help insulate Mormon country (and the Mormon Church) from the worst parts of the coming economic collapse. Perhaps it was a bit of pork-barrel payback for a job well done – a job that distracted and divided the Truth movement with Jones’ “red/grey” herring of 2009. Who knows.

But the real story here isn’t a bunch of “Israeli art students” selling cheap $15 Chinese prints for hundreds of dollars a piece. As is often the case, the real story takes a little more time to flush out and is a little more interesting when you get down to it.

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4 Responses

  1. I wonder why they even bother to pass new laws (unless it’s to cover their asses with the Lord). They already own this ship, so they can’t be afraid of mainstream criticism–not with our Prize-winning Prez at the helm, and with his mates frantic to blind themselves to anything like an iceberg.

    Anyway, it’s been years since I bought anything new in communication equipment. I do have a security system on this machine that’s supposed to automatically download updates to it, though. I suppose they could slip a backdoor in it that way, if they haven’t already.

    So, I’m wearing my nicest smile, just in case they’re on the other side of this screen, watching me type this. Maybe that’ll cover my ass with them.

    r ap

  2. LOL
    got your ass covered…. good idea…. we’ll all start smiling broadly at our computers……. it will drive them crazy!!!!

  3. If that don’t work, Jan, maybe I’ll dig around in my trunk, find my scariest Hannibal mask, put it on, light up this screen and tell them I just broke in and ate myself and my family.

    r

  4. he he …… yeah, Roy, that would work.
    Great idea….. that is terrific!! We could all get weird masks and mess with their heads…..
    Hey, this could be fun.

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