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Tor Project’s Lying 2012 Financial Report: “60% of Our Funding Comes from the U.S. Government”

The Tor Project has recently released its 2012 Financial Report; the good news is that when it comes to “openness and transparency”, they are second to none.  The bad news, however, is really bad: they proudly embrace their “partnership” with the U.S. Government, and falsely assert that in 2012 fully 60% of their funding came from such reactionary and highly secretive organizations as the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. State Department and god knows who else!  In fact, over 80% of Tor’s funding comes from the US Government.  They are trying to make it look like their reliance on the US Government for the vast majority of their funding is on the decline when it’s not; they are just pretending to be funded by NGOs when in fact some of the NGOs are just cut-outs for the Pentagon.

Why is the fact that the Tor Project claims to get 60% (actually over 80%) of its money from the U.S. Government a bad thing?

Seriously.  Do we need to spell it out for you?  Really?  O.K., here goes: the U.S. Government is the world’s most despotic government, run, in the final analysis, essentially in the sole interest of just 427 U.S. billionaires and maybe a few hundred thousand multi-multi-millionaires, who possess over 50% of the wealth of the United States.  This government was founded by the ancestors of many of these same billionaires on the twin “pillars” of genocide of the Native Americans and the African Slave Trade.  Since then, the U.S. capitalist class has kept itself in power over the vast majority of the population by a combination of lies, corruption and murder.  The list of the victims of U.S. imperialism – a wholly-owned subsidiary of the U.S. capitalist class – runs into the hundreds of millions.  From Mexico to the Philippines, from Cuba to Afghanistan, the capitalist class of the United States uses all its power to keep itself in the drivers seat of the world economy.  Lying, cheating and stealing, along with a very  unhealthy dose of mass murder are the methods used by this tiny U.S. capitalist class to maintain its domination over 300 million U.S. debt and wage-slaves.  Really, how else COULD such a tiny minority of filthy rich people with the criminal record they have continue to lord it over the working class using “kinder, gentler” methods?

So, when the Tor Project tells you in the same breath that 1) they are committed to helping you avoid “network surveillance that threatens personal freedom and privacy, confidential business activities and relationships, and state security known as traffic analysis” and 2) that they get over 60% of their funding from the U.S. Government – one of the most secretive organizations in history and that is fighting to smash groups like WikiLeaks for providing a window into what the US Government is really up to – you should think twice about that.  And then laugh out loud at the pure cheeky bare-faced bullshit of it all!

The fact is, according to Tor Project Manager Andrew Lewman, Tor isn’t worth shit when it comes to protecting your privacy.  As Mr. Lewman told us in an email last year: “We’ve said repeatedly that if you’re going up against nation-states, and all you have is Tor, you’ve already lost.”

If that’s true, then what about Tor’s bullshit about how Tor can supply journalists with tools they can use to prevent governments – like the US Government! – from spying on them and discovering their “sources”?  Do you, intelligent reader, really believe for a second that the U.S. Government – which has been funding and running some of the most vicious data-mining operations in the world, like CARNIVORE and the U.S. National Security Agency’s warrantless wiretapping operations; which has been condemned internationally for its relentless attacks on U.S. Government whistleblowers; and

whose leading members have threatened WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange with summary execution! – is actually going to FUND a secrecy tool that will make it IMPOSSIBLE for the U.S. Government to eavesdrop on journalists?  If your answer to this question is “yes” then we have a vacant building in downtown Chicago we’d like to sell you!

Yet, that is precisely what Tor and its employees want you to believe.  In an article published last September on PBS.org, Tor’s “Development Director”, Karen Reilly when on a full-court press to convince U.S. citizens that was the case.  ” ‘On condition of anonymity’ is one of the most important phrases in journalism. At Tor, we are working on making that more than a promise” Reilly wrote.  “Going into journalism is a quick way to make a lot of enemies. Authoritarian regimes, corporations with less-than-stellar environmental records, criminal cartels, and other enemies of the public interest can all agree on one thing: Transparency is bad. Action to counter their activities starts with information. Reporters have long been aware that threats of violence, physical surveillance, and legal obstacles stand between them and the ability to publish… If a journalist does manage to publish, there is no guarantee that people in the community being written about can read the story. Censorship of material deemed offensive is widespread. This includes opposition websites, information on family planning, most foreign websites, platforms for sharing videos, and the names of officials in anything other than state-owned media. Luckily, there are people who want to help ensure access to information, and they have the technology to do it. [...]  Tor guards against surveillance and censorship by bouncing your communications through a volunteer network of about 3,000 relays around the world.”  [Source: "Tor Project Offers a Secure, Anonymous Journalism Toolkit", by Karen Reilly, 5 September, 2012 on the pbs.org website]

So, you tell us, dear reader, who is telling the truth: Andrew Lewman or Karen Reilly?  Their stories do not wash.

Getting back to the new year-end Financial Report just published by Tor, we don’t see Executive Director Andrew Lewman distancing himself from the U.S. Government at all, in spite of the Obama Administration’s ongoing global attempts to crush whistleblowers.  Instead, he is being even more forthright about Tor’s deep and indissoluble connection WITH the U.S. Government.  In his introduction to the 2012 Financial Report, Lewman writes: “Over the past 10 years, we have grown and evolved with the demands of the technology landscape, the needs of the world, and a firm commitment to freedom of expression for everyone.

[...]

“We fearlessly step up and speak out as the leading experts in privacy, censorship circumvention,
anonymity and related research [...]  Tor’s success is in large part thanks to our funding partners, including [...] The Broadcasting Board of Governors, SRI International, [and] The United States Department of State [...]  With this incredible support behind us, Tor is staying ahead of the growing challenges to censor the Internet while working to provide safe, free access to information online.”  [Source: "Tor Project Annual Report 2012", retrieved 25 April, 2013 from http://www.torproject.org

As we revealed in our earlier articles exposing Tor’s ongoing menage a trois with the U.S. Department of State and the Pentagon, these seemingly innocuous names – The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) and SRI International – are actually also US Government-funded operations.  The BBG is the new incarnation of the CIA propaganda operation formerly known as the United States Information Agency; and SRI (which itself has deep ties to the Pentagon) is actually an innocent-sounding “cutout” through which funds for Tor are sent directly from the US Department of Defense!  The use of these “cutouts” in the form of non-governmental organizations in order to hide the true sources of funding from the public has long been a hallmark of the US “intelligence community”.  It is supposed to provide “plausible deniability” for the recipient of the covert aid; but in Tor’s case they shout their connections to the U.S. Government to the rooftops!

But even though Tor openly embraces the paternity of their organization to have been the Office of [US] Naval Intelligence, they are trying to falsify the true source of their funding in this new financial report.  They lie when they say that “only” 60% of their funding comes from “U.S. Government based income”.  They are trying to make it look as if their dependence on U.S. Government funding is being reduced when in fact it is just being hidden using the type of third-rate subterfuge we just described in the case of SRI International.  The truth is that Tor gets over 80% of their funding from two sources: the U.S. Department of State and the Pentagon!  The funding from the Pentagon via SRI has just been moved into the “Foundation and other grants” category.  So much for “openness and transparency”! And what about this “Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency”?  It is probably just another conduit for Defense Department or US State Department funding of Tor, but we’re not sure of that yet.  Anyone know where SIDA gets it’s funding?

We just started looking at this new Financial Report.  We’ll keep you apprised of any new developments as we become aware of them.

In the meantime, activists should be aware that, since Tor receives over 80% of its funding directly from the U.S. Government, that means that everyone who works for Tor is, essentially an employee of the U.S. Government – including Jacob Appelbaum and every other proselyte for Tor.  The fact that Tor openly acknowledges its own dependence on and paternity to be the US Government means that everyone working for Tor knows it too.  We have no evidence to prove this next assertion but think about this: Tor would make a superb front for the US Government intelligence agencies to penetrate hacker conferences around the world under the guise of this “benign” branch of the U.S. Government.  It is highly likely that at least some of Tor’s people are actually working for US intelligence agencies – possibly without their own knowledge.  Allowing Tor’s personnel into your hacker’s conference is essentially opening the door to having your organization penetrated by the Pentagon and the CIA.  And that is a risk no one should take.

As far as we here at the Friends of WikiLeaks Chicago are concerned: we will have nothing at all to do with Tor or its employees for just this reason.  They are openly working for the US Government, and as such should be avoided like the plague.  And if you think that DARPA hasn’t riddled the Tor network with backdoors, then maybe you’d like to take a look at this cool diamond a friend of ours is selling: we can get you a GREAT deal on it!

IWPCHI

Discussion

10 thoughts on “Tor Project’s Lying 2012 Financial Report: “60% of Our Funding Comes from the U.S. Government”

  1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bmj2w9HPPaE&feature=player_embedded&t=3839
    here is their answer. they never tried to hide it nor did they pretend to be funded from NGO’s. it still is open source, so if you have any security detailed issues you can review the code YOURSELF.

    Posted by tin tin | August 16, 2013, 7:26 AM
    • Thanks so much for sending us that link to the Tor presentation at [29c3]!
      Watching Appelbaum and Dingledine laughing about the fact that Tor openly admits that they’re funded by the CIA (!) is news to us and quite illustrative of our point – which has nothing at all to do with whether or not their project is or is not “Open Source”. The Tor Project was started with a grant from DARPA; it is to this day funded by the Pentagon and State Department and, we guess, by the CIA according to this presentation. The salaries of Appelbaum and Dingledine and the entire Tor staff are paid by the Pentagon/CIA/US Government – and they are not at all embarrassed by that! In other words, they are willingly working for the very same organizations that are responsible for defending and maintaining US spy operations like those run by the National Security Agency which were exposed by Edward Snowden. Appelbaum, Dingeldine and Lewman are US Government employees trying to get the world to use their Pentagon-funded program in order to provide secure communications outside of government spying! They don’t care if the US Government has the ability to monitor all Tor communications in real time BECAUSE THEY SUPPORT THE AIMS OF THE US GOVERNMENT! They are working for the US Government! And they are recruiting hackers to join them and also work for the US Government. If that doesn’t bother you, fine. But it bothers the hell out of us, and we do not see – particularly after the Snowden revelations – how ANYONE can trust the Tor Project with the handling of their secure communications. “Open Source” means nothing. Tor is an “open source” project RUN BY THE FUCKING PENTAGON! We have learned that the US State Department runs “hundreds” of Tor nodes, which means that they can easily monitor all traffic coming across those nodes and divert it to NSA who can then decrypt it. Tor is, as Andrew Lewman (Tor’s Executive Director) stated to us in an email “useless” if your communications are being targeted by government spy agencies. In other words, if you think your communications across the Tor network can’t be monitored in real-time by the US government, you are wrong. Tor is useless. It’s a fraud. We believe that the Tor Project is an attempt by the US Government to create a phony “secure communications network” in order to attract unsuspecting journalists, whistleblowers, political activists, etc. to use it so that the US Government can more easily monitor those specific types of communications. There is simply no such thing as “secure communications” or privacy on the Internet. The Tor Project is a fraud.

      Friends of WikiLeaks – Chicago

      Posted by fowlchicago | August 16, 2013, 5:07 PM
      • “We have learned that the US State Department runs “hundreds” of Tor nodes, which means that they can easily monitor all traffic coming across those nodes and divert it to NSA who can then decrypt it.”

        No it does not.

        And you are an idiot.

        Posted by simple-touriste | December 11, 2013, 4:30 PM
        • We obtained our first inkling that Tor was something other than what it pretends to be in a Twitter flamewar last year. In it, a person (whose name we don’t recall at the moment), who was apparently at that time intimately acquainted with the Tor Project, stated that the US State Department “hosts hundreds of Tor nodes” or words to that effect.
          This should not surprise anyone since the US Department of Defense has developed Tor and is currently the Tor Project’s primary financial sponsor. The US Government uses Tor as a means of securely communicating with its spies in countries like China; Tor allows the CIA, NSA, etc. to keep in touch with agents and dissidents by circumventing China’s Internet security operations. This is well known. As we pointed out in our articles on Tor, Tor is currently working on specific projects assigned to it by the US Government that have as their goal the circumvention of the domestic censorship of the Internet being carried out by unnamed nation-states. The Tor Project is actively involved in US Government spy operations because the Tor Project’s leaders are in favor of the general thrust of the US Government’s foreign and domestic policy objectives. They are “true believers” in the phony “humanitarian” and “human rights” operations of the U.S. Government and they make no bones about it. But among the broader hacker community that they recruit from and among whom they like to pose as heroes, it is not so poular to be so red-white-and-blue, so they try to make it difficult to determine just who pays their salaries. It’s embarassing and it makes it difficult for them to get more people to use Tor. It is in the best interests of the US spy agencies that use Tor that the project becomes more popular because the more civilians that run Tor nodes, the better hidden the US spy agencies’ Tor-based operations become!
          The U.S. State Department has always provided “diplomatic cover” for U.S. spies. Using U.S. State Department credentials, CIA agents have worked in countries around the world for decades. Read “Inside the Company: CIA Diary” by Philip Agee (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_Agee). That book proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that every US State Department Embassy is nothing more than a thinly veiled cover for a nest of spies. You can look this up in many loctions on the Internet. This is a fact, not a product of lunatic fring conspiracy theorists. The US State Department’s “ambassador” Christopher Stevens in Libya was working hand in glove with CIA agents in an attempt to destabilize the Quaddafi regime, running assassination teams right out of the US Embassy.
          As for the US State Department’s close collaboration with the Tor Project, we refer you to recent articles in The Guardian outlining the British GCHQ and NSA efforts to “crack” Tor here: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/oct/04/nsa-gchq-attack-tor-network-encryption The NSA claims that it has been unable to crack Tor – but we find that very hard to believe. In fact, they shouldn’t need to crack it since they created it. The recent successful FBI operation against Silk Road showed how vulnerable Tor is to Tor node monitoring. We fully expect to learn soon that the Tor Network has long been “transparent” so far as the NSA and GCHQ are concerned.
          You can get some indication of the widespread use of Tor by the US State Department and its agents from this recent US State Department-sponsored presentation on the subject, which included the Tor Project’s Roger Dingledine: http://tech.state.gov/m/blogpost?id=6282015%3ABlogPost%3A40819

          The fact is: The US State Department DOES INDEED run hundreds – and maybe even the majority of – Tor nodes. And they can and do share all the US “national-security-related” information they can glean from those Tor nodes with the NSA. If you think that they would refuse to do this, then you are the idiot.

          FoWL Chicago

          Posted by fowlchicago | December 14, 2013, 6:56 PM
          • “In fact, they shouldn’t need to crack it since they created it.”

            Hug?

            “The recent successful FBI operation against Silk Road showed how vulnerable Tor is to Tor node monitoring. ”

            No, it does not.

            Posted by simple-touriste | December 15, 2013, 2:14 AM
      • How can you seriously say it is irrelevant that its ‘open source’ when its the core issue to determine whether or not Tor Project is telling the truth? Its the bottomline when it comes to trusting them, if you’re technically competent, to go see YOURSELF if there really is a backdoor.. The geek community’s trust isn’t won easily, it has to be earned. I think Tor fairs better in this case than anything else out there, their work speaks for itself. If the core dev’s claim that there are no backdoors was a lie, it would’ve come out long ago as there are many security researchers out there who look into high-profile open source tools available, especially something as vital as Tor. WikiLeaks dropbox was hosted on a tor node; not to mention other current whistleblowing initatives like First Look’s The Intercept also make use of tor. You’re not making any sense.

        I suggest you watch this year’s 30C3 Tor talk as well to help convince you otherwise.. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8NxTFDDdjd4 in which backdoors are refuted and funding discussed (at 26:00) and Applebaum specifically asks the audience to match USG’s funding $-by-$ (at 43:00) so they can be more independent in setting priorities..

        Posted by direnbtc | February 20, 2014, 7:41 PM
  2. About SIDA:

    http://www.sida.se/English/About-us/Organization/

    And their budget:
    “Sweden’s development aid is funded by the people of Sweden through the taxes they pay. The government decides how much money Sida receives”: http://www.sida.se/English/About-us/Budget-and-annual-report/

    Posted by Anonymous | September 11, 2013, 6:39 AM
  3. “the U.S. Government is the world’s most despotic government”

    Seriously?

    This is the most utterly stupid thing you could have written.

    Posted by corrector | December 25, 2013, 7:57 AM
    • Perhaps you know of another government in the world that was founded on the twin “pillars” of slavery and the genocide of the aboriginal peoples living on an entire continent? Perhaps you know of another government that has systematically intervened in civil wars and popular uprisings around the world over the past 150 years and that has always intervened on the side of the rich and powerful against the poor? Perhaps you know of another government besides the US government that dropped nuclear bombs – twice – on civilian populations, killing over 200,000 people just in order to terrify that nation into “unconditional surrender”? Or perhaps you know of another country that, since World War II, has murdered millions of people around the globe for the “crime” of wanting to live under the socialist system? Or perhaps you know of another government, representing just 4.75% of the world’s population that belives it has the right to rule over the entire world militarily and run the entire planet in the selfish interest of the US’ miniscule capitalist class? Perhaps you know of another government that believes it has the right to murder any political activist on the face of Earth whose politics it doesn’t like? And whose government claims it has the right to monitor all the electronic communications of every human being on the planet?

      Last, but by no means least: perhaps you know of another government besides the United States’ whose chief executive has announced to the world that he has “the right” to order the assassination of the citizens of his own country if they so much as write articles in defense of that government’s perceived enemies – and that has carried out that threat at least twice?

      We reiterate: the US government is by far the most despotic government on the face of the Earth right now, without question.

      FoWL – Chicago

      Posted by fowlchicago | December 25, 2013, 6:18 PM

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