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Project Nimbus, Google in Service of Israeli Military

Google usurped by Unit 8200. (image, PressTV)

Google, the world's largest tech firm is being integrated into the military of the Zionist entity. Google signed a contract known as Project Nimbus that will have extremely negative consequences for the Palestinian people.

Project Nimbus and the resistance to it

A scandal has erupted at US tech behemoth Google following the rebellion of workers against the company's integration with the Israeli military.

This absorption of Google into Israel's arsenal of tools has developed in several ways.

The climax of this integration is the bonding of Google and Amazon with the Israeli military through Project Nimbus.

Project Nimbus is a $1.2 billion contract between Google and Amazon and the Israeli military and government. It was launched last year during May of 2021. Right after the siege on Gaza, during which over 250 Palestinian people were killed at the hands of Israeli military violence.

And the contract is actually providing tools to the Israeli Government and military that will help the government and military scale out a multitude of forms of violence, including surveillance, data collection, the expansion of illegal settlement expansion.

You know, there are a lot of different forms of violence that Google is essentially aiding and abetting through Project Nimbus.

Ariel Koren, Former Google Marketing Manager

The $1.2 billion contract is to construct six data centers, employing 500 Israelis at each site. The project will also provide cloud infrastructure to Israeli government institutions, including Israel's military and the Israel Land Authority, which is the agency responsible for stealing Palestinian land and allocating it to Zionist settler colonies.

It has been revealed that, through Nimbus, Google will supply very advanced artificial intelligence mechanisms to the Israeli military. Nimbus training documents, which were exposed by The Intercept, found that Google's Cloud Vision API would Empower Israel's facial recognition mechanisms.

It has also been confirmed that Nimbus will be able to process data for lie detection purposes. An interesting twist in the project Nimbus contract is that it contains an anti BDS clause. The companies are barred from withdrawing their services from any institution, regardless of how horrific its crimes are against the Palestinians.. This clause would have certainly been inserted to enforce integration with the Israeli military

So Google and Amazon will not have the power to stop their technology from being used for human rights violations. Even if they so wished.

Despite the humiliating conditions of this agreement, Google spokeswoman Shannon Newbury, still gushingly boasted, "we are proud that Google Cloud has been selected by the Israeli government to provide public cloud services to help digitally transform the country," but almost 40,000 members of the public and a thousand Google employees have signed a petition calling for the tech giant to pull out of the contract and some workers are already resigning from their positions in protest.

This full integration of the world's largest tech company with the Israeli military is only a matter of time, but the resistance still burns.

David Miller is an academic and former professor at Bristol University and a leading British scholarly critic of Israel. He's also the co founder and co director of the lobbying watchdog SpinWatch.

Huda Ammory is a founder of Palestine Action and has led an unprecedented insurgency against Israel in the UK. She succeeded in shutting down two sites in England belonging to the Israeli weapons company, Elbit Systems, and in coordination with the local community in Oldham, she helped to force Elbit Systems to sell a subsidiary in the town.

What do you know about this project Nimbus?

Well, as you saw in the film there, this is a huge contract which Google has signed with the Israeli government and which effects the military as well as other oppressive ministries and agencies in the Zionist entity, and it allows quite extraordinary capacities for the IDF, for visual intelligence agencies, for crowd control, for surveillance, for facial recognition, for lie detection.

Of course, these will be used straightforwardly in brutality and human rights abuses. And indeed, of course, the torture which the IDF is well known for in the territories, and indeed, in Israel itself. So this is a kind of agreement, which allows Google to help the abuses carried out (on a daily basis) by the State of Israel.

David Miller, Academic

Companies working with Israeli military complicit in Palestinian rights violations

What do you think this means for the Palestinian people?

Well, I think it's important to acknowledge that tech companies are now becoming more powerful than many governments. And when those tech companies are working with the Israeli military, they're essentially aiding in all of the violations against human rights and the colonization of the Palestinian people.

Now, practically that means, on the ground, encouraging the further blockade of the people of Gaza, the siege that has been routinely put up on them, the blockade that has lasted over 15 years and the constant military attacks of (sic) which often Israel use as an opportunity to test and improve the weapons that they use, to then use against other people across the world.

We know that Israel has already used cameras, as I've already mentioned, to blackmail Palestinians because they are so advanced in that arena and this project is going to further add to that.

But I think, at the end of the day, there are now companies that many of us are forced into using you know, it's often not a choice whether you use Google or Amazon because so many third party platforms use them.

It means that the the the weight and the size of the oppressors working against the Palestinians continues to increase. And as a result, we have to increase our power, our grassroots power, against them.

Huda Ammory, Palestine Action

Can you tell us something about the apparent anti BDS clause in the project Nimbus contract?

I think when you look at what BDS stands for, which is boycott, divestment, and sanctions, against the Israeli government, to pressure them into complying with a few demands, which include ending the colonization and occupation of Palestinian territories, including lifting the blockade of Gaza, Palestinian refugees have the right to return to their homes, which they were forced out of by Israel, and for Palestinian citizens to have equal rights as their Jewish counterparts.

To have an anti BDS clause is to go against those demands which are enshrined under international law and human rights conventions, and is to further perpetuate an apartheid system.

Basically by doing this, by working with the Israeli military and government in the first place, Google and Amazon have, basically, called themselves advocates for apartheid, and worse, against the Palestinian people.

Huda Ammory, Palestine Action

What do you know about Ariel Koren, former director of marketing for Google’s educational products department, who resigned from Google over project Nimbus?

She was one of the people who objected to this activity, and there were quite a number of them, you saw a thousand  people there signed that letter, quite a number of Jewish employees sent a separate letter complaining about the contract and they've raised the issue of human rights abuses.

In all the ways that you would imagine, of course, what happened was that these people were either sacked or resigned. And so there's been a huge clear out there of people who have any kind of critical view on the contract.

And of course, inside Google itself, there are a number of others who are very supportive of this contract, partly for business reasons, one would guess, but also partly there are those who are ideologically supportive of the Israeli government and that's a significant problem for Google as a corporation.

David Miller, Academic

What kind of treatment has Palestine Action received from tech companies?

Well, from the start of Palestine Action, it became very clear that not only were we fighting the battle against Elbit but we also had to find new ways to actually be able to get our word, and our message out there, which was against an Israeli Arms Company.

Within a month or two Facebook had removed us after we were rapidly growing to 20,000 followers within a month or two. That was followed by PayPal, the open collective, many more liberal platforms as well removed us and in the end, I think it's about 10 different tech companies and third party platforms which have removed Palestine Action.

Our advisor told us that we cannot use that platforms. And we actually discovered, I think, after the seventh platform removed us, that it was because Elbit's lawyers were writing to them directly and that they were scared of a lawsuit, and they were scared of going bankrupt.

So basically, Elbit Systems, Israel's largest arms firm, were blackmailing companies into removing any support for our movement. But it has consistently failed to do so. And actually the fact that they are forced into spending so much money on these lawyers to do so, I think, is a testament to the success of Palestine Action.

Huda Ammory, Palestine Action

The tech aspects of Israel's activities doesn't really get the attention it deserves, does it? How can that be combated?

Well, it's, these are these are difficult stories to explain to people, I think, who understand human rights abuses. They understand direct support for human rights abuses from Zionist organizations and their activities in this country and in the US, for example.

They try to understand the technicalities of tech, if you like, of Google, of Amazon, of Twitter, is difficult for people and also they don't see the inside of these companies.

So the fact that there are huge numbers of people who are from Israeli intelligence organizations inside the social media companies, people don't get that, they don't understand that, they don't know about that.

So I think partly, the question is how you explain this story to people, how you explain the strategy which has been used by the State of Israel to penetrate tech companies so that they will be supportive of the human rights abuses conducted by the State of Israel.

So that's the key question that needs to be raised, to how you explain to people how tech is a useful, interesting way to look at the abuses caused by the State of Israel.

David Miller, Academic

Would you say a little bit about unit 8200, which people will have heard about, and many would be totally familiar with what it is, can you just give a little bit of background briefly?

Unit 8200 is an Israeli intelligence organization. So people will be familiar with Mossad, which is like the equivalent of the CIA or MI6 in the UK, but Unit 8200 is like the GCHQ, the signals intelligence, a surveillance intelligence organization, it is part of military intelligence, it is part of the IDF and they are engaged in the  huge amount of surveillance there is of Palestinians.

They attempt to surveil Palestinians, to spy on them, to gather kompromat on them, to gather information about them which can be used to blackmail them, to stop them joining the resistance, or to make them informers, there is a huge amount of activity there.

And these people are leaving this organization and going into something like Google or Twitter and that's really quite scary.

David Miller, Academic

Sir Keir Starmer, interestingly, appointed a former Unit 8200 operative to head up the Labour Party's social media activities.

Israel lobby groups, former Zionist intelligence operatives and Google

Google's integration with the Israel military has been a steady development in which several key Israeli lobby groups have played an active role.

Firstly, a group of employees within Google, which calls itself the Jubbas, have been accused of driving right wing ideologies and actively surveilling Arab and Muslim employees.

The group successfully forced Google management to apologize for a donation it gave to the movement for black lives coalition, on the basis that groups within the coalition had stated their solidarity with Palestinians.

Another key entanglement Google has had with Israeli intelligence came with the founding of a tech hub by the name Team8, the CEO and co founder is Nadav Zafrir a former commander of the infamous signals intelligence unit 8200 in the Israeli military, Team8 was co founded with Eric Schmidt, who at the time was executive chairman of Google.

(Eric Schmidt speaking with Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu)

Believe it or not, in all the years that I've worked with Israel, Israeli companies, this is my first physical visit here, and I now understand why everybody was so excited about the country.

You know, it really is startup nation, and for the stuff that I do, it's like the perfect positive storm. You know, the sum of the educational system, the way the military works.

You may not appreciate how significant an advantage it gives you because you're used to it right? You know, you live it, but it's notably different from any other country. You really feel it.

Eric Schmidt, Former Google Executive

The Israel lobby group, the Anti Defamation League, is a select contributing member of YouTube's Trusted Flagger program, meaning that Google allows it to regulate content on the most used video service in the world. In a declassified FBI memo from 1969 It is questioned if the ADL "represents a violation of the foreign Agents Registration Act", due to the "extreme close ties between the ADL and Israel".

Google is also a member of the ADL- Silicon Valley anti cyber-hate working group. Another part of this integration has been the Startup Nation Central organization set up by Republican donor Paul Singer. The stated purpose of the organization is to combat BDS by feeding big tech jobs into Israel, but also by feeding Israeli workers into big tech companies.

It's through organizations like Startup Nation Central, that you have a huge mass of former Israeli intelligence agents working inside Google today. A MintPress investigation found there at least 99 former Israeli intelligence unit 8200 personnel currently working inside Google, many of them working in very sensitive positions in the company.

No doubt the Google lobby group will include them amongst their number.

Some include Gabrielle Gordell, who from 2010 to 2016 worked in Unit 8200 analyzing intelligence data to understand patterns of “hostile activists”.

Today, he's the head of strategy and operations at Google.

Jonathan Cohen was a team leader at unit 8200, but is today the head of insights, data and measurement at Google.

The list is long and dangerous. Today, Google stands as a technological weapon against Palestinian Liberation.

What do you make of the tactics of this pro Israel group within Google?

Well, it seems to be a kind of unofficial Zionist lobby group, doesn't it? And of course, as a speculation in the film, presumably many of the people who are in, or who were in, unit 8200, the Israeli intelligence organization, are part of the group and they've been involved in the surveillance of Muslim employees of Google but also, I mean, the key thing was the return of this donation to Black Lives Matter, the foundation, which is a truly extraordinary thing.

It's part of this whole idea that is promoted by the ADL, who we saw in the film there, and indeed, by similar lobby groups in the UK, like the Community Security Trust, the idea that there is only racism against the Jews, which is important. that that's the most important form of racism in our society and we must not engage with with groups like BLM, in case they have, for example, supporters of Palestine amongst their supporters, which, of course, they do.

So it's an attempt, really, to focus all attention of liberals on antisemitism as the key preeminent form of racism in society. And to make sure we don't talk about anti black racism and, certainly not, about anti Palestinian racism.

David Miller, Academic

Organizations like a Team8 and Stand up Nation Central seem to be combating BDS by feeding figures from the Israeli Intelligence Corps, Unit 8200, into big tech companies.

These outfits are relatively unknown to most people, why do you think that is?

Well, I think it's slightly similar to Alphabet in the sense that these companies don't necessarily want the attention and they don't want the attention because they are aware that if people were completely exposed to it, it would be widely condemned, and it won't be allowed to happen in the first place, and so, often these companies stray away from public attention and operate more in the shadows, because by placing unit 8200 officers into companies like Google in order to infiltrate spaces which harvest a lot of data.

You know, these are power hubs for data collection, which there have been many scandals in the past.

But now, now it means that our data, my data, or anyone else's data who works with Palestinian people, is exposed to people who have, and may continue to work on behalf of the Israeli government, in order to perpetuate its oppression against the Palestinian people.

And obviously, this is not something which you would know when you use Google, because it's so widely known as is Amazon. And that's what makes it a dangerous; an effective strategy that the Israeli military or these companies are trying to use in order to gain access to that data without people's knowledge.

Huda Ammory, Palestine Action

Tell us a little bit about the Anti Defamation League, its history, and why its relationship with YouTube is such a cause for concern?

Well, the ADL the anti Defamation League has been in existence for over a century. It started off as a branch of the  B'nai B'rith, one of the key international Zionist organizations, and for very, very early on, in fact from the 1940s, from before the creation of the State of Israel, it's been engaged in spying on Arab Americans and attempted to work with the FBI to harass them and to convict them for crimes.

It's been doing this since the 1940s, and indeed, in the 80s 90s, there were court cases against it, where it  revealed that it had been spying on thousands and thousands of activists, left wing and liberal activists, including anti apartheid activists in the case of South Africa, and it was actually selling data, with a quote, from his spy operations directly to the apartheid regime in South Africa.

So this is an organization which is effectively an implement, an instrument, against the left which poses as being anti racist organization. ... it's very similar, in a way, to the Community Security Trust in the UK which are similar here, spies on the left. It's worrying; because they pose as liberals they have access to, you said YouTube, but also to Twitter, Twitter safety bound to many other social media companies safety policy.

And this is the case, not just with the ADL in the US, but with the CST in the UK, with Lucre Finn In France, the Zionist organizations are able to moderate and help to moderate content on social media companies in a way that no Muslim organization, certainly no Palestinian organization, is able to do.

So there's a fundamental imbalance here, even if we could weed out the former intelligence operatives who work inside the companies, we have Zionist organizations helping them to take decisions.

David Miller, Academic

Organizations like Team8, and Start up Nation Central, seem to be combating BDS by feeding figures from the Israeli Intelligence Corps unit 8200 into big tech companies.

 Yet, these outfits are relatively anonymous to most people. Why do you think that is?

The timescale says a lot that this happened, that promotion happened after the Zionist project had started, he became head of strategy in October 2022. In general, the fact that anyone who had a job for harvesting things, Palestine Activist is a bit of a strange term to use in the first place, but it shows that, and I think Ariel Koren, a former Google worker has said this, but in the past few years, it's become clear from inside Google that there is an institutional Zionist bias.

And I don't think it's a coincidence that many of these former unit 8200 officers have been entering Google in those few years at the same time. So I think we're seeing a steady increase in the fact that Google is going to be used as another tool for the Zionist project. And, in all, Israel has created an economy based on the domination of the Palestinian people.

And I think what we're seeing here in general, is these companies are trying to cash in on that colonization and oppression of the Palestinian people.

And as long as we allow that to continue we're gonna see more and more powerful big tech companies, which normal people across the world are using day to day, also cashing in on that question.

Huda Ammory, Palestine Action

What would you say is the significance of Eric Schmidt's relationship with Israel?

Well, I mean, you saw a little bit of the clip there with him with Benjamin Netanyahu from some years ago. And if you've watched the whole clip, it's really quite vomit inducing, this obsequiousness, I mean, since it seemed to Netanyahu; I'm not sure if you realized, Benjamin, just how fantastic your country is.

And specifically mentioning the military, you know, nobody in the world who's ever paid any attention to the media would be unaware of the horrific war crimes committed by the IDF. The ongoing abuses that we see on television news every night, even on the mainstream news we see these things, never mind an alternative sources.

So that is a significant issue. I mean, this the question of what he said there, but also of course, as shown in the film, that the involvement in various startup firms, amongst which are those which helped to bring people into the high tech industry, from the Israeli military, the Israeli government, and indeed even from Israeli companies.

So that attempt to bring people together from Israel into the West and vice versa, is an attempt, in the end, to increase the support for Zionism.

David Miller, Academic


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