Silicon Valley, The History of A16Z, and The Ukrainian "Greed Prison"
What venture capital doesn't understand...
A “greed prison” is when someone uses one of vices to trap you into doing them a favor. That’s precisely what’s happening to venture capitalists in Ukraine who find themselves showing off their wares on the world stage.
A careful reading of a New York Times article shows that the Biden/Blinken strategy of allowing Silicon Valley startups to be deployed in Ukraine is just such a “greed prison.”
Biden and Blinken know all too well that the mobbed up, consolidated nature of the defense industry has led to profiteering. That’s what a recent CBS News’s 60 Minutes report was all about.
Enter Silicon Valley firms like a16Z who don patriotic clothes and argue for production contracts rather than the scraps they’ve been getting.
Except many of these firms fail to pass a background check from our intelligence community due to their foreign funding, lack of security checks for spies, etc.
In recent years it’s become fashionable for venture capitalists to claim that “they are doing their part for the warfighter.”
Just how exactly these people become experts in military funding is anyone’s guess. They certainly don’t have the family or professional ties.
Katherine Boyle — who has blocked me on Twitter — worked for Trae Stephens — she’s a self described “Trae Stan.” Trae, in turn, worked for the deeply compromised CIA director George Tenet of “Slam Dunk” fame. You can listen to Trae talk about that experience — where else? — on a podcast.
Here’s Boyle discussing the need for production contracts and the DOD acting as a venture capitalist.
The good thing is the DOD is aware of this crisis, but there’s no culture of betting on innovation in any meaningful way inside the government. DOD leadership likes to say “We’ve invested in 2500 tech companies through SBIR (small business innovation grants)” and my response is always “I can’t think of 25 companies I see scaling to be category defining defense companies, let alone 2500.” The DOD is like a spray and pray seed fund, giving little door prizes to every company that comes across its desk. So the real issue is that the DOD is going to have to pick some big winners from the tech side and allocate capital to them as production contracts and programs of record, not R&D dollars or small business grants.
In other words: Choose our startups, please, DOD!
The way it looks to the national security community is that Andreessen Horowitz has one foot in the toxic world and the other in everything else. On this Substack we believe that crypto is an attack on the dollar and welcome the space dollar.
We could help A16Z get right with the U.S. intelligence community and be useful — if they wanted to.
But we need more listening and less podcasting.
We need a little less conversation about AI alignment and a lot more discussion about billionaire alignment.
The U.S. intelligence community actually has a list of a lot of national priorities we’d like to implement. Those priorities require funding. Andreessen Horowitz could be a part of that — if it wanted to be.
Ask us for those lists rather than try to suggest startups which don’t meet our nation’s needs. Could it be because they don’t actually meet our nation’s needs but some other nation’s needs?
Let’s consider the father of Ben Horowitz, the cofounder of Andreessen Horowitz.
David Horowitz is a major supporter of neoconservative causes. He was a mentor to Stephen Miller who ran immigration policy and speechwriting for President Donald Trump.
David Horowitz’s education is very confusing but perhaps that’s by design.
Here is a US Senate report on subversion which mentions Horowitz’s education. It doesn’t specify what his undergraduate studies were, but it makes clear he was a graduate student majoring in Chinese classics and UC Berkeley.
Compare this to his Wiki entry which makes zero mention of his Chinese studies.
Almost all over sources, including puff piece articles, claim he was an English major at graduate school, and that, at most, he took some classes in Chinese.
This is even more interesting given that not only did he appear to major in Chinese in graduate school, according to the Senate report, but has been talked about highly by William Theodore de Bary of Columbia who taught him at undergraduate level (note, no source mentions his Chinese studies at undergraduate level,) and he was very active in an obvious Maoist student group (CCAS) and even wrote for their journal.
Note the acknowledgements for one of his books. Bochardt was close to Elie Wiesel.
This is the same issue in which the CCAS also included a personal interview with Zhou Enlai (Chou En-Lai).
Post-college Horowitz took his family on a five year journey to Sweden and then the UK where he published The Free World Colossus, and Shakespeare: An Existential View. He moved to Sweden, for a year (1963-64), because, apparently, “he admired the work of the great Swedish film director Ingmar Bergman”.
He moved to London to between 1964-1967 because he claims he contacted Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation to publish his “The free World Colossus” and was offered a job instead. In London he made contact with Isaac Deutscher and Ralph Miliband, two major Marxist figures. Note, elsewhere, he claimed he also worked as a teacher at a NATO base while in the UK and that a Russian agent tried to recruit him as a result of this.
In 1967 Robert Scheer apparently offered him four times his salary to go back to California and earn four times his salary at the Ramparts magazine where the Black Panthers seem to have incubated.
Who funded Ramparts magazine is not clear. But it clearly got a big infusion of cash with Horowitz’s arrival and was given access to lots of intelligence information that was harmful to the CIA and the Vietnam war effort.
The CIA was unable to identify a foreign origin for the funding.
And it most definitely did not exist on the funding of Edward Keating, the original founder. (The Mighty Wurlitzer).
What the CIA found is, sadly, still classified.
Horowitz looks like an asset being moved around to spy on different groups and handle people. In this light, his shift from supporting black radicalism to criticising blacks makes total sense as he is being moved to positions which are of assistance to Chinese and Israeli geopolitical interests. The Black panthers and black agitation became unworkable, and therefore Horowitz moved on.
Horowitz and the Black Panthers.
Not content with merely being involved with a Maoist student group with, supposedly, enough connections to interview the premier of China, Horowitz was also connected to the Black Panthers, another Maoist outfit.
Huey Newton, just as with the CCAS students, visited China to meet Zhou En-Lai and Mao’s wife, Jiang Qing.
It seems multiple members of the Black Panthers visited China at this time.
It seems obvious Huey was picked up by Chinese intelligence at Merrit College in Oakland. The Panther even famously made money to buy guns by selling copies of Mao little red book. They were very obviously a Maoist intelligence operation.
The Chinese clearly had an interest in black radicalism as a way of destabilizing America.
Do they have an interest in using venture capital to destabilize America?
There’s been a lot of talk about AI alignment.
We need to talk about billionaire alignment.
We need to talk about venture capital alignment.