Response to ‘Why I’m leaving Harvard’ By Zahir Ebrahim

Response to ‘Why I’m leaving Harvard’ By Zahir Ebrahim

To: Matt Welsh, Recently Tenured Full Professor of Computer Science at Harvard University

Subject: Why the two Harvard professors are absurdly arguing which side of the fence is greener in the Technetronic prison-state they are helping to construct

Date: Friday, November 19, 2010 | Updated Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2010

Dear Prof. Matt Welsh,


[Inset] This is public distribution of a letter I sent to Matt Welsh, Professor of Computer Science at Harvard University. The good professor just received tenure as one of the youngest professors at America’s most prestigious university, and explained on his blog this week why he is leaving the academe for Google. The perspective outlined in my letter is evidently so different from what has been written at the Professor’s blog by many respected commenters and other distinguished professors of computer science, all mostly incestuously reinforcing-rehashing under the same overarching paradigm as in the Welsh-Mitzenmacher reflections, and differing mainly in the ‘lowest order bits’ of the matter which are so irrelevant to how a ‘page-faults’, that I felt I would like to make this letter more widely known among technologists. My letter addresses the ‘highest order bits’ of the matter, which, if not taken into account in the calculus of the pursuit of the ‘American Dream’ by today’s high-tech developers and scientists, especially those at leading Tech universities which seem to churn out technical experts and scientists who evidently remain quite oblivious to how their work is used or why its principally funded, is any malfeasant accountant’s dream.

This letter is in reference to your blog article: “Why I’m leaving Harvard”.

By way of introducing myself first, I am not an academic. I have worked as an Electrical Engineer / Computer Scientist in the Silicon Valley for the good part of my younger incredibly energetic life. A pursuit no less engrossing, than the one you have described of your own life in the academe. And one of the places I chased my own ‘American Dream’ was the former employer of the President in whose corporation you are now going to seek the fulfillment of your own ‘American Dream’.

I read your insightful opinions, and also the counterpoint by your colleague Prof. Mitzenmacher, “Guest Post: Why I’m staying at Harvard”, with much interest.

I sense that both you and your colleague share something far more fundamental in common, which like the proverbial elephant in the bedroom, neither can perhaps see.

Both of you appear to be so engrossed in the pursuits of your respective ‘American Dream’ that in your conventionality of being outright establishmentarians, you are creating the very high-tech systems, processes, and think-crafts, that are being used to oppress all of us. And you evidently don’t even realize it! Or at least, there is no mention of it in either musings of passionate pursuits, which, if I might be permitted to observe candidly, like all pursuits of self-obsession, was accurately characterized by Bernard Mandeville in his famous “fable of the bees” at the very dawn of the Industrial Age.

What do I mean?

To have that ‘American Dream’, as I discovered, one has to be in deep slumber. How else can one dream otherwise, let alone energetically follow the white rabbit down the hole?

I wrote about this briefly when the IEEE ran their celebration of “25 Microchips That Shook the World”. Having been part of one of those microchips, my opinion of my own contribution is this:

‘And now a short-break from the mayhem of the New World Order: Or How I Helped Usher It In!

May 09, 2009.

While I did not work on this first version of the SPARC chip (joining just as it was in its final finishing stages), I did on subsequent generations of microchips, systems, and operating systems over the next decade (Sun-4 and Sun-5). This is how I too, albeit in a small way, helped usher in George H.W. Bush’s infamous vision of the “New World Order”, for without these microchips, there surely wouldn’t be one! While the monumental crimes against humanity of the two World Wars in the past century were perpetrated without the aid of microchips, the present enslaving of humanity into the surveillance society of ‘one-world government‘ is only effectuated with the help of the Technetronic Revolution wrought by these microchips. See Zbigniew Brzezinski’s “Between Two Ages: America’s Role in the Technetronic Era”.

While IEEE Spectrum today celebrates this revolution, noting:

“Their designs proved so cutting-edge, so out of the box, so ahead of their time, that we are left groping for more technology clichés to describe them. Suffice it to say that they gave us the technology that made our brief, otherwise tedious existence in this universe worth living.”,

as a direct participant with two dozen design patents on microchips and systems, I am not so sure. A simpler times now appear more appealing. Not much of a short-break, was this! We are still talking about NWO. Everything appears interrelated and interlocked. To make a decent moral living, minimally doing no harm, ideally doing good things and leaving a positive legacy rather than a negative one, appears well-nigh impossible. There is just no escape from the New World Order. Arguably, we all contribute to it in some way in the modernity du jour – unless we choose to escape the modern-age and live on pastoral farms and in the mountains.’

If you are interested in deeply understanding what I can only briefly allude to here, please read the book by the former Harvard Professor and America’s former National Security Advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski, the one he wrote in 1970. It is interestingly titled: “Between Two Ages: America’s Role in the Technetronic Era”. The link to its online PDF is in my above article. While the book is out of print, it may be found in Harvard’s well-stocked libraries I am sure, and also at the CFR’s reading rooms if you happen to be in New York or Washington DC.

The many professors at Harvard, MIT, Caltech, Stanford et. al., some really brilliant minds, all engaged in blindly, and rather passionately, ushering in that very ‘Technetronic Era’, right alongside their brilliant peers in the rest of the Military-Industrial complex of America! Does it matter which side of the divide you blindly ‘just do it’?

What is being created by the combined mission of America’s Military-Industrial-Academe-Media complex, is the actual implementation of this vacuous lament by MIT’s former President:

“This irrational behavior is only possible because we, the citizens of the nation, permit it. It is no longer a question of controlling a military-industrial complex, but rather, of keeping the United States from becoming a totally military culture. — The United States: A militarized society, Jerome B. Wiesner, president emeritus MIT, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Aug 1985, pg. 104

That lament is today leading us right to the edge of “1984” with perpetual war and Newspeak, and an inculcated false sense of patriotism which evidently co-opts the commonsense of even the most brilliant minds of America into getting them to love their own servitude with a sense of pride! If you haven’t had the opportunity to listen to the famous talk by Aldous Huxley on the 30th anniversary of his book Brave New World given at UC Berkeley while you were a student there, you might search for “The Ultimate Revolution” to download the audio from a UC Berkeley server. Mr. Huxley, rather self-servingly in my view, had observed:

“… it seems to me that the nature of the Ultimate Revolution with which we are now faced is precisely this: that we are in process of developing a whole series of techniques which will enable the controlling oligarchy who have always existed and presumably always will exist, to get people actually to love their servitude!” (minute 4)

And we see that very fact in action in the willing compliance to the vile body-scanners and gropers, now also at Boston’s Logan Airport.

Next time you travel, you can thank people like yourself, and my former self, who assiduously worked on building the broad-spectrum sciences and technologies which made these vile indignities realizable through the high-tech academic-industry collaboration.

Next will be RFID implants, an area of specialization of my alma mater MIT, and perhaps your own particular area of research with micro-sensors and embedded systems, something with which Google I am told is intimately engaged in.

Perhaps in your zeal to build large systems there, you will build the one which tracks all mankind as cattle, controlling our carbon-credits, and other emissions. See Dr. Patrick Redmond’s report ( on RFIDs if unfamiliar with the broader implications of where things are empirically headed in our ‘Technetronic Era’, which, for our children, will be the world loosely outlined in the Tom Cruise movie ‘Minority Report’. Dr. Redmond writes:

“Hitachi a few years ago produced a chip (called the mu chip) that was the size of a pencil point; if you take a pencil and put it on a piece of paper you get a little dot. That’s how small they’re getting. In 2007 Hitachi came out with a chip that was even smaller, they call it RFID powder. They are just like the talcum powder you would put on a baby. Somark Innovations in Jan 10, 2007 announced an invisible RFID ink. This can be applied to cattle, prime cuts of meat, military personnel and it can be read through hair.

… by 2011 you should be able to go on Google and find out where someone is at any time from chips on clothing, in cars, cell phones, and inside many people themselves.

… From 1955 to 2005, cumulative sales of radio tags totaled 2.4 billion; in 2007 alone, 2.24 billion tags were sold worldwide and analysts project that by 2017 cumulative sales will top 1 trillion–generating more than $25 billion in annual revenues for the industry.

… If chips can disseminate medicine then they can disseminate other things too; anything put inside a microchip can be activated by a signal. And finally, with this technology, subliminal mind control becomes possible.”

Presently, that mind control is mainly through incessant Newspeak which creates ‘United We Stand’ voters [to stand] with the oligarchic agendas in America’s experiment with electoral based governance by its oligarchy. A craftsmanship of Edward Bernays and the Mighty Wurlitzer which is now entrenched in every institution of the United States. It works wonderfully when to be ‘acceptable’ – whether in academe, or industry, or non-profit think-tanks and foundations – is the sine quo non to being funded in order to pursue one’s ‘American Dreams’.

Tomorrow, such behavior control whereby one is entirely happy in one’s designated ‘karma’ apportioned by the rulers, may well be realized as depicted in the Brave New World – a world of Epsilon Delta Morons and Alphas et. al. I sometimes feel that the sheepish way in which the freedom-loving Americans and Europeans behave in accepting absurdities as gospel, and the outright ignorance of its profoundly learned happily putting themselves in the service of “imperial mobilization” while thinking lofty moral thoughts, that perhaps we are already there!

This is the tortuous base reality of the ‘Technetronic’ revolution which the elites have pushed upon the world, with copious help from brilliant ‘American Dream’ pushers in America’s vast Military-Industrial-Academe complex. The counterpart of the making of ‘Good Germans’ today. Banality of Evil? No, only for those other guys who have been defeated.

It is self-evident that the differences between both of you professors, one leaving Harvard, the other staying, pale in comparison to the common purpose towards which both of you toil with so much vigor. Your arguments for which pastures are greener in the prison-state are the ‘lower-order bits’. And as a computer scientist teaching virtual memory to budding clones of yours, you surely know which ‘bits the page faults on’!

Perhaps that’s what you want from life, to create a global prison-state to be managed by the institutional elite serving as its paid functionaries – just like the ‘Good Germans’ chasing their ‘German Dreams’ in the Third Reich once did.

If so, please do it knowingly by being on the same page with the hectoring hegemons who brazenly admit their primacy agenda. Rather than as a deadpan Zombie speaking in wholesomeness only to wakeup in your 40s, or at a future Nuremberg when victor’s justice is munificently being disbursed amidst high sounding platitudes of upholding International Law, to realize you have helped usher in the global police-state with not just your silent acquiescence (which the former MIT president Jerome B. Wiesner lamented loudly as quoted above, after having himself served as the head of the institution whose 90% budget came from the same militarist coffers whose agenda he found so unattractive after retirement), but also active participation in the blind pursuit of the ‘Technetronic’ Revolution.

I can vouch for the seduction of this zombie state of affairs – for, as a Systems Architect, I have wrought more than my fair share of ‘American Dream’ upon the world. My aforementioned article contains a link to my patents.

One final observation. All the academic freedoms in America’s prestigious academies, especially at yours where your colleague Michael Mitzenmacher says: “I enjoy the freedom of working on whatever I find interesting; being unrestricted in who I choose to talk to about research problems and ideas; having the opportunity to work with a whole variety of interesting and smart people,”, and yet none dare talk of such matters. Ever wonder why?

The three wise monkeys

[Inset] The Master Builders of the Technetronic Era who “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil”!

Both of you are constructing the Technetronic prison you are yourselves living in as Americans, while arguing whose side of the yard has greener grass! Why this absurdity? And evidently, it doesn’t even strike you as such! Why have absurdities replaced commonsense?

Permit me to explore that briefly by way of the following example from just this week at Harvard.

Admiral Michael Mullen spoke at Harvard two days ago on Nov. 17, 2010, pitching military recruitment, and Harvard’s president Drew Faust called out that serving in America’s perpetual war upon the ‘untermenschen’ is public service! No one seems to have disagreed too loudly, never mind walked out in protest. Drew Faust’s exact words as reported by today (November 19, 2010) were: “I want to be the president of Harvard who sees the end of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ because I want to be able to take the steps to ensure that any and every Harvard student is able to make the honorable and admirable choice to commit him- or herself to the nation’s defense.”

Under whose agenda, and for whose benefit, was obviously left unstated.

As reported elsewhere, both Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Gen. David Petraeus are arguing for a long-term, if not permanent, U.S. presence in Afghanistan, and the British Defense Chief Gen. Sir David Richards, echoing their sentiments, has stated that “Nato now needs to plan for a 30 or 40 year role to help the Afghan armed forces hold their country against the militants,”.

And in support of the establishment’s narratives couched in Newspeak, of their self-admitted imperatives of continually exercising American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives on the Grand Chessboard (another Brzezinski book you might read), Harvard’s president morally pitched public service in that very venture, as canon fodder for hectoring hegemons’ agendas.

No one of prominence at Harvard, no full professor with tenure, no Nobel Laureate, no scientist and scholar, at least to my knowledge, stopped to ask that question that whose agendas are these “1984” style permanent wars serving which have increasingly created loss of freedoms and debasement of ordinary Americans, not to mention its lofty Constitution.

If the terrorists hate us because of our freedoms, the reasons given by the Establishment, both past and present, for why they hit America on 9/11, then Americans seem to have given up those very lofty freedom rather willingly, most recently by silently permitting their groping/imaging by strangers at airports, in order to prosecute that same agendas for which Adm. Mullen came pitching to Harvard amidst much applause.

Why this stoned-silence by the brilliant minds at Harvard? Why this self-censorship? Why this self-policing? Is it any different among the brilliant minds serving in the other arms of the establishment, from industry to bureaucracy?

[Inset] I further hope that the spotlight brought by my letter on the existential matters du jour will foster a much needed discourse among scientists, techies, students, and university heads on the academy’s role in the modern Technetronic Era and who is entitled to be making such overarching decisions which impact every man, woman, and child not just in the United States, but the entire world. The legacy of Sir Francis Bacon when he put Science in the Service of Empire at the dawn of the Industrial Age by creating that very funding model for science and technology which exists today, has now come home to roost as the academe has become an indistuinguishable part of the West’s “Military-Industrial-Academe” complex, as much impacted by global politics and political agendas which principally fund its research and direction of research, as the Pentagon.

In my view, and please correct me if I am mistaken, the brilliant professors at Harvard and elsewhere equally know which side their bread is buttered in just as much measure, if not more, than any ordinary ‘Good American’ slaving in this system of governance and production whose entire outlook for the past century has been conditioned not by morality (except in Newspeak), but by primacy, hegemony, and by their own admission, by their quest for “full spectrum dominance”. That requires riding the full monte of the ‘Technetronic Era’ of which both of you computer science professors speciously arguing which side of the fence is greener, are equally a part.

May I dare to hope in conclusion that with your prominent voice and brilliant credentials, that you might perhaps be motivated by this humble letter to explore this topic objectively while you are still at Harvard – as the fiscal burden to be ‘acceptable’ is now presumably less for you – and leave a legacy which to my mind can have far reaching and very existential consequences for all Americans. You will surely not have this opportunity at Google where, by your own admission and statement of blind aspiration: “I get to hack all day.” After you have built your nth system, as one of the generations caught “Between Two Ages”, you may be left wondering why you did it at all when you wake up in a full-blown “1984” one day soon and still have some commonsense left to recognize it as such. Your children and grandchildren however, will mercifully be spared that recognition as they will habitually count, from the very day of their birth, two plus two equal five. Some Americans, perhaps the majority, are already there today. The simple question I often ask of smart peoples who might dare to escape that fate, and I leave you with that little question, how can one know that one can add correctly?

Best wishes,

Zahir Ebrahim


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Response to ‘Why I’m leaving Harvard’ By Zahir Ebrahim