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The Data Beast


by Catherine Austin Fitts



Part I - Disappearing Data; Disappearing Dollars



When I served as Assistant Secretary of Housing at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in the first Bush Administration, I discovered that the government was paying billions of dollars to large banks, defense contractors and universities to collect and manage data on the people and resources of the United States.


The lead defense contractor at HUD was paid approximately $150 billion to run the systems. (That was later to increase by even greater amounts.) No matter how much we paid to create and maintain rich databases, it was almost impossible for me to get any data that I needed to do my job. What I did get required a extraordinary effort on my part.


My efforts to get basic management and financial information was met with fear, lies and endless passive aggressive behavior. I soon learned that data about money in government was like cigarettes in prison. It was a currency, traded for power and position. Data that was supposed to be public was not easily available to government officials and it was certainly not available to the average person. Data that was supposed to be private appeared easily accessible to a variety of financial interests.


Years later, my company Hamilton Securities Group served as lead financial advisor to the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). We were ordered by the agency to implement a comprehensive portfolio strategy and collect the necessary data from the agency. Most of the data needed was supposed to be publicly available. Thus began a data war during which various parts of the agency and the defense contractors who controlled and managed the data made it impossible for us to get various portions of the necessary data. 


Frustrated, we started to build a software tool that simply identified all the federal data publicaly available online that informed resources in communities and would allow the user to aggregate and display the data by neighborhood. My employees were afraid of the project, so I finally assumed the initial leadership myself.




(Above: Properties collaterializing assigned (defaulted) FHA single family mortgages in South Central Los Angeles; circa 1996)


One of the many charts that we produced showed that a very high percentage of the urban populations receiving housing subsidy were also receiving welfare and food stamp funds administered by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). This information had profound implications for the debate regarding welfare reform in the mid-1990's. At the request of a mutual friend, we met with the Secretary of HHS and showed her the mappings of the various cities and what it meant to her program. She gasped and said, "I have been asking for this data for years. How did you get it?" We explained that we had found the HHS data on her agency's website and simply aggregated it with other sets that we dug out in a similar fashion.




(Above: properties involving various FHA insured mortgages in Washington DC; yellow dots are foreclosed properties; circa 1996)


The government seized our software and databases in 1998. It took many years for me to get them back and when I did the most valuable parts were stolen.




(Above: Properties collaterializing assigned (defaulted) FHA single family mortgages in New Orleans; circa 1996)


In fiscal 1998, $17 billion was missing from HUD. In fiscal 1999, $59 billion was missing from HUD. This while HUD was engineering the greatest housing bubble to ever fraudulently induce America. No effort was made to figure out or find the missing money. The theory spun publicly was that the computers did not talk to each other so no one could find the data they needed to figure out what had happened, let alone get any money or fraudulently issued mortgage insurance policies and securities back.


I am blogging these stories - long past -- as background for comments I want to make about the advisability of mandating federal government ownership and control of the medical and health data of all Americans (see ) 



Part II - More for Main Core?



In assessing the advisability of a national health database, it is valuable to understand that a national health database will be:

one of many databases containing data about you that will feed programs like Main Core; exponentially increase the power of how Main Core can impact you and your future.


The Last Roundup: Is the government compiling a secret list of citizens to detain under martial law? By Christopher Ketcham ( )


Church Committee 2.0: Exposing Bush's historic abuse of power Salon has uncovered new evidence of post-9/11 spying on Americans. By Tim Shorrock

( see


Main Core: New Evidence Reveals Top Secret Government Database Used in Bush Spy Program (see )


To give you a sense of the power of these applications in the 1980's, try reading a fictional account of financial fraud, Black Money by Michael Thomas.



Part III - The Data of Death



IMAGE 4 (IBM and the Holocaust)


I grew up next to a University campus. My parents loved to learn. Our home was filled with books and people from diverse backgrounds.


One of my mother's best friends had narrowly escaped the German concentration camps. Many in her family did not and died in the camps. I also met people who escaped Germany at the end of WWII to avoid prosecution or persecution as Nazis. I became curious about the practical details of how the Holocaust could have happened. An avid reader, I searched through book after book looking for explanations.


Implementing an operation that will offend or warn your potential victims - such as stealing all their money and assets, destroying their civil liberties or even killing them - involves some serious logistical challenges.


How do you kill the first 10% without everyone else getting wind of the danger and stopping or killing you? People are ornery. They get upset about real threats and will organize and act. If you have sufficient weaponry, you can go ahead and "just do it." However, then everyone knows who and what you are which can be threatening to your authority and financial operations, let alone the profitability of continued killing.                                     


When I became Assistant Secretary of Housing in 1989, I had the opportunity to learn a great deal about large bureaucracies. Fascinated by the logistics of getting complex operations implemented on such a large scale, I studied long hours with exceptional career staff eager to teach an appointee the details of implementing government laws, regulations, programs and other forms of credit and spending. Added to my years on Wall Street as well as starting and running various businesses, it helped me build an understanding of how things work in both government and business from a household or a community up to the Oval Office and through to the money and players behind the scenes.


As the corruption spread throughout our society in the 1990's, I was forced by circumstance  (see to use that knowledge to estimate how the operations of systemic physical and financial violence in our society work. How is so much financial fraud engineered? How was it millions of Americans went along with a housing and debt bubble that bankrupted us? What about the distribution of narcotics into every community in America in ways that are invisible to most people? How is $500 billion - $1 trillion of the proceeds of mortgage and financial fraud, drug sales and other illegal businesses laundered through the US financial system with rarely a peep from the network news?                


Whether long ago in Germany or more recently in the drugging and bankrupting of America, I kept coming back to the importance of building proprietary or secret databases and information systems to support your operations, particularly if you need it to be invisible.                     


Such operations are quite expensive, which is part of the beauty of having governments pay private companies and banks to collect and maintain such data, which can then be secretly aggregated and applied. What looks like many different government agencies with diverse purposes, is really a few large defense contractors and banks building and maintaining vast databases that are easily aggregated in powerful ways.                                   


In short, control, theft, slavery and/or murder on a large scale requires - at a minimum - a significant investment in invisible database and information systems.                                                                               


To get a sense of the power and importance of good database management in implementing genocide, I strongly recommend Edwin Black's IBM and the Holocaust: The Strategic Alliance between Nazi Germany and America's Most Powerful Corporation (see ).



Part IV - Doctor Data





From Sam Smith, The Progressive Review - 11 Feb 2009


Washington Monthly - The National Coordinator for Health Information Technology isn't "new"; it was created by George W. Bush five years ago. More importantly, the measure is about medical records, not limiting physicians' treatments.                                          


Progressive Review - While much of the foregoing is true, a reading of the legislation suggests unprecedented interference in the business of doctors and hospitals, not unlike the feds ordering every small business to use a certain software and then make regular reports on just how they are using it.

The measure did not belong in the stimulus package. It should have been a stand alone bill with full hearings, especially with the deep questions it raised concerning patient privacy.                            


Further, some of the language is vague enough to suggest the possibility of greater future federal control. For example:         


"The Secretary shall seek to improve the use of electronic health records and health care quality over time by requiring more stringent measures of meaningful use . . .                         


"The National Coordinator shall annually evaluate the activities conducted under this subtitle and shall, in awarding grants, implement the lessons learned from such evaluation in a manner so that awards made subsequent to each such evaluation are made in a manner that, in the determination of the National Coordinator, will result in the greatest improvement in the quality and efficiency of health care."                               


Frankly, we preferred that was left to our doctor.                


The mere existence of this measure presumes, even though appearing to deal only with health records, an assumed right of the federal government to intervene in health care in a substantial way that could easily be expanded. The gestalt behind this measure is completely different than programs like single payer or expanded Medicare that are designed to deal with paying for medical care, not controlling it.                                            


Add to this the major question of patient privacy - how long will it be before the NSA, FBI and Homeland Security have easy access to these records? - and there are more than enough reasons for this measure to have been dropped from the bailout bill.                                                     


Consider that every citizen who arrives at a hospital with an overdose or having drunk too much will be in a file easily accessible by law enforcement and others regardless of what nice promises are made to the contrary. It might even possible for the police to charge some one based on a doctor's report of drug use. And, of course, it's a substantial gift to the spy agencies, the biggest data collection system since the NSA started recording phone calls.                                                  


Welcome to Obama's brave new world.



Part V - Chips R' USA



Aaron Russo was a fearless, talented, capable man. He loved life and people. He could not fathom why millions of Americans were adapting to fascism. I got to know Aaron while he was filming "America: From Freedom to Fascism." If you have not seen it, I strongly recommend it, including the section regarding RFID chips.  (see )                                               


Before his death, Aaron gave an interview about his conversations with a member of the Rockefeller family regarding plans to further centralize control of the human race.   ( see )


In this context, Aaron was referring to RFID chips which are human microchip implants. Such an implant is "an integrated circuit device or RFID tag encased in silicate glass and implanted into a human's body. Such subdermal implants can be used for information storage, including personal identification, medical history, medications, allergies, and contact information."                      


I was proud to call Aaron my friend. If he said that he was told that plans were underway to create a system to integrate the financial system into centrally controlled chips planted physically in our bodies, than that is what he was told.                                                               


As you assess the advisability of your taxes and government resources funding more federal government databases, particularly those regarding our bodies which could function as a critical component to implement such a system, I would encourage you to listen to the following interview with Aaron and integrate his knowledge and experience into your own.                      



Part VI - The Data Beast's Masters





In Stanley Kubrick's thriller, Eyes Wide Shut, we watch as Dr. Bill Harford (played by Tom Cruise) attends a private party given by a secret society whose members have the power, among other things, to kill with impunity.

If you have not seen Eyes Wide Shut, I strongly recommend watching it if you want to understand the real privacy issues related to the mandatory health records database proposed by the Administration.                                 


When I served as Assistant Secretary of Housing, I refused a high level order to break the law, given by a Cabinet Secretary under extreme, terrorizing pressure. (See my blog post, "It's Hard Out There for a Pimp.") I had high level government officials indicate that they did not have to obey the law. They "reported to a higher authority." In Eye's Wide Shut, Kubrick gives the viewer a remarkable feel for such "higher authorities."                            


Watch Eyes Wide Shut and then explain to me how it is that government officials will keep your data private from secret societies like this one. Explain to me how the defense contractors who will be paid to manage the data will keep it private from those who are free to kill with impunity. Who do you think owns the defense contractors in the first place?                       


Indeed, it is fair to assume these folks would not have to ask for the data. Given their power and access shouldn't we assume that they already have back door access to government computers? Wasn't back door access what the rumors about PROMIS software and Microsoft and NSA were all about?

Can they get some of our health care data now? In theory, yes. However, it is time consuming, expensive and many doctors do not keep records in digital form. So as a practical matter, no.                          


If the government mandates that doctors must maintain digital records and that all of our records be collected and maintained in digital form and they can be accessed and aggregated by the same people who create the currency, own and control the drug companies, credit card and insurance companies and govern narcotics trafficking, how do you think they might use such data?

How long would it be until the records include your DNA and as a practical matter they can use it in whatever way they desire? If they need an organ transplant and you fit the profile, how long until you think you might have an accident?                               


My father was a very successful doctor. He learned surgery in Burma during WWII while watching the narcotics trade at the heart of financing Chiang Kai-shek's army. His office at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital was in a building named "Dulles." I took his warnings to heart about the very real manipulation and misuse of medical information and records.           


Whenever I fill out a form that asks me for the name of my doctor, I write "none."                                   



Catherine Austin Fitts served as Assistant Secretary of Housing and Federal Housing Commissioner in the first Bush Administration. Her company Hamilton Securities Group served as lead financial advisor to the Federal Housing Administration during the Clinton Administration. She is a former managing director and member of the board of the Wall Street investment bank Dillon, Read & Co. Inc.


This article originally appeared as a six-part series on the Catherine Austin Fitts Blog.  It is re-posted here with the author's authorization.  Given that we are having trouble posting images we refer you to the original article on Ms. Fitts website at


We thank Ms. Fitts for her outspoken courage, her public efforts to defend our democracy and its principles. Our thanks also for allowing us to reprint her work on this site.




Ms. Fitts' article reinforces some of my assertions made in Cocaine Commerce, regarding the dubious activities of HUD in clearing neighborhoods of inner cities.  Fitts' article also raises the grave issue of the government's collection of vital health related data of individuals and the possible repercussions from its misuse. 


Regarding the vast collection of data on the citizenry, we highly recommend that you also consult the work of Katherine Albright ( who has documented what can be done with RFID technology currently in use.


Her book (Spychips: How Major Corporations and Government Plan to Track Your Every Purchase and Watch Your Every Move, by Katherine Albright and Liz McIntyre, Plume Books, 2006 ISBN-10: 0452287669) details how RFID chips are being used to not only track merchandise, control shoplifting, but also track people's movements.  U.S. passports and some credit cards already employ this technology.  Albright is also the founder of CASPIAN ( ) Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering.


America is living the initial stages as recounted in George Orwell's work 1984. I fear for our collective future


This essay is herein printed with the author's permission.


Posted  October 05, 2009

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