AN ISRAELI GOVERNMENT CONTRACTOR FOUNDED BY A FORMER ISRAELI SPY HAS PARTNERED WITH ONE U.S. STATE AND IS SET TO ANNOUNCE A SERIES OF NEW PARTNERSHIPS WITH OTHER STATES AND U.S. HEALTHCARE PROVIDERS TO MONITOR CIVILIAN HEALTH AND USE AN IDF-DESIGNED AI SYSTEM TO PROFILE AMERICANS LIKELY TO CONTRACT CORONAVIRUS AND TO INFORM U.S. GOVERNMENT LOCKDOWN POLICY.
A company tied to Israel’s military signal intelligence unit, Unit 8200, has recently partnered with the state of Rhode Island to use an artificial intelligence-based system developed in tandem with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) to profile Americans potentially infected and/or “at risk” of being infected with coronavirus, then informing government authorities of their “risk profile.” Once flagged, state health officials can target those individuals as well as their communities for mandatory testing, treatment and/or more restrictive lockdown measures.
The firm, Israel-based Diagnostic Robotics, is poised to announce a series of new such partnerships with several other U.S. states as well as major U.S. hospital systems and healthcare providers in the coming weeks, according to a company spokesperson. The first of these announcements came on June 30 regarding the firm’s new partnership with Mayo Clinic, which will soon implement the Diagnostic Robotics’ “artificial intelligence platform that predicts patients’ hospitalization risk.” They have also been in discussions with Vice President Mike Pence about the platform’s implementation nationwide since April.
Their creeping expansion into the U.S.’ state coronavirus response and that of other countries has been directly facilitated by the organization Start-Up Nation Central, funded by controversial hedge fund manager Paul Singer and directly partnered with an Israeli government-backed intelligence initiative aimed at making the United States dependent on technology developed by the Israeli military or intelligence community as a means of preventing the adoption of policies that support the non-violent Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS) movement at the state and local levels. This initiative also serves the dual purpose of ensuring Israel’s political influence and positioning as the global “cyber power,” an oft-repeated policy goal of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Since March, Diagnostic Robotics’ AI-based “risk profiling” software for coronavirus has been utilized by the Israeli state in the form of the National Israeli COVID-19 Monitoring System, a key component of its increasingly Orwellian national health surveillance system. That system, which also initially partnered with Clalit — Israel’s largest health services provider, now involves the “daily nation-wide monitoring of coronavirus-related symptoms of the population.” Of course, these “coronavirus-related symptoms” include common symptoms such as headaches, coughing, abdominal pain and confusion, which can indicate any number of minor illnesses, allergic reactions or other conditions entirely unrelated to coronavirus.
The Diagnostic Robotics platform specifically acquires information from individuals via an online questionnaire, but also has access to national and private health databases by virtue of its partnerships with Clalit as well as all four of Israel’s health management organizations (HMOs), all of the country’s domestic healthcare providers and Israel’s Health Ministry. That data is then pooled and analyzed to assess a given individual’s “probability of infection” that is then cross checked with the information of “millions of others,” according to the company’s co-founder and Unit 8200 alumnus Kira Radinsky.
After that mass of data is pooled and analyzed by the platform’s AI-powered algorithm, the company’s platform, as used in Israel and now elsewhere, creates a “personalized, AI-based risk profile for Covid-19” for individuals and delivers that individual’s information and any “red flags” to health authorities, providing the Health Ministry with a map of corona “hot spots” that the government then uses to identify which communities to target with testing and more restrictive lockdown measures. Forbes noted that Israel’s use of Diagnostic Robotics’ platform has allowed it to “quickly close contaminated areas…as fast as a single day from the identification of symptomatic patients.” An internal study conducted by the company itself claims that the platform has a predictive accuracy of 73%, but their study has not been audited by independent scientists.
Israel’s health ministry, led by Yuli Edelstein, recently announced that Diagnostic Robotics “predictive” platform would be used more intensively to inform government decision-making as he, Netanyahu and other Israeli ministers have recently asserted that Israel is beginning to experience a “second wave” of coronavirus and must implement more restrictive measures and augment the use of existing and new “digital solutions.” Former Israeli health officials and other critics have asserted, however, that there is no “second wave” given that the test used by the government does not distinguish between active and inactive coronavirus cases. Others still have argued that the proposed measures are grossly unnecessary, given that there are less than 40 serious cases of coronavirus in the entire country and only 22 coronavirus patients are on ventilators.
Notably, the timing of this renewed push for more restrictive lockdowns and an expansion of its AI-driven Orwellian “health” surveillance coincides directly with the imminent initiation of Israel’s government plans to annex large swaths of Palestine’s West Bank, an act that is expected to generate unrest, not only in occupied Palestine, but also parts of Israel and internationally due to its flagrant illegality and far-reaching implications.
PREDICTIVE DATA HOTSPOTS
After heavy promotion of Israel’s use of its platforms by media outlets and Israeli tech “advocacy” organizations, Diagnostic Robotics’ top executives announced on April 10 that their predictive health surveillance technology would soon be rolled out to “assist authorities” in governments around the world, specifically the U.S., Western Europe and Asia.
“The strong partnership [between Diagnostic Robotics and the Israeli government] will ensure that our solution is accessible to as many patients as possible, and available to different government authorities in the United States, Europe and Asia,” the company’s CEO Yonatan Amir had told the Jerusalem Post. Amir also told the Jerusalem Post that, at the time, the company was already in discussions with the White House Coronavirus Task Force “with the assistance of U.S. Vice President Mike Pence” about its software being used on a nationwide scale.
Less than two weeks after the publication of that report, the state of Rhode Island announced that the state’s Health Department would partner with Diagnostic Robotics to create a site called the Rhode Island Covid-19 Self-Checker that would collect medical information on Rhode Island residents and utilize its “predictive” capabilities.
“We are incredibly excited about the partnership with Diagnostic Robotics,” Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo had said at the time of the site’s announcement on April 22. “Diagnostic Robotics is a leader in using innovative technology to ensure people get the right care at the right time – including during the COVID-19 pandemic. By making it easier for people to make decisions about how to protect themselves and when to seek care and testing, we’re helping to slow the spread of COVID-19, support our healthcare system, and save lives.”
However, reports on the initiative and Raimondo’s statement, which was sparsely covered by local and national American news media, noted that the site “also uses predictive technology to recognize possible outbreaks before they occur.” That functionality will combine the data obtained from the site with “medical databases” to which the state’s Health Department has access. The analysis of these data, such as “likely” future coronavirus patients and potential future hotspots, is then given to the state’s Health Department and meant to inform their decision-making regarding in which areas of the state to tighten lockdowns, to ramp up testing and/or mandate treatments or vaccinations, once a vaccine becomes available.
Crucially, Rhode Island’s partnership with Diagnostic Robotics’ is merely the first sign of the company’s intentions to rapidly expand into the U.S. A few weeks ago, company spokesperson Michal Kabatznik told the Jerusalem Post that the company is “in advanced conversations with other states, leading healthcare providers and some of the top hospital systems in the U.S.,” adding that “there will be some big announcements in the coming days.” The first of these “big announcements” came on Tuesday when the firm’s partnership with Mayo Clinic was made public.
In addition, the company began hiring a variety of executive positions for a New York-based office soon after Kabatznik teased the coming announcements of a series of new U.S. partnerships. These job listings note that Diagnostic Robotics’ is planning a major and “rapid” U.S. expansion and identifies the U.S. as its current “strategic market.”
BAIT AND SWITCH
The first of these initiatives, COVID 360, was created by Diagnostic Robotics in tandem with two other companies: Salesforce, a cloud-based software corporation closely tied to Oracle and whose CEO/founder was mentored by Colin Powell, and Deloitte Global, one of the world’s largest consulting firms with a history of hiring ex-CIA officers. COVID 360 is described by Diagnostic Robotics’ CEO as “a comprehensive solution for individuals at risk of COVID-19 and those experiencing symptoms of the virus.” Salesforce Senior VP, Bob Vanstraelen, further elaborated that the platform is “a free full Coronavirus treatment solution for patients and citizens at risk” and is “built by Deloitte Israel, based on Salesforce Health-Cloud, and Diagnostics Robotics Al triage and clinical predictions platform.”
However, an official video from the COVID 360 initiative notes that “government agencies or caretakers” that utilize the system will send a person potentially at risk of exposure to coronavirus, oddly referred to in the video as a “coronavirus patient at risk of exposure,” a message telling them that they were found to have been “in proximity to a potential positive coronavirus case.” The message, as shown in the video, then demands that the recipient follow a link within the message and register for the COVID 360 system. Upon registration, an employee of the government agency determines which person to refer for mandatory coronavirus testing and/or treatment regimes based on government-drafted protocols related to coronavirus. The COVID 360 system is currently being used in India’s Odisha state, home to nearly 50 million people, according to Diagnostic Robotics spokesperson Michal Kabatznik.
The second initiative of which Diagnostic Robotics is part is much larger than the three member group behind COVID 360. Called the Covid-19 Healthcare Coalition, its members include tech giants and government/intelligence contractors Microsoft, Amazon, Palantir, Leidos, and Google as well as a number of U.S. national laboratories, the U.S. civilian corps and the CIA’s venture capital arm In-Q-Tel. It also includes a number of U.S. hospital systems, U.S. universities (with MIT chief among them) and healthcare IT providers, as well as pharmaceutical company Pfizer and Mayo Clinic. As previously mentioned, Mayo Clinic’s partnership with Diagnostic Robotics was announced just this past Tuesday.
The coalition claims to be a “private-sector led response that brings together healthcare organizations, technology firms, nonprofits, academia and startups” in order “help protect U.S. populations” and “provide data-driven, real-time insights to improve clinical outcomes” and government decision-making related to coronavirus. Their website notes that “coalition members openly share plans, coordinate their combined work wherever possible, identify best practices, communicate broadly and openly, and distribute capabilities in an open-source manner.” Notably, the coalition specifically directs their combined efforts to influence policy for “healthy populations,” “people at risk of Covid-19 exposure,” and “healthcare delivery systems.”
According to press releases present on the coalition’s website, the coalition “represents a vast source of data, expertise, capabilities and insights and will complement federal, state and local government actions.” Since their formation earlier this year, the coalition has released several resources, including the Covid-19 Decision Support Dashboard, a tool for government officials and business leaders to navigate how to “reopen” or lock down communities and businesses. That tool was designed by and populated with data provided by coalition members, Diagnostic Robotics among them.