"Those who sacrifice liberty for
security deserve neither."
-- Benjamin Franklin
1. "If you have nothing to
hide, you have nothing to fear"
2. A live chat with Edward
3. A good bit by Fox News
4. England's postmodern
5. TYT on the DSMs
It still is the case that sleeping remains quite
difficult for me. This also makes my life rather difficult, at the
Anyway. There was an interview - a live chat! - with Edward Snowden
yesterday and it is in The Guardian, so I'll attend to that. But I
start with a discussion of the thoroughly sick and sickening, arbitrary
and thoroughly false and inverted rule "If you have nothing to hide,
you have nothing to fear", and then discuss Snowden's answers, which
again were all quite rational and very brave.
As an extra, I throw in a good
bit by Fox News (yes, really!); I look at England's politicians; and I
close with the DSM-5 in the hands of TYT.
Also I should say I uploaded this very early, because I want to have my
day free for doing some other things.
1. "If you have nothing to hide, you have
nothing to fear"
has been a lot of quoting of the above apothegm, and I've seen
only a little
reasonable discussion of it.
Here is mine, for part of which I thank Rick Falkvinge,
who is the founder of the first Pirate Party, and who discussed this on
June 17, 2012:
The following are four rules
formulated by Falkvinge, namely One to Four, with two more formulated
by me, namely Zero and Five:
Zero – If you've nothing to hide, you do not exist.
One – The
rules may change.
– It’s not you who determine if you have something to fear.
– Laws must be broken for society to progress.
– Privacy is a basic human need.
Five - Government must
be public, citizens private, not conversely.
I refer you to Falkvinge's
site for the short piece he wrote, in which
he gives his good reasons for his rules, and I also note there are many
there, quite a few of which are also worth reading.
As to my rules:
Zero. This is the basic
rule, because the premiss it starts from is
Everybody who is alive has something to hide from
somebody, and especially from those who are much stronger than
such as his or her governors.
There is no personal freedom for people who cannot hide things, good,
bad and indifferent, from most other people, all under their own
Five. I'd say this is
the second basic rule, because it clearly states
what democratic government is about:
A public and publicly accountable
and responsible government that is there to protect
the privacy and the rights of the public,
instead of what the Bush and Obama governments
want to replace
it by: A secret authoritarian government of a few tenthousands or
hundredthousands of formal supermen and superwomen who know everything
about everyone else, and whose laws and directives are secret to
This is what it is all about, in the end. And people should stop
stating insane rules to sign away all their personal freedoms to
totally unknown others: If you've nothing to hide, you are
dead, or you may as well be.
2. A live chat with Edward Snowden
In fact, yesterday it was a week ago that
learned about Edward Snowden's existence. Yesterday, he was still out
and about - and he had 2 1/2 hours of live chat on The Guardian:
This was also announced
yesterday by Glenn Greenwald (and I missed it until it was too late):
Today beginning at
12:00 noon Eastern, we will begin the second installment of our new
feature at the Guardian: a live question-and-answer session between
myself and readers regarding columns I've written over the last month.
Starting now, please leave your questions in the comment section. From
3:00 pm to 4:30 pm ET, I'll be here (in the comments) live to answer
Meanwhile, the Q&A
session has been done and is under the above link, and I'll quote and
comment some. I'll restrict myself to Snowden's replies to questions,
and will summarize the questions and the times. Also, I work from the end
of the file upwards, to have it in the temporal order it was given.
11.07: About the generalities of his case:
Incidentally, note that I am a
little further than he is - publicly - with his questions: I think the
most probable reason is that it is and was a pretext since 9/11/2001,
and the aim is to get an
authoritarian state that is quite different from the one described
and prescribed by the American Constitution.
1) First, the US
Government, just as they did with other whistleblowers, immediately and
predictably destroyed any possibility of a fair trial at home, openly
declaring me guilty of treason and that the disclosure of secret,
criminal, and even unconstitutional acts is an unforgivable crime.
That's not justice, and it would be foolish to volunteer yourself to it
if you can do more good outside of prison than in it.
Second, let's be clear: I
did not reveal any US operations against legitimate military targets.
NSA is running network
operations against them that affect millions of innocent people. And
for what? So we can have secret access to a computer in a country we're
not even fighting? So we can potentially reveal a potential terrorist
with the potential to kill fewer Americans than our own Police? No, the
public needs to know the kinds of things a government does in its name,
or the "consent of the governed" is meaningless.
11.23: As to why he did not move sooner:
promises and election gave me faith that he would lead us toward fixing
the problems he outlined in his quest for votes. Many Americans felt
similarly. Unfortunately, shortly after assuming power, he closed the
door on investigating systemic violations of law, deepened and expanded
several abusive programs, and refused to spend the political capital to
end the kind of human rights violations like we see in Guantanamo,
where men still sit without charge.
Yes, quite so - and indeed
that was quite surprising given Obama's rhetoric of "Change! Yes, we
can!". My own inference is that he never meant any of
it. He is smart and devious, and is not interested in the American
public or in upholding their rights, and he very probably never was
(like most politicians, indeed). But he is a really good professional deceiver, indeed.
11.40: On the actual powers the NSA has:
1) NSA likes to
use "domestic" as a weasel word here for a number of reasons. The
reality is that due to the FISA Amendments Act and its section 702
authorities, Americans’ communications are collected and viewed on a
daily basis on the certification of an analyst rather than a warrant.
They excuse this as "incidental" collection, but at the end of the day,
someone at NSA still has the content of your communications.
Yes, indeed, and here it
should be said that this is also the reason for the 7 million
documents Obama has classified as secret; for the secret courts, which
make a nonsense of real justice, that must be done in public; and for
the very tricky and false "explanations" of the law, both under Bush
Jr. and under Obama.
Here is Snowden on what the NSA-men would be able to get:
If I target for
example an email address, for example under FAA 702, and that email
address sent something to you, Joe America, the analyst gets it. All of
it. IPs, raw data, content, headers, attachments, everything. And it
gets saved for a very long time - and can be extended further with
waivers rather than warrants.
The point about waivers is
again a legal one: The Obama government in the end has decided that
they have to know everything about everyone, not because of "war against terrorism",
which always has been a pretext, but because they want another
kind of state, and can't get that state democratically.
11.41: About the constraints on the companies that one's data are on or
go through, before they end up in a file in Utah:
They are legally
compelled to comply and maintain their silence in regard to specifics
of the program, but that does not comply them from ethical obligation.
If for example Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Apple refused to
provide this cooperation with the Intelligence Community, what do you
think the government would do? Shut them down?
Actually, I think the answer
may be: Yes, they do risk being shut down. This would create a
very great stink, and considerable problems, but the "reason" would
be that if they don't comply they are "helping terrorism", and
that they simply have to follow the law. Also, they can be quickly
reopened with another management.
11.55: Next, about the difference between US persons and others:
fundamentally, the "US Persons" protection in general is a distraction
from the power and danger of this system. Suspicionless surveillance
does not become okay simply because it's only victimizing 95% of the
world instead of 100%. Our founders did not write that "We hold these
Truths to be self-evident, that all US Persons are created equal."
Not only that: It is simply illegal
what they do, and unconstitutional, besides being immoral
and very authoritarian.
12.04: As to whether Snowden is a Chinese spy:
Ask yourself: if
I were a Chinese spy, why wouldn't I have flown directly into Beijing?
I could be living in a palace petting a phoenix by now.
Quite so (apart from the
phoenix, which does not exist).
12.10: As to whether Snowden is a traitor:
important to bear in mind I'm being called a traitor by men like former
Vice President Dick Cheney. This is a man who gave us the warrantless
wiretapping scheme as a kind of atrocity warm-up on the way to
deceitfully engineering a conflict that has killed over 4,400 and
maimed nearly 32,000 Americans, as well as leaving over 100,000 Iraqis
dead. Being called a traitor by Dick Cheney is the highest honor you
can give an American, and the more panicked talk we hear from people
like him, Feinstein, and King, the better off we all are.
Quite so, and this is quite
courageous as well.
12.12: As to whether there are any defenses:
Properly implemented strong crypto systems are one of the few things
that you can rely on.
This is somewhat pleasant to
know, but then it doesn't help really: The point is that the internet
is dead, as an independent tool of communication, for almost everyone,
who is not either a member of Congress or an NSA-member.
12.24: As to Obama's options:
provides Obama an opportunity to appeal for a return to sanity,
constitutional policy, and the rule of law rather than men. He still
has plenty of time to go down in history as the President who looked
into the abyss and stepped back, rather than leaping forward into it.
I do like "the rule of law rather than men", firstly because I insisted - following Aristotle - that is what it is
about, and secondly because that is why I do not trust Obama:
He said too many times that all of this happens because he is,
in the first place, serving "the safety" of Americans, which is
a big lie in view of the fact that it has helped no one's safety to my
knowledge, also since the chances of being killed by an act of a
terrorist are still quite negligible, and in the second place
only, to uphold the Constitution: One must rely on his person
that his decisions to set aside the Constitution serve to help
"the safety". I have no such reliance, and almost anyone who thinks he
has is not quite sane, because there is no evidence for it, and much
evidence against it.
Also Obama has now quite a few times said one has to trust his
personal judgment rather than the laws whose mere executive he is and
ought to be.
Therefore: While I formally agree with Snowden that this is how it is,
I do not at all expect Obama to take the chance he has been offered by
12.34: As to what made Snowden do what he did do:
everyone's experience is different, but for me, there was no single
moment. It was seeing a continuing litany of lies from senior officials
to Congress - and therefore the American people - and the realization
that that Congress, specifically the Gang of Eight, wholly supported
the lies that compelled me to act. Seeing someone in the position of
James Clapper - the Director of National Intelligence - baldly lying to
the public without repercussion is the evidence of a subverted
democracy. The consent of the governed is not consent if it is not
That is: It was a complex of
reasons - "a continuing litany of
lies from senior officials to Congress"; "James Clapper -
the Director of National Intelligence - baldly lying to the public"; and probably most importantly and
"The consent of the governed is
not consent if it is not informed."
This last point is really important, and quite correct, and also
something Snowden could much better see than almost anyone else who is
not a member of one of the private corporations, like Booze
Allen, that currently pretend they are "the security" of the US.
12.41: As to the support of the people:
Initially I was
very encouraged. Unfortunately, the mainstream media now seems far more
interested in what I said when I was 17 or what my girlfriend looks
like rather than, say, the largest program of suspicionless
surveillance in human history.
Yes, indeed. Then again, that
was to be expected. In fact, I am surprised - see the
next item - there is such traction as there is, indeed because of
or in spite of "the largest
program of suspicionless surveillance in human history".
12.43: Again as to the distinctions the Obama-government makes and
The US Person /
foreigner distinction is not a reasonable substitute for individualized
suspicion, and is only applied to improve support for the program. This
is the precise reason that NSA provides Congress with a special
immunity to its surveillance.
That is: In the US everyone
is a - real or potential - terrorist, for which reason everyone
must surrender all his personal data, except if he or
she is a member of Congress. What a great schema! If and only if
(and only as long as) one is a member of Congress one will not
3. A good bit by Fox News (?!)
Next, a good bit by Fox News. Yes, it's possible:
Mind you, it's put together,
but I like it. The main message is: "You can't trust Obama", but then I agree with that (Dutch) and in
English (e.g.) here, here and here and here.
And yes, it is true that Fox News also has been threatened, in the
person of their correspondent James Rosen, and indeed apart from that
they are, like all Americans, equally threatened.
Incidentally: Is there less porn-watching? Fewer e-mails to
whorehouses? Less anonymous scolding on forums?
It will all be in one's very own dossier at NSA, to be used
against one whenever any future government will find any
reason for that. As Snowden said:
Now for something different: England's postmodern politicians. This is
another Guardian piece, by Tanya Gold and it is ... very plain:
Here is a bit of it, jumping
stuff about specific insults and shortcomings:
This is to say that only 1 in
12 British expect their parliamentarians to do their work, and only 1
in 5 believes them to speak the truth. I don't think I have written
about the earlier scandal with British parliamentarians of all kinds,
all greedy for money, money, money, by whatever dishonest means, but I
have noted it, and it was very sickening.
That parliament has
alienated the electorate is an old story, and dangerous. The Ipsos Mori poll published last week
reminded us of the extent of the
alienation. Only 8% of those questioned think MPs put the interests of
their constituents first; only 21% trust them to tell the truth, about
the Muppets, or anything.
The reasons are many, and
complex. Cameron's strategic dishonesty, the worst of any party leader
in living memory, contributes to the house's debasement; Iain Duncan
Smith follows him in this at the Department for Work and Pensions,
abusing statistics to pursue an ideology for which the Tories have no
mandate. The prime minister's contempt for parliament is explicit; in
the eight weeks to 13 May, he was present for prime minister's
questions only once.
So indeed I am not amazed at the last sentence:
It feels like a
shrinking elite screaming at itself, at the end of days.
5. TYT on the DSMs
Next, a fresh view of the DSMs, by TYT, which is short for The
Young Turks, whom I have been following four nearly four years now,
which means that I think they are good.
This is not to say I always agree, and indeed I don't, but then I don't
need to consent with everything I see, or indeed to see everything, or
even most things, to say that I do like them.
Here is an item on the DSMs by them:
As it happens, I know much
more about the subject than they do, and there are some mistakes in it,
but yes: They got very well what it is about: Money, just as
they got what you should not do, unless you loose your
freedom: Take their pills or trust their diagnoses.
As long as you can think, and talk, and move about, and unless you have
very great psychological problems that you are certain that you
cannot solve yourself, it is very unwise to go to a
psychiatrist, especially in the US. Also, if you really need
psychological help, you are probably much better of with a combination
of a psychologist and your GP.
Finally, if you are offered pills: Do not take them until you have made
a close study of dr. David Healy's
website and blog.
18-06-2013: I added a few clarifications and a link.
ME/CFS (that I prefer
to call M.E.: The "/CFS" is added to facilitate search
is a disease I have since 1.1.1979: