June 23, 2013
Crisis: scanner, Wozniak, German, England, US, Greenwald, media

   "Those who sacrifice liberty for  
     security deserve neither."
     -- Benjamin Franklin

Prev- crisis -Next


1.  I bought a scanner
2.  Steve Wozniak doesn't like spying
3.  German politicians do not like spying
4.  English politicians may, perhaps, not like spying
5.  US and British spy together on ALL the US and British

6.  Glenn Greenwald defends Edward Snowden (in writing)
7.  By and large,
the media don't care, it seems
About ME/CFS


It still is the case that sleeping remains quite difficult for me. This also makes my life rather difficult, at the moment.

The following is fairly brief, and the first section is mostly personal. The next four continue the theme that everybody is being spied upon, also with an interesting short video about Steve Wozniak, and a link to an hour long interview with him. Then there is Glenn Greenwald, defending Edward Snowdon (in writing), who seems to be going to Cuba, and I finish with a few reflections on the fact that really few seem to care that their privacy has gone, for various reasons, but mostly - I think - because they don't really understand. [1]

1. I bought a scanner

I bought a flatbed scanner, which is something I've never had before. It's a Canon, because the place I've to go to, not having a car and easily tiring very soon, did not sell Epson, that was my original plan.

I don't think the Canon plays with Ubuntu, or at least I have not yet found out how, but it did install quite easily in Windows 7, which I still have a working copy of, although I had not used it all of this year, and hardly at all for over a year now.

Two main reasons to buy the scanner are that (1) I wanted to convert my journal of 1984 to it, which consists of 269 closely typed A4 pages, and also (2) I have two large steel storage boxes, each almost as tall as I am,
each with four trays, that are all filled with papers of all kinds that I wrote, received or collected between 1966 and 1987/8, when my life became mostly computerized, as did my administration. [2]

In any case... I am now very tired, having converted those 269 journal pages from 1984 to PDF, that mostly worked as it should, which is pleasant, but which also really was a lot of work for a person with my present state of "health". (My eyes are a bit less lousy than they were, so I could thole the Windows menu, that also wasn't large.) [3]

The reason I wanted that particular journal as PDF is mostly that it was an interesting year for me, that I also have described rather well.

Enough about me: Back to my reporting about espionage.

But before starting that, please note that when I use that term "espionage" or "spying", I mean it in the sense of the complete surveillance of you and of everybody else, as a matter of course, by a very small select number of totally anonymous know-alls, and that anything they may find - at any point from now on till the indefinite future - may be (ab)used by any present or future government of any political color or religion, for any purpose whatsoever, including blackmail.

And that last point means that people may be "asked", by those with such very specific knowledge of all their doings, not to do or say certain things, or to do or say certain things, if they want to avoid that certain information about their past doings is made public. [4] So I am not talking here about spying in a normal sense, that is directed at specific persons, for specific reasons or ends. That may be good or bad as well, but is different.

2. Steve Wozniak doesn't like spying

Steve Wozniak is the true designer of Apple. He too does not like spying, as he says here, rather well also - and this comes with Spanish sub-titles:

Steve Wozniak is one of the few pure people I know of, by which I mean mostly that he is honest and naive, next to very smart, each and all as very few are.

As to Apple: Personally, I am not a fan. I only used an Apple II computer ca. 1980, because a friend had bought one, and I had no money myself to ever buy one, but then I've always held that the design was great, but the hype was at least as great.

In any case, if you want to know more about Wozniak, this is a good interview with him (and the title is the original one, though the interview is good, and takes an hour):

3. German politicians do not like spying

Yesterday I mentioned that it now also has been revealed the English GCHQ monitors everything the British are doing with their computers or phones.

Meanwhile, that honorable man William Hague has been rolled out to the British public with the assurance that "if you've got nothing to hide, you've got nothing to fear", and also that he is a boss who won't tell anything else.

Well, here is the German justice minister on the subject, who may know more about the Stasi and the Gestapo:
I quote:
Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, the German justice minister said the report in the Guardian read like the plot of a film.

"If these accusations are correct, this would be a catastrophe," Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger said in a statement to Reuters. "The accusations against Great Britain sound like a Hollywood nightmare. The European institutions should seek straight away to clarify the situation."


"The accusations make it sound as if George Orwell's surveillance society has become reality in Great Britain," said Thomas Oppermann, floor leader of the opposition Social Democrats.
Yes, except that GCHQ knows more. But "a catastrophe" is the right description.

4.  English politicians may, perhaps, not like spying

But then even the British politicians - whom I can't much respect - had some complaints:
I will leave the British political parliamentary heroes to your own perusal, but it ends with somebody who is not a parliamentarian:
Shami Chakrabarti, director of Liberty, said she was shocked by the Guardian's report and accused GCHQ of allowing itself a "very generous interpretation of the law".

"They are exploiting the fact that the internet is so international in nature," she told Today. "And I'm pretty sad in a democracy when all that appears to be holding back the secret state is its physical and technological capability and not its ethics or a tight interpretation and application of the law."

Yes, she is right: One of the various reasons this massive spying could happen is that there are no good laws that describe what may be done with a computer, or that if there are, these are easily avoided.

5. US and British spy together on the US and British populations

Actually, the NSA and GHCQ seem to be hand in glove:
But there is a difference: The British lack the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, that simply and plainly forbids what the NSA is doing, in the way it is doing it - and it does not matter what Obama or Alexander or Cheney or one of their tame journalists say or write about this: It is forbidden, by law, to spy on anyone without specific personal probable cause. And the law trumps any politician's statements.

Then again there is article 12 from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

Article 12.

  • No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.
This also forbids what the GHCQ is doing, in the way it is doing it, whatever politicians claim or wiggle.

This is a good article, and it also has the merit of referring to the European Union's 2001 report on it:
That is a somewhat good report, that I have so far read only parts of, but I have noted there are several minority opinions listed in it, such as the following, and I quote with deletions indicated by "(..)"
MINORITY OPINION by Giuseppe Di Lello, Pernille Frahm and Alain Krivine

An interception system of this nature, which does not differentiate between communications, data and documents, infringes the fundamental right to privacy guaranteed by Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights and Article 6 of the Treaty on European Union.

The system therefore flagrantly infringes the freedoms enjoyed by European citizens, the logic of the free market and the security of the Union. Whatever our support for or opposition to that logic and those treaties may be, such infringements are unacceptable.

MINORITY OPINION by Patricia McKenna and Ilka Schröder

This report makes an important point in emphasising that Echelon does exist, but it stops short of drawing political conclusions. It is hypocritical for the European Parliament to criticise the Echelon interception practice while taking part in plans to establish a European Secret Service.

No effective public control mechanism of secret services and their undemocratic practices exists globally. It is in the nature of secret services that they cannot be controlled. They must therefore be abolished. This report serves to legitimise a European Secret Service which will infringe fundamental rights - just as Echelon does.
This report constantly plays down these dangers of Echelon, while it remains silent about plans to introduce the ENFOPOL interception system in the EU. Every society must take a fundamental decision whether or not to live under permanent control. By adopting this report, the European Parliament shows that it is not concerned about protecting human rights and citizens’ liberties.

MINORITY OPINION by Maurizio Turco
C. Solutions must therefore be sought in the political field:
- via legal and parliamentary scrutiny of interception activities and monitoring of the police, security and intelligence services;
- by preventing the proliferation of control bodies which operate to different data-protection standards and without any genuine democratic and legal scrutiny,
- by regulating – on the basis of the highest standard and the case-law of the ECHR – protection of the privacy of European citizens against preventive interference by government authorities and eliminating the discrimination existing within the European Union between citizens of various Member States.
I grant this is all from 2001, but part of the reason this never became prominent is that it addressed secret information, that is about
arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence
that is forbidden, quite rightly so, by Article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

6. Glenn Greenwald defends Edward Snowden (in writing)

This is from yesterday:

He says, among other things:
The irony is obvious: the same people who are building a ubiquitous surveillance system to spy on everyone in the world, including their own citizens, are now accusing the person who exposed it of "espionage". It seems clear that the people who are actually bringing "injury to the United States" are those who are waging war on basic tenets of transparency and secretly constructing a mass and often illegal and unconstitutional surveillance apparatus aimed at American citizens - and those who are lying to the American people and its Congress about what they're doing - rather than those who are devoted to informing the American people that this is being done.


What they [the American people - MM] have learned is that the vast bulk of this surveillance apparatus is directed not at the Chinese or Russian governments or the Terrorists, but at them.

And that is precisely why the US government is so furious and will bring its full weight to bear against these disclosures. What has been "harmed" is not the national security of the US but the ability of its political leaders to work against their own citizens and citizens around the world in the dark, with zero transparency or real accountability. If anything is a crime, it's that secret, unaccountable and deceitful behavior: not the shining of light on it.

Yes indeed - and this game, this gross fallacy, of accusing others of what you are doing yourself (except that you are usually doing it also on a much bigger scale),  has been going on a long time now, not only with regards to espionage, but many more things. It is one of the dearest most abused fallacies of the GOP, and indeed in politics in general.

7.  By and large, the media don't care, it seems

I just read the news - in five papers: Parool, NRC, Volkskrant, Guardian, New York Times - that Snowden is moving to Moscow, whence he wants to move to Cuba, it seems, and thence possibly to Venezuela.

From this it might be inferred that the title of my section is not quite right.

Then again: What I mean is that most of the media, including the Dutch media, do not
seem to care much that all of their privacy has gone, in principle: I've read some about it, but outside the Guardian not much, and none really solid.

One wonders why, and here are a few answers:

  • some really don't care
  • some (more than think so) really don't understand
  • some believe the governments' lies
  • some (more than think so) don't understand the law
  • some believe they have nothing to hide
  • some - journalists - are (as) government tools
I can think of more reasons, but I want to briefly say something about these, after agreeing there are quite a few different ones:

Those who really don't care: I'm sure these exist, but I generally believe they are uninformed or unintelligent. Then again, the mass of men is uninformed and unintelligent, and the majority has nothing to fear from any government, precisely for that reason: No ideas of their own. (But without the creative few, their lives will be much less interesting.)

Those who don't understand: There are many more than think so, and one reason is that almost none of them has anything like experience or indeed some solid knowledge of a totalitarian authoritarian system. (See: Robert Conquest, "The Great Terror".)

Those who believe the government: If you do, you are stupid, but then many are. (And this will not change without eugenetics, that presently is not possible.)

Those who do not understand the law: This comprises the vast majority, one point being that the governments, in whose name this happens, and whose executives defend it, are all in clear and complete breach of the law, whatever they say: The Fourth Amendment and Article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are quite clear and totally forbid it.

Those who believe they have nothing to hide: If you believe that, you must be extra-ordinarily dumb. Also, even if you really don't have much to hide now [4], you have no assurance about any future governments. And neither have your present governors, whatever they claim.

Those who are (as) government tools: This does comprise very many modern journalists, probably by mere calculation: One has a nice career without offending the government, and one is almost certainly getting in trouble by opposing them.

Then again, of the last kind there are several sub-kinds, and I was mostly thinking of the majority: Those who merely conform rather than
explicitly serve .

In either case, such journalists will almost only write about approved topics, and not about whatever is or may be important that may be unpleasant for someone with a lot of governmental power.

"So it goes."

[1] See the last section: There are various reasons, but the main ones are fundamental lacks of understanding, both of the laws, that forbid the spying governments do, in no uncertain terms also, and of computers, that are not well understood at all by most who use them.

[2] Actually, I do not know whether I have the health, time and willingness to copy much of that, but then I also rarely looked into these boxes the last 25 years, except for a few times, and that was again basically because of my health: I simply lacked the health since 1994 to do anything much.

[3] This part I wrote yesterday, but I keep sleeping too little, which is due to the supplements I take, mostly, which I take because they help me some. But no, it is far from perfect.

[4] Actually, I never looked at any porn or nudity on the internet, simply because I was aware I may be investigated. And otherwise, I really did nothing wrong, except - for some - maintain my site(s). But I suspect in this I am in a minority. Also my opinions are in a very small minority, which is bound to be mistaken for many. Then again, I belong to no group or religion of any kind, and I never called for any violence against anyone. (But no: This is not really going to help.)

About ME/CFS (that I prefer to call M.E.: The "/CFS" is added to facilitate search machines) which is a disease I have since 1.1.1979:
1. Anthony Komaroff

Ten discoveries about the biology of CFS(pdf)

3. Hillary Johnson

The Why  (currently not available)

4. Consensus (many M.D.s) Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf - version 2003)
5. Consensus (many M.D.s) Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf - version 2011)
6. Eleanor Stein

Clinical Guidelines for Psychiatrists (pdf)

7. William Clifford The Ethics of Belief
8. Malcolm Hooper Magical Medicine (pdf)
Maarten Maartensz
Resources about ME/CFS
(more resources, by many)

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