June 24, 2013
Crisis: Obama, Greenwald, the Dutch don't mind, Juvenal, teaching Prism

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

Prev- crisis -Next


1.  Obama on the need for transparency (in 2007)
2.  Greenwald on others on Obama's "transparency"
3.  73% of the Dutch approve spying
4.  ‘Sed quis custodiet ipsos custodes.’
5.  News and teaching resources on Prism
6.  I'm off to the dentist

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.

Anyway. This is a brief Nederlog about the above points, and its briefness and earlyness are accounted for by the sixth point.

1. Obama on the need for transparency (in 2007)

Here then is senator Obama on the need for transparency, in 2007:

He did not speak the truth, though it is not known whether he lied. He did say, more recently, that
The president noted that he would have 'probably objected' over the White House's handling of this issue if he were still a senator, they said. But, according to the sources, he noted his viewpoint changed now that he occupies the Oval Office (..)
2. Greenwald on others on Obama's "transparency"

Actually, the above quotatiom is from 14 March 2013, but it is not stale:

This also contains a video-link for 40 minutes of a Greenwald speech on the rule of law, as opposed to that of people (which I saw at the time and liked), in the sense Aristotle gave, surely in a quotation Obama knows:
It is more proper that law should govern than any one of the citizens: upon the same principle, if it is advantageous to place the supreme power in some particular persons, they should be appointed to be only guardians, and the servants of the laws.
Then again, in March Greenwald may have been a little optimistic, at least if he wanted to convince the Dutch, in democratic majority:

3. 73% of the Dutch approve spying

Yes, 73% approves - and 70% believes the government does tap telephones and internet.

Here is the Dutch item from the Volkskrant ("People's Paper"):

The link+header says: "Three quarters of the Dutch: tapping against terror allowed." This is the conclusion of a random sample of 2000 Dutchmen.

I am not amazed, for reasons I gave yesterday.

But I do think 73 in a 100 is a lot, and do so, for example, because I seriously doubt more than 5  to 10 of a 100 Dutchmen have a fair knowledge of the issues that are really involved. Apart from that, it is depressing.

Here is another number from the same quite collaborative nation: Nearly half of the respondents said they are not worried about large scale tapping practices.
Here I translated this Dutch bit from the linked item: "
Bijna de helft van de respondenten zegt zich geen zorgen te maken over grootschalige aftappraktijken."

Of course, you can present this other than the journalist did: A little over half of the respondents is worried about large scale tapping practices - but this is how the news gets cooked, not only in Holland. (And no, I do not know the precise questions etc.)

What to conclude? Well... I quoted Franklin, above:
Those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.
And earlier:
(..) I believe, farther, that this is likely to be well administered for a course of years, and can only end in despotism, as other forms have done before it, when the people shall become so corrupted as to need despotic government, being incapable of any other.
Then again, very few Dutchmen know about Benjamin Franklin's writings.

A few more Dutchmen know what the Fourth Amendment is, and what article 12 of the 
Universal Declaration of Human Rights says, but these percentages are also quite far from a majority.

4. ‘Sed quis custodiet ipsos custodes.’
     Juvenal (ca. 60 to 130 AD), Sat. 6, 347

The above Latin quotation - that means "But who will guard the guardians themselves?" - heads the so called

"REPORT on the existence of a global system for the interception of private and commercial communications (ECHELON interception system) (2001/2098(INI))"

from which I quote just two paragraphs, that the interested reader can find on p. 134 (from 194) of this REPORT to the European Parliament of 2001:

Compatibility with the fundamental right to respect for private life (Article 8 of the ECHR)

Any interception of communications represents serious interference with an individual’s exercise of the right to privacy. Article 8 of the ECHR, which guarantees respect for private life, permits interference with the exercise of that right only in the interests of national security, in so far as this is in accordance with domestic law and the provisions in question are generally accessible and lay down under what circumstances, and subject to what conditions, the state may undertake such interference. Interference must be proportionate: thus competing interests need to be weighed up and it is not enough that the interference should merely be useful or desirable.

An intelligence system which intercepted communications permanently and at random would be in violation of the principle of proportionality and would therefore not be compatible with the ECHR. It would also constitute a violation of the ECHR if the rules governing the surveillance of communications lacked a legal basis, if the rules were not generally accessible or if they were so formulated that their implications for the individual were unforeseeable. Since most of the rules governing the activities of US intelligence services abroad are classified, compliance with the principle of proportionality is at least doubtful and breaches of the principles of accessibility and foreseeability laid down by the European Court of Human Rights probably occur. Although the USA is not itself an ECHR contracting party, the Member States must nevertheless act in a manner consistent with the ECHR. The Member States cannot circumvent the requirements imposed on them by the ECHR by allowing other countries' intelligence services, which are subject to less stringent legal provisions, to work on their territory, since otherwise the principle of legality, with its twin components of accessibility and foreseeability, would become a dead letter and the case law of the European
Court of Human Rights would be deprived of its substance.

There may be 2 or 3 Dutchmen, in all, who know about this report and this passage.

Even so, all of the above seems completely falsified by what became known from
Snowden's revelations, and indeed also from William Binney, Thomas Drake, Russell Tice, and Mark Klein. Then again, these men know a whole lot more about the things they judge than the Dutch do.

5.  News and teaching resources on Prism

This is an item from the Guardian of a week ago:
It is by Emily Drabble, in a series called "Teacher Network", and starts thus:

The extent of the US National Security Agency's (NSA) surveillance using a computer programme called Prism to access the contents of emails and live chat held by the world's major internet companies including Google, Facebook and Skype is one of the most significant leaks in US political history. The story was first disclosed last week by investigative journalists at the Guardian – and now the whistleblower, IT specialist Edward Snowden has fled to Hong Kong in fear of reprisal from the US authorities.

Here we pull together the best news stories, multimedia, teaching
resources and websites to help you make sense of the story in class and look at the wider issues of privacy and surveillance and in the English, politics and citizenship classroom as well as the debate club with your students.

And indeed she does, and does it quite well also: This is well worth looking at.
6. I'm off to the dentist

Finally, this is a brief and prepared Nederlog, because I need to go to the dentist  on June 24, and am not very fit, not for going to the dentist, and also not for most anything, and that mostly for lack of sufficient sleep.

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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