July 1, 2013
Crisis: Greenwald, NSA, journalist, Drake, Binney, Hayes, Europeans, more...
Prev- crisis -Next

1.  Glenn Greenwald writes and speaks
The criminal N.S.A.
3.  Who's a journalist?
4.  Thomas Drake:
Snowden saw what I saw
5.  Vindication of William Binney
Chris Hayes makes the point, on msnbc
The Germans and French governments warn
8.  There's a lot more...
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. Yesterday there was news from new published slides; German being awake, according to Der Spiegel; and the Dutch parliamentarians asking frightened questions (that the government doesn't know or pretends not to know).

Today there is a lot, from which I harvested some morsels, mostly guided by the first piece, which is Glenn Greenwald's latest piece and speech; followed by an exposition that the NSA really is criminal, in the eyes of those qualified to know; that is followed briefly on the bypath whether Greenwald "is a journalist" (with a much read column in the Guardian!); followed by more from the earlier whistle-blowers Binney and Drake; and a point or several by Chris Hayes (video); topped by a warning by the German and French leaders that they do not permit being spied upon.

I conclude with saying there's a lot more, and giving a reference.

1. Glenn Greenwald writes and speaks

First, Greenwald in words and in speech. In words, in his latest column for the Guardian:

And in speech here, from the speech:


Here are a few notes on and quotes from the speech. Quotes:

"One of the things that has been most disturbing over the last three to four years has been this climate of fear that has emerged in exactly the circles that are supposed to challenge government … It’s not just journalists but also dissident groups… there is a climate of fear in exactly those factions that are most intended to put a check on those in power, and that has been by design.

"…The revelations about the NSA are important, the things that we learn about journalism are important, but ultimately the thing that matters the most is that the rights that we know we have as human beings are rights that we ought to exercise, and that nobody can take away from us. The only way that those rights can ever be taken away is if we give in to the fear that’s being deliberately imposed."

Notes: It is a good speech, and I listened to all of it, but I did not learn many new things - but then I have been following this closely since June 10, when I first knew who Edward Snowden is, and I think I got him right then.

Also, on a more personal basis: The first 12 minutes or so from the video are by an introducer, who looks rather a lot like I did some 20 years ago, but with hair as I have now, who screams rather loudly, which is the kind of thing I do not want to do for 43 years now - but all of this is just a personal aside. Also, next after him is Jeffrey Scahill for some 10 minutes, followed by Glenn Greenwald, all from a Socialism conference in the U.S. (which I think means something a bit different in the U.S., but this too is an aside).

Next, there is this link from Greenwald´s.

2. The criminal N.S.A.

I've said so before, repeatedly, but these are American people who really know the U.S. law - Jessica Stisa Granick, who is the director of the Stanford Center for Internet and Society, and Cristopher Jon Sprigman, who is a professor of law at the University of Virginia - and they write in the New York Times:
Here are its third and fourth paragraph, that start addressing why indeed Obama, his government and his defenders are, the first two knowingly, breaking the laws:

This view [that no law breaking is involved - MM] is wrong — and not only, or even mainly, because of the privacy issues raised by the American Civil Liberties Union and other critics. The two programs violate both the letter and the spirit of federal law. No statute explicitly authorizes mass surveillance. Through a series of legal contortions, the Obama administration has argued that Congress, since 9/11, intended to implicitly authorize mass surveillance. But this strategy mostly consists of wordplay, fear-mongering and a highly selective reading of the law. Americans deserve better from the White House — and from President Obama, who has seemingly forgotten the constitutional law he once taught.

The administration has defended each of the two secret programs. Let’s examine them in turn.

And this is followed by rather a lot more and ends like this:
We may never know all the details of the mass surveillance programs, but we know this: The administration has justified them through abuse of language, intentional evasion of statutory protections, secret, unreviewable investigative procedures and constitutional arguments that make a mockery of the government’s professed concern with protecting Americans’ privacy. It’s time to call the N.S.A.’s mass surveillance programs what they are: criminal.
Quite so. This is also what makes whistleblowers like Snowden so important: To get to know some of the dirty secrets that the NSA is up to.

3.  Who's a journalist?

Next, a somewhat different tack: The mock issue - in my opinion - whether somebody with a column in the Guardian deserves to be called "a journalist". This is by Margaret Sullivan:

I think Ms Sullivan means well, but it really is a mock issue:

Is Mr. Greenwald a “blogger,” as a Times headline referred to him recently? That headline was atop a profile that did not use the word journalist to describe the columnist for The Guardian United States, the New York-based Web site associated with the British newspaper. At the time, I wrote (on Twitter) that I found the headline dismissive. There’s nothing wrong with being a blogger, of course – I am one myself. But when the media establishment uses the term, it somehow seems to say, “You’re not quite one of us.”

Yes, that's the point - and it is unfair and false. (And that also is independent of the question whether those who ask the question, mock seriously, are themselves journalists, or mere pretend "journalists". Incidentally, the Dutch NRC plays the same mock games, which also help to avoid discussing the real dangers, also for the Dutch.)

4. Thomas Drake: Snowden saw what I saw

Then back to the track, with Thomas Drake:
He writes, honestly and precisely:

What Edward Snowden has done is an amazingly brave and courageous act of civil disobedience.

Like me, he became discomforted by what he was exposed to and what he saw: the industrial-scale systematic surveillance that is scooping up vast amounts of information not only around the world but in the United States, in direct violation of the fourth amendment of the US constitution.

The NSA programs that Snowden has revealed are nothing new: they date back to the days and weeks after 9/11. I had direct exposure to similar programs, such as Stellar Wind, in 2001. In the first week of October, I had an extraordinary conversation with NSA's lead attorney. When I pressed hard about the unconstitutionality of Stellar Wind, he said:

"The White House has approved the program; it's all legal. NSA is the executive agent."

It was made clear to me that the original intent of government was to gain access to all the information it could without regard for constitutional safeguards. "You don't understand," I was told. "We just need the data."

And towards the end of this excellent article:

The NSA is wiring the world; they want to own internet. I didn't want to be part of the dark blanket that covers the world, and Edward Snowden didn't either.

We are seeing an unprecedented campaign against whistleblowers and truth-tellers: it's now criminal to expose the crimes of the state. Under this relentless assault by the Obama administration, I am the only person who has held them off and preserved his freedom. All the other whistleblowers I know have served time in jail, are facing jail or are already incarcerated or in prison.

Yes, and that makes it really dangerous, also in view of the dearth of real investigative journalists, especially but not only in the U.S.

5. Vindication of William Binney

Here is a piece by Michael Kelley on a man who knows very much about the NSA:
This starts as follows (and I added the first link):
William Binney — one of the best mathematicians and code breakers in National Security Agency (NSA) history — worked for America's premier covert intelligence gathering organization for 32 years before resigning in late 2001 because he "could not stay after the NSA began purposefully violating the Constitution."

Binney claims that the NSA took one of the programs he built, known as ThinThread, and started using the program and members of his team to spy on virtually every U.S. citizen under the code-name Stellar Wind.
Also there is this:

Binney says that ThinThread was built to track electronic activities — phone calls, emails, banking and travel records, social media , etc. — and map them to collect "all the attributes that any individual has" in every type of activity and build a real-time profile based on that data.

"So that now I can pull your entire life together from all those domains and map it out and show your entire life over time," Binney told documentarian Laura Poitras in "The Program" (emphasis ours). Binney added that the purpose of the program is "to be able to monitor what people are doing" and who they are doing it with.

And that is the point: Of almost everyone, almost everything is known, and is stored, and can be used, on demand, by any present or future U.S. government, for any purpose whatsoever.

And mind you: What you do not need to fear today, may be very dangerous a few days after tomorrow. You just don't know - it will depend on the government, that knows everything, against you, who knows as much as any private individual - or indeed more likely, against somebody you know. (Now see section 8.)

6. Chris Hayes makes the point, on msnbc

Here is msnbc's Chris Hayes making several points
These points are mostly related to what he knows that he does not know, but then very few know what the US government knows, and that's where leaking enters, and who the leaking is by, and what it is for.

7. The Germans and French governments warn

While the English parliamentarians "postponed" discussing the questions, and the Dutch parliamentarians asked frightened questions, the German and French do something about it, or try to:
This starts as follows

The leaders of Germany and France have rounded angrily on the US for the first time over spying claims, signalling that ambitious EU-US trade talks scheduled to open next week could become an early casualty of the burgeoning transatlantic espionage dispute.

The German chancellor, Angela Merkel, and French president, François Hollande, described the disclosures of massive US spying and snooping in Europe as unacceptable, with the Germans suggesting there had to be mutual trust if the trade talks were to go ahead in Washington on Monday.

And it has the following accurate diagnosis
"Washington is shooting itself in the foot," said Germany's conservative Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper. "Declaring the EU offices to be a legitimate attack target is more than the unfriendly act of a machine that knows no bounds and may be out of the control of politics and the courts."
More in the last dotted link, as holds in each of the above sections.
8. There's a lot more...

but it will have to wait. The above seems a fair selection. And one man can only do so much, and also I am ill and still do not sleep enough, which really makes my life difficult.

But here is a last reference for getting to know a totalitarian climate:
Conquest's "The Great Terror". For this really shows what it was like, under Stalin - and his henchmen did not know a small fraction of what the NSA knows about you and me, and everybody else, and it resides wherever it resides, till it may be used, for some unknown future purpose, by some unknown future government.

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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