1. Glenn Greenwald writes and speaks
3. Who's a journalist?
4. Thomas Drake: Snowden saw what I saw
5. Vindication of William
6. Chris Hayes makes the point, on msnbc
7. The Germans and French governments warn
8. There's a lot more...
It still is the case
that sleeping remains quite
difficult for me. This also makes my life rather difficult, at
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
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
I conclude with saying there's a lot more, and giving a reference.
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
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.
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
Here are its third and fourth
paragraph, that start addressing why indeed Obama,
his government and his defenders are, the first two knowingly, breaking
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.
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
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.)
saw what I saw
Then back to the track, with Thomas Drake:
He writes, honestly and
And towards the end of this
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."
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.
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.
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):
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."
Also there is this:
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.
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
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 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.
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
And it has the following
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.
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
More in the last dotted
link, as holds in each of the above sections.
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
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
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: