"They who can give up essential
liberty to obtain a little temporary
safety, deserve neither liberty
-- Benjamin Franklin 
| "All governments lie and nothing
say should be believed."
1. Destroying the Right to Be
2. The Act of Killing
readers' editor on… the Guardian's coverage of
4. 'A Total Joke':
'Independent' Review of NSA Not Actually
5. Snowden Leaks Help NSA
Critics in Government
6. These 12 Bills are the
NSA's Worst Nightmare
Government Is Spying On Us Through...
8. Spy Agencies Are Doing
Today there are 8 items in
the crisis series, which is a fair amount, but I did
not even use all that I found, and also did not report on the n-th
Dutch scientific fraud, professor Mart Bax. (See the
the Right to Be Left Alone
The first item I found on AlterNet, but it comes from TomDispatch and
is by Christopher Calabrese and Matthew Harwood, who both work for the
It starts thus:
For at least the last six
years, government agents have been exploiting an
AT&T database filled with the records of billions of American
phone calls from as far back as 1987. The rationale behind this dragnet
intrusion, codenamed Hemisphere, is to find suspicious links between
people with “burner” phones (prepaid mobile phones easy to buy,
use, and quickly dispose of), which are popular with drug
dealers. The secret information gleaned from this relationship with the
telecommunications giant has been used to convict Americans of various
crimes, all without the defendants or the courts having any idea how
the feds stumbled upon them in the first place. The program is so
secret, so powerful, and so alarming that agents “are instructed to
never refer to Hemisphere in any official document,” according to a
government PowerPoint slide.
Note firstly that this is
about a specific finding, and note secondly that this must or ought to
be quite illegal (in view of the fourth amendment). Also, it should be
remarked that the American courts do not seem to work properly,
at least in these cases: Evidence leading to convictions that are
without "the courts having any
idea how the feds stumbled upon them" cannot have been researched properly.
Next, here are the facts
about your own knowledge and that of reporters, at least according to a
“Technology in this world
is moving faster than government or law can keep up,” the CIA’s Chief
Technology Officer Gus Hunt told
a tech conference in March. “It’s moving faster I would argue than
you can keep up: You should be asking the question of what are your
rights and who owns your data.”
Hunt’s right. The
American public and the legal system have been left in the dust when it
comes to infringements and intrusions on privacy. In one way,
however, he was undoubtedly being coy. After all, the government
is an active, eager, and early adopter of intrusive technologies that
make citizens’ lives transparent on demand.
And that is definitely not
what government is for. But then we get something I find rather odd:
Have no doubt: the Fourth
Amendment is fast becoming an artifact of a paper-based world.
The core idea behind that
amendment, which prohibits the government from “unreasonable searches
and seizures,” is that its representatives only get to invade people’s
private space—their “persons, houses, papers, and effects”—after it
convinces a judge that they’re up to no good. The technological
advances of the last few decades have, however, seriously undermined
this core constitutional protection against overzealous government
agents, because more and more people don’t store their private
information in their homes or offices, but on company servers.
This is odd and legalese,
because "technological advances" have no relevance whatsoever
as to what is or is not privately and personally owned, and
those who claim it does either do not know the law or are speaking or
But then the writers attempt to explain their point, though I still
don't get it - and what I specifically do not get is the difference
between "a paper-based world" and "a computer-based world": There is
only one world. In any case, there is a lot more in the article, and
the intentions are good, even if some of the arguments are questionable.
2. The Act of Killing
Next, a paperby Chris Hedges in Truth Dig,
that is about the mass killings in Indonesia in the middle sixties:
This starts as follows:
I have spent time
with mass killers, warlords and death squad leaders as a reporter in
Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. Some are
psychopaths who relish acts of sadism, torture and murder. But others,
maybe most, see killing as a job, a profession, good for their careers
and status. They enjoy playing God. They revel in the hypermasculine
world of force where theft and rape are perks. They proudly refine the
techniques of murder to snuff out one life after another, largely numb
to the terror and cruelty they inflict. And, when they are not killing,
they can sometimes be disarmingly charming and gracious. Some are
decent fathers and sentimental with their wives and mistresses. They
can dote on their pets.
It goes on for three pages,
and some of it is pretty ghastly, but then this concerns around a
million people murdered, mostly because they were
claimed to be communists or to be Chinese.
editor on… the Guardian's coverage of government surveillance
Next, here is a review by
the Guardian's readers' editor Chris Elliott:
This is a long article, but
it is quite good. I only lift two points from it. First, the actual
data Chris Elliott used:
More than 300 articles
have been published since the first, on 6 June 2013, which revealed
that a top-secret court had ordered a US telephone company, Verizon, to
hand over data on millions of calls. However, since then, the readers'
editor's office has received only 108 emails in relation to the series,
of which just 13 were critical. Of the 13, only two specifically
criticised the Guardian for publishing the disclosures, which is
unusual for such a high-profile story.
Of the rest, 48 were
supportive of the Guardian's reporting, 27 offered further information
or further case studies, and seven wanted to know how they could help
Snowden, with some of them offering money, advice on visas, or even
places to stay. A further 13 wanted to know more about what this kind
of surveillance means for them personally.
That's interesting, though
I agree with the "only" in "only 108 emails", and wonder whether many
potential writers have been kept from writing out of fear. Also, it is
good to know that "only two", that is: less than 1%, "specifically criticised the Guardian for
publishing the disclosures".
Next, I pick out this:
Greenwald is also
convinced that a fire has been lit. He said: "I honestly think it has
been so much better than I anticipated even. I have been writing about
surveillance and the NSA for a long time, I started writing about this
[in] 2005 when I began writing about politics."
There is considerably more
in the article. I doubt I am as elated as Greenwald seems to be, but
that is not his fault, but has a lot to do with most so-called
"journalists" in the US refusing to do a real journalist's job,
while also insisting on the arrests and convictions of the few who do.
Anyway: There is
considerably more in the article.
4. 'A Total Joke': 'Independent' Review of
NSA Not Actually
Next, we turn to Common Dreams, where Sarah Lazare has an interesting
This opens as follows:
The panel of
'outside' experts, appointed by President Obama to investigate the
controversial NSA spying program for civil liberties violations, is not
independent at all, but rather, functions under the Office of the
Director of National Intelligence and is comprised of Democratic Party
insiders, Associated Press revealed in a report
And this is the ending (and
you can read the evidence yourself):
The review panel operates under the very office that oversees the NSA
programs the panel is supposed to investigate.
Obama convened the
panel in an early August speech
in which declared that "outside experts" to look into NSA surveillance
policies and produce a report within 60 days in response to mass
outrage about secret spying. Obama claimed
the aim of the panel was to "consider how we can maintain the trust of
the people, how we can make sure that there absolutely is no abuse in
terms of how these surveillance technologies are used."
Which goes to show that
president Obama cannot be trusted at all.
5. Snowden Leaks Help NSA Critics in Government
Then there is this, by Brendan Sasso on Common Dreams
(and originally in The Hill's Technology Blog):
This starts as follows:
For years, the
government has successfully suppressed lawsuits by civil liberties
groups challenging the constitutionality of its surveillance programs.
Te government's main reasoning
was that the parties who complained, could not be considered parties
who suffered, basically because the government hid the evidence, and
"therefore" were not worthy parties.
Now there is this:
There is considerably more,
that includes the fact that the problems are far from passed. But this
is some small step forward.
But the Snowden leaks
have changed all of that. In response to a leaked court order, the NSA
acknowledged that it is collecting data on all U.S. phone calls. The
data collection includes phone numbers, call times and call durations,
but not the contents of the conversations.
"For years, the
government has shielded its surveillance practices from judicial review
through excessive secrecy," Abdo said. "And now that that secrecy has
been lifted to some degree, we now know precisely who is being
surveilled in some of the dragnet policies of the NSA, and those people
can now challenge those policies."
6. These 12 Bills are the NSA's Worst Nightmare
Next, an article by Dana Liebelson on Mother Jones:
She starts as follows:
It seems that not
a week goes by without a friendly reminder from former NSA contractor
Edward Snowden that the government has found a new way to spy on us.
From allegedly cracking online encryption, to paying US tech
companies to build backdoors in their security systems, to
spying on international bank transactions—it's
tempting to wonder whether there is any such thing as electronic
privacy anymore. But in the last few months, Congress has introduced a
spate of bills aimed at reining in the NSA's vast surveillance
Quite so. But then she says:
Here's a guide to
12 pending bills that target US government spying (collected with help
from the Electronic Frontier Foundation).
And she proceeds doing just
This is quite useful, although the question remains which, if
any of these, will make it to laws.
7. The Government Is Spying On Us Through...
Finally, here are two pieces from Washington's Blog, of which this is
This is a long
article, which comes with many references, but it does
support what its title says quite well.
8. Spy Agencies Are Doing WHAT?
This is the second piece:
It starts thus:
and it proceeds to
document that, as above.
New Revelations Are Breaking Every Day
Revelations about the
breathtaking scope of government spying are coming so fast that it’s
time for an updated roundup:
And that's it for today - and I have left out discussing the next
thoroughly corrupt Dutch deceiver professor Mart Bax, currently
pensioned, and - it seems - an even bigger deceiver than Diederik
Stapel. Nothing will be done against this gentleman, "because he is
pensioned"... (with a pension based on fraud).
Maybe more about him tomorrow, but I give no guarantee, if only because
I am firmly convinced that it makes no difference whatsoever.
 Here it is necessary to insist, with
Aristotle, that the governors do not
rule, or at least, should not rule: The laws rule, and the
if good, is part of its executive power. Here I quote Aristotle from my
More on stupidity, the rule of law, and Glenn
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.
(And I note the whole file I
from is quite pertinent.)
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: