"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. The perfect epitaph for
2. "Edward Snowden Is a Patriot": Ex-NSA CIA,
Whistleblowers Meet Leaker
Collecting Hundreds of Millions of Email Contact Lists
4. Snowden leaks: MI5 chief
accused of using 'foolish
peer Lord Blencathra hits out at online
spying by GCHQ
There was - it
seems to me - a bit less crisis news today then there was yesterday, so
you just get this time five rather than ten items.
The perfect epitaph for establishment journalism
The first item today is by
Glenn Greenwald, who got a bit angry, and justifiedly so. This is in
The reason he got angry, he
explains, is this:
Like many people, I've
spent years writing and speaking about the lethal power-subservient
pathologies plaguing establishment journalism in the west. But this
morning, I feel a bit like all of that was wasted time and energy,
new column by career
British journalist Chris Blackhurst - an executive with and, until
a few months ago, the editor of the UK daily calling itself "The
Independent" - contains a headline that says everything that needs to
be said about the sickly state of establishment journalism:
In other words, if the
government tells me I shouldn't publish something, who am I as a
journalist to disobey? Put that on the tombstone of western
establishment journalism. It perfectly encapsulates the death spiral of
large journalistic outlets.
A bit later Greenwald
writes, rather optimistically, in my eyes:
Most people, let alone
journalists, would be far too embarrassed to admit they harbor such
subservient, obsequious sentiments. It's one thing to accord some
deference or presumption of good will to political officials, but the
desire to demonstrate some minimal human dignity, by itself, would
preclude most people from publicly confessing that they have willingly
sacrificed all of their independent judgment and autonomy to the
superior, secret decrees of those who wield the greatest power.
Actually, I do not think
so, though I do understand Greenwald, and indeed almost wholly agree
with him. But not for "Most people" - and my reason is that I have
found that "most people" are not there at all, normally, or at least
are not wholly there, when it is a question of taking an individual
stand, especially when this might involve them into some controversy,
and besides "most people" are
simply not intelligent, and like to follow authorities. 
Then again, a little later
Still, what Blackhurst is
revealing here is indeed a predominant mindset among many in the media
class. Journalists should not disobey the dictates of those in power.
Once national security state officials decree that what they are doing
should be kept concealed from the public - once they pound their mighty
"SECRET" stamp onto their behavior - it is the supreme duty of all
citizens, including journalists, to honor that and never utter in
public what they have done. Indeed, it is not only morally wrong, but
criminal, to defy these dictates. After all, "who am I to disbelieve
I'd say: it is a
predominant mindset. Period.
As to the indeed rather
insane obsequiesness that is being manifested here, by a journalist,
and probably quite intentionally: (1) There is absolutely no
one else, for anyone, who can make up your mind, than yourself
(apart from torture), and (2) he might just as well have written "who am I to believe them?", while (3) it is
very evident what a real journalist should do, whatever his or
her (dis)beliefs, if the story is important: investigate the matter,
find evidence, and publish that when found,
while (4) letting the evidence one has found determine one's
degree of (dis)belief.
But this is something Chris
Blackhurst is not willing to do, in any controversial matter,
and especially where The Authorities have spoken: he obeys, like a
flunkey or a doorman, and probably feels proud of shielding and
protecting his "betters".
And one of the frightening
things about the present time is that Blackhurst probably is like the
majority of the people who are supposed to provide the news to ordinary
people - but who will only do so, these days, if the news is Approved
By The Authorities.
2. "Edward Snowden Is a Patriot": Ex-NSA
CIA, FBI and Justice Whistleblowers Meet Leaker in Moscow
Next, an item by Amy Goodman, from Democracy Now!, that I
found on Alternet:
This starts as follows:
There also are in the
conversation: Ray McGovern, who used to work for the CIA but
who now writes on Consortium News; Thomas Drake, a former
whistleblower against the NSA; and Jesselyn Radack, who heads
the Government Accountability Project.
AMY GOODMAN: We’re
joined by four former U.S. intelligence officials who met with Snowden
to give him an award for integrity in intelligence. In Minneapolis,
we’re joined by Coleen Rowley. She was a special agent for
the FBI from 1981 to 2004. She was a division legal counsel
for 13 years, taught constitutional rights to FBI agents and
police. Rowley also testified before Congress about the FBI’s failure
to help prevent the 9/11 attacks. She was awarded Time Person
of the Year.
This is a good and fairly long interview, that I recommend you read.
One reason to recommend this is that all the interviewees have worked
for the U.S. government, in positions of trust, and indeed are, as Ray
McGovern says about Edward Snowden, real patriots; another
reason is that they do provide some news.
Collecting Hundreds of Millions of Email Contact Lists
Next, an item reported by Andrea Germanos, who writes for Common Dreams:
This starts as follows (and
the printing mistake in the first paragraph is reproduced):
Security Agency (NSA) has been collecting "hundreds of millions of
contact lists from personal e-mail and instant messaging accounts
around the world, many of them belonging to Americans of millions," the
Washington Post reported on Monday.
In brief: Everybody is
"under suspicion", and everyone is monitored, and everyone
has his or her personal data stolen by utter freaks-with-stature, such
as Keith Alexander and James Clapper.
The new revelations about
vast NSA surveillance are the latest in a series made possible by
whistleblower Edward Snowden.
The contact lists
collected represent "a sizable fraction of the world’s e-mail and
instant messaging accounts," and are scooped up with the help of
foreign telecomms and foreign intelligence agencies.
The Post reports:
During a single day
last year, the NSA’s Special Source Operations branch collected 444,743
e-mail address books from Yahoo, 105,068 from Hotmail, 82,857 from
Facebook, 33,697 from Gmail and 22,881 from unspecified other
providers, according to an internal NSA PowerPoint presentation. Those
figures, described as a typical daily intake in the document,
correspond to a rate of more than 250 million a year.
Snowden leaks: MI5
chief accused of using 'foolish
Next, the first of two Guardian pieces on English lords who do not
feel like Chris Blackhurst.
The first is by Nick Hopkins and Matthew Taylor, and is about Lord
This starts as follows:
A former director of
public prosecutions has launched a strident attack on the head of MI5 for
using "foolish self-serving rhetoric" to resist legitimate calls for
Britain's intelligence agencies to face more scrutiny in the face of
revelations about their surveillance
Lord Macdonald QC said it
was wrong for Andrew Parker and other senior figures in the
intelligence community to argue that greater scrutiny and more
transparency would affect the ability of MI5, GCHQMI6 to do their work. and
Arguing that the existing
legislation governing the services was "anti-modern", the peer, now a
defence lawyer, said that an urgent review of the oversight regime was
needed to prevent an "an increasing subservience of democracy to the
unaccountability of security power".
Quite so. He said more
quite good things:
The laywer [i.e. Lord
McDonald - MM] added that the disclosures from the whistleblower Edward
Snowden had revealed "the sickly character" of the UK's current
scrutiny regime, which needed an overhaul.
In his sharpest remarks,
Macdonald said: "Worst of all has been the argument, heavily deployed
in recent days, including by Sir Malcolm [Rifkind - MM]
himself, that any more daylight than we currently enjoy simply assists
the nation's enemies.
"Andrew Parker, the new
director general of MI5, should be slower to employ this foolish,
self-serving rhetoric, which naively begs a perfectly legitimate
question: how should we ensure that those privileged to be granted
special powers to intrude into everything that is private, serve a real
public interest, rather than the dangerously false god of
securitisation for its own sake?"
And not only that, with my
He added: "So it seems
very obvious that when it comes to surveillance and techniques of
domestic spying, the law should be the master of technology. Anything
else risks a spiralling out of control, an increasing subservience of
democracy to the unaccountability of security power. This means, at
the very least, that as technologies develop, parliament should
consider afresh the rules that govern their use by state agencies."
Macdonald said nobody
seemed to know which laws permitted spies "access to everything" and
that the ISC should never again "be led by someone whom the public
might perceive as having an axe to grind or an interest to defend. Not
the least of the inadequacies exposed by fallout from the Snowden
revelations has been the sickly character of parliamentary oversight of
the security agencies, even after recent reforms."
Again, quite so. And there
is more you can check out yourself.
Conservative peer Lord Blencathra hits out at online spying by GCHQ
The second is by Rowena
Mason and Nick Hopkins:
This starts as follows:
Note that Lord Blencathra is a
conservative former minister, who investigated the problem, and who -
it seems, like almost anyone else until Snowden spoke up - was misled
and deceived by GCHQ.
Britain's spy agencies
may be operating outside the law in the mass internet surveillance
programmes uncovered by the US whistleblower Edward Snowden,
according to Lord Blencathra, the former Conservative Home Office
minister who led a formal inquiry into the data communications bill.
The Tory peer – David
Maclean when he was an MP – said he felt "deeply, deeply uneasy" about
programmes that allow the security services to examine the internet
activities of British citizens without the consent of parliament.
In an interview with the
Guardian, Blencathra said that the public had a right to know their
internet data might be "lifted" and shared with US intelligence
services – and that MPs should either vote to approve the surveillance
programmes or put a stop to them.
He also condemned the
fact that his committee scrutinising the data communications bill –
subsequently killed off by the Liberal Democrats – was never told about
GCHQ's existing mass
surveillance capabilities. A joint memo from MI5, MI6 and GCHQ made no
mention of them, he added.
There is considerably more, but I serve just one more bit, that I found
interesting from a conservative lord, and fair and honest:
Again, there is considerably
more you can check out yourself by way of the last dotted link.
Blencathra said Snowden
had revealed information that people "have a right to know about".
"A lot of people went
into overdrive saying Snowden's a ghastly traitor, he's endangered
national security. That may be true. But he's revealed things
government were doing which the governments maybe ought not have been
doing or we had a right to know about. Snowden is the first leaker I
have ever felt sympathy for or felt had a potential justice behind what
he was doing."
Blencathra dismissed the
view of Sir David Omand, the former head of GCHQ, who said the leaks
were the most "catastrophic loss to British intelligence ever".
He said this claim was
"utter rubbish" (...)
 Here it is necessary to insist, with
Aristotle, thay the governors do not rule, or at least, should
not rule: The laws rule, and the government, 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 of the citizens: upon the same
principle, if it is advantageous to place supreme power in some
particular persons, they should be appointed to be only guardians, and
the servant of laws.
(And I note the whole file I
quote from is quite pertinent.)
have seen nearly everyone collaborate for twentyfive
years in the University of Amsterdam, while that was all the time in
the hands of leftist students plus a couple of degenerate Dutch Labour
Party managers, all due to specifically Dutch legislation
introduced by minister Veringa in 1971, while all the standards of
science were broken systematically, as was the teaching of science,
except in mathematics, physics and chemistry, while every
student was taught that "everyone knows that truth does not exist", at
least since 1978, and that "everyone knows everyone is equivalent to
The Dutch universities were little socialist quasi-paradises for 25
years, from 1971-1995, and for 25 years hardly anyone
complained about, or even as much as doubted, the fact that every
student had one vote, as did every professor, as did every secretary,
and the doorman, and from these votes the University Parliament was
composed, that had the supreme power in the Dutch universities: This
was "democracy" and as it should be, according to almost
everyone, then and there.
It was a very sick and crazy system, that was
maintained for 25 years because almost no one in the Dutch
universities really cared for science, or really cared for
education, or really cared for civilization, or really cared
for other people that was not family, and because almost everyone who
was not a student was there for personal reasons and for personal
promotion, and it did not matter how, or by what means, or in which
See my 39 questions,
from 1988, that got me kicked out of the faculty of philosophy, briefly
before taking my M.A. there (which is also the reason I did in the end
take an M.A. in psychology, while still ill, indeed as I am now).
About ME/CFS (that I prefer to call M.E.:
The "/CFS" is added to
facilitate search machine) which is a disease that I have since 1.1.