15, 2013
Crisis: epitaph, Snowden, NSA collecting, Lord McDonald, Lord Blencathra
  "They who can give up essential 
   liberty to obtain a little temporary
   safety, deserve neither liberty
   nor safety."
   -- Benjamin Franklin [1]
   "All governments lie and nothing
   they say should be believed.
   -- I.F. Stone.

  1. The perfect epitaph for establishment journalism
  2. "Edward Snowden Is a Patriot": Ex-NSA CIA, FBI and
       Justice Whistleblowers Meet Leaker in Moscow

  3. NSA Collecting Hundreds of Millions of Email Contact Lists
  4. Snowden leaks: MI5 chief accused of using 'foolish
       self-serving rhetoric'
Conservative peer Lord Blencathra hits out at online
       spying by GCHQ

About ME/CFS


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.

1.  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 Guardian:

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, because this 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. [2]

Then again, a little later Greenwald writes:

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 them?"

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:  

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.

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.

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.

3.  NSA 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):
The National 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.

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.

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.

4. Snowden leaks: MI5 chief accused of using 'foolish self-serving rhetoric'

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 McDonald:

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 capabilities.

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 bolding added:

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.

5. Conservative peer Lord Blencathra hits out at online spying by GCHQ

The second is by Rowena Mason and Nick Hopkins:

This starts as follows:

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.

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.

There is considerably more, but I serve just one more bit, that I found interesting from a conservative lord, and fair and honest:

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" (...)
Again, there is considerably more you can check out yourself by way of the last dotted link.



[1] 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 Greenwald:
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.)

[2] I 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 everyone else".

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 system.

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. 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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