"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."
Allies Opposed By Diane Feinstein, NRA,
2. Yahoo and Google furious over reports NSA secretly
3. Finally, the review of the
NSA's powers we should have
4. Boris Johnson defends
Guardian over NSA revelations
5. NSA director hints at
scaling back some surveillance of
6. Dark Mail Aims to
Restore Privacy in the NSA Age
7. How three news outlets
collaborated on the NSA files
8. Is Glenn Greenwald the
Future of News?
9. 'I Hope You Publish This':
NSA Broke Into Google, Yahoo
10. “You Can’t Have Your Privacy
Violated If You Don’t
Privacy Is Violated”
really say "I am over the loss of Stephanie Faulkner", since she was my
first real and mutual love, and had the best mind I've met, and also I
had hoped to clarify quite a lot
of things once I had found her, that now have become forever
impossible, but today there is a more or less
regular Nederlog, with 10 items.
Altogether it is around 47
Kb, and there's too much to cram into my title.
1. Spying On Allies Opposed By Diane Feinstein, NRA, Many
The first item today is a video by TYT aka The Young Turks:
It is 7 min 36 sec but it
gives a decent summary. (And also, I like them: their news makes sense,
unlike most of the rest that meets my eyes.)
and Google furious over reports NSA secretly
intercepts data links
Next, an article by Dominic Rush, Spencer Ackermann, and James Ball, in
the Guardian - and see item 9:
This starts as follows:
There is rather a lot
more, and as you may have expected, the NSA denied this, though not
very specifically. But here is one quote from a Google representative:
Google and Yahoo, two of the world's
biggest tech companies, reacted angrily to a report on Wednesday that
the National Security Agency has secretly intercepted the main
communication links that carry their users' data around the world.
Citing documents obtained
from former NSA contractor Edward
Snowden and interviews with officials, the
Washington Post claimed the agency could collect information "at
will" from among hundreds of millions of user accounts.
The documents suggest that
the NSA, in partnership with its British counterpart GCHQ, is copying
large amounts of data as it flows across fiber-optic cables that carry
information between the worldwide data centers of the Silicon Valley
Then again, this also
may not be true. But it certainly shows that Google etc. must be
allowed to speak freely, and not be threatened by classified documents
issued by secret courts: That is Stalinist.
In a statement, Google's
chief legal officer, David Drummond, said the company was "outraged" by
the latest revelations.
"We have long been
concerned about the possibility of this kind of snooping, which is why
we have continued to extend encryption across more and more Google
services and links, especially the links in the slide," he said.
"We do not provide any
government, including the US government, with access to our systems. We
are outraged at the lengths to which the government seems to have gone
to intercept data from our private fiber networks, and it underscores
the need for urgent reform."
As I said: there's more on this in item 9.
3. Finally, the review of the NSA's powers
we should have had
Next, an article by Jeff
Jarvis in the Guardian:
This starts as follows:
Well, yes, but it seems to me
one really cannot trust any of the official players
involved: Not the NSA, not senators like Feinstein, not the U.S.
government, not the GCHQ, not the English government, and indeed also
not Chancellor Merkel nor president Hollande.
What are we, we citizens
of the United States and
nations of the world: chopped liver?
As Edward Snowden's
leaks revealed that millions of Americans and their metadata were
ensnared in the National Security Agency's collect-it-all dragnet, the
White House and most of Congress – Senator Dianne Feinstein
leading the defense – would brook no reconsideration. Citizens of other
nations were treated as if they simply had no rights to avoid the NSA's widening glare.
But when German
Chancellor Angela Merkel
complained about reports that her mobile phone had been targeted
for more than a decade … well, that is the moment when
President Obama considers hitting the brakes
on the NSA and stopping them from snooping on heads of state. That was
the moment when Merkel herself stopped defending
a policy of aiding the NSA and started questioning it. And that is the
moment when Feinstein finally concedes
A total review of all
intelligence programs is necessary.
The reasons are that they all have been lying a lot,
and they all belong to the very top who may bring it
about that they are not be spied upon by the NSA or the
But I am not much interested whether top politicians are spied upon, or
more spied upon than they like: I am concerned about mass
surveillance, and think that has to go, completely also. It is totalitarian
and authoritarian, and it has no place in any political
system that calls itself "a democracy".
4. Boris Johnson defends Guardian over NSA revelations
Next, an article by Matthew Taylor in the Guardian:
This starts as follows:
Yes, indeed. The article
continues with saying this opposes him to David Cameron, and also has
some more information.
Boris Johnson has
issued a staunch defence of the Guardian's
"salient and interesting" revelations showing the extent of mass
surveillance by US and UK intelligence agencies.
The mayor of London told
an audience at the World Islamic Economic Forum on Wednesday that it
was important that governments and their spies were held to account by
a "beady-eyed" media.
"I think the public
deserves to know," said Johnson. "The world is better for government
being kept under the beady-eyed scrutiny of the media and for salient
and interesting facts about public espionage being
brought into the public domain."
5. NSA director hints at scaling back some
Next, an article by Spencer Ackerman, in the Guardian:
This starts as follows:
Then again, I tend to
disbelieve everything Keith Alexander says, and also, as I remarked
above, I am not much concerned with spying on political leaders: what
concerns me is the mass surveillance.
The director of the
National Security Agency conceded on Wednesday that it may need to
scale back some of its surveillance operations on foreign leaders,
in the wake of an international outcry.
Launching a public
defence of the NSA for the second time in as many days, Alexander
acknowledged that limiting the program may be necessary in order
to maintain diplomatic relations. “I think in some cases the
partnerships are more important," he told an audience
Washington and several European nations, particularly Germany, have
come under extreme strain since chancellor Angela Merkel confronted the
US about the NSA intercepting her phone calls.
6. Dark Mail Aims to Restore Privacy in the NSA Age
Next, a brief article by Peter Scheer on Truth Dig:
This starts as follows:
This gets - somewhat -
explained in the rest of the article. I have mentioned Lavabit and also
Phil Zimmermann before, and all I take from the above is that it still
is possible to send encrypted data that the NSA cannot decipher.
The founder of Lavabit,
the secure email service provider that shut down rather than betray its
customers—including Edward Snowden—to the U.S. government, is back with
a new idea for private email.
Ladar Levison is
collaborating with Silent Circle, the private company that counts
encryption guru Phil Zimmermann among its top executives, to create
something called Dark Mail.
Then again, "restoring privacy" should happen by other means,
viz. insisting that it is theft, it is spying, and
it should not
happen in democracies, except as regulated by the Fourth
Amendment. And also, all spying should be properly overseen by
qualified senators and congressmen, and should not be furthered
by secret courts.
7. How three news outlets collaborated on
the NSA files
Next, an article by Sarah Marshall in Journalism:
This has as a subtitle:
How the Guardian,
New York Times and ProPublica worked together to report on the
documents leaked by Edward Snowden
It mostly clarifies that it
involves a lot of research, and a lot of time and money, and it also
says the collaboration went smoothly.
8. Is Glenn Greenwald the Future of News?
Next, an article on AlterNet by Bill Keller and Glenn
This is from the beginning:
The far-ranging interview
concluded on the central tenet of what motivates Greenwald to do
investigative journalism: "The authoritarian response that at its core
says when someone in power decrees something is secret we have to
quiver in deference, and to challenge that decree is somehow a moral
and legal crime. I reject that," Greenwald told Johnston. "My nature is
that when I see abuses of power, I want to expose those abuses.”
Earlier this month
Greenwald announced he was joining a new journalistic venture, backed
by eBay billionaire Pierre Omidyar, who has promised to invest $250
million and to “throw out all the old rules.” That news item and David
Cay Johnston's interview caught the eye of Bill Keller, former
Executive Editor of The New York Times, now
an occasionaly columnist for its op-ed pages, who invited
Greenwald to participate in an exange on similar topics. What follows
are some of the more important parts of their exchange, which
can be read in full here.
I get nothing when I click
the last link, either because I did not pay the NYT or because I do not
exchange between Keller and Greenwald.
But then that was quite an
interesting read, although I also should say that (1) I do not know
Keller from anything and (2) his arguments do not count for much.
Anyway: I recommend you
read all of it, and here are two quotes from it, both by
still, this suffocating constraint on how reporters are permitted to
express themselves produces a self-neutering form of journalism that
becomes as ineffectual as it is boring. A failure to call torture
“torture” because government officials demand that a more pleasant
euphemism be used, or lazily equating a demonstrably true assertion
with a demonstrably false one, drains journalism of its passion,
vibrancy, vitality and soul.
of all, this model rests on a false conceit. Human beings are not
objectivity-driven machines. We all intrinsically perceive and process
the world through subjective prisms. What is the value in pretending
relevant distinction is not between journalists who have opinions and
those who do not, because the latter category is mythical. The relevant
distinction is between journalists who honestly disclose their
subjective assumptions and political values and those who dishonestly
pretend they have none or conceal them from their readers.
I merely say that this is a reaction to points of Keller, that I found
rather incredible, indeed for the reasons given by Greenwald.
from nearly the end:
yes: along with new privacy-enhancing technologies, I do think that
brave, innovative whistle-blowers like Manning and Snowden are crucial
to opening up some of this darkness and providing some sunlight. It
shouldn’t take extreme courage and a willingness to go to prison for
decades or even life to blow the whistle on bad government acts done in
secret. But it does. And that is an immense problem for democracy, one
that all journalists should be united in fighting. Reclaiming basic
press freedoms in the U.S. is an important impetus for our new venture
Yes, indeed - and I am not
certain they will succeed.
'I Hope You
Publish This': NSA Broke Into Google, Yahoo
Next, a piece by Jon Queally on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:
knowledge or permission, the National Security Agency has broken into
the global data centers of Yahoo! and Google, the Washington Post
There is also this, a little
In a report that terms
the specific NSA surveillance program as "unusually aggressive," the
newspaper claims that leaked documents provided by whistleblower Edward
Snowden show how the operation, codenamed MUSCULAR, allowed the agency
to access the "cloud networks" of the two internet giants and "collect
at will from among hundreds of millions of user accounts, many of them
belonging to Americans."
For more, consult the last
When asked by the Post
if they were aware of the program, both Yahoo! and
Google adamantly said they did not know and expressed deep
concern—anger, in fact—that the NSA had possibly infiltrated their
private, highly secure, "cloud" networks.
10. Head of Congressional Intelligence Committee:
“You Can’t Have Your Privacy Violated If You Don’t KNOW Your Privacy Is
Finally, a piece on Washington's Blog:
Here is a bit of a
quoted exchange between Mike Rogers, who chairs (!) the House
Committee, and professor of law Stephen I. Vladek:
This is most of the comment on
I would argue the fact that we haven’t had any complaints come forward
with any specificity arguing that their privacy has been violated,
clearly indicates, in ten years, clearly indicates that something must
be doing right. Somebody must be doing something exactly right.
Vladeck: But who would be complaining?
Rogers: Somebody who’s privacy was
violated. You can’t have your privacy violated if you don’t
know your privacy is violated.
Vladeck: I disagree with that. If a
tree falls in the forest, it makes a noise whether you’re there to see
it or not.
Well that’s a new interesting standard in the law. We’re going to have
this conversation… but we’re going to have wine, because that’s going
to get a lot more interesting…
I quite agree - and I
also note that Rogers committed, probably intentionally, a fallacy: He
confused "You don't know your privacy is violated if your privacy is
not violated", which is perfectly OK, with the utterly invalid "Your
privacy is not violated if you do not know your privacy is violated".
What Rogers is really
saying is that the government has the right to spy on everyone so long
as it doesn’t get caught doing so.
How’s that different from
arguing that it’s okay for a thief to takes $100 from your bank account
as long as you don’t notice that the money is missing? Or that it’s
okay to rape a woman while she’s passed out so long as she doesn’t
realize what happened?
That’s beyond ridiculous.
It flies in the face of more
than 200 years of American law.
 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.)
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.