"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. Tim Berners-Lee condemns
spy agencies as heads face
2. NSA and GCHQ mass surveillance is violation of
3. Mass surveillance: 10 key
questions for UK intelligence
4. Google engineer accuses NSA
and GCHQ of subverting
5. Al Gore: Snowden 'revealed
evidence' of crimes against
On anonymous lists
There are today five
crisis entries, as it happens all in the Guardian, and one personal
entry (that is probably of little interest to most). Also, this
Nederlog has been written earlier in the day than is usual.
Tim Berners-Lee condemns spy agencies as heads face MPs
To start with, an article
by Ed Pilkington in the Guardian on Berners-Lee:
This starts as follows:
Sir Tim Berners-Lee,
the computer scientist who created the world wide web, has called for a
"full and frank public debate" over internetsurveillance by the
National Security Agency and its British counterpart, GCHQ, warning that the
system of checks and balances to oversee the agencies has failed.
As the inventor of the
global system of inter-connectivity known as the web, with its now
ubiquitous www and http, Berners-Lee is uniquely qualified to comment
on the internet spying revealed by the former NSAEdward Snowden. contractor
In an interview with the
Guardian, he expressed particular outrage that GCHQ and the NSA had
weakened online security by cracking much of the online encryption
on which hundreds of millions of users rely to guard data privacy.
Yes indeed - and let
us note the critical points he makes (in my words):
- The NSA and the
GCHQ have far exceeded what they may be permitted to do, in part by
lying to the public, and in part because:
- the governments
have given far too much freedom, trust and protection to these
agencies, probably in part because they are uninformed themselves, know
little about the internet and programming, and also in part because
they would like to have a much easier life, for governors and
- Also, the
tampering with encryption keyes is a great shame, and
- this tampering based on totally inadequate notions of
privacy and secrecy, that in fact totally invert the democratic norm
that the government ought to be transparent, and is there to protect
the rights on privacy of individuals and of firms.
Also (and now I quote
(..) Berners-Lee sees the
news organisation and Snowden as having acted in the public interest.
responsible media outlets that work with them, play an important role
in society. We need powerful agencies to combat criminal activity
online – but any powerful agency needs checks and balances and, based
on recent revelations, it seems the current system of checks and
balances has failed," he said.
And the system has failed
because there are hardly any checks or balances: Everything is done in
secret; everything is "justified" by totally vague and very probably
quite false claims about "terrorism"; and private data are being stolen
in by the trillions.
There is considerably more, but I only quote the ending:
"Civilisation has to a
certain extent depended on whistleblowers, and therefore you have to
protect them," Berners-Lee said.
2. NSA and GCHQ mass
surveillance is violation of European law, report finds
Next, an article by
Andrew Rettman in the Guardian:
Yes indeed, though perhaps not
quite as you thought. In any case, it starts like so:
Actually, I am not much
concerned with "sincere co-operation", but I am much concerned with the
broken privacy clauses and the European charter of fundamental rights -
and besides, I have been saying this since June about Snowden's
revelations, and since 2005 about "terrorism".
The authors of a new study on mass-scale surveillance have accused the
intelligence services of the US and EU countries of violating European
law and urged the European parliament to take action.
Sergio Carrera, a Spanish
jurist, and Francesco Ragazzi, a professor of international relations
at Leiden University in the Netherlands, who co-wrote the paper, made
the appeal for European action at a hearing in the EU parliament in
Brussels on Thursday.
They said the US National
Security Agency (NSA), the UK's GCHQ and equivalent bodies
in France, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden had breached basic
articles of the EU treaty, such as article 4.3 on "sincere
co-operation", as well as privacy clauses in the EU charter of
fundamental values and in the European charter of fundamental rights.
Also, they are quite clear:
Quite so: My data are mine,
and your data are yours, and spy agencies
should not see them or investigate them, except for
specific reasons, with a specific judge overseeing this, as the Fourth
Amendment of the U.S. Constitution spelled this out, and quite clearly
They also noted that EU
agencies such as the joint police body, Europol, and the EU foreign
service's intelligence-sharing branch, IntCen, were in all likelihood
using data "stolen" from European citizens.
"It's no longer credible
to say the EU has no legal competence and should do nothing on this.
Sorry, we don't think this is acceptable," Carrera said.
"We are witnessing a
systematic breach of people's fundamental rights," he added.
Ragazzi said: "The bigger
the crisis, the more the system of checks and balances should be
reinforced. This is what distinguishes democracies from police states."
The fact that these data now can be stolen by
governmental spy agencies proves absolutely nothing, except that governments cannot be
trusted and should not work in secret, nor with secret courts.
surveillance: 10 key questions for UK intelligence agency chiefs
article by Nick Hopkins in the Guardian:
This starts as follows:
The heads of Britain's
three intelligence agencies – whose identities were once regarded as
top secret – will on Thursday give evidence before a parliamentary
committee for the first time.
Lobban, the director of GCHQ, the MI6
chief, Sir John Sawers, and the director general of MI5, Andrew Parker, will face
questions from the intelligence and security committee in a 90-minute
We do sincerely hope no
terrorist will blow up these spies and spooks! It probably is a vain
propaganda exercise they will be doing, also since the questions seem
to be directed at them by their very good friend Sir Malcolm Rifkind.
Then again, Nick Hopkins
has 10 key questions about which he says
Critics fear the members
of the committee will be too deferential. Here are 10 questions they
could ask to ensure they are not:
These questions are good,
as you can check out yourselves - but I do fear they will not
4. Google engineer accuses NSA and GCHQ of
Next, an article by Charles Arthur in the Guardian:
This starts as follows:
Yes indeed. There is
considerably more in the article.
A British engineer who
works on anti-hacking systems at Google has furiously accused the UK
and US spying agencies of "industrial scale subversion of the judicial
process" by tapping the company's internal networks.
Mike Hearn, who says he
worked for two years on the networks that replicate Google data between
its different computing centres, says that "GCHQ [the British
surveillance centre] turns out to be even worse than the NSA [the US National
Security Agency]". He added that he joined an American colleague,
Brandon Downey, "in issuing a giant fuck you to the people [at the NSA
and GCHQ] who made these slides".
Gore: Snowden 'revealed evidence' of crimes against US
To end today's selections, here is an article by Adam Gabbatt in the
This starts as follows:
Quite so. Also, there is this
(next to more) as per the title:
Former US vice-president
Al Gore has described the activities of the National Security Agency as
"outrageous" and "completely unacceptable" and said whistleblower
Edward Snowden has "revealed evidence" of crimes against the US
Gore, speaking Tuesday
night at McGill University in Montreal, said he was in favour of
using surveillance to ensure national security, but Snowden's
revelations showed that those measures had gone too far.
Yes, indeed! That is what
Snowden did, and therefore he gets persecuted by the government who
committed or facilitated these crimes.
Asked about Snowden, the
NSA whistleblower whose revelations have been reported
extensively by the Guardian, Gore said the leaks had revealed
uncovered unconstitutional practices.
"He has revealed evidence
of what appears to be crimes against the Constitution of the United
States," Gore said.
6. Personal: On
Finally for today, a little personal reflection on anonymous lists,
like those used by ME/CFS-patients, as also seems to be the norm
on the internet. (The following is probably not interesting in
case you are not afflicted by ME/CFS.)
To start with, I agree that in the case of ME/CFS-patients, there are respectable
reasons why many want to use an alias, and these are that if one uses
one's own real name, bureaucrats may use what one says against one.
Then again, and while I also use an alias, my own reasons are quite
different from those of others:
I have - twenty or more years ago, for several years - opposed illegal
drugs dealers (for drugs are illegal in Holland) who were then protected
by Amsterdam's mayor Van Thijn, and who were indeed permitted personally
by mayor Van Thijn to deal from the bottom floor of the house I
lived in, without him ever asking me or anyone else who lived there,
and who were also protected by the aldermen and policemen of
Amsterdam, in spite of the fact that they threatened to murder
me, five times in all, "if you do anything we don't like".
Besides, I could not act against them because I was ill, and they made me gravely ill,
especially because the drugscorrupted Amsterdam police refused
to register any complaint whatsoever, and kept refusing
to do anything for me even after the dealers had been arrested with
several kilos of heroin and cocaine: I was told I could leave the
country if I didn't like it (while the person who told me so knew I was
an invalid and could not leave the country).
Also, I have a large site, and I can fairly easily be found by anyone
who wants to act legally against me - which is what the drugsdealers do
not want, and indeed what no one wanted since 1996, since when I have
internet, and this also includes the drugscorrupted Amsterdam
mayors, aldermen, policemen, ombudsmen etc. for the whole story has
been on line since 2001 (mostly
And since this drugsdealing has been going on for 25 years now,
in which each year at least 10 Billion
euros only in soft drugs (marijuana and hashish) have been
turned over in Holland - I am quoting the
numbers from the parliamentary Van Traa report, of 1996 - I think by
far the most probable reason is that the mayors, aldermen,
ombudsmen, policemen and municipal lawyers who acted for the dealers,
and against me, all of them, repeatedly, have been
drugscorrupted, and have subsidized their own incomes with a
percentage. (I have no proof, but this is by far the best
explanation for what happened in my life: I am now for 25 years much
more ill than I was before, because I protested against the illegal
dealing of illegal drugs that were protected by all of
Amsterdam's mayors, aldermen, policemen, ombudsmen and bureaucrats. And
250 Billion euros - 10 Billion a
year - is indeed an enormous amount of money, that in Holland
is systematically not named in the press, that usually avoids
naming either drugs or dealers, even though legalizing drugs would make
an enormous amount of money in tax.)
To turn to anonymous lists, by which I mean lists on which the vast
majority uses an alias:
I have been and am since at least 12 years a member of several
programmers' lists, that varied in anonymity, in that some members were
there with their real names, and some were not, and the proportions
varied with the lists, and also in time. And I am still a member of
these lists, because no one ever bothers or bothered me there,
and there also are rarely quarrels among members, and if there are
these usually are small and quickly settled, while the members are
normally also more intelligent than the average is.
I have been for almost half a year a member of Phoenix Rising, which I
then left, because I had too often run into discriminatory bullshit,
directed both against myself and against intelligent others, usually for totally nonsensical reasons, that
in fact seemed to be largely due to the fact that ordinary men
and women, once they have an alias, think anything can be said
about and to anyone, because they cannot be found: the
complete loss of all personal responsibility - which then often
gets used to make everyone behave as a regular ordinary person,
or to be discriminated till they leave.
the fact, it was a mistake of me to become a member of Phoenix
Rising (and also of ME-forums, where I was for three months).
I joined because I thought, mistakenly, there was a new opening to
investigate the cause of ME; because I thought I might do something
that might help some, as a highly gifted psychologist (mistake:
ordinary people want no help, at least not of the form I can give); and
because I also misjudged both the level of persons and the influence of
anonymity: I believed they were more intelligent than they were, nearly
all, and I had not believed anonymity voids the bounds of
reason and/or ordinary politeness for so many, and to such an extent.
But I have meanwhile learned it. And I will never do it again. Promise!
 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.