"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. Surveillance technology out
of control, says Lord
2. Court order that allowed
NSA surveillance is revealed for
3. Be Thankful For the People Struggling to Limit NSA
is again another crisis item, but I am getting
more doubtful about them because it costs me a lot of time and energy
to write them; it seems nobody
appreciates them (I got more than 1,3 million hits this year, but
received four, that is 4, mails this year from people I did not know -
which may be because my
mail gets sorted behind my back, but even so );
and also, as I said
work is too journalistic to satisfy my needs and talents.
OK, here is another one, but it is brief, and indeed I did not find
much crisis-related materials either.
Surveillance technology out of control, says Lord Ashdown
To start with, an article by Nick Hopkins and Matthew Taylor in the
This starts as follows:
Yes, quite so - and it
may also help some that Ashdown (<-
Wikipedia) has been an intelligence officer in the UK security services.
The technology used by
Britain's spy agencies to conduct mass surveillance is
"out of control", raising fears about the erosion of civil liberties at
a time of diminished trust in the intelligence services, according to
the former Liberal Democrat leader Lord Ashdown.
The peer said it was time
for a high-level inquiry to address fundamental questions about privacy in the 21st
century, and railed against "lazy politicians" who frighten people into
thinking "al-Qaida is about to jump out from behind every bush and
therefore it is legitimate to forget about civil liberties". "Well it
isn't," he added.
He also said:
In an interview
with the Guardian, Ashdown said surveillance should only be conducted
against specific targets when there was evidence against them. Dragnet
surveillance was unacceptable, he added.
Again: Quite so. He also
blamed Blair's Labour goverment, I think with jsutice:
It was appropriate for the
state to intervene in the private communications of its citizens, but
the peer added "only in cases where there is good evidence to believe
the nation's security is being threatened, or arguably, when a really
serious crime has been committed".
Also, Lord Ashdowm was not as
happy with Sir Malcolm Rifkind as is Sir Malcolm:
He also criticised the
Labour party, which was in power when the agencies began testing and
building many of their most powerful surveillance capabilities.
Labour's former home secretary Jack Straw was responsible for
introducing the Regulation of Investigatory Power Act 2000 (Ripa), which
made the programmes legal.
"Ripa was a disgraceful
piece of legislation," Ashdown said. "Nobody put any thought into it.
Labour just took the words they were given by the intelligence
agencies. I don't blame the intelligence agencies.
There is more there, including
a criticism of Edward Snowden (that I can't see as being justified),
but overall this is quite sensible.
The Lib Dem also
dismissed the parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee, chaired by Sir
Malcolm Rifkind, which is supposed to scrutinise the agencies.
He said that it was an
institution "wholly incapable of coping" with the new circumstances.
2. Court order that allowed NSA
surveillance is revealed for
Next, an article by Spencer
Ackerman in the Guardian:
This starts as follows:
Note the "secret court order", which means that I do not believe it - at its very
best this may have "authorized" the massive trawl, but it cannot, in a
free and open society, have authorized it.
A secret court order that
authorised a massive trawl by the National Security Agency of
Americans' email and internet data was published for the first time on
Monday night, among a trove of documents that also revealed a judge's
concern that the NSA "continuously" and "systematically" violated the
limits placed on the program.
The order by the Fisa
court, almost certainly its first ruling on the controversial program
and published only in heavily redacted form, shows that it granted
permisson for the trawl in part beacause of the type of devices used
for the surveillance. Even the judge approving the spying called it a
“novel use” of government authorities.
Another later court order
found that what it called "systemic overcollection" had taken place.
Then again, it is something that these secret documents have been
released now, albeit it in redacted form, which is another major shame,
in a free
and open society, and especially as this concerns the past.
Anyway, this is a long and complicated piece, and I'm leaving it to
you, except for this part:
“On the logic of
these opinions almost every digital footprint we leave behind can be
vacuumed up by the government – who we talk to, what we read, where we
go online," said Patrick Toomey, an attorney with the ACLU. "Like
previous releases these materials show the danger of a government that
sidesteps public debate and instead grounds its surveillance powers in
the secret opinions of a secret court. The more we learn the clearer it
is that our surveillance laws and oversight rules are in dramatic need
Yes, quite so. And I again
add that I reject secret opinions and secret courts:
That is not justice, but a mere pretence of justice.
There are a few cases in which some secrets have to be kept, but to
settle the stealing of everything everybody mails, or writes, or
phones by secret court orders is to settle things in a
3. Be Thankful For the People Struggling to
Limit NSA Spying
Finally today, an article by Robert Scheer on
This starts as follows:
On Monday the
Supreme Court, ruling on an emergency petition, declined to do the
right thing and hear a case challenging the massive government
surveillance of Americans, revealed by the leaks from Edward Snowden.
For the time being, the court acceded to the Obama administration’s
argument that it has the legal right to continue its unprecedented bulk
collection of American phone records without any restraint. That throws
the ball back to Congress, where a historic battle, crossing party
lines, is already underway.
Well, Obama's administration
does not have the legal right to mass surveilance at all,
and if it ever does get them, which is quite possible, it will no
longer be a free nor an open society, but an unfree, closed, and
Next, after Scheer's discussion of "the dark figure of Diane Feinstein"
and an brief exposition of Leahy and Sensenbrenner, he says:
Yes, quite so. And
besides: You cannot trust the government, not even if it were a
good government, for governors are extremely powerful persons, who
cannot be left to do as they please on some sort of vague "trust", as
Obama wants, while he does awful things, and you cannot rely on
secret orders from secret courts, for you want documentary and
public proof of everything they do, with the exception of
very few things, and even these exceptions ought to be overseen by public
judges, who may not give all information, but whose decisions
are public and published in full.
A decade ago, Leahy and
Sensenbrenner helped draft the USA Patriot Act, which they now believe
has been abused by the executive branch and underscore the point by
labeling their new legislation the USA Freedom Act. Sensenbrenner has
been at pains to present his bill as contrary to the Feinstein measure,
which he assailed as an effort “for the first time in our country’s
history to allow unrestrained spying on the American people.”
Leahy, in a Nov. 4
interview with MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell, defended his legislation’s
effort to rein in the NSA’s bulk collection: “The NSA says because we
can collect every one of your phone calls and imprints and everything
else, we need to be able to do it in case someday we need it. Well, you
can imagine if the local police department said, ‘We’re just going to
break into your house, steal everything out of your files, everything
out of your records, because someday we may need it,’ everybody would
be in an uproar. But if they can do the same thing electronically, we
ought to say wait a minute. Also, I get the response when I criticize
them, they say, ‘we’re going to be very careful, we’re going to protect
these records.’ Baloney. This is the same NSA that couldn’t protect
their greatest secret from a 29-year-old subcontractor who stole them
Again, without this, you do not live in an open and
free society, whatever your governors tell you - and indeed there is
little left of an open and free society if, as is the case, the
information that caused all the above is produced by a 29-year old
whistleblower, who got enormously smeared, and is in hiding in Russia,
while Obama still pretends all that is lacking is "trust" in him.
As Scheer ends his piece:
There you have it,
legislators from both sides of the congressional aisle have risen in
response to the Snowden leaks with serious demands for reform to
protect the privacy of Americans from public officials, including
President Obama and Sen. Feinstein, who are craven iceberg deniers.
again a fairly brief Nederlog. The three main reasons are also stated
in the introduction: it costs me a lot of time and energy; while I have
several millions of hits and several hundreds of thousands of visitors
this year I get almost no mail (4 - that is: four - mails in all, this
whole year, that were new, for whatever reason); and the work not only
costs me a lot of time and energy, but is also not the sort of
journalistic work I want to do, or indeed I was trained to do.
20, 2013: Added a link.
 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.)
 I really do not know, but I do
know that until ca. 2006/7 I got far more mail and far
more spam than I get now, while my site is at least twice or thrice as
large. I find 1 mail per 100.000 visitors, which is what it comes down
to, ridiculously low for what I offer, but indeed my name, and my
father's name, and his father's name are certainly known to the Dutch
secret service, that certainly is no better than the American one. (But
I really do not know, and indeed cannot know.)
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.