"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 days of believing spy
chiefs who say 'Trust us' are
2. Fisa court documents reveal
extent of NSA disregard for
3. While Swiss Limit CEO Pay, We Can’t Even Enforce Our
4. NSA Spying’s Economic
is another crisis file, that has been made a bit earlier than is usual.
There are four articles in it in the first four sections, and a brief
personal bit in the last section.
days of believing spy chiefs who say 'Trust us' are over
To start with, an article by Simon Jenkins in the Guardian:
This is from the beginning:
Two defendants, AB
and CD, are on trial at the Old Bailey as "terrorism suspects". The
crown prosecution service has asked the judge to impose anonymity on
the defendants, the charges, the evidence and indeed the reporting of
the trial. Even the reasons for asking should be secret. "Public
interest immunity certificates" have floated in the air like snow
as judges, prosecutors and police prepared a witches'
Sabbath of secrecy.
I agree Mr Justice Sweeney is
admirable. For indeed, as Jenkins writes, quite a lot further
Not so fast, said the
admirable Mr Justice Sweeney on Monday. He wanted a clear explanation
to his court as to why secrecy was necessary. Any exemption from the
principle of open justice, he said, "must be very clearly made out
after every party [including counsel for the press] has the opportunity
to make submissions". All the CPS had offered as justification were
"operational reasons" and "to prevent the administration of justice
from being damaged". It must now do better.
What is it the
police wish to keep secret and why? I have no problem with keeping
names secret in some trials, as with certain sex crimes and family
cases. Nor is Sweeney opposing secrecy in the AB/CD case. He merely
regards justice as requiring openness prime facie. If it cannot be
open, then the reasons for closure must be open. He and his court must
be persuaded, not just told.
Yes, quite so - except that I
would have thought almost any decent British judge would reason as
Sweeney did, though I have now learned that many do not, which means
for me that they have forsaken their real judicial duties, and should
go (which I do not expect).
Also, Jenkins continues as
Indeed, though I have
two provisos. First, I am not convinced those in power see things as
does Simon Jenkins. Second, while I agree with him on the total
fallaciousness (and depravity) of the argument "Trust us, we are policemen", I am not convinced this extremely
cheap bit of utter shit will not be used again.
The days are over when
those demanding secrecy for their work can offer the dismissive excuses
of the three intelligence chiefs to Westminster's intelligence and security committee earlier
this month. This boiled down to "Trust us, we are policemen". How
could anyone trust people who delivered Britain's entire wardrobe of
state secrets, some 60,000 files, to a potential audience of up to
800,000 Americans, including an honest but appalled private contractor
named Snowden – and that after the Manning-Assange
revelations. They must have known it would all leak.
British intelligence was
saved from catastrophe only by Snowden not dumping his material on the
web but giving it to what he regarded as responsible journalists. The
newspapers, notably the Guardian, published less than 1% of the
material judged as clearly in the public interest. This was after
consulting (if not always agreeing with) security authorities on
both sides of the Atlantic. British intelligence asserts that national
security was endangered and lives put at risk. No American source has
repeated that claim, but rather acknowledged a gross intelligence
failure badly in need of correction.
But these may be due to
my cynicism. Otherwise, I agree with him, also on the fundamental
responsibility of both the Guardian and of Snowden.
There is quite a lot
more in the article, that I leave to you.
documents reveal extent of NSA disregard for privacy restrictions
Next, an article by Spencer
Ackerman, also in the Guardian:
This starts as follows:
Newly declassified court
documents indicate that the National Security Agency shared its trove
of American bulk email and internet data with other government agencies
in violation of specific court-ordered procedures to protect Americans’
The dissemination of the
sensitive data transgressed both the NSA’s affirmations to the secret
surveillance court about the extent of the access it provided, and
prompted incensed Fisa court judges to question both the NSA’s
truthfulness and the value of the now-cancelled program to
While the NSA over the
past several months has portrayed its previous violations of Fisa court
orders as “technical” violations or inadvertent errors, the oversharing
of internet data is described in the documents as apparent widespread
and unexplained procedural violations.
Which is to say that the
NSA lied to everyone, including their own secret judges in their own
secret courts - which is indeed what one should expect from
spies and spooks that are kept in secret by the government they work
for, and seem to have worked since 9/11 without any effective control
There is rather a lot
more that I leave to you, though I should say that the sum up is that
you just canot trust the NSA, but I do quote the end:
Yes, indeed - and my
guesses are that they never even intended to comply, believing
they were acting in secret, and that they also never really
complied, and also that they also really were surprised by Edward
Elizabeth Goitien of the Brennan Center for Justice at
New York University said that the declassified opinions raise
disturbing questions about the NSA’s truthfulness.
“Either the NSA is really
trying to comply with the court’s orders and is absolutely incapable of
doing so, in which case it’s terrifying that they’re performing this
surveillance, or they’re not really trying to comply,” Goitien said.
“Neither of those
explanations is particularly comforting.”
Swiss Limit CEO Pay, We Can’t Even Enforce Our Pay Laws
Next, an article by Dave
Johnson on Campaign for America's future:
This I mainly quote because I
mentioned in a Nederlog of some days ago that I am not against income
differences which are as large as 15 to 1, where I am 1, and the 15
times as many are earned by some bankmanager, even though I insist the
bankmanager is less intelligent and less learned than most academics
(though quite possibly, given his career, a greater bastard).
My reasons to say so were
mostly that I spent some 50 years living under such a regime or policy;
that I do not demand nobody gets more than me, and also not that some
earn quite a lot more; but that I find it both insane and indecent to
see a few managers get millions a year, essentially for doing very
little, and only because they manage banks.
Well, according to the opening
of Johnson's article the Swiss think similarly:
The Wall Street
reform law that passed in 2010 includes a requirement that companies
disclose the ratio of CEO pay to median pay. This law is still
obstructed from enforcement. Meanwhile voters in Switzerland are
considering placing a 12:1 cap on CEO pay — an idea that is spreading
To be sure, this is an
American reporting on Europe, and I, although I am European, had not
heard of it, but then again the Dutch papers that are available to me
these days are full of amusements, and crap, and sports, and TV news,
and hidden or half hidden support for Louis Vuitton's shit, and other
total bullshit, but they rarely report the real news,
although I do not say they
did not, somewhere in a brief note in a back page, but merely that I
mostly stopped reading the Dutch
sheets papers, for these are very annoying, at least
if your IQ is
halfway decent and you also know a little bit.
But yes: I find such a rule
quite fair, and I would support it, as I also would support the notion
that these rules be broken only in rare cases for academics and
since these are two human endeavors were a few true geniuses function,
and that is definitely not the case in business or management
ordinary salaried job, even if they are "quants".
NSA Spying’s Economic Fallout
Finally, an article by Sander Venema in
This starts as follows:
Yes, indeed. In fact,
Venema mainly writes about cloud services, which is an idea that I
anyway never liked, and a facility I never used, but he
is quite right
that the security of American and British computer providers is zero,
or indeed below zero: As is, they are commanded by secret court
from secret courts to produce anything and everything they
are also not allowed to speak about this in public. That is not
and open society, but very much like an authoritarian or fascist
In the last six months or
so, former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden has
disclosed quite a few of the NSA’s surveillance programs, revealing
that the agency disregards civil rights and spies on everything
and everyone, all over the world, in a Pokémon-style “Gotta catch ‘em
all!” fashion. The actions of the NSA are also having a real effect on
the U.S. economy.
The actions of the U.S.
government and more specifically what the NSA is doing with its
surveillance programs are having a big impact, especially on the tech
industry in Silicon Valley. As a European, why would I store my data on
servers in the United States, where this data is easily accessible by
the NSA, among others, if I can just as easily store it in Europe or
some other, more secure place?
And apart from cloud
services, it seems also the security, if it is there at all, is
breached, because the encryption keys have been tampered with, to
enable the NSA, and in fact anybody else, easier entry.
So yes: it seems anybody
who wants his data safe from prying eyes should not store them
USA or England, and indeed also should not store them in a
Whether they are really safe in Europe is quite uncertain, but as is it
is at least a bit safer there than in the US.
probably quite uncommon case that you may be wondering about Stephanie
Faulkner: I am still busy, almost every day, with her letters, of which
I now have copied and commented four out of five of the longest, but
there still is quite a bit to do, though I guess at least half has been
done. I suppose I will upload them to
my own section in philosophy, and will notify this here when I have
As regards other stuff: I have finished Henry Miller's "Tropic of
Cancer", which I did not like very much, as I recall I also did not 33
years ago, when I first read it, and also his "Quiet Days in Clichy",
which I did like, and I probably will soon write about both.
And I have nearly finished Bryan Magee's "Confessions of a
Philosopher", that I still like a lot, though Magee is a quite
different man from me, with a different philosophy and with different
interests. Even so, he is an interesting man, with interesting ideas,
and I also intend to write about this.
Finally, I am in the 35th year of continuous illness, that leaves me
with a lot less energy than healthy people have, and a lot more
pain, but this too
is a bit better than it has been the last 1 1/2 years, and also than
most of the first twelve years of this century, some of which were
quite difficult. And I intend to write some about this as well.
 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.