"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."
| "Power tends to corrupt, and
absolute power corrupts
absolutely. Great men
almost always bad men."
1. Edward Snowden's Christmas
Message to the World -
2. Edward Snowden broadcasts
Channel 4's alternative
3. Internet privacy as important as human
UN's Navi Pillay
4. You, me and Edward Snowden
– we've all been let down
by the EU
5. Snowden: Society Deserves
Chance to 'Govern,'
6. Albert Einstein: “A Foolish
Faith In Authority Is The
Worst Enemy Of The
more or less promised I would today comment on my piece of a year ago,
but did not (see item 7 for a brief explanation)
and instead made a regular crisis item.
Snowden's Christmas Message to the World - 2013
To start with, here is a link to Edward Snowden's Christmas message:
And here follows the full
text, which I give because (1) it turned out to be fairly difficult to
find and (2) I have seen two - very ugly, extremely dishonest - CNN
media-whores who showed just a small part and otherwise presented the
NSA's point of view:
everything said is quite true, and indeed am glad that I was born in
1950 rather than much later, which allowed me to live through the
Sixties and Seventies, that seem to be - for people living in
Europe and the US etc. - the best decades of the previous century, at least in
terms of available riches for everyone, the general outlook, the arts,
and the sciences, and I am also glad I have no children, because I have
been ill for 35 years, so far.
and Merry Christmas. I'm honoured to have the chance to speak with you
and your family this year.
Recently, we learned that our governments, working in concert, have
created a system of worldwide mass surveillance, watching everything we
Great Britain's George Orwell warned us of the danger of this kind of
information. The types of collection in the book — microphones and
video cameras, TVs that watch us — are nothing compared to what we have
available today. We have sensors in our pockets that track us
everywhere we go.
Think about what this means for the privacy of the average person. A
child born today will grow up with no conception of privacy at all.
They'll never know what it means to have a private moment to themselves
— an unrecorded, unanalysed thought. And that's a problem, because
privacy matters. Privacy is what allows us to determine who we are and
who we want to be.
The conversation occurring today will determine the amount of trust we
can place both in the technology that surrounds us and the government
that regulates it. Together, we can find a better balance. End mass
surveillance. And remind the government that if it really wants to know
how we feel, asking is always cheaper than spying.
For everyone out there listening, thank you, and Merry Christmas.
Snowden broadcasts Channel 4's alternative Christmas Day message
Next, here is an
article by Peter Walker in the Guardian of the previous item:
It starts as follows:
the whistleblower who prompted a worldwide debate when he leaked a
cache of top secret documents about US and UK spying, has recorded a
Christmas Day television message in which he calls for an end to the
revealed by his disclosures.
The short film was
recorded for Channel 4, which has
20-year history of providing unusual but relevant figures as an
alternative to the Queen's Christmas message shown by other UK
broadcasters. It will be Snowden's first television appearance since
arriving in Moscow.
The address, broadcast at
4.15pm on Christmas Day, was filmed in Russia – where
Snowden is living after being granted temporary asylum – by Laura
Poitras, a film-maker who has closely collaborated with him on the NSA stories.
In the rest of the article, considerable amounts of the
message are repeated, as are some other things he said.
3. Internet privacy as important as human
rights, says UN's
Next, an article by
Haroon Siddique in the Guardian:
This starts as follows:
There is considerably more in
the article, of which I only quote this:
The UN human rights
chief, Navi Pillay, has compared the uproar in the international
community caused by revelations of mass surveillance with
the collective response that helped bring down the apartheid regime in
Pillay, the first
non-white woman to serve as a high-court judge in South Africa, made
the comments in an interview with Sir Tim Berners-Lee
special edition of BBC Radio 4's Today programme, which the
inventor of the world wide web was guest editing.
Pillay has been asked by
the UN to prepare a report on protection of the right to privacy, in
the wake of the former National Security Agency analyst Edward Snowden
leaking classified documents about UK and US spying and the collection
of personal data.
The UN general assembly unanimously voted last week to adopt
a resolution, introduced by Germany and Brazil, stating that "the same
rights that people have offline must also be protected online,
including the right to privacy". Brazil's president, Dilma Rousseff, and the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, were among those spied
on, according to the documents leaked by Snowden.
I agree to this, and indeed
notice that the position of both the NSA and the GCHQ, and the American
and English governments is the contrary:
Your position on line and
on the phone is different from the rights you have elsewhere,
granted by the Declaration of Human Rights and other documents: On line
and on the phone you have no rights, and anything anyone
can get from you is valid, because they can get it.
The previous paragraph does
state the opinions of the
American and English governments.
4. You, me and Edward Snowden – we've all
been let down by
Next, an article by Mike
Harris in the Guardian:
This is from the beginning:
And this from the middle:
Europe has seen no
co-ordinated action to stop the mass state surveillance of the US and
Britain. Journalists face prison for libel. Media monopolies go
unopposed. This continent's history forged the desire to build a new
set of European values which actively protected human rights and a club
to do so: the European Union. It's time for the EU to step up,
otherwise this siege is likely to become a crisis.
It's not only Hungary and
Italy that have threatened free speech. In 24 of the 28 EU member
states, journalists face prison due to criminal defamation laws. Just
yesterday, Romania's parliament voted to reintroduce prison sentences
for libel and insult, to the despair of the country's civil rights
groups. The European Commission hasn't helped. In January it suggested
that Romania should protect reputation better, to the bewilderment of Romanian NGOs.
On the biggest recent challenge to free speech, the EU
has been left wanting. No EU member state seriously considered granting
Edward Snowden asylum. The commission has been notably silent after the
Guardian found the police in its offices with orders to
destroy its computers.
There is rather a lot more,
but yes: The EU seems to function mostly as if it is an extension of
Obama's government, and the reason - that I can see - is that most of
its parliamentarians belong to the governing elites of their countries.
Society Deserves Chance to 'Govern,' 'Change' Itself
Next, an article by Jon
Queally on Commom Dreams:
This starts as follows:
I defected at all, I defected from the government to the public.”
That's just one of the
striking things NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden told the Washington
Post's Barton Gellman during two-days of "near constant
conversation" in a hotel room in Russia—a rare person-to-person
interview with the man who has rocked the world by revealing vast
details about how the most powerful spy agencies in the world use
clandestine technologies to gaze on an increasingly digitized and
In fact, this is a good
summary of the long recent interview Barton Gellman had with Edward
Snowden in Moscow. Since I did the same on December
24, 2013, you can - if thus inclined - compare the two. (Jon
Queally's article also has good subtitles.)
6. Albert Einstein: “A Foolish Faith In
Authority Is The Worst Enemy Of The Truth”
As the last crisis item,
an article on Washington's Blog
This is the first section (of
four) and the coloring and links are in the original:
Note this is the first of four
sections. I mostly agree, although I myself would add that (1) "a foolish faith in authority" is the mark of
the dumb and the average, and always has been, and (2) almost
anyone I've met had little or "no
hesitation in lying to promote their goals" - but yes, it matters to
whom you lie to and what you lie about, and the members of
the elites can and do lie to many more people about
much more important issues than other people. (But honesty is not
common when people are speaking to others who are outside of their
own in-groups. Period. )
Don’t Be Foolish
Albert Einstein said:
A foolish faith in
authority is the worst enemy of the truth.
Indeed, scientists have
shown that people will
go to absurd lengths - and engage in mental gymnastics –
in order to cling to their belief in what those in authority have said.
Part of the reason so
many are so vulnerable to naive belief in authority is that we
evolved in small tribes … and we assume that the super-elites are just
In reality, there are millions
of psychopaths in the world … and they are largely
running D.C. and on Wall Street.
These people have no
hesitation in lying to promote their goals.
The Assistant Secretary
of Defense for Public Affairs told
Morley Safer of 60 Minutes and CBS News:
Look, if you think any
American official is going to tell you the truth, then you’re stupid.
Did you hear that? — stupid.
And studies show that the
cheat and steal more than the rest of us.
Then again, I agree that the people who are very rich and also the
great majority of those who get elected (1) are usually worse
people, speaking morally, than those who elect them are, on average,
and (2) have acquired their eminence mostly not because of
their intellectual eminence (which they often lack) but because of
their moral lowness (which they commonly have, in a much greater
proportion than ordinary people).
For a further assessment of moral and intellectual qualities of the
human animal, see my GW:
The world, the people, the disease.
Again there was
today no redoing of my piece of a
year ago (yesterday). I am sorry: I will do it, eventually: it is a
pessimistic diagnosis, but it got strongly confirmed.
Today I got deflected by bad sleep; by the fact that in Holland, where
I have to live, alas, there is a Second Christmas Day; and also by
Snowden's Christmas message, which I thought you would not want to
miss, also not in Nederlog.
 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.)
This also drives the corporations, the political parties and the
religions: Their staffs and their personnel generally tend to lie to
people - as in propaganda,
as in public
relations - who are not in the corporations, parties or
religions. The reason is very simple: These are not members of the
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.