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."
reject government's anti-social, crime and policing
nears decision on NSA reforms as spy leaders
meet at White House
3. NSA's Harshest Critics
Meeting With White House Officials
4. 500 Years of History Shows
that Mass Spying Is Always
Aimed at Crushing Dissent
5. No Warrant, No Problem: How
the Government Can Get
Your Digital Data
6. Democracy Needs
Whistleblowers. That's Why I Broke
into the FBI in 1971
7. 25 Reasons Norway Is The
Greatest Place On Earth
This is another crisis file, with seven items. The first shows that a
bi-cameral parliament is better than one with just one house: The
British lords have rejected the - indeed quite insane - bill that would
prosecutions of anyone for "being a nuisance, or an annoyance". The
four items are all on Obama or the NSA's doings, with
the fourth of
these items making a point I also repeatedly have made, viz. that
surveillance is a typically tyrannical tool. Item
6 is by one of the
whistleblowers of 1971 I briefly dealt with yesterday. The last item is purely
private, though I agree
with the title, and the reader can also see why, since there
are 26 big photographs. (But there are some
difficulties, also, notably the sun's marked absense during most of the
year, and its marked presence during high summer.)
I should also say that yesterday I have updated the index
file of the crisis series, until
yesterday. And I have adjusted the indexes of
Nederlog, so that each
of each year can be reached from any year. (These things are pretty awful
to do using KompoZer, which is the only WYSIWYG html-editor on
also is pretty bugged, even to the extent that the cursor positions in
several open files are normally not maintained. Yes, that is
crazy! This makes my efforts on indexes fairly rare: it is very
frustrating. But OK - it's done, once again.)
reject government's anti-social, crime and policing
To start with, an
article by Press Association - that is what it says - in the Guardian:
This starts as follows,
and relates to this item in Nederlog:
That is a very good
result, and shows - once again - the need of a bi-cameral house of
parliament. (This does not need to be filled with lords, but it
to be there because the lower house will generally follow the
government, and you want to prevent the current government, of whatever
color, to push through all the changes it desires. And there
really is a second house of parliament necessary to prevent that, and
to maintain democracy.)
The government suffered a
big defeat in the House of Lords on
Wednesday evening over its planned new injunctions to tackle antisocial
Peers voted by 306 to
178, majority 128, against the plans amid fears that noisy children, carol singers and nudists
could fall victim to the new injunctions.
The government wants to
replace antisocial behaviour orders (asbos) with a new type of
measure, an ipna (injunction to prevent nuisance and annoyance).
But peers, led by
crossbencher Lord Dear, a former chief constable of West Midlands, and
supported by several prominent Tories, said the injunctions cast the
net too wide and put at risk "fundamental freedoms" and free speech.
There is a considerable amount more, but I only quote one more point,
from the end of the article, with a proponent of the bill speaking:
First, there is every
reason to distrust the local authorities, if only because they
are rarely there "for the people", but tend to be there for themselves
or their parties, as is also quite human.
Lord Faulks, a
Conservative who is soon to become a justice minister, defended the
legislation, questioning whether the fears expressed by his fellow
peers were realistic. He said the applications for an ipna could only
be made by an agency such as a local authority, adding: "That is in
fact a defence against inappropriate use. It means that somebody who is
the victim of antisocial behaviour has to go through the filter of a
hard-working agency in order to establish there is sufficient basis to
seek antisocial behaviour, or ipna in this case… the use of an agency
provides an important filter."
Faulks said the fact a
judge also had to decide on the injunction provided another safeguard.
"I simply cannot see a judge ordering an injunction for any of the sort
of trivial matters which have been referred to in the course of the
argument," he added.
Second, it should not
be the bureaucrats or leading politicians who should have the right to
decide on what is "anti-social": Very likely they will call everything
they dislike "anti-social".
Third, Lord Faulks may not be able to see a
judge ordering an unreasonable injunction, but then he is a lord, while
myself, who is not as myopic as some lords, have no reason to
believe that most judges are as impartial and
objective as I think they should be. On the contrary, most judges
function as supporters of the status quo.
nears decision on NSA reforms as spy leaders meet at White House
Next, an article in the Guardian by Spencer
Ackerman and Dan Roberts:
This starts as follows:
There is considerably more in
the article, but this is enough for the moment.
The leaders of the US
intelligence agencies were holding talks at the White House on
Wednesday as US president Barack Obama neared a decision on curbing the
National Security Agency’s controversial bulk surveillance powers.
Obama was meeting the
leadership of the US spy agencies and his privacy and civil liberties
oversight board, to be followed on Thursday by additional meetings with
key congressional leaders.
Legislators critical of
the NSA’s bulk domestic phone records collection, such as senators Ron
Wyden and Mark Udall and congressman James Sensenbrenner, were expected
to attend. The White House will also welcome surveillance skeptics
from the private sector, including ACLU President Susan Herman.
According to the White
House, Obama has yet to decide which NSA and FBI authorities to
restrict and which to ratify. An announcement could come as early as
next week, and the White House has said it will occur before the state
of the union address on 28 January.
3. NSA's Harshest Critics Meeting With White
House Officials Tomorrow
Next, an article by Dana Liebelson on Mother Jones:
This starts as follows:
One problem with this is
that "the Surveillance
Review Group" did not
make any "fairly radical
recommendations": In fact,
the group consisted of Obama loyalists.
On Thursday, a number of
liberties groups that have harshly criticized the NSA surveillance
practices disclosed by Edward Snowden, are meeting with President
Obama's top lawyer, Kathy Ruemmler. This White House session is one of several this week with lawmakers, tech groups, and members of the intelligence
community that will help the President soon decide whether to keep the
controversial surveillance programs intact.
groups that are reportedly
attending the meeting are the Center for Democracy and Technology, the
Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), and the Federation of
American Scientists. According to Caitlin Hayden, a spokesperson for
the White House, the purpose of the meeting with Ruemmler "is
to have a broad discussion regarding privacy and civil liberties
protections and transparency initiatives." According to a source with
knowledge of the meeting, the meeting is likely the "next phase" of the
Obama Administration's attempt to decide "exactly how
much of the Surveillance Review Group’s fairly radical recommendations
they’re going to get behind."
So this does not make me feel better, but I will await Obama's decision.
Years of History Shows that Mass Spying
Is Always Aimed at Crushing Dissent
Next, an article
on Washington's Blog, that supports a point I repeatedly made:
Actually, this sketches
a fair amount of background, that I leave to my readers, except for one
brief bit, that I reproduce as it is given:
Yes, indeed - and note
that the quote is from 1975, and did not count with the enormous
powers the internet gives to those who have the money to abuse it.
Senator Church – the head
of a congressional committee investigating Cointelpro – warned in 1975:
[NSA's] capability at
any time could be turned around on the American people, and no
American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor
everything: telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t
matter. There would be no place to hide. [If a dictator ever took
over, the N.S.A.] could enable it to impose total tyranny, and
there would be no way to fight back.
This is, in fact, what’s
5. No Warrant, No Problem: How the
Government Can Get Your
Next, an article by Theodoric
Meyer and Peter Maass in Propublica:
starts as follows:
allowed to wiretap American citizens without a warrant from a judge.
are plenty of legal ways for law enforcement, from the local sheriff to
to the Internal Revenue Service, to snoop on the digital trails you
every day. Authorities can often obtain your emails and texts by going
Google or AT&T with a simple subpoena that doesn’t require showing
cause of a crime. And recent revelations about classified National
Agency surveillance programs show that the government is regularly
on Americans’ telephone calls and has the capability to access
emails, files, online chats
and other data — all under secret oversight by a special federal
this doesn't show "No Warrant, No Problem", in part because the "legal
ways" may only be " "legal" ways" (namely, from stretching the meanings
of terms, which nowadays is very common); I doubt whether "a simple subpoena that doesn’t require
cause of a crime" in a really good
legal system (such as is not in force in the US) would be legal; while
oversight by a special federal
court" is not a democratic but a
fascistic law, that should not take place at all in a real democracy.
The rest is dealt with under three colums: "What they can get"
(Phone records, Location data, IP addresses, Emails, Email drafts, Text
messages, Cloud data, Social media), "How they get it", and "What
the law says".
I've read it all through, and it seems a fair summary, except for the
facts that (1) the law as it pertains to the internet is both fairly
undefined, often unclear, and often not worked out, except - perhaps -
in secret courts, and (2) so far, the law has not formed much
of a hindrance on the capacities of the NSA (and the GCHQ etc.): they
grab anything they can get, and are allowed to lie about it, and
basically may wipe their asses clean with the law, all "because of
6. Democracy Needs Whistleblowers. That's Why I
Broke into the FBI in 1971
Next, an article by Bonnie Raines
in Common Dreams - and she is one of the persons who committed the FBI
break-in in 1971, briefly reported yesterday:
This starts with a photograph of
Nixon and Hoover, which is quite good, in its utter awfulness, and the
article also is good. Here is a bit from towards the end:
Indeed, they acted as they did
because no one else seemed able to reign in J. Edgar Hoover.
And this is the ending:
whistleblowers. Snowden was in a position to reveal things that nobody
could dispute. He has performed a legitimate, necessary service. Unlike
us, he revealed his own identity, and as a result, he's sacrificed a
On our part, you could
accuse us of being criminals – and Hoover did just that: he was
apoplectic and sent 200 agents to try and find us in Philadelphia.
"Find me that woman!" he screamed at them.
But to us there didn't
seem to be an alternative at that point. No one was going to be hurt.
We hoped for the outcomes that we wanted. We knew, of course, that we
were breaking law, but I think that sometimes you have to break laws in
order to reveal something dangerous, and to put a stop to it.
quite so. And again, you cannot trust the government, if only because
they hold by far the most power. (This does not mean you always should
distrust them. It only means you need independent evidence for
their main assertions. And the main trouble of the present time is that
most of the press is bought or in deep financial trouble.)
accountability are the lifeblood of democracy, yet people now think
they just have to roll over in the name of "anti-terrorism". Members of
government thinks it can lie to us about it, and that they can lie to
Congress. That concerns me for the future of my children and
grandchildren, and that too makes me feel I can talk about, at my age,
doing something as drastic as breaking-in to an FBI office in the
search for truth.
7. 25 Reasons Norway Is The Greatest Place
article by Lisa Miller in the Huffington Post, that has the benefit of
mostly argueing by 26 photographs:
is not a part of my crisis reporting. I agree with the article,
but need to make two points, which I make on the basis of the fact that
I lived in Norway for more than two years and seven months:
First, nearly all of the pictures are taken in the summer or
the spring: In fact, Norway is covered by snow and ice most of the
time, and it then also is usually quite cold, and also mostly dark, in
It so happens that I like cold more than warmth, and that I was also not much bothered
by there being little sun most of the year, which does bother quite a
few, including my Norwegian girlfriend, but I was bothered by there
being an enormous amount of sun in the summer: I find it very difficult
to sleep when it is light (also in Holland and England, which are the
other two countries I've lived in).
Second, it was THE mistake of my life to return from Norway to
Holland: I could have studied in Norway, and I very probably would not
have fallen ill, and my whole life would have been very
different, and almost certainly a great lot better, more rewarding, and
richer, in terms of publications and money and renown.
did I make the wrong decision? Mostly because I was very healthy when I
made it; it was according to the plan I had when I left for Norway in
1975; and I have absolutely never counted with the possibility
of being sick forever, since my 28th year, which is what happened to
me, when I fell ill on 1.1.1979, as did the Dutch girlfriend I then
lived with, who also never got better, and also got a
fine M.A. in psychology she never could properly use.
And I never seriously counted with the incredible corruptions and the
criminal politicians that ruled Amsterdam and the University of
Amsterdam, while I did not take my own opinions on the lack of
intelligence of most and the tendency of almost anyone to
collaborate with almost anything, serious enough - again because I
never seriously counted with the probability of being sick from
1.1.1979 onwards, without it ever ceasing, and of being seriously sick
from 1991 onwards, nor did I ever count with being classified as
someone who is not ill, now for the 36th year, while I
evidently am ill.
Anyway... the pictures are really nice, and I am very sorry
that I ever left Norway, once I could live there, from 1975 onwards -
and that also because Norway has the benefit of being one of the few
places where people may survive if a major crisis hits the world.
It really is a far, far better country than is Holland, and is so for
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
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.
note the whole file I
quote from is quite pertinent.)
(that I prefer
to call M.E.: The "/CFS" is added to facilitate search machines) which
is a disease I have since 1.1.1979: