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."
Plans to Extend Snowden Asylum, Lawmaker Says
Snowden Speaks in Half-Hour Televised
3. Spy Agencies Probe Angry
Birds and Other Apps for
4. NSA, GCHQ Using Data From
'Leaky' Smartphone Apps to
5. Cut Off
the NSA’s Juice
This is another crisis file, and it has six sections, though the last
is a brief personal section that tracks my progress of re-uploading the
Plans to Extend Snowden Asylum, Lawmaker Says
To start with, an article by Michael J. de la Merced, in the New York
This starts as follows:
Russia plans to
extend its offer of asylum to Edward J. Snowden beyond August, a
Russian lawmaker said Friday at the World Economic Forum here.
I think Mr. Pushkov is
right on Big Brother - which is not to say it may not be similar in
Russia (though nobody who is not a member of the KGB - or whatever it
is called now - knows). Also, although the news is good, it may be
The lawmaker, Aleksei K. Pushkov, chairman of
the foreign affairs committee in Russia’s lower house of Parliament,
hinted during a panel discussion that the extension of temporary
refugee status for Mr. Snowden, the former National Security Agency
contractor, might be indefinite.
“He will not be sent out of Russia,” Mr.
Pushkov said. “It will be up to Snowden.”
He added that Mr. Snowden’s father believes
his son could not get a fair trial in the United States.
Mr. Pushkov made his comments came against a
backdrop of broad criticism of the American spying programs that have
come to light since the summer. He pointed to the sheer volume of
information that American authorities are able to gather.
“The U.S. has created a Big Brother system,”
Mr. Pushkov said.
2. Edward Snowden Speaks in Half-Hour
Next, an article by
the Common Dreams staff on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:
station NDR News on Sunday night aired
an in-person interview with American whistleblower Edward Snowden
in which he speaks both broadly and specifically about the NSA
surveillance programs his actions have helped expose to the world.
One wonders who pulled
it. But Commom Dreams has the transcript, which is good, and it is a
good interview. (What part would Bill Maher call "batshit crazy"?)
Conducted in Mosow, this
is the first such interview with the former NSA contractor since
journalists Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras met and interviewed him
in a Hong Kong hotel room last June.
[Though earlier available
via YouTube, the video of the interview was pulled.]
The official NDR News
from the recorded interview follows.
Anyway, here are a few of the many good points, that you can all read
in the last dotted link - and what I will do is quote Snowden, and head
it by bold summaries of what he is talking about:
risk of being killed:
significant threats but I sleep very well. There was an article that
came out in an online outlet called Buzz Feed where they interviewed
officials from the Pentagon, from the National Security Agency and they
gave them anonymity to be able to say what they want and what they told
the reporter was that they wanted to murder me. These individuals - and
these are acting government officials. They said they would be happy,
they would love to put a bullet in my head, to poison me as I was
returning from the grocery store and have me die in the shower
We’ve seen the President
acknowledge that when he first said "we’ve drawn the right balance,
there are no abuses", we’ve seen him and his officials admit that there
have been abuses. There have been thousands of violations of the
National Security Agency and other agencies and authorities every
On the Obama regulation that
It was clear from the
President’s speech that he wanted to make minor changes to preserve
authorities that we don’t need. The President created a review board
from officials that were personal friends, from national security
insiders, former Deputy of the CIA, people who had every incentive to
be soft on these programs and to see them in the best possible light.
But what they found was that these programs have no value, they’ve
never stopped a terrorist attack in the United States and they have
marginal utility at best for other things.
On the rights almost
Traditionally the government
would identify a suspect, they would go to a judge, they would say we
suspect he’s committed this crime, they would get a warrant and then
they would be able to use the totality of their powers in pursuit of
the investigation. Nowadays what we see is they want to apply the
totality of their powers in advance - prior to an investigation.
On Five Eyes intelligence
organizations being beyond law:
So we have the UK’s GCHQ, we
have the US NSA, we have Canada’s C-Sec, we have the Australian Signals
Intelligence Directorate and we have New Zealand’s DSD. What the result
of this was over decades and decades what sort of a supra-national
intelligence organisation that doesn’t answer to the laws of its own
On what gets collected:
However, it’s no secret that
every country in the world has the data of their citizens in the NSA.
Millions and millions and millions of data connections from Germans
going about their daily lives, talking on their cell phones, sending
SMS messages, visiting websites, buying things online, all of this ends
up at the NSA and it’s reasonable to suspect that the BND may be aware
of it in some capacity. Now whether or not they actively provide the
information I should not say.
value of assurances by the spies:
So realistically what’s
happening is when they say there’s no spying on Germans, they don’t
mean that German data isn’t being gathered, they don’t mean that
records aren’t being taken or stolen, what they mean is that they’re
not intentionally searching for German citizens. And that’s sort of a
fingers crossed behind the back promise, it’s not reliable.
On the reason why the
spying is possible:
capabilities that have been provided because of sort of weak security
standards in internet protocols and cellular communications networks
have meant that intelligence services can create systems that see
On the dangers of
What that means is you have
private for profit companies doing inherently governmental work like
targeted espionage, surveillance, compromising foreign systems and
anyone who has the skills who can convince a private company that they
have the qualifications to do so will be empowered by the government to
do that and there’s very little oversight, there’s very little review.
On who Edward Snowden
The Chief of the Task Force
investigating me as recently as December said that their investigation
had turned up no evidence or indications at all that I had any outside
help or contact or had made a deal of any kind to accomplish my
mission. I worked alone. I didn’t need anybody’s help, I don’t have any
ties to foreign governments, I’m not a spy for Russia or China or any
other country for that matter. If I am a traitor who did I betray? I
gave all of my information to the American public, to American
journalists who are reporting on American issues.
On the law and being
I think it’s clear that
there are times where what is lawful is distinct from what is rightful.
There are times throughout history and it doesn’t take long for either
an American or a German to think about times in the history of their
country where the law provided the government to do things which were
But I recommend you read
the whole interview: It is on Common Dreams, and I find it idiotic
that it was removed from Youtube.
3. Spy Agencies Probe Angry Birds and Other
Apps for Personal
Next, an article by
Jeff Larson, James Glanz and Andrew W. Lehren, that was publish on Pro
Publica, in the New York Times, and in The Guardian:
This starts as
When a smartphone user
opens Angry Birds, the popular game application, and starts slinging
birds at chortling green pigs, spy agencies have plotted how to lurk in
the background to snatch data revealing the player’s location, age, sex
and other personal information, according to secret British
In their globe-spanning
surveillance for terrorism suspects and other targets, the National
Security Agency and its British counterpart have been trying to exploit
a basic byproduct of modern telecommunications: With each new
generation of mobile phone technology, ever greater amounts of personal
data pour onto networks where spies can pick it up.
According to dozens of
previously undisclosed classified documents, among the most valuable of
those unintended intelligence tools are so-called leaky apps that spew
everything from users’ smartphone identification codes to where they
have been that day.
This is a long
article, and there is a lot more - and in case you ask yourself "Why
would anyone be interested in players of a game like Angry Birds?" the
answer is: The NSA etc. (GCHQ, the other Four Eyes, and indeed many,
though not all modern spies) want everything they can get of
anyone, and Angry Birds has been downloaded a billion times
and retains an enormous amount of personal data.
You can read the
article by clicking the last dotted link. Meanwhile, I go to another
article about the same subject plus some more:
4. NSA, GCHQ Using Data From 'Leaky'
Smartphone Apps to Spy
Next, an article by
Andrea Germanos on Common Dreams:
This is in part about
Angry Bird, dealt with in the previous item, but it also is about
Google Maps, about which it says, in quotation:
collect so much data from the app that “you’ll be able to clone
Google’s database” of global searches for directions, according to a
top-secret N.S.A. report from 2007.
“It effectively means
that anyone using Google Maps on a smartphone is working in support of
a G.C.H.Q. system,” a secret 2008 report by the British agency says.
There is more in the
article, that again illustrates that the NSA etc. spend enormous
amounts of money and time to get everything they can get of anyone, no
doubt to make the lives of future governors and rich people a lot
easier than it might otherwise have been.
Also, I should say
that while I have a computer since 1987, and used a personal computer
(though not mine) from 1980 onwards (to write logic software, that
indeed worked and has been used), I do not have nor want a cell phone,
and also, while I have played a little bit with Google Maps, this was
in 2009, and I very soon lost interest.
Then again, I also do not doubt my data and my site - like anyone's
data and site, it seems - are known to the NSA, though I do not expect
Also, personally I do
not care for the following reason: I have no children and no wife, and
I am much too old to live another 20, 30, 40 or 50 years (and that is
taking my chances quite optimistically). So I will write what I please,
but I am also aware I am in a small minority.
5. Cut Off the NSA’s Juice
Finally, an article by Norman
Solomon on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:
The National Security
Agency depends on huge computers that guzzle electricity in the service
of the surveillance state. For the NSA’s top executives, maintaining a
vast flow of juice to keep Big Brother nourished is essential—and any
interference with that flow is unthinkable.
But interference isn’t
unthinkable. And in fact, it may be doable.
Grassroots activists have
begun to realize the potential to put the NSA on the defensive in
nearly a dozen states where the agency is known to be running
surveillance facilities, integral to its worldwide snoop operations.
Organizers have begun to
push for action by state legislatures to impede the electric, water and
other services that sustain the NSA’s secretive outposts.
That is interesting, at
least. Of course, the NSA is government, and to be able to do anything
effective against a major governmental institution, one needs laws. But
then these are being created (and note that the Republican Party ought
to be favourable to this, now that they are against global
surveillance) or already have been created:
Those efforts are
farthest along in the state of Washington, where a new bill in the legislature—the Fourth Amendment
Protection Act—is a statutory nightmare for the NSA. The agency has a
listening post in Yakima, in the south-central part of the state.
The bill throws down a
challenge to the NSA, seeking to block all state support for NSA
activities violating the Fourth Amendment. For instance, that could
mean a cutoff of electricity or water or other state-government
services to the NSA site. And the measure also provides for withholding
other forms of support, such as research and partnerships with state
Here’s the crux of the
bill: “It is the policy of this state to refuse material
support, participation, or assistance to any federal agency which
claims the power, or with any federal law, rule, regulation, or order
which purports to authorize, the collection of electronic data or
metadata of any person pursuant to any action not based on a warrant
that particularly describes the person, place, and thing to be searched
If the windup of that
long sentence has a familiar ring, it should. The final dozen words are
almost identical to key phrases in the Fourth Amendment of the U.S.
I say! That seems a good
idea - although I also suppose I am not as optimistic as some. In any
case, there is considerably more in the article.
I decided to track my progress
through re-uploading my site here.
So... I re-uploaded today the following directories to my two
The images directory
is mainly a leftover from 10 years ago, especially since I decided
circa 2011 to store the images I needed in the directories I needed
them in, also if this implied storing the same images several times.
( 2.2 MB)
Also, the log section got completely re-uploaded: from 2004
till 2013 inclusive. The number of bytes I give is approximate, but
it does not differ much from the real values. (There is considerably
more on my hard disk).
P.S. Jan 29, 2014:
Removed a redundant term.
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: